This blog is my place to vent and share resources with other parents of children of trauma. I try to be open and honest about my feelings in order to help others know they are not alone. Therapeutic parenting of adopted teenagers with RAD and other severe mental illnesses and issues (plus "neurotypical" teens) , is not easy, and there are time when I say what I feel... at the moment. We're all human!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Consequences for Bear

Struggling to Stand has left a new comment on your post, "Stealing":

I too, feel for you. Would it help to know that bio kids can be that bad?

Oh believe me I know, but thanks.

I think that before worrying about consequences of this instance, you should
find out if there has been more alcohol usage. Being a spy, again, checking the
garbage cans. Although the meds he is on may make the signs of alcohol use more

Oh you know how much I love being a spy. *sigh* The only alcohol left in the house is one wine cooler which I hid in the garage (will be drinking that this weekend believe me!), one bottle of unopened champagne and one unopened bottle of red wine (we only drink white) both from who knows how long ago, both sealed, and both in the locked pantry. So if he is still drinking, he is getting it from friends, not us.

I wonder. Does he just play at thinking anything unlocked is his, or does
he really not get the difference? I bet there are social skill games that help
to teach a "kid" the rules for what is personal and what is public. Maybe as a
punishment you make him play these games. If he already knows, it is a
punishment, but if he doesn't already know it helps him learn...

I have no idea what he really "gets," and what he deliberately does. I'm also not sure what he is capable of learning. I'm assuming that he "gets" stealing, because as far as I know he is not stealing from school; however, his sense of entitlement and impulsivity is a different story. Even at school if he can manipulate others into giving him candy or priviliges he will. His special school has commented a couple of times that because he has earned their highest level - "Merit" student, he gets many privileges. They have found him "taking a mile" with these privileges.

He has often used ignorance of a rule as an excuse at school too. For example, he showed up with lunch (before we were on the free lunch program) and snack/soda money. We do not give him money, and the school knows it. They usually warn us when he turns up with extra cash. At one point we discovered that he had quite a little enterprise going. He had talked me into letting him buy Gatorade powder mix and was mixing it up and putting it in water bottles. He's always drunk a lot of liquids so this slid under our radar. He was selling these, and the homemade goodies he was taking from home, to his buddies at school for extra cash. Many of the kids at school are special ed so the school stopped this. He did not get in trouble because he "didn't know any better." Of course his home campus has no such policy so I'm sure this has/will start up again. It's hard for us to catch the selling of the treats because he could be eating them.

Food is an especially sensitive subject. I know kids of trauma have issues with food and hoarding. I've always tried to be super understanding about this. Kitty's meltdowns especially are usually 10 times worse if food is involved. I know that food is a major control issue too, and as a teen whose life was out of control, I have had problems with anorexia myself. I know Bear feels a strong sense of entitlement about many things, but food is at the top of the list.

After reading this comment I searched his room and bathroom again. Not only has he been lying about doing his chores (like cleaning - don't ask how I know!) for several weeks (I know because the moldy tupperware and empty ice cream container I found last time are still in a bag on his floor), but he had an empty bag of caramels on the floor beside his bed. I can only assume that someone forgot to lock the pantry (probably me).

So where do I go from here? Locking everything up is beyond a pain. Our youngest keeps his bike in the garage so every morning someone has to give him the key to get it (he's up before me and Hubby is usually still in the shower when Ponito is ready to go), and then we have to make sure he remembers to lock it all back up (which he occasionally forgets). Bear often gets up before everyone else or after Ponito leaves, eats and who knows what else, and goes back to bed. I want to just alarm Bear's door, but Hubby is still resistant to this.

I hate that the kids live like prisoners in their own home. I can't keep the doors unlocked when Bear is not home because he immediately goes into the unlocked rooms, before I realize he's home and they aren't locked. The lock that keeps Bear out of the garage, also keeps everyone out of the laundry room, which is a pain, and the humidity in there from running the machines with the door shut is beginning to damage the room and everything in it.

As for the alcohol, an idea I have that probably isn't good, but may spawn
better ideas, is to have your husband offer Bear a drink on Thanksgiving or
Chirstmas, but the drink be 90% water, which Bear would discover upon
drinking. Tit-for-tat. "Well, I thought since you put all that water in my
alcohol, that is the way you like it!" or "It isn't nice to sit down to a
good drink and find it is mostly water, is it?"

We talked about this as an option. Beyond the fact that we don't feel comfortable even implying that it is OK for teens to drink alcohol, I'm pretty sure that Bear would bluff his way through it and in his mind this would be yet another example of what horrible parents we are. Hubby even thought about letting him drink all he wants until he gets sick, but of course there are major health, moral and legal issues with this... and we don't think it would be effective either.

I have thought about doing something similar though. Maybe giving him treats, only to find they are half eaten, or letting everyone else have a slurpee and giving him water - with just a bit of what they're getting. Again, I don't think he would make the connection - he would just see it as yet another example of how mean we are and how much we hate him.

Would it be wrong to put laxatives or something similar in a bag of candy in the pantry and "forget" to lock it? Technically it's a logical consequence for stealing and replacing the item with something else.

Passive Aggressive

I have found that Bear is making me very passive aggressive and I hate that feeling.

I've never liked confrontation, and Bear makes confrontation (when Hubby is not present) particularly odious. So I'm finding myself avoiding him more and more, doing detective work to avoid asking him about things (and maybe to deliberately get him in trouble - although it is him who is actually doing the lying and stealing) , complaining about him here and to adult family members, and sniping at him (for example a TV character was commenting on how being called Ma'am made her feel old, and I "subtly" told Hubby, "See, I'm not the only one who feels that way!" Bear resentfully muttered, "I get it Mom." I told him I was talking to Dad not him. Is that a "teachable moment" or a jab? I don't know. He hadn't done it again since I'd asked him not to last time.).

It seems like he is always mad at me, because I am always getting him in trouble and keeping him from doing what he wants to do. He doesn't seem to make the connection that it is him actually doing the stuff for which he is having to deal with the consequences - not me making up punishments just to torture him. He doesn't like that I hold him accountable and don't start with a blank slate (he calls it holding a grudge). I don't like that I seem to be the only one doing so. Don't get me wrong, Hubby always backs me up, and I'm the "expert" in the family so it's kind of natural that the discipline decisions fall on me, but it gets really old to always be the bad guy/ judge and jury (although I appreciate not always having to be the executioner).

I don't like being around Bear and it is showing more and more. I used to be able to keep it from him, but I'm not feeling like being subtle any more. Of course he's not home much so maybe it's not as noticeable... oh, who am I kidding.

Wish I had time to finish these Medicaid applications. It's probably time to amp up my meds again. Kitty is very linked to my moods too so when I'm irritated and/or depressed she is too. She's had several minor meltdowns this last week that under normal circumstances I would have been able to avoid.

1 comment:

MomInTheTrench said...

ok, I don't have anything useful to say. I just had to tell you that the picture of the lady screaming made my day.

And I'll throw in there my popular opinion of how great you are doing with this and how I'm admiring your stamina.