Your experiences with/opinions on Residential Treatment Center (RTC), please.

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Farmwife, Oct 21, 2010.

  1. Farmwife

    Farmwife Member

    Just another day living with "Eddie Haskel".:tongue: (hope you guys get the obscure reference) I'm burnt out to put it mildly. Not angry, not having a crisis just got to that calm place where I realized I'm done living the way we have. I am so fed up that I think I have lost my ability to parent effectively or objectively anymore. I am mad, mad about 4 years of abuse. I'm so mad that now what may possibly be average teen behavior leaves me ready to "battle to the death" to regain control of my home with an ODD kid. Like that makes sense:sick: lol.

    Anywhoo, long story short because you all get what I'm saying...

    Does Residential Treatment Center (RTC) actually help difficult child's or is it just a means to get rid of a difficult child? I'm not beyond the point of wanting to just rid myself of my difficult child but it would be nice to pretend to myself that he may get some benefit from placement. (I don't say that lightly by the way) I have pretty much given up hope though. difficult child is smart, he is a con artist extraoridinaire and only accepts help as a means to shut us up, don't think he cares to really change. So, I don't see anyone getting past his mask in a meaningful way.

    I realize not all Residential Treatment Center (RTC) are created equal but I just wanted to know if I could imagine him coming home ready to transition from my home at 18 as a better person or if I am just going to restore order in our lives and cut the "dead weight" loose?

    I must sound like an awful mother, I'm also sort of beyond caring. *shrug* After 4 years of abuse culminating in blood spattered walls it's sort of hard to inspire that nurturing feeling anymore. I keep "jokingly" telling husband that I should start writing the book now, the book that all my exhaustive notes will turn into a huge check someday. (to charity) The book I write after difficult child "grows up". It's like I see a collection of behaviors and see a very very scary vision of his future, the books title would be something like "A step by step guide on how to raise a killer". There will be a special chapter on animal cruelty followed by a chapter about the failed system. IYKWIM

    I'm rambling...lost as I ever was. Too much hurt behind me to feel anything anymore except self preservation.:whiteflag:

    by the way, for anyone that was following the hospital discharge- Choosing between cost/effectiveness of Residential Treatment Center (RTC) vs. Shared expenses with My Mom to take him in with extra trips to intensive therapy. Neither is affordable so I want the most "bang for my buck".
  2. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Our hope for Kanga (in Residential Treatment Center (RTC)#3, out of home almost 3 years now) is that the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) teaches her the life skills that she refused to learn here. And barring that, I hope she at least learns that her actions have consequences in the real world, not just because we are 'mean and like to punish her'.

    You have less than two years until he's 18. It might be worth the shot -- you know having difficult child at home is not going to be safe nor is he going to make the progress he needs (based on your posts). If you can somehow swing the $$$, and carefully research which one, it may help him develop the skills for an adult relationship with you, even if he never comes home to live again.
  3. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Guest

    I wish I could tell you one or the other. I have no experience with Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s.

    I am trying to get mine into treatment but she flat out refuses to admit she has a problem and therefore refuses to go to rehab. *shrug* I am all about self preservation now, too. I need to protect my son and the rest of us from the meth life she was living. My answer was shipping her to my mom's. Since she is not 18 yet I couldn't kick her out. My mom was willing (though now probably regretting saying yes), so she went there - 18 hour drive away. She has posted on Facebook begging some one to come rescue her and I flat out told her, do not have them bring you here. She will NOT live here again until she has gone through a program and that is that. Her choice, but I am soooo glad we no longer have to deal with her choices.
  4. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    A very wise member (Rita) told me when we were planning for thank you's return from Residential Treatment Center (RTC) #1 in 2003 that we would not be getting a easy child back. He would still be a difficult child, but hopefully one who was able to use the tools he learned in Residential Treatment Center (RTC) so that he could function better at home. I have thanked Rita many times in my mind over the years for those words of wisdom. There are exceptions, but I think the vast majority of the time, once a difficult child, always a difficult child. It's just the degree that differs.

    thank you was in 3 different RTCs and 1 TLP for a grand total of 9 years. With every single placement, the goal was for him to learn how to cope better, learn how to manage his behaviors so that he could function safely in our community, our home. On the surface, placing a kid may seem like it's giving the family a break and restoring peace, but in my experience that was never the case. Sure, we weren't dealing with- his violence anymore and that *was* a welcome change. And husband and I got to parent our pcs more normally. But the stress and sense of loss and sense of failure at not having my son grow up in our home... it was awful. That's just not how it's supposed to be. And having our family living in 2 separate places meant that we were always on the road for visits or therapy on weekends so "normal" in our home really wasn't terribly normal.

    I know what you're saying. I hear the fatigue and exhaustion, and believe me, I totally understand. And I just don't have an answer for you. Even in the very best of RTCs, at the end of the day the difficult child drives the treatment and the success. thank you was in 2 simply outstanding RTCs, 1 hellhole, and the TLP was... well, it was pretty much the only game in town and it was not a good placement for him. He has not been able to maintain safely at home since he was 9 (well, actually long before then). I don't blame anyone for that. It's the nature of my beautiful and incredibly difficult son.

    What Residential Treatment Center (RTC) did for thank you was give him access to intensive services that were impossible to duplicate while he lived here. It's impossible to set up the structure of an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) in your home, especially if you've got other kids. What Residential Treatment Center (RTC) couldn't do for him or anyone else was force him to make use of those services, to internalize the lessons, or to make better choices. But it was the very best last shot we had at helping him become a responsible, productive, safe adult.

    Jury's still out on if it worked. He's kinda treading water right now. I deeply *deeply* regret that I was not able to raise my own son. I do not regret for a moment placing him in Residential Treatment Center (RTC) because I still believe with all my heart that it was really our only choice. (Well, I regret Residential Treatment Center (RTC) #2, but... we do the best that we can and sometimes our best hoovers rather strongly.)

    It is never an easy decision.
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I remember Slsh placing her son so long ago. Gosh it was agonizing. We were going through it about the same times but mine was slightly older.

    Mine started off in a 16 month wilderness camp. Then he did the rounds of psychiatric hospitals and group homes which in my state are considered Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s but lower level Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s. Finally he ended up in a locked facility which started out with admittance into a psychiatric hospital and then straight into a locked Residential Treatment Center (RTC). He was there about 8 months then tapered down to a group home then home.

    Did all this work? Well it kept him alive from 11 until he was 18. I dont know if it actually did much good or if he learned a darned thing. I think he is maturing now that he is in his mid twenties though. In reality though, Im not too sure I like any kids from say 13 until about 22. I think they all travel to some dark side during that
  6. Farmwife

    Farmwife Member

    Thank you JJJ and patriots girl. Your posts were helpful albeit a sad sort of comfort. I hate that we all have been put through such misery and suffering, difficult child's included. This "curse" all of our families and difficult child's have been afflicted with is horrifying. Not that I would want to wish bad or jinx myself (I'm so paranoid from stress these days...) but I always thought something like a wheelchair type disability would make more sense, be easier. It's so black and white. It's sad but it isn't an emotional back and forth.

    Slsh, you got in my head in a very real way. You rattled my senses with some pretty brutal honesty. I needed it, thank you. Didn't like it but I needed it. I think you just became my Rita. I hate that fact...but again, thank you. I hate the fact that I have had to stop to burst into tears so many times before during and after posting on this forum, today being no exception. I'll feel better when I leave here today, feeling support but GEEZ the soul ache it takes to be a member here.

    I like to find my pain buttons and push the heck out of them like running your tongue over a sore tooth every few minutes. Yes, it still hurts, why do I keep poking just to be sure? Yes, the more I poke the more it hurts so why do I keep poking obsessively? Why can't I stop? lol:confused:

    My pain button is worries of difficult child's self esteem and ability to have meaningful relationships someday, assuming he is even marginally able to. He has a very low self esteem and abandonment issues. I worry if placement in Residential Treatment Center (RTC) will cause a lot of damage on top of what he already has. As exhausted as I am I still want him to have what he needs, I don't want to be a part of what makes him worse. I'm afraid of rejecting him in a way that he may not recover from. After all, underneath of that grown mans body with a demon controlling it is a very sad little 5 year old boy who got very unlucky genetically and never chose this for himself.

    Ah yes, guilt a many splendored object. *sigh*
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2010
  7. Farmwife

    Farmwife Member

    Thanks for the laugh. I needed it. Don't know if you meant it that way but still...

    I almost wish I had a "normal" teen to compare him to because I have lost my ability to determine what is typical and what is deviant. I am no stranger to confusion and befuddlement.

    I know a lot of local teens are total beasts. They come from good families with tired parents who just give up and let them do as they will. Maybe my difficult child is really a easy child with a warrior parent who won't settle for the status quo. (drugs, cursing, slacking ect.)

    Maybe I AM the problem?!?!? *deep sigh*
  8. Vanilla

    Vanilla New Member

    I'm glad you found this site. I think the Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s vary in quality across the country. I know some must be good and help kids, but sometimes kids go there and still have the same problems when they get out. My difficult child son was angry, abusive, explosive. Living with him was a nightmare throughout the teen years. His "normal" twin got beat up, can't tell you how many times I would lie in bed just waiting for their arguments to erupt into physical fights. I finally had to call the police when he (difficult child) held a knife to me and his brother. He had 3 days in detention, probation, mandated psychiatric treatment. Had some peace when the twin moved into the college dorm. The difficult child graduated from high school and lived at home to complete 1 and 1/2 yrs. college. Then he moved to a state far away and works full time and has enrolled in college there. Our phone conversations are not warm and loving, but are usually cordial. He says he is "never" homesick. We are both better off right now many miles apart. Was I a lousy parent? Maybe. I'm a mental health professional but that really was not a huge help when it' s your own kid. I truly know where you are at. There is a book called "We Have to Talk about Kevin" I read it several times because I thought the story told would be my son's. Please hang on, maybe you will be surprised in a good way by how he matures.
  9. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    As others have pointed out, RTCs across the country vary in quality. My son has been at an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) in Utah since August 2009. It is not a lock-down facility, it doesn't resemble a hospital in any way, it is very home-like and relationship-based. The therapy is based on Ross Greene's Collaborative Problem Solving techniques and Foster Cline and Jim Fay's Love and Logic methods. My son is thriving there, but it would not be the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) for every adolescent. Sending our son to Utah was certainly the hardest decision we ever made as parents, but it has also turned out to be the best.

    I have no illusions that my son still faces bumps along his journey. But I do know that had we not intervened with Residential Treatment Center (RTC), he had no future.

    Good luck with your decision.
  10. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    We've had 9 Residential Treatment Center (RTC) placements between the tweedles. Unlike Triple J's or slsh's state we got at the most 9 months of treatment & my little wonders were discharged.

    The first Residential Treatment Center (RTC) placement for wm was one of the hardest decision husband & I made in our lives. It felt as though we cried tears of blood. AND our hands were tied ~ we had to keep kt safe. When kt had her first Residential Treatment Center (RTC) stint it hurt less because we knew that the team at the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) we utilized were exceptional & committed people just as frustrated at my difficult children illness/disorders & the system we had to utilize.

    Saying the above each time kt &/or wm were in Residential Treatment Center (RTC) they were discharged with better coping & life skills; more awareness of their illness/disorder (age appropriately) & how to manage in daily life skills. It stayed with kt ~ for wm it was a matter of needing far more regulation & structure in the home than any home can provide. It never "stuck" for lack of a better word. He couldn't maintain here where there were too many emotional demands.

    Residential Treatment Center (RTC) made more of an impact on kt than it did on wm. wm fought every treatment option (continues to do so at the age of 16). kt wants to please, to fit, & has an internal sense of wanting to belong here at home.

    The Residential Treatment Center (RTC) itself has to be a good operation; the bigger piece of the pie is a difficult children ownership of the treatment plan. His ability to internalize the skills & interventions presented to survive at home & in the real world.
  11. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    FW...I did mean that in a funny way.

    You said what you did about kids having parents who just let them run wild. Well, my son had some friends who were like that. He actually commented to me WHILE IN Residential Treatment Center (RTC) that he knew we were doing what we were doing was for his own good and we could have been like X's mom and just done nothing and let him run wild and not acted like we loved him. So he actually got the idea that we were fighting him every step of the way because we did love him. He doesnt blame us at all for all of the placements, all the time he spent away from home. He knows whose shoulders that blame falls squarely on.

    He says he would never send Keyana away but he also says she will never act like he did or he will do what we Thankfully I dont think he will have to make those decisions because she is a easy child.