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YaelAldrich

Teen getting in serious trouble - WWYD?

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Please don't quote as I may delete this post.  Thank you.

Our oldest (almost 18) has been spiraling downward in his behaviors to the point that the police have been to our home once and it looks like they will be returning today or in the next couple of days. 

We moved to Boston for high school for him (a religious boy's school).  The first year was very good.  He made/remade friends (we had lived in Boston when he was born to age six).  He was doing well in school.  In general, things were working out terrifically.

The second year was a big turnaround.  He didn't want to go to school on time and he started (along the friends he made) to make trouble in school. His general attitude went downhill.  He caught mono in December of that year.  He took off about 3 weeks from school (it is a dual education school - Jewish studies in Hebrew/Aramaic and a rigorous secular studies program) and the school worked with him to keep up as much as possible.  My sister soon died after this and he was the only who couldn't go to her funeral.  He got kicked out of the school in March although they were generous in letting him finish out his classes at home.

He took a year off after the expulsion.  He and I talked about homeschooling and he agreed but after we'd spent the time and effort for him to enroll, he blew off all the classes.  He spent much of that year in bed and on his phone/computer.  We took him to several therapists.  They all said he wasn't depressed; he actually had high self-esteem.  But he didn't want to follow our rules (or our religion) and this was how he showed it.

At that point we tried to find a suitable school for him - private was the optimal choice as our city's schools are lackluster.  We looked at several schools but he told us he wouldn't go and that he'd only go to public school.  So we found a charter school near our home and got him in.  His grades are good and he gets the work done (it is ridiculously easy for him compared to our homeschool and the previous school).  But he is in constant trouble behavior-wise.  He has gotten in verbal fights with his teachers and guidance counselors.  He refuses to follow the rules of the school.  He never goes to school on time.

About month and a half ago two police officers came to the house.  They said he had posted pictures of himself with a gun and making threats to the school to Instragram.  They asked about the gun and they got a replica air soft gun that he got in Japan.  It looked just like their guns!  He admitted to making the threats but did not apologize for them,  He just said over and over that evidently he had the wrong friends who ratted him out to the school and police.  He wasn't cowed by the officers or by our dismay.  He gave them the gun and several illegal knives.  I took away his devices for over a month (he just got them back because my husband though things were looking better).

Last week he took the APUSH exam and when they asked him to give up his phones while he was taking the test, he refused and got into a verbal fight with the teachers and principal.  After he came home he said he wanted to get someone to hurt the teacher.  I thought he was just talking but now I'm not sure as he has evidently talked to fellow students and they reported his threats to the school again.  The principal called me this morning and said the police would be coming by again and things will certainly escalate now as the behavior isn't getting better, rather worse.  

I'm not sure what I can do.  This kid will be 18 in a month. He's got another year to graduate. He has no money in his bank accounts but I pretty sure he is selling e-cig stuff or dealing in pot.  I know he smokes e-cigs and pot on a regular basis.  He won't listen to us about rules or curfews.  My other kids are being affected by this behavior.  I have enough stress in my life with my mother's bile duct cancer and father's prostate cancer and my support of them in addition to my husband's work travel (he's in Australia now).  I'm about to cry and I hate this kid right now.  He was so good and sweet before and the apple of our eyes.  I can deal with him not being religious anymore (although it kills my soul), I can handle him not wanting to go to college (even though he could go for free), I can handle his wanting to join the military.  But he is self-destructing so that all paths will be closed off to him and he doesn't even seem to give a damn.

Hugs are good, but advice from real people who have been through this would be way better.

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I’m so sorry Yael.  You have been through so much recently, and this is just an awful situation.  I hope others have advice to give, I’m just praying for you and your family. 

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I know you need real advice, but I'm going to offer up virtual hugs anyway since it's all I can do.

I hope you find the strength and wisdom to get you through. ((Hugsbecausemorecanthurt))

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Lots of hugs.

I am so so sorry. 

Based on what you've said and what I've seen in family I would call a lawyer and have her on stand-by. I'd also have an emergency psych eval.

A good kid who has taken such a drastic turn has something going on. 

Also, try to get some money together for bail, if he gets arrested. If he does get arrested, if I could, I'd take him from holding to  a psych ER as soon as I bailed him out.

Adding this:

keep your cell phone on you at all times, as well as a house phone if you have one. 

put a cell phone inside a bedroom that locks and instruct the younger kids to run in there and lock the door if Brother starts anything... screaming (at you, at them, anything that scares them.) 
 

Tell them they have permission to call 911 if they are afraid and they wouldn't get in trouble, you won't be mad, etc.

I keep thinking of things: If you have a pet that might try to be protective in a scuffle or get hurt in a scuffle (hurt by getting underfoot), or that you think might be a target of an outburst, consider boarding it or having it stay with a friend

Edited by unsinkable
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I think you should send him away for psychological evaluation and treatment.  He is a threat to others.  I would get rid of anything in the house of value.  Turn off his cellphones, get rid of the computers, so there is no longer an outlet for such things from him under your roof.  Give to friends to store for safe keeping.  He will steal it for money or to feed his violence.  Call your insurance and see what and how health will be covered to treat mental illness. He needs intensive in-patient evaluation.  Your Dh needs to come home and as a united front, you need to do this.  I wouldn't inform your son of this.  I wouldn't negotiate what he can do to get what he wants back.  When the police show up, tell them you don't know what to do about his violence.  Ask them what they can do to assure he doesn't hurt anyone bc you cannot manage it.  And let them do it.

NONE of doing that means you don't love your son, tho he will claim it does. It means he has crossed into an area where you can't go.  But you can refuse to let him drag others into it.  You can set a boundary of love that if he can get his head straight he can return to as a safe haven.  But you have one month to do it.  Once he is 18 you can't make him do a damn thing with regard to seeking mental help and in many states he will be able to buy real guns. And if he isn't on a path to help, you need to kick him out.  Make sure you have a plan to do so safely and a plan to handle if he tries to come back angry.  Do not give him any resources that he can profit from or twist to violent ends and don't put your other kids at risk.

I don't know if this is the right thing to do.  But I know it will be near impossible to get help at 18 and statistically your family is at high risk of violence that his not being there could reduce.

My momma heart breaks for you.

I pray your family finds peace and healing.

 

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Echoing psych evaluation and possible inpatient treatment. It was the best solution my family found, anyway. Hugs 😞

Edited by Arctic Mama
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I second everything Murphy wrote. He needs help, and he needs it quickly (your rights as a parent start to be restricted at age 12 for psych; they are gone at age 18). Does your local hospital have a psych evaluation line? Our local hospital calls it the 24 hour assessment line; it's a good starting point. Since the police are coming by, talk to them as well - they can usually direct you to mental health agencies/hospitals.

That's a lot for you to be carrying. Do you have someone to talk to? A good counselor can help you process what has happened to your sweet boy. 

I pray for peace for you and your family and healing for your son. 

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also, keep your cell phone on you at all times, as well as a house phone if you have one. 

put a cell phone inside a bedroom that locks and instruct the younger kids to run in there and lock the door if Brother starts anything... screaming (at you, at them, anyhting that scares them.) 
 

Tell them they have permission to call 911 if they are afraid and they wouldn't get in trouble, you won't be mad, etc.

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Thirding psych evaluation and possible inpatient treatment. It doesn't matter if you don't know why he is doing this. Part of the picture is that he, and anyone around him, must have some idea of the consequence of these behaviors. As Murphy said, it's over the line into an area where parents can't manage on their own. It's not a home problem anymore. Society, and the law, must intervene now. I hope that the outcome will be that you all will learn that he does still have some agency, and that he will come to his senses, if that's the situation. If its not and he is in trouble that requires professional help, may it be readily available and effective. 

Things being how they are for mental health treatment, it might be a reasonable idea to call the family doctor or therapist, if you have one, to see if they know what you might expect from various scenarios or paths. They might have very current information and recommendations.

Edited by Lang Syne Boardie
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23 minutes ago, Murphy101 said:

I think you should send him away for psychological evaluation and treatment.  He is a threat to others.  I would get rid of anything in the house of value.  Turn off his cellphones, get rid of the computers, so there is no longer an outlet for such things from him under your roof.  Give to friends to store for safe keeping.  He will steal it for money or to feed his violence.  Call your insurance and see what and how health will be covered to treat mental illness. He needs intensive in-patient evaluation.  Your Dh needs to come home and as a united front, you need to do this.  I wouldn't inform your son of this.  I wouldn't negotiate what he can do to get what he wants back.  When the police show up, tell them you don't know what to do about his violence.  Ask them what they can do to assure he doesn't hurt anyone bc you cannot manage it.  And let them do it.

NONE of doing that means you don't love your son, tho he will claim it does. It means he has crossed into an area where you can't go.  But you can refuse to let him drag others into it.  You can set a boundary of love that if he can get his head straight he can return to as a safe haven.  But you have one month to do it.  Once he is 18 you can't make him do a damn thing with regard to seeking mental help and in many states he will be able to buy real guns. And if he isn't on a path to help, you need to kick him out.  Make sure you have a plan to do so safely and a plan to handle if he tries to come back angry.  Do not give him any resources that he can profit from or twist to violent ends and don't put your other kids at risk.

I don't know if this is the right thing to do.  But I know it will be near impossible to get help at 18 and statistically your family is at high risk of violence that his not being there could reduce.

My momma heart breaks for you.

I pray your family finds peace and healing.

 

 

Much of this is excellent advice, but a word of caution about the bolded: Police action is almost never preventative. Our system is reactive. Psych holds are a possibility, but only if there is danger of immediate harm. Even then, the action is enforced by police but is civil in nature.

I'm so sorry that you're going through this OP. Our mental health system is broken. 😞

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Do you have a male relative that will take him in?

Does he have enough credits to grad high school?

What is his exit plan?

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I agree that you need to try to use these threats to get him evaluated ASAP. 

Sending you so many hugs and praying that the boy you knew will come back out as the man you know he can be. He’s in there somewhere crying out to be found and brought into the light. 

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I’m so sorry.  Hugs virtual.

Something is clearly very wrong.  Could be psychiatric, could be something like lead poisoning.  Or a number of things.  But normal it isn’t. 

I think he needs inpatient treatment and evaluation.  

Use the police and threats and presence of younger kids to get help from the police.  ASAP. Call for help yourself if need be, as child being a danger to self or others.  Don’t try to minimize what is happening or protect him from police intervention, psychiatric hold, etc.  

 If he kills or seriously hurts another child not only would it be tragic, but also you could be held criminally responsible for not protecting another minor in your care.

 

since it isn’t clear what’s wrong, it also isn’t clear what then would happen. For example,  he may not be emotionally/mentally stable enough for military.  Otoh, maybe he would be and perhaps that would be a path for him.   

 

ETA I strongly doubt this is just rebellion against religion and values.

If competent evaluations show that it is some normal “just rebellion” I think a plan would need to be made for what a safe reentry to family could involve.  However, probably it is time for him to be on his own, perhaps to take GED, to get an entry level job, his own place to live, etc, or to join military if they’ll take him with his record.  Perhaps a trade apprenticeship.  

Edited by Pen
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I would call these people.  https://jri.org/services/community/strive?fbclid=IwAR3qRsWITwIpdRPOt5bqB2UdxsUxYGATcgTZakrR5jr-4AA5VAvt4sM0uQw   There's a "get assistance" button at the top that I would use, and I would tell them everything.  Clearly he needs help, but I'm not sure what can be compelled.  But if nothing else, these people might talk you through what you can do to keep yourselves and other children safe.  

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Update:  The principal called again.  He and the school police officer and my son spoke.  My son claims that all the threats were just talk and not actionable.  At this point they will not call the police to intervene and keep a very close eye on him.  He got extensions for his Junior projects which were due today.  He also said he wants to change schools again and they agreed to help him with that process.  He came home but I don't want to talk to him or interact with him at all.  I'm angry and sad and tired of his crap.  He's doing his chores now.  I don't think he's going to do anything to anyone, but his behavior is troubling enough as it is that I am second guessing myself.  During the first police visit they said they had a program for kids like this and they'd give me a call.  They didn't so I guess I will do so on Monday. He doesn't threaten any of us, only people at school so far.  There is a family that has offered to take him in.  In fact, we were planning on sending him there this summer.  I'm thinking it might be better to send him sooner than later.  Even though it might ruin the end of this school year.  

If I don't answer again it's because our Sabbath is coming in.  I'll check back in on Saturday night.  Prayers are welcome.  Thank you

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2 minutes ago, YaelAldrich said:

Update:  The principal called again.  He and the school police officer and my son spoke.  My son claims that all the threats were just talk and not actionable.  At this point they will not call the police to intervene and keep a very close eye on him.  He got extensions for his Junior projects which were due today.  He also said he wants to change schools again and they agreed to help him with that process.  He came home but I don't want to talk to him or interact with him at all.  I'm angry and sad and tired of his crap.  He's doing his chores now.  I don't think he's going to do anything to anyone, but his behavior is troubling enough as it is that I am second guessing myself.  During the first police visit they said they had a program for kids like this and they'd give me a call.

 

Yes.  Call them ASAP.  Maybe there’s someone there on Sunday.

Also the Mass gov mental health dept (I linked above) is supposed to have people available 24/7.  

Life may need to take precedence over Sabbath.  

2 minutes ago, YaelAldrich said:

  They didn't so I guess I will do so on Monday. He doesn't threaten any of us, only people at school so far.  There is a family that has offered to take him in.  In fact, we were planning on sending him there this summer.  I'm thinking it might be better to send him sooner than later.  Even though it might ruin the end of this school year.  

IMHO, End of school year is nothing in these circumstances.  His behavior sounds extremely unsafe.

 If there’s an option for him to live elsewhere that you think would keep him and others safe do it.

Do it Now. 

He sounds smart, and if he gets it together he can probably study for and pass GED.  

2 minutes ago, YaelAldrich said:

If I don't answer again it's because our Sabbath is coming in.  I'll check back in on Saturday night.  Prayers are welcome.  Thank you

 

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I work in a therapeutic group home for teens with behavioral challenges. It is nearly impossible for a “regular” family to get help for their child for behavioral issues - most of these programs are for children in the care of the department of social services.  And if you are able to refer your child for care, and if there is a bed available, it will be very very expensive. Several hundred dollars a day.  You can request an evaluation and a 30 day care plan. Psychiatric level care (a step above behavioral care) may be more accessible to families, expressing suicidal thoughts seems to be the line...  you could ask the school or maybe even the police to help ask for a referral for an evaluation. I live in a small town in South Dakota, surely there are many more options for mental health care in Boston, right? I hope!!

Where I work, if a youth is on “self-harm” or another type of “watch” they do not go to school. Nope.  School is a bonus, school is something that you earn the right to attend by earning trust through actions and attitudes and working through goals and assignments with counselors. School is not a punishment or a right, it is a privilidge that must be earned.  Graduating is not the goal - keeping the child and those around the child safe is the short term goal. Learning safe behavior patterns and appropriate coping skills allowing the teen to live safely in society is the long term goal. Graduation is nice but not as important as living safely.

Youth on “watch” have no electronics (even those not on watch only have supervised electronics during specific times) they have no freedom to go outside on a walk (going on a walk is a huge privilege for our kids). No alone time in their rooms, even bathroom time is limited and somewhat monitored.  Shower and laundry times are assigned. They are not allowed phone calls.  They do homework packets from school. They watch tv/movies chosen by the adult supervisors. They wake up and eat on a schedule. They have chores and a bedtime.  They do not have the freedom to go to the store or walk around the neighborhood. Every piece of their life is monitored.

im writing this out because sometimes as parents we feel like we don’t want to be “mean” or limit our kids’ lives.  Unfortunately some kids do need a huge amount of supervision in a way that is almost unimaginable for “regular” people. It’s a whole different set of worries than the normal teen parent angst of getting a license or modesty issues, right?  I don’t know the answer for you, but if you can’t find help, you may want to consider the possibility of being the homeschool version of a behavioral group home. Zero freedom. Zero school. All privileges earned.  I do know that many of these programs end at 18 years old and then things get scary and real very fast. Real prison for adult men is much different than a therapeutic group home for kids. 

I would suggest that he is “done” with school even though the year is not complete and he’s still a year from graduating.  Even if things get better for a while after today.  I think he needs a different path now - he is not safe at school. I’d research the GED.  I don’t think I’d even recommend dual enrollment or trade school. Not for a year or so. I don’t know what he would do with his time, but school may need to just be off the table. I don’t know if he could be trusted to work, even.

I would be researching transitional homes for young adults ages 18-22(ish) in case you need to kick him out. They are generally for youth who have aged out of foster care and homeless teens. They provide safe housing for young adults, sometimes with kitchen facilities and a little bit of life skills education. I know kids who live in these homes and attend high school. 

I do have a friend whose daughter attended a private high school for troubled teens/teens with addiction. It was self pay and very expensive, but their daughter made huge changes and is doing well in college  https://www.newhavenrtc.com/ that’s where she went - it is just for girls, but I’m sure there are the same type programs for boys.

I’m so sorry. I hope you have someone who can come be with you tonight.  My prayers are with you. 

*eta I’m sorry about the font changes! So strange! 

Edited by WendyLady
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What the bleeping bleep is the school thinking in this day and age after so many lost lives to allow any of that BS to get him a slide through on consequences?!

What I'm reading in your posts is continued no repeated threats of violence.  Without intervention there is zero reason to delude ourselves that there won't be an escalation.

I'm with Wendy.  No matter what the school and police aren't doing, you have to do something drastic and swift at this point and you need help doing it.

Praying you get it.

(((hugs)))

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There have been parents who have been absolute heroes in that they informed the police, school, and community if their teen who had made threats went to school against their parents' judgment or permission. They have saved lives and prevented their child from having to live or die with a crime that he would not have pursued in his right mind. It's an unthinkable situation and I am so sorry, but you may have to join the ranks of these heroes come Monday morning. The school officials' decision to look the other way will not help you live with it, if something happens. 

A school district in my area chose to minimize a threat and sweep it under the rug, last week. They frankly did not want the publicity, when there had been two school shootings in the news that week. Parents and students had already seen the threat on social media, and many families kept their children home, even though the school said, "There is no credible threat." The next morning, the police, who had been informed of the threat, found sufficient cause to arrest the young man and seize his phones and computers. The police thought it was credible. The parents are furious that the school told them to ignore a threat.

To put it shortly, I would not let the school resource officer and the principal make this decision. If the police department told me that they were unconcerned, that would be different, but they told you they weren't even telling the police.

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11 minutes ago, Murphy101 said:

What the bleeping bleep is the school thinking in this day and age after so many lost lives to allow any of that BS to get him a slide through on consequences?!

What I'm reading in your posts is continued no repeated threats of violence.  Without intervention there is zero reason to delude ourselves that there won't be an escalation.

I'm with Wendy.  No matter what the school and police aren't doing, you have to do something drastic and swift at this point and you need help doing it.

Praying you get it.

(((hugs)))

 

 

33 minutes ago, YaelAldrich said:

My son claims that all the threats were just talk and not actionable.

 

Unfortunately in such situations “free speech” laws in USA can make it hard for legal action to be taken by police (threat of violence generally must be “immanent” for police action).   That’s true, it may not have risen to legally “actionable”...   however, there can often be no time for action between when something becomes beyond “free speech” and into violence, perhaps even killing

so we end up with situations where police get multiple calls about someone making threats and cannot do anything because person claims it’s just empty talk...and then the person does kill and it’s too late

 

 

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I have an uncle who spent some time at Boys Town. He said it changed his life and he never, ever forgot them.

They have a 24/7 Hotline for parents & children who need immediate help/advice  - it is 800-448-3000

Here is their website for the Hotline (they do video chats, too) - https://www.boystown.org/hotline/Pages/default.aspx

Here is the main website https://www.boystown.org/Pages/default.aspx

 

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Among all the other things, your husband needs to come home and be present in the area consistently.  There needs to be a big strong guy around.  Period.

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43 minutes ago, WendyLady said:

I work in a therapeutic group home for teens with behavioral challenges. It is nearly impossible for a “regular” family to get help for their child for behavioral issues - most of these programs are for children in the care of the department of social services.  And if you are able to refer your child for care, and if there is a bed available, it will be very very expensive. Several hundred dollars a day.  You can request an evaluation and a 30 day care plan. Psychiatric level care (a step above behavioral care) may be more accessible to families, expressing suicidal thoughts seems to be the line...  you could ask the school or maybe even the police to help ask for a referral for an evaluation. I live in a small town in South Dakota, surely there are many more options for mental health care in Boston, right? I hope!!

Where I work, if a youth is on “self-harm” or another type of “watch” they do not go to school. Nope.  School is a bonus, school is something that you earn the right to attend by earning trust through actions and attitudes and working through goals and assignments with counselors. School is not a punishment or a right, it is a privilidge that must be earned.  Graduating is not the goal - keeping the child and those around the child safe is the short term goal. Learning safe behavior patterns and appropriate coping skills allowing the teen to live safely in society is the long term goal. Graduation is nice but not as important as living safely.

Youth on “watch” have no electronics (even those not on watch only have supervised electronics during specific times) they have no freedom to go outside on a walk (going on a walk is a huge privilege for our kids). No alone time in their rooms, even bathroom time is limited and somewhat monitored.  Shower and laundry times are assigned. They are not allowed phone calls.  They do homework packets from school. They watch tv/movies chosen by the adult supervisors. They wake up and eat on a schedule. They have chores and a bedtime.  They do not have the freedom to go to the store or walk around the neighborhood. Every piece of their life is monitored.

im writing this out because sometimes as parents we feel like we don’t want to be “mean” or limit our kids’ lives.  Unfortunately some kids do need a huge amount of supervision in a way that is almost unimaginable for “regular” people. It’s a whole different set of worries than the normal teen parent angst of getting a license or modesty issues, right?  I don’t know the answer for you, but if you can’t find help, you may want to consider the possibility of being the homeschool version of a behavioral group home. Zero freedom. Zero school. All privileges earned.  I do know that many of these programs end at 18 years old and then things get scary and real very fast. Real prison for adult men is much different than a therapeutic group home for kids. 

I would suggest that he is “done” with school even though the year is not complete and he’s still a year from graduating.  Even if things get better for a while after today.  I think he needs a different path now - he is not safe at school. I’d research the GED.  I don’t think I’d even recommend dual enrollment or trade school. Not for a year or so. I don’t know what he would do with his time, but school may need to just be off the table. I don’t know if he could be trusted to work, even.

I would be researching tranitional homes for young adults ages 18-22(ish) in case you need to kick him out. They are generally for youth who have aged out of foster care and homeless teens. They provide safe housing for young adults, sometimes with kitchen facilities and a little bit of life skills education. I know kids who live in these homes and attend high school. 

I do have a friend whose daughter attended a private high school for troubled teens/teens with addiction. It was self pay and very expensive, but their daughter made huge changes and is doing well in college  https://www.newhavenrtc.com/ that’s where she went - it is just for girls, but I’m sure there are the same type programs for boys.

I’m so sorry. I hope you have someone who can come be with you tonight.  My prayers are with you. 

 

This.

 

or sometimes military high schools handle boys with behavior problems 

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So he spent a year in bed after getting expelled from school, and multiple therapists told you he isn't depressed because he has high self-esteem??? You need to get new therapists, ASAP. A person's level of self-esteem has nothing to do with being depressed. I don't mean this in a snarky way, but were these religious counselors who have only had training through a religious program? If so you need to find an actual psychiatrist. And in the meantime, I'd try to get him admitted to an in-patient treatment program if at all humanly possible.

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2 minutes ago, Mergath said:

So he spent a year in bed after getting expelled from school, and multiple therapists told you he isn't depressed because he has high self-esteem??? You need to get new therapists, ASAP. A person's level of self-esteem has nothing to do with being depressed. I don't mean this in a snarky way, but were these religious counselors who have only had training through a religious program? If so you need to find an actual psychiatrist. And in the meantime, I'd try to get him admitted to an in-patient treatment program if at all humanly possible.

 

It could be something other than depression such as schizophrenia or sociopathy, or perhaps was due to mononucleosis... but surely doesn’t sound normal.

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As the wife of someone who frequently travels internationally for work, I recommend that you call your husband & tell him he needs to come home. You need some support and you and your husband need to work together to figure out where to go from here. Most employers understand family emergencies occur and this is one of those times - he can still work locally or remotely from home, but I really think he needs to be present at home and available to attend any meetings/appointments that you might have with various professionals.

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I don't have personal experience to share, so this may not be helpful at all for you. 

I've been watching Dr. Daniel Amen on PBS for years and I've read a couple of his books.   Unfortunately there isn't an Amen clinic in Boston, but there's one in NYC. 

Your ds isn't in his right mind.  I'd want to get a brain scan to see the damage caused by the pot.  https://www.amenclinics.com/spect-gallery/addictions/

I'll be praying for your ds and family and mostly for you to be able to carry this load and not be crushed by it!!!

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I’m so sorry, Yael. I will pray for your family. I wish I could do more than that, but all I can do is agree with the suggestions that have already been made here. 

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I had been wondering about how he was doing, but I was afraid to ask you.  I was so sad to read this. Dismay or dismayed is what I feel. And I don't have any magic pill for you to give him or BTDT solutions. He is destroying his life with his arrogance.   I suspect that in the Public School system there, bad as it may be, generally, there may be schools for troubled youth that could help him learn to correct his behavior and go on a different road than he is on now.  He is interested in  joining the military?   OMG!   That would be a rude awakening for him. He would learn to respect or he would be out, with a Dishonorable Discharge.  Is he interested in the U.S. Military or the Israeli military? I doubt they would take him, in either country.  I hope not!   One of my childhood friends (we are still friends) after he graduated from High School, went to Israel and worked on a Kibbutz for 2 years and got married and then went back to the USA and to university. But my friend isn't a slacker, like your DS is.   I don't think your DS would make it on a Kibbutz either. They would kick him out for that kind of behavior.   I don't know what to suggest you suggest to him to try to turn his life around. He ,must do that for himself, if and when he wants to.  Try to take care of yourself and your DH and your other kids.   I will include you in my prayers.

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Several studies have linked marijuana use to increased risk for psychiatric disorders, including psychosis (schizophrenia), depression , anxiety, ...
 
 
————————
 
 
 
 
 
If you can use illegal pot use to get help for him, especially while he’s under 18 and you still have some input possible, I’d do that.  
 
Anything that could be a route to help.  I assume he won’t voluntarily go for a psychiatric evaluation.  If he would that would probably be best.
 
but you are likely going to need to get something done via police, social services or other similar approaches without his cooperation.
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Btw, how is the teacher he threatened feeling about this situation?

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Yael, others have given better advice than I could have come up with and I know for a fact (with less dramatic but still painful experience) that this almost-18 time is a nightmare.  If he's 18 in a month, you have so little time to do anything that *can* be done and have him be required to stick with it. 

The main reason I am piping up is to say that I think you have to set some boundaries for when he turns 18.  Regardless of whether he finishes school or not...that's really kind of moot at this point and there is the GED that HE can pony up for when he wants to get straight.  

I had to set some boundaries with someone a number of years ago and it felt so much like I had failed at love.  I spoke with my priest about this and he said something I have never forgotten.  "You are imperfect in love.  What a surprise--you're just like the rest of us.  Boundaries are not to shut someone out but to preserve the love that still exists--that will die if it is extended beyond the boundaries.  The boundary may expand over time (or it may not need to) but if you don't put up the boundaries, the love inside will be killed."

And you have other people to think about as well, not just their safety but their ability to (at some point) have something left for their brother.  

((You and yours))

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Quote

   I suspect that in the Public School system there, bad as it may be, generally, there may be schools for troubled youth that could help him learn to correct his behavior and go on a different road than he is on now.  He is interested in  joining the military?   OMG!   That would be a rude awakening for him. He would learn to respect or he would be out, with a Dishonorable Discharge.  Is he interested in the U.S. Military or the Israeli military? I doubt they would take him, in either country.  I hope not! 

 

I too think that perhaps a public school alternative for troubled youth might be a viable approach.  Or perhaps a course credit recovery program online if he’s not safe to go into school in person. 

 I also think it probable that he is not stable enough for military duty. And his drug use may have made military acceptance unlikely. 

However, possibly his situation sounds long distance worse than it is, and maybe it would be worth seeing if he could qualify for an early entry to military while still in high school type program, which remotely possibly would help get him shaped up.   If he’s mostly rebelling against being a kid, then expecting him to step up to more manhood might help.  If he’s mentally ill, it won’t.  

 

Edited by Pen
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25 minutes ago, Pen said:
Several studies have linked marijuana use to increased risk for psychiatric disorders, including psychosis (schizophrenia), depression , anxiety, ...
 
 
————————
 
If you can use illegal pot use to get help for him, especially while he’s under 18 and you still have some input possible, I’d do that.  
 
Anything that could be a route to help.  I assume he won’t voluntarily go for a psychiatric evaluation.  If he would that would probably be best.
 
but you are likely going to need to get something done via police, social services or other similar approaches without his cooperation.

I agree with the whatever-it-takes approach, but didn't Massachusetts just decriminalize pot for 21+? It may make it harder to get this addressed with at 17yo as well.

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49 minutes ago, Mergath said:

So he spent a year in bed after getting expelled from school, and multiple therapists told you he isn't depressed because he has high self-esteem??? You need to get new therapists, ASAP. A person's level of self-esteem has nothing to do with being depressed. I don't mean this in a snarky way, but were these religious counselors who have only had training through a religious program? If so you need to find an actual psychiatrist. And in the meantime, I'd try to get him admitted to an in-patient treatment program if at all humanly possible.

QFT

(((YaelAldrich)))

Praying for your family.

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20 minutes ago, whitehawk said:

I agree with the whatever-it-takes approach, but didn't Massachusetts just decriminalize pot for 21+? It may make it harder to get this addressed with at 17yo as well.

 

I don’t know. I’m in a pot legal at age 18 (I think at 18 ETA: nope, I was wrong, 21 here too ) state and it’s still an infraction here that can potentially get police help for under 18 (no idea between 18 and 21). It also is locally an offense that gets school suspension .    Usually parents consider a pot violation pretty minor and don’t push it, but in this case I think Yael needs help for her son, not to try to protect her son.  She has very little time left when he’s still a minor.  It will get harder at 18. 

 

Edited by Pen
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1 hour ago, TechWife said:

I have an uncle who spent some time at Boys Town. He said it changed his life and he never, ever forgot them.

They have a 24/7 Hotline for parents & children who need immediate help/advice  - it is 800-448-3000

Here is their website for the Hotline (they do video chats, too) - https://www.boystown.org/hotline/Pages/default.aspx

Here is the main website https://www.boystown.org/Pages/default.aspx

 

I was also going to mention Boys Town.

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Speaking as someone who has had significant experience with mental health care for a young adult (and apologies if I missed some of the details that make my advice off base.)

My first priority would be keeping younger siblings safe. The high self esteem does hint at a possible sociopath/narcissist. That said, the therapists could be totally off base, but his behaviors provide more evidence that that may be the case. If things are going to go bad, maybe send the kids somewhere else for a time until it settles.

Everything changes as far as health care and your ability to find it for him at age 18. I'd be acting sooner rather than later for sure. Residential is crazy expensive. If your insurance would cover, find out now what steps you have to take to make it happen, as far as referrals/documentation from the school and police. He may need to eventually take an alternative path to finishing school, and that is fine. It's not the priority right now.

This is absolutely a heartbreak and the hardest thing you will ever deal with. Take care of yourself and make sure you have the help you need.

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(((YaelAldrich)))

First,  I think you've got to get him psychiatric help.  The information you've shared definitely indicates a mental health/safety issue that is at a crisis point.  Second, draw your boundary lines around protecting yourself and your other children.  Of course, you'll always hope and pray for his safety and well being but it's likely a long road and you'll need your strength to endure for the long haul.  If he ends up getting arrested, consider not bailing him out until you have a psychiatric care plan in place (residential). 

I read some advice to parents with child (18 yrs old) in a situation like this- it was something about not interrupting natural consequences because you need to view the consequences as leading (eventually) to a miracle/blessing for the adult child. I don't know if I'm capturing the advice well, but I found it encouraging and insightful although I imagine also incredibly difficult.

 

 

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Nm

Edited by ```
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Oh, hugs, Yael. I don't have anything substantive to add, but just to echo how I think you need to treat this extremely seriously.

Also, my mil has the same cancer as your mother. I knew she was sick from your posts. Just... angry words for cancer and how destructive it is.

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4 hours ago, Mergath said:

So he spent a year in bed after getting expelled from school, and multiple therapists told you he isn't depressed because he has high self-esteem??? You need to get new therapists, ASAP. A person's level of self-esteem has nothing to do with being depressed. I don't mean this in a snarky way, but were these religious counselors who have only had training through a religious program? If so you need to find an actual psychiatrist. And in the meantime, I'd try to get him admitted to an in-patient treatment program if at all humanly possible.

You said therapists..you need psychiatric help not a therapist. I call BS that he has no psychological issues. He's exhibiting emotional disregulation, violent thoughts, anti social behavior, etc. He's gone from good grades and behavior to totally anti social behavior. Any chance there are other drugs in play? Any ADHD? Any head injuries before this happened? Has his regular doctor examined him and done lab work?

I'd give him the option of stopping school and getting a job, volunteer or paid, doesn't matter. School isn't the right place for a lot of bright kids at that age, it just isn't. 

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His ability to talk his way out of serious trouble multiple times at school and to convince multiple therapists that there isn't something seriously wrong is very troubling. I'd be worried because he is exhibiting psychopathic behavior. Now not all psychopaths are violent but with the threats he has made I personally would default to believing he was capable of it, and I'd make sure your other children and you have safeguards in place. 

if he were my child, I would find it unacceptable that the school is not taking the threat seriously. I would personally be reporting the incident to the police. He has threatened people on multiple occasions, this is serious. He doesn't need a new school, he needs an emergency psych eval by a knowledgeable Dr. He may not be depressed but he certainly isn't healthy.

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Since he is almost an adult - and I don't know what the laws are in your state regarding this - you may not be able to insist on a psych eval or treatment. If he does agree, however, a brain scan may be a good place to start. Has he seen therapists experienced in adolescent issues? Therapists cover a wide field and not everyone can be experienced in every facet of the field.

Depending on what happens with brain scan or and/or psych eval, answers may vary of course. Without any signs of willingness to address his issues, I would let him go. This is very, very hard. I think I would tell him he can no longer live at your house. Probably would say something like, "I love you to death and it hurts to see you on this destructive path but it is time you leave because your behavior is unacceptable and harmful to us. If there is real evidence that you are looking for help you can count on our support but we cannot allow you to live here any longer."

This is such a hard position to be in. I forgot if you have young children but either way, I think you need to draw a line in the sand. I hope you and your dh can present a united front. This is the kind of stuff that can be hard on a marriage as well. 

I also want to encourage you that he would not be the first young person who was asked to leave his/her parents' home and realized later that some choices were extremely ill advised and eventually come around to a different way of thinking.

Edited by Liz CA
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Our cousin's son when about 17 was a constant problem.  I'm not sure because they don't live nearby and we aren't real close, just heard about it later, but I think he was into drugs and selling and who knows what.  His mother took his college money, hired some intervention company and they picked him up in the middle of the night and dumped him somewhere in Colorado in some kind of survival camp.  He completely turned around and now is a great kid.

She said it was the hardest thing she ever did.  As to using his college money she said if she didn't do something fast there wasn't going to be any college anyway.

 

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11 minutes ago, MaBelle said:

 

 

Our cousin's son when about 17 was a constant problem.  I'm not sure because they don't live nearby and we aren't real close, just heard about it later, but I think he was into drugs and selling and who knows what.  His mother took his college money, hired some intervention company and they picked him up in the middle of the night and dumped him somewhere in Colorado in some kind of survival camp.  He completely turned around and now is a great kid.

She said it was the hardest thing she ever did.  As to using his college money she said if she didn't do something fast there wasn't going to be any college anyway.

 

 

This sounds worth knowing about. 

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Yael, you said police took some illegal knives from him in past—I’d be concerned about other weapons he may have.   Or may get.

I realize you are probably not going to be reading this until end of Sabbath at sundown tomorrow, but I would probably want  to err on side of keeping myself and rest of kids safe.  Where if your Ds almost 18yo could not be taken to hospital for brain scans and evaluation which imo would be best, then  to leave with the other children and stay with a friend or at a motel at least until your husband returns from his trip.

 I would also call the police, social services, state mental health department, or other places you can think of,  about the situation to at least discuss what can be done. 

 

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