When do you feel a child needs to leave the home? When is enough enough?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by MidwestMom, Jun 6, 2009.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I think this could be an interesting discussion (and maybe not--maybe nobody will want to answer). But I'll try. This has been on my mind of late.

    Of late we've had posters who had difficult children that were even more difficult child than most, and I was wondering how much we, as parents, should take before we try to get them involved in out-of-home treatment both for their sakes and for the sakes of the kids who may still be there.
    As you know, when we adopted a child who did extremely dangerous and heinous things to my younger children, we sent him to Residential Treatment Center (RTC) as soon as we knew it--he didn't spend another day in our house, and then we cut off contact because both we and the kids were terrified of him. He was also charged in a court of law for child abuse against a minor child and was convicted, so he sort of went to a kid home for young sexual perps. We supported him being tried in court. My daughter and son felt vindicated to see that he had been judged as in the wrong.

    Not everyone is equipped to make that decision. This child did not come into our lives until he was eleven--perhaps we would have stayed more connected if he had come as an infant. It was easier to cut ties since we had only known him for three years. On top of that, he did not seem to care one wit about leaving us. He was not attached. So out he went and we recovered. I wonder how things would have been for all of us if we had made another choice.

    So...when is it time to say, "I can't anymore. I have to turn this over to outside help. He/she can not live here with the other kids anymore because it is damaging them."
    I know a few of you are parenting from different addresses and from afar. What was the final straw (if you care to share?).
    I'm very interesting in this. Perhaps we can all learn from it. I personally (and hub) never regretted out decision as the child was already a full blown psychopath who had no regard for animal or human life. WHAT CAN YOU DO FOR A KID LIKE THAT? Yet DCFS did they very best and tried and I hope they succeeded. Still, to this day our address and phone numbers are unlisted as we are fearful he will come after us.
    And I believe he could kill somebody. It would not shock me to see him on television as one who has murdered. And yet I hope he is living a good life and did improve.
    So...what's the verdict? What's that line that the child crosses? Or IS there no line? Do we owe it to our difficult child's to stick by them no matter what? Is it a copout to sent them to RTCs?
    I don't want to condemn anyone's choices in this thread. I just want a discussion. After all, we don't walk in one another's shoes. Every situation is different.
    For the record, NOTHING will prompt me to send my Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) son away, even if he struggles as an adult. He is a good kid with a disability and works hard. We will help him all we can.
    Your turn (don't I have a big mouth?) :peaceful: Sorry, dudes and dudesses.
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I guess most on here are probably already aware, but in my case, it was when I believed difficult child was really a serious, imminent threat to his own life and/or my life and that 5 day stay in the psychiatric hospital was not curing it and I couldn't do anything else for him because the fact that he was on probation left control in the PO's hands but she refused to do anything. Now, I am not abandoning him and he can come back home WHEN/IF 1) I no longer believe he is that immenent threat to either of us, 2) I believe that the people in Department of Juvenile Justice will take action should things get to that point again, 3) I have control of my house- not difficult child or Department of Juvenile Justice, AND 4) the parole officer or gal nor anyone else is undermining my efforts with difficult child.

    I would put more responsibility for all this on difficult child's shoulders except that I'm the one that lived with him for several months while he deteroirated into an emotional basket case, crying and saying he needed more help, cutting himself, etc., and him still doing everything psychiatrist and therapist told him to try.

    PS From what I hear, there are kids who are abandoned by their parents for doing minor, misdemeanor/non-violent offenses, yet there are some who have done far worse than mine who are still welcome home just like nothing ever happened. (Whe I say "abandoned", I mean basicly disowned with parental rights and custody relinquished and no contact anymore.)
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2009
  3. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    I think if my child was a danger to me or someone in my household or to themselves then I would possibly want them removed. But I have never been there done that, and hope I never am. This is my opinion, and it is just an opinion. Good topic, MWM, but wow is it a hard one.
  4. Anaheimfan

    Anaheimfan Blue Collar Boy


    in my opinion, I don't think sending a difficult child to an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) would be copping out, because you do owe it to them to stick by them--even if not physically. It's probably worn out, but by sending them away, you're making it safer for them, as well as yourself and your family.

    Think about it this way...If the child stays in his current situation and sexually abuses his siblings and other kids, he could get bounced in and out of Detention Facilities...Or if a child stays on drugs, they could wind up so strung-out they can't find their nose with 20 fingers or worse.

    If one cannot provide the resources the child needs, but keeps them there anyway, then essentially, they are just allowing it to continue and escalate, which is essentially saying "Let him do what he wants, I can't handle him" which is definitely copping out.

    If you make the conscious decision to put your difficult child into a psychiatric hospital or Residential Treatment Center (RTC), you are making an effort to help them, and are doing what is best, you are most certainly not copping out. To use an example, I've transferred trauma patients from our hospital to larger ones in the cities because they are better equipped. Does that mean our hospital "copped out" on the patient? No. It means that the Docs and Nurses wanted to give their patient the best care, so they transferred them to a facility that could.

    The line should be drawn when you've used up all of your resources at home or in your community. You've tried disciplinary techniques at home, you've tried medications, you've tried local facilities, you've called the police so many times you're on a first-name basis with the entire force, you've stripped their room bare and confined the child to it...That hasn't proven effective, and you want your child to be the best they can be, and be as safe and healthy as they can be, so you put a lot of time and money into finding an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) or psychiatric hospital.
  5. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    In about 3 weeks my son J will be in his first residential placement. It is not because he is a danger to himself or to others. He is completely shut down -- academically underachieving, socially withdrawn and therapy resistant. A neuropsychologist who recently did updated testing said J will develop an Avoidant Personality Disorder unless we intervene with intensive therapy. That kind of intensive therapy can only occur in a residential placement (plus we've exhausted all community resources in our area).

    In our case, I don't consider Residential Treatment Center (RTC) a copout in the slightest. It has clearly been the most agonizing decision my husband and I have ever had to make. But I consider it a gift, the gift of allowing our son to become fully functional in society.
  6. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    SW: FWIW, I think you are doing the right thing. I wish I'd had that option for my son- or should I say, I wish the PO would have supported that. Anyway, he might not be that immenent threat now, but without taking these steps, he could end up that way like my son did. I applaud your efforts and I know it's still very hard.
  7. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    I don't believe I would ever turn my back on my son.
    We would always consider violence and safety our priority but even if he were violent, I would not cut ties even though he would be out of our home.
    I have had difficult child in a variety of out of home programs. Not one of them was a cop out or easy decision. It was in his best interest. You have to ask with every choice "who does it serve?"

    Keeping my other child or children safe and not living in total chaos is also a priority. Balancing the needs of difficult child with the needs of the rest of the family is tricky but at this age I don't feel a need to always short change myself,easy child or husband.

    I don't think there is a mom here whose heart wouldn't leap with joy if they found their difficult child had turned his life around and was a productive healthy adult. No matter the damage they left or how awful they had been to live with because in the end they are our prodigal's and we would celebrate their return to the fold.
  8. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    SW, in a way if you did not do whatever you could he would be endangering his future. Avoidant personality disorder would definately have a negative impact on his future. When I said they would have to be a danger to themselves, I guess I should have specified that I meant that in a broad manner, not just physically. Being totally shut down is very destructive, maybe even more so than acting out in some ways.

    There are so many varaibles, so many unknowns. If there was a single perfect answer none of us would be on this board. Everything would be fixed.
  9. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I think my answer would be similr to Fran'. I don't believe I would ever wish to cut ties with my child. I would always leave the door open fr communicaton and probaby be willing to help with medical care.

    Additionally, we would always consider crime, violence and safety priorities. Keeping other children in the home safe, both physically and mentally would also be a priority.

    When children ar 18, I would probably next strongly consider if it is havng a negative influence on my own personal wellbeing or that of my marriage...although I would do my best to strength those things.

    I think most children, even difficult children, grow and mature when they leave home We can offer support from afar...dependig on the circumstances. Enabling can be crippling.

    Since our difficult child has left home, we have seen how resourceful she can be about certain things. She can get herself out of jams, and this relieves stresses and strains for husband and myself.

    by the way, I think our difficult child moved into an apartment at age 191/2. There was no big explosions, but difficult child wanted to move out.

    Recently, she moved in with another difficult child,who she is close to. But this other difficult child is a big party girl. difficult child on her own, decided to chang apartments. Although it was a poor choice to move in with her in the first place, it was a good one to get out. She made the choice quickly and took care of things on her own. In her own way/world, this was a growt experience.

    I wish there were more signs of growth, but I will take what I can get and pray for more.

    Smallworld: Please don't fret re: your decsion for Residential Treatment Center (RTC). It sounds like the rght move. Look for improvements. Keep him safe...but from a distance. Prayers and good thoughts headed your way.
  10. Penta

    Penta New Member

    Although there were many times, when I would have liked to wash my hands of my granddaughter, I truly believed she was a child in pain who deserved a chance to find her "beautiful self". Also, I had to be able to go to work every day to support us and just before she went to Residential Treatment Center (RTC), that was becoming very difficult to do. So, for me, Residential Treatment Center (RTC), provided a safe, therapeutic environment for my girl and gave me peace of mind to live at home and work for almost 19 months. The result in my case, was almost a miracle...today a 20 year old college student...motivated, caring, on her way to full independence. Worth every penny of the many, many, many thousands of dollars I spent to bring her into her own. By, the way, she is not a blood relation at all.
  11. ML

    ML Guest

    It truly is hard to say unless you've walked in those shoes so my answer should be taken in the context of considering my experience. Manster is not violent and I don't have other young kids to consider. I could see physically moving him away if it became necessary but I could never sever emotional contact.

    MWM I think your situation is unique. That young boy coming into your lives at 11 can't be compared to raising a child from a baby. FWIW you handled the situation perfectly. You embody the qualities of "warrior mom".


  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thanks. We loved him very much though--or who we thought he was. He put on a good act. Of course it's different than a child you raised from birth. The other kids were also adopted, but they came as infants. God only knows what I'd have done if this would have been one of them! I still would have made them leave the house but probably would have continued a relationship.

    It has nothing to do with biology to me. If my one biological son had done those things, I couldn't have kept him at home either. It's a matter of both safety to the other children and pets AND of appropriate help. in my opinion we can't give the same level of protection and help that a child can get out-of-home. I'm sure the child who left our house got help--I kept in touch with his social worker. However, even with all the help, he was still trying to approach other kids there inappropriately and was sent to a more intensive facility once. I don't think he ever took to us as a family--he had had so many families before us and we were just one of the crowd. He admitted to having perped in every house he'd been in, yet nobody caught it until he came to our house. He has no remorse nor any insight as to why he likes to hurt children and animals. As his social worker said, sadly (because he liked him) "The lights aren't on and nobody's home." He can FAKE remorse and cry on cue and make you feel bad, but, if pressed, he will admit he doesn't have "normal emotions." Scary.

    Now he has aged out of the system and I'm sure he is either on the streets or in jail. It wouldn't shock me if he murdered somebody and didn't even think twice about it. Killing dogs as a child was not a good sign...he profoundly affected the way I look at children. I once wanted to adopt to help unwanted kids feel loved. I now realize that some kids don't WANT to feel love and can't love back no matter how hard you try. And I won't do it again.
  13. ML

    ML Guest

    I agree MWM. Some kids are beyond reach and it is heartbreaking. You HAVE invested so much love into your other kids and they KNOW they are loved. So try to focus on that. Loving is such a gamble and when it isn't returned it is painful. But, in my belief system loving is essential for survival. Even when we don't get that love back directly, we have to trust that it was the right thing to do

    Absolutely biology is irrelevant.

    I will pray for that boy that he found help and those he harmed have found healing.


  14. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Frans reply really hit it on the head.

    Cory went to several out of home placements but it was never to just get rid of him. I never gave up on him even when it felt like I probably should have. I just dont know how to give up on my kids.
  15. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    Thank you for bringing this up....

    As you all know, we have been struggling with this question in our own home. What is OK? What is normal? Where is the line?

    For us, our difficult child is our biological child. There is no other parent, step-parent, ex-parent, grandparent, or biological relative that we can send her to when we need a break.....we are it.

    At this point, we have drawn a "line in the sand" as it were. We set the rules that can absolutely NOT be broken no matter what.

    If difficult child breaks one of those rules, we are seeking to place her outside the home.

    We have made it clear to her that she will always be a part of our family, but if she wants to live with us--the choice is hers. She will abide by our rules or no longer be welcome here.

    It's very hard.....but it's the best solution we can come up with at the moment.

  16. Sagegrad

    Sagegrad New Member

    The decision to place our child in a Residential Treatment Center (RTC) came only after realizing her instability made it impossible for us to keep her safe from herself. Her level of violence had escalated to the point she was hurting herself. There are no other siblings at home so that was not a factor.

    That being said, we are extremely active in her Residential Treatment Center (RTC) and her treatment there. We go to weekly therapy sessions and she has just started overnight visits on the weekend. We also speak nightly on the phone. We are possibly looking at her being transitioned home the beginning of August, so for us I am 100% positive we made the right choice. The ability of the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) to stabilize her medications and give her intensive daily therapy has made all the difference.

    Not the same situation as a lot of the older kids on the board, but just my input about making the decision to remove my child from the home.
  17. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    In fairness to MWM and to second what ML noted, MWM's situation was different from most of ours. If I had brought an 11 yo into my home and he/she harmed another child living in that home, I would not be handling things the same as I am with a child that I have raised since birth (who happens to be my bio), has never harmed another child or animal, and who I want desparately to help to prevent him ever harming anyone- including himself.
  18. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I don't think any of your kids did what this one did. Nor Fran's. I felt it was a choice between "my kids" and another kid who didn't really feel like my kid and didn't feel like we were his family. As it was, he didn't miss us. It was not the same as having raised this child from an early age. We hadn't. Nor had we given up. We knew he'd get help. We needed to protect our own kids. I haven't even touched how dangerous he was--a little glimpse that we found out after he left was that he'd hold his knife against our kid's throats and force them to have sex with each other. I didn't know it. Nobody from any of his old foster homes knew what he did. But once we knew, we felt it was way unsafe to keep him in our home. And we lost the desire to try to parent him. My other kids were terrified of him and all of us went through PTSD. Now if he had been our only child, we would have continued to help him in the Residential Treatment Center (RTC), but we had other kids who needed to heal and we did put them first. I've never been sorry. And there is nobody who can make me feel that it was a wrong decision because I never waver that it was the right thing to do for our family. Thanks for defending me, ML, but I don't believe I need to be defended...lol. This was sort of a generic question: What is too much for YOU? I see people keeping kids at home that I would never keep at home because they are dangerous. That's why I asked if there is a limit and what is it.

    Regardless of whether or not he had been with us all our lives or been our biological child, he could not have lived at home after his sexual perpetration. That is my boundary--my limit. I protect the other kids and hope that one gets the help he needs...jmo.
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2009
  19. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    MWM, if you mean "you have to leave...and can never come back", I don't know, and I sincerely hope that I never do. I could speculate, but it would be just that. I'm not sure that any of us could know for sure until we have walked in those shoes. I'm sorry that you had to.
  20. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Well, it was a long time ago.

    Being defiant, stealing, being disrespectful, using drugs...that isn't the same as extreme sexual abuse upon younger kids...and strangling two dogs, throwing one of them, a puppy, off a top bunk to hang by her leash. I don't think anyone here has had a child who was as dangerous as that, however I do see some kids here who sounds like they are heading in that direction yet are still living at home. I do "get" not wanting to break contact with a child you have raised from birth because I've raised four from very early ages. But, God forbid, if one of them had turned out to be this dangerous I would have made them leave and probably never have allowed them to live with us again. I still would have kept in touch. This child I speak of only knew us for three years, and clearly did not think of us as his family. Thankfully, the ones I raised from babyhood and love enough to die for were not dangerous to anybody else. My teen daughter was only a danger to herself (and she straightened out well) and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) son isn't dangerous to anybody--just as an "iffy" future that we can't predict.

    And that's about it. Again, hub and I have never looked back with any regret, except that we didn't realize what was going on sooner. The extent of it was not known until he left--which is what I fear is happening with some other kids who are spoken of here. You DON'T know until the child is gone and the other ones feel safe enough to finally talk about what he or she has done. And it takes time.