What have I done? What do I do?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by KatieMae, Nov 19, 2010.

  1. KatieMae

    KatieMae Guest

    I'm very, very new to the site... and very, very desperate! Forgive me in advance if I am doing something wrong by posting this. I have a 16 yr. old daughter, only diagnosed with ODD (she received this diagnosis a month or so ago when she was admitted into a adolescent psychiatric hospital/ward) but she seems to fit a CD diagnosis better?

    She has my entire family held hostage! I'm deathly afraid of her, and I mean this literally. I need advice and I'm hoping that someone around here can simply tell me the ins & outs of what we are all about to go through.

    Long story short... we started having "problems" when my daughter was around 13 (puberty) and the problems just grew to where they are now. She is a beautiful and highly intelligent girl; but she uses her beauty and intelligence to harm herself and every one around her. She is VERY promiscuous, manipulative, abusive (verbally towards me and my husband, physically towards her younger sisters ages 7 and 2) and I can't get her to go to school! She is a past drug abuser... she's clean now but traffics it. And our latest issue is that she has decided I am abusive towards her.

    The last time I asked her to do the dishes, she called me every name in the book and then abandoned her chore and went upstairs and called the Department of Health and Welfare to say she was scared of being abused by me.

    My daughter is in a teen "shelter" right now but can't stay there much longer. And there is a "meeting" set up for Monday, to decide where my daughter can live (she says she will kill herself or run away if she is forced to come home to live) Attending the meeting will be: me, my daughter, our family counselor, a social worker from the Department of Health and Welfare, a social worker from the teen shelter and a facilitator from the Department of Health and Welfare. We were not able to schedule this meeting at a time that my daughters probation officer could be there.

    I'm not an unfit parent, so they can't take my daughter from me... and it's illegal to voluntarily place her into foster care where she could actually get services that we aren't privy to. We have awesome medical insurance, but it doesn't cover long term treatment programs or wilderness-type programs... because this is a behavior issue, not a "health" issue.

    I'm scared to death... literally. Are they going to make me bring her home, where she might kill herself or one of us? Are they going to "prove" me unfit in order to have her placed somewhere that she is safe?

    How do I do this? I have four other children and a husband... I feel like I'm being expected to do the impossible; this is WAY over my head!
  2. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    If she is threatening to kill herself over coming home, that might be a ticket to another inpatient hospitalization and re-evaluation. Is she currently seeing a psychiatrist in addition to the family counselor? Was she given any prescriptions upon discharge? Many people feel that ODD or CD is really a meaningless diagnosis, sometimes it's just a catch-all name for symptoms of an underlying disorder. It sounds to me like she needs a more thorough evaluation, and if she's a danger to herself or others, that evaluation probably needs to be done in an inpatient setting.
  3. KatieMae

    KatieMae Guest

    The only psychiatrist that has seen her was for the week she was in the hospital, and got the ODD diagnosis. And she's been on a very low dose of Prozac for about a year, but she cheeks them and hides them... I have no idea what her body/brain is used to at this point.

    The ODD diagnosis seems so light for what is going on. "Depression" was added to her diagnosis but not as a disorder...

    Are many stays at hospitals the 'norm' for ODD and/or CD? I have been on this site for hours now and I'm blown away at how I'm really not alone! I'm also pretty irritated that every professional I've been in contact with in regards to my daughter seem completely ignorant as to what ODD/CD is and how to manage it properly (is there even a proper way to manage it?)
  4. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    In most states there is a loophole where the child can be found incorrigible instead of the parents being found at fault, and that would allow her to go into foster care without you being punished for it. Just keep repeating that you fear for your safety if you are forced to bring her home, that you fear she will injure you, husband or the younger girls and that no extended family is willing to take her because they also fear her.
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    You have other children who will be at risk if she comes home. Can you put that before the welfare people?

  6. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am sorry things are so bad. I truly understand your fear. What does she do to abuse the younger children? Before this meeting on Monday, take the 2 children to the pediatrician (even if you have to just go to the clinic hours on the weekend, or call the pediatrician if you are friends) and discuss the abuse. Ask for a referral to a psychologist and psychiatrist to help them deal with the abuse. Have the kids tell the pediatrician about the abuse. Then ASK THE pediatrician TO REPORT THIS. The pediatrician is REQUIRED to report abuse of a child, even if done by a sibling (regardless of the age of the sibling).

    This will bring the safety and well being of your younger children into question. By ASKING the pediatrician to make the call to report the abuse, you are PROVING that you are a good mom. You are protecting your young children. You MUST protect them from all harm, even if that harm comes from a sibling.

    Then when you go into the meeting you will be able to say that your daughter CANNOT RETURN because she is a danger to the younger children. She has abused them, it has been reported, and it would be irresponsible of you to allow their abuser back into your home to live with them. It would traumatize them further.

    By taking them to the doctor for a referral to a psychologist and/or psychiatrist to help them cope wtih the abuse, you are showing that you are taking steps to provide appropriate care for them after abuse, yet another sign that you are a good mother.

    You must tell the people at the meeting that you are afraid of your daughter, and likely why. Other than fear for the other kids. State the reasons you are afraid, what your daughter has done to make you think that she would kill you or hurt you. Also express concern for your oldest daughter. You want her to get HELP, and to have a safe place to live that can meet her needs, keep her safe, and also keep the family safe from her, esp the younger children. You have no choice but to say that she cannot come home, because the abuse of the younger children, but you want to be sure she is in a good place and is safe adn well cared for.

    The goal is often reunification of parent and child, and you need to make sure they know that you want reunification IF and ONLY IF she can get the help she so desperately needs. Be calm, be firm that she cannot come home because it is not safe, and insist on what you know, and feel in your gut, is right. There is likely a loophole that would let you put her in foster care.
  7. hexemaus2

    hexemaus2 Old hand

    Oh boy, do I know what you're feeling - being afraid of your own child. been there done that.

    In our case, my oldest son (difficult child 2) would have severe violent meltdowns in which he would strike out at everyone and anyone in his path. He beat my youngest son (difficult child 3) to the point of needing an ambulance and trips to the ER twice. We called the police. I begged judges, DFCS case workers, psychiatrists, and every other professional in the book to get us help.

    Our problem was that difficult child 2 was caught between developmental disabilities (that mental health wouldn't touch because they weren't "equipped" for developmentally disabled) and mental health issues (that developmental disability people wouldn't touch because THEY weren't equipped.) In the meantime, I was left with a 225lb raging teenage boy that even FOUR fully grown police officers had trouble restraining.

    My best advice is to document, document, document. I carried around and expandable file with every letter and fax sent or received, every discharge slip, every court order, lists of phone calls with dates, times, person spoken to, conversations had, emails, meeting notes, prescription histories, evaluation reports, police reports, transportation records, everything. My son's entire life history was in that folder. That folder saved headaches with DFCS, the court system, as well as serving as a record for any new professionals who got involved in his treatment.

    It's hard to argue with a parent who can recite "I spoke with so-and-so on such-and-such date, at such-and-such time about this. His/her advice/response/recommendation was xyz" as opposed to "I talked with a lady at DFCS several times." The fact that I could also back that up with email confirmations (I would send an email as "confirmation" of a discussion, just to "confirm" with that person what I understood to be their stance. Great way to document phone calls!) made it that much more concrete evidence in my favor.

    Heaven help the moron who ever tried to accuse me of anything - neglect, abuse, anything. And I have the wonderful parents here on the boards to thank for it. They are the ones who advised me to document, document, document. They are the ones who advised me to park my butt at this office or that until someone listened. Unfortunately, it didn't garner much in the way of residential services for my son, but it did ensure that no stone was ever left unturned and that the folks involved in his case knew I didn't pull any punches, nor could anyone accuse me of being anything but vigilent in seeking help for him and my other children.

    I did try to refuse to bring him home from psychiatric hospital admissions, on numerous occasions. They tried to scare me by saying I would be charged with abandonment and my other children would wind up in foster care while I went to prison. My response? Try it. I promise you, the media and my attorneys will have a field day with you guys. I can document nearly 10 years worth of advocating, begging, and in general making an :censored2: of myself - all in the name of getting my son help and protecting my other children.

    Luckily, it never had to come to that. While it never got us the residential treatment I so desperately felt he needed, it did force the professionals to find services for us. The more services we tried that didn't work, the better our position for court-ordered residential. Luckily, we eventually found answers that didn't require out of home placement - but it did require a complete and total life change for us. It worked out for the best in the end, but there were YEARS and YEARS I lived in fear.

    Document EVERYTHING.

    Don't be afriad to become "that" parent - the one that makes everyone gringe because she's a bulldog and won't let go once she sinks her teeth in. Being a Warrior Mom does tend to make you unpopular with certain professionals, but they sure can't argue you aren't doing all you can for your children.

    And come here often to ask for help, support, suggestions, ideas, or just to vent. The parents here are what got us through those very bleek, dark years with difficult child 2. They are the only reason I never quit. There was always one more thing to try, one more idea, one more avenue to pursue - and when I couldn't see it, the parents here lit the way for me.
  8. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    I agree with Hex, document all that you can. My advice in the meeting with CPS be very honest, very upfront and just tell them I am afraid of what she could do, this is a safety issue for myself and my younger children. I don't believe it is safe for my younger kids physically or emotionally for her to be here. We need help, and she needs help. I highly doubt they will force you to take her under those conditions. I know CPS everywhere has a bad name because people always hear horror stories, but I have to say I have worked with CPS quite a bit through my job and they do some good work and do help families. They are underfunded like everywhere else.... but make it clear how bad it has been and how unhealthy for your younger kids and I suspect they will listen. Whatever you do come across as polite and cooperative.
  9. KatieMae

    KatieMae Guest

    You guys (gals) have been a Godsend already. I wish I had found y'all a couple of years ago! Mt husband and I have been in complete awe that there are people out there who "get it."

    I should have been more clear in my previous posts... the social worker that was sent to our home in regards to the "abuse" my 16 yr. old claimed was going on, she has been the biggest help so far; even more so than our family counselor. She had to "pop" in on us to assess things, but after seeing our home, our other children and talking to us... she made her mind up that this was a mental health issue instead of a child abuse issue.

    I appreciate all the advice... and I'm gonna document everything from here on out, EVERYTHING! I'm hoping that tomorrow the "right" thing is done for our situation... wish us luck!
  10. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Good luck! You might also wish to change your avatar and siggy to protect your identity.
  11. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    You are on the right track. Hex has EXCELLENT advice, esp with the email confirmation of phone calls and personal discussions - if you cannot send email because you cannot get someone's email addy, call their secretary/main office # at a time when the person will be at lunch and tell them that you were supposed to email something to her and had a computer "glitch" and now cannot find it. Or send the letter via the mail, though that is not always as useful. Or just fax it to them, I find faxing can be much easier than mailing. Just make SURE you type/write up what was said in the phone call/personal discussion because then there is a record. without a record it is he said/she said and parents' just don't carry that much weight (which is wrong on so many levels! of course). I add personal discussions because often people will promise anything to get you to go away or to let them do something and then they claim they didn't say whatever.

    I know one mom here who includes a line somewhere in every email/letter that if it is not challenged/changed with-in 30 calendar days then the contents will stand as an accurate record. Like so many businesses, she sets this to fine print and it usually is at the bottom of the email/fax, but it is still there. Later she can say that NO ONE gave any response so clearly they agreed that this is an accurate record of the conversation. I used to do this all the time on business letters as a secretary at a bank, but for some reason I forgot about doing it with our difficult child stuff.

    Child protection can be a WONDERFUL resource IF you get a good social worker, which it seems that you have. I am very glad!! You also should go to a domestic violence center in your area. If you don't want to go to one near you, pick one in a neighboring area. They can be a great resource. At the least you will get individual therapy and likely therapy for the kids. They have the best experts to treat kids who have been abused, often better than you can access outside of them, because theirs are not just trained but have substantial experience too. This should all be free, regardless of your income. they will also have other resources for you. Ours did not have experience wtih a parent being abused by a child, but they were a huge help for me anyway. They may even be willing to come to court with you to help advocate for you and for your other children, which if nothing else makes you feel a whole lot less alone and less like David fighting an army of Goliaths.

    They will have resources for your difficult child, the abuser, IF she wishes to try. Being approached this way, by people who deal with abusers, may cause her to see herself in an entirely new light. This may or may not be good, of course. Some people feel very powerful, others feel deep shame (which is what they should feel, in my opinion) and are willing to try to change, even if only for a short time.

    YOU will be empowered and helped, and so will your little ones, if you seek out domestic violence help. I think that more and more centers will see cases where kids are abusing parents and siblings over the next decade, and it will be the next area that really gets attention. That will ONLY happen if more of us actually go to the DV centers for help though.

    One of the nicest things about therapy through our DV center was that they had tdocs available outside of the 8-6 time period, so that help can be given with-o making you take time off of work. They also do NOT even nod at you in public unless you make the first move. This isn't just the first time, it is EVERY time. ANYONE who works at a DV center and doesn't follow this needs to be reported because they could put someone at great risk. It means that you have control over something, and that you can be sure they won't send your abuser into a rage. The tdocs/staff do NOT mind being ignored in public, they understand why it is important!
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Susie, I've described this tactic a few times, but I don't post that bit in fine print. I find that if it is there at the end of my note (which is generally couched in semi-informal terms, to keep it seeming friendly but still worded sufficiently precisely so they can't weasel out of it later) in the same size, then two possible things happen:

    1) they see it, and it goads them into action where they have previously been lax. This generally means that services I want for my child suddenly materialise; OR

    2) They STILL don't see it, or they agree my notes are an accurate reflection of our conversation, but they do nothing. Later I can point out that my comment was in the same size font, it was not hidden, so they can't say "I didn't see it" without me saying, "What else in my note did you not see? Do you pay the same level of attention to all your other correspondence?"

    Don't set them up for failure. Instead, set them up for success. Then when they fail, you can really easily demonstrate that you gave them absolutely every chance and then some.

    When I am on the phone to someone at the school or similar, I always take notes as we talk. Even in meetings, I've taken notes. I use my laptop computer. It's a Mac, which means it also comes with cute software packages which can record a meeting while not seeming to. You start the program up while outside in your car, then pause it. Open a text file, set it up with date, headings etc. Put the computer to sleep while you go into the school. When the meeting starts, unpause the recording then minimise it while only the text file is on your screen. Highly illegal and if you do this, do not produce the recording at a later stage. Also, other voices will be faint and your voice will be loud; you will also get a lot of key clicking being recorded, But you may get enough of what other people say, to write it down verbatim. That way you CAN produce your highly detailed minutes of that meeting and send them to the school, with the added note "If you feel any of this is not a true record of our meeting, please communicate this to me in writing. If I do not hear form you by [X date] I will take that as acceptance of the accuracy of my notes. Thank you for your continuing help with my child." I add this last to soften the message a little; it stops the hackles form raising too far with my "failure to confirm will constitute agreement" part of the note.

    It also pays to always have a notepad and pacer pencil with you. I carry spare leads too. I find a pacer pencil is always sharp, always writes on any paper no matter how greasy and has saved my bacon numerous times when some education official rang me on my mobile while I was out shopping. One especially momentous phone call came when I was in the mall and I had to take refuge in a shoe store so I could hear them well enough. I didn't have my pacer pencil so I had to use an eyeliner pencil on a shop docket to take notes. The official was surprised when she got my note about the call - I had 'remembered' a lot more detail than she thought I would. But it was at last enough to force them to allow the services I was asking for.

  13. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Others have given good advice-just wanted to add in my welcome and let you know I'm glad you found us (although sorry you needed to).
  14. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I agree that it can be helpful, and is a good idea to not put it in fine print. the mom in question had the school and the doctor being extremely argumentative, using the fine print technique with her to try to get around the laws, and when they saw it in regular print they did a whole lot of dirty things including reporting her to various authorities to try to get custody taken away from her so that they could do what they wanted, which was NOT good for her kid and NOT within the bounds of the law. It was in fine print, which her lawyer and their lawyer both said was legal, after some really awful dirty games on the part of the school and with the help of one of her child's doctors. Your way IS the best way to start, unless you already have a really adversarial relationship with the school. I am sorry I was not clearer about that.

    Is a pacer pencil a mechanical one, with lead you advance by clicking a button or the end of the pencil, or something else? I haven't heard of them called pacer pencils before, here they are just called mechanical pencils, so I wonder.
  15. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Yes, I meant mechanical pencil. Cultural differences again. I buy the ones that take thicker, softer leads so they write easily with a dark line and can be easily read. Mine lives in my bag (with my sudoku book!) and a pen would leak.

    Always be ready for the unexpected...