What will work?

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by exhausted, Jan 16, 2011.

  1. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    I'm new to the site and so happy to have found it! My child (or GCF is it)is 16 now. She has PTSD, conduct disorder and has been diagnosed with many things depending on the psychiatric. She did a 16 month stay at an Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) and upon coming home full time in mid Sep., she went wild. Worse than ever before.She runs away, engages in sexually acting out, smokes pot, is truent, and now steals. She hangs out with the scariest people-we only know this because a past friend gave us access to an online social networking site she was on despite forbidding computer use. She is now in Observation and Assessment with the Juvenile Justice program. We reported everything we could until we finially got something with" teeth" to get before a judge to beg for help. She is so treatment smart she knows how to work and manipulate. I am worried they will just send her home after her 45 days. We have done everything we can- therapy for years, contracts, firm consequences,changes in schools, Residential Treatment Facility (RTF), club sports, etc. We're out of money and just hope that she will get the help she needs. She is not safe at home.Anyone been down the Juvenile Justice road?
  2. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    I haven't been down the juvenile justice road but have been down the adult justice system road. Where we live you are treated as an adult by the justice system starting at 17. I don't have any real answers for you. Our story is not dissimilar. My son also spent time at a wilderness program and then a TBS. He did well for about a year when he came ohm and then went into a downward spiral. So at the age of 19 he ended up doing a lot of stupid petty type crimes which finally had the court system revoke his bail and he ended up spending 2 weeks in jail.... that ended up being the best thing for him really, because he got really clear that is not how he wants to spend his life. A good lawyer helped craft a good plea agreement which sent him to rehab for 90 days... he is almost done with that and seems to be doing well, although only time will tell.

    I do think it is helpful to have a good lawyer and then make it clear to the lawyer (and him to the prosecutors) what you want in terms for help for her. Clearly she needs help... and it helps for the court to see that she has a loving family that wants to support her in getting help. Good luck.
  3. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Yes we have been in the juvenile justice system. Of course it's different in every state so what we experienced may not be the same as others.

    We began calling the police on difficult child when she was 14 and running away and going up the the skate park to hang out with kids who were smoking pot and doing other drugs. They began the paper trail needed to get her into the justice system downotwn. Since we are in a suburb of a large city, she was first sent through our mayor's court and put in the diversion program. When that didn't work they began sending the cases downtown, unruliness, drugs, domestic violence. I believe we went downtown with her at least 8 times. One of those times early on they sent her to juvenile detention from Friday-Monday. The attorney we hired worked it out with the judge to try to scare her. It worked and she was pretty good for her sophomore year of high school. Then it began all over again and escalated. None of the charges were bad enough to get them to actually sentenced her to detention. The detention center is overcrowded with serious offenders.

    We stumbled through high school and she began college two years ago. She lasted one month until she was cited for underage drinking and drug paraphenalia, put on 6 months probation and community service and had to attend drug/alcohol counseling and after the semester she was suspended from the university.

    The past two years have escalated with heavy drinking and pot smoking and we sent her to a 60 day residential treatment program and then a subsequent intensive outpatient program. The week she was released she relapsed. We kicked her out of the house a couple times since them. She is currently back home but with the understanding that if she does not stay sober/clean she has to leave.

    Our experience with the juvenile justice system is that most of the magistrates we dealt with have no idea what to do with our kids. If they are serious offenders they lock them up. If the kid comes from a supportive family they would rather have the family handle the juvenile and put them on some restriction such as probation, drug testing, home detention. I wish there was a low level offender program they could sentence them too instead of introducing them to a much worse population and culture than they were with at home. When difficult child came home from her substance abuse program she came with a whole new group of friends, all drug abusers and most with very serious habits, cocaine, heroine, benzos. Several girls were prostituting themselves and she learned more that we wanted her to learn while there. There was also sexual contact between the patients, different sex and same sex. Of course it was not allowed and when found out was disciplined, but happened very often and difficult child was known as the resident **** while there.

    I am convinced that none of the programs available really help most of our kids. The ones that want to get help and change will do so, but most will just get worse and become well entrenched in that culture and environment.

    I wish I had more promising news. Our difficult child is currently doing ok. She knows we will not hesitate to call the police or kick her out if she is violent or acting out at home. She spent the week between christmas and new years on the street. She had enough money for only one night in a hotel and said she felt like she was like a guy who was kicked out of his house from cheating on his wife. We explained toher that she can live that life if she wants, in a hotel room by herself or worse, it's up to her. Of course she is now 19 so we have some leverage, but it is not easy kicking your kid out of the house.

    Your daughter is 16 so she has to follow your rules. The police were always very supportive in telling our difficult child that she had nothing, it was all ours and she couldn't do anything that we didn't ok. All I can say is that I do think they helped keep her out of worse trouble until she became an adult and we no longer had to support her. You could ask the court to send her to another treatment program, or put her on probation for an extended time with reporting to a PO and drug testing, etc.

    I hope you get some help because those are very difficult years. I'm glad you found us. Keep posting and let us know how it goes.

  4. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    Thank you for your replies. How do you keep going? I don't know that I can do it into her adulthood. She is so smart and could have a great life. I know she has been hurt, but welcome to the club. How is it that some kids have mental illnesses and other problems and seem to rise, and my child chooses to sink? She could not have 2 more supportive parents and a big brother to love her as well. It sounds like it could go either way with the courts. I never considered a lawyer, but this may help. Her PO seems to be really with it and listens to us, thats how we got into the Observation and Assessment deal.

    Nancy, I know what you mean about your child coming out of places having learned more about devious behaviors. She had a new arsenal after the Residential Treatment Facility (RTF). I just wish we could get her to see every time she sexually acts out, she is bringing the sexual abuse to the front and reaffending on herself!

    I suppose I am aggrivated a bit with the system because it has been almost a year since my daughter reported her abuse and nothing has happened except, she is going down hill and getting into trouble. She doesn't understand why they haven't moved forward on her case, and I don't know either as I can't get the detective to communicate. I wonder if this would help the healing? Maybe we save our money and hire the lawyer to persue a civil case? Questions, Questions!
  5. GB_42_XYZ

    GB_42_XYZ Member

    Just be grateful that you don't live in a state that makes you pay for your kids incarceration in juvenile hall.

    We are now trying to figure out what to do with my difficult child who will be 17 in less than a month. I was thinking Residential Treatment Center (RTC) but from your experiences I'm thinking twice. Why waste the money?
  6. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm sorry, I didn't know about the sexual abuse. Did her acting out start with that incident or were there problems previous to that? I think it's worth getting a lawyer to look into the case for you and perhaps pursue a civil action. Has she gotten therapy for the abuse? She should still be in therapy as I'm sure it has a lot to do with her acting out.

    We ask ourselves all the time why difficult child behaves as she does. She has two very supportive parents and a big sister who would have done anything for her over the years (now she wants nothing to do with her anymore). We long ago determined that she was like this at birth and no matter what we tried to do it couldn't change the wiring she came into this world with. But I say that is no excuse now that she is an adult and has the tools and support to change her life.

    Can't your daughter's PO get the case moving for you? How long has it been sitting? Do you know the reasons for the delay? If you hire an attorney you may get some of those answers.

  7. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    Thanks again for the replies. We do have to pay for her while in the system. We don't mind because frankly we have to pay when she is with us and, at least there she is not out running the streets. It is more than we thought was fair, and we just hope there is no major emergency- because we are tight.I think these kids cost us no matter what in one way or another. The trick is to stay afloat isn't it?
    I don't think RTFs are for everyone- but like I said in my post, I did see some kids benefit. Ask the hard questions before you decide either way. If I had it do again I'd ask what diagnosis do you do the best with? What kinds of kids take longer and why? Do you have any success data? How will a kid like mine do- average length of stay? I didn't know to ask these questions. I would try to talk to a therapist there and not their intake person who is trained to get you on the hook.
    All cases and places are different-maybe you have hope with your child.

    Nancy,The abuse was when she was 4/5 by an older cousin and then a rape at age 13. We had no idea about either until Residential Treatment Facility (RTF). (One good outcome from the experience)
    But as she hit puberty all heck broke loose. I understand this is common- thus the PTSD.Therapy has been going on since she was 12. Unfortunately for 2 years we were putting bandaides on a gushing wound because she had not disclosed the abuse- she wasn't ready.But wow the oppositional stuff and all the conduct problems- I can't believe she is so hardened. Do you feel the guilt as much as I do? Even though I know I have done my best, and that it's not my fault, I can't shake it some days? As a fellow teacher, I use to believe that troubled kids have troubled parents- wow am I eating crow! I like the idea of involving the PO by the way.
  8. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I use to think that too, then I learned. I also thought that we could take any child and raise them to be well adjusted and successful just because we were good people. I thought we could undo anything they could be born with. Boy was I wrong. We were very naive and must have thought we were so powerful.

    I don't feel guilty anymore. I use to ask what we did wrong that we couldn't fix her. I now understand there was only so much that environment can do and nature does the rest. She was born oppositional. What I do feel is deep responsibility for her and it's hard for me to turn my back on her. I have not yet mastered the art of detachment. I feel she has to hate herself and be very unhappy and not know how to change it. I grew up in a dysfunctional family with my father being alcoholic. I know what that fear as a child feels like and I just wish I could change that for my difficult child. The difference is that I had resilience and she was not born with resilience. I want her to want things to be different for herself.

  9. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    The older I get, the less I know, is my current motto. Meaning - when I was young I thought I knew so much, I had the answers to child-rearing, to handling people, to having a perfect family. Then life bit me hard in the back end several times and I ate crow, and ate crow, and ate it some more. Now I don't judge and don't jump to conclusions.

    I also have learned that nature is far more important than nurture. That's the reason we see people come through tremendous adversity, abuse, or other hardship, and rise above it to lead
    an exemplary life. And then you see others who have every advantage and all the support and love in the world and who live lives of pain and misery, and involve all of those around them
    in it too. I always second-guess myself and how I handled difficult child 1, but try to remember that in other circumstances, our difficult child 1 could have been much worse off.
  10. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    I too have felt my share of guilt about my difficult child, the pain he seems to be in, and questioning myself to what I could have done differently. I especially felt guilt about some stuff I found out recently regarding my difficult children treatment of my daughter. BUT I realize that I really did the best I could with the information I had at the time. My actions regarding my kids have always been out of love. I can get hung up on the what ifs and should haves but that guilt really does not help me or them... and in a way can keep me stuck in the past which does none of us any good. All I can do is in the here and now and I think I am dong a lot to support both my kids and to make sure they know I love them. I can't change the past. And the bottom line I have realized is nature is very strong and I am convinced that a lot of my sons issues are hard wired from birth... Do what you can to let go of the guilt and to find ways to take care of yourself.
  11. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    Thank you- I do know I can't change the past and guilt is worthless. My heart doesn't always obey my brain. I believe my daughter came to Earth with some tendencies which I can't control. I just want to do the best I can not to complicate them. Taking care of myself is important- working on that as well.