What kind of fool am I?


New Member
Just when you think you’ve got a decent plan in place the difficult child lets you have it – right between the eyes – he ran away last night – for the 5th time. I guess my worrying whether or not we were raising that bar just high enough so he could experience some success and feel good about himself was answered.

He went to the interview on Thursday with husband and was not happy about the total structure and constant activities that were planned for him but after they got back home we managed to have a pretty good discussion about things, played cards like the good ‘ole days and he led us to believe he was willing to give it a try (even though he would hate it) – then spent all day with me Friday doing things in preparation for school (we even managed to squeeze in a game of putt-putt at his request)

Like the fool that I am, I let him go off with a friend after we got home (supposed to be back by 8:00 pm) About 7:30ish I go into his room to turn off the fan and find another “run-a-way” letter he’s famous for. He’d feel like a bird in a cage, it’s just not for him, and he doesn’t see the point about the “goal setting” we had discussed – his goal is to just BE HAPPY so that’s what he’s going to do - he’s sorry about everything (including stealing $10 out of my purse but he’ll pay me back) He assures us he’ll be fine as he has wonderful friends that will look out for him and support him – they are not the useless drug addicts that I make them out to be.

After my meltdown last night (which I didn’t think I’d come back from) I am totally clueless as to what to do next. The 15-day stint in juvie didn’t exactly scare him straight. We called the police to report him as a runaway but the fact remains he is 16 until December.

Should we try to find him like the last 4 times or just let him come home when he’s ready?
If and when he does come home, then what?
The military school is not one that takes them against their will & I’m not comfortable with that anyway. So that’s no longer an option.
Certainly can’t live like we were before but it looks like we may have to, at least till he’s 17. Am I missing something here?

I’m hoping you guys have something up your sleeves.


New Member
I don't have teens yet, so I'm only speaking of what I've heard from my aunt whom I am very close with.

In our state, you must report them as a runaway in case they do anything while gone. If you report them as a runaway, and he does anything illegal and gets caught, the court typically takes into account he was a runaway and not under your care. If he wasn't reported and "under your care" and does something, you can be held legally and financially responsible. Each state is different though, so it may be different where you are.

I'm sorry for what you're dealing with. It won't be long before I have teenagers and I'll have 4 hitting that period all about the same time. I am not looking forward to it.


New Member
My difficult child never left a letter the three times she ran. I called the police each time for HER safety. Doing this also told her that I cared enough about her to report her, as I had no way to know that she wasn't a victim of a crime...she liked to leave the house unlocked when she left.

Is he on probation with you, or with a legal system? N* was on probation with the legal system, and when she ran, it was against her plan, so she was placed back in Juv. Det, and a court date was set to revoke her probation. At the hearing, the judge placed her in the custody of the Juvenile Justice Authority. Boy did that feel like "Parent Failure!" She was placed in an Residential Treatment Center (RTC).

After 90 days, her case manager and resident therapist said she'd made progress, and released her to me for a 60 day trial home visit. She's been home for just over a month now. Does she still defy authority? Yes. Does she still try to use manipulation when she doesn't get what she wants? Yes. Does she still lie to me? Yes. Do I still have to provide shelter, food, medication, and the opportunity for an education to her until she's 18? Yes. It's what I agreed to do when I decided to become a parent. There are reasonable rules at my house, she follows the rules, or she can return to the custody of the JJA, go to a different placement - farther from home, and perhaps stay in their custody and/or supervison until her 22nd birthday. That's the way Kansas does it.

My advice -- contact an attorney familiar with the juvenile justice system in your state. See what your options are if he is picked up, or if he isn't picked up. You may have to look into emancipation. Your signature says he's gifted. Can he support himelf with a job?


New Member
AllStressedOut - Thanks - our state is the same about reporting the runaways - think positive about your little ones - they don't all end up taking it to the extreme !

C.J. - From one "parent failure" to the other - I'm right there with you. You can't help feeling that way - it doesn't matter how much we love them & appeal to the common sense of it all- they are hell bent in doing it their own way period. He sees no value of getting a formal education; does not see why he can't smoke weed; etc. He has everything figured out and we are just in the way.

He's on probation cause we asked the court to flag his 3rd runaway - at that time he was skipping school, already been to rehab, etc., but hadn't committed a crime! SO, long story short, they put him on probation till he's 18 but it hasn't had any effect on him - he was ordered to keep his pt job, he hasn't, stop all drugs, hasn't, just spent 15 days in the juvie center, no biggie! I'm afraid our only solution is to either put up with his antics till he is 17 - if and when he comes home or go back to the "system" and turn him over.

THis is a nightmare!!


New Member
N* announced in January this year that she was going to quit school (at 16) to design tattoos! It wasn't as funny then as it is now. Since she's on an IEP, she cannot quit school (in KS) without my permission, so that was a no. Part of her latest probation plan is school attendance and passing grades, so there are a few carrots to dangle in front of her.

If he's on probation, does he have a PO he has to report to -- once in a while? Does he have a plan he has to follow? What good is probation without accountability from them, too?

Ugh! I have a love/hate relationship with the system...love it when it seems to work, hate it when it doesn't.

So sorry it doesn't seem to be working for you right now.


New Member

Report it to police. Report it to the probabtion Officer.
If he comes back you need to decide if he is going to stay. I will say prayers, as not knowing where your kid is ....is terrifying. We understand your pain....but he is playing you like a fiddle. Sometimes we have to let them fall so they can get up.



Active Member
Wow...lot's of emotions flying through my head on this one.

{{{sunny hugs}}} to you and husband for coming up with a really good plan and for your mommy heart which is going through such an emotional roller coaster right now.

Good for you for reporting difficult child as a runaway...again. That should help with protecting you all from incurring any expenses should damages occur.

I wonder if you could contact his know friend's and let them know that their families would be harboring a runaway...I'm sure that can't be a good thing.

I wonder if and when he's found, if the system would keep him in juvy for the max amount (here it's 21days) then you could still pursue the boarding school as a condition of probation. If he runs away from the boarding school, he could go back for another 21day stint or worse yet, some sort of group home.

Sending you some polish for your rhino skin :warrior: I was so impressed by your plan and your posts....they sounded so encouraging.


New Member
Nola: I don't have direct experience with this, my son has never run away, however, we may be well on our way with dealing with a difficult child refusing to live by our rules, we'll see after this placement.

Anyway, in all of the reading I've done and talking with parents who have parented difficult teens, the thing they had in common was that their teen did not make the decision to turn their life around until they had no one to depend on but themselves. I pray that I have the strength to do this, to help my son, if and when the time comes.

To really help your son, you need to stop enabling him by letting him fall back on you. He needs to learn natural consequences, which are to live by your rules or don't live there at all. He's already shown he's not going to live by your rules, he had his chance and chose not to take advantage of it.

You've already shown that you're willing and able to make the hard choices (when he was sentenced to the 15 days) so you need to follow through to show him you're serious and he does not have a place in your home as long as he continues doing what he wants to "be happy".

You are not a fool in anyway whatsoever! You desperately love your son and want to help him turn his life around, but for whatever reason, he's not ready yet. Until then, there's nothing you can do. It seems you've done all you can and now you're out of options, other than turning him over to the juvenile justice, his actions and behavior lead to this, not you.


Well-Known Member
Sunny, kids around here are in juvie much longer than 21 days...
and we are less than three hours away from you! They have six
month programs and longer ones too. I personally know one boy
who went to a facility for 18 months. easy child/difficult child was in a six month
s.a. Department of Juvenile Justice program.

NOLA, only you and your husband can decide what is right for your family. Since he has run away before a number of times and you
have aggressively tried to find help...I "think" it might just be
best to report him and then try to detach.

Sadly we all are in a lose/lose situation when dealing with difficult children
with ongoing problems. I'm sorry and will include your family in
my prayers. DDD


Active Member

First of all, big hugs coming your way. I remember all too well the helpless feeling, the sleepless nights, the pit in my stomach and the hole in my mommy heart when my difficult child would run away. It feels like yesterday.

My son was the same age as yours is. Yes, you need to report him as a runaway because of his age. Unfortunately, the police around here didn't seem overly concerned that a drugging teen had run away. Sad but true.

I do like DDD's thought of having him held by juvie again and again, if necessary. It might give him the knock on the head he needs to want to change things and opt for change. One can only hope.

Sending gentle hugs. I know how hard this is.


Active Member
DDD, your right. What I was trying to say was Department of Juvenile Justice has to do something in 21 days. Like..........putting him in a 6mo or longer program or release him or....I don't know...just "somethin'".

But...I agree wholeheartedly that it's right to report him and let whatever happens happen.

It's terribly sad and at times....never ending.


Active Member

Sending you hugs for your hurting heart. :frown: I think DDD is right on here. Speaking from experience.... somehow if we decide to let natural consequences take their course it is easier on us than having it decided for us by the "powers that be"...who ultimately will decide anyway.

What I mean is detaching, ourselves, seems to be easier than having our difficult children detached from us by the authorities and if that does happen we can be somewhat prepared already.

Seems that you and your husband have tried just about everything with your difficult child and I encourage you now to prepare your heart, and mind, for what may come. I don't mean to sound negative but my husband and I tried all we could, even had 11 months of good, but then our difficult child took off in his own direction...bad direction. Perhaps had I followed my own advice (and that of my board friends) the pain would have been more tolerable. :frown:

Guess what I'm trying to say is I really do understand your pain. Your wanting to guide him, help him, seeing what will lay ahead if he continues his direction...and having hope dashed again and again. :frown: Seems to be the life with a difficult child. :frown:

It is very important that you take care of yourself, and your husband. Very Important. If your difficult child is like mine, and he sounds similar, you are going to need to be strong...inside...please be kind to you.

There is always hope. I have not lost mine for my difficult child, don't lose yours for your difficult child. :smile:

I will keep you in my prayers.



Active Member
he sounds like ant. he is getting older and knows there are no boundaries and truly nothing can hold him. he is teflon in his own eyes.

you told the police, good, but they wont do a thing. runaways are not high on the list.

tell juvie, again they wont do a thing, but it will document things.

if you get hold of him, hav him locked up someplace for his own safety. a 16 yr old out on his own is all not good. when ant was 16, I had it with his running and drugging etc. I insisted the juvie system lock him up. they kept him two yrs. it did not cure him. it contained him. that is all. at least I knew where he was.

I feel for you.


New Member
Logged onto my checking account to pay a couple bills last night & see where he made two withdrawls Friday afternoon (he knows my PIN) the first for $100 then a few minutes later another $200 -- he managed to slip my atm card back into my purse before heading off into the sunset. Now I understand what he meant by writing "sorry about the money, I'll pay you back" - I thought he was referring to the $10 cash he took! He also took his X-Box presumably to sell or knowing him and his priorities to play wherever he ends up spending the night.

I feel like I've been kicked when I was trying to get up.


New Member
Nola ~ taking those amounts of money and his displeasure for anything dealing with school and goals makes me think more than pot is being used.

When my son was acting the same way we also had him on probation (CHINS) that gave us a way to have him court ordered into a group home to at least get his GED. He ran away from the group home, but when caught stayed 2 mths in juvie and passed his GED.

When I found out he was using other drugs (mom's seem to be the last to know) he was court ordered into rehab.

I did all this before he turned 18, knowing that after he did I couldn't do anything.

When he does decide to change his ways ~ He at least has his GED and he was taught the tools in rehab to help get himself into recovery when he is ready.

This is so hard, I know (((hugs)))



Psycho Gorilla Dad
NOLA - "What kind of fool am I?"

The kind that cares. The kind that loves. The kind that tries to see past the bad to the good we know to be there. The kind that wants to believe that good things can overcome or eventually outweigh bad things in the life of your child.

In short, you're the kind of fool your son won't appreciate until much later in life, when he finally realizes that you weren't a fool at all. Like my son, though, he may not come to that realization until he has something equally precious and worth protecting in his own life.

I offer my prayers, hugs, and support for the hard road you're on. It may be small comfort, but you aren't alone on that path. Strength in numbers, right?