What does this mean?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by klmno, Nov 21, 2011.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    OK, I still have cold feet re difficult child. I don't know what scares me most- but here's one big reason why:

    Every time difficult child thinks he's coming straight home and when he was released last year, he makes comments like this- "I don't know if I can make it", "I've been institutionalized, this is the only way I know how to live", "there's so much I missed out on, I just want to go out and do it all", "I give up to easily", "I don't fit in out there and I don't know if it's worth it". Now, these statements can be read as completely normal and understandable given his situation, they can be read as BIG red flags that he has no intent of trying, they can be read as him realizing that these are the things standing in his way and that he needs help transitioning, although he's not really open to help and so far it's a 50/50 on because he's too shy and sensitive about opening up to someone else about these things and really just not being will to accept help. In any case, I think all boys coming out of long term incarceration have these thoughts and feelings but they have to decide which road to take with it. I can never tell if my son needs support when he's feeling this way- reassurance that he CAN adjust back to normal life, or if he needs me to say. then you aren't ready to come home, or what. Everytime I try one path, he backs off and says I don't understand. Is this kid intentionally trying to get back home with me to pull this koi on me again? Does he have any idea how many more bridges that would burn? Would he be thinking he only needs me for this one more round and after that, he'll be over 18 and won't need me anymore anyway?
  2. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    I have no idea what he means by his comments, but there is another option. Maybe he just needs someone to listen to what is on his mind and isn't needing you to do anything about it.

    When faced with the possibility of difficult child coming home you must be scared, and looking for red flags. You'd be able to spot them better than me.
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I've thought abbout that, too- I'm sure he has more than enough anxiety about it all, too, and maybe does just need a shoulder to lean on and ear to listen. That would be a lot easier if I hadn't been the one he offended against and lost everything trying to help him. He'll have others he can talk to- he just doesn't seem to open up to others like he does with me.
  4. cubsgirl

    cubsgirl Well-Known Member

    It is hard to tell what he means. Sometimes I watch those "jail" shows (like Lockup) and often times the inmates about to get released say those same things. I agree with you that he's probably very anxious and maybe focusing on the future which is so uncertain that he might get scared.

    You are a strong warrior mom. Hopefully, he's just expressing his anxiety.
  5. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    It could mean a couple of different things, in my humble opinion. I "think" instead of trying to analyze what he means when he says those things I "might" parrot those phrases in explaining why you don't feel coming straight home is in his best interests. From the heart you can easily say with-o any negativity "difficult child I'm sure you know that I am hopeful that you and I can be reunited as a family but I have personal concerns about the timing. Obviously you have expressed similar concerns when you have said x, y, and z. That is why I feel a transitional time is necessary."

    From experience I know how much of an impact institutionalization can have long range, even when for much shorter periods of time. Social skills get really distorted because everyone has to adapt to the peer group they are exposed to. His fears that he "won't fit in" are valid. easy child families do not open arms to a teen with past issues and it will be a hard row to hoe. There is a bond amongst youthful offenders and few can erase the patterns of talk and focus that have become "normal'.

    I'm hoping you'll be able to get reassurance about a transitionary period. Hugs. DDD
  6. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    That's what I explained to him yesterday and he did seem to understand some and accept it. The problem remains- we have nothing in this state that is designed to actually transition a kid. The group home is all they will consider and it's long term and is not really focused on transitioning, as I discussed in other threads. It really would only prolong the agony in a way. It might have one or two things that would be considered a step down from where he is now but I can't see that being enough of a motivator for difficult child to live in that dump until he's 18yo.
  7. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    You're in a lose/lose situation. on the other hand the "dump" will be a big step forward from the institution and the expectations will be lower than if he is at home. So, in a way, that is transitional. He'll be living with kids like himself who have shared similar experiences and won't have to monitor his every word or action. If you have success via the attorney assuring that reunification can be attained in a shorter period of time, he'll have the opportunity to identify how he wants to live. Hugs DDD
  8. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    The attny won't be able to do anything about the length of stay- I'm sure of that. This really is a sentenced place with a minimum length of stay then as the kid approaches 18, the focus is on independent living. No single attny will be able to step in and change that- it would be like trying to change the way a detention center runs things.
  9. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Also, I kind of wonder if difficult child himself teeters between wanting to get out and go wild like he did last year or really try and stick to it. If I have mixed emotions going all over the place about it, I'm sure he does to, just in a different way. I tend to think that's why he went back to a psychiatrist and said he really thought it was BiPolar (BP) after being off medications for over a year. I told him yesterday that we need to walk thru this one day at a time and one hour at a time, if need be. I think I'll stick with that approach unless the statements and actions start appearing consistent and more insistent that he just doesn't want to try- like what he said when he gave up last year. I can't let myself get on a roller-coaster every time his mood changes or he expresses a thought. I guess that's just me trying to prepare myself for the worst. Sigh.
  10. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Do I remember correctly that part of the plan was that you and difficult child attend joint counseling if he was placed out of home? Seems like I recall you saying that "they" would insist on joint therapy and that you would be responsible for the transportation. If so perhaps a codicil could be included that based on the recommendations of the therapist home visits could be commenced to foster family bonds??? DDD
  11. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    OK, klmno, in my little universe, those kinds of statements translated to "If it takes too much effort to follow the rules like everyone else in the community and I decide to quit, I'm just letting you know up front my excuses." Cynical - sorry.

    I think there are kernels of truth in there. I'm sure there are valid worries about fitting in. He's really managed to make a mess out of things and I think he very reasonably has fears about messing things up again. But I'm going to call bologna on the "I'm institutionalized, it's the only way I know how to live" fertilizer. I don't recall you dropping him of at DOJ's doorstep on the way home from giving birth to him. You've worked your posterior off to provide him a good home and give him every opportunity you could. His choices, his total lack of impulse control and respect for your person, to say nothing of your home, has resulted in his situation. Quite frankly, using the institutionalization card at his young age and after his comparatively short period of time locked up (I did say comparatively), it's nothing more than a cop out, and I'd call him on it fast and hard. Ditto the "I don't know if it's worth it" thing. Puleez.

    I know I keep saying this to you, and I apologize, but you need to put this back on his shoulders. Not every kid who has been in long-term Residential Treatment Center (RTC)/DOJ ends up "institutionalized" beyond salvage. Yes, there may be some quirks and absolutely there are some adjustments, but it's not insurmountable by any stretch of the imagination. I think probably the most important thing for him to understand is that people want to see him succeed. You, his PO, his teachers. No one *wants* for him to end up in a revolving door in and out of the system. There are people who will help him, if he asks for it. And he has to learn to ask. Every adult in the world had to learn to do that - he's no different. Success isn't going to be handed to him on a silver platter, but it's not going to be ripped from his hands if he's putting in honest work.

    He has to decide what he's going to do with his life. Does he want freedom and the ability to do all the things he's missed out on? Is he willing to work to catch up and then move forward? Does he want the opportunity to live up to his potential, which I gather is actually pretty impressive? Or does he want to quit and take the easy way out? His choice. You cannot make it for him. No one can. It really is completely on him now, klmno.

    I don't mean to discount his valid worries, but if he lets those rule his choices, or if a fear of success cripples him before he even gets started (been there done that with- thank you), then.... the battle is just that much harder. in my humble opinion. It's really a fine line - supporting him, validating honest concerns, helping him develop tools to deal with his unique worries, but also being strong enough to let him know when he's just quitting, and knowing that if that is what he chooses to do, your heartbroken hands are tied.

    I think the faster you can get a concrete success under his belt (before he has the opportunity to sabotage it), the better. I don't know what it might be in your son's case. In thank you's, it was getting the GED and performing so darn well on it. We had to wait for him to be ready, and we had to hold his hand and help him follow thru, but that seems to have broken the dam. He's doing really well in his first semester at college, and he's doing it on his own. I'm not the homework police. But that GED? It was the first positive thing he'd accomplished in ... I don't know how long - a decade? To put himself out there, really try, and then to succeed and to *not* have it feel horrible to him? It was a huge step.

    He's a big boy now, almost an "adult". He needs to keep his eye on the prize - the one *he* chooses. Whatever hoops he has to jump thru, wherever he has to do the jumping, he needs to get it done and over and put this chapter of his life behind him. He absolutely has the ability to do it.

    Hugs to you - this age was by far the most excruciating age (so far) to be a difficult child's parent.
  12. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Wow- slsh- you said exactly what I was feeling yesterday and wanted to convey to difficult child but could not find the right words. Would you mind if I took part of your words and put them in a letter to difficult child? It's firm but not giving up on him and reminding him that others are the structure, the choices are his.

    DDD- it's been confusing, I'm sure, for people to keep up. If difficult child goes to group home, they have a required anger management 'therapy' (no licensed MH prof there at all) that difficult child would have to go thru and I would have to participate in. No transportaion except mine involved. They PO and his super said they would give special permission for me to check difficult child out and take him to traditional, private family therapy since this program doesn't include it. (Another big thing I think re-entry programs should be thinking about.) That's what they said I'd have to transport difficult child to and from. Others here suggested trying to get them to transport him, due to concerns of explosions or running in this situation and that's a great idea- but I'm not holding my breath that they would do it because they used this as a carrot over me- they are doing me a favor by allowing me to check difficult child and take him to therapy to work on family problems.

    Now, when PO became very authoritative about THEM making all the decisions and saying difficult child would go to group home, he turned around and said I needed to pick difficult child at Department of Juvenile Justice facility and transport him here to group home. I put my foot down on that because I just felt I was being used a little to much. If he's going from one Department of Juvenile Justice facility to another that is ordered, then they can transport him. I do fear that difficult child would run or try to steal from me if I was transporting him under this scenario. If difficult child comes straight home, there's no way he'd run while being transported to this area.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2011
  13. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    How old is your son at this point? Is he 17?

    I see your posts, full of worry and concern - fretting over what is best for your son....and that is perfectly understandable...

    but at his age? I'm afraid slsh is right...his success or failure is going to be largely up to him.

    What does your son want to do? What does he envision for himself? Is he willing to work a program at a group home?

    If he is already making excuses - I'm not sure there is much you can do...
  14. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Klmno, you are really going thru it, huh? you work so hard for him. I was thinking today about how hard it is sometimes for me to forgive Q even though I know the why's. Do you ever think of that?
  15. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    My brain might be a little fried right now due to this mtg with- attny, Buddy- you lost me on that post. LOL! Do I ever think of "what"? (Apparently I don't. LOL)