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!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Bear On His Own?

After being told there would be consequences (losing his iPod for a few days) for not doing his chores, Bear chose not to come home from school last Friday(little over a week ago). He did show up at 8:30am as requested to go to Metro City for Kitty's family therapy that weekend, and complied with our request to not tell her he'd moved out.

For most of the next week he lived with a known drug dealer and that kid's brother and mom. He attended school and showed up every night to pick up his medications (since he was staying with known drug dealers and no responsible adults, plus he can't take meds to school, we'd had to insist that he could only have one day's worth of meds at a time). He has no car, no driver's license, no job so I've been pleasantly surprised that he keeps showing up.

The first night he arrived to pick up his meds, Hubby complimented him on the way he'd handled the disagreement Thursday night. He told Bear that while we would prefer he stay and deal with his issues instead of running away, we were proud of him for not getting violent and for not storming out. Bear was also told that while we would prefer he stay home (which was also recommended by the neuropsych), that maybe it was time he tried living on his own.

We told him we expect him to continue to be part of the family, and that he needs to take his meds regularly and try to attend the majority of family events (Friday night dinners out, lunch at Grandma's and family therapy). We had him return his house key and asked him to call first before coming over at night (at a reasonable hour) to pick up his meds (that night meds and the meds for the next morning - on school days he gets his midday meds at school).

I do think Bear feels unloved because we did not beg or insist that he stay. We've been pretty successful I think at remaining calm, firm and caring. He is handling his own business to some extent and testing his limits too. He has arranged to get free meals at school. He's going to school and he dropped out of the math class we were so proud of him for requesting (he switched to Philosophy which he's now failing). He's moved around several times with different people, and until Saturday he's been managing to get to the house and take his meds. He looks a little ragged, but otherwise healthy. He still has not managed to attend a single family meal, although he said he would a few times.

Late Saturday morning he texted me that he had a landscaping job, but that he would be attending therapy. Hubby was teaching, but I'd scheduled Ponito's birthday party in the morning so I would be able to go with Bear to therapy, so we could hammer out some of our concerns (we want to explain how the adoption subsidy works and why we won't be turning it or his meds over to him, among other things). We have talked about him switching to doing individual therapy some, but not this first one.

At 2:00pm I got a chance to read his text stating that he'd mistyped his original text and would NOT be going to therapy. I let him know I thought that choosing work over therapy was not a good choice, and reminded him to let you know he wasn't coming (I was in the middle of birthday chaos so couldn't do it myself). He said he'd let you know after he got off work at 5:30pm. I texted him back stating that was VERY rude and he should at least text you. Obviously he didn't do so. My sincere apologies for his rudeness.

He also didn't show up for his midday meds on Saturday (which I'd planned to give him when I took him to therapy). At 11pm on Saturday night I got a call from him stating he was coming to get his night meds. I let him know it was too late as we were already in bed (he was apparently in the driveway as we heard a very loud truck leaving). He didn't show up for Sunday lunch (and Ponito's family birthday party) or his morning or midday meds on Sunday either. He finally showed up Sunday night and got his night meds (and Monday morning meds) - meaning he'd gone almost 48 hours off meds.

Frankly we're not totally sure what's going to happen next. We need to sit down and have a good discussion with him, but he tends to only have a few minutes when he comes to get his meds.


Hubby and I are going back and forth about what to do next.

Part of me (probably the Dismissive Attachment Disordered part with PTSD from living with a RAD teen for 5 years) says FORGET THIS! He's 18 now. That part of me wants to just hand him his med box, tell him he knows our phone number if he wants to come to dinner with us sometime, cancel his adoption subsidy, let the MHMR and school know he's homeless and needs a full-time casemanager... and just focus on getting a job and taking care of Bob (still home with Mono) and Ponito (home sick today - praying it's not mono!).

Another part of me says, I have a moral obligation to him (and to earn the adoption subsidy) so I should continue to provide case management services and to continue to try to convince him to participate in family activities. This is the part of me that is going to hang onto his med box and dispense them nightly, that will continue to provide case management services, that will go to family therapy with him, clean his disgusting room and bathroom but keep his stuff and room ready for him to return, will talk about him to Hubby all hours of the night instead of celebrating Sexuary, and that will continue to try to convince him to not be an idiot -and to continue to grow and develop, knowing we have no way to enforce this.


r. said...

Real name alert. Paragraph 4.

Katie said...

Uh-oh real names!

I'm glad Bear is doing alright out of the house. I mean, it's not great...but it could be so much worse. I hope he gets back on track with his meds and rethinks missing therapy.

Sophie said...

This is so tough. I am so sorry you are going through this.

Lisa said...

Whether Bear responds to your efforts or not, do what you feel you need to do for him and make sure his doctors know exactly what you're offering him and how that's playing out. I used to make myself absolutely crazy trying to force my kids to cooperate with "the plan". It never worked. I still find out sometimes that when I have been saying how well they're doing, how they're improving, how proud I am of their progress (however slow that may be) that they aren't improving, aren't doing well, aren't being truthful about ANY of it. I am devastated and feel betrayed and I make it all about ME and how they aren't appreciating all that I'm doing. Just step back and do what feels right to you and let Bear do (or not do) his own part. The longer he's out of your house, the easier it will be for him to blow off taking the meds, showing up for therapy, etc. At some point the dr. may want him to go off meds as opposed to taking them sporadically like he has been. My kids don't think there is anything wrong with them so they definitely don't see a need to take meds or go to counseling after age 18. Unless you have legal guardianship, there isn't a darn thing you can do - and even if you do, how are you going to force him to stay at your house? You are in a no-win situation. My dh and I spend way....too much time discussing the disturbed kids in our home and way too little time focusing on the good. That isn't right.