MaryZ's support thread for parents of troubled teenagers - Part 2 here's to a peaceful 2013

(810 Posts)
Maryz Tue 01-Jan-13 15:57:49

This is a continuation of this thread which I set up as a safe space for struggling parents of challenging teenagers.

This is meant to be a welcoming thread, where everyone can come and moan, whinge, bash ideas off each other and support each other as we face a new year and new challenges

Newbies in particular - come and join in. When ds1 started going off the rails I felt very lonely as there was no-one in real life I could talk to. Being able to be open and honest on here has helped me cope over the last few years.

Many of us have extremely challenging teenagers, some are involved in alcohol and drugs, some are violent, some are struggling with depression, anxiety and various SN. This thread isn't here to judge people and tell them how to parent or to simplify and minimise their difficulties.

So if you think we should simply tell them to come home and night, and take their phones away if they don't, you are probably in the wrong place. Also if you think a few joints or a couple of pills are harmless, go and start a thread about it somewhere else.

The mantra of this thread is - don't look back, guilt is a wasted emotion. You are where you are now, carry on from here. You may not be able to change them, but you can change how you react to their behaviour, so pick your battles, take a step back and try not be too emotionally involved, and FFS, be nice to yourself.

So here goes: here's to a calm, peaceful and positive 2013.

MuchBrighterNow Tue 01-Jan-13 16:29:19

Hi , signing in to the new thread. happy New Year to everyone.
Here's hoping that 2013 will be much less stressful and a whole lot more positive than 2012 !

flow4 Tue 01-Jan-13 16:35:37

Marking my place and trying not to think that sounds a bit like a dog weeing on a lamp-post!

StressedoutMotherofTeens Tue 01-Jan-13 16:44:06

Thank you Maryz. I'm relatively new to MN but take a lot of strength from what people write on here. I too hope for a more positive less stressful 2013 but already am worrying about what will happen this year! One more NY Resolution to add to list!

Ineedmorepatience Tue 01-Jan-13 18:11:08

Hi maryz, my troubled teen is 24 now but still troubled.

I dont post over here that often but am always lurking.

I want to wish all of thos with troubled teens a very quiet and peaceful 2013 smile

Toredig Tue 01-Jan-13 18:25:25

Very upset, S has been really upset all day & told me awful stories about being bullied as a child, of which I knew nothing. He was too frightened to tell me at thetime. Classic eh?
Things are different here. His behaviour has changed since I asked the police to deal with him
I don't know if it's a turning point but fingers crossed
Thank you everyone

Maryz Tue 01-Jan-13 18:30:42

It's great he's talking to you Toredig. Try very hard to just listen, not to give him answers or solutions or tell him what to do. Let him talk.

I know I'm guilty sometimes of trying to solve ds's problems when he (rarely) talks to me. And it makes him clam up again.

Good luck smile

Hi all, marking place. Things been very quiet here for a while ds behaving himself!

Happy new year to you all smile

foxy6 Wed 02-Jan-13 00:05:28

hi all just marking My place here hopefully it will be a better year for us all xxx

xxDebstarxx Wed 02-Jan-13 09:14:39

Feeling a bit anxious about CAMHS appointment later. Not so much the appointment but trying to get my son out of the door to go. He refuses to go to school ... well refuses to go anywhere he doesn't want to. I don't know what I'll do if he won't go.

xxDebstarxx Wed 02-Jan-13 11:42:20

Well he's up and showered so that's a good start smile

Maryz Wed 02-Jan-13 11:47:24

If he doesn't go, try very hard not to get angry.

Get him to write down (or dictate to you) why he won't go and go yourself anyway, explaining to them what is wrong.

Just try to be matter of fact about it all. And take something (ipod or whatever) for him to do in case you have to wait. ds1 used to come, wait three minutes and then bolt. Eventually I had to let him wait in the car and get him when they were ready for us (and hope he was still there).

God, it was stressful.

flow4 Wed 02-Jan-13 14:00:14

Deb, I don't know whether this will help, or applies to you and your DS as well as me and mine, but just in case... smile

My DS used to refuse to go places too. It would make me cross and/or panicky. Because of our personalities, DS generally argued about why he wasn't going to go, and I'd argue about why he should. Every reason he gave me, in turn gave me something to argue about,and vice versa! I would follow him round, explaining. Or I would text him with a list of reasons.

I would repeat myself endlessly if he didn't seem to be listening, in case he didn't understand. I would repeat myself if he was listening, because I wasn't going to lose that rare opportunity to engage! hmm blush I would cajole, and/or try to motivate him, and/or offer rewards and out-and-out bribes, and/or threaten.

None of my approaches and tactics worked. Usually DS got to a point where he either stormed out or lost his temper. Usually he was then able to blame me for his not going. ("I would've gone if you hadn't nagged/made me angry/made me not go". hmm )

One day (last Sept.) we reached a turning point. (It was his last chance to enrol in college and I was absolutely desperate. I had already given him an ultimatum - weeks before, then days before, then that day - and the stakes were high, because I had told him I would throw him out if he didn't have a job or a college place by that evening). He was chuntering about why he wasn't going, how he didn't want to go to college, how they wouldn't have him anyway, how he was just going to doss, how he didn't care if he achieved nothing with his life, how he didn't care if I threw him out, how he'd just take loads of drugs and die and then I'd be sorry... etc... sad sad

Suddenly, I realised that although he was telling me he wasn't going, he was actually getting ready! confused shock So I shut up. grin

He got in the shower, telling me he wasn't going. He climbed into the car telling me he wasn't going. We drove for half an hour with him telling me he wasn't going. All the time, I either kept quiet, or said something calm and factual like "We're setting off in ten minutes"...

Basically, he was incredibly stressed, and he didn't want to have to do this difficult thing^; but all his objections and arguing were just noise. I discovered that if I just ^let them happen - and 'detached, detached, detached' (of course!) - then he did what he said he wasn't going to do.

The same thing has happened since. I now think of him as being like a boiling pot: if I 'turn up the heat', everything boils over; but if just leave him bubbling, he gets on with it. grin

Dunno if that helps. Maybe! smile

Hope it all happens and goes well today smile

xxDebstarxx Wed 02-Jan-13 16:30:49

Thank you Maryz and Flow I really appreciate your advice and support.

He got up and had his shower. Dressed in his suit!!!!! and was ready to leave an hour before the appointment.

Apparently he is showing autistic traits rather than depressive traits. It would explain a lot of his behaviours.

We shall know more after the next appointment when he is seen by the doctor.

flow4 Wed 02-Jan-13 17:16:56

Hey, that sounds positive! smile Fingers crossed for you...

xxDebstarxx Wed 02-Jan-13 19:04:26

Thank you. I am a lot happier this evening that I was this morning. I feel as though I have been listened to. I just wish someone had listened to me three years ago when this all started!

Maryz Wed 02-Jan-13 19:07:35

That sounds much better Deb. Hopefully he will also feel listened to. And flow's advice about the ranting is spot on - often ds1 will push and push me to try to provoke a fight. Then he can storm out and blame me for his binge/drug use/disappearance - it's all my fault because I nagged hmm.

xxDebstarxx Wed 02-Jan-13 21:33:10

Yes being listened to makes one hell of a difference...something I need to take note of too. I hate not being listened to but sometimes don't listen closely enough to what the boys are saying (that may be because I'm not fluent in teenage grunts though grin)

Ineedmorepatience Wed 02-Jan-13 22:58:23

Ok, I can tell you this because you will understand, I need to get it off my chest but talking to DP just causes more friction.

Dd1 (undx'ed aspergers/adhd) bought Dd3 a lovely game for her birthday last year.

A while ago she asks if she can borrow it. Dd3 is not good at sharing and Dd1 has a very bad rep for not looking after or returning stuff. Anyway for whatever reason Dd3 did lend it to her, I probably nagged her. It was all in the box and imaculate. (You know what I am going to say dont you).

Tonight I drove to Dd1's partners house to fetch the game after several times of asking her to bring it back and the box is trashed and the instructions are shredded. Hopefully all the pieces are there but we havent checked yet.

I know this is minor by comparison to what some of you are dealing with but if I have a go at Dd1 she will be very stroppy with me but if I dont say anything Dd3 will feel that once again Dd1 has got away with not respecting her or her stuff.

I hate being put in this situation and god knows why I let her borrow the dam thing any way.
The last thing I lent her was a lovely little tent and she left it wet it the bag and by the time I got my hands on it it had startef to go mouldy.

I am just so sick of her making me feel bad if I refuse to lend her stuff and yet she just doesnt care enough to look after it.

Sorry that was soo long and pathetic sad

Ineedmorepatience Wed 02-Jan-13 22:59:56

Sorry meant to say Dd3 has ASD which is why she struggles to share, she is not a spoilt baby as Dd1 calls hersad

Maryz Wed 02-Jan-13 23:04:55

Trying to be a referee between two of your children (especially teenage children) doesn't work.

You have to pretend benign supportive indifference grin.

Ineedmorepatience Wed 02-Jan-13 23:24:11

Oh god just wrote a reply then and lost it.

The trouble is maryz that Dd1 left home when Dd3 was 5 so they dont have a normal sibling bond.

I am just so fed up of her upsetting either Dd2 or 3 to the point that they are in tears.

I dont care about her not respecting me or my stuff.

I just want to walk away from her atm, she creates so much havoc.

Please dont judge me, this is not just about a stupid board game sad

zeeboo Wed 02-Jan-13 23:37:14

Coming to join. I have spent all of Christmas just wishing and hoping that my 17 year old would just move out. He has mild ASD, and SPD but mainly I think it is that his personality, like his bio dad is lazy and entitled. I've defended him for years and blinded myself to how he treats me and the house and younger siblings and now it's like the scales have fallen from my eyes and I can now see that he isn't a child, he's practically 18 and he's lazy. Quit sixth form because he couldn't hand work in despite his exam scores putting him on course for Bs and C's.
quit 3 part time jobs because "they tell me what to do" bang head on wall repeatedly and I think his attitude to college, his 'last chance' is going the same way.
The worst thing is his aggressive language and physically attacking his 12 yo brother.
Hello fellow sufferers.

Maryz Wed 02-Jan-13 23:41:10

Right, in that case dd1 is an adult, and you have to develop a more adult relationship with her.

dd3 is a child (and a child with SN) so her needs have to come first. I do understand - the number of times I have seen clashes between ds1 and ds2, and my inclination is to keep the peace with ds1 because there is less fall-out hmm.

Disengage, don't feel responsible, buy dd3 a brand new game (if you can afford it) and don't lend anything of hers again - and reassure her you won't.

Then take back a bit of control. Decide what you will do for dd1 (money, time, whatever) and what you won't. And stick to it.

At least she isn't living with you at the moment grin. When she isn't there, don't stress about her. When she is, deal with it (as though she was a rather irritating distant relative).

See it's easy - I can sort anyone else's problems hmm. It's mine I can't deal with [rueful smile]

Maryz Wed 02-Jan-13 23:43:07

Welcome zeeboo.

Read the other thread, there's loads of dealing with similar, sadly.

The one thing we agree on is NO VIOLENCE. That has to be an unbreakable, unmoveable, line in the sand.

Language/respect/everything else you can deal with by disengaging, developing selective deafness and walking away. But you can't have a violent teenager in your house. Call 999 next time.

ILoveTIFFANY Wed 02-Jan-13 23:58:09

I had to resort to 999.... 3 bloody times!!

3 nights in cells

She learned, we now laugh about it! Dark times

flow4 Thu 03-Jan-13 00:38:52

I called 999 3 times too Tiff... 3 seems to be the 'magic number'! hmm
The third time I had him charged... He hasn't been violent to me since.

zeeboo, you sound like you are where I was 6-12 months ago. (If you do an advanced search for my name, you'll find lots of my posts)... It's incredibly stressful and depressing, isn't it? Have a look on the other thread (the link's at the top on MaryZ's first post) and you'll find lots of other people have had similar experiences with their teens too.

Be a bit careful about dismissing your DS as 'just like his father'... I know it's easier said than done: my DS also sometimes really reminds me of his dad, and it makes me quite afraid when I think he might turn into the same kind of person... But you'll find yourself hating his behaviour not because of what he's done, but because it reminds you of your Ex - which isn't fair, and will also mean you'll be less able to deal with it effectively. Loads of teenagers are lazy (my son included) - maybe you could try and respond as if he was someone else's lazy teen, rather than your Ex's son, and see if that gives you a bit of emotional distance and helps you deal with it better. smile

Ineedmorepatience Thu 03-Jan-13 10:25:43

Thankyou maryz, that is exactly what I want to do and I have been trying. Until xmas day when she sniped at me that I rarely text her infront of all the family.

In fact I text her regularly but she rarely answers! But we wont go there.

I am so glad I came on here, you know when you just need someone else to say it and then it doesnt seem so awful.

Tbh, I have struggled with her since she walked at 10 months. She is on a mission and only she knows what it is.

I need to be together for Dd2 and 3 and cant continue to let her dominate the situation so easily.

Thanks again maryz and I hope the situation for you and your family improves this year.

Good luck to all of ussmile

lemonstartree Thu 03-Jan-13 12:16:10

please can I join you?

I am at the end of my teather with DS1 14. I think from reading how much some of you have had to cope with that I am relatively lucky; but I /We cant cope with him

He has Aspergers and ADD. Under CAMHS who are nice, but cant DO anything. He lies, steals (was expelled from his nice private school for theft) but he still steals from me and anyone else he can. He is dirty, messy and has no respect for his own possessions or anyone elses. he is aggresive and bullying to his younger brothers. He has had almost no internt/tech acces for a year or two because of persistant pornography downloading ( we have two younger childen 10 and 7 who sufferred his sexualised behaviour) we let it out a tiny bit at christmas with a new computer that all the kids could use IN the room with an adult ; and guess what - Latest is cyberbullying on facebook.

His bio faher has no contact and never has had. He was adopted by my XH at 3 years old. My XH is/was a cannabis addict and alcoholic. DS1 sufferred more than the other two fomr the fallout - abuse aggressiona mood swings eyc till I got rid of XH.( he was 10 at that time)

My DP and I have tried everything. outside the house he's a nice kid - and he can be at home too - he is not aggressive to me ( he is afraid of DP I think, who is much bigger than him - although DP has never ever raised a finger to any of the children and would not) but he is very aggressive to the younger kids and to other children ( at school). He is fiercely bright in as Aspie way, but demotivated and distinterested. he puts in zero effort at school. School are useless, as far as they are concerned because he will ( maybe) get a few GCSE's the fact that he is woefully underachieveing is not their problem. tried to get an SEN statement - ha ha ha !

I think hes an unhappy kid - but he's making all of us miserable too. and he has no self resect and no respect for the house, our property or anything else as far as I can see,

The strain is telling between DP and I - though we try very hard to present a united front. We have support from my excellent brother and SIL, and he attends youth Aspergers 'club' ....

I just see a dismal future for him... and it makes me so sad :-(

zeeboo Thu 03-Jan-13 12:46:11

Thanks guys. I don't think the police would be interested tbh, it's what I call violence but its the same stuff the 12 year old does to the 14 yr old sister and she does to him. It's shoving, raising fists but not using them. Believe me, if anyone had ever actually punched or injured anyone leaving a mark then I'd have acted fast! With DS1 it is just the tone of voice, the shaking aggression in his face, it's the thought of how he may act rather than anything he's done.

Don't worry, I've never said he's like his bio out loud but much as I adored my ex he had some serious character flaws and narcissism was the main one and ds1 has clearly inherited it. I don't think I'm judging him, it's just the same as dd has clearly inherited my bossiness, ds1 has clearly inherited his fathers self obsession and view point that the world owes him something. I guess nature can beat nurture some times!

As always last night he calmed down and came and offered me a coffee which is what he does instead of ever apologising or accepting any fault or blame but I know when he wakes up (if he ever surfaces) we are only a few hours away from another explosion and ranting and inability to listen to dh and I trying to be very adult and non parental and suggesting that he needs to work if he wants Xbox live or phone credit or tobacco rather than it being our duty as parents to make sure he is provided with it.
After the row last night he did a job search online and said there was "nothing he fancied" because he wasn't doing retail or anything fast food or catering related again.

Spiderfrommars Thu 03-Jan-13 14:59:10

Maryz you will never know how much this thread and your previous thread have saved my sanity. THANK YOU !!

Maryz Thu 03-Jan-13 15:15:21

Thanks Spider smile

Welcome, lemon. Sadly your son sounds very like mine at that age, and keeping him engaged proved impossible for us sad. So I'm not going to tell you what to do or how to stop him, because you might well end up just marking time for the next four years.

Many kids with AS and ADHD can be slow to mature. So it is sometimes helpful to look at them as being about 2/3rds their chronological age. So your 14/15 year old has the maturity of a 10 year old, but in a teenage body. This can result in huge amounts of frustration, and he sounds very unhappy sad.

You can do a couple of things. You can lock up valuables - I have had a lock on my door for years. You can decide which behaviours are line in the sand behaviours (for us at one stage it was no drugs in the house and tell us if you are going to be out all night - I couldn't enforce anything else). I know this is controversial, but if you are punishing him (taking phone, internet etc) and it is having no effect, it might be worth not doing it any more. Try standing back a bit and considering the bigger picture - if he was happier he might be nicer, so perhaps trying to step away from confrontation might help.

I say this all the time - you may not be able to change him, but you can change the way you react to him, and by doing so you may improve your life, the life of your younger children, and he might actually change a bit too. Of course he might not, but if everyone else is happier it's often worth a try.

Many parents who get to your stage are at the absolute end of their tether. A trip to the gp, and a possible referral to counselling for you might be an idea. Is there any chance of family counselling through CAHMS? He might not go, but it might help you and your dp to blow off a little steam and work out a strategy.

I found that talking about it all in real life was hard, because it seemed I was being disloyal and because anyone I spoke to was horrified, so I ended up being very defensive, which didn't help.

Once you can get to the stage of knowing that you have done your best, that you are where you are now and can only go on from here, it may start to improve.

I would sit down with your dp and work out what behaviour at home you really won't put up with - starting with violence. And what you will do if he does it. We bought a punch bag, which has really helped ds. Often he will go to the utility room thump it for five minutes, then come back and talk. It's like it clears his brain.

Is there anything your son enjoys? Any sport/activity/anything to occupy his mind, anything he really wants to do? It's worth trying to channel a bit of his negative energy into something positive if you can. He wouldn't do cadets or martial arts, or anything like that?

Has anyone mentioned medication for ADD? I wish we had pushed for medication for ds1's anxiety and depression, as he turned it all into aggression and then discovered he could self-medicate with cannabis and vallium, which made him go downhill pretty fast sad.

About school, is there an alternative to where he is? ds did much better out of mainstream school (it was a shock to us). He ended up in a sort of PRU unit (we are in Ireland, so it's different) and now is in college studying to become a chef. Five years ago, I would never have believed that he would be alive, at home and in college.

You just have to hang in there.

Maryz Thu 03-Jan-13 15:16:58

Sorry, that was an essay.

Probably too much information blush. And not particularly useful either, sadly.

zeeboo, you shouldn't be scared of him. And nor should your younger children. I'd recommend a punch bag for you too. Really, every family with teenage boys should have one.

Ineedmorepatience Thu 03-Jan-13 17:26:36

I agree about the maturity levels of young people with ASD/ADHD.

My Dd1 is undiagnosed but I am pretty certain this is what she has.

Recently I have noticed that Dd2 who is 17 is now equally if not more mature and reliable than Dd1, in fact yesterday when I looked at them together I thought I wonder if people who dont know them think they are really close in age when actually there is 7 years between them.

Obviously they are individuals but I am sure that it is the ASD that is preventing Dd1 from becoming a mature adult who is capable of having adult relationships.

MuchBrighterNow Thu 03-Jan-13 18:07:45

Ineedmorepatience Tbh, I have struggled with her since she walked at 10 months. She is on a mission and only she knows what it is.

I can so relate to this. My Ds1 17 has been extremely challenging in his behaviour since he was born too. He needed constant attention and was always a total risk taker. It was always as though he took in too much information and was over stimulated trying to sort it all out. School/ relating to peers etc. was always a challenge for him. My subsequent dc have been SO much easier to raise.

DS 1 is a brilliant thinker , out of the box , interesting ,curious, daring. He has so much potential but chooses to spend his time constantly stoned... self medicating himself . It's a means he's found perhaps to turn down his hyperactive mind.

He also takes LSD as his drug of choice because it appeals to his creative, crazy side. ( He is very open and honest with me about all this whilst ignoring all my warnings about risks to his mental health etc., etc. He knows I don't approve at all but he doesn't give a toss what I think as he believes it's his life,his choice)

He loves the whole anarchic, No future, world's gonna end, Society's fucked scene. He was always drawn to befriend the kids in care, kids on the outside of the norm and now his newest circle of friends who put on illegal raves and live pretty much outside of society and take copious amounts of drugs, including heroin sad. He says he'd never touch heroin , but if it's around how long does it take before it becomes normalised...

He's mostly in a woolly stoned bubble, ignoring the future and refusing to take responsibility for the consequences of his inaction. He is also selfish, rude, obnoxious ,lazy, entitled, blaming, agressive and insensitive.....

If he was my DP instead of my DC I'm sure I would have bailed out of the relationship years ago ! He makes everything so complicated and confused...

As parents of difficult teens we don't have that option... All we can do is our best and not beat ourselves up about it too much when things go wrong. I have to stop myself grieving for what he could be and believe that he will come through these dark days intact , happy and whole.

Sorry , that was a bit long, just feeling a bit sad and hopeless sad

Toredig Thu 03-Jan-13 19:06:29

Find it so hard to articulate because that hreaks the spell and then I break down. I try not to worry, but find it so difficult. Spoke earlier and he seemed OK but he wasn't in when I got home & he's clearly had people in against my instructions. Can't eat because my stomach's churning.
Really think he should move out because then I won't be under this stress.
At least my Ipad was here when I got home

flow4 Thu 03-Jan-13 21:57:12

Tore, you sound a bit desperate sad

You might want to read these two old threads (again?). They sound like they deal with exactly the problems you are struggling with now. People gave me some good advice.
www.mumsnet.com/Talk/teenagers/1419999-Throw-him-out-have-him-arrested-or-hang-on-in-there and
www.mumsnet.com/Talk/teenagers/1534353-DS17-is-sneaking-people-into-my-house-when-Ive-said-no-and-its-freaking-me-out

If you can get your son to move out, then this IS an option. I would have done it at my most desperate point - if my DS had had anywhere else to go, or if he had been violent or stolen from me again, or probably if he had been 18, as yours already is.

If he stays, you MUST do a few key things, or you will crack under the pressure:

- Get a lock on your bedroom door. It will cost you £40-50 and it is the best money I spent last year. I wish I had done it sooner. If I had had one fitted earlier, I would have saved myself a huge amount of stress, and almost a thousand pounds. sad When you have one, you can lock everything valuable away so that it cannot be stolen; and if you feel at all insecure or unsafe or in need of privacy, you can lock yourself in there. It will give you back some degree of control.

- Get some help. Ask anyone you can think of. Family, friends (if you have good ones who won't judge), youth service, social services, drugs agency, his school/college, GP, Connexions, anyone... You had him arrested recently, so you may find the Youth Offending Team will help... Take anything that is offered. Ask your GP for counselling for yourself. It really helps to have someone to talk to who is not involved. It is not a sign of failure or weakness to ask for help: it is a sign of strength to know your limits.

- Get a break and do something nice. I have said this before, but I think a lot of mums struggle to believe it's important, or that they deserve it. Go for a coffee with a friend, go for a swim, have a massage, go for a walk somewhere beautiful, do something that will make you relax, or something that will make you laugh... Do one of these things for yourself every day if possible. But if that isn't possible, at least do one of these things today. You will cope much, much better with all the awful stuff if you have just a tiny bit of loveliness or pleasure in your day.

This will pass, Toredig. It really will.

Maryz Thu 03-Jan-13 22:04:34

I'm sorry you are so down Toredig. We really do understand, because we have been there sad.

Flow is absolutely right - you need to ensure your stuff is safe and that you have a private safe space in your house.

And you need help for you. You can't carry on like this, it's exhausting.

everhopeful63 Sat 05-Jan-13 13:25:20

Happy New Year! Coming out of the shadows to say thanks for all the wise words I have received from this thread. I too have a troubled teen and the last years have been exhausting. I try so hard to disengage , I know it works- Maryz- but find it hard. Flow4, your post re boiling pots - FANTASTIC and so helpful, I shall try to remember it when I am tired after a long day and DD is spoiling for a fight because she is feeling dreadful.
This weeks challenge is that 16 yr old DD and her girlfriend of 2 years- have argued and split up on New Years Eve, so we have had drama, tears, and no revision done. This is a pattern in their relationship and they will undoubtedly get together again but much time has been wasted. Only in this safe place here can I say how sad I am to see my beautiful bright DD, so upset and not achieving her potential. I know its her life but its not the one i had dreamed for her.....
Thank you for the support, hope I can joinxxxx

Ineedmorepatience Sat 05-Jan-13 17:04:07

Hi ever, I know exactly what you mean about the life they have v's the life you thought they would have but sometimes you do just have to take a step back and let them get on withit.

Dd1 left school a month before she was due to do her Alevels and went to work away from home, got pregnant and didnt tell
anyone. She moved out, had DGD, got a job and now rents a nice flat and is doing s degree.

Her life is still chaos and we dont agree on anything but she is functioning in society and with alot of support is coping with being a parent.

You will get through this and she will sort herself out and move forward when she is ready.
Good lucksmile

delmonton Sun 06-Jan-13 17:57:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

tinkerbelllisa Sun 06-Jan-13 19:43:16

I will try and keep this as short as possible. D(?)S is 16 and has been awful for the past 3 years (possibly more) - His father and i are divorced and have been since he was 2. He has changed his mind about who he wants to live with more than once so may not have had continuity in his homelife. Anyway he has been arrested and charged for assaulting his father between Xmas and NY (i found this out on my birthday a few days ago). He is now going to court the week after next. (not his first appearance) His dad is feeling bad about reporting it and wants to withdraw his statement. As much as I don't want him too,as I think DS will think he can get away with anything, I can understand how he feels. DS is not in education having dropped out of school and college and doesn't seem that keen in looking for work - he thinks there is no point until we see what happens in court. All DS wants to do is sleep all day,play on his PC and stay out all night with his mates (there are probably drugs and drink involved sometimes)
Any advice much appreciated - sorry I just needed to get it all off of my chest
Thanks to those of you that have replied to my original thread.
x

flow4 Sun 06-Jan-13 21:00:23

tinker, I'm too tired to say anything sensible right now (if you read through part 1 of this thread, you'd probably find anything/everything useful I've ever had to say anyway!) but I just wanted to offer a bit of sympathy and moral support. It's grim having to have your own child arrested and charged - I did it too, though it resulted in a Final Warning for my DS, not a court appearance. It did put an end to the violence and aggression though...

I'll be back tomorrow if I think of anything else useful to add.

tinkerbelllisa Sun 06-Jan-13 21:13:37

thanks flow 4 - its not me that had him arrested (this time!) but will read through your posts x

So much for peaceful.
Ds taken away to his dads by police car, 5 hours ago

Kicked off for being asked to turn his telly down in his room, his little sister was trying to get to sleep.His attitude, language and aggression was terrible, he turned the telly back up and told me to fuck off out of his room and then he kicked a big hole in his brand new bedroom door and pushed me and was rather aggressive.

He was chopsy to the police, wouldn't shut up when asked. The police were like hmm and they were a bit non plussed at some of his bizarre comments he was making.

I wasn't the best behaved either I'm afraid, I lost my temper and really screamed at him just as the police came through the door and then dissolved into tears. I was calm up until the point where ds said I don't support him and 'because I take his things away it means I don't love him and I don't support him' he does not understand what a consequence is. It's like banging ur head off a brick wall

I feel bad for him, I hope he's ok but I can't take much more. He's 13

I forgot to say ds has ADHD and is being assessed for asd but as he's very clever at appearing normal he probably won't get this diagnosis. I had no idea actually that children with ADHD and asd can be several years behind on the emotional maturity side of things. He seems to less mature than his ten year old sister and she can be a challenge sometimes but her understanding of life and how it works is superior to his really.

flow4 Mon 07-Jan-13 07:28:56

Oh Ghosts, what a stressful night for you. sad

That sudden fury and loss of control are scary, aren't they? Is he bigger than you yet? For me and my DS, that was the turning point: he grew bigger than me, and started being agressive. For a long time, he had no idea how threatening and scary he was... In his head he was still small, I think.

The hole punching/kicking thing is horrible too... I've repaired/replaced the 3 doors that DS damaged, but some of the holes are just filled/patched...

What's his social life like? Is it possible he's smoking skunk? My DS started at about 13, and his violent outbursts seemed to happen after he'd been smoking it. sad

What are you doing to look after you, Ghosts? That's absolutely crucial...

I don't think he's smoking anything but I can't be a hundred percent sure, I really hope not, that would just the end.

He's still at his dads and will be there all week, I've not spoken to him and I won't be. I've asked his dad for updates and he is fine, acting as if nothing had happened.

I've spent the day feeling like a failure, I've made the mistake of reading some other threads on this board and now I feel like the worst parent in the world, I feel it's my fault he is like this but no one believes me apart from his dad when I say u can't reason with him, he is like a toddler.

I need help, the disruption he causes here affects the girls, regular bedtimes for them has gone out the window, I can't get the two year old into a sleep routine because he keeps her awake and if he hears her havin a little cry he comes out and screams at her shut the fuck up before I shut u up myself. It's twelve am before I get them all to sleep sometimes.

He sits in his room yelling at the telly/ phone/ Xbox and kicks off if you tell him to be quiet.

Sigh. I am not looking after myself. I sleep in my clothes sometimes, my house is messy. I am exhausted

Greensleeves Tue 08-Jan-13 01:17:09

sorry to barge in, but wanted Maryz to have a look at this thread:

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/teenagers/1651473-16-yr-old-son-self-harming-and-possible-depression

MuchBrighterNow Tue 08-Jan-13 06:49:52

Ghosts Please try not to give yourself a hard time, I am sure you are doing your best in very difficult circumstances. Its exhausting looking after little ones without the add on of a difficult attention seeking teen.

Can your Ds stay with his dad for a while to give you and him a break. Hopefully calling the police will make him think twice about kicking off.

Could you get him some headphones to plug into the Tv so that the noise stays down a bit ? My ds plays really loud techno and yet screams at us to shut the fuck up if he's concentrating on something and one of us makes a slight disturbance angry ( he's also made holes in doors and walls)

It's not surprising in the face of all this to have let things slip a bit, be kind to yourself.

flow4 Tue 08-Jan-13 10:18:23

Ghosts, you're not a failure; you're the parent of a troubled teen. You are struggling because you are dealing with extra challenges, not because you are 'the worst parent in the world'. It's unbelievably hard sometimes.

You need to be careful reading other threads. I know they made me feel bad too during the worst times with my DS, because they were full of people who make parenting sound so easy. One of the main reasons Maryz set up this thread (or its predecessor) is because it gets feckin infuriating disheartening reading comments from people who tell you that their DC would never kick holes in walls, and your DC wouldn't either, if only you grounded them/confiscated their phone and X-box/whatever. hmm This thread was/is intended as a 'safe space' where people recognise that when you've got a troubled/troublesome teen, you need support, not simplistic and misguided criticism of your parenting.

For some teenagers, the 'normal' rules do not apply. 'Normal' methods/sanctions/punishments just don't work. Like me, you will probably have tried absolutely everything...

When I grounded my son, he went out anyway. When I locked the door, he climbed out the window. When I confiscated his 'phone, he took the house 'phone and made extra, expensive calls to his friends' mobiles. When I confiscated his playstation, he took my laptop. When I stopped his allowance, he started to steal. When I stopped him from stealing (by fitting a lock on my bedroom door) he sold all his stuff, and some belonging to other people too. When I tried to reason with him, he called me a b*tch and a c*nt.

That is not to say I stopped trying to find ways of influencing and controlling his behaviour: I didn't. But for a long time, nothing worked. We had 6+ months when he had no money, no treats, we were barely speaking, he was hardly at home, and he only had a TV because I wanted him up in his room. sad

Over 3-4 years, and with the help of some of the people on this thread, I worked out some crucial things. They might help you too...

- You need to detach emotionally. When he screams at you, it isn't personal, whatever he says; it isn't about you, he isn't thinking - his mouth and hormones are just overflowing! You will go to pieces if you don't protect yourself a bit from all the stress. Like Maryz often says, "Detach, detach, detach".

- Look after yourself. This isn't a luxury, it's a survival necessity. You need to find some way to relax or laugh - preferably a little slice of every day, but certainly several times a week. I can see this will be very difficult indeed for you since you have small children too (and it sounds like you are a single parent?), but make it your top priority. Go for a walk, meet a friend for coffee, have a swim, get a massage... Whatever it is, make a bit of space for you that will give you pleasure. It will help you cope better. It will keep you sane. And I can pretty much guarantee your DS's behaviour will improve too. (I'm not sure why this is. I think it is maybe because, even when they are being total little sh*ts, they actually still deep-down want their mums to be happy, and they are happier if you are...)

- You can't control him, he has to learn to control himself. Meanwhile, you can control your own responses to him. This is partly about detachment and being kind to yourself (see above smile ) But it's also about your immediate reactions. When he screams, you can take a breath and stay calm (and go somewhere afterwards and scream into your pillow!). When he gets to you, turn and walk away. For me, the basic 'principle' was that I wanted to try to 'model' the behaviour I wanted from him: if I wanted him to be calm, I needed to show him calm; if I wanted him to be polite, I needed to be polite to him myself. It is incredibly hard, and very often I didn't (and don't) manage it... But even if/when I fail, trying helps...

- Focus on the essentials. Pick a few things (say 3 or 4) that you really really want him to do or not do. Put your energy into getting him to do these things. Ignore the rest of it. Depending on how bad things are, and how desperate you are, these things might be very basic: e.g. 'no violence'; 'always tell me if you aren't coming home'... For you, it sounds like one of your basics will be 'Keep noise down when siblings are in bed'.

- Focus on rewards not sanctions. The most successful 'behaviour management' technique I found was to pay him for what I wanted him to do. Over the years, at different points, I linked his allowance/pocket money to going to school (when he was truanting), helping at home, being pleasant, and other 'essentials'. It wasn't foolproof, but it worked better than anything else.

- You have influence even if you lose control. You can keep on giving 'moral messages'. You can say things like "It isn't OK for you to behave like that" and "You need to do X" and "Please don't do Y", even when he does. It is getting through to him, even if it feels like it isn't... It is laying 'foundations', so that he will know how to behave decently, when he finally re-gains control of himself...

- Ask for help and take any help that is offered. Ask everywhere: his dad, your GP, his school, youth services, your friends and other family... Anyone you can think of! If possible, arrange activities and support for him, and nice things and counselling for you. It isn't a sign of weakness to ask for help; it's a sign of strength to know your own limits. smile

- It will take time, but it will pass. All this horribleness will be over one day. I am coming out the other side with my own DS. You will do too. smile

blush Goodness, this is a bit of an essay! Sorry! Hope some of it helps! smile

flow4 Tue 08-Jan-13 10:22:43

Funny, Brighter! You said "Its exhausting looking after little ones without the add on of a difficult attention seeking teen"... I was pretty much going to say "Its exhausting looking after a difficult teen without the add on of a attention seeking little ones". grin

But whichever way you look at it, Ghosts, we agree you've got your hands full and you shouldn't beat yourself up! Remember what maryz said at the top of this thread:
"Don't look back, guilt is a wasted emotion. You are where you are now, carry on from here".

Maryz Tue 08-Jan-13 10:27:05

I can't agree more with what Flow said.

Ghosts, use this time away from your son to look after yourself, to get your head straight, to work out what you can and can't cope with and what you actually want.

Guilt is forbidden on this thread - it is a wast of emotional energy, and goodness knows we have no emotional energy to waste.

I was where you are five years ago, with no-one to talk to and blaming myself for everything. I have come a long way in those five years - ds has grown up a bit, but I have changed beyond all recognition and am now coping with ds2 in a very different way.

I'm heading out, but I'll be back later.

Read Flow's post again.

And ffs, be nice to yourself.

btw, make a list of the individual things you find hardest to cope with at home, and we'll try to come up with a few simple solutions. For example, I found moving ds's bedroom to the very back of the house helped with noise issues. So might sound-blocking wireless earphones, for example. If he has ADHD, has anyone suggested medication?

Stay around and talk. We won't judge, we are all living it every day as well.

Lilka Tue 08-Jan-13 12:00:13

Signing in

Had a joyful early morning of being shouted at by an angry DD, because it's her first day back at college, and she has to get up much earlier and change all her routine again etc. I'm not going, you can't make me, I hate you, you're such a bitch, I wished I lived with DD1, she wouldn't make me, grandma wouldn't make me, my real mum wouldn't make me, I hate you, you're a nasty cunt, I'm not going, I hate college, I hate you, I've had lots of mums and you're the worst most horrible of all of them, fuck off, piss off, hate hate hate...

She then cried and cried and broke some of her belongings, before finally yelling that she's going to college after all shock confused Thank God for that. She was late, but who cares. She's there.

DS was upset by it and went to school tearful on his first day back sad

I'm repeating matnras to myself. No guilt. Not personal. I am most definitely not a bad mum, or the worst mum she's ever had, oh no, I am awesome. She loves me really. She's be happy later on, I hope. No guilt.

Brightspark1 Tue 08-Jan-13 20:18:55

Lilka your post made me smile smile I wish I had learned the trick of switching off from ranting earlier.
ghosts as Maryz and Flow will agree, I am very very good at the guilt thing, I can think of so many mistakes I've made in the past that have contributed to the situation I find myself in now. But I did what I thought was best at the time. I didn't have a crystal ball, the brain of Einstein or the patience of a saint. I couldn't be the parent described in the parenting manuals on three hours of sleep a night, or after 2 hours of screaming. We are human not bloody superwoman ffs!
I agree with flow, doing something nice for yourself is a necessity, preferably something physical that will help release the tension you are carrying around, for me thrashing up and down the pool until I could barely climb out was the only thing that held me together.
Finally, ignore all the 'perfect' families you think you are surrounded by, I think most people put on a good front, but I'm learning that for many, a front is all it is, the reality is that most other people are struggling too.

flow4 Tue 08-Jan-13 20:53:41

Oh Lilka, that's a variation of the old favourite "Everybody else's mum lets them do everything and is much nice than you" isn't it?! It must be hard when they can replace "everybody else's mum" with "all my other mothers" hmm. It's good that you can keep your sense of perspective and humour!

Hello Brightspark, how's things?! I agree with you about the 'fronts'... Once I started being more open about the difficulties I was having with my DS, it's amazing how many other people 'came out' about their teenager problems too...

Shagmundfreud Wed 09-Jan-13 14:58:41

DD's finds it not good enough to say that she hates me and that I'm a shit mum.She says that EVERYONE hates me and thinks I'm useless. That not only does she not want to listen to me but NOBODY wants to listen to me. That not only does she think I'm a shit cook and my food is horrible but EVERYBODY thinks I'm a shit cook and my food is disgusting. grin

Wishinglifeaway Wed 09-Jan-13 19:23:42

Just been reading - not posted for a while; feel totally exhausted and a complete failure. DS2 is just a nightmare. I am a total wreck, been prescribed antidepressants though none taken as yet.

I wish I could "detach" but I can't....if he was a nightmare at home only, it be wouldn't good at all, but he chooses to take it into school too! He has had a distressing episode at school over 18 months ago, but didn't display any outward problems at the time, so nothing was really initiated for him regarding counselling etc. from school or ourselves quite frankly.

There's lots to say but would take forever to write, I don't know where to go now. Banged on every door available.

Had his CAHMS referral, presented himself so well that they don't NEED to see him now for a few months as he's not considered a priority, in other words not requiring urgent mental health care. But DH and I disagree. Have spoken to other outside professionals who have stated that they think the previous issue at school is an underlying problem.

Sorry just as desperate I as sound.

Wishinglifeaway Wed 09-Jan-13 19:37:12

Shagmundfreud - I've had that too, apparently I'm not a cool Mum at all. I'm far too strict, I go on all the time, and basically I'm totally hated and that DS2 can't wait to move out. Oh and I'm a *** fat freak, and lots of other vile verbal abuse.
Yes ok I feel like saying after the last eight months, I'm done....there's the door.

I would like to say on a personal note (ahem) I'm a 14/16 .... confused

Brightspark1 Wed 09-Jan-13 22:13:29

Maybe we need to rename this thread The Worst Parents in the World Club!
I was called an evil bitch who deserved to die by DD, and criticised everything I said, did, wore and so on. We are supposed to take it all on the chin , rise above it and ignore... We all know that but trying to parent a troubled teen does wear down your self esteem , especially when we are feeling judged by schools, police, social workers, CAMHS staff etc etc.
Maybe trying the mantra 'I'm doing my best under impossible circumstances' can help , that and finding an outlet for the tension and emotions that we are carrying around with us.
flow things are good - ish and getting slowly better. DD has been spending more time at home which has been going ok, DS is finding it difficult though, he just can't understand or accept DD isn't at home sad
I have finally pinned down social worker and care home manager to a meeting next week regarding the lack of communication and support for DD in returning home. Wish me luck!

flow4 Wed 09-Jan-13 22:51:54

LUCK! grin

(It's sounding v positive... fingers crossed... smile )

Midwife99 Thu 10-Jan-13 01:25:45

Hi all, seasoned mumsnetters but new to this thread. DS2 is 19 & has been challenging since a "terrible two". Diagnosed with ADHD at 5. We've been through it all, theft, drugs, alcohol, violence, car stealing, truancy, psychosis, "conduct disorder", prison (4 times). He left home at 16 after beating me up, was under care of social services in various temporary settings from Foyets to B&Bs. He came out of prison again on 21st Dec, has sofa surfed & used night shelter since as now homeless. Stayed here a couple of nights but we take all keys & valuables to bed with us. The latest - on sunday lunchtime he had a row with 30 year old GF (who has a toddler & on methadone) because she's back on smack, stormed out of her flat, she wouldn't let him back in to get his things & he punched through a double glazed window. He has severed the artery, tendons & nerves in his forearm & had 9 hours of microsurgery yesterday in a regional specialist hospital. He will never have full use of his hand again. The police will arrest him on discharge from hospital for criminal damage & breaching his license conditions. What little hope I had for his future has evaporated. hmm

MuchBrighterNow Thu 10-Jan-13 07:05:33

Jeez Midwife how terribly traumatic for you all ...maybe this event could be the one to shock him into reigning it in a bit ? <trys desperately to think of something hopeful to say>

flow4 Thu 10-Jan-13 07:23:29

Oh good grief Midwife. I'm so sorry. That must be incredibly stressful. How are you doing?

MuchBrighterNow Thu 10-Jan-13 09:55:33

wishinglifeaway Your Ds's behviour does not make you a failure ! Its so easy to blame ourselves.

My Ds also managed to charm the psychotherapist he went to see into inaction. Ds told me that the guy had colluded with him in thinking that I was neurotic and paranoid and that Ds obviously didn't need counselling !

You say you can't detach... maybe try to choose a tiny detail of his behaviour to detach from rather than the whole lot...

6 months ago i was a wreck with stomach ulcers. I have learn't little by little to detach /look after myself. By not looking too far forward and making an effort to notice the good as well as the dire, day to day life can improve!

Wishinglifeaway Thu 10-Jan-13 13:16:21

MuchBrighter Thank you for your reply, it's just what I needed at the moment. Think DS2 is bordering on a permanent exclusion from school and it's this that I'm really not coping with right now.

Midwife99 Thu 10-Jan-13 14:35:11

I feel weary if I'm honest. I know that somehow this will end up being my fault, or that somehow I will fail to "be there" enough for him. Obviously I feel very worried for his future but it's hard to feel sympathy for him when he brought all of this on himself. hmm

flow4 Thu 10-Jan-13 17:31:43

Wishing, I nearly had a nervous breakdown when it looked like DS was going to get permanently excluded. I was already barely hanging on in there, and the only reason I could cope was because he went off to school each days, so I got a bit of respite. When I thought I was going to lose that, I was utterly desperate. Are you in regular contact with the school/college? I know some schools/staff operate 'by the book', but I do think that some realise how hard it is for some parents, so they might take pity on you and find another option if they realise how much you're struggling...

Midwife, when my DSes tell me it is all my fault, I find a sort of matter-of-fact, mock sympathetic sort of agreement helped: "I know, I'm really shit aren't I? I don't know how you cope... Why don't you see whether anyone else's mum will have you?" hmm grin I know exactly what you mean about feeling weary - somehow this little bit of humour helped me feel slightly less exhausted...

Wishinglifeaway Thu 10-Jan-13 18:44:19

Flow, thank you for your reply. We are in contact with school, numerous meetings and the one I dread next week. I'm not sure they fully understand how desperate we are, I'm convinced they think we're just completely useless parents.
Actually, I that's how I feel. Has anyone had any experience of Oppositional Defiant Disorder?
Googling far too much at the moment!?

flow4 Thu 10-Jan-13 19:54:24

I used to do that. In the end I decided it didn't really matter why DS was behaving the way he was (personality, ADHD, ODD, drugs, peer influence... etc...) - what mattered to me was dealing with it. This meant changing my behaviour, responses and attitudes rather than his - particularly trying to detach so I wasn't so hurt and angry, and being nice to myself... All the stuff I was banging on about to Ghosts, upthread! ^ ^

Midwife99 Fri 11-Jan-13 07:53:20

Yes detatch seems to be the only way I can survive. I'm detaching from all the manipulators in my life very successfully at the moment. His situation right now is obviously an extreme one & I'm visiting him & sorting out clothes & benefits etc for him but I'm still not going to take total responsibility for him, ie take him home with me. & look after him let him wreck my house, steal my belongings, set up a drug den & have my younger children removed by social services

Maryz Fri 11-Jan-13 08:26:52

Midwife, you seem to have really been through the mill sad. I think the only way to survive this type of thing is to only let yourself think about it when they are actually there or when there is something you can physically do.

The thinking about it all the time, the "what-ifs", the waking in the middle of the night thinking "should I do X" or "should I have not done Y" is the most exhausting. That and the guilt, and the fact that we all the time have such mixed emotions - we simultaneously have to love them and dislike them, we simultaneously have to be open with other people, while desperately trying to excuse (in our heads) their behaviour because in our heads they are still the babies and little children we loved so unconditionally sad.

It's an ongoing grief. Basically, a grief for the child we had and the adult we thought we would have. But it isn't a grief we can come to terms with, because it isn't finite, it keeps sticking its head up when we least expect it. So we can go through the early stages of grief (the denial, anger, blame, bargaining, resentment, depression etc), but we can never get to the acceptance stage, because before we get there we go back to the beginning.

It's exhausting.

You are doing your best for him still, in any practical way you can. That is all you can do.

Wishing, I don't really think googling behaviours helps, because unless your son accepts that he needs help, no amount of diagnosis will help him.

I am very lucky with ds2 - he has just been diagnosed with ADHD, but accepts the doctors are trying to help. He is trialling medication, he talks to me when he has problems in school, and (surprisingly to me) he recognises that his teachers are on his side and want to help him. ds1 on the other hand, genuinely thought that everyone was against him, and refused help from anyone. I'm confident that their attitude will be the major contributor to their future behaviour, not any diagnosis or lack of it.

Do you have an alternative if he is excluded from school? Do you have a local PRU unit, or an early school-leavers course? The important thing is to get him out of the house each day, doing something, anything. ds1 was excluded permanently at 15 and was at home doing nothing but getting more depressed for two years, which nearly destroyed me - and him.

Maryz Fri 11-Jan-13 08:29:54

I am also a paid up member of the "worst parent in the world" club. Even dd had a go at me this morning because I made her go to school hmm. Apparently she is dying of the flu.

Wishinglifeaway Fri 11-Jan-13 12:11:05

Maryz, thank you for your reply , we do have something in place locally.
Phoned everywhere, and suggestions were to re-contact CAMHS again. V bad morning with him, god knows what he'll be like when he gets in.

I did try the detachment just the last day or two, DH dealt with him, but DS2 then took this as me not caring and upped his bad behaviour ....

Maryz Fri 11-Jan-13 13:11:12

Yes, he will up it - but a bit like toddler tantrums you have to see it through.

You have to, for your own sanity.

So develop a series of platitudes "It's a pity you feel like this" for example. Say "oh dear" a lot. Walk away (without confrontation) as much as you can.

Eventually he will realise that you won't rise to it, that you won't get angry or upset, that you won't launch into "why are you doing this to me?" type rants, and then when he realises he will stop.

As long as you keep involving yourself, he can blame you for everything that happens, which gives him a cop out - after all, why should he face the blame himself if he can fob it off on to you?

But like anything else it takes time. And if CAHMS won't see him (or he won't go), look for help for you - family counselling (which ironically ds didn't attend even once, so why they call it family I have no idea) saved us - it saved my mental health, my marriage and my relationship with my younger children.

This is such a good thread and thank you Maryz for starting it, I've just spent the last few days rereading it and thinking about what should happen next with ds. Apologies for not updating sooner.

Ds is still at his dads and afaik doesn't want to come back just yet. I've text him, no reply and I've talked to his dad who says he's fine, no problems which is good but makes me feel as if the problem is me.

I've been thinking on what needs to happen and what I can or can't tolerate. I think no violence or smashing doors or walls is a biggie. I can't have that anymore, the police seem to agree with me. Keeping the noise down at bedtime too is important.

I don't know what to do about the bedroom thing. Ds is in the box and my girls, all three share a room which is the biggest.

Detaching is the hardest part and the bit I struggle with, if I don't respond to him it's then he starts smashing things.

I am ok, the week had been peaceful and a much needed break.

And the kids rooms are next to each other

Wishinglifeaway Fri 11-Jan-13 14:40:22

Yes I will try and thank you for your wise words, how on earth you managed. So much respect, I am slowly crumbling under the stress of it all and I feel so sorry for DS1 who has to listen/cope/ignore all the turmoil, so I will need to try and not engage with DS2.

I'll ask the GP or google family counselling locally. They may do it under the CAMHS umbrella, but difficult to get hold of them as they're inundated with case loads , which speaks vloume.

Timetoask Fri 11-Jan-13 14:45:28

Just wanted to say, good luck to you all. I hope your children overcome their problems.
I don't have teenagers (yet), I know how difficult the teenage years are.
In hindsight and with the steep learning curve you've had in helping your own children, is there any advice you would give parents of younger children, is there anything you would have done differently? Is there anything any of us can do to avoid these troubles?

Maryz Fri 11-Jan-13 15:46:43

I don't know Time, I really don't.

It might be the child, it might be the parent, it might be the circumstance, it might be a combination of these and/or peer group and/or school and/or bad luck.

But one thing I do know is that for us who are here now, looking back is a disaster. There is nothing worse than for someone in my position to say "I wonder had I stopped it earlier/moved house/moved school/put him into care/thrown him out/kept him at home/been more strict/been more liberal would things have been different?"

Because thinking like that leads to such immense regret, guilt and grief that I can't bear it. And it makes my life as it is now impossible.

So I no longer (after years of counselling) look back.

Maryz Fri 11-Jan-13 15:53:28

Ghosts, I'm not sure about the bedrooms.

Can you have time limits or is he not willing to compromise at all? Can your younger ones have white noise to minimise them waking? Can ds stay at his dad's for a while - what is the situation there? Because it is not a failure to admit that you both need a break, and if staying there for a bit is the price you pay for him to calm down enough to reason with, maybe that is the answer.

By the way, ds2 is really calming down with medication - I'm amazed at the difference in him (even though he refuses to admit it makes any difference). He is so easy to talk to at the moment - except in the evening when he is like a bear. So that may be the medication wearing off, possibly.

I would never have thought I would say this, but I'm now in favour of trialling medication with children - for anxiety, depression, ADHD, whatever. If they themselves are unhappy with their lives (and so many of them are), where is the harm? As ds2 himself said, if he had epilepsy or cancer, we wouldn't hesitate.

I still think if the gp had given ds1 anti-depressants/anti-anxiolytics at the age of 11/12 he might never have been desperate enough to go the illegal vallium/cannabis route.

In fact, that is my only regret (and I try not to think about it) - I should have pushed for more intervention when he was much, much younger, when he was still willing enough (or young enough to be persuaded) to accept help.

Of course, had I pushed for it and he had gone off the rails anyway it would have been all my fault for drugging him (bad parent that I am) grin.

flow4 Fri 11-Jan-13 18:52:45

Evenin' all smile

Ghosts, I think no physical violence against people is absolutely non-negotiable: I'd suggest you tell him you will call the police if he is ever physically violent or threatening, and do it.

I think insisting there's no physical violence against things is harder. It seems to me that these angry teens have so much pent-up frustration, and that they need some way to let it out. I got DS1 a punch bag, but it was after he most needed it, and he was already calming down. I think it might have made a big difference if I'd thought of it earlier, so it might be worth a try... Also, after I'd introduced the 'no violence' rule, DS almost-lost-it a couple of times, and smashed bowls/plates, though he controlled himself enough not to hit me or walls... And I didn't call the police then, because it seemed unhelpful. It was as if he needed a bit of extra 'practice' before he could control himself completely.

Wishinglifeaway Fri 11-Jan-13 19:02:42

MaryzI agree with med route fully. I have read so much on nutrition etc affecting brain chemicals etc, why not try with meds for our teens to try and change their brain pattern links.

DS2 came home from school trashed his room, pulled out a knife on us, fought us all, and has then taken his laptop to sell on to the family down the road!

CAMHS got back to DH and said , well you know what teenagers are like.

Wishinglifeaway Fri 11-Jan-13 19:14:47

Sorry just read my last post and thought god I sound like I'm condoning this by my blase response, which I'm not, just exhausted/scared/exasperated/resigned/frightened.

Just reading everyone's posts previous, and thinking I wish I was stronger.

Phoned the police, not the emergency number, no-one available, next time we call he will be locked up their words.

I'm rambling now.....

Maryz Fri 11-Jan-13 19:21:47

Don't worry about rambling. We've all done it - and this is a great place to do it.

Was it a kitchen knife (I had to lock mine away for a bit)? I think you should call 999 next time he has a knife as that has to be a complete no.

Selling his laptop sounds like he really needs money, which to me says probably drugs sad. Do you think that might be it? ds used to go berserk when he owed money to dealers, because he knew he had to pay or would be beaten up badly - and Friday night was settling up night. The fuckers would give drugs to the kids on the understanding that they would pay next Friday hmm, which meant that Friday was a day for stealing/lying/running away/smashing up the house.

flow4 Fri 11-Jan-13 19:34:49

Wishing, don't apologise. You have nothing to apologise for. There is no way to deal with that sort of behaviour and not be "exhausted/scared/exasperated/resigned/frightened". sad

But seriously, you should not be living like this. You need to draw a line in the sand - your bottom line. Pulling a knife on you and fighting you is not OK. It doesn't matter at this point what the reasons are, or what support you are trying to put in place for him: what matters is stopping this. Next time he is violent or threatens you physically, call 999.

When he comes home - when you next speak to him - tell him you are going to do this. Mean it. And then do it.

Don't faff around with the non-emergency number. Call 999.

You don't need me to tell you that pulling a knife on you is an emergency. One day he will just go that little bit further, and one of you will be stabbed. Or dead.

Maybe you need to hear what I said to my DS after I called 999 the third time, and had him arrested and charged with assault and criminal damage (because it was the third time)... I said "I can't control you any more. You need to control yourself. And if you don't, I have to call in reinforcements to control you".

That's what I had to do. I think it's what you have to do.

I'm sorry if I sound hard, Wishing. I am not. I am very, very sympathetic. And I know from direct experience how incredibly hard it is, and how impossible it is to do the 'right' thing. And how you are 'damned if you do and damned if you don't'.

And I understand that it will nearly destroy you to call the police and have your own son arrested.

But I also understand that it will destroy you if you allow him to continue to be violent towards you.

You do not deserve this.

You can stop it.

We can be here to hold your hand.

flow4 Fri 11-Jan-13 19:41:28

Cross-posted with Mary.

Also, it might help to know that when I finally had my DS arrested, his violence towards me stopped. He never did it again. It has been about 9 months now.

Maryz Fri 11-Jan-13 19:48:58

ds never threatened me after I called 999 either.

He did punch holes in walls. A lot. But then can be fixed. And I never, ever tried to stop him leaving as the one time when I was really scared (the knife episode) was when I had tried to stop him going out.

willwegetthrough Fri 11-Jan-13 20:11:33

Haven't posted for a while as dd has been pretty ok for the last month or so. I hope that is the CAHMS counselling helping, but have been upset today to see a really horrible cut on her arm but tried to deal with it in a matter of fact way so asked her when she'd done it so I could figure out if there was any possible infection there. She completely blanked me, so I just gave her a tube of antiseptic and suggested she make sure it was clean. Now feel guilty about that. I really thought she'd got past some hurdle, but that has brought me back to reality. I don't even know if her counsellor knows about the cutting (referral was a result of an o/d).

I'm sorry I can't be helpful to others dealing with really difficult situations and am so glad there are others so willing to give of their time and experiences to help everyone else. I hope 2013 gets better for everyone.

Wishinglifeaway Fri 11-Jan-13 21:52:59

Flow Maryz Thank you both so very very much for your replies, having people who understand and have been through this is really comforting. You are both amazing .Oh he's announced he's not coming home tonight.

Maryz, yes I think you're right he must be on drugs.

Question : If you call 999 and have your 15 yr old arrested do they have a record for how long is it until 18?

Wishinglifeaway Fri 11-Jan-13 22:20:45

Flow,*Maryz*, we confiscated the knives a few months ago, and then reinstated them, but obviously now, we now need to do it again. sad

I am on the floor right now. He has assaulted us/house etc. and yes Flow you're right zero tolerance.

I am just really frightened about calling the police - record etc?!

Maryz Fri 11-Jan-13 22:53:54

ds1 has no police record. Despite being picked up with cannabis a few times, losing his temper and smashing up a police cell, abusing police, being involved in a fight and having us call 999 on him (all over a period of about three years when he was 13 to 16).

The police will try very hard to give him a fright, not a record.

If you do nothing and let him behave like this, then he will end up with a record anyway sad. But your safety has to be more important.

Wishing, I'm not very good with words and flow4 and Maryz can say it much better than I can but ringing the police is a must if your ds is violent. No matter what problems they have, diagnosed or not, does not give our children the right to cause us physical harm. We have a right to be safe in our own homes and we wouldn't put up with violence from another adult.

It took me a long long time to see this and lots of time spent on the Sn board on this site and lots of talking with others that have been through it (I have name changed since last year though). My ds would lose his temper and throw things at me, punch me till I was bruised, shove me over and hurt his little sisters. Once he tried to sever his four year old sisters finger in his door, I try not to think about that day too much.

The first time I called the police I was heartbroken. It was horrible, just horrible and it caused a rift between my ex and myself for a while until the police explained to him that what ds was doing was assault and it was better nipped in the bud now and not 16 when he was much bigger and could cause more harm.

Ds was totally shocked, did the whole crying and shaking thing and the promises thing. He apparently wet the bed that night too but he was at my exs that night so I don't know how true that was.

Did things get better after that? Yes they did for a while, although I've had police to him twice more the level of violence has decreased and I think the message is sinking in, although he did shove me quite hard last week.

I just have problems now with him being aggressive to his sisters, to doors and walls and verbal abuse and pushing boundaries all the time. I feel like I'm a failure to him but I'm not having violence shown towards the members of our family.

Interestingly he has never been violent towards his dad ( who is smaller than him) only towards the female members of the family. I often wonder why that is,

Brightspark1 Fri 11-Jan-13 23:48:10

Most of my kitchen knives and skewers are still up in the loft more than six months on, DD used them on herself more than threatening us sad
Having DC arrested won't necessarily result in a police record, in our area the police have a policy of reparation for adolescents, where they're made to face what they have done, and either make reparation to the victim or to the community without going to the courts. It's not an easy option, but the aim is to avoid bollocksing up their future more than it is already by adding a record into the mix. In my case the reparation bit didn't quite fit as I found it difficult to see myself as a victim of my own DD. sorry if this rambles a bit, but I'm tired. I didn't actually call 999, social services did as they phoned me in the middle of DD attacking me, so it wasn't my call. Calling the police on your own child is a horrible thing to do but it is necessary your DCs don't gain anything from believing that violence against you can be carried out without impunity.
willwe I do feel for you and your DD, if your DD is self harming, keeping a supply of antiseptic wipes, wound dressings and steristrips to hand is important, watch for any on the wrist or hand as if they are deep they can cause tendon damage, they would need A&E attention. Most importantly, try not to show panic or distress at their SH, the only way to avoid escalation is to show calm. Pleas feel free to PM me if you think it will help, DD has finally managed to mostly stop cutting (fingers tightly crossed behind my back)

Maryz Fri 11-Jan-13 23:50:34

God, this thread is ridiculous, isn't it?

Did we ever think when they were babies that it would come to this sad.

Maryz Fri 11-Jan-13 23:51:37

Sorry, sorry.

<kicks self up arse>

We are looking onwards and upwards, not back!

Hi flow4 and Maryz
Ds is on meds, atomoxetine 60 mg and I'm am going to ask for another review even though he's just had one as I don't think his tabs are as effective anymore, he will only take one tablet at a time so if they were increased he would have to take two..

I like the idea of a punch bag too, worth a go. He isn't rolling to compromise either but I thought I'd change the dds room around a bit, move all the beds away from his wall, they are in the best position there as there is more space but there must be another way to fit the beds in.
Ds dad suggested taking the Xbox out of his room altogether and putting in the back room downstairs but that's going to need some careful handling!

White noise? Do you mean something in the background like a radio playing or headphones maybe?

I think with regards to breaking things or damaging walls and doors then I have still got to be firm and not accept this. I can cope with cups and bowls being broken or his own possessions but I can't deal with structural damage. I live in a council house and I've already had a warning from the council over damage to the doors, the inspector came to thr house for a different matter and reported the damaged doors. I've had to spend hundreds on replacing nine doors, out of the dla money and now he's gone and damaged two more. I'm in the middle of a house swap and its important he does nothing else.

He's back. His dad dropped him off at ten pm and he's not allowed to play on his Xbox in his room. He thinks he's got one over on me because he's playing on the ancient family one downstairs, but it's a win win because he's not in his room disturbing his sisters!

He also spent half an hour discussing the merits and the different wash cycles on our new washing machine, he actually sat on the fridge and waited for it to stop so he could put a load on himself! He baffles me.

Maryz Sat 12-Jan-13 00:16:04

The washing machine thing sounds very aspie, doesn't it?

I'd let him have his xbox downstairs you know.

good luck. I'll be back tomorrow (to try and sort out who is who, I'm getting a bit confused). It's great, but also sad, that there are so many of us.

flow4 Sat 12-Jan-13 01:42:13

Wishing, it's too late for me to be coherent now, so I'll come back tomorrow or Sunday and tell you more about what's happened when my son has been arrested.

But I echo what others have said: the police were not heavy-handed. In fact I think they have been more use than any of the many other services DS has had contact with...

Wishinglifeaway Sat 12-Jan-13 09:26:01

Thank you for your support all of you. As he hasn't come home and probably won't this weekend like he used to do before, we are at the stage of whether to call the police and report him missing.

Technically he is as we really don't where he is, I know he said he was at this particular house, but we don't know which one and whether it's the "dealer's" house or elsewhere.

I say the dealer's as I strongly suspect that they are and if I mention them as dealer's he goes beserk, but I have no real hard evidence, and could be completely barking up the wrong tree, but sadly I think not. sad

I also praise the police too. In fact the first time I called them one of the pcs turned to me and said I do know what your going through, I have an ADHD/ aspergers teen myself and I know how difficult it can be.

I found them a lot more useful than TAC for a start, who did nothing but try and find ways to blame me and his sisters and asked me if I thought calling the police was necessary and think of my poor traumatised son. Thank god I'm not with them now.

Oh wishing I don't know what to say but <<hugs>>,

Maryz Sat 12-Jan-13 10:30:12

ds spent a lot of nights at our local dealers as well, when he was 14/15 and useful for running drugs hmm. The first couple of times the police would bring him home. Then there was a memorable evening when the police informed me it was normal for 14 year olds to have "sleepovers" with friends, and I was basically controlling to call the police about it hmm. That was the only bad experience I had with the police and ironically it was a young police woman who said it.

Once ds became a "habitual runaway", i.e. once he had stayed away all night a few times, the police no longer got involved.

I had to accept that he wouldn't come home on a Friday night. And after a while I managed to rationalise it by saying to myself that there were two possibilities. Firstly he was fine and would wander back in the following morning - and there wasn't much I could do about it. Or secondly he wasn't fine (he was dead or beaten up or badly hurt in some way), but there wasn't anything I could do about that either.

So eventually I trained myself to be able to sleep.

We are back to the - deal with them when they are there and you have to deal with them. When they aren't there, get on with the rest of your life and stop with the "what if's". If you can't physically stop the behaviour, worrying about it certainly won't stop it.

Midwife99 Sat 12-Jan-13 10:49:37

I agree - the police have been very supportive to me over the last 3 years. Also there's a local police officer who works in a new field trying to prevent reoffending after prison release who is doing everything he can to help DS with benefits, accomm & getting his life back on track. Much more useful than SS have ever been.

Wishinglifeaway Sat 12-Jan-13 11:03:43

Once again thank you all so very much for your support, I just don't know what the next step is.

He's back now after a few txts/phone calls if you don't come back we'll call the police. But, in a foul mood obviously, and planning his next tirade, with his usual vile verbal abuse.

Maryz Sat 12-Jan-13 11:08:06

How old is he wishing? I'm getting a bit confused and I can't remember.

Wishinglifeaway Sat 12-Jan-13 11:24:04

Maryz, he's a very immature 15 year old.

Who denies it all and intimidates us to get his own way, there finally said it.

Hello wishing . Your son sounds like mine did at 15 - he is ten years older and still incredibly immature. We tried to deal with him for a long, long time within the family and only called the police after he tried to stab DH. He was eighteen by this point. The police were terrific and we never regretted it. In fact, they were more supportive than our useless GP and the school, who downplayed everything with a 'Teenagers, what d'ya expect? attitude. And more to the point, the shock of bring arrested stopped him attacking us.

As for the insults, things got better when I learned to tune them out. I became an expert at saying 'Oh sweetie, I can hear you are a little out of sorts today' grin It saved my sanity...

It's so incredibly tough.

Wishinglifeaway Sat 12-Jan-13 14:16:53

Laura Respect to you I'm really not managing very well.

He's sold some of his possessions today & announced he's going to live elsewhere.

flow4 Sat 12-Jan-13 17:32:49

Remind me how old he is Wishing?

Sadly, unless he is a young teen - 13 or possibly 14 - the police are very unlikely to be interested. They will take the view (in my experience) that he isn't 'missing', he's at a friend's house and just hasn't told you where, and that it's a parenting matter rather than a police one.

If he's under 16, and you know the approximate address, and have good reason to think drugs are being supplied to him there, or he is being put at risk in other ways, then you could report this to them, and ask for action on child protection grounds. That might work. But it might not, and it will certainly make him angry, so it's not a straightforward decision...

I have been in exactly this situation many times. Generally, I think the houses where young people hang out do not belong to the dealers (who are usually more careful) but belong to other young people who are involved in drug-taking and have access to 'unsupervised' space. Round here, there seemed to be no shortage of places for them to go. For example, my DS had a 19 yo 'friend' who had been kicked out of the army and whose mum had an empty house up for sale because she'd moved in with her bf - so all the teens hung out there. There was also an 18yo girl who had a council house because she had two children, but her kids had been taken into care. There were a couple of houses where parents worked nights. There was one where mum was out a lot, staying overnight with a boyfriend. There were a couple where 'weekend dads' let the kids do whatever they liked, and were often more off-their-heads than the teenagers themselves.

When I had had my son arrested, he didn't come home for a week. I knew he was at one (or more) of these places. This was one of the main reasons I didn't throw him out permanently: I knew he had plenty of places to go where I did not want him to be, and where he would do more of the stuff I was trying to steer him away from - drugs especially. In the end it seemed the 'least-worst' option, to 'hang on in there', and wait for him to grow up... Thankfully, it seems like he is beginning to...

flow4 Sat 12-Jan-13 17:34:00

Oh, sorry... I started that post early this morning, then went out today and posted it without refreshing the thread, so I see you've already answered that Q... blush

flow4 Sat 12-Jan-13 18:00:44

The difficult thing, Wishing, is that probably isn't a 'next step'. My experience (and many other people posting on here) is that once they get to this stage, there is nothing you can do to stop them or change their behaviour.

That's why we say things like 'detach' and 'look after yourself' - because you can't change him, but you can change yourself. If there's any 'next step', it's that - realising that you need to be kind to yourself, or you risk going under.

Other than that, the choice is really just whether to hang on in there, or throw him out... sad

He will (more than likely) grow up eventually...

OneWaySystemBlues Sat 12-Jan-13 18:25:00

I'm introducing myself to this thread, having lurked on this and the last one. I have a 16 year old ASD son who is aggressive and violent at times. I've found CAMHS to be fairly useless, same with SS. We managed to get direct payments, and I realise we're lucky, but once they agreed they closed the case and only review us every so often to make sure we're not ripping them off. No help with how to spend it or any help with dealing with anger. My son has done a social skills group and has also been on a course for teens at risk of offending, which may or may not have helped. He did enjoy it though. He has improved a bit, with age, but when he goes off on one, it is really big still. We have holes in walls and doors and he has hit both my and my husband. I've thought about a punch bag before, and want to ask people on this thread who've suggested them what sort they think is best. I'm not sure we have the room/strong enough walls or ceiling to get one you hang - are the free standing ones any good and if so can you recommend one? We've had a pretty shitty weekend so far - probably following a stressful week at school with a GCSE that didn't go very well - but even though it's shitty, these times have been happening less frequently in the last few months. I'm really hoping we're not have a regression at the moment. It puts so much strain on us - you sometimes feel like it's just not worth living because there is nothing nice in your life and you're constantly micromanaging to try and keep your son on an even keel... I've found these threads to be very encouraging and I'm trying to get the 'detach' thing into my head so that it sticks.

I know that there is a tipping point where one day we won't be able to do any more to make it right and he's just going to have to deal with the consequences of his actions himself. The thing is, he is very immature and isn't into drugs/stealing etc. Almost the opposite. He has no friends because he's immature and socially very behind because of his ASD - we are his life. We take him out, we listen to him, we talk to him, we sort his problems etc etc. I worry because getting him arrested would be almost like getting a 10 year old arrested. It would stress him enormously. But one day we will reach that tipping point and I won't care any more about that because we can't deal with it any more. I don't know when it will be, but it will come one way or another. Anyway - that was a bit of a brain dump, but I'll be back on here I'm sure. Would appreciate any input about punch bags.

Hi, can I join you? I'm not sure I have any wisdom to impart that will help anyone else (although I am a primary teacher and SENCO, so you never know...) but this seems like a good place to talk about my eldest DD who is 15.

She has just had her first CAMHS appt and has very low self esteem and over the last six months has done a little self-harm (only scratching herself until she bleeds, but it is leaving scars on her arms). I didn't go to the appt as she is at boarding school and the Health Centre staff didn't tell me until the day before. She chose to go to boarding school at age 11 but has since said she wishes she'd left after Yr 9 to do her GCSEs locally. She is academically gifted, having got A*s in all her modules so far and has a place in a local 6th form college for September to do Further Maths, Physics, History and Critical Thinking A levels. She is the youngest in her academic year.

She has issues with body image, having been overweight (now 5ft 7 and a size 14) most of her high school years. She cannot say anything that she likes about herself. Her dad and I split 4 years ago and she has always seemed supportive of that, at times she seems very wise and she can see that I am much happier. He was emotionally, financially and sexually abusive to me and now that I have distanced myself he has turned on her and there have been numerous instances of emotional abuse. A few months ago she refused to see him at all for a month and her housemistress was a tremendous help and support in acting as a buffer between DD and her dad, even keeping DD's mobile in the office as she felt overwhelmed by his bombardment of texts, calls and emails. She tells me that he badmouths me to her and any opinion of hers he disagrees with is attributed to me.

I live with DP, who she adores and who has a fantastic relationship with her, and DD2, who is 13. DD2 is also on receiving end of exH's unpleasantness, but says little and takes the path of least resistance rather than risk inflaming him.

So, any experience of successfully boosting a teen's self esteem would be welcome. We did a makeover thing two years ago and she looked amazing, but I wonder if I were to book another would it seem too obvious what I was trying to do.

Wishinglifeaway Sun 13-Jan-13 00:03:05

Flow he's 15 and thank you for your reply yes I can see what you mean re changing our behaviour towards the situation.

Midwife99 Sun 13-Jan-13 11:08:53

Postmanpatscat - I think maybe her self esteem will grow when she's back home full time & settled in at 6th form college, although the initial transition may be difficult. Are the other girls at boarding school rich & "perfect" which makes her feel bad about herself?

Hello to the newcomers. I have no wisdom to impart this morning (or, indeed, ever wink ) but there is a range of experience here on this thread and I hope you find some ideas.

I'm off to visit my son this morning, currently living c/o Her Majesty. It is taking a large chunk out of our lives at the moment and I feel horribly low at the moment. It takes up the whole day as it's a three hour drive to get there and I am so weary of it. The sun is shining today and my youngest son would like to go and play on the beach, but I know my DS1 looks forward to seeing us and would be devastated if we didn't appear. Plus, he needs to know he has a family to come back to, otherwise he might just tip completely into a criminal life. Bugger.

I try to be positive but it still feels that our lives are revolving too much around what DS1 needs and less about what the rest of us would like. And there is no end to it in sight because he hasn't been sentenced yet <sigh>

I am training up other family members to come with us on visits in the hope that they might feel comfortable enough to take over the odd turn, if they know where to go and what to do.

Sorry for being dismal lump this morning. I'm sure I'll feel better later...

Midwife99 Sun 13-Jan-13 12:03:08

Laura - I really feel for you. I only ever made one visit to prison although DS has been in 3 times, 2 were very short sentences of only 3 weeks & I didn't know where he was until at least a week in anyway but he got 8 months the first time but only had to serve 3. I sobbed my way through the visit but luckily my cousin came with me & kept the conversation going while I got a grip. It's devastating - you feel like a criminal yourself in amongst all the "bravado" families who seem to be enjoying themselves. hmm

Maryz Sun 13-Jan-13 13:12:35

Oh, I feel for you Laura. I suspect (going on ds's recent activities) that I might be asking your advice soon sad.

postman, your dd sounds a bit like mine - and I suspect that a lot of dd's lack of confidence is due to a lifetime of comparing herself with her brothers and never quite living up to their activities - both good and bad hmm. I find now she is older just spending time with her helps. What doesn't help (I have found) is trying to solve her problems - when I come up with simple solutions she gets really stroppy, whereas if I just listen she often comes up with solutions herself.

You also have to remember that with her being away a lot you will only get the negatives from her when you see and talk to her. The few gripes she might relay to you after a day at school will be multiplied up after a week, iyswim. I have introduced a rule with dd atm that for every horrible thing she tells me about (work too hard, her being too fat, her friends not being nice etc) she has to tell me one nice thing, no matter how small. That usually makes her laugh (in a stroppy teenagery way).

I enjoy her company though, and I think she knows that, so I expect her to improve as she matures. She is also the youngest in her class - she is only 16 and her best friend turns 18 next month. So many of her friends are doing the nightclub/drink/boys bit that she is still a little too young to cope with.

OneWay - did you read the bit above about the 2/3rds chronological age? If you can look at your son as being an 11/12 year old in a 16 year old body, and mark time, you may find that by 21/22 he will have reached the maturity of a 16/17 year old and be starting to look more outwards.

Maryz Sun 13-Jan-13 13:16:56

Wishing, your son is very like mine was. The only advice I have is to reitterate what Flow said - be nice to yourself. Deal with what you can deal with. Put what you can't deal with out of your mind to stop you going mad. Only think about what is actually happening, not what might happen.

One idea I found great was keeping a diary of ds's behaviour (and later my reaction to it). I discovered that although I thought he was always awful, and that we had rows every day, when I started writing it down there were sometimes only a couple of incidences a week - but I spent the rest of the time anticipating them.

Write down good as well as bad things, to remind you that there are good things. At one stage I was writing down things like "he didn't slam his door" and "he went to work" - very basic. And then one day I found myself writing "he said thanks when I dropped him off" and "he put his washing out".

Tiny, tiny things, but they really helped my mood and my ability to cope with the really awful stuff.

Ultimately, our choice is to hang on in there, or to chuck him out. I have hung on (despite many times when I thought I should have chucked him out). He is, very slowly, coming round.

If I can just keep him out of jail and in college until June, he might, just might have a future.

Five years ago his best friend killed himself - they were just 15. I didn't think ds would see his 16th birthday, but he did. So there is hope.

Midwife99 Sun 13-Jan-13 13:47:33

The 2/3 chronological age theory is interesting - my 19 yo DS def only has the maturity of a 13 year old. Interestingly I told the nursing staff to treat him like a naughty toddler, stay calm & just keep repeating things - no you can't have more morphine, no you can't have more morphine, if you're rude to me I won't help you anymore. Etc etc!!

Maryz Sun 13-Jan-13 13:55:57

Yes, short simple instructions. Short questions with yes/no answers. Statements about what will happen etc. It is very like dealing with a toddler (a 6 foot 2, fit, strong and rather frightening toddler though).

But it does help me anyway to realise that ds is struggling. That although he looks like an adult, his brain is still that of a very confused young teenager.

My brother was very like my son - in fact nowadays I'm sure he would be diagnosed with AS (then he was a delinquent). He left school and home early, and only went back to college and found his calling when he was in his mid-30's. He's almost 50 now, and although still has many of the self-centred attitudes and lack of empathy, he lives a productive and relatively happy life.

Midwife99 Sun 13-Jan-13 14:38:59

Maryz - let's hope they'll be ok by the time they're mid 30s too eh?!!blush
I used to think - he'll be ok by the time he's 25. I think I need to move the goalposts!!

Maryz Sun 13-Jan-13 15:25:16

My goal is to still be (relatively) sane myself by the time he is 30 grin

Wishinglifeaway Sun 13-Jan-13 15:51:50

Thank you for all your very wise words I have so much respect for what you have all gone through....I really don't know how you have managed for the length of time that you all have.

Maryz how awful your son's friend killed himself, it must've been an horrendous time. My son has mentioned statements about me outliving him; whether this is how he feels re the situation he's in or seeking attention I couldn't say. When pressed he moves out of the room so who knows.

The diary idea does make a lot sense, it was mentioned to me from the Young Minds site also. Might need a large one, as he changes by the minute.....

Thank you for your good wishes - I always feel better when I have seen DS1, as he is coping quite well in there, but I get so stupidly tense beforehand.

The stupid bugger is fine but in complete denial now. Instead of thinking how he is going to turn things around when he gets out, he announced today that he plans to move back to our old town (which we moved from to get him away from the drugs, several years ago) as he feels more at home there angry .

The fact that the only people he would know are the druggy mates who will just bring him down, and that he will have no job, and no family there cuts no ice with him. I could throttle him...

I suggested that he think about moving locally to us ('too isolated') or to the small city nearby ('the people are too snobby there') or to the more lively town a bit further out ('I'd be lonely'). He can't see that Drug Bloody Central, on the edge of Rough Deprived London Borough is not going to be the place to stay out of trouble, get a job and make a decent life.

I think the 2/3 thing would fit him beautifully - he is a 16 year old in a twenty five year old's body.

Sorry, just having a bit of a grump before I go off to bed smile

barberburd Wed 16-Jan-13 14:08:56

Hi, Ive just joined this site and posted on another thread but think this is the thread for me.
I have a 19yr old D who I spend most of my time terrified of, in tears over or completely embarrassed in public by to mention but a few. I cant talk to anybody about it as its seemingly all my fault because i never lifted my hands to her when she was younger.
I just want to pack a bag and take myself and my poor son away for good but instead i have to come home to her every night because i love and worry about her ........

MuchBrighterNow Thu 17-Jan-13 22:32:32

Ds 17 totally lost it again. He broke the new phone throwing it and then irreparably broke an item of furniture by throwing that. (A piece that is incredibly precious to me.) His anger terrified dd8 and reduced her to hyserical tears.

I had suggested that perhaps I might have trouble collecting his girlfiend to come and stay tomorrow night as the school transport which they were going to catch has been cancelled due to bad weather. I dared to suggest that I would like to see the state of the roads tomorrow before committing myself to getting her. (She is in care so its complicated for her to come and stay. He had spent the day faxing letters from me for her to get the right permission to be able to come.)

I understand why he was upset but his reaction was so over the top. He then spent all evening alternatively hitting himself,shouting,threatening to kill himself, twitching, saying how much he knows I hate him, even though i assured him I didn't.

He has been stuck at home due to bad weather and no school bus for 2 days now. I have been a bit down on him because I have been working, DH is away for the week and even though they are all off school no one is bringing wood in, keeping an eye on the fire, tidying up after themselves etc. whilst I am running round like a loon.

It's possible he's having a drug come down which is making him behave in such a crazy over the top manner.... He's not had access to his usual scene.

I am so exhausted with it. I so wanted him to just be normal and go to bed and end the endless hysteria/ drama. He went on and on for hours and couldn't be calmed. I had to put dd to sleep in my bed. I even ended up agreeing his girlfriend can come just to try and make him stop. ..So his outrageous behaviour has just been rewarded. It's all so fucked up. he needed someone to spike him with a tranquillizer. I felt so emotionally battered I would have promised him the moon just to get him to calm down.

MuchBrighterNow Fri 18-Jan-13 08:11:05

Ds woke me up at 6.00 crying this morning to tell me that is girlfiend can't now come for some reason . How his life is so shit, its not worth living. It's always been shit, nothing to look forward too, stuck here in the middle of nowhere etc etc. He has a very bad stomach cramp. Could this be a come down. Or is he having some kind of mental breakdown ? Alternatively crying and very very angry. Not talking much sense.

Does anyone know about drug testing strips ? I need to find out if I am right about the drugs and if so which, or if I am, indeed as he claims, making him worse with my "paranoias" about his dope habits. He would definitely refuse to see a doctor. I understand why he is down but his over reactions are way off the mark.

Just braved the weather to take DD to school .. at least she is out of here, I suspect I'm in for another traumatic day.

Maryz Fri 18-Jan-13 08:33:16

It could be either, it could just be "normal" teenage angst.

When dd is really upset (about friends, a boy, not being asked to a party) she gets stomach aches and gets really angry as well as upset - and she is an apparently "normal" 16 year old.

I wouldn't try drug testing, I really wouldn't. There are a lot of things that disappear very quickly from the system and won't show up, and also some (like cannabis) that linger for weeks, so you can think they are using when maybe they had one joint three weekends ago. You won't learn anything, not really.

I would offer comfort food and a listening sympathetic ear if you possibly can. I find when ds is like this he sometimes talks more than he means to iyswim and sometimes I learn a lot.

barberburd, I'll go and have a look at your other thread in a bit.

Currently I'm constructing an email to ds2's school explaining why he lost his temper yesterday and put his foot through a glass door shock. His medication is playing havoc with his mood, and he seems to get a massive come-down in the evenings when it wears off, which is a bit scary.

The difference is that he is very, very upset and apologetic about the whole thing, and keen to talk to the doctor about it. Which makes is so much more manageable. But in some ways sadder to watch sad - he wants help so much. ds1 just refused all the help he was offered.

[sigh]

MuchBrighterNow Fri 18-Jan-13 09:47:47

Maryz. It's true , the aftermath is a good time for developing more understanding. Just had along chat and he agreed to a strategy to deal with his bursts of anger, so that felt like a glimmer of hope.

Sorry you are having a stressful time too. Did your Ds hurt himself ? I hope the school are understanding.... I really feel for him and you, I hope he gets the help he needs and they sort his meds out.

I really appreciate you listening and responding in such wise measured way when all the time you have your own dramas playing out thanks

Jay63 Fri 18-Jan-13 23:01:58

Hi first time ever doing anything like this and I am 49 years old! Has anyone ever asked their children to leave home due to their behaviour and if so did it work? My DS is 19 lazy wont work very verbally rude ignores his father completely he has had two jobs and walked from both of them I have tried everything I know tonight he really pushed the bar cursing swearing throwing furniture because I refused him money I know he smokes cannabis could this affect his personality in this way I am really at the end of my tether as I don't know who to speak to any help appreciated

Brightspark1 Fri 18-Jan-13 23:21:45

jay welcome to the thread. I'm sorry I can't advise, only empathise. If you look back through this thread, you'll find plenty of posters in the same position as you. As far as I understand, his cannabis use could be a direct cause of his behaviour. But it is a reason not an excuse and as flow would say, work out what your bottom line is in terms of his behaviour. You may not be able to make him stick at a job but trashing the place is not acceptable. That's something you and your partner need to discuss.

Brightspark1 Fri 18-Jan-13 23:44:45

I was beginning to think I didn't belong on this thread anymore as DD has been doing so well, working hard at college, keeping out of trouble and being discharged from CAMHS. Our relationship has improved so much as well. But she still remained in care and I am finding that difficult to handle. Yesterday we had a meeting with SW and the care home staff to discuss where DD was heading. I complained that nothing was being done to support and encourage DD to return home. DD attended second part of meeting and said she wasn't ready to return home. I was disappointed but accepted it and made sure that she knew that I felt her well being was the most important thing and we would put no pressure on her to come home. The meeting ended well and she gave us both hugs and she said that she loved us.
Tonight we get a call from the care home to say that she has punched another resident in the face and hit a member of staff. I don't know what made her snap. She then called the police to tell them what she had done and superficially self harmed for the first time in months. We are waiting to hear whether charges will be pressed. If they do press charges , her college course and her career will be in tatters as she will lose her CRB clearance. She is very contrite, but has started talking about being scared of hurting people again.
I can't help but think that the two events are related, and I feel bad that I put her under pressure to come home.
I don't expect any replies, but it helps to offload sad

flow4 Sat 19-Jan-13 12:03:11

Oh goodness, there's been a lot of horribleness this week, hasn't there? sad

Laura, I am incredibly impressed by your - I'm not quite sure what the right word is - level-headedness, perhaps. You seem to know - or have learned very quickly - how to detach and protect yourself from at least some of the angst and anguish... Mary advised me to detach ages ago - and I knew straight away she was right, tho' I still sometimes struggle with it...

barber, I was exactly in your position a year ago. Many of us here have been afraid of our own children and know how devastating that is. You'll find most of us agree that you have to 'draw a line' and call 999 if you are physically attacked or threatened. You have a right to be and feel safe, and so does your younger child. I'll look for your other thread and see if I have anything else useful to add.

Jay, I'd say the same to you: if he throws furniture or is physically violent and frightening, call the police. Those of us who have done it find we only had to do 1-3 times, and then our teens stopped. And yes, skunk can definitely cause that kind of behaviour, IME.

Brighter, that does sound like it could be drug come-down. But like Mary says, it can sometimes be hard to tell. I think what happens is that drugs heighten the 'normal' teenage reactions - so all/most teens get angry, say, or melodramatic - and those emotions are powerful, but still stay more-or-less under control... But a teen who is taking drugs will lose control of that powerful emotion... Suddenly you'll find they 'flip' from 'just' a bit of shouting and foot-stamping to total raging fury and throwing things around and kicking things - or you. sad

I would also advise strongly against drugs testing. There is absolutely nothing useful to be said for them, IMO. They don't actually detect many of the drugs teens are taking, and in any case, they don't help - you are still left with the problem of what to do...

I could guess, with probably more reliability than a testing kit - that your DS is using skunk (not at all the same as 'normal' cannabis IMO, and definitely causes a violent come-down) and ketamine (known just as K), and possibly M-CAT. They are the 'softest' of the drugs, and people who take any kind of drugs at all tend to take them... K and M-CAT were legal until a few years ago, so many teens think they 'don't really even count as drugs'. K causes bad stomach pains in some people. M-CAT causes loss of control/extreme recklessness and sometimes aggression - a user gets flushed and pimply around their nose/mouth, and smells like lemon toilet cleaner. hmm

It sounds like you have a basically good relationship with your son Brighter, at least on-and-off. smile Why not ask him? He might just tell you. And when my own DS was taking lots of drugs, I found it v useful to know that he would tell me the truth - I was able to direct him to reliable info like the Frank website and a couple of times when he got himself into particularly stupid situations (taking someone's dad's prescription meds, for instance) I could make sure he took action that I felt kept him safer than he would have been if I hadn't been able to talk openly with him IYSWIM.

Oh Bright, I am so sorry to hear you've had a set-back with your DD. sad It doesn't sound from what you've said that you 'put her under pressure'. The pressure is inside her own head, poor girl. It is really, really hard if you feel like you can't have and express your own honest feelings, because they cause problems sad Do you have someone else you can talk to to tell them how you really feel? It must make you soooooooo sad sometimes, and I think it's so important that you have some way you can express that grief.

Sorry to hear about your son's encounter with the glass door, Mary. What can I say that you don't already know...? Nothing, I suspect!

Welcome to our 'safe corner' Jay . I have a son a little older than yours who sounds very similar, and have made him leave home three times, with varying degrees of success.

It worked very well when we encouraged him out rather than chucking him out, so we maintained a decent relationship and could keep an eye on the state of his finances, larder and laundry.

Does he have somewhere to go, or a deposit for a place of his own? If he isn't working, he might not be able to find a landlord who will take him on.

If he stays at home, you have to feel reasonably safe and it is FINE to call the police if you feel threatened because he can't control himself. Those of us who have will tell you that it helped our out-of-control teens understand that they had crossed a line. Plus, the police are usually extremely helpful. And, yes, cannabis (or more likely, skunk) can cause terrible behaviour.

Bright I'm so sorry that you and your DD have had this setback. But it doesn't sound as if you were putting her under pressure. You come across as just hoping that you could get some help for her and that this would lead to her being able to return home. Blimey, I can't imagine that you would want anything else smile

It must have been such a disappointment, after all this time, that she took such a big step backwards but progress is progress and maybe things will settle down now.

I hope you are having a better weekend Brighter. My DS was prone to weeping and wailing when he was that age. I found he thought of so many things to rant on about that my poor brain would hurt in the end. It was so tempting to try to talk it all through and try to offer solutions, but I think sometimes he just wanted to 'download' it all onto me and that alone would make him feel better.

Is the foot ok, MaryZ ? It must have been painful and quite shocking for him.

Thanks for the vote of confidence Flow . I have had ten years and plenty of opportunity to learn to detach a bit. DH finds it all very difficult and has taken the latest turn of events very badly, and like most long-term-relationships, there is an unspoken agreement that, except in certain circumstances, only one of us can be 'offline' at any one time. I get to fall apart once he is better. I am looking forward to it... wink

MuchBrighterNow Sun 20-Jan-13 09:21:01

Thanks for all the kind words... I have had a horendous week. Ds has lost his temper on too many occasions to count. We are all on eggshells, trying to maintain a bit of peace.

He was ill last night so maybe that's why he's been so awful. Inspite of being wrapped up on the sofa with hot water bottles and lemsips , a dispute over the tv programme led to a very violent outburst from him. He then stripped off all his clothes and went to lie down outside in the dark/ feezing / sleety cold because he may as well die ! He didn't last long outside and I just kind of ignored it and then ran him a hot bath to warm up and get the mud off !

It's impossible to reason with him. His arguments make no sense at all. He's clearly suffering. I'm trying to be loving but I am scared of him and worried about his mental health. I am worried for my other Dc and I don't know how to handle this situation.

Would a drug come down make you feezing cold , with stomach cramps ? I have tried asking him Flow but he's very sensitive to me "always" going on about drugs. He came back from being out yesterday stinking of weed so it's not a lack of something to smoke that's doing it. ( I didn't even mention the weed even though he had a bag of it on his desk as I didn't want to set him off again)

Laura How did you support your son to leave home ? My Ds seems so incapable of looking after himself and we can't afford to rent him a place. He's saying how much he can't bear being at home as we live quite remotely.

Barber I really relate to how you feel. I love my Ds and am very worried for him ... but living with him doesn't seem to be working for any of us. We are all suffering and as he refuses help I feel very stuck.

Dh is due back today so I will have more support. He has a shorter fuse than me though and I am fearful that things could get nasty sad

I'm so sorry that you are having such a crappy time with DS, Brighter . But very well done for ignoring him rolling about outside in the snow - that must have taken a lot of strength on your part.

I can't say whether drugs would lead to stomach cramps. My DS developed what I assume is IBS during this time but without any proper diagnosis I can't be sure -he refused to co-operate at the best of times, so seeing the GP was reserved for life-threatening stuff only as getting him there was so horrendous. But he certainly had serious stomach cramping after a drink and drugs weekend and, as he got older, most of the time he would wake up in pain and need the bathroom constantly.

I never looked too hard at what drugs he was taking. I knew about the skunk, as he was smoking it constantly, and I guessed that it was the tip of the iceberg but tbh it made little difference to me what he was taking, just that he either stop or limit it. I think, if they are buying from dealers and hanging around with the type of young people who are taking drugs, then they will have access to all sorts of nasty stuff and it probably doesn't make much difference in terms of behaviour.

Without knowing your DS it is hard to say, but guessing from my boy's attitude, there can be a lot of power in withholding information from mum and dad... I found that we ended up assuming that he was just taking generic 'drugs' and coping (or not) with that, if that makes any sense.

I funded DS leaving home, twice. I secretly saved hard over several months beforehand as I knew he wouldn't, even though he really liked the idea of a place of his own. That was all good in theory but in reality he was too chaotic to even put away a tenner a month. I had to make sure he had an deposit, enough for the first month's rent, some furnishings and an income, as most landlords want working tenants. It was very hard work, particularly as DH was very much against it as he felt that we had invested enough time and energy in DS1 and he should just bloody well learn to behave.

It worked well for a couple of years though. I visited him regularly, sorted out his food and his paperwork, took washing home for him, he came here for meals and it was mostly civilised. There were incidents where he was in trouble with the police and his landlady and the other tenants and at work... but at least it wasn't directed at us wink

We did throw him out when he was eighteen though, for a few memorable weeks, as he was so violent that we were scared to have him in the house. Eventually, a relative found him, sleeping rough and very ill, contacted us and we took him back home to live. It gave us as parents, some breathing space but the guilt afterwards was horrendous and I would never suggest that as a solution. It broke all the trust between the three of us for a long time.

If I remember rightly though, your DS is only seventeen so a little younger than mine was. Would he cope on his own? I think I would be thinking of putting a little bit of money by each week until he is eighteen and then making the decision. I found it better to find the place, talk to the landlord and buy the stuff myself, as DS would become overwhelmed by it all.

In the meantime, do you have a willing relative who could give you a bit of 'respite' so you could regroup a little? I understand about having a partner with a shorter fuse - I had to keep my son and husband separate as much as possible (we didn't eat a meal all together for several years!) as DS would kick off and DH would automatically demand apologies and better behaviour. Cue several hours of screaming and self harming and door kicking...

I hope you have a more peaceful day today. As flow and Mary would say, detach, detach, detach. Please try to be nice to yourself and ignore what you can. For my family, I just want us to come through it all as 'a family' with all the love and trust intact. I try to picture DS as a forty year old, with all this present behaviour as a blip in his life, long since forgotten. I hope that for my other children (I have an older DD, very settled and successful, and a younger DS who is nine) they will see that no matter what happens, if one of us is in trouble, we don't turn our backs on them and we will do all we can to help because that's what families do.

It's bloody exhausting though, isn't it grin

MuchBrighterNow Sun 20-Jan-13 12:11:41

Thanks for your input Laura. I guess you are right... what does it matter really what drugs he's doing, I suppose I'm just desperate for a bit of understanding/ control of the situation. I'm also terrified of him smoking heroin as I know he knows people who do. Hopefully that's just my overactive immagination though at the same time I don't want to be naive.

Unfortunately we have no relatives who would take him in. He's burnt all those bridges already. I've been talking with him just now and we've had quite a peaceful morning together looking on line at volunteering programmes abroad for young people. He seems interested. I'd love to get him away with a complete change of scene working with other young people where he can make a difference. Maybe looking forward to something like that in the summer will give him a bit of hope.

It sounds like you have worked really hard to work out solutions for your Ds so that he could live independently. He's very lucky to have you on his side ! I guess that's what being a mum is all about... and yes it is bloody exhausting !!

Maryz Sun 20-Jan-13 12:45:42

I also think that it is less important to find out why they behave as they do, as to learn to live with it.

As parents, we assume that if we can figure out why - get a diagnosis of asd, or of a particular mh issue; find out what drugs and when they are using, work out what they want etc etc - then we will be able to find a solution. Unfortunately, ime, it is impossible ever for parents to find a solution. It is up to the child to find it.

The hope is that eventually they will grow away from it all - grow up, change friends, realise they need help and willingly go to a doctor or counsellor or rehab, whatever. In the meantime we have to learn to live with it without destroying ourselves.

We as parents have to make decisions on where we will draw the line - violence towards people, drug dealing in the home, stealing our property, letting strangers into the house are all to me things that I couldn't live with. And if the alternative is kicking him out to be homeless and possibly die those are the things that would drive me to it. Because I have to be safe. My younger children have to be safe within their own home. Life is impossible otherwise.

Most other behaviour I can live with, for the moment. I would love to set ds up independently, but at the moment I can't as I know he wouldn't pay rent/bills etc. He doesn't have the money. But on the other hand he is going to college each day, he seems to be intending to finish he course shock, he is talking about going away for the summer.

So I'm marking time.

But I would stick to the advice I keep giving - try not to be emotionally involved in their behaviour, always call 999 for violence against people, don't physically try to stop them from doing anything (walking out etc), keep valuables locked up. Try to be nice to yourselves, find someone in real life to talk to.

Brightspark, it is unlikely that she went off on one because you wanted her home; it's more likely that the general "meeting" atmosphere was stressful and she would have kicked off no matter what you had said or done. I mean, had you said you wouldn't have her home and she did this you would be blaming yourself as well.

Again I say - blame and regrets are banned on this thread. We are where we are, we can only move on from where we are, and do our best in the situation we find ourselves.

And we can continue to love our children, no matter how unlovable they try to make themselves.

Oooh, volunteering abroad sounds interesting! That would be the ultimate in 'a change of scenery' wouldn't it? He'd get to spend time with naice boys and girls, plus you'd get some respite from him. Could work... wink

I agree with you that goals are very important.

Mine did some volunteering locally and he quite enjoyed it (quite would be as enthusiastic as he got. About anything ) It gave him a focus, a reason to get up and dressed, and most importantly, a a sense of community. Plus it got him out of my hair when he was out of work yet again.

I can really empathise with the loss of control and the fear of quite what poisons they are consuming. I don't now about you, but I had absolutely zero experience with drugs - I was settled with DH at a very young age and I was a mum at eighteen. I seldom even have a glass of wine, for heaven's sake. I have certainly never taken a dodgy pill or smoked a funny fag. My only knowledge of drugs came from the media and then I tended to skip over it all as it would never happen to us, obviously, as we weren't that kind of family <hollow laugh>

He has since told me about some of the stuff he was trying as a teen (remember, he is 25 now) and I'm glad I didn't know as it would have sent me grey(er). I couldn't have stopped him experimenting and tbh, it made no difference to his behaviour what he smoked or consumed - he was a challenge no matter what he had been doing. I couldn't have stopped him and it would have just been an extra worry if I had known that this night he was smoking this or that night he'd shoved a load of pills down his throat. I don't know if that is the right way to look at it or not, but it worked for us.

Maryz Sun 20-Jan-13 12:46:49

By the way, ds2's foot (and hand from punching the wall) are fine. His housemaster is very understanding, and it looks as though they will treat it as a loss of control rather than deliberate bad behaviour.

It has given him quite a fright grin so may have done no harm in the long run.

Mary you are strict wink

DH put some old videotape onto cd disks the other day and there was DS1 on his second birthday, grinning away and playing cars and eating cake. I felt very tearful and then I had Mary's voice in my head (sounding a bit like Professor McGonagall, eerily enough, although I'm pretty sure you don't!) telling me to stop looking back and not to feel guilty...

Like Paul McKenna you are, hypnotising me over the internet grin

helpyourself Sun 20-Jan-13 12:56:08

Checking in with a general point about parenting teens and legal versus moral responsibility.
DD had a 'gathering' on Friday. She's 14 and had invited about 20 friends.At one point there were around 50. She knew them all, but there were many +1s.
DH was away and was horrified that I'd not kicked them out, mainly because once under our roof I was liable. My take on it was that as they were 14/15 max I felt my responsibility was to let them in and then supervise. I confiscated drink, made sure they were safe and not wandering the snowy streets, gave out taxi numbers and saw that noone left alone.
Three parents had called in advance to ensure I'd be there!
Not sure what my point is, or even if this is the right thread.

Maryz Sun 20-Jan-13 13:03:57

[arf]

My heart still melts when I see ds1 sprawled out asleep on the sofa, even though I know the sleep is due to a hangover hmm.

helpyourself, you have a point. I have been amazed at what some parents allow. And there are many parents who don't want to know where their kids are, but are quick to blame someone else if they get into trouble.

However, there are also parents who simply can't get their children to come home or to tell them what is going on. ds1 was regularly going missing for weeks at a time at the age of 14 sad. I still check with parents when dd (age 16) is staying overnight. So it isn't always that the parents don't care; sometimes they simply can't stop it.

I am much slower to blame parents than I would have been in the past - though is do reserve a rather special hatred for the parents who allowed ds to smoke dope in their house when he was 13, supplied by his friends older brother. His parents knew all about it, and thought it would do them no harm hmm

helpyourself Sun 20-Jan-13 13:07:52

100% no blame from me. I'm sure there have been times when DDs were not where I thought. I hope that other parents would have let them in rather than refused entry because they didn't want the responsibility.
Now what to do with bottled of cheap vodka and Diamond White!

There's a special place in hell reserved for those parents who allow their children and our's to take drugs. Our so-called 'closest friends' (pah!) 's child grew up to be the main drug dealer in my son's circle, aided and abetted by his parents who refused to take it seriously, let the other children buy and take drugs in their home, and sheltered our son many times without letting us know where he was. They were (and are) terribly intellectual and believed I was stifling my son. We don't speak now.

Their son is also now in prison <evil laugh>

<not really laughing as it is bloody painful to see your son in jail and I wouldn't wish it on anyone but still...>

flow4 Sun 20-Jan-13 13:44:55

Oh Brighter, I do feel for you.

Like you, I can't help fretting and wondering about what drugs my DS uses. I sort-of agree it doesn't really help to know, but on the other hand, I have found that getting (accurate, reliable) information has helped me feel a bit less out-of-control, and has helped me understand better about risks. But whatever drugs your DS is using, they are clearly causing problems for him - and you. sad

The drugs that are particularly known for sometimes causing stomach cramps are 'magic' mushrooms (but it's the wrong season for those - if it was autumn, that would be a likely cause), ketamine and MDMA/ecstasy. They're all widely available and it's quite possible your son is using any of them. sad

As far as heroin goes, it has a terrible reputation - and rightly so IMO, because it's highly addictive and harmful - but other drugs with less-bad reputations can be just as harmful. At least there are treatment programmes for heroin: if an addict admits they've got a problem, there is help available. There are no treatment programmes for the drugs teenagers are most likely to be using.

Having said all that, feeling freezing cold and having stomach cramps could just as easily be a virus. There have been ones with those sorts of symptoms going round here...

One of the stressful things about having a teen who's misusing drugs is that you start to be unsure about what's 'normal' and what's not.

You sound like you are in a very similar place to me this time last year, Brighter - or even last summer. I was agonising about what I could do, whether I should throw my son out, how I could get him away from his usual circle of 'friends', how I could get him to engage with something - anything at all...

There is still hope. A year on, my son is back in college, keeping out of trouble, and off the police 'visit' list. He's still taking some drugs, but not as many, and he's not selling his stuff or stealing from me to do it. He doesn't get violent any more. And he's enjoying 'simple' pleasures again... Like right now he's gone off sledging with some mates. smile Here's hoping things look up for you and your son too, Brighter.

flow4 Sun 20-Jan-13 13:47:16

Oh bloody hell, it took me so long to write that that I've missed loads of posts in between! blush Reading now...

Bigwuss Sun 20-Jan-13 16:41:18

I read this thread from time to time and I'm mostly in awe of the way you are all coping with what life has thrown at you. The advice and support on this thread is fantastic, makes me feel humbled and a lot more aware and understanding of what others are going through.

Wishinglifeaway Sun 20-Jan-13 18:06:54

Laura , I feel totally in agreement. We are having the same problem, NOT close friends but parents we know, but will continually disregard our parenting values and allow our child to stay at theirs against our permission; mainly due to what we believe is happening there, and them refusing to allow him home.

We have now contacted the police and we can initiate a Harbouring Notice if we feel our child is vulnerable, [god and gullable, naive, immature etc] at their house.

Not sure if this is this the best route, but it is an option. Or when he didn't turn up/contact us/or reply to our txts etc. for well over 36 hours. [Bearing in mind he's 15], we could also put into place a 72 hour Protection Order where the police would take the child away if we felt the child to be vulnerable and be in danger in the situation where he was! We didn't cal them, as it happened he did roll in eventually, but we were so close!!!!!

Sigh.......

Lilka Sun 20-Jan-13 18:37:13

helpyourself - I think that supervision worked really well and I would prefer that to kicking people out, unless strangers turned up that DD didn't know, which is different. But as long as the guests are known and not causing any major trouble, having a responsible adult to confiscate alcohol etc around seems great to me.

After an up-down week, DD is over latest bout of severe tantruming. I don't know how else to put it. She really is like a toddler, and I really don't know any other 16 year olds who do this. I mean they shout and strop and cry but DD is something else confused

I admit I'm not sure how much aggression to put up with. I mean, what counts as 'violence'? Probably a question for Maryz, I totally understand the 'call police if violence' approach but I admit to putting up with a lot without contacting anyone about it. Slapping? Kicking? Shoving? But as odd as it sounds, I really find that easier to cope with some of the things she has done that are not violent but still aggressive - spitting on me, deliberately shoving her finger down her throat and throwing up on me. Peeing in a cup and throwing it at me. Lovely behaviour, thankly apart from spitting, very rare now, but I find it worse than kicking and slapping so it seems odd to call police over that. I just can't see myself doing it ever unless it really escalated. I compare her to DD1 at age 12/13 who was more violent and tell myself I can therefore cope with it and we can have a light at the end of the tunnel hopefully as happened before. I mean, once DD1 ran at me and went to cut me with a knife, and I didn't call anyone, although I considered phoning SS and asking them to put her back in care. But she was remorseful afterwords and she wasn't trying to stab me with it, just slashing motions, so I told myself we could progress.

Or do I just have the ability to rationalise a mountain into a molehill? I don't know. I don't experience violence on a daily basis either and we progress all the time, we're on more of a fortnightly episodes now. I feel that police etc might be 5 steps backwards

Maryz Sun 20-Jan-13 18:46:38

I may be very naive, Lilka, but I imagine it would be different for me if dd was violent than when it is ds, simply because of the size issue.

He is six inches taller than me at least, and much, much stronger. I was afraid that he would really hurt me - I couldn't take a knife out of his hand, I couldn't physically make him do anything. I was actually frightened of him - that's what made me draw the line.

I agree that things like spitting/urine etc is worse psychologically, and appalling to have to put up with, but (if you take it from a physical point of view) it doesn't actually harm you (easy for me to say, I know, but I hope you understand what I mean).

Part of the no-violence rule wasn't just to protect me, but also to protect ds as had he killed or seriously injured me there would have been no going back. And if dh intervened we could have been in the ridiculous position of ds accusing dh of violence (at which point ss would probably have actually done something, instead of refusing to get involved, and might have got dh out of the house hmm).

For me, the violence that made me call the police were once when I actually thought ds1 was going to kill ds2, and the second time when he got all the kitchen knives and I was afraid he would kill me, himself, or the first random stranger he saw when he left the house.

He has never actually hit me. And the only time he hit dh was when he was very young, and dh tried to stop him leaving the house. So for us violence was more against property (holes in walls, broken doors and windows, cupboards smashed etc.

Wishing, I never got anywhere with the police bringing him home and getting orders to keep him out of other people's houses. He just told packs of lies to everyone, police included, and made us out to be over-controlling [sigh].

Maryz Sun 20-Jan-13 18:49:04

Bigwuss, thanks for posting that. It means a lot that people try to understand, even though they thankfully aren't in the same position as many of us.

I really appreciate it. And maybe if more parents read this kind of thread it will make them understand that the feral teenagers they are trying to keep their kids away from might actually have nice parents who are trying their very best to keep them on the straight and narrow.

Lilka Sun 20-Jan-13 19:15:13

Yes Maryz, I think size is probably a big thing, she is not very tall or heavy built or strong. Physically, I can hold her down. And even though she can be violent, I feel that when violent, either she isn't so out of control she would do me a serious injury or kill anyone, or she's SO out of control she's incapable of doing anything serious. I don't know if that makes sense to you, but she can have PTS episodes where she will dissociate completely and be in a frenzy of kicking and rolling on the floor BUT she is so babylike then i don't think she would have the wherewithal to try and attack me with a knife etc, i don't think she would have the control over herself and her body to pick it up and use it. So I feel like I have some control over the situation and I can keep myself and certainly DS safe.

If it was a tall strong 16 year old boy who I couldn't physically do anything with and I though really could hurt me, yes different matter i agree

And I do understand you about the psychological vs. physical. Psychological stuff harms psychologically (i mean, it really does, it's awful), but doesn't put me in imminent danger of my life.

MuchBrighterNow Sun 20-Jan-13 20:28:04

Lilka Your dd shows a very creative immagination in her abuse ! How awful for you. I have been spat at and had a lot of things broken but generally Ds saves the hitting and punching for himself. He showed me a big bump on his head yesterday where he'd punched himself whilst having a tantrum.

I suppose it boils down too how afraid the behaviour makes you feel. Whether it is putting anyone in danger. I worry that Ds could in a fit of temper do real damage inadvertently to someone as he tends to throw heavy items around. Sometimes he's kicked off in the car and that's really dangerous for whoever's driving.

I'm not sure at what point I would call the police. I've had the phone in my hand ready on several occasions but never phoned yet
Where we live they would probably take ages to get here and I worry it would have blown over by the time they arrived or Ds would have walked out by then.

Brightspark1 Sun 20-Jan-13 21:58:55

lilka , working out what constitutes violence can be difficult, I remember DD acting in similar ways; vomitting over the banister was a good one! She did escalate to physical violence, but in a weird way it was worse when she threw an entire bottle of food colouring over me, it was blue- And so was I for a while! It took bloody ages to get off confused . It wasn't exactly an incident to call the police over, but the intent behind it was just the same as if she had hit me - malice and inarticulate rage. I can't remember much od your backstory, but do you and DD have any support from CAMHS or similar? It sounds like you are going through hell, treading on eggshells waiting for the next outburst is a hell of a way to live. It's so important to build some escape for yourself into your life, even if it's just going for a coffee or something.

Brightspark1 Sun 20-Jan-13 22:16:56

flow and maryz, thanks for your support. You're right, I know it was the meeting rather than me that possibly precipitated the incident; but the meeting was at my instigation. It seems to me that every time things seem to be going well for DD, she does something to sabotage things. It's as if she is scared of doing well, she seems to see it as pressure in that it raises everyone's expectations of her. Despite being dyspraxic, she is very bright but has never tested her potential.
She is so quick to do herself down... FFS she rang the police after hitting out on Friday - she wanted to be punished, I'm a bit concerned that she may punish herself if no one else does. No charges are being pressed though.
One thing I've decided is that I have to let go of my old life as a parent, I will always be DD's mum, but won't be on a day to day basis. My contract comes to an end soon, and I've decided to look for a full time job, even commuting to London if necessary. Ideally I'd like to move back to London, in this small town I live in I can't go down the street without seeing DD's old friends or parents who either blank me, or worse give me pitying looks.
This disengaging business is so bloody hard to do isn't it?

Lilka Sun 20-Jan-13 23:36:38

BrightSpark - yes, we've had quite extensive support (thankfully) in the past through CAMHS and a specialist therapy centre. She made improvements following our time with the centre, she had EMDR therapy which really helped her PTSD. Her aggression improved - the throwing urine/throwing up on me incidents almost completely stopped following that, the spitting hugely reduced, violence reduced, school performance improved. It's been a bloody long struggle, but we're so much further on than 5 years ago, although she obviously still has issues which make life hard sometimes. Right now, she's finishing up a course of art therapy. One of the hardest things was the loss of support for ME after we left the centre. It was great for parents, they supported me and provided things just for me. I don't have that now. And I read this thread and frankly every one of us should have that!

It's not hellish for me right now, I do sometimes/often walk on eggshells and we have horrid days. But we have good days and good weeks and I couldn't live without her (as she is now). Janurary is a bad month for her in general, because it's stressful, a routine change (going back to college), and it's the month a lot of moves and traumatising things have happened to her in the past, so it all comes back up again now. I do need my escape hours, thankfully my part time work is a godsend and her college attendance is good so I do get hours where my mind can be taken fully off problems

flow4 Sun 20-Jan-13 23:40:41

Yeah, I'd second all that about the inarticulate rage - my DS has smashed countless things over the years, and I didn't ever phone the police until I was actually afraid he might smash me. sad

Funnily enough (well actually, it wasn't so funny, but bear with me...) I have just lost my temper at him, screaming ridiculous fury at him for the first time in about 3 years. It was all because he had worn DS2's games socks (yes, I know) hmm I caught him earlier as he was going out, and told him to take them off, and he didn't... A couple of hours later, DS2 spotted him and was cross because he needs them for tomorrow (but his crossness is very controlled: he said "Do you see why I hate him so much?" and stomped upstairs)... Then DS1 basically tried to duck responsibility and said it was my fault because I knew he was wearing them... And I started shouting... blush (In my defence, there's a bit of a backlog of things I've wanted to scream at him about!)

It's all totally trivial and a bit embarrassing but it's interesting, because it's the first time I've screamed at him in years - because of that 'walking on eggshells' thing. I have had to stay controlled because I was scared of setting him off... But not this evening...

I think it signals the fact that I'm not scared of him losing control any more - and he didn't. Phew. I guess that's progress. hmm

Those bloody socks are in the washing machine now!

flow4 Sun 20-Jan-13 23:46:09

Bright, letting go of your 'old life as a parent' sounds difficult and very brave, but a Good Thing.

Has anyone else ever thought that those of us who are dealing with difficult teenagers are incredibly brave? Not in some wishy-washy condescending way; but real, adrenaline-pumping physical and emotional courage... smile

njaw Mon 21-Jan-13 01:45:03

I can't begin to tell you how reading this thread has been a huge relief and brought about terrible sadness at the same time. Relief that there are other good parents out there facing some of the horrible stuff (and so much worse) that we are and sadness at how much you are going through.

DS2 is 12 and seems to be spiralling out of control at a terrifying rate. I've just spent 3 days at home as he managed to get himself suspended from school for leaping out of the school bus emergency exit and then telling the bus driver where to go. This is the latest in a long series of events where he has just seemed to lose all boundaries.
He's not taking drugs of that I am absolutely 100% sure, I'm very aware of the signs so I must be grateful for that. His bio father has just returned from 8 months away at her majesty's pleasure for conspiracy to supply and I'm totally convinced that a lot of DS's anger is surrounding this. My exMIL suggests its perhaps my fault as I refused to let him go and see him when he was away but then of course it's a lot easier to blame me than look closer to home lol! His father had weekend access for a few years then in the last 3 years was more interested in being away with the fairies than his son. When I realised what was happening, I restricted access to accompanied only to protect DS.

Till a year ago, my boy was one of the most empathetic and sweet natured kids on the planet and he still shows signs of it. I hate to say it but he's almost schizophrenic from this cute, understanding child to. .. How do I describe him?

Anger beyond understanding? I have tried it all, removal of privileges, reward schemes, staying very very calm in the face if him losing it entirely. I have lost count of the number of occasions when I have calmly stood in front of him and said "stop now and take yourself out of this so we don't escalate to something you'll regret later" to no avail. He's now struggling to stay in school not because he's not bright but because of the anger, we have a version of CAHMS coming up (some trial version of it) but I'm not hopeful as he's insistent that he doesn't want to talk to a stranger.

So now I've unloaded all this and I FULLY understand its nothing compared to what a lot of you are facing, I guess my question is, If you had your time over and could intervene before the teenage years, what would you do differently or is there even anything?

Apologies for any typos, autocorrect and lying in bed at 1:45 because I can't sleep doesn't make for great posts!

MuchBrighterNow Mon 21-Jan-13 08:04:02

njaw I am so sorry to hear of your worries for your DS. First of all there is absolutely no hierarchy in these situations. We all share the same worry/ stress fears...

I don't know if there is anything I personally could have done to change the way my Ds is. Maybe I wish I'd got a diagnosis and medication for ADHD when he was younger and more malliable. At the time I just wanted to accept him as he was and help him learn to deal with his character without drugs.... ironic now that he's self medicating himself into the abyss sad.

Be kind to yourself and let him know you love him... Disaprove of the behaviour but never the child... That's what I've tried and I am refusing just to believe I've failed as a parent.

Gosh, sorry you are going through this with your son njaw but welcome to the thread. I know how it feels to lay awake in bed, turning it all over and over and over...

I don't know what I could have done differently when he was younger. All my children have roughly the same personality traits - they are all stubborn, quite obsessive, articulate, intense characters. There is nothing easy-going about my children. DD has used those characteristics to make a successful, happy, settled life for herself, but DS1 has taken completely the opposite path in life.

If I was to turn the clock back, I don't know. I would probably have followed my instincts and tried to get a diagnosis for him. My youngest, DS2, has a diagnosis of AS and I strongly suspect DS1 does, too. Would knowing that beforehand help? Possibly not at all. But it might have given us some pointers when we were first struggling. But who knows?

Realistically, I suspect that a combination of personality, circumstances, obsessiveness, a drug culture within his peer group, and the excitement at being able to choose his lifestyle and defy his parents all crashed together and no amount of counselling, therapy, talking or even moving to a completely new part of the country (all of which which we did) , would have stopped him.

I think the advice on here given by the mighty flow and the amazing Maryz would be appropriate for you too - look after yourself , detach from the bad behaviour, remember that you will have a relationship with him for far longer than you both will have with the school (so make sure you put him first), and let him know you still love him.

foxy6 Mon 21-Jan-13 17:44:28

njaw I understand the stress with school My ds is 13 and was constantly in trouble in school . I felt this was having knock on effects with his relationship with us, so in My attempt to help him, us and his future, I have taken him out off school and am trying home educating him. the process is easier than I thought and there are no requirements on what I need to reach him. at the moment I'm concentrating more on our relationship and how happyness than formal learning. he has improved and is calmer, but its hard and he still flips just not everyday now.( excpet over christmas) he used to say he wasn't stressed with school everyone was just having a go at him for doing nothing. he now says he does feel less stressed.
I'm hopeful this will have made a difference to the future I used to see for him but only time will tell.
good luck xx in what ever you decide to do and be nice to yourself too.

Brightspark1 Mon 21-Jan-13 21:13:58

I second muchbrighter ,there is no hierarchy on this thread. Each of us is dealing with different issues and problems, each difficult in their own way, and each of us trying to manage in our own way.
There are many things I wish I had done differently, from choice of schools to accepting that DD needed help at age 11, when she cut off her hair and gave herself nosebleeds. She seemed to get over it and in years 8 and 9 seemed to be doing really well.
But as maryz says, regrets are futile. I did what I thought was best at the time with the information I had at the time. I can't even be sure that doing differently would have actually changed things. Looking back is pointless, I can't go back and undo things, so I am trying to carry on doing the best I can now. I think we all are.
Lilka you've had 5 years of this! I stand in admiration of you, you sound very together. I've often complained on this and other threads that there is so little support for parents, especially for parents of children with MH issues. That's why this thread is so important as a safe space to share, support and offload to others.
flow are we brave? I don't know, we carry on because there is no alternative. I certainly don't feel brave, just lurching on trying to make the best of things.

Midwife99 Mon 21-Jan-13 22:07:52

Njaw I second that there is no hierarchy here. I wish I could say something reassuring but when I look back to my 19 yo DS when he was that age his behaviour was similar & got worse as you can read up thread. BUT - he is one of 4 siblings, his elder brother is at the University of Manchester doing brilliantly & is a kind lovely guy who has never given me a moment's worry. His younger sisters are happy well behaved kids too. This tells me that I AM A GOOD ENOUGH PARENT. You are too. Sometimes no matter what you do they are on their own path & only they will finally choose to change it. Support & love him but don't let him destroy the rest of your kids' childhoods in the process.

njaw Mon 21-Jan-13 22:09:02

Thank you so much for all of your feedback, it really is invaluable. There are days when I really feel like I'm struggling to put one foot in front of the other, not so much because of the here and now, just the fear of him getting bigger, angrier and the fear of what could be ahead if he we can't help him work through this anger. DS1 is also hard work at the moment as he's in the midst of GCSE's and has the work patterns of a narcoleptic sloth.

Certain elements seem to be really frequent in a lot of the posts and so I started looking at ADHD/ASD as possible reasons behind some of DS2's behaviours. I found and downloaded a Connors Test and asked him to do an assessment whilst I did one as his parent. We both came to an average response rate of 2.6 out of 3 though didn't match our answers on how we got there. I think I'll push this when we get to TAHMS/CAHMS and see what they think. When I first read the diagnostic criteria, it was just like "hahah that's him"

School seem to be supportive at the moment, we go in tomorrow at 8am for a Return To School meeting. We shall see how we get on but I know the wheels are being prepped for the train to permanent exclusion. I would love to homeschool but not sure I have the patience! Though heaven knows I could certainly tutor through GCSE's considering how long I've spent rifling through schemes of work for my darling DS1!

So another question? I am sorry, its like finding water in the desert being here and I want to grab as much as I can in case you are all an oasis that disappears when I think I might not be the only one!

Today, I got home to discover that a huge pile of ironing that had been done today had been dumped back in the laundry rather than being put away. After a long tiring day at work, I flipped out over the frustration of it. Yet I was OK and found plenty of inner calm when DS2 told me he had been sent out of another class today for arguing with a teacher on the day of his return to school after suspension. We discussed why he had to argue, how we can support him respond better next time, what he was feeling through the whole episode - all the while chanting my MN-STPTT mantra's!
Have I totally lost the plot or is it sometimes easier to be calm in the face of the rough stuff and lose it over the minutia?

AngryFeet Mon 21-Jan-13 22:23:14

Can I ask out of interest - did any of you notice problems when your DC were young? I mean 5-10 years old. Or did these problems come out of nowhere when they hit the teen years?

Lilka Tue 22-Jan-13 00:06:36

AngryFeet - Well, my DD has always been like this, with largely the same problems, it's just as a teenager she's bigger and stronger and has a lot more hormones!

BrightSpark - I take quite a lot of support from online forums, either posting or reading, and this thread is great, though I don't have the same issues most people here have. I've been parenting her like this (with these behaviours and her MH issues) since the day she arrived home with me, when she was just turned 8, although as I said the therapeutic input has actually made things better and she was much harder to live with 8 years ago in many ways. I completely agree that support for parents is abysmal

I think looking back and saying 'did I do anything wrong' is useless. That doesn't stop me from doing it though! I often find myself thinking 'oh what if I'd done this this and this 6 months ago' and even on a weekly basis 'oh that incident 5 days ago, I could have handled that better'. I try and force myself to think 'it's done, refocus'. Because I think for all of us here, the way we handled things WAS good enough. We deal the best we can, and it's appropriate even if 5 years later you think 'maybe there was a better way'. People need to try and rethink where the line between 'bad handling of situation' and 'good' is. This is something i can often do now. I can look and back and say 'well, I didn't handle it wrong, i handled it best I knew how, which is good enough'

Bad parenting is not what you've done.

njaw - Yes, I totally understand blowing up at 'minor' things and remaining deadly calm when something is seriously wrong. Maybe when things are dire, we sort of shut down our emotions a bit? i don't know.

flow4 Tue 22-Jan-13 00:33:39

I think it's impossible to answer that question, AngryFeet, because what has happened filters everything that did happen... And because it's all chicken-and-egg stuff...

I can look back and say that my DS was in trouble all the way through school. He was bullied and was one of the 'rough' ones most likely to be told off for fidgeting or messing about or knocking someone over in the playground, and always more likely to lose his temper than other kids... In fact, there was a period of several years when other lads used to bait him, for fun, just to watch him go off like a rocket and get into trouble... hmm

Or I can look further back and say that he was an exhaustingly lively toddler, who never stopped moving, and never slept through, not once, until he was 3.5... Or further still, and say that he breast-fed for 50 minutes out of every hour for several weeks after he was born... Or that when I was pregnant, and doing that thing where you have to check your baby makes 10 movements in a day, I woke up one morning and counted 94 movements in my first minute of consciousness...

Yes, DS1 has always been full-on, highly physical, and inclined to be hard work...

But who knows whether any of these things are actually significant? It's a human instinct to look for 'patterns'in things, and my experience with him over the last couple of years makes me notice and remember the ways in which he has always been challenging. If he was a sweet, gentle, thoughtful boy now, perhaps I wouldn't think twice about all those traits I've just described. There are probably people reading this now who have gentle boys, who can also remember them as boisterous toddlers or hyper middle-schoolers...

Ultimately, if you're worrying about 'warning signs' and 'prevention', then you are focussed on the future and the past, not the present... And that isn't good for your health and sanity, and it isn't going to help your DC. You can't affect the past or the future; you can affect right now, so if you want to make changes, that's where to focus your attention and efforts. smile

MuchBrighterNow Tue 22-Jan-13 07:57:43

Flow I think you got my Ds twin ! Your description is perfect for him even down to the hyperactivity in the womb and the kids baiting him because he lost his cool so easily!
I am trying to stay in the present. When I think of my Ds' future I try to autocorrect all my disaterous immaginings and instead try to visualise him as a happy, healthy adult.... it does help.

njaw Tue 22-Jan-13 10:46:00

Practical advice needed - if I need TAHMS (local version of CAHMS) to move at more pace, what pressure do I apply and where?

Been to school this morning, bit disastrous and they advised me to really push them for a re-booking of the appointment. I'm thinking at this point my best bet is to emphasise the fact he's facing expulsion as I know that's hugely costly to the council? Anything else I should use?

Midwife99 Tue 22-Jan-13 11:01:55

Angry feet - my DS was different almost from the day he was born. He was an incredibly demanding baby & needed to be cuddled & breastfed constantly. He breast fed until he was 2 1/2 & was very attached to me. From a toddler he became increasingly "naughty" & I kept saying to the Health Visitor that I thought he was hyperactive as DS1 was only 15 months older but completely different. Then when he started school within 5 minutes of his new check with the school nurse she asked if I had heard of ADHD & gave me questionnaires to complete & he scored 100%. He saw a paediatrician at 5 & started on Dexadrine. He stopped complying with taking medication at about 8. It did make him easier to handle temporarily but not for long!!

Midwife99 Tue 22-Jan-13 11:04:20

Njaw - maybe say he's at risk of offending behaviour & that your family is on the verge of breakdown. Once social services & probation get involved CAMHS move quicker. Try every way to stop him using Skunk as this was the beginning of the end for my son's mental health.

Midwife99 Tue 22-Jan-13 11:06:38

Another memory of DS2 when younger - he didn't sleep through the night until he was 6. I had to put a lock on the inside of my bedroom door to stop him coming in.

Habble Wed 23-Jan-13 00:26:49

Sorry if I'm intruding, but this woman seems like she could do with some of your
wise words.

Hope this isn't out of place.

flow4 Wed 23-Jan-13 00:32:01

I've just seen her, Habble, 3 mins ago, and am PMing her. I decided not to post a link to this thread on AIBU, lest I draw in the judgemental fuckwits crowds.

flow4 Wed 23-Jan-13 00:42:51

Sorry, that was itself a bit judgemental, wasn't it?! blush

Habble Wed 23-Jan-13 00:48:40

No, not at all! I've been lurking on here, which is the only reason why I thought she could do with some support as what other posters were saying seemed slightly unhelpful and even damaging (taking a too draconian approach?). Glad that you're already on it!

flow4 Wed 23-Jan-13 01:09:17

She's turned us down! > "I don't want to go to Teenagers flow, thanks for the invite though. I just needed to vent with the latest news available to me on shitbagwholivesinmyhouse my DSS". Ah well! grin

flow4 Wed 23-Jan-13 01:12:56

And yes, I agree. I don't get the impression that the other posters have much experience, if any, of parenting troubled teenagers.

Maryz Wed 23-Jan-13 08:51:19

Yes, she's struggling alright, and the kid is obviously in a right mess sad. But it seems to me that there isn't anything she can do - being a step parent must make it even more difficult.

I'm staying away, I can't cope with that sort of thread blush, I just get cross.

I'm sorry lots of people are having a bit of a shit time atm. But I'm not going to be much help to anyone today. I have the worst of awful flus a bug, and I'm going to bed.

MuchBrighterNow Wed 23-Jan-13 11:49:56

brew get well soon x

Lilka Wed 23-Jan-13 17:41:31

Hope you feel better soon Maryz thanks brew

Whattodowithit Wed 23-Jan-13 20:02:19

Quick question, if you don't mind. A few weeks ago I posted about finding some suspicious stuff in my son's room, and how to safely dispose of it. Anyway, that's far from being the only issue with him, but some people said "talk to him. Do 'the drugs' talk. Ask him" etc. My quick question is, how do you talk to someone who doesn't respond, doesn't take out their headphones, walks away when you speak/enter a room, gets up and shuts their bedroom door in your face when you knock and ask to have a word? Seriously - how do you speak to someone who behaves that way?

He is my third and youngest (just turned 17), and each, in their own way, have been 'troubled' (with a capital T). I am very used to foul and unpleasant teens and, to be painfully honest, have run out of emotional energy and just about given up trying.

flow4 Thu 24-Jan-13 01:14:36

Get well soon, Maryz. thanks

Whattodo, here are some quick thoughts (before I go to bed!):

- Just because he appears to ignore you, it doesn't mean he isn't hearing you. He 'saves face' by fobbing you off, especially if he knows he's in the wrong, so he won't show you he's listening... But...

- You have influence even when you don't have control... Keep giving the 'moral messages' you want him to have: some of them are getting through...

- You can sometimes have a successful conversation 'sideways' (instead of facing). Lots of teenagers don't like eye contact when they're talking, especially if the convo is 'uncomfortable'. Car journeys can be good. Doing some practical job together can work too (if you can get him to do co-operate! E.g. clearing snow, painting a wall...)

- There's no point 'lecturing', not only because teenagers hate being lectured, but also because he'll probably know more about drugs than you do! hmm

- Make sure he finds his way to Frank . Leave the website open on your home PC, tell him about it, email him the link - whatever. He can browse that info at his own pace, and he'll probably learn and take in more than he will from you!

- There are some 'messages' you really need him to get, and you will probably have to repeat these over and over and over again... I have lost count of the number of times I have had to say to my DS "I will not have skunk in my house. Get it out/Your friend has to leave now", etc....

Hope that's helpful smile

MuchBrighterNow Thu 24-Jan-13 08:18:18

Whattodo I understand it's such an emotional drain living with difficult teens. I have similar difficulties communicating with my Ds and the danger is I end up just opening his bedroom door , throwing in the command... like do this or that and then escaping before I get any abuse ! It doesn't make for good connections.

Lately I've changed tack because it seems My "going on" about his drug taking/ lack of school work/ unpleasantness and squallid habbits is just winding him up and making him even more so, in a defiant fuck you way.

In the car is a good place to talk because they are captive, but not I suppose if they keep headphones on ! Letting them choose the music in the car or talking about things that interest them even if they are not things you approve of. If I keep it neutral I can learn lots of useful info about what he and his friends are up to like this. wink

I sometimes pay Ds to work with me which allows a bit of communication as my work is quite physical, practical work so we can talk as we work alongside each other. I think it helps him feel more adult/ equal, the downside is when I pay him he uses the money to buy drugs sad

I have gone back to how I was when the Dc were little. I am trying to highlight the good, however miniscule small. Like "thank you for putting your cereal bowl in the dishwasher.. it really meets my need for a tidy house, I am so happy you did that !" etc. Trying to praise the positive and let go of the other stuff.

It's difficult in one sense beacause he is getting away with behaviour I would never usually tolerate...--and would try the patience of a bloody saint -- but these are desperate times and all my other tactics have failed and generated a lot of agro. What we all need right now is a bit of peace.

I also am trying to hug him and tell him I love him even though he is unresponsive most of the time... I'm hoping a bit of self worth might help him choose a happier path for himself and us

shagmundfreud Thu 24-Jan-13 09:30:17

Oh Christ - just had a horrible morning. DD(13) is very difficult with me when DH is out, as he was last night. She refused to do any homework or hand her phone over at 10pm, which is a family rule, one of the very few we've negotiated with her. (we've set this rule because in the past she would be up texting and bbm'ing people late in the night. Then problems getting up for school the next day). She laughed in my face when I asked her to hand it over.

Last night I said that if she didn't hand her phone over she would lose it for 24 hours and I think DH went in and took the phone when he came back last night (I had texted him explaining what was going on, but was asleep when he got back). This morning she came in to our bedroom at 5am shouting at us about her phone. Under threat of having the contract cancelled she eventually handed it over to DH.

She is PROFOUNDLY uncooperative - with me and with DH, although she's labouring under the illusion that he doesn't have a problem with her behaviour because he doesn't lose his temper or engage with her over these issues as much as I do. (which I know is the right way to deal with her - am just struggling with it ATM).

She stormed off to school and I suspect she'll stay out and not come home at the normal time to punish us for taking the phone off her. So I'll have several hours of wondering where she is this afternoon. (this is a regular occurrence - she knows she's supposed to tell us if she's not coming straight home from school. She doesn't because she knows I'd ask her to come home. She usually doesn't answer her phone anyway when she sees it's me calling at this time).

She blames me for everything. Constantly saying I'm a failure as a parent, that I don't deserve any respect. She swears at me, ignores everything I say. Tells me I'm a failure because I don't work full-time and because I buy my clothes in charity shops. Tells me I'm a failure because I suffered from depression a couple of years ago. Tells me it's my fault my autistic son behaves in an ... err.. autistic way. Because I'm a bad parent apparently.

I feel battered by the abuse and I'm finding it hard to stay steady and strong in myself. I feel like I CAN'T engage with her emotionally any more because she's SO personally abusive to me. sad

I just want the second or 'third' the advice about not talking face to face with your teen, whattodo .

Dogwalking, decorating, car journeys, they are all fab opportunities for a chat and because there isn't much in the way of eye contact, it's so much less intense.

When we moved into our new house, he helped me paint the rooms and he told me so much about his life that I didn't know. (And we had some real laughs for the first time in a long time, which was an unexpected bonus!)

brew I'm sorry that you are having such a bad time at the moment Shagmund. I have no words of wisdom (other people are so much better at it than me) and I'm sure that anything I can come up with, you have already tried.

I just wanted to give you a bit of solidarity.

shagmundfreud Thu 24-Jan-13 10:25:18

Thanks Laura. smile

It's such a chicken and egg situation. She refuses to do pretty much anything that we expect from her. (won't do her homework, deliberately loses school letters home, is rude and defiant to her teachers, won't help at home AT ALL, refuses to eat family meals, spends literally all day, every day when she's not at school or out with her friends lying on her bed or on the sofa watching TV/Facebooking,) Because of this we're in a constant state of frustration with her. She won't meet us half way. Every single rule we negotiate with her she breaks within a week. She's wearing us down and then berating us for being angry with her.

I've asked her - 'you're saying I'm a shit parent. How would a good parent behave towards a child who's massively underachieving and acting up at school and at home?' She has no answer. Apparently all her bad behaviour is my fault because I'm a shit parent. In fact in her view I am the cause of the problems I'm complaining about, and if I parented differently then she wouldn't be any trouble. confused

MuchBrighterNow Thu 24-Jan-13 13:05:13

Hi Shagmund sorry your Dd is giving you such a hard time. Of course you are not a shit parent, she's just found your achilles heel and is goading you.

I too don't have much advice either , my Ds spends all his time at home lounging about being a lazy entitled fucker and I haven't managed to stop him angry

Just remember the advice given on this thread and try to detach yourself from her words.

Maybe you could try to repeat what she's saying back to her ... "yes I am hearing that you think that I am a failure..... I can hear you hate my clothes/job ( insert whatever hurtful comment she's chosen to chuck at you ) and that you feel I am ruining your life....." Not in a sarcastic way but just calmly and clearly. (try to imagine she's talking about a third person , not you if it helps)

This is a non violent communication technique that allows the aggressor to feel heard without you having to engage with them on a personal level or rising to their bait and turning it into an argument. Being heard is powerful and can sometimes shift things.

flow4 Thu 24-Jan-13 20:49:10

It all sounds very frustrating Shag... And very familiar... I think a lot of us have been through this.hmm

When my DS tells me how shit I am, I find the tactic that works best is to say something like "Oh I knowwwwww! I don't know how you cope with me to be honest! Why don't you see if any of your friends mums will let you come and live with them?!" grin

flow4 Thu 24-Jan-13 20:50:22

Brighter's suggestion is much more grown-up and mature, of course but probably not as satisfying ! grin

flow4 Thu 24-Jan-13 20:56:29

Actually, seriously, my response may not be soooo much worse than Brighter's blush. It does show a DC that you have heard what they've been saying. And perhaps importantly, it also shows them that you aren't phased by it. I think a lot of teens are secretly pretty terrified by their newly-acquired powers to mess with everyone's heads, and (for many of them IMO, including my DS) fear that they may have gone too far then makes them behave worse.

And a bit of humour helps me detach too, of course smile

Midwife99 Thu 24-Jan-13 21:32:07

Oh Shag it's so bloody wearing isn't it? I used to say - "if I'm such a shit parent you're welcome to go & live with a better parent if you can find one! Meanwhile - it's your life, screw it up all you like! I've finished my education & got a good job. I can't make you do the same. No skin off my nose if you don't! But I won't be paying for mobile phones etc while you laze around" Then for your own sanity you just have to withdraw & let them fail until they realise actually it is their own life they're temporarily fucking up not yours. They can always go back to it when they finally grow up. Not getting a reaction anymore kinda turns it into a damp squib!

shagmundfreud Fri 25-Jan-13 07:07:03

I find that the sight of her lying on her bed at 4pm on a Saturday afternoon, having been there pretty much all day, surrounded by empty crisp packets, blackberry in one hand, laptop in the other makes me FRANTIC with irritation.

She's been given her GCSE options and because she's being assigned to 'study support' she has to drop a GCSE, which is going to be drama - the one subject she'd probably do well at in. She doesn't show any signs of caring about any of it.

I don't know how I can stand by and watch her screw up her life in this way, and not try to intervene. It's the hardest thing I've ever had to do.

Midwife99 Fri 25-Jan-13 07:12:27

I know - but the confrontation isn't working either is it? So for your own sanity it's either send her to Boot Camp or just (temporarily) back off. Hard I know!

flow4 Fri 25-Jan-13 07:24:41

It absolutely is the hardest thing you've ever had to do. Funnily enough, my younger (so far not troublesome) son asked me yesterday what was the hardest thing I'd ever done (one of those random Qs kids ask)... I didn't say "Deal with your bro last year", but I thought it.

Midwife99 Fri 25-Jan-13 13:57:49

After DS2 had been handed over to social services at 16 after beating me up, stealing my car, dealing drugs from my house etc etc, DS1 said - I don't know how you carried on so long, you should have thrown him out a year ago. He was only 17 himself at the time.

Snapespeare Fri 25-Jan-13 20:29:08

I posted in the suicidal teen thread a bit earlier, and I apologise for repeating it here. I'm getting to the stage where I sometimes can't talk about it anymore, because I can't tell people how lonely and terrible it seems sometimes, to love someone so very much and to not make everything alright by popping on a plaster or applying a magic-kiss.

Some of this is duplicate posted from the other thread because I am running out of words.

my lovely DS1 (14) is going through a severe depression at the moment, brought on, i think by a mugging incident in 2010, but exacerbated by homophobic bullying at school. he stopped going to school after October half term, has threatened suicide a number of times, but has never actually attempted, is despondent, anxious, upset, has developed a loathing of his smaller brother (13). When he first told me, through floods of tears that he didn't want to live anymore, my beautiful, talented boy has come to the understanding that he just doesn't want to be here anymore. He doesn't sleep well, is prone to sweeping mood changes, seldom goes out, personal hygiene is pretty ropey - no idea when he last brushed his teeth.

The GP got an almost immediate referral to CAHMS. I'm not sure how much use it will be. The counsellor seems to have already drawn his conclusions after two hour long sessions, which has culminated in an hour long telephone conversation with him talking down at me, questioning my parenting and stressing how important he is (we missed an early morning session as i couldn't persuade DS1 out of bed, he was too low). I feel very unsupported by everyone at the moment, so really am just saying hi, place making to an extent and hoping for some support/advice. We're going to see the school next Friday for an update meeting, whe i think. Will press for more support, lesson plans, possibly a tutor, followed by a CAHMS appointment. I am trying to get him to school on Monday to see the school counsellor and on a Friday so he can hand in work he may have completed during the week. That said, he often doesn't feel like working, spends a lot of time online or drawing..

flow4 Fri 25-Jan-13 20:38:44

That sounds very difficult and distressing, Snapes. sad I think the feeling of powerlessness is probably the worst thing about parenting a troubled teen.

That counsellor sounds very unprofessional. Did your son find the session useful? If so, it might be worth enduring that kind of condescension; if not, don't put yourself through it. You might be able to find a charity/children's trust in your area that provides counselling - there are a few in different parts of the country. I managed to self-refer to one when CAMHS told us my DS1 didn't reach their thresholds.

Come and hang out on this thread sometimes... We've all been through awful times, and you can find a lot of support here smile

Yogagirl17 Fri 25-Jan-13 21:50:06

Hello, new here and just marking my place while I go back and read through the rest of the thread. I'll come back and post more in a bit.

Midwife99 Fri 25-Jan-13 21:51:46

Oh Snape you must be so worried! One good thing is that he isn't railing against you & cutting off communication with you. I hope he feels better soon sad

Yogagirl17 Fri 25-Jan-13 22:17:43

Snape, you mentioned DS was subjected to homophobic bullying at school. Sorry if this is a dumb question but is he gay? And if so have you seen the It Gets Better Project? It's thousands of videos aimed at helping LGBT young people understand that their lives really can get better - if only they can survive being a teenager! Have a look: It Gets Better

Been reading and not sure I'm in the right place as DD is only 11 (nearly 12) and not SN in any way. She does fine at school & socially. Teachers and other parents think she's lovely. And she can be lovely. And funny, and mature, and helpful etc etc. Except when she gets in a mood. She's always been moody, since she was a baby, and it doesn't take much for a bad mood to turn into a tantrum and then an outright rage. She'll scream and slam doors and, lately, has taken to being physically aggressive with me. If I try and talk to her or shout or argue back or just listen she'll scream and shout or tell me to shut it or call me names. If I ignore her she'll get right up in my face and shove me or grab me. If I walk away she follows me from room to room. I've taken to locking myself in the bathroom as it's the only room with a lock but she'll turn the light off from the outside and then pound on the door over and over again - she can keep this up for a very long time. And then of course there are the times where I simply can't take it anymore and scream back at her or slam a few doors myself or just tell her to get the fuck away from me. Which of course leaves me feeling like shitty mum number 1.

Anyway, we've got a CAMHS appointment for Monday. She says she doesn't want to go but I have a feeling she will come with me in the end. Even if she doesn't I'll go anyway.

flow4 Fri 25-Jan-13 23:48:16

I don't think we set entry criteria here, yoga! wink

My DS used to do all that. Being followed and trapped in a room is very stressful. sad Though I'd recommend fitting a lock on your own bedroom door, cos if you need to escape and you're going to be besieged it's a much more comfortable place to be than the bathroom.

If she's hitting you, maybe consider calling the police. She's very young - and I guess smaller than you, so perhaps not very frightening yet - but it might be worth 'drawing your line' sooner. I wish I had...

Yogagirl17 Sat 26-Jan-13 08:17:20

He flow, actually she is bigger than me now. Only just, but still. That was kind of the turning point for me where I decided I finally needed to get some kind of professional help with her. As for the lock on the bedroom door - I bought a lock about a month ago, just need to find the time and a bit of spare cash to get someone to fit it for me.

flow4 Sat 26-Jan-13 09:43:52

Ah. That was the turning point with my DS actually: it was as if he suddenly realised I couldn't 'make' him do anything any more, and started to fight about everything, yet didn't realise how big and scary he had become. sad

If she's bigger than you, then I think you probably do need to call the police if she attacks you. They will come if you make a 999 call, but they won't arrest her or take any further action unless you ask them to. It will send her a very clear signal that you won't put up with any violence.

I wish I had done it earlier tbh, because I tolerated it so many times before I took action, that I think it took longer for my DS to realise I wasn't going to tolerate it any more: I had to call them 3 times and finally have him arrested - which was unbelievably difficult and stressful - but he then stopped being violent towards me entirely, after more than a year of it.

I do appreciate that our situations are a bit different - calling the police to deal with an 11 yo girl probably feels more extreme than calling one on a 16/17 yo boy... But it's violent behaviour you need to stop, whoever is doing it...

As for the lock - I put it off because I thought it would be more expensive than it was - it cost me £40/lock (including the locks themselves) - and it was definitely money well spent. I didn't realise how vulnerable I had been feeling until I had some 'safe space' again.

Midwife99 Sat 26-Jan-13 11:40:50

I agree with calling the police & the lock on the bedroom. You are entitled to safe space & in my case somewhere to store your valuables so they aren't stolen & sold for drugs.

Yogagirl17 Sat 26-Jan-13 14:14:43

Can't imagine calling the police on my 11 year old but am definitely going to get the lock fitted. It will feel better knowing that DS and I can both have a safe space to hang out in if she's being absolutely vile.

Here's a question though about physical violence.

Scenario a)
DS is 9. Sometimes when DD pisses him off enough he will lose his temper, give her a swift, hard kick and then storm off. (She's a lot bigger than him too, not that that makes much difference)

Scenario b)
DD gets in a bad mood which leads to a tantrum at one wrong word from me. I go to the sink to wash dishes and try to ignore her and she comes up behind me and body checks me against the sink. (Or grabs my arm hard enough to leave marks, that's another favourite of hers)

What's the difference? Why does b seem so much worse than a? Or maybe a is just as bad?

In our house, we have always had a strict rule about not hurting each other (I have strong memories of terrible physical fights with my brothers!) and I always dealt severely with anybody who broke that particular rule. And I have to say, I think that the habit of not hurting his sister, little brother and mum were so deeply ingrained that it kept us safe even when my DS1 was raging out of control.

The only person who was unsafe was DH who, as the other male in the house, sadly was on the receiving end of a lot of grief from him.

I am just trying to say that I think it is worth working out a way of stopping the lashing out now, before they get physically too big to stop.

I have to go out but I' 'll be back later.

Midwife99 Sat 26-Jan-13 17:50:31

I think the reason b is worse than a is that you should have enough respect from DD that she knows she can NEVER use physical violence against you. You have authority. DS & DD will naturally have little or no respect for each other & so almost anything goes until an adult intervenes.

Midwife99 Sat 26-Jan-13 17:51:33

But yes I agree with Laura - a NO VIOLENCE rule must apply.

I just think that (and heaven knows, I have made some whopping great parenting mistakes) but the no physical stuff rule really reaped some rewards when things got out of control.

I know how difficult it is though - my youngest DS who can be very bossy and controlling does the ' shoulder barge' thing or the ' accidentally stepping on your foot' thing when he gets frustrated and it is wearisome having to pick him up on it each and every fricking time ...

Yogagirl17 Sat 26-Jan-13 19:05:10

Yes Laura I think that's part of the problem. They know that an obvious kick or hit warrants an immediate punishment, no warnings, no second chances (which is why DS usually goes to his room after he kicks her because he knows that's where he'll end up anyway). It's much harder to deal with the subtle shoving and stepping on toes not to mention all the incidents they claim happen when I can't see.

I've phoned the police on my ds a few times, the first time was when he was twelve. There was a turning point also with my ds when he realised that he was stronger than me and I couldn't control him anymore. He turned physical from then on and progressed from the odd shoulder barge and the occaisional chucking of stuff to hard shoving and punching. The second time I called them was after I took his mob off him and he went ballistic and punched me repeatedly in front of his sisters.

I would not tolerate violence from joe bloggs in the street so why should I put up with it from my child, it was such a hard thing to do but my ds had crossed a line and things were escalating rapidly. It's taking a while for the message to sink in but he's getting there, now it's more likely to be walls and doors that get it instead of us. He's still agressive towards his younger sisters and I don't quite know how to handle that, it's more verbal but sometimes not

Snapespeare Sun 27-Jan-13 18:43:53

ARRRRRRRRGH!!!!

After yesterday morning being lovely, the (potentially fake) 'I don't feeeeel welllllll-ing' started mid afternoon, he'd agreed that I could trim his hair (it's a mess at the moment, we are talking about taking off half an inch to tidy it up at the back..) at 4pm. Nope. Is now ' scared of metal near his head'. Suggested putting a towel at the back of his neck, so he wouldn't feel scissors. Nope.

Then breezed into the living room, asking to use family TV to play x-box (his bedroom TV broke last year, can't afford to replace it and not happy a him having TV in his bedroom. No, I was watching something, he could use it later THEN I started watching something else. Cue meltdown, I'm a LIAR (well, you broke your promise to get a haircut, so I'm breaking this one. If you don't keep promises, you can't expect anyone else to keep promises) cue crying so much that he apparently was sick in the toilet... But then he was hungry and nothing I offered to cook was what he wanted to eat.

So I suggested that I just make him anything, because no matter what it was, it wouldn't be what he wanted anyway.

Now we're on suicide threats with a bottle of KALMS (...) We've had a reasonable-ish talk that I have taken time off of work tomorrow to take him to school, that the longer he doesn't go, the worse it will seem, he just needs to go in for an hour, I'll wait outside, over the road. I know he's unwell and it isn't his fault, but this is affecting everyone now, we all want to help, but he has to do some of it...I can't wrestle him to the ground, drag him in the car and force him to go to school. I can absolutely tell that I am on a hiding to NOTHING here. sad

Yogagirl17 Sun 27-Jan-13 21:07:39

Hey Snape, just lots of sympathy - that sounds infuriating, frustrating and just plain exhausting! Good luck for tomorrow, I hope for both your sakes he just goes to school. Did you see the link I posted the other day?

Quiet (ish) here this weekend. I've had DD & DS spend the weekend telling me to "shut up" and "get out". I tell them that's an unacceptable way to speak to me but the sad thing is I'm grateful that's all I've had to deal with.

flow4 Sun 27-Jan-13 23:14:31

Poor boy, poor you!

Have you ever tried bribery paying him to go? If not, it might be worth a go... Tell him "I'd really like you to go to school tomorrow. I want it so much I'll give you £X (insert appropriate amount)... In fact, if you think it would help, I'd consider paying you something every day."

This worked with my DS for quite a while when nothing else would... But I do appreciate our situation is different, cos my son was disengaged and hated school, but was not distressed like yours.

Snapespeare Sun 27-Jan-13 23:16:38

Yes yoga...and thanks for that. smile. I've put 'young stonewall' on his reading list too. If he's off of school he's getting a list of five things to investigate and report back-on every morning..

Maryz Sun 27-Jan-13 23:56:38

I can't give a huge amount of advice here, but just checking in and thinking of you all.

Isn't it awful that the one thing all our children have in common is unhappiness sad. It's as if they would be fine if only there was a happy pill we could give them. Which of course is why so many of them go down the drug/alcohol/quickfix route.

Midwife99 Mon 28-Jan-13 07:19:53

Yes I wish they were happy & the rest would follow.
I'm really frustrated with DS2. He's the one who 3 weeks ago punched through a double glazed window, severing the tendons, nerves & the artery in his arm, if you remember. He had 9 hours of surgery & was in hospital 2 weeks. Anyway he's now in a guest house waiting for a place in a supported hostel. Obviously when he was in hospital 35 miles away I spent many evenings visiting & taking him things & collecting his belongings from his GF's flat, washing the cannabis stink & blood off them, phoning benefits, filling in forms, getting him a post office card account so he could get his benefits, liaising with social services & police etc etc. All he had to do was put his sick notes & birth certificate in a prepaid envelope & post them off to ESA last tuesday. I went over with more clean clothes yesterday & he hadn't done it. He had "mislaid" it all & "left it at his mate's house". When I was annoyed & said "I've spent hours sorting it all out for you (he can't write - no use of right hand) & all you had to do for yourself was that ONE SMALL THING!" he started shouting "Why do you blame me for everything, why is everything my fault? I never asked you to sort out my benefits!" Why then has he given them my address?! I bloody give up!! I told him to get out of the car (he was no doubt expecting to be taken out for lunch again) go & retrieve the envelope & put it in the post or his benefits would be stopped. I will forward all correspondence to him unopened from now on. I've spent all my days off carting my other kids about to see to him. Not one thank you, not one effort to help himself. I don't know why I expect anything else.

flow4 Mon 28-Jan-13 07:42:14

Sooo frustrating, Midwife!

Yogagirl17 Mon 28-Jan-13 21:49:50

Snape - did DS go to school today then?

CAMHS appointment wasn't great. After all that worry that DD wouldn't go with me I think it might have been better to go on my own after all. She tried very hard actually, I was quite proud of her. She came along no fuss but she was clearly upset and left me to do most of the talking. But it was like I was sitting there telling this guy about all the bad things she does which I think felt awful for both of us. The guy we saw seemed to have some good ideas though so we've agreed for now that I'll go back on my own next week. Maybe if he can teach me to respond differently to her tantrums they won't get so bad.

Snapespeare Mon 28-Jan-13 21:59:14

No. sad. Although we have made some progress in trying to structure his days so he doesn't just spend them all on bed on the Internet. He's agreed to come and see les mis with me tomorrow and had a wash today. He's aiming at going in on Wednesday because he has choir, which he enjoys.

Was at school with DD today, to talk about her non attendance (I do start to think it's my parenting at this point, but DS2 has perfect attendance & tried really hard) fab deputy head managed to trick her into going back, dropping one of her As, but working out a time table that gives her catch up time. She asked about Ds1 prior to the meeting on Friday and is going to work on an alternative plan. <sigh>

He's ok this evening.

yoga well, positive that DD got to CAHMS. A lot of kids don't feel comfortable initially talking about personal feelings with strangers, even if they are professionals. It will get easier and good that CAHMS willing to support you...

Maryz Mon 28-Jan-13 22:08:47

Sorry you are having such a rough time Snape sad.

I have always had mixed feelings about CAHMS appointments - it seems I sit there and talk about them either in front of them (which they hate) or behind their backs (which they hate more). But trying to get teenagers to express an opinion of their own is like getting blood out of a stone.

ds2 had a massive meltdown yesterday - the combination of his meds and his mock exams seems to have sent him doo-lally, but I'm reluctant to give up on the meds just yet. I think we have to give them a chance.

ds1 is quiet atm, which is good in a lot of ways, but it is killing me to keep my mouth shut and not say "when are your assignments due?". I know the moment I get involved it will be my fault they aren't done, but if I don't get involved they won't be done at all confused. And I've just discovered he didn't get any grant/allowance forms sent off, so won't get any money for gong back to college which is a pain as guess who will have to finance him angry.

Because he is 18, the college won't talk to me. But he is autistic, and incapable of doing the necessary paperwork himself, so is missing out on lots of help. I really don't know what to do about it. At least he's going to college, I suppose, so is out of the house - two years ago this was my fantasy smile.

Midwife, I can't imagine ds living on his own. I honestly don't think he could do washing/rent/bills. He'd eat ok, but apart from that I just can't see him every being self-sufficient.

Midwife99 Mon 28-Jan-13 23:32:25

Maryz - DS2 19 doesn't do washing or paperwork or pay rent or bills or anything either! Me/social worker/police liaison/probation officer do it all! He smokes weed, drinks vodka, now has oromorph & tramadol to add in to the mix, eats junk & just exists. He can't live at home because of the risk to his v young sisters. He has not however been autistic or challenged. He's just lazy, entitled & now temporarily disabled which gives him an excuse to do nothing.

flow4 Tue 29-Jan-13 00:24:46

Oh my goodness Midwife, your DS2 is heavily sedated - no wonder he can't do anything! sad My DF was prescribed oromorph (for pain) about 4-5 weeks before he died, and told not to drink alcohol with it because of the increased sedative effect... But he was a heavy alcohol user, so didn't follow that instruction, and I saw how totally zonked the two drugs made him when they were combined. If he'd added weed and tramadol to those, I don't think he could even have got out of bed. Is your DS on a drugs treatment programme?

Midwife99 Tue 29-Jan-13 12:55:01

No he's not on a programme because he won't admit he takes anything except the tramadol & oromorph!

thriftychic Tue 29-Jan-13 14:55:33

I dont know whether to give up or go even stricter with the sanctions with ds2

hes 13 , diagnosed aspergers but doesnt seem all that typical of aspergers tbh . He wants his own way all the time so basically if he doesnt want to do something hes just refusing to do it or if i wont allow him something he will go berserk. he talks to me like crap and the meltdowns are horrendous .
we set up a kind of behaviour / reward thing a few weeks ago ( another hmm )

this weekend he went crazy because i asked him to get off the pc , he swore at me so i reminded him that that meant no tv , that just served to rev him up even more and true to form he then paced the house smashing things up , threatening us , intimidating us (gets right in my face) and threw all kinds of food in my face and hair . tried to fight dh etc etc . went on for hours and hours and then the remorse set in so he was suicidal and wouldnt go to bed or do anything at all. he just seems pure evil when he does all this but he says he cannot calm down .
we have used his xbox as a sanction when this happens ( about once a week) and i did think that instead i should ban him for ages or something else more severe ( just cant think what) but someone on the sn board pointed me in the direction of pda , saying he sounds more pda than asd and from what i can gather more natural consequences are used in that case.

what do you do ? do you keep trying sanctions ? should i forget sanctions altogether , i mean clearly they arent working . i am at a loss sad

Maryz Tue 29-Jan-13 15:50:47

Going stricter backfired on me thrifty.

But then, so did backing off confused.

What did work (sort of) was reducing drastically the rules, down to about three that he was willing to obey, and frantically trying to disengage and ignore the rest.

Sanctions/consequences are better than punishment for teens with AS - and instant consequences better than delayed ones.

If you want to stop the x-box, take the controller away there and then, return it as soon as he calms down for example.

Don't try to punish in the middle of a row, try to disengage, calm it down, and discuss it later (if you can).

Written rules (time of night it has to go off on a large poster beside the computer for example) worked better for ds than verbal instructions he either didn't hear or immediately forgot.

Midwife, ds also doesn't need a detox programme - he only takes cannabis and anything else he takes by accident when he is too stoned to know what he is doing hmm

thriftychic Tue 29-Jan-13 16:05:02

ds2 is only allowed a set amount of time on his xbox mary , he seems to accept that as its been that way for years and is in the front room so i can see when hes on it but whenevr i have said that he will miss having his time that day because of his behaviour he goes even worse .
its so hard when he goes into crazy mode as he just goes on a rampage and it lasts for ages , often the next day he says hes too stessed to go to school
the worst thing is the way he targets us and follows us around poking us in the face , tipping me off chairs , pouring things over our heads , cant get away from him or make him stop sad

Maryz Tue 29-Jan-13 17:24:50

See, I would find another way, if that's the case - because there is no sense in a punishment that punishes you as much (or even more) than him, which this sounds like.

The trouble is, you probably can't find anything else - that was the problem with ds1, I could never find any punishment that was effective. It was either something he didn't care about anyway (losing his phone, money, privileges) or something he would ignore (grounding just meant him breaking out hmm).

In the end I went with what made life bearable for the rest of us.

So in your case, I would have given him a warning to get off the pc (and hoped he stuck to whatever time he agreed to). I developed selective deafness, so I ignored swearing etc unless it was actually impossible to ignore (I would issue an instruction and walk out of the room).

Rewards didn't work with ds either. He just didn't care enough about anything - if I made a big deal about him getting extra time on the computer, or driving him somewhere, he just took it as that was his right, and didn't seem to realise that it was a reward.

He baffled me - and still baffles me.

Sorry, not much help, but lots of sympathy.

And unfortunately you are in the middle of the worst of it - ages 13 to 16 were the very worst with ds. Once he was out of school, things improved, and again when he was 18.

Do you have a punch bag? We have a heavy punch bag, and also one a bit like this which is really great - the straps are useless and we have replaced them with bungies, but the thing is he can go and really hit it and blow off steam and realign his brain (as he puts it) and then come back and communicate better. He also has these handwraps which are better than gloves and easier to put on and off when in a rage grin.

The difficulty I now realise was that he couldn't say "I'm just in the middle of something, give me five minutes" the way a "normal" child would, so every time I stopped him doing something and made him do something else it would come as a bolt from the blue for him and cause a meltdown. At least I think that was what was happening. Most of the time I lived in complete confusion.

flow4 Tue 29-Jan-13 20:43:02

Midwife, I don't have any suggestions. Just a lot of sympathy. Unless/until he admits he has a problem, he's not going to be able to do anything about it, is he? You can't do anything but watch and wait - and look after yourself, because the stress must be enormous sometimes.

Thrifty and Maryz, I'm interested by how similar my DS1's behaviour was to your DSes, though he doesn't have AS (or any other kind of diagnosed condition). I have wondered in the past whether adolescence is itself a sort of temporary social-affective disorder for some teens, like my son... confused

One of the most difficult things, I found, was that you can't "give up or go even stricter with the sanctions" - though I came very, very close to giving up, more than once. sad In the end, I just sort of 'hung on in there'...

I haven't really got much to add to Maryz's advice/suggestions. I found the 'being followed' thing hugely stressful. Often just walking away wasn't enough, because he'd follow me. Once he trapped me in my own bedroom for half an hour ranting about something or other. Several times I left the house and basically ran away and had to switch off my phone because he continued to call me when he couldn't rant at me face-to-face. I'd be inclined to replace sanctions too - I paid my DS for going to school and being civil for a while, which worked better than sanctions, which I couldn't often even enforce.

It's an incredibly stressful phase. No-one's said this for a couple of days, so I'll repeat it: look after yourself, so you don't go under...

thriftychic Tue 29-Jan-13 21:45:45

thanks flow and mary , tbh i wonder about the adolesence aspect and have never felt 100 % sure that ds2 really does have AS . The first psych that assessed him said he didnt and a year later a different one said he was sure he did . I always said i didnt care what the answer was but that i wanted the RIGHT answer to why he behaves like he does .
ds2 seems to care about the sanction of an xbox ban so much that he thinks his worlds ended and goes even more angry and abusive but not enough to sort his behaviour out. He says he just cant stop once hes angry .
I think if i came up with a really big reward of money or something to do with his latest obsessive hobby and it was that day , like 'ds2 if you stay calm today you will get £100 ' i think he might manage that but obviously i cant dish out rewards that are inspiring enough .
i am also confused and baffled .
he was so sweet as a young boy i never in my wildest dreams expected him to turn violent .

flow4 Tue 29-Jan-13 22:28:59

Have we given you the "If he's violent, call the police" talk, thrifty? If not, scroll back up through this thread and you'll see Maryz and I, and others, saying how important it is to draw the line. You need to be and feel safe in your own home. If you don't, it undermines the whole parenting relationship, I think. It is such a massive taboo, that if teens are 'allowed' to break it, it sort of becomes a 'no holds barred' situation... If violence is allowed, then anything goes, right?

My DS1 had very little self control, and also said he "couldn't stop" once he was angry... And indeed, unlike some other people's kids, he didn't stop the first time I called the police... But he did stop the third time, and he has never been violent since...

A whole load of other things have improved since then too. I don't know whether that's coincidence, or whether he needed some kind of serious reminder like that about how to control himself...

Fed up today. Ds had another assessment w regards to his asd diagnosis yesterday. Two of them sat in a room with him (Iwasnt allowed in with him) and assesseed him for 45 minutes.

The result, I don't know. The assessors came out all smiling and said he's done fantastic, what an articulate pleasant young man, done a really good job chatting and opening up to us.

He got in the car, smirked and sad I told them a few lies. I knew how I was to react and be nice in those sorts of situations. I did what they wanted.

argghhh

This is what he's like. The real him is home, school and at his dads. Anything else and he puts an act on.

The school, his dad and myself are telling them different but they said they can only go on what they observe in that hour

'ds2 seems to care about the sanction of an xbox ban so much that he thinks his worlds ended and goes even more angry and abusive but not enough to sort his behaviour out. He says he just cant stop once hes angry' .

This is my ds too thrifty sad. Ds would smash his door in and be verbally and sometime physically abusive if I tried in any shape or form to sanction or control anything to do with his xbox. Even if it was something small like asking him to turn the noise down or ask him to turn it off as it was time for bed.

I have took the hard decision of completely banning the xbox indefinately (my spelling is terrible). He is not having it back, ever. It ruled our house, it was the focal point of conversation, and the cause of so much distress on all parts.

Its early days but we are seeing some improvements in him.

I totally know where you are coming from though. Sanctions never worked for ds either. He would either lose it totally or behave until the sanction lifted then went back to exactly the old ways as soon as he got the sanctioned thing back. 'I dont have to behave now, Ive got it back thats how it works' He didnt get the idea of sanctions at all

Please dont tolerate any sort of violence towards you though. You have to draw a line with that.

MuchBrighterNow Wed 30-Jan-13 10:08:12

How frustrating Ghosts still at least the plus side is you know he is capable of being charming, pleasant and articulate so there's hope for his future ! smile

I am struggling. Ds 17 boards at school 3 days a week as we live far from his school it's subsidised as it's not a private school but still costs 450 quid a term.

Lately he's taking to phoning up and asking to come home on the bus instead. He says it's cold and he doesn't sleep well in a dormitory.

As a family we really need the space from him as he can be very disruptive. He has no respect for our rules. Does zero work at home whereas at school he has to do an hours study every night. Last night he asked to come home and I agreed on the condition that he revised for his exams next week , smoked no weed and wifi went off at 10 as he has to get up at 6.30. In reality it's difficult to police this.

The night before he phoned up quite a few times and I ignored the phone as I knew he wanted to come home. Dh and I both got quite stressed out trying to work out what our needs were versus his.

Should I insist he stays overnight at school ? He's already just hanging on in there relucantly. I have already paid for this term and can't get a refund. He is in a poor state health wise, very underweight , he says the food is crap and he can't sleep. I don't want him to feel pushed out by us ........but the rest of the family need to have a peacful home and not be walking on eggshells all the time.

He says he gets on ok with the other kids at school and has no problems there. I talked to the housemaster who aside from suspecting Ds may be dealing confused said he 's well behaved and seems ok . I suppose its just more comfy for him at home.

I could link his allowance into him staying overnight but it's only tiny anyway as he just spends it on weed. Am I being mean to force him? Do I risk making him feel rejected and risk him giving up school altogether ?

Hey Brighter - how frustrating for you to have some respite and then he decides he wants to come home. What does he want to do at home that he can't do at school? If it's just a question of being cold and hungry, I'd be tempted to send him off to school with extra bedding or clothing and a tuck box full of snacks with a brisk 'I miss you so much while you are away but I'm so glad you are doing so well at school! I'm so proud of you! And here's your bag...'

Would he just jump on the bus and come home regardless?

I am very interested in all these other children who couldn't be bribed or punished into good behaviour. My DS1 had no interest in material things, other than money, and would happily sell his stuff. In fact, it's serving him well in prison as he just doesn't care that he has no access to dvds, music, internet, etc. So that's a plus point now but was terrible when he was fifteen and we were trying out sanctions.

Bribes didn't work well either, other than money, which was spent on fags, drugs and drink. Any surplus money meant absolutely zero to him. I bought (and still buy) any new clothes that he has, because he seriously doesn't give a shit about them.

Midwife99 Wed 30-Jan-13 17:53:46

Well - he was finally given at place at a supported hostel today & has turned it down because he has to pay £35 pw for a single room full board out of his benefits!! He'd rather be homeless!

Midwife99 Wed 30-Jan-13 17:54:25

Well - he was finally given at place at a supported hostel today & has turned it down because he has to pay £35 pw for a single room full board out of his benefits!! He'd rather be homeless!

Maryz Wed 30-Jan-13 18:04:25

Muchbrighter - can you bribe him with something other than money? Food maybe, as Laura suggested.

Or maybe if he stays the full time in school he has absolute control of the tv for the first night he is home?

When ds was boarding we did that - because he got no tv during the week, he got first dibs on what we watched on Friday night (never-ending crab fishing hmm).

Oh Midwife [sigh], they are unbelievable aren't they shock.

Would you be able to pay the £35 to get a break from him? I know I would atm.

Midwife99 Wed 30-Jan-13 18:12:23

Too late - he's turned it down so they've given it to another homeless person - long waiting list. He hasn't lived at home for 2 1/2 years so apart from the worry it's not a practical issue for me I suppose. He's back in court tomorrow & looking at being sent to prison again anyway to be honest! If he turns up! If he doesn't he'll be arrested sooner or later. sad

Maryz Wed 30-Jan-13 18:22:06

Oh, I'm sorry.

This is where the "disengage, take a step back, only deal with what you actually have to deal with and be nice to yourself" advice comes in, isn't it. So easy to say, and so very heartbreakingly hard to do sad.

Midwife99 Wed 30-Jan-13 18:38:34

Yes - sigh! Trouble is my 9 year old DD worries herself sick about him & constantly asks about him. sad

Maryz Wed 30-Jan-13 18:47:20

She needs to learn to disengage as well.

dd used to worry a lot about ds - she used to ring home and ask about him if she was away, she used to text him (and he never replied). I myself remember doing the same to my brother who was very like ds, many years ago.

One night I sat dd and ds2 down and gave them the talk that I gave myself a couple of years ago.

"When ds is out, I have two choices. Firstly to worry all night, and make myself miserable about what he might be doing and where he is. And when he comes back, to be all angry with him because I've been awake and worrying etc etc. The second choice is to put him out of my mind, to forbid myself to worry, and then when he is here I can be less angry with him and life is better for everyone".

Along with the other talk (which your dd might be too young for:

"Two things may have happened tonight to explain why ds has disappeared. Firstly, he may be having a lovely time, gone to a friend's house, be at a party, be with friends. In which case, worrying is a bit silly and a waste of time. Secondly something awful has happened and he is injured in hospital or dead in a ditch. In which case it has happened already, there is nothing I can do now and I will have to be fit and well and able to manage the situation in the morning. Therefore worrying about it is a waste of time".

At one point I had laminated sheets with these typed on them, and I used to read them going to bed.

I was a bit pathetic blush but now I don't worry when he's not around. I only deal with him when he is here in front of me. And dd and ds2 are also able to do that.

This is why I like coming on here - you all know what it is like to have a child like this. I mean, of course I wish you all had nicely biddable kiddiwinks (me too) but I read about your lives and they are so much like mine, I could cry.

My youngest misses his brother so much too. He hasn't seen him for nearly a year now and talks about him all the time. They were very close - although by the start of last year DS1's default mood was absolutely pissed or angry hangover, and he could often get rather dangerous or moody with his little bro, so I tended to keep them apart a bit. But DS2 still talks fondly about his big brother and tries to talk us into letting him come home when his prison term is up.

My DD is the eldest and left home for university ten years ago and has never lived at home since. When he had to leave last year, she confessed that she has always worried about what he might be capapble of. She told me that if the phone rang at unusual times, she automatically panicked and thought someone was ringing to say he had hurt or killed one or all of us. I mean, how horrible must that have been for her? I feel terrible that she was worried for our safety like that.

DD has tried constantly over the years to talk to him (he is quite respectful towards her)- she is clever and practical and he does listen to her more than he does most people. But it never really helped, not in any far-reaching way.

(When I told him his sister was coming to the prison with me to visit him, he said quite fondly 'I'm in for a nagging now!'. And he was wink )

I like your mantra Mary . I learned to do the same when DS1 was midteens and swaggered in (maybe that should be 'staggered in') whenever he felt like it. DH and I would say that if he was in massive trouble, we would learn about it soon enough and we should get some sleep while we could.

midwife your boy sounds so much like mine. Don't you just wish there was a hinged lid on the top of their heads, so you could lift the lid, rearrange everything so it was all in order and they could make sensible, adult decisions, then lock the lid back down (and hide the flipping key)?

Maryz Wed 30-Jan-13 19:24:01

Yes, ds2 is still very much grieving for the loss of his adored big brother sad. He has an important rugby match for his school on Monday, and he would give anything for ds1 to come along, as it was ds1 who taught him to play when he was very little. But ds1 won't come - it's too close to the bone for him to see ds2 "taking his place" - because ds2 is achieving at all the things ds1 should have done.

It is very sad to have to watch.

The funny thing is with my two boys, DS1 is absolutely adamant that his little brother won't turn out like him. He would never swear in front of him or watch anything unsuitable and was terribly protective of him. He talks about how he would be heartbroken if DS2 got involved in drugs or drink. It's so frustrating that he can see how wrong his life is but won't take the steps to put it right.

It's as if he has written himself off at twenty five.

Maryz Wed 30-Jan-13 19:36:36

Shall we add absolute lack of feelings of self-worth to the unhappiness that is endemic in these kids Laura?

It's so sad.

MuchBrighterNow Wed 30-Jan-13 19:39:25

Sorry to read on the just ask Chris thread that you are having a tough day Maryz You are so not a crap parent ... it's just a bit of a thankless , impossible task sometimes.

Midwife I have read how much you have given in support to try to help your Ds. I am sorry he is seemingly so unwilling to help himself. It must be so frustrating and heartbreaking. I suppose at least if he goes back inside you and your DD will know where he is sad

Just had a tricky family meal with a clearly stoned Ds alternatively lying with his head on the table, repeatedly punching his brother in an annoying manner to get my attention, (even though he had it ), calling everyone morons and shouting abuse in an aggressive manner at DD's excited chattering. On top of that he hates the food we eat...He's like an ill mannered toddler with the bite of a pitbull angry

Honestly I don't know why he wants to be at home , he so obviously hates it here.

Maryz Wed 30-Jan-13 19:41:10

Thanks MuchBrighter. I should have posted it here.

In fact I might copy it. I need a bit of hand-holding tonight [self-pitying emoticon].

ds cooks for himself these days. Life is much easier that way (though the cost of the food is horrific).

Maryz Wed 30-Jan-13 19:42:36

This is what I posted on the other thread:

"Today I told ds2 quietly and calmly that I didn't want to be a mother any more, that I was crap at it and was quitting. I then calmly and quietly locked myself into my room and burst into tears."

For anyone who thinks I cope well sad. I just pretend to cope, most of the time.

Feckers. You can't live with them, and you aren't allowed to kill them, and no matter how you try you can't stop loving them hmm.

MuchBrighterNow Wed 30-Jan-13 19:49:40

Feckers. You can't live with them, and you aren't allowed to kill them, and no matter how you try you can't stop loving them That sums it up brilliantly smile

Midwife99 Wed 30-Jan-13 19:53:58

Yes Laura & Maryz you know exactly what I mean. DS1 (aged 20 at Uni) has successfully disengaged & won't let DS2 affect him. He just sighs, says "What a knob" & gets on with his successful life. He has the right idea I guess!!

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Anyway, we aren't crap mothers - they are crap at being our kids wink

Hi to all i luke mostly but was on the last thread just wanted to say i heard last night that my dd1 passed her driving test i am proud but obv cant call her to say plus shes still doing college. I so far out of her life now that my own mother wont tell me updates so get them from dd2 shes still drinking drugs etc ( but no more police that i know) but hope shes turned a corner dd2 visted a week ago and had such a nice time.

Maryz Wed 30-Jan-13 20:11:27

Oh, yes <perks up> They are crap teenagers grin

ds2 is in the middle of exams and not coping too well with the ADHD meds he has just started. Added to which I have discovered we have to pay over €100 a month for them, which along with the cost of his roaccutane (about 60 a month) and the fish oils is putting us seriously in trouble.

And I have to pay another 120 for blood tests and 100 to see the specialist next week for him.

I can't afford him. Luckily I cried before I shouted it all at him along with "and you don't appreciate it".

You are very lucky with your NHS.

Ah, well done to your daughter! Forgive me, I can't remember back to the other thread but I assume from what you said that she doesn't live with you? That must be tough.

cory Wed 30-Jan-13 20:18:34

Oh Maryz sad Big hug!

Maryz Wed 30-Jan-13 20:19:45

That's good news stars - I can understand that it is bittersweet for you sad. But if she is doing (relatively) well, there is hope for a future for you both, once she has had a bit of time to grow up [hopeful]

Maryz Wed 30-Jan-13 20:20:55

Thanks cory (and everyone else).

I guess we are entitled to self-pitying days!

Goodness, that all sounds expensive Mary - what a worry on top of everything else. I can't imagine having to pay out for all those tests and medication - I take my hat off to you.

I shudder to think what we've spent trying to keep DS1 on the straight and narrow. We even moved to a new part of the country, taking on a very large new mortgage to give him a new drug-free environment <hollow laugh>

And I am now saving like crazy because when he is released he will have nowhere to live and I can't have him here long term. So we are doing without (on top of our ginormous mortgage) so the ungrateful little swine can have yet another new start at our expense. And he'll sit in that flat (paid for by me) drinking and taking drugs and then ring me to tell me how no one ever helped him with anything and he has always been on his own...

Maryz Wed 30-Jan-13 20:28:02

[sigh]

[wish I had bottle of wine emoticon]

[resigned]

This thread cheers me up in a rather convoluted and very weird way. Sorry grin.

Thankyou yes it is bittersweet but me leaving was the best thing we are all still alive none are in prison and i dont have bruises but the mental scars are there still. I hope so Maryz my mum even said no contact till shes 25. I miss the little girl that had a massive smile and was always talking days long ago but they did exist. Miss dd2 lots but she has decided to move here for college we support her shame her dad wont even though she lives with him. Shes in yr 10 and doesnt want move due to yet plus dd2 cuddle parnter has moved up to boyfriend smile

Maryz Wed 30-Jan-13 20:34:44

Sometimes you can only do your best stars. At one stage I considered moving out (with ds2) and leaving ds1 and dh because I thought it would make him happy. If I had thought it was for the best I would have, even though it would really have hurt.

If you think about it, the teenage years are a very short part of their (and our) lives. They just seem very looooooooong while they are happening. I hope that I will have a future with ds1 when he stops hating everyone and everything and can remember that we used to be a happy family.

Totaly understand that last bit Maryz dd1 never saw me and dd2 and her as a family unit at least she has my parents to help her ( they using any henerataince i was going to get) but i dont mind i just remind myself that dd1 dad when she moved in with him ( both dds same dad) he kicked her out after 5 weeks i had more go on and only cracked after 2:5 yrs of soild abuse. At least at the min she doesnt want dcs herself she still hates them :s i take that as a postive smile

flow4 Wed 30-Jan-13 22:36:13

Evening all. I've been working late, but I just wanted to pop in and say 'hello'. smile

Everyone seems very philosophical tonight. You (we?) are an amazing bunch, y'know. Anyone who was ever inclined to 'blame the parents' would be seriously confused by how thoughtful, and considered, and determined, and responsible we all are. I hope we shake up a few preconceptions!

"You can't live with them, and you aren't allowed to kill them, and no matter how you try you can't stop loving them " grin

Ironically, last summer I was on the verge of kicking DS1 out, and I thought I had stopped loving him. Then two of his 'associates' (one local dealer and one local psycho) went on the rampage and stabbed two lads DS1's age, killing one of them sad sad It could soooo easily have been DS1. It frightened me witless. And I realised I did love him, despite everything.

It didn't soften DS2's attitude towards him though. Unlike most of your kids, DS2 doesn't admire or like his brother: he thinks he's a dickhead (well, he often is) and mostly hates him. That makes me sad, because we have no other close family, and one day they'll each be all the family the other has. For now though, at least it means DS2 is less likely to follow in DS1's footsteps...

njaw Thu 31-Jan-13 22:45:28

Absolutely love the "Can't live with them... " statement, soooo true.

Any ideas on today's issue? After waiting 3 months to get a TAHMS appointment (my local authorities triage for CAHMS), they cancelled on me when it snowed. They then write to me with an appointment for 6 weeks time. I call them every hour on the hour to tell them that we are highly unlikely to make 6 weeks without intervention as he's weeks away from permanent exclusion. My badgering pays off and today they call to tell me I have an appointment tomorrow on a cancellation.

OT - The whole thing REALLY irritates me, was reading a front page piece in the Mail - that'll teach me not to pick up a paper in Starbucks! It was about the number of violent incidents in schools with kids getting excluded. Some jumped up idiot MP complaining about how its down to parents. NOOOOOO! It's down to cutting the systems that protect vulnerable kids so parents are left alone when they most need support! angry Rant over.

DS2 is pretty annoyed we are going to TAHMS, he's had a really good week - bless the lil thing, he's fallen in love and realised that if he gets expelled, its going to take him away from her. He's never been good at talking to strangers, he gets all flustered. As far as he's concerned, he's "fixed" and no amount of reasoning (hahahaa.. oh I lost myself in the moment of actually believing I could reason with him) will get him to understand it might not be that easy.

How did you get your little ray of sunshine to engage with the pro's? If at all?

flow4 Thu 31-Jan-13 23:18:03

I never had much problem getting DS1 to engage - he was generally very charming; but it was more of a challenge to get the pros to engage with him...

Ed pysch after 30 mins - "What an interesting young man! I'm sure he'll grow out of it. Bye".

GP (following self-harming and angry outbursts) after 12 mins - "Well, I don't think he has a problem, and he says it was a one-off, but I'll refer you just in case. Bye".

CAHMS psychologist after 30 mins - "You have a much better relationship than most mothers and sons. DS is very articulate and self-aware, isn't he? He certainly doesn't reach our threshold for intervention. Bye".

Independent counsellor after 2 x 2hrs - "Well DS and I have decided he doesn't need counselling. Bye".

Drugs counsellor (admittedly second hand opinion via DS himself hmm ) - "She says I don't have a drugs problem, you're just worried I have a drugs problem. (No, I didn't tell her about the money I've stolen from you). I don't have to go back..."

The only person who came close to getting honest, real engagement with DS was a no-nonsense YOT team police officer, who asked him difficult questions and didn't let him off the hook, and got him to acknowledge he was behaving like an arse... But sadly she also told me he didn't meet their threshold for further support...

A youth worker took him out a dozen or more times when he was 12/13... But then DS got mugged when he was in the YW's care (when he went to get a burger!) and the guy felt so embarrassed and guilty that he never came back again... hmm

Really, when I list it all like this, we've been pretty unsupported... sad

Maryz Thu 31-Jan-13 23:22:56

flow, are you talking about your son or mine?

I could have written that post shock

Except with ds we also had one psych who listened to us and tried to talk to him properly and ds walked out after ten minutes [sigh]. Everyone else thought he was wonderful and I was a control freak.

He was so convincing - but then if he was on Jeremy Kyle he would pass the lie detector, because he absolutely believes himself.

njaw Thu 31-Jan-13 23:26:23

Oh hell Flow, how the heck have you managed? Did you get any support yourself?

I suppose I am still at the naieve stage where I'm clinging onto the hope there might just be a magic answer?

Maryz Thu 31-Jan-13 23:27:42

Sorry, njaw, to answer your question, I didn't ever get ds to engage. By the time he was a real problem, he had discovered his own cure (drugs) and didn't want intervention as it would take that support away from him.

flow4 Fri 01-Feb-13 07:28:52

Support for me? Well, some: I have friends, and MN, and I've accessed counselling for myself a couple of times (maybe 10 weeks in 5 years). I'm pretty resilient. My mental health has been OK (I was depressed when DS1 and 2 were very little, but not for 8-10 years now)... But I think the stress has taken its toll on my physical health tbh. Funnily enough, I've been really quite ill since DS started behaving himself and went back to college in the autumn... A bit like how you get ill in the hols when adrenaline levels drop, I assume... hmm

What you said about your DS finding his own 'therapy' with cannabis, Maryz, really resonates with me too...

There's a shameful lack of support for teens IMO. It seems to me that in general, girls don't get much attention til they need hospital admission for mental health problems, and boys til they're facing prison. sad

MuchBrighterNow Fri 01-Feb-13 08:31:22

I am not in the uk and have struggled to find any support at all.

Where we live the kids are expected to be able to sit still and concentrate on academic work from 8 am till 5 , with homework on top. Any child who doesn't fit this mold is made to feel really shit about themselves.

The general solution here seems to be to punish and /or drug the kids that don't fit into submission.

Punishment never worked on Ds and drugs was a route I didn't want to go down; though in retrospect is what Ds has chosen anyway (without the submission bit confused).

I'm hearing that the uk system is a bit of a let down , but by comparison I'm living in the dark ages envy

bluerach36 Fri 01-Feb-13 13:18:35

Hi all...not posted since pre new years old thread but watching from the side lines!
I agree about the ability to manipulate the professionals....things a wee bit in melt down here. Just had call from CAMHS on call following an urgent referall from DS2's pupil referral unit....last week head butting walls, glass doors, 'bizzare' behaviour....then on way to his social worker weekly appt yesterday I noticed cuts on his wrist...only superficial but arrrgh!!? Mental health worker there obviously also rang CAMHS hence the phone call. But as soon as I mentioned that I had taken him privately to see psychiatrist who only diagnosed " self esteem and anger issues" she seemed happy to delay him being seen. He worked his charm on the psychiatrist that day!!! And the anger management counsellor 2 years ago, and the GP etc etc as !!! As Flow mentioned.

I have tried so hard to do the detach, detach; look after myself stuff but the past 3 weeks have been a spiral down...calls from the school every day, being sent home, having cars of older boys looking for him at our house...a fight apparently??...stealing my secret stash of tequila(!!)...foul language and anger when I say " no more tobacco..you've had todays" (don't ask?!), paying drug dealer who he owed money...drunk/stoned lots..... I love him so much and just wish I could do something to help him.....

Still sadly deluded that one day he will suddenly wake up and think..."hold on I must change this behaviour and think about my future".
I am so tired.......................Just come back from school, they wanted me to take him home...holding a lighter to someone's face. On the way down I thought if I got him in the car I could just drive really hard and fast at the wall on the way home and then this would be gone and my other son and DH could get on. Thank goodness for all you ladies out there. You understand I'm sure.

Maryz Fri 01-Feb-13 13:29:18

Oh, bluerach, you do sound like you are having a tough time [hugs]

I presume the mood swings/anger/headbutting etc is due to ups and downs of the drug use. And there really is little you can do about that.

I think you are going to have to find someone to talk to yourself. It was only when I got to counselling that I really realised that I couldn't change him - paying his dealer, controlling his drug use, picking him up from school etc wasn't helping him, not really, and it was slowly killing him.

I can't remember how old your son is? But I think if I was you I would consider letting the school deal with what happens at school - if they ring CAHMS they will be listened to more than you, so let them re-refer, you stay out of it if you can.

You also need a safe space at home and to keep your belongings locked up.

I can empathise with your feelings about driving into a wall. I can remember many times just thinking "if he died I could grieve him properly, instead of grieving who he used to be but being faced every day with what he is now". I also felt that if he was dead (or I was), then at least he would be happy sad.

I really feel for you. Be nice to yourself and get some rl support.

We never got any support for him really because he was so uncooperative. He wouldn't go to the counsellors that we found for him as he was uncomfortable talking face to face. We arranged telephone counselling hoping that might help but he only tried it for two sessions and then refused to engage anymore.

We paid for all this because we couldn't access any of the children's services. One GP told us that DS1 couldn't be aggressive because 'cannabis' makes you relaxed. He said the kids round here didn't use skunk...

Another GP said that the only thing he could offer DS1 (who was seventeen by then) was a drop-in centre two bus rides away, where he could play snooker and hang out with other like-minded boys. Like a Youth Club. So, completely useless then.

He is having counselling in prison at the moment but when I asked him about it, he said he it's all over in five minutes because he doesn't like talking about himself so the counsellor says it's a waste of time.

I'm sorry - I missed your post bluerach .

I'm so sorry you are having to deal with all this <hug> and it sounds awfully hard on you that you have so much on your plate.

I really agree with Mary that school stuff should be dealt with at school and that the mood swings are probably the drugs.

We lived for years with our money, valuables, knives and alcohol locked away as it was easier than dealing with all the fallout if he got hold off this stuff. I don't know how old your son is, but if it was me, I would stand back from all the drama around him and let him deal with it. They get to the point where you can't actually change or control what he is doing and it is fruitless to try. If you keep your relationship with him in reasonable shape then you can, maybe, have some influence on him

My son is mid-twenties and I still hope he will have some sort of epiphany and change his life <waits patiently, more in sorrow than in anger now>

bluerach36 Fri 01-Feb-13 14:17:22

Thank you, thank you MaryZ...you don't know how much you've helped me over the past 18 months...I'll be eternally grateful for your wise words!!!
I know what you say is right...I'm not really helping things but keep thinking... just 13 more weeks (..he's 15 and half...) if I can just help him stay until the end of school...get a couple of exams...?! Deluded or what?! And when is he ever going to accept responsibility for himself if I keep patching things up??
Then I give myself a reality check....sadly this ain't going away any time soon is it??! It is such a shame how long you and lots of other ladies on this thread have been dealing with loopy teenagers!! And how lovely it would be to wave a magic wand and make them happy and ' all better' like when they were 6 eh?!

I did have some counselling before last summer which did help a lot....can thoroughly recommend to anyone struggling out there...and am usually in a much stronger, more positive place but having a large wibble this week?!!
Oh well...feel better now for posting.
Can I add my mantra to all those on this thread?

"Keep calm and carry on, cos there's f*#k all else you can do"...???!!

wigglybeezer Fri 01-Feb-13 14:52:18

Don't have long to post but want to thank all you ladies for your "warts and all" stories of living with difficult teens, it is priceless to know I'm not alone, my friends all seem to have teens that are paragons of virtue and achievement.

Mary's, can I ask you about your DS2's meds? Ds1 has always had major probs with concentration which is causing him to fail at school ( fuelling more esteem problems and anger etc.). He is 14 but has been difficult since two and I feel he is somewhere on the AS/ADD continuum ( his brother has AS). He is very conformist at school, which limits their willingness to see him as a problem but I am at the point of risking humiliation by having another go at getting a DX , if his concentration improved his school work by even a modest amount it would be worth it.
Had a major bust up last night and ended up sleeping on his floor as a local troubled teen from a " nice " family threw herself off a bridge last week, which has put the wind up me [ sad].

wigglybeezer Fri 01-Feb-13 14:54:05

Blur arch, I think I will nick your last motto and write it on the blackboard.

thriftychic Fri 01-Feb-13 17:28:46

well im really hoping this weekend is better than last . The parenting team that camhs referred us to has just been crossed off my list . I have had one appointment and a few lengthy phonecalls about ds2 and whilst the woman is lovely , really trying to help and sticks to her word ( very refreshing ) she is quite clearly barking up the wrong tree and not going to be any help .
she said she has 'some' knowledge of Aspergers , i explained that to my mind ds2 behaviour was only really aspergers related a small percentage of the time and i think that most of the time i cannot attribute it to that at all .
she seems to be reading straight from a book and looking into it for things that arent there. i explained that the issue last weekend was when i asked him to nip out to buy a new washer and to morrisons with me as i cant leave him alone with ds1 (17) and he kicked off because he wanted to play his xbox . i had compromised in the end and said we would leave the morrisons trip out and the parenting ladies response was ' well you need to figure out what it is about morrisons that stresses him ' morrisons is fine , especially when were buying stuff for him he just wont wait to play on the xbox ffs.
i asked what she suggested i do when he calls me an idiot or a slag or whatever , she said i am to write the words down that he often calls me , tell him in this house the rule is they are not allowed and then have him rip them up . when he says them anyway i am just to keep telling him its against the rules . blardy ell !

i have read previous advice here about calling the police about violent behaviour , and i agree with it but somehow i cant do it sad
dh did take him to the police station before he was diagnosed with AS for spitting in my face , and he has never spat in my face again but done other things instead. when we saw the psych after diagnosis he already knew about the police station incident and really frowned upon it and said we shouldnt have done that.
what a minefield !
hope everyone finds a little bit of peace somewhere this weekend , im off to the festival of light and healing tomorrow but i am worried what may happen with ds2 and dh in my absence ( a whole afternoon ! )

flow4 Fri 01-Feb-13 22:09:30

bluerach, that sounds very tough. I haven't got much to add to what Maryz and Laura have said. Except to say there may be hope - there always is I think. 15/16/17 are really tough years, and IME it does get a bit better. smile

thrifty, it's really rubbish that the psychologist was so judgemental. sad And I think he's misunderstanding something really crucial, too...

If you took your DS to the police station as a kind of 'power-trip', just to frighten him, then I might agree that you shouldn't have done it. Maybe.

However, calling the police when your DS is attacking you is an entirely different matter. You have a right to be and feel safe in your own home. You really do. You owe it to yourself to keep yourself safe and not frightened.

And also, importantly, I think it is very bad indeed for DCs themselves to lose control so much that they hurt or frighten their own mums, and not be stopped. Teens are developing a sense of their own selves and their own power, and suddenly they find they do these dreadful things, and they can't stop themselves, and no-one else stops them either. I think it frightens them very much, and makes them feel unsafe. They can't trust themselves, and they can't trust you. Personally, I think they can then become so afraid of their own anger and their own power that they will do things like take drugs and self-harm... sad

You can't stop a teen who is bigger than you. They must learn to control themselves. But until they do, you need to call the police (or other 'reinforcements') to stop them. It may make your teen very angry (it did with my DS) but it also makes them feel safe: they need someone to take control of a situation they can't control themselves. And IMO, they need it just as much as you do.

IMO calling the police when your DC is dangerously out of control is not about punishment at all; it's about everyone feeling safe.

Midwife99 Sat 02-Feb-13 07:44:31

There seems to be a common theme of put teens displaying mental health problems & violent behaviour inc self harming & risk taking but then either charming the mental health professionals or refusing to engage. On the one hand they are asking for help & attention but on the other refusing it when it comes. Why???

Midwife99 Sat 02-Feb-13 07:50:30

"Our" not put!!

Maryz Sat 02-Feb-13 13:12:00

That's true Midwife.

I think it might be to do with the fact that they (ds certainly) have so little self-esteem and care so little about themselves they don't want help confused.

And bloody-mindedness of course.

Midwife99 Sat 02-Feb-13 13:34:48

He turned down the accomm offered on Wednesday & is now texting me asking for money & somewhere to stay!! He had £220 cash in the last 2 weeks with no bills to pay!! Threatening to kill himself if I don't give him £20!!

flow4 Sat 02-Feb-13 14:33:21

I think they flip between thinking they don't need help (and anyway it's all our fault), thinking they don't deserve help, and thinking they're so messed up they can't be helped... sad

Lilka Sat 02-Feb-13 16:23:21

oh aaaarghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

I need to shout and vent and worry

This isn't the right thread to launch into todays tale but aaargghhh for my troubled teenager

They make you want to tear your hair out, don't they midwife ? Mine would ring from his little flat, desperate because he had no food 'I haven't eaten for days, Mum' and when I cleared out the flat when he was first sent down, the cupboards were groaning with food...

Midwife99 Sat 02-Feb-13 18:18:18

Oh yes he "ent eaten for 3 days "!!

Maryz Sat 02-Feb-13 19:19:01

What's up Lilka?

I have no idea what to say Midwife. I mean, I should say "don't give in to threats", but [sigh]. I dunno. Maybe give him some food?

Midwife99 Sat 02-Feb-13 19:30:11

He doesn't want food. He wants money. It's Saturday night - he wants to get pissed & stoned. He had £220 in his pocket less than 2 weeks ago for food. He stinks of skunk every time I see him.

Midwife99 Sat 02-Feb-13 20:10:27

And now the abusive texts have started. I predict he'll be back in prison within a week. And it'll be my fault.

Maryz Sat 02-Feb-13 20:13:19

I think you need to turn your phone off.

He's going to steal something isn't he sad?

I hate this. I hate the fact that they can make us feel so guilty. It's just not fair.

Midwife99 Sat 02-Feb-13 20:24:28

He will struggle to get into a fight with only one arm working but he'll offend somehow. Probably theft or drugs. I'm so sick of him I must admit. I have 3 other children who take 1/100th of the energy he does. It's not fair. hmm

Maryz Sat 02-Feb-13 20:28:51

He's probably eaten all his painkillers early too, when he ran out of illegal stuff hmm.

You really do have to turn the phone off and just try to get some sleep. Worry about it another time. Do you know where he is?

Can you turn your phone off? I would if it's safe to. I used to do it when the abusive texts started and delete them all in the morning.

I'm so sorry that you are having to deal with this. The upside of prison is they get three square meals, a bed and no drugs (well, as far as I know). And no phones or unexpected visits...

flow4 Sun 03-Feb-13 00:22:06

I hope you're alright, Midwife and Lilka.

Lilka Sun 03-Feb-13 02:37:20

Nope, not feeling ok at all. Still up, too exhausted to sleep confused and my mind is still spinning. I really do need to sleep though

Mary, I started a thread in adoptions. What's up is that I took the kids shopping and DD saw her other mum in the shop. And spent hours with her. You know, kissing, hugging, chatting and now it's 'yay i've met my mum and I love her more than anyone in the world and she's amazing and fantastic and so on' and I feel mixed up and quite shit sad

Midwife99 Sun 03-Feb-13 04:14:35

Apparently he is my child for life & so I am guilty of child abuse because I won't help him any more!!

MuchBrighterNow Sun 03-Feb-13 08:00:06

Hope you managed to get some sleep Lilka. You must be all emotionally thrown by this unexpected shock. I hope you have a calm day.
Midwife... it's such an impossible task helping someone who refuses to take responsibility for themselves and then blames everyone else. Can you visualise/ immagine a safe place for him where you can put him in your mind. Create a scene where he is safe from harm and all his / your needs for him are being met. (I use this technique on nights that Ds doesn't come home and I know that he is out there somewhere off his head.) Then allow yourself periods of time when you you can put him safely in there , to give yourself a bit of respite from the worry.

Midwife99 Sun 03-Feb-13 09:13:15

He sent one final garbled text (obviously steaming drunk). His POV is laughable (eg shop at Aldi & stop paying for my DDs dance lessons etc so I can afford to support him!) he gets £56pw ESA & has no bills to pay. He had £5000 compensation for an accident last February & spent it in 5 weeks on drugs etc. The fact that he has since badgered me continuously for money when he knows I'm a single parent relying on tax credits is disgusting. I'm at the point where I want to go no contact. hmm

flow4 Sun 03-Feb-13 12:31:14

Lilka - that must be very upsetting. I must be impossible very hard to listen to her excitement at meeting her other mum, and not feel a bit rejected yourself. sad Her love and affection aren't limited, though - she won't transfer them all away from you now - even though it probably feels like that at the moment. This is (just hmm ) a temporary 'surge' of emotion, combined with typical teenage thoughtlessness. It is exciting for her to meet her other mum, and it's bound to be a bit overwhelming and all-absorbing for her at first. Once she gets over the initial excitement, and her new emotions settle down, her feelings for you will be just as strong as they were before, I bet. smile

Midwife, your DS's POV is laughable. Are you actually able to laugh? With him too, if possible? I found this hard, because as well as being laughable, it's also irritating and offensive... But when I managed it, I found my own DS did actually know he was being ridiculous - he just needed reminding. hmm Now I can (sometimes) even get him to laugh at himself when he asks me for more money.

The trouble is, when they've got themselves a drug habit (or several) the money they get is never enough. £56/week = £8/day = one packet of tobacco + one bottle of pop + not enough junk food to fill them up. It's a reasonable sum of money if you're someone who knows how to budget and cooks from scratch, but it's gone in 5 minutes if you're a feckless teen, and it doesn't even begin to pay for alcohol or weed or M-CAT or any other drugs. So they are always short of cash, and always feeling 'deprived'... And it's a very short step from that to self-pity and blaming everyone else. hmm

You are absolutely right not to bail him out of this any more, Midwife - I hope you already know that. He probably does too, deep down - he just doesn't like it.

Midwife99 Sun 03-Feb-13 13:24:15

I know £56 pw isn't much but why should I have to pay for an adult who beat me up, stole my car, stole my money, verbally abuses me, took drugs in my house, sold drugs from my house, gave keys to my house to his criminal contacts after he left who burgled us in the night when we were asleep upstairs, had drug dealers round threatening us for money he owed them?

xxDebstarxx Sun 03-Feb-13 14:41:32

I haven't been on for a while as I truly feel like I'm intruding. The troubles I have with me eldest are no way as severe. It's basically school refusal and suicidal thoughts I have been dealing with. Although he now says he no longer gets suicidal thoughts.

We had the consultation with the doctor at CAMHS and he said social anxiety disorder and depression and that my son needs to be assessed for ASD. That's the next step.

The school have said my only option left is to home school my son as the next official step will be prosecution for non-attendance. I feel like they are washing their hands of my son and that's unfair.

I'm sorry if these problems seem insignificant in comparison. Please tell me if I'm intruding.

Midwife99 Sun 03-Feb-13 14:43:14

You are not intruding DebStar - there's no hierarchy of problems here!! We're all just struggling & need to offload!!

xxDebstarxx Sun 03-Feb-13 15:31:31

Thank you Midwife I appreciate it. I have been struggling with this since he was in Year 9 and it's only in the last few six months that we have made any progress.

Midwife99 Sun 03-Feb-13 15:33:49

How old is he now?

flow4 Sun 03-Feb-13 15:56:12

You shouldn't have to pay Midwife.

I struggled with a similar issue last year, tho my DS was only 16 then. He stole about £1000 from me, and until I fitted a lock on my bedroom, he would steal from my purse if/whenever he got the opportunity... But I still had to hand over £4 every morning if I wanted him to go to college. It infuriated me.

I have always told him I won't support him financially when he's 18 unless he's studying, and that 'pocket money' will stop then and he'll have to get a p/t job. I think I'll stick to that...

Midwife99 Sun 03-Feb-13 15:58:42

He hasn't lived at home for 2 1/2 years so quite why I have to give him money I have no idea!!

xxDebstarxx Sun 03-Feb-13 16:49:03

He's 15 but nearer to 16 now. He would be in Year 11 if he went to school. I can't believe it has taken this long for someone to agree that there is a problem! I've been banging my head against a brick wall for years.

Footface Mon 04-Feb-13 22:56:46

Arrrggghh
Can anyone help me please I'm about to lose my temper. Please can u join your thread!

Bit if background

Stepson ( I honestly don't know where to start) from around 11 his behaviour became difficult. In lots of trouble at school. He walked out of school in numerous occasions. Refused to go to school for a long time. Has been been rude, aggressive, confrontational, avasive, the lying the manipulation. I have holes in my door from where he's kicked and punched. He's stolen from me. Well I've had it up to here.

He's 19 now. Been in prison twice. He ignores us for long periods of time. Tells us to fuck off that he doesn't want anything to do with us..... It goes on.

He is currently homeless after getting kicked out of a sort of half way house, meeting a gf, living with her family for a while leaving there. After two years he decides to get in contain with us.

In the two years that he's been missing his dad has sunk into depression, become moody and an insomniac. Dp is very pleased to see him.

I'm just pissed off. I resent that he's only got in touch with us because he has no money

Dp and I didn't really want him sleeping at home due to other dc's and his unpreditable violence. He brought his girlfriend if all of 8 weeks with him.

I resent paying her hostel bill and his but slightly less.

In the past few years we have asked friends and family to put him up ( this is not an option any more)

I spoke to them yesterday about jobs, tbh they lack motivation and don't seem to give a shit. Meanwhile we are forking out for two people (1 I bearly know) to stay in a hostel. It's a fucking joke

To top it all off ice just had a row with dp and said that they have to stay here for the next few days in the sofa as
1) it's free
2) having to get up at 6.30 might wake them up a bit.

Thing is I can feel my blood boiling as I've honestly only ever tried my best.

When he came out if prison the first time, we set him up in a shared room. After two weeks he'd kicked the door off and gone again leaving us with no hope of getting the deposit back.

There is so much I want to say to ss but I can as I risk him breaking contact and dp will suffer.

Any ideas

Footface Mon 04-Feb-13 22:57:38

Sorry for typos fat fingers

Footface Mon 04-Feb-13 23:09:45

Sorry to go on, but I'm so angry. Please ignore me if I'm butting in on a private thread.

Last time ss was around dp got him a job working with him. He refused to do any work though and didn't turn up the next day. This was at great risk to his dad as the company preference is no criminal records.

Do you know what the shit did, he took out a mobile phone contract out using our address. With no means to pay for it, leaving us to deal with the debt agency. I'm still really angry about that

njaw Mon 04-Feb-13 23:42:30

Sorry for those I missed in last few days, went to inlaws then came home last night and DS2s peaceful few days came to an end in A and E after he blew out all his knuckles smashing his hand into a wall.

footface I just wanted to send you a virtual hug, last night I was really mad with DH as he exacerbated the situation massively. But when I calmed down, as annoyed as I was, I couldnt help but be in awe of his ability to stay in the midst of the horror when DS isnt his biologically. After all, I'm DS mom, its natural for me to want to sort it. I cant begin to imagine how it is for Step Parents who have all the responsibility but so often, precious little gratitude for the important part they play

I really wish I had an answer for you, I dont but I respect you hugely for hanging on in there at what must be a horrendously challenging time and really hope it works out

Footface Tue 05-Feb-13 00:08:47

njaw thank you for your support. It's very hard being the step parent. I've been involved with ss since he was two. I thought that I did have maternal love for him. But I now realise I don't. I want the situation sorted for a quiet life, but sometimes I can bearly look at him. I know that it doesn't help the situation, but I can't stop feeling this ball of anger.

I think it's compounded by the fact that its very duffucult to talk about in real life. People's response is kick him out. It doesn't help.

flow4 Tue 05-Feb-13 09:17:44

Footface, this isn't a private thread and you are very welcome - although of course we all wish we didn't have reason to be here! hmm

It is very difficult to deal with the anger. I was also at the point where I could barely look at my DS. I felt that I didn't love him any more - that he had behaved so badly that he had somehow 'broken' my love for him. It was desperately upsetting - I felt a real sense of bereavement. Now, 12 months on from his biggest 'betrayal', and 6 months on from the time I had him arrested and charged after he smashed things up and threatened us - which was also the last time he was violent towards me - I can feel some of that love repairing. My trust in him is very damaged but I can feel affection and loving feelings - if not the same powerful love I had for him when he was young.

I just wanted to say that your feelings are are normal, reasonable response to the way your DSS has behaved. I felt just like that towards my DS. Please don't let his terrible recent behaviour undermine your past relationship with him, if that was good. It's terribly sad to hear you say "I thought that I did have maternal love for him. But I now realise I don't", as if you've caught yourself out somehow. If you thought you had maternal love for him, then you did. You just don't now - and no wonder - because he is behaving too badly and you are too caught up in the anger and hurt.

But no-one can wipe out that past love. Not even him.

That feels important to me, because if we didn't ever love them, then why on earth did we put up with all that shit?

Maryz Tue 05-Feb-13 09:36:45

Morning all. Sorry Footface, I missed this thread last night. Of course it isn't a private thread, and you are very welcome (though obviously it's sad that you are here).

I do think it is very hard for step parents. But the fact that you did love him means that flow is right - you do still love him. It wouldn't hurt so much if you didn't sad. But you need to work with your dh (or him work with you), because you can't approach this from two different angles and stay sane.

My advice to you is the same as everyone else - be nice to yourself, take a step away and try to deal with it all less emotionally. So work our yourself what you are prepared to do - financially, emotionally, letting him in the house etc. And then having worked out what you can cope with, talk to your dh and make it clear what you need to make it all bearable.

I think counselling for you and your dh would really help - talking in front of a stranger helped me and dh sort out how we could deal better with ds. Things we couldn't say to each other when we were alone (because we would argue, or blame each other, or ourselves, and because we were afraid to express some of what we felt) came out in counselling and we have worked together as a team since.

We all veer from desperately sad to furiously angry when we look at our kids destroying their lives. But your problem is that you and your dh aren't communicating as you should. At one stage I was ready to throw ds out and was furious with dh for "pandering to him" - but at another stage, he was ready and I was "being too soft".

Kids like this drive you to the end of your tether. But you can't change them, you can only change how you react to them.

<end of lecture>

((((((((((((((((((((((supportive hugs)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

njaw, I hope you are ok. ds has bust all his knuckles at various stages - he now doesn't even bother with getting his hands looked at. He's going to have horrible arthritis when he's older (if he lasts that long hmm).

Midwife99 Tue 05-Feb-13 10:51:15

Foot face - this is exactly what my 19 year old is doing. Abusive & refusing help (because he thinks he's above a hostel) & yet after money all the time. I can't afford to pay for a hostel as a single parent so it's up to him what he does with his benefits. I've decided that he can have what he always wanted now he's 19 - to be "treated like an adult & left alone"!! Ok then! Tough love time I reckon. Your DP needs to realise that he & his gf are adults & their benefits can pay for their hostel instead of drugs & alcohol

Midwife99 Tue 05-Feb-13 10:56:30

Hugs to you all! It is hard to admit that your love for them is diminished & the subsequent guilt! When my son shouts that I love my other children more than him I guess it's now true. sad

thriftychic Tue 05-Feb-13 11:33:36

i really need someone today , this is a very bad day sad
ds2 was upset and stressing this morning over something trivial , not trivial to him obviously probably because of his aspergers. it resulted in him threatening to smash my face in and although he didnt hurt me he threw me on the bed , poked me in the face , tipped my furniture up and broke a mirror.
i rang 999 sad
i told the police i was sorry i had rung , i am sorry i rang but i had decided on natural consequences so , swearing we created a swear jar , damaging things he has to pay and aggression the police .
the police came but ds2 had legged it by then . They went for a look around and said if he doesnt show in a reasonable amount of time report him missing .
he has turned up at school which i thought was the last place . slotted into his lesson like nothings happened it seems.
hes been texting me though saying that he hates me and we are finished etc etc
the way his aspergers brain works he will mean it and never forgive me i am sure and also it wont change his behaviour i dont think.
i am dreading him coming home i have no idea what to do anymore and i feel physically sick.

Maryz Tue 05-Feb-13 14:18:19

Hi thrifty, sorry you are having a shit time.

Will the police come and talk to him when he gets home? Even if he doesn't really appreciate why and even if he is still angry with you, seeing them might give him a wake-up call.

I know what you mean about him never forgiving you - I know ds hated me for a long time, he really did. His life was entirely my fault. And it wasn't that he was just saying it (like another child would), he really did. But I know that over the last year or so that is blurring a bit, and he now knows (in his more reasonable moments) that he doesn't really hate me.

So, again, you have to be less emotional. You really do. Stop caring about what he is texting, just carry on with the "you frightened me, so I called the police. Not only to protect myself, but to protect you because you will be in a lot of trouble if you hurt me badly".

That's a statement. Not an emotional "see what you are doing to me, you are ruining my life and upsetting me" comment, but a statement of fact. "You are not allowed to hurt anyone, and to stop you I will call reinforcements".

When ds was first diagnosed I went to a talk on AS by Tony Attwood, and one of the things that came up was emotion, and how people with AS find it hard to display degrees of emotion, so they go from ok to furious, ok to miserable, all in one go, rather than being narky, then cross, then angry, then furious, iyswim.

Also that anger is an easy emotion for children to have, and that for children who fear their own emotions the easiest thing to do is to get angry. So you are confused, you get angry, you are down, you get angry, you can't do your homework, you get angry. The anger releases a burst of tension, and you can get the other emotions out of your system and feel very much better very quickly. So children learn anger as the "get out" reaction to everything.

This follows them through to adulthood, and they can get so angry they actually frighten themselves. They then have to justify their anger, by blaming someone else for it.

I'm not explaining this very well, but while his fury is understandable (and you can tell him that) physical violence against people is NOT ok.

Now, be nice to yourself, when he comes in call the police to come and talk to him, tell him why you called them, and let them explain what will happen if he does it again.

Don't worry about him hating you, or not forgiving you. That's worrying about the future and what-ifs, which we aren't doing here. Here we are dealing with now, just now.

Be nice to yourself. Don't blame yourself, you are doing the right thing.

Midwife99 Tue 05-Feb-13 14:40:25

Thrifty - you should be apologising for calling the police when he attacked you!! He should apologising not sending you abusive texts! I don't think that just because our teens have ADHD or AS or whatever they shouldn't have to face the consequences of their actions. Dial 101 & arrange for a local officer to come & give him a talking to. You must feel pretty shaken up so I hope you have RL support today.

Midwife99 Tue 05-Feb-13 15:00:01

Sorry thrifty - I meant to say you should NOT be apologising for calling the police!!

flow4 Tue 05-Feb-13 18:16:23

Thrifty, you say you are dreading him coming home. Is he back by now? If not, do you have to let him back? I refused for several days after I had my son arrested, because I knew he was still very angry and I did not know whether it would be safe. I felt like I was a very Bad Mother (and he and others reinforced that) but I did not know what else to do. And it did at least show him clearly how desperate and serious I was. sad

With luck, even though he's brazening it out, he will have realised you're serious about the 'no aggression' rule.

It is very, very, very hard, but (if it's any consequence) it sounds like you're doing the right thing. I think your natural consequences idea sounds excellent (though I wouldn't do the swearing one - partly because it would cost me a fortune! blush ) - really simple and clear to understand and follow.

After his arrest, my DS texted me with "I'm in the back of a police car thanks to you bitch". He followed that over the course of the next 4-5 days with loads of other angry, abusive messages about how everything was my fault and how he'd never forgive me. I think many people (not just teens) say "I hat you" when really they mean "I am furious with you". Like Maryz says, you can ignore, or counter these with calm facts, e.g.:

"I'm in the back of a police car thanks to you bitch" --> "No, you're in the back of a police car because you smashed the house up and threatened me".

"I can't believe you had me arrested c*nt" --> "I told you I would if you were violent again".

"I hate you, you're ruining my life" --> "I know you are very angry with me. But the only person who can ruin your life is you".

"What kind of mother calls the police on her own son" --> "I can't control you - you have to control yourself. And if you don't, I have to call for reinforcements".

Like Maryz says, his anger will die down. Deep down he probably knows he was out of order. I have come to realise that my son get more angry if he knows he's in the wrong. hmm

Hope tonight is calmer.

Midwife99 Tue 05-Feb-13 20:08:34

Totally agree with all that flow says.

Doinmummy Wed 06-Feb-13 19:03:55

Hi all, My worse fears have been realised. I found drugs in DDs bedroom. I have contacted the school and they are trying to put some help in place. I can hardly speak to anyone, I feel sick to my stomach.

Maryz Wed 06-Feb-13 19:10:28

Doin, you kind of knew that from his behaviour, didn't you?

In a way, now you know he can no longer pretend he isn't, if that makes sense. I do understand the shock and the feeling sick, but if you can look at it dispassionately you finding them makes no difference - he was still using.

Do be careful with the school. We contacted the school about ds and their answer was to expel him sad while his supplier (older boy, same school) got away with it because his parents just lied.

Mrscupcake23 Wed 06-Feb-13 19:15:13

Agree try and keep it quiet from the school, they really will not be helpful.

Have no experience of drugs but there must be a helpline.

Doinmummy Wed 06-Feb-13 19:19:45

Maryz I think you've muddled me with someone else. I have had no idea about drugs and while DD behaviour has been challenging I really dont think it was drugs related. This is totally new. She has admitted to smoking weed twice.

The school seem to think that someone has given them to her and have said that she will not be expelled unless she brings them into school.

She has been spoken to by the police who are going along the lines of prevention rather than arresting her.

Mrscupcake23 Wed 06-Feb-13 19:26:21

What sort of drugs were they? My sympathy is with you it's every parents nightmare. What has your daughter said about it?

Doinmummy Thu 07-Feb-13 14:01:52

I found wrappers that looked like white powder had been in it and another had weed in it. DD has said she's smoked weed twice. Her boyfriend smokes it. She had a load of kids round but won't say who they were. I smelt it as soon as I walked in.

flow4 Thu 07-Feb-13 17:11:53

I'm sorry Doin, you must be very worried about this. Dunno if information helps, but in case it does...

The white powder is probably M-CAT/mephedrone but could also be MDMA, aphetamines/speed or (if someone in your DD's circle has plenty of money) cocaine.

The weed, if it smells strong, is probably skunk. Skunk is a form of cannabis, as you probably know. It has been chemically modified to add more of the 'psycho-active' ingredient THC. It can be nasty stuff imo.

In my experience, there are two very different types of drug user: ones who use drugs at weekends or at the end of a day to 'wind down', and ones who use drugs daily and throughout a day to 'block out'. Many teens manage to use drugs to 'wind down' and still keep their lives, work, relationships and studies on track. Other teens over-use and mis-use drugs to 'block out' the bits of their lives they do not like, and often end up with serious problems.

It is probably worth trying to work out which group your DD belongs to. If it's the first, then she will probably be OK. If she's in the second group, this is more worrying. I know many teens, including my son, who have gone badly off track, and drugs have played a major part in this.

It seems to me that the 'key factor' is whether on not a teen has things in his/her life that motivate him/her enough not to let drug misuse ruin anything. Once they find a 'passion' or something they really want to do, they seem to be able to stop using drugs, or keep any drug use under control. If your DD (or any teen) doesn't have something in her life that she loves, then she's more at risk I think.

Doinmummy Thu 07-Feb-13 22:09:12

Thank you flow . I'm still reeling at the moment . I think ( and I stress think) that its a bit of experimenting . She said she has tried weed twice and has promised never to do so again . I don't know if I believe her and am not so naive as to take my eye off the ball. She denies all knowledge of the bag of white powder . I am questioning her in dribs and drabs as it inflames things if I interrogate her too much. I need to keep everything as calm as possible.

thriftychic Thu 07-Feb-13 22:17:25

not had chance to get back on here until now but thanks for the advice and kind words. I was gobsmacked he had gone to school on Tuesday , i thought he had probably gone in the end because it was snowing and he was too scared of the police to come home but he says he went straight to school . another brilliant one by school who failed to let me know he had arrived there even though i had let them know what was happening.
when he came home he was all sorry , i just couldnt face ringing the police again , i know stupid , but i am so knackered and mixed up with it all. He wanted to hug me and then play xbos !
I am sticking to my guns with the damage , he has a gift card from xmas so ive taken that to use to buy a new mirror with and he has been told he has to go out with his dad to get it on saturday.
hes asked me to buy him a punch bag , saying that it might help him when hes angry but tbh im not sure it will.
He gets some money each day providing hes been behaving but tonight he was shouting at us about something and being generally arsy so i told him he hadnt earned it today , he has to be 100 % polite and he started getting crazy about it being unfair etc etc . i thought we were in for another meltdown but managed to ignore it and then create a distraction.
maryz , i can get what your saying about the anger thing and also trying to be less emotional . hard though as i am a very emotional sort of person at the best of times !
flow , i have to have him back . theres nowhere else for him and tbh i cant stop worrying when hes anywhere else anyway as he relies on me alot with having AS i think and also epilepsy worries me . He seems to be more like a 10 year old than a 13 year old in some ways .
i am wondering if the fact that i actually called the police might have some effect , probably deluding myself but we will see..

Maryz Thu 07-Feb-13 22:32:28

Sorry, Doin, I was mixing you up with someone from the earlier thread.

If you didn't have any idea, then it must have come as a shock. I would be a bit worried about her denying knowledge. In my experience kids only admit what you know already - the chances are that if they admit to trying weed a couple of times that actually means they are smoking a lot.

Obviously there are exceptions, where the parent finds it the first time they use it, but that isn't generally the case.

Flow is our resident expert on teenage drug use, listen to her. I do agree, though, that teenagers stop using drugs, not when they are caught, not when the run out of money, not when their parents punish them, but when the find something else in life more interesting and important than the drugs. So trying to get her to do things rather than stop doing things is likely to be more successful.

Maryz Thu 07-Feb-13 22:35:06

thrifty, that actually sounds quite encouraging. He may well have frightened himself, and the fact that you did call the police might just be enough to stop him next time. And the fact that he could control himself today is also a good sign.

I presume you've read the bit above about looking at our kids (with AS, ADHD etc) as though they are 2/3rds their chronological age, haven't you? That would make your ds a 9 year old in a 13 year old's body, which is very confusing for him.

Do try to be less emotional if you can - it really has helped an awful lot with ds, because he no longer has to worry about me being up and down, which helps him control his own emotions better iykwim.

shoppingtrolley Fri 08-Feb-13 10:10:24

My DD has deteriorated since turning 13 and is now falling out with everyone, terrible mood swings, obnoxious at home, hormonal and addicted to the internet. She has started refusing to go to school and I fail to make her go, and now she is missing out on substantial quantities of work. She has a 17 year old boyfriend who she met online and seems to have no ambitions, no aims or dreams. She looks terrible and sometimes cuts her arms. Is this normal or teenage stuff or are we having it particularly bad? I don't know as I don't have many friends with kids the same age.

Maryz Fri 08-Feb-13 10:33:30

It isn't "normal" for most teenagers, shopping. Sadly it becomes normal for some.

Are the school any help? Would a trip to the gp and possibly the pill help the moods? It is difficult - the 17 year old boyfriend would ring enough alarm bells to make me start worrying.

I keep saying this - I think we as parents need help for us - to a certain extent we can only stand on the sidelines and watch. For many children discipline, boundaries, rules, punishment etc works and keeps them on the straight and narrow. But if it doesn't work, it is very hard to make kids of this age actually do anything.

If you think she is depressed, a trip to the gp would be a good idea (and the gp might be able to suggest some help for you as well). If the school can help you or her, then that might be the way to go.

shoppingtrolley Fri 08-Feb-13 11:11:13

Do you think the pill would help? I only have experience of me taking it, and it drove me crazy! Do most kids like this come right in the end or can it all carry on in to adulthood? I am worried she will ruin the start of her adult life :-(

Hi everyone, I just thought I'd come back and tell you that ds was diagnosed with autism on Wednesday. Although I suspected he was asd I honestly thought that the results would come back inconclusive as he's very clever at appearing normal when he has to.

But they came back very clear, the assessor says it was obvious to them that he was autistic he met all the criteria and they had specific concerns about his lack of empathy and his social understanding amongst other things

I am relieved. And gutted. And I don't know where to go from here. Poor boy also had ADHD.

Has not had

Maryz Fri 08-Feb-13 12:40:19

Ghost, sorry to post and run, but you know a diagnosis might well help him. And it will certainly help you, it really will.

Even if it only helps you to detatch a bit, knowing that he can't help how he is iyswim. He can, however, learn to help what he does, but that will take him longer than other kids. The diagnosis may well also rule out drug use, which is a good thing (the first time ds was arrested they thought he was on drugs, he wasn't, he was just autistic and they couldn't understand his ranting at all).

Go back up this thread and read flow4 Tue 08-Jan-13 10:18:23 especially the bit about it not being your fault. Because it is even more applicable if he is on the autistic spectrum.

I will be here later, and I'll give you a couple of links to websites that might help. And I'll leave you with a story (which I might have told here before). When my kids were younger, one of the biggest problems I had was ds1 walking into the sitting room, picking up the remote and changing the tv channel, resulting in uproar from ds2 and dd who would be happily watching tv. It was years before I discovered that children with ASD have difficulty understanding that other people think differently from them. So ds1 genuinely thought he was doing the others a favour - he would walk in, they would be watching something stupid or boring, and he would change to something more interesting, assuming that they would also find it interesting. It made me understand him so much more when I realised this, because it suddenly struck me that little of his behaviour was deliberately provocative, much of it was self centred (not selfish, there is a subtle difference).

For your son, for example, he may genuinely not realise how much impact his noise has on the little ones; and on the other hand he will genuinely think that their noise is done deliberately to annoy him. It's weird to get your head around, but if you can, it does help.

shopping, I don't really know for sure, but there have been posters on here whose girls' behaviour has been transformed by being put on the pill.

njaw Fri 08-Feb-13 17:31:01

I've been reading for weeks now and thinking to myself "at least I don't have to call the police". Now I'm in a whole other place

DS2 has got in a furious rage with his brother whilst I was at work and has pulled a knife on him. The way the pair of them told me when I got a hysterical call from DS2 (I think he's scared the living daylights out of himself) was that he stopped before he did any damage but the cuts in DS1's jacket have made me realise he was a lot closer to damage than either of them realised.

I called TAHMS, they work term time (seriously???) and we've not been allocated a case worker yet. They recommend I call the Police if I think any of us are in danger and that I call the GP to see if we can get tracked to CAHMS instead, though she doesn't think it will happen and my request will get bounced back to TAHMS. The way DS2 tells it, he hardly remembers anything, he's terrified about what he did and was sobbing in my arms that he needed help. He's now totally calm and I don't have the strength to start a debate just yet, believe it or not he's curled up on the sofa next to DS1 and they are happy as larry. I know I should do something but I'm in such deep shock I've been rendered numb.

The "What if's?" are utterly terrifying.. The realisation that this isn't anything like teenage angst is startlingly clear, I have no idea what to do and I'm in so much fear for his future, I can't think straight.

Maryz Fri 08-Feb-13 21:01:18

njaw, I think you should go to the gp while he still remembers the episode.

From what you have said above, his father has been involved with drugs and has mh issues. I have learned that sometimes it isn't that drug ues causes bad behaviour and mh problems; it can be the other way around. I used to think that if ds would stop using drugs, he'd be fine, but then I came to realise that he wasn't fine before he started using - he started smoking dope as a form of self-medication, because he couldn't cope with anxiety, depression and other issues.

It's possible your ex did the same, and there is some treatable mental illness that your ds has inherited - much of the time these illnesses can be heriditary, and can come to the fore in the teenage years. We are trying to find out about ds's medical background, and it does seem that there is some incidence of depression and possibly bi-polar in his gene pool.

I used to think that medicating children was appalling - now I think that had ds been taken seriously and treated medically for depression and especially for anxiety, he wouldn't possibly have become so dependent on various street drugs.

Go and have a chat with your gp - see if you can find a sympathetic one, and try to talk to your son from the point of view that it is scary for him (whatever about anyone else) and that he needs some help to make sure it doesn't happen again.

And lock away the knives.

ds2, by the way, has been furiously angry a lot in the last few weeks, since starting his ADHD medication [sigh]. So I'm in the opposite position to you, considering stopping it. I can't make up my mind which is worse - his inability to concentrate without the medication, or the fury in the evenings when it wears off.

flow4 Fri 08-Feb-13 22:28:24

Oh bloody hell njaw, how stressful. sad

Firstly, I also think you need to take him to the GP first thing on Monday morning. And remember that if you are seriously/urgently worried about his mental health, you can take him to A&E. People tend to think of it as a place you go with physical emergencies, but A&E depts have a 24hr mental health liaison team too, and their triage will assess emergency mental health needs.

If your DS2 loses control in such a spectacular way again, and you think he's dangerous, I'm afraid you will need to call the police. sad

My DS1 brandished a knife at DS2 the night I had him arrested. I had already called the police at that point, and he said he 'might as well' kill himself or stab someone, if he was going to be arrested anyway. He was ranting and raving rather than directly threatening, but it was frightening, and I was particularly scared about what he might do without meaning to, because he was totally out of control. sad

The good news is that 6-7 months on, we have had no hint of a repeat. In my DS's case, I'm about 95% sure it was drug-related, and it doesn't sound like this is the case in your DS2's case. But it probably is still some kind of chemical imbalance in his brain - whether hormones or severe allergy or some kind of disease - and that means it's treatable (or even possibly fixable).

Also, thankfully, my DS2 does not seem to have been traumatised by it (I was much more disturbed). He doesn't like DS1, but he's scornful rather than afraid... With luck, your DS1 won't be affected in the long term either. There's an option of asking for counselling for him too...

And look after yourself njaw. I can't remember whether you're already having counselling, but if not, get it sorted. It is useful.

njaw Fri 08-Feb-13 23:47:05

Thank you both so much for both practical advice and the support. It breaks my heart to think of other people going through this yet it's reassuring to know that people come out of the other side.

We called his GP pretty much straight after and were told they would call back asap. She called at 8pm and was absolutely amazing, took info, went off to the regional hq for MH services and I had a call within 20 minutes from CAHMS Out of Hours. She also gave me some info so I had leverage and the right thing to say and how to get hold of someone who would take action if I didn't get results. I was bowled over as it was the first time it felt like someone was really on our side. CAMHS are going to escalate it from TAMHS so we can get him medically checked as well. Our local area uses the targeted intervention to reduce CAMHS reliance but like you've suggested, something is more adrift than chatting will solve. We can but hope that the only silver lining to the horror of this afternoon is that something might happen now to get him proper help.

If CAMHS won't get involved for whatever reason, has anyone had any experience using private healthcare for adolescent mental health services? I appreciate we are exceedingly lucky to be in the situation where we could afford it but I wouldn't know where to start and I'm not sure about regulation in this sector?

I'm also in awe of DS1 who has been amazing with him. If I were him, I'm not sure I would be as forgiving as he has been. He sat next to me earlier and said "I get it, something's really up, he's not just being a brat. I can't be mad with him" I'm so proud of the maturity he's showing about the situation.

The worst of it is coming to terms that I may need to call the police if he were to go like that again. The thought of involving them is terrifying, not least because my brother is a PCSO in our area and the thought of him seeing his nephew like that is horrible. But it's so much more than that, its the fear of what that level of intervention will do to his record.
I know all the rational side, I have to keep all 4 of us safe and if it comes to it, I won't hesitate. I can't let him physically harm any of us. And yet.. it's horrible and sad and..

Please let this be a peaceful weekend, I just need a couple of days of calm. Just so I have the strength for next week IYKWIM. We haven't looked at counselling for us yet, I think we need to know he's got everything he needs first then we'll look to get ourselves something.

flow4 Sat 09-Feb-13 00:15:52

Re. the police... I can perhaps offer you some reassurance... Nothing will go on his record if you phone early - i.e. if/when he threatens you and you feel frightened, but before he picks up a knife and stabs someone.

The first time I called 999, DS had pushed me over (in a small room so I fell against a wall rather than on the floor), and pulled my hair. They came, spoke to him, asked me what I wanted to do, and went away when I said 'nothing'.

The second time, he had twisted my wrists and thrown things at me. (Then he ran away). They came, asked me what I wanted to do, went away when I said 'nothing', and offered to go and find him and talk to him.

The third time, they came, asked me what I wanted to do, were very supportive when I said I wanted to make a statement, treated the incident seriously (as domestic violence) and subsequently arrested and charged him.

Obviously things would be very different if your DS actually stabbed someone. sad But for lower levels of violence and intimidation, they are not in a hurry to arrest kids if they don't have to. In fact, I found the police were the best agency I came into contact with - very experienced in dealing with angry teens, very diplomatic and constructive, and all the attending officers were non-judgemental (one custody sarge wasn't, but that's another story angry ).

Calling the police if your DC is violent towards you is definitely the right thing to do, not just because you have to keep yourself and other family members safe, but also because it is awful for a teen if they get to the point where they actually hurt their mum or someone else they love. When they can't control themselves to the extent of being violent, they need some help being controlled, IMO.

I hope you have a peaceful weekend too. smile

Doinmummy Sat 09-Feb-13 16:35:27

Please help me. I can't cope anymore .

flow4 Sat 09-Feb-13 16:52:25

Doin, I'm sending you online hugs here: >> HUGS << I'm sorry you're feeling so bad right now.

I think you should phone Parentline (now renamed 'Family lives') on 0808 800 2222. If you're feeling really desperate, you need to talk to someone, and MN folk won't be able to respond quickly enough here.

Their website says:

"Call us any time

"Family Lives offers a confidential helpline service which is free from landlines and most mobiles. Please call us on 0808 800 2222 for information, advice, guidance and support on any aspect of parenting and family life. Our opening hours are 7am – midnight. If you need to speak to someone during the night we can divert your call to the Samaritans who are available to offer emotional support.

"We currently answer 90% of callers with over 70% answered first time. If you don’t get answered first time please do try again.

"Contact us via Skype

"Skype is a fast, free and efficient way of us delivering support for anyone needing our help. It allows callers an opportunity to access our services in a way that is more convenient. To use this service you will need to have a Skype account. To set up one up, please visit www.skype.com. Once you have your Skype account and are signed in, please use this link to get in touch with us directly. Once you have Skype installed please open the Skype Dialler and call 0808 800 2222 and press the green call button. You will then be connected to our helpline confidentially and free of charge."

Maryz Sat 09-Feb-13 17:21:11

Doin,you can cope and you will because like all of us you have to.

Now, make yourself a cuppa, if you can go somewhere by yourself.

Tell us what's up.

Doinmummy Sat 09-Feb-13 17:33:02

She's smashed her bedroom up. Wardrobe doors been ripped off. She wants an I phone for her birthday next week. I've said no because of her behaviour . She said what's the point in behaving if I don't reward her. Sounds so trivial but I can't stand the mental strain of it all.

Doinmummy Sat 09-Feb-13 17:35:22

Doctor has put me on diazepam and I feel like taking them all. I want to shock her to make her see how she's affecting me.

Midwife99 Sat 09-Feb-13 18:06:09

Oh Doin so sorry to hear that. Don't do anything silly - just try not to let her get under your skin. Of course she can't have an iPhone!! She smashed her room up! You're absolutely right. If she threatens you or becomes violent call the police.

Doinmummy Sat 09-Feb-13 18:26:06

She says she wants to be taken into care. I just can't reach her.

Doinmummy Sat 09-Feb-13 18:27:53

I spoke to parent line and they weren't much help really . A lovely lady who just kept caking how I felt and how difficult it must be for me.

Maryz Sat 09-Feb-13 20:14:04

No, don't do that (though I understand the thought).

She won't look at it from your point of view. When she gets to this stage she can't look at it from your point of view.

You need to learn what we have all had to learn the hard way - take a step back, take emotion out of it, look at her behaviour dispassionately as though you were looking at it from a distance (and I certainly don't think it's easy, it took me years and lots of tears).

Her room is just that, a room. In the greater scheme of things it is just a room. Rooms can be fixed, just leave it.

If she wants to go into care, call SS for help - they are unlikely to take her, and even if they offered to she is unlikely to really want to go.

You are right to not buy the i-phone. But don't discuss it or say "you can have one if you behave" - that may result in 2 hours of behaviour, and then a riot when you say it isn't enough. Just stick to "no i-phone at present, we will review it in a month".

Has your gp suggested counselling with the anti-d's? I found the most useful counselling was the one I accessed through our local voluntary youth drug group. They had a parent support group, and I got a family counsellor through that who really understood. And being able to talk about it did me so much good.

Maryz Sat 09-Feb-13 20:14:28

I'm around for the next hour, by the way.

Are you on line now?

Maryz Sun 10-Feb-13 10:31:14

How are you this morning Doin? Have things calmed down a bit?

njaw Sun 10-Feb-13 14:00:56

You ok Doin?

We are in the weird aftermath, DS2 is being delightful and engaging. Spent yesterday painting his uncles house offering tea and coffee to everyone. Whilst its nice to have the break, it makes it all feel so surreal when he blows!

I really want to do something positive for parents in our situation, been racking my brains for what I could do.

njaw Sun 10-Feb-13 16:18:25

When DS2 had his assessment with TAMHS, the assessor asked a lot of questions about his birth.
As he's 12, I was really bemused by all this and its been playing on my mind. Both DS's were born prem 30 and 31+4 respectively, both placental abruptions, both needed NICU intervention. I couldn't for the life of me figure out why he wanted to know all this though, after all he's now perfectly average sized and his brother his a good foot taller than me!

It played on my mind enough for me to start to read up about the correlation between prematurity and behavioural issues in later life and I'm stunned by the outcome. Supposedly multiple studies have shown that prem babies are twice as likely to suffer problems in later life.

Has anyone else read/been told about this? And does it make any difference in what we can do for him?

supersec Sun 10-Feb-13 16:30:44

my son's behaviour isn't as bad as some of the stories on here (we had the aggression, violence, truanting and exclusions when he was 14/15). He smokes cannabis whenever he has money (we give him none since getting a call from one of his teachers at college to say he stunk of it). He is 18 in July and we have just found out he has been stealing from his grandad who is 79 for goodness knows how long. He has stolen from us and his brother - I have to carry my bag everywhere and lock everything away.

we did warn his grandad to hide all money but my son was the blue eyed boy and I don't think he wanted to believe us. His hiding place was a drawer in his bedroom - my son uses his ensuite toilet as it is downstairs. He must have taken hundreds over the past 6 months - he finally laid a trap for him last week. I kept telling my husband that he would ransack the house as his grandad used to leave my son alone there while he went to mass. He took £40 last Saturday.

All the money has gone on cannabis, cigarettes and alcohol. After he stole the money last week he brought his friends round on Saturday night to smoke cannabis when we went out.

He has been told 3 times to ring his grandad to apologise and say he will pay him back but he hasn't done so yet. He is on half term this week and I am throwing him about everyday to try and find a part time job to pay him back. He doesn't even want to do this as he says how is this going to make him find a job!! I am giving him a weekly bus ticket and that is all -he can sit in the library and make a start and visit every shop, bar and restaurant.

He hasn't even got a phone at the moment (well he has but it only accepts calls as he didn't even buy a sim card with all the money he robbed) I have told him there is no internet access until he finds a job.

I don't see what else we can do at the moment - he is hoping to find an apprenticeship after his A levels, which he is expected to fail. I don't know how he will manage to do with no work ethic in him at all.

we will have to double lock all doors and windows in the morning to make sure he doesn't get back in until we get home.

njaw Sun 10-Feb-13 16:48:20

Have you considered reporting it to the police? I know that its the last thing you want to do but if he's not feeling any remorse about it, you might need shock tactics. Or where does it stop?

I would definitely be tempted (as difficult as it is to force a huge great 17 year old to do anything physically) to make him stand in front of his grandfather and admit it. It's going to have more impact if he actually has to see the effect of his actions as opposed to holding a phone away from his ear.

Not sure how you make him get a job, if he really is expected to fail his A's, as heart breaking as it is, would he be better to look at the apprenticeship now? At least then he might be ahead of the pack looking in September. It's really really hard coming to terms that the hopes and dreams we had for our DC's might not realise. DS1 is adorable in most ways but is as lazy as they come. He's extremely bright and it's been such a journey to accept that he's not going to do what I expected of him. That for all my pleading, my crazy work ethic wasn't something he inherited and that he's not going to achieve what he could have done.

Perhaps if you got him moving in a positive direction earlier rather than later, something might flick in his brain that creates a desire to be more in life than he currently is?

supersec Sun 10-Feb-13 17:26:55

Reporting it to police wouldn't work - definitely wouldn't make him more remorseful - he has something lacking in that department.

He was admitted into upper sixth by the skin of his teeth as he had truanted so much - his attendance this year is now 91%. Every time he misses 3 lessons I get an attendance alert by email which always drives me MENTAL as we went through 18 months of truanting when he was 14/15. I actually asked his senior tutor to throw him out as he was going nowhere but they have said he MAY get 2 Cs in applied business and a D in his English if he works his socks off, which he most certainly isn't. They certainly do not think his attendance and lack of a work ethic is enough to kick him out. I think they are reluctant to anyway in the present economic climate.

He reckons that after half term he has 10 weeks left - he hinted today that he wanted to apply for apprenticeships now but as he is nearly at the end of his courses I don't want him to leave now. What would he do if he left now - I don't think he would get an apprenticeship in the next month? There is nothing to stop him from applying if he is serious, and continuing with college. it would be madness to give up at the final hurdle

I get the impression he thinks he has more chance of getting an apprenticeship now than a part time job? What does everyone else think?

He is not staying in bed all day after he finishes college. If he gets an apprenticeship in May/June, surely this will still be ahead of the pack. I really don't know what the competition will be like - the good thing is he probably comes across a lot better than he actually is but with poor results, who knows? He has 3 Bs and 3Cs at GCSE.

I said to him today if he stole from an employer it would mean prison - he said obviously he knows this and would never do it.

Midwife99 Sun 10-Feb-13 17:35:30

It's horrible when they steal from their own family, when they're in the grip of substance misuse they'll do anything to get the money for it. I don't know what the answer is apart from making him leave home or never leaving him unsupervised around valuables & money (my son sold our possessions when he couldn't get money).

Maryz Sun 10-Feb-13 17:44:13

I would encourage him to apply for apprenticeships now. If he gets one, great. He can then make the decision whether or not to wait until after the exams to leave.

If he waits until the exams are over, he will then need a "rest" and will take the summer off, even if he starts applying in September there will be loads of others who are applying for things then. It might also be better for him to be able to say "I left college to take up an apprenticeship" rather than "I failed all my exams".

I hate cannabis. Hate it with a vengeance. It soaks up their enthusiasm and their concentration and destroys their morals angry

supersec Sun 10-Feb-13 17:46:18

until he is 18 we are going down the never leaving him unsupervised around valuables and money route. That is another reason why we are asking him to leave the house this week from 8.30 until 3.30 - we don't know who he would have in the house and we can't physically hide EVERYTHING away. It would just add to the stress walking round wondering what he could possibly have stolen. I have given him a list of things to do to find a job to give him a start.

supersec Sun 10-Feb-13 17:56:13

I hate cannabis as well with a vengence maryz. Absolutely detest it but so many parents don't seem to mind. He is a very laid back and lazy person anyway and obviously the cannabis has made this worse.

He will definitely not be taking a rest after the exams but it will be stressful for me having to kick him out every day to find a job as he will be very reluctant to do so. Obviously the need for him to find a job is more pressing now as he must pay his grandad back. It is around £400 but may be a lot more as he won't admit to how much.

If he got an apprenticeship now that would be great. His business studies is mostly coursework and he only has one exam in English left, and a resit, but he has never opened a book or even his bag in the last 18 months.

We will have to get him a suit for interviews. We will just have to wait and see what he gets job wise, left to his own devices. The mother of one of his friends applied for jobs for her son but I am definitely not doing this. He has to do it himself.

Maryz Sun 10-Feb-13 18:03:20

There's a lovely weed thread at the moment [sigh].

All about how it is relaxing and never did anyone any harm, and is not as bad for you as alcohol.

Of course it's fine if you only have a couple of joints/glasses of wine on a Saturday night. The trouble with weed is that kids smoke it before, during and after school, as well as all weekend. So comparing it to alcohol is ridiculous, as I have never seen a 14 year old drinking from a bottle of vodka on the school bus at 8 am hmm.

It would be tempting to help him with job applications, don't you think? You know "let's sit down and do a cv" type help. That's what I'm doing with ds1 atm. His course finishes in May and I'm desperate that he has something (job, college, something) for September.

supersec Sun 10-Feb-13 18:11:00

he has had his CV sorted out for the last 6 months. He has registered with a very good training agency that reckons they have 60% of the apprenticeship vacancies with employers in our city. He did this in early December as I went with him. He knows he should be looking at the national apprenticeship website but when he is not out roaming he is on twitter, facebook, trainers and clothes websites. He is not feeling any pressure yet. He will do what we tell him which is quite positive but we have to spoonfeed him everything which I don't think is right at nearly 18.

supersec Sun 10-Feb-13 18:14:30

my worry is will he skive off work (if he gets a job) to go and smoke cannabis - 2 of his friends will be continuing at college this year and obviously they smoke cannabis too. we will have no control over this but we are wondering if this is what is coming next. I know i am getting ahead of myself but it is hard to look at anything positively. For the last 4 years there has been nothing positive to find in him. And everything is linked to cannabis.

Maryz Sun 10-Feb-13 18:18:58

Don't look ahead.

I strongly believe that kids will stop smoking dope when they find something more interesting to do. So rather than put our efforts into stopping them smoking (which we will fail at), we should put our efforts into encouraging them to find something more interesting.

If he finds a job/sport/group of friends/college course he likes, he will use less.

If he finds a girlfriend who doesn't like it, or decides he wants to travel to a country where it isn't available he will stop. etc.

<clings to straws and tries to convince self grin>

rocketeer Sun 10-Feb-13 18:43:25

I need help/reassurance here please. I 'phoned 999 today because dh's nephew who we have brought up for the last 7 years punched Dh in the face after a calm request for nephew to smoke outdoors not in him bedroom. He has been taken to cells and the police have been lovely. Nephew had contact with his mother yesterday which I'm sure was a catalyst but we promised ourselves that the next time he was violent we would press charges. So should we do it or let the police scare him a bit then let him home? Really not sure, nephew is desperate to join the Navy so an arrest could ruin that but I worry his temper would let him down anyway.

Maryz Sun 10-Feb-13 18:51:33

Is this the first time he's been taken away and put in cells?

If so, don't press charges, just let him have a fright.

Have you called 999 before? Because if you haven't he might not have thought you would really do it, so he really needs one strike. If he has been physically violent before you might have to press charges, though, to make it sink in.

rocketeer Sun 10-Feb-13 19:00:57

First time for 999 but not first time he has been violent. Dh's brother has gone to the police station to see if he can scare nephew about a record stopping him joining the navy. I don't want him back in the house tonight so bil is going to take him back to his house for a couple of nights. Our ds's are only 9 and 7 and were so scared, will take a while for them to get over today...

Maryz Sun 10-Feb-13 19:07:54

Then if it's first time for 999 I wouldn't press charges. With luck, the police explaining to him what would happen if you pressed charges, and what will happen next time (whether you press charges or not - they won't be so nice a second time) may well be enough to stop him.

Just as a matter of interest, what led up to it? Did your dh go into his room or try to force him to go outside? Not that I'm saying you shouldn't do that, but you want to make sure he doesn't justify the violence in his own head by saying "they pushed me to do it".

I would sit down with him when he comes home as well, and go over the house rules (including smoking) and discuss what is and isn't ok. We've had to give in on the smoking in the house and I hate it, but ds is 19 now and smokes in his own room. Stopping him would mean constant rows and I have other more important battles to fight [sigh].

Maryz Sun 10-Feb-13 19:08:31

And, by the way, it is very good for your younger children to see you call 999 and to see him taken away. It sends them a very strong message that you will keep them safe smile

Footface Mon 11-Feb-13 15:53:13

Thank you all for your support last week. I did come back and read all your replies and was trying to detach. But the situation has become unbearable and In not sure how my relationship with dp can actually survive This current situation. Some of you must have dp's who are step parents how do they cope.?

Midwife99 Mon 11-Feb-13 17:17:42

Foot face I'm afraid you end up having to "choose" between them. I chose my DH because my son's behaviour was intolerable to me too. He went into care when he was 16.

Maryz Mon 11-Feb-13 17:20:56

Footface, you can either choose for you and your dh to split up (which you might have to, sadly). Or you can just carry on your life but not giving your ss any headspace at all. So a ban on discussing him, a ban on having him in your house, a ban on supporting him financially etc until you get your head sorted and decide what you can and can't cope with. The latter would need your dp onside - he would have to realise that in order to maintain his relationship with you, it has to be carried out entirely separately from his relationship with his son.

In our case, at one stage it looked like we would separate, with dh taking ds1. Thankfully it never (quite) got to that stage. He is 19 now (like your ss) and if he was still doing the things he was doing at 14/15 I would not have him living here.

Footface Mon 11-Feb-13 18:01:57

Thank you both for your replies. I think I have to take the bull by the horns and say xyz with happen or dc's and me will ask you to leave.

Midwife your ds sounds very similar, sometimes it's overwhelming

Midwife99 Mon 11-Feb-13 18:12:51

It is overwhelming. He is so abusive that I have to have periods of no contact to re establish boundaries feeling guilty as hell throughout

Footface Mon 11-Feb-13 20:51:02

I sorry to hear that midwife, sometimes just sometimes I feel like cutting contact completely

Midwife99 Mon 11-Feb-13 21:26:47

I can't do that forever of course & I do worry myself sick but when I get abusive text after text because I won't give him money I don't know what else to do.

Maryz Mon 11-Feb-13 21:33:28

You need two phones Midwife. You need to get a new phone and number and leave your old SIM in an old phone that you can check (or preferably get someone else to check) periodically.

The only way I could survive through the worst times was by not thinking about it. Continual texts would have driven me completely mad.

Midwife99 Mon 11-Feb-13 21:44:47

He's gone quiet since the texts last weekend because he is sulking that I have said no & therefore don't care about him even though deep down he knows he was wrong
One thing I've been thinking about - I'm actually really scared that he will become an abusive partner to women in the future. He has such anger issues & can be so nasty & violent. It's a horrible thought.

Maryz Mon 11-Feb-13 21:58:01

If that does happen you can be a supportive mil to those women - not like most of the mil's on the relationships board who seem to support their sons, no matter what hmm.

I remember posting on an adoption thread once that if ds got a girl pregnant, and she was one of the gang he was hanging around with at the time, I would support the child being taken into care. NOT that I wouldn't love a grandchild, not that I couldn't look after one, but that he was not suitable at the time to be a partner or a parent.

It would have been an awful thing to do, but I know it would have been the only thing to do.

He is improving though, all the time smile. Maybe yours will too? Going by the 2/3rds of chronological age I am clinging too, your ds is about 14/15 in his head, so still has some growing up to do [hopeful]

Midwife99 Mon 11-Feb-13 22:01:09

Yes emotionally he is about 13 I reckon. I hope he does grow up before he gets someone pregnant!!

Doinmummy Wed 13-Feb-13 09:25:47

Things not good. I've been signed off work I had a complete melt down yesterday , just collapsed and couldn't stop crying.

DD has refused to go to school. She has controlled assessments today one if which requires cooking ingredients. Now she's told me she is going so mad rush to shops to buy stuff.

She is being shunned by all her friends at school so that isn't helping. She's still adamant that because she's behaved for 3 days she should get an I phone. Her birthday is Saturday and I have bought her nothing.

I'm wrung out. She's alternates between totally ignoring me and screaming at me.

Maryz Wed 13-Feb-13 10:09:35

You have to just wait it out Doin.

Could she go somewhere else for a few days? It must be almost half term, so maybe she could go somewhere for half term and you could have a proper break.

Being signed off work is good. And we have all had days of uncontrollable crying; sometimes you have to reach rock bottom before you can start to climb smile. Time off work is time for you to be nice to yourself, get yourself together a bit. Have you talked to the gp about counselling, because I really think you need someone irl to talk to.

Buy her something for her birthday, and a card, but not an iphone.

Can the school sort the problems at school? Do you know why she isn't getting on with her friends and could the school do some sort of intervention to sort that out?

Doinmummy Wed 13-Feb-13 11:50:57

There is nowhere for her to go maryz . I'm dreading half term because shell be with her boyfriend and he's not a great influence . I took her to school at 11 but she says she won't stay all day .

She has always had trouble with friendships, even in junior school, i I think it's some sort of insecurity thing . She has said shell go and see the counsellor on Friday so that's a blessing. I am waiting for a call from the home /school liaison officer who is meant to be a support for me. GP is not much use. He actually said he doesn't know what to suggest . There is a drug centre near us where I think anyone can walk in and get advice/ help so I might try them.

Maryz Wed 13-Feb-13 12:03:15

Do try the drug centre. At worst you will get a cup of tea and some sympathy smile.

After going through loads of official channels, I found the voluntary-run family support centre was the most helpful, because the people there really understood.

I think you need (just for a little while) to try very hard to look after yourself, I really do.

If you can't stop her being with her boyfriend, maybe don't even try? I know it's really difficult, but every fight you have with her that she wins is proof to her that she can do as she likes. Maybe just take a step back and only fight fights you can win (even if atm that seems none at all).

One fight you can win is being absolutely determined that she cannot control your reactions to her behaviour, that you can walk away and refuse to discuss things. Do you have a "safe space" in your house where you can go if she kicks off?

Detach, detach, detach, that's the best advice I can give you. It won't fix her, but at the moment you are in a horrible position, and really until you are coping better yourself you aren't physically or emotionally able to deal with her.

Doinmummy Thu 14-Feb-13 20:29:37

Can't post too much, I'm exhausted. DD attacked me today. I found her in a cafe with 2 young men. We had appt at school and she didn't want me to go . She barred the front door and wouldn't let me out. I got the phone and said I'd call the police if she didn't move. She then went for me . I did get out of the house and went to meeting with pastoral manager and a police woman.

After a lit if pleading I've managed to get her dad to have her tonight.

Footface Thu 14-Feb-13 21:14:26

Doinmummy- can dd dad not have long term? I'm really sorry thus is happening. Being barred from leaving the house or room is awful. My ss used to do it. I wish I had called the police now. Did she move when you told her you were calli g the police

Doinmummy Thu 14-Feb-13 21:18:00

Her dad said he can only have her tonight. She would not budge when I asked her to move so I got the phone and tried to ring the police. That's when she attacked me. Police searched her room and found more evidence of drugs. She'd run off by then.

Maryz Thu 14-Feb-13 21:23:50

I think you should seriously consider refusing to have her back.

You can call social services and tell them that you can't cope and they will have to find an alternative for her.

I don't think you are coping well enough to have her with you at the moment - I think you should tell them that you are afraid that one of you will be seriously hurt.

You need some time apart. She is at her dad's at the moment. Text him, and say you need time off, you won't have her back for, say, 2 weeks. Let him sort somewhere for her to go. And when you have sent the text, bolt your front door and put your phone on silent. And go to bed.

For the moment you must put yourself first.

Footface Thu 14-Feb-13 21:23:53

When she comes back tomorrow you need to sit down with her and explain the every time she is aggressive you will call the police.
Does dd dad know what is going on in regard to her behaviour?

flow4 Thu 14-Feb-13 21:42:50

Oh Doin, things are really bad at the moment, aren't they. sad I'm glad you've got her dad to have her... Can she stay there for a few days?

I have been where you are now, and I know how desperate it feels. I have had whole days where I couldn't stop crying, and DS has gone for me when I've got the phone to call the police. The most frightening time, he smashed the phone to try to stop me calling them (luckily it was the land-line and I still had my mobile).

Do go to the drug centre. If you can't get there, they probably have a phone support line too, so call that. Talking to people really helps when you are this down. And they will get where you are coming from.

If you haven't already got a lock on your bedroom door, get one fitted. It wasn't until I got one, and started routinely locking it (either with me inside, or when I was out so I could keep valuables safe) that I realised how unsafe and vulnerable I had been feeling before.

I got nothing for DS's birthday last year. He had stolen so much money from me in the months before, and he had assaulted me and smashed things up and I'd had him arrested the week before, and he hadn't been home in the meantime... I just couldn't bring myself to get him anything.

It was a really, really low point. sad

I echo all Maryz's advice, especially about looking after yourself.

And I just wanted to say things will get better. I know it doesn't feel like it at the moment, but they will.

Doinmummy Fri 15-Feb-13 00:25:24

Social services and the police are now involved. I will tell them I can't have her back. I just want to disappear not physically but mentally.

Maryz Fri 15-Feb-13 00:32:04

No, you don't.

What you want is a rest. A mental and physical rest. You need to look after yourself, you have been struggling too long to do the impossible.

Take some time out, look after yourself.

I have been where you are, really I have. But I am much luckier in that when I was not coping dh coped, and when he didn't I could. If I had been on my own with ds1 I might well have cracked completely.

I am three years on now from when I was at my worst, and as ds1 went to bed tonight he asked would I help him tomorrow and type up some of his coursework. For the course I thought he would never do because I thought either he or I would be dead by now.

I wouldn't have believed things in this house would ever be ok, but they are.

And what changed it wasn't me making ds behave. It was me looking after myself, sorting myself out, learning to live my life, taking a step back. All those things. As well as the practical business of using the available help (counselling, police), having a lock on my door, walking away from fights.

You will be ok. It might take some time, but you will. For now, do what you need to do for you and sod what everyone else does, or thinks.

flow4 Fri 15-Feb-13 07:40:26

^^ What Maryz says. Exactly.

Can you start by doing something for yourself? Something you used to do, but haven't done for ages? A swim, a walk up a hill, a coffee in a cafe, anything that will give you just a little bit of pleasure and relaxation...

I am just a year on from the point you are at now. Things are not perfect with DS1, but they are much, much better. It will get better for you too.

You can't make them do anything; they have to make themselves. They have to grow up, and you can't do it for them. Meanwhile, you need to hang on in there and look after yourself.

Midwife99 Fri 15-Feb-13 08:15:43

Oh Doin I'm sorry I know how you must be feeling. I felt like that after DS assaulted me when he was 16, ran off & I told the police I couldn't have him back. He went into social services care. I won't hijack the thread now but what's happened in the last 3 years since are up thread. Try to rest & remember this is isn't your fault. hmm

Midwife99 Fri 15-Feb-13 16:11:47

Well I've had no contact from DS for 12 days now. His SW rang Wednesday to say she's had a call from the police reoffending prevention officer who is very concerned that he is not engaging with anyone & the list of offences, court summons, unpaid fines etc are becoming serious. He is bank living with that 30 year old methadone/heroin using woman & her 18 month old toddler. Because of his violent history she is at risk of losing her kid unless she gets rid of him. And she'll either end up pregnant or beaten up by him. Apparently his SW & I are colluding to "get him into trouble" & he doesn't want anything more to do with us.

Doinmummy Fri 15-Feb-13 18:32:01

Thank you for all your support. I've managed to persuade her dad to have her for tonight again. But I don't want her back . Social services said they can't 'make' her dad keep her , it is just a mutual agreement between me and him. How do I get her to stay somewhere else ? I said to social sevices that both DD and I are in danger if she comes home but they said there's nothing they can do about that .

Maryz Fri 15-Feb-13 18:44:35

You simply inform them (and her dad) that at the moment you feel unable to have her in your house.

Full stop. You don't need to explain, you just need to tell them.

Explanations and reasoning and agreements etc can all come later.

Stop asking her dad to have her and feeling that you should be grateful if he condescends to do so. Seriously, stand up for yourself and tell him. He is her parent. Tell him you will NOT have her back until (pick a date, at least the end of half term).

Inform social services that she is at her father's, and that you are not letting her come home.

They have to step in if you refuse. Now is the time because she isn't at home. If you let her back tomorrow, then they will try very hard to ignore you, until the next incident.

Maryz Fri 15-Feb-13 18:47:09

Midwife, that must be such a worry for you sad. But remember the mantra - only deal with it when it is in front of you. At the moment he isn't in your house; you have no control over what he does in other people's houses, it's up to social services to keep other children safe. It doesn't sound to me as though the woman is a very good mother (if she is a heroin user), so having the child taken away might not be a bad thing.

It's tough, but you have to detach, detach, detach. Chin up smile

Midwife99 Sat 16-Feb-13 14:11:12

Yeah thanks Maryz - I do think about him but I am detaching from the situation.

Midwife99 Sat 16-Feb-13 14:14:33

Doin - SS won't do anything until forced. Tell her Dad you REFUSE to have her back. If he refuses to keep her he will have to make her homeless - dropping her off at the nearest housing dept office or social services or connexions office at 9am. They will then be forced to arrange emergency accommodation if she is under 18.

Doinmummy Sun 17-Feb-13 09:06:32

Her dad just dropped her home yesterday and drive off. I said she could not go out but she went anyway. Had police out looking for her because she said she was round j's house but I checked and shed never been there. Police said I can't refuse to have her home as I've got parental responsibility. Her dad has parental responsibility too but why does he get to choose whether he has her but I don't.

flow4 Sun 17-Feb-13 10:06:19

Because he has detached more than you have, Doin, and is able to turn his back on her more easily. hmm

It costs hundreds of pounds each day to have a child in care, so social services/police will do everything they can to get you to keep your DC at home, if they judge that s/he is not at risk from you. They are not at all concerned about whether you are at risk from them. sad
The police and social services said the same things to me last year (one desk sergeant who'd never met me even had the gall to tell me it was "time to face my responsibilities" angry angry )

It is not quite true though. Whether or not you have parental responsibility, you can still refuse to have her. Refuse. However, they will make it hard for you, so you have to be very determined.

The question now is how desperate are you? Depending on your level of desperation, you have different options:

- Lock her out. Physically do not let her in. I did this twice, and it was horrible, but I did not know what else to do at the time. DS banged on the door and shouted and swore and (once) cried. It obviously isn't a solution - it's a desperate act (and it shares your private life with the neighbours hmm) - but you can phone your Ex and social services and tell them you are doing it, then that you have done it. You would need to be very strong to see it through. The risks to your DD are highest with this option I think, because you won't know what happens to her next, and you totally lose control of whatever it is.

- Go away. Pack a bag and leave. Go somewhere safe for as long as you can. Again, phone your Ex and social services and tell them, when you've left. Leave DD a note.

- Next time you see DD, drive her back to her dad's and drop her off and drive away, just like he did.

- Drive her to your local housing office. Drop her off and tell them you are throwing her out. They are a different department from social services, and they have a duty to accommodate your daughter. They will involve SS, who will try to persuade you to have her back; but it will be slightly easier to stand up to them when she is already out of the house.

I am not underestimating how difficult any of this would be. I have been in your situation, and I know first hand how you go round and round in circles trying to find a solution that works well for everyone - but there isn't one, really.

I found I was constantly weighing up in my head the risks to DS if I threw him out versus the risks to me and him and DS2 if he stayed.

The risks to him always seemed greater, and so I hung on in there... But there must come a point where the risks to you and your DD of her staying are greater than the risks of her leaving... So the question is, are you at that point yet? sad

If not, then you are left (as I was) with Maryz's technique: Detach and decide in your head she is a lodger. I think a few people here have tried it, and I did, though I personally found detachment very hard. You have to cut yourself off emotionally. In each situation, when you feel yourself beginning to react, you ask yourself "Would I mind this if she was just my lodger?" or "What would I do if she was just my lodger?"... And then do that, not what your maternal instincts tell you.

If you go for this tactic, you stop telling her where she can and can't go, or setting curfews; you go to bed whether she is in or not (and even if you don't sleep); you don't cook or clean for her; you make polite conversation occasionally, but nothing more... As I say, I found it very hard to detach, so it upset me; but it did buy me a bit of head-space because it stops arguments and battles you cannot win.

When I started using this technique I honestly thought I would die from the stress of it all... It quickly took stress levels down a notch or two, to the point where I could cope, even if I was not happy, and DS was still behaving badly.

And Doin, you must must must must must do something nice for yourself. Make yourself go swimming or go to a sauna or something, just like you might make yourself diet or go to the gym if you were trying to lose weight. Looking after yourself isn't a luxury - it's a survival essential.