Where do we go from here?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Ehlena, Oct 14, 2010.

  1. Ehlena

    Ehlena New Member

    I haven’t been on this board in a while. Things turned upside-down for my husband and I almost a year ago. As a bit of background, I am the stepmom to a 12-year-old boy, 13 in a few days. His mom had custody when he was very small, and unbeknownst to my husband, she was on drugs. difficult child was living in deplorable conditions, not being fed properly, and in constant danger from the meth lab in the trailer next door. He was taken away from his mom when he was three, and went to live with his grandpa (my husband was in college, and later, grad school), and came to live full-time with us in 2007, because his grandpa has health issues.

    Unfortunately, difficult child has an unhealthy relationship with his mother. He idealizes her, and although she has been on/off drugs for ten years and constantly lies to him, he always believes what she says above anything else.

    She got clean for about a year and told him he would be coming to live with her…of course, this was after my husband filed for child support. She started taking issue with everything we did in our house – difficult child should not have to do extra reading if he missed his reading homework, difficult child should be able to drink as much juice as he likes, how dare we feed difficult child rice with dinner – and difficult child ate it all up.

    difficult child had always been a difficult child, but his behavior escalated to an unbearable level. He ran away three times, one time not returning until 10:20PM. He stopped doing all homework and classwork, refusing to do anything the teachers told him to do. And very painfully for me, he began rejecting my love and care – calling me names, throwing things at me, and leaving nasty voicemail messages on my work phone. Because of his mother’s absence, I had been taking care of him. He became violent and irrational, and even pulled a knife on my husband. At one time, he became so aggressive that my husband was forced to restrain him and we called the police who came over and talked to him.

    difficult child accused my husband and I of abuse twice. CPS became involved both times, and labeled the accusations as unfounded (indeed one of the social workers labeled difficult child as entitled and ill-tempered, and recommended we have an evaluation done). The last time, a couple weeks after we took him on a lavish vacation to Mexico, he called his mother, and they got the police involved. My husband was arrested on false accusations.

    Now, nearly a year later, we have settled the charges – at great expense to us, our savings thus far. We are only just now recovering financially, although we are now both facing pay cuts at our jobs. difficult child is still in foster care, though he has been moved twice – once to be closer to his school, another time because he got aggressive with the foster mother and the younger children in the home. He ran away in that home, and accused the foster mother of abuse. His mother has relapsed and has been arrested, and as of now, difficult child is refusing to be returned to us since he still wants to live with his mother.

    He has been evaluated – has ADHD, disruptive behavior disorder, avoidant style of attachment, schizoid something or other…and I know his mother was on meth while pregnant with him.

    Right now he is failing nearly all his classes. He’s also been getting a lot of unexcused tardies. In contrast, before his mother was coming around again, he was getting A’s and B’s and had maybe 1-2 tardies a year.

    I know the social worker is going to recommend he be returned to our home, and I think at some point, difficult child will acquiesce to this. I love difficult child very much, but I’ll admit that I’m scared. He asked me to arm wrestle with him recently, and he’s about as strong as I am now. I used to lock our door at night, because I was genuinely frightened that difficult child would try to hurt us. We’ll be installing security cameras in our common areas in an attempt to avoid any more abuse allegations, but does anyone have any more ideas of what we can do to protect ourselves?

    And I don’t even know what to say about his grades – his school and grades were the impetus for most of our disagreements with difficult child. The social worker is working with the foster family right now to hold him accountable for his grades, but I know that it won’t work. The methods they are trying are ones we tried waaaay back when with absolutely no success.

    This all probably makes difficult child sound horrible, but beneath all this, he’s a smart kid with a generous spirit. He has a great sense of humor and is a very talented writer. He was in honors English when he was living with us. I just don’t know what to do to help him anymore.
  2. spirited

    spirited Guest

    :( Do you have any idea if there is talk about returning him to you?
    I think the cameras are a great idea. I would think after false accusations the state would not validate any further calls.
    I am in a similar situation. I am the step mother of a 14 year old with conduct disorder. She is not violent, at least not to people. But she is manipulative and lies. She currently has convinced the school that she is cutting herself. They did not ask to see any proof of this and have launched a full on file over this. She also idealizes her mother, whom she was taken from for various reasons. I feel your pain. It is so hard to watch.
  3. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    I have no suggestions. Only wanted to say that I'm sorry that this has turned into such a mess for you and your husband. I think that the idea of cameras is a good one, for your own protection. You don't want his leveling any more accusations against either on of you.

  4. Ehlena

    Ehlena New Member

    Ok, confirmed, their homework accountability methods didn't work. We're going to family court tomorrow, and they're motioning to terminate reunification with his mom. difficult child said that he still doesn't want to come home, would rather live in a foster home until he's 18 (because they don't hold him accountable, duh!), and doesn't want to live with his dad because "he's boring". Wonderful. Also, they strongly suspect he is smoking pot.

    Also, the social worker openly admits she's never dealt with anything like this before and she's not quite sure what to do.


    Has anyone been through anything like this before. I'm about ready to blow my top at the social worker. He has been in this foster home since the beginning of the school year (third placement so far - last option before a group home three hours away) and only NOW are they thinking about trying to hold him accountable for his grades???
  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am so sorry that you have to go through this. I strongly suspect that there isn't anyone who knows how to handle him. This generation of kids is likely the first to have moms who used meth - now we are seeing the results of in utero meth exposure and no one knows how to handle the kids. Unless he makes a CHOICE to work to combat the problems he has, and to work with the medications and accommodations, he is not likely to change or to succeed. Add to that his body was exposed to meth and it is likely that he will crave the drug at some point, or if he ever tries it he will have an addiction that is harder to break than normal because his brain and body were accustomed to it at such a young age. I have no proof that this would happen, but it sure seems logical that if you were exposed as your body formed then you would crave it later and/or have a stronger addiction if you ever tried it.

    Anyway, I doubt returning to your home would amount to anything positive. I am sad to say this, but it just won't do much for him unless and until he decides he wants to make changes. Given the schizoid part of his dxs, it is very likely that he is going to be unable to control some aspects of his problems. Is he on any medications, and is he seeing a good child and adolescent psychiatrist? Of course if he is using pot and/or other drugs, medications are likely to not work because the drug use.

    What are your husband's feelings/thoughts on the subject of difficult child coming home to you? Have you told him you would feel unsafe if difficult child came home because his past threats and behavior, plus his current behavior in the foster home?

    I think that your difficult child probably needs to go to an Residential Treatment Center (RTC), but they are incredibly expensive and it is very hard to get funding from the courts or anywhere else to send him there. It certainly isn't something that a family could afford unless they had VERY deep pockets or could get a second big mortgage or something.

    I would be against reunification with difficult child esp with his current attitudes. Given drug use is suspected (if he admits to pot it is almost guaranteed that he is doing MUCH more, according to the addicts I have known) I would be even more against it, esp because drugs can make all his disorders MUCH MUCH worse.

    I wish I could say something more positive. Hopefully at some point difficult child will decide he wants to change things. At that point it may be possible to have a more "normal" relationship with him.
  6. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    If your step has has been diagnosis'd with a schizoid disorder (which I am guessing to be schizoaffective disorder as children are usually not diagnosis'd with personality disorders) then he needs a good evaluation by a skilled and thorough psychiatrist (if not a neuropsychologist) and sounds like he may need medications. I wish I knew what to tell you to do, but what the foster homes have been doing have not been working obviously. If he comes home you need to make sure there is a plan in place to keep you safe, even if it is that if difficult child is home then husband is with you two.

    I would be interested to know what if any medications he is on now.
  7. Ehlena

    Ehlena New Member

    He's on Adderall for the ADHD, but that's it. We've mentioned several times that he should probably be seen to have his medications adjusted, but we haven't heard anything back on that front.

    Thank you so much, suziestar and crazymama30. I think we are going to ask that he be seen by a psychiatrist. I'm just so frustrated with the system. My husband and I are both young, and we were told in the beginning that we simply didn't have enough experience parenting, that reading all the books that we'd read were not a substitute, etc. Also that one bad year in school wouldn't hurt him. I'm just sick at heart over the wasted year because no one really believed us or listened to us. We were told, after difficult child tried to break into our home while he was in foster care, that we needed to make him feel comfortable asking for things.

    It's been like living in a world of crazy.

    We've talked to our lawyer, and she's also advised us not to take him back if he still doesn't want to come back.

    The social worker is going to extend our reunification services for six months. She's hoping that with more time spent with us that difficult child will do the reasonable thing and want to come home. Hah! difficult child is rarely ever reasonable. So I have no idea where that's going to leave us in six months.
  8. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    OMG - a stimulant??? That can cause all sorts of problems in someone with scitzo disorder. I would push hard for a full neuropsychologist evaluation. Be sure they include reality testing.