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YaelAldrich

Teen getting in serious trouble - WWYD?

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1 minute ago, Pen said:

Above makes me wonder: can this Ds leave the religion and still be part of the family?  

My ds does not practice our faith anymore, but ontologically, he is part of our family and part of the faith.  That he doesn't recognize the latter doesn't make it less true. 

"my truth" and "your truth" is a modern idea.  

How the parts of the family interact and what is acceptable expression is a separate issue.  

I'm sounding curt because I'm whipped--long three weeks, and in some sense, long 7 years.. Please forgive me.  I don't mean to be curt...but this is something I have thought a lot about but don't have the energy at the moment to expound.  

I will always love my son, and he will always be part of our family...whether he knows it or not (and increasingly, he does--both family of birth and family of faith--and I never thought, 5 years ago, that I would be able to say that).

 

 

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18 minutes ago, Patty Joanna said:

My ds does not practice our faith anymore, but ontologically, he is part of our family and part of the faith.  That he doesn't recognize the latter doesn't make it less true. 

"my truth" and "your truth" is a modern idea.  

How the parts of the family interact and what is acceptable expression is a separate issue.  

I'm sounding curt because I'm whipped--long three weeks, and in some sense, long 7 years.. Please forgive me.  I don't mean to be curt...but this is something I have thought a lot about but don't have the energy at the moment to expound.  

I will always love my son, and he will always be part of our family...whether he knows it or not (and increasingly, he does--both family of birth and family of faith--and I never thought, 5 years ago, that I would be able to say that).

 

 

 

I’m wondering about religious rules specific to Yael’s religious community.

my understanding is that in some situations conversion out of faith or other actions may require family to consider the child to have died, or forms of “shunning” required, or no longer allowed into family fold

I may be incorrect that this is ever true, and even if it is, it may not be true for the situation in this thread

but trying to understand it from outside, Ds behavior may be less extreme if renunciation of faith carried a shunning type of response as part of the community expectations

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11 hours ago, Patty Joanna said:

My ds does not practice our faith anymore, but ontologically, he is part of our family and part of the faith.  That he doesn't recognize the latter doesn't make it less true. 

"my truth" and "your truth" is a modern idea.  

 

I was was thinking about this last night and have come back to it because I think I was too quick to dismiss your reply as not applicable because you aren’t, iirc, of the same religious group as is Yael.

And yet when I thought more about it, the closest situation I can think of that I know of personally irl  concerned and eastern orthodox family. One of the boys left the faith after having been previously intending to become a priest like his father. It was a very emotionally traumatic  situation to have the apple of their eye reject their faith.  

And even without a clear religious mandate about shunning someone who has left the faith, or pretending that the child who left the faith is dead, there was still what from outside perspective seemed extreme reaction.  

 

Yael’s son, as described here sounds to many of us reading like he may be mentally ill, and has evoked a feeling of hatred from his mother.  Why?  Although many of us felt worried about her and the other children in the home being safe, it didn’t sound like she was worried about that herself.   The school authorities are, apparently, not enough worried about him being a threat there to suspend him in or out of school.  

What’s really going on?

He has wounded his mother’s soul, she wrote, because he has rejected her faith.  He has dishonored his parents.  Also he has embarrassed them by not being a good student and by doing things to the point of involving police.

 For some of us, me included, choosing a different faith or none doesn’t seem like a big deal.  For others of us, it’s a huge thing, a sin or a violation of the Commandments or similar.  It’s soul wounding to the parent, and perhaps a significant part of what might lead to a feeling of hate.  

It seems to have taken you 5 years to get to a place of loving your son despite his rejection of your faith.  And still the relationship is probably not what it would have been if he hadn’t done that.  I know for the family I know irl it has been over a decade and it isn’t the same as it would have been if the son had not left the faith, let alone if he had remained the apple of their eye and become a priest.

Another side is that from the child POV it doesn’t seem like love. It seems like rejection. It seems like only very conditional love so long as they are fulfilling the parental desires.  And emotionally that is a huge, huge thing to deal with if they have come to a place in themselves where the religious ideas they were raised with no longer make sense to them.

This May be a serious mental illness, addiction, a brain tumor, many things that I and others have speculated about. Or other things we have not thought of.

Or

It may be a desparate cry from a child to be loved and accepted for himself, not for being a reflection of his parents. 

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6 minutes ago, Pen said:

 

I was was thinking about this last night and have come back to it because I think I was too quick to dismiss your reply as not applicable because you aren’t, iirc, of the same religious group as is Yael.

And yet when I thought more about it, the closest situation I can think of that I know of personally irl  concerned and eastern orthodox family. One of the boys left the faith after having been previously intending to become a priest like his father. It was a very emotionally traumatic  situation to have the apple of their eye reject their faith.  

And even without a clear religious mandate about shunning someone who has left the faith, or pretending that the child who left the faith is dead, there was still what from outside perspective seemed extreme reaction.  

 

Yael’s son, as described here sounds to many of us reading like he may be mentally ill, and has evoked a feeling of hatred from his mother.  Why?  Although many of us felt worried about her and the other children in the home being safe, it didn’t sound like she was worried about that herself.   The school authorities are, apparently, not enough worried about him being a threat there to suspend him in or out of school.  

What’s really going on?

He has wounded his mother’s soul, she wrote, because he has rejected her faith.  He has dishonored his parents.  Also he has embarrassed them by not being a good student and by doing things to the point of involving police.

 For some of us, me included, choosing a different faith or none doesn’t seem like a big deal.  For others of us, it’s a huge thing, a sin or a violation of the Commandments or similar.  It’s soul wounding to the parent, and perhaps a significant part of what might lead to a feeling of hate.  

It seems to have taken you 5 years to get to a place of loving your son despite his rejection of your faith.  And still the relationship is probably not what it would have been if he hadn’t done that.  I know for the family I know irl it has been over a decade and it isn’t the same as it would have been if the son had not left the faith, let alone if he had remained the apple of their eye and become a priest.

Another side is that from the child POV it doesn’t seem like love. It seems like rejection. It seems like only very conditional love so long as they are fulfilling the parental desires.  And emotionally that is a huge, huge thing to deal with if they have come to a place in themselves where the religious ideas they were raised with no longer make sense to them.

This May be a serious mental illness, addiction, a brain tumor, many things that I and others have speculated about. Or other things we have not thought of.

Or

It may be a desparate cry from a child to be loved and accepted for himself, not for being a reflection of his parents. 

I expressed myself badly. I always loved my son and his rejection of our faith did nothing to change that.  What it DID do was make it. bit of a chore to figure out what it looked like to live together as a family--for both of us. What we talked about changed.  And how we responded to what we talked about changed.  Example:. my dh and I would talk about something we we're learning at church. Should we do that if DS is in the room?  Will he think we are pushing something at him? And for DS, should he speak up and state his position? Or just be quiet?   When he was a minor, should we expect him to go to church? Etc.  It wasn't shunning or rejection or any less live--it was just a change and we had to figure out what it looked like, and so it was uncomfortable at times.  

And he got games-addicted and that has to be dealt with and that was tough but it was never done without love--and he knew that even at the time.  

He comes to church with us from time to time because he knows he is well loved and he gets a lot of encouragement.  No one at church has ever shunned or rejected him--this is what he told me recently. 

The thing I meant to convey originally is that rejection and shunning is not really that helpful.  

:0)

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15 minutes ago, Patty Joanna said:

I expressed myself badly. I always loved my son and his rejection of our faith did nothing to change that.  What it DID do was make it. bit of a chore to figure out what it looked like to live together as a family--for both of us. What we talked about changed.  And how we responded to what we talked about changed.  Example:. my dh and I would talk about something we we're learning at church. Should we do that if DS is in the room?  Will he think we are pushing something at him? And for DS, should he speak up and state his position? Or just be quiet?   When he was a minor, should we expect him to go to church? Etc.  It wasn't shunning or rejection or any less live--it was just a change and we had to figure out what it looked like, and so it was uncomfortable at times.  

And he got games-addicted and that has to be dealt with and that was tough but it was never done without love--and he knew that even at the time.  

He comes to church with us from time to time because he knows he is well loved and he gets a lot of encouragement.  No one at church has ever shunned or rejected him--this is what he told me recently. 

The thing I meant to convey originally is that rejection and shunning is not really that helpful.  

:0)

 

Okay. I misunderstood your post. Please forgive me.

nonetheless, in some religious groups, a child leaving the faith *is* a very, very big deal, (I don’t know the details on that for Yael’s) and reading through the op it seems that a change from 9th grade (?) happily embracing his part religious / part secular education private school to rejection of that in 10th (?) and wanting to go to public school was near the start of the cascade of events described    It isn’t clear whether short of acting out to the point of being suspended he would have been allowed to leave that school. Nor what was in his mind and soul (perhaps going through his own crisis of faith) about that aside from how open to change of faith and going to public school his parents might actually have been.

The more I read it the more it seems like the thinkkids.org CPS approach linked by @BeachGal might be a big help in opening up communication that doesn’t involve the youth acting out to point of suspension, police contacts, perhaps “passive-aggressive” lying in bed doing nothing for a year in order to be heard .  

Christopher Willard (website for him is something like drchristopherwillard.com) a psychologist in that area might also be worth contacting as possibly able to help  this youth not to self destruct .  The happilyfamily and a Ted x talk by him I heard seems like he has a good grasp of teen feelings. And as someone who has taught at Harvard he might know who would be good in Boston if his practice is full or too far or if he’s mainly writing and teaching not seeing people as clients directly.

 

 

 I realize that we all have very, very little info really to go on.  However, once your , @Patty Joanna , post led me to think of the Eastern Orthodox Family I knew with the former altar boy son turned wild (it was temporary, last I heard he’s fine) , even though I misunderstood your own post it lead me to a different potential view (potential only, not necessarily any more accurate than any other speculation I have had) of what could be going on at root with the problems of the teen in this thread.  What seems different in this view is that it seems more consistent with what the “several therapists” who saw the boy in person concluded.

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1 hour ago, Pen said:

 

 

It may be a desparate cry from a child to be loved and accepted for himself, not for being a reflection of his parents. 

 If this is the case, he needs a wake up call that who he really is  STINKS.   I'm sure many people have rejected their family's faith but haven't turned to making violent threats to others, using drugs, being shiftless, etc.  

It sounds very simple to me.  He got in with a bad crowd and liked the rebellious/sinful lifestyle.  He started smoking pot, and who knows how much damage has been done to his brain.

He needs tough love, not a Hallmark card about how special/wonderful he is.  

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nm

Edited by ```

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9 hours ago, Laurie said:

 If this is the case, he needs a wake up call that who he really is  STINKS.   I'm sure many people have rejected their family's faith but haven't turned to making violent threats to others, using drugs, being shiftless, etc.  

It sounds very simple to me.  He got in with a bad crowd and liked the rebellious/sinful lifestyle.  He started smoking pot, and who knows how much damage has been done to his brain.

He needs tough love, not a Hallmark card about how special/wonderful he is.  

 

If sin and pot turned teenagers into violent sociopaths, we never would have survived the nineties. Tough love is going to do exactly jack shit if this boy has a mental illness or personality disorder. In all probability he needs inpatient treatment, meds, and specialized therapy.

Edited by Mergath
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1 hour ago, Laurie said:

 If this is the case, he needs a wake up call that who he really is  STINKS.   I'm sure many people have rejected their family's faith but haven't turned to making violent threats to others, using drugs, being shiftless, etc.  

It sounds very simple to me.  He got in with a bad crowd and liked the rebellious/sinful lifestyle.  He started smoking pot, and who knows how much damage has been done to his brain.

He needs tough love, not a Hallmark card about how special/wonderful he is.  

I don't understand how lying in bed for a year after being sick, followed by antisocial and self-destructive behavior, can possibly sound very simple to you. "Evil companions corrupt good morals," but I'd like to meet the neighborhood thug who can make a previously healthy boy lie abed and soak up god-knows-what on the internet for a year before acting out in a fairly terrifying way.

This history makes me and almost* all the other people think, "This is obviously complex, and the family really needs some local, professional help, as they treat their situation as an absolute emergency. Maybe reconsider a traveling dad and holy days off and how to just keep going to the high school where he threatened people, at least through the acute part of this crisis."

*The rest think that if he's given a GED and his story is whitewashed enough to fool a recruiter, the military could discipline this all right out of him. 

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1 hour ago, Mergath said:

If sin and pot turned teenagers into violent sociopaths, we never would have survived the nineties. Tough love is going to do exactly jack shit if this boy has a mental illness or personality disorder. In all probably he needs inpatient treatment, meds, and specialized therapy.

Or the 60s, 70s, or 80s.  

The pot is not this kid's problem.

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3 hours ago, Laurie said:

He needs tough love,

 

Which means what, precisely? 

 

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2 hours ago, Lang Syne Boardie said:

, "This is obviously complex, and the family really needs some local, professional help, as they treat their situation as an absolute emergency.

I agree with this

 

 

2 hours ago, Lang Syne Boardie said:

whitewashed enough to fool a recruiter, the military

 

Who suggested whitewashing for a military recruiter?  I didn’t perceive that anyone posting on this thread thought the situation should be whitewashed.  

 

 

 

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I could have introduced you all to 'that kid who turned good kids into liars and druggies.'  Are we all really so naive? Social currency and addictive drugs are... a heck of a drug.

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5 hours ago, ``` said:

I know perfectly zilch about the Jewish religion (?).  But I do remember Esther Maria's posts on these boards years ago about the topic.  I seem to remember that some Jewish people will consider a person 'dead' to them if they abandon their faith.  (I'm sure I messed up all the terms, but I hope I got the concept right.)

Anyway, I remember she said something about actually putting them out without any resources or anything (ie. money, etc.).  Not sure if she meant adults or minors or what though.  But it is definitely done in some religions.

just as there are different denominations/sects in christiandom - there are different sects in Judaism.   some practice shunning (Hasidic comes to mind), other's do not.  I do not know which branch to which yael belongs.

then even within those branches, some families practice shunning (or not), even if their religious teachings do (or  not).

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4 hours ago, Mergath said:

 

If sin and pot turned teenagers into violent sociopaths, we never would have survived the nineties. Tough love is going to do exactly jack shit if this boy has a mental illness or personality disorder. In all probably he needs inpatient treatment, meds, and specialized therapy.

And as I responded earlier,   I don't think he's in his right mind and he needs psychiatric help.   

https://poppot.org/2018/07/03/marijuana-violence-know-connection/

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The practice of sitting shiva/formally mourning a child who leaves the faith or intermarried isn't really done and hasn't for probably about 100 years. In some communities it may still be done but it's very rare and you're unlikely to run into those folks on the internet. 

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25 minutes ago, Scarlett said:

Did the OP update?

 

No— no update— but seems to have been on today.  There’s a lot to read and a lot of links to check, and the month of minor status I hope she’s finding help!

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I'm back.  I really need to go to bed but I will try to respond to as many of the comments as I can.  I really wished that people with real life experience with extremely rebellious teens would have chimed in.  I bless the two people who did PM me - your messages mean a great deal to me.  I appreciate the hugs and prayers.  I appreciate the concern that all of you have and I have really thought about what you have said.  I do not seem him as an immediate danger to my family.  I also don't think he has the capability to wreak havoc on his school and teachers although they do know about his threats.

My husband is on his way back from AU.  He couldn't have gotten back any sooner than he is getting here. His Sabbath started 14 hours ahead of mine so he found out about what happened on our Saturday morning and was on a plane several hours later.  I've dealt with serious mental health issues with friends and for those issues I would certainly break the Sabbath.  My husband and I have talked several times since Saturday night (my time).  He hears my worry about him coming of age.  One of our options after this summer (where he will work for our friends in Japan - no internet, lots of hard physical work) to put him in a NOLS Year course in South America.  He'll have to finish out high school later.  

This weekend was him ignoring my demand for his phone and going off on his own with his friends (I saw him out and about).  He had a friend (whom we have mentored this year to help him get into college) come over for dinner.

Our plan is get an doctor appointment for a general checkup and request for an MRI to check for brain damage this week.  I have also contacted Boston's Children's Hospital.  They have a new Internet addiction program that I hope will give us some information about what I think is a bad case of internet addiction.  We are also in contact with our personal therapists/psychologists as to another person to evaluate our son. Mergath, we have had him evaluated by McLean hospital, the mental hospital affiliated with Harvard, along with several therapists (LCSWs/PhDs).  We've not used any religious para-helpers.  We're Jewish for goodness sake, we invented the science.  😏 

To go along with that we don't shun him, rather he shuns us.  He is disrespectful of our religion and practices but we let all but the most egregious actions slide because we cannot and don't want to control him religiously.  He sees the hypocrisy of many of our faith but at least is honest that there are Jewish people who are not bad/do not shun him (the family in Japan) and he respects them.  This is part of his rebellion even though it pains me. I made a different choice (practicing but conflicted Christian to Orthodox Judaism) but a choice nonetheless, so I can understand religious change.  He tells us that he was never religiously minded and never believed in Gd and he tells us he told us he never wanted to be in a religious school.  He also tells us he is a Republican and spews some of the more hateful slogans that are coming out now.  That is not the child we saw growing up, especially the Republican part. LOL

I think he is anxious and addicted to the internet and his phone specifically as almost every issue has stemmed from dumb use and his need of having his phone at all times.  None of it is out of the blue.  When the phone/internet is taken away he turns into a rather pleasant person.  But when the phone is reintroduced (they were given back last week) he reverts to the person we have now.  

I must go to bed.  I've been working/helping others non-stop all weekend to keep myself from falling apart.  I must take care of myself as I cannot go to see my parents sick on Wednesday as my mother is undergoing chemo and cannot afford to get sick.  Just found out my father's cancer has spread to a lymph node in his pelvis.  I have contacted his cancer team to see if I can get an appointment while I am dealing with my mother's first major follow up appointment since starting chemo later this week.  Did I mention my youngest had eye surgery last Wednesday and we are still doing aftercare?  Oh G-d, how You hate me.  😭

Edited by YaelAldrich
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@YaelAldrich I'm sorry you are going through this. FWIW, what looks like internet addiction can sometimes simply be a way of avoiding all the things that are difficult. That's what I've seen in a young person close to me. He can function without it for a period of time, but that wish to escape becomes stronger and stronger. When the opportunity presents again, nothing else matters.

In our experience, tackling the reasons for needing the escape - which a bright child may be able to hide quite well from family and doctors - allows the internet to become a useful tool for self-regulation, rather than a seeming obsession.

Best wishes.

Edited by Laura Corin
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I hope the expected police visit went well. 

FWIW I am one of the people who have experience and that is why my posts are what they are.  Agree with Laura Corin.  

Your child needs support and human engagement as he works thru the difficulty of the existential depression.  He will get better when he sees hope. He will get better when he has a plan, and that plan meets his social, emotional, and intellectual needs. He will get better when he sees his on-ramp to becoming the person he wants to be.   

Have you informed the school admin that your child is coping with cancer in the extended family?  Some public schools have support groups for this, as its pretty common, but at the least the staff will have the heads up on his emotional well being. The school pysch, nurse, or social worker can help you with this.

You can get immediate help from either oncology team if they are in the same area as you are -- they have a support system for the family and caregivers...you can get help for yourself, and your dc can get help for themselves.  If not, call one of the major cancer centers in your city and ask for a social worker...that person can give your family possibilities.  You are not alone...there is effective help.

 

Edited by HeighHo
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I don't have anything useful to add but want you to know you're not alone. We're here. You have prayers and hugs from me. Hang in there. Your momma heart must be breaking. ((((Hugs))))

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This might not be useful, but is a job change an option? Out of the city, and no travel for DH?

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8 hours ago, YaelAldrich said:

 Oh G-d, how You hate me.  😭

 

No, beloved, He does not.  Oh, how I wish it wasn’t all this at once, but when we think we can handle everything on our own, that’s what we try to do. When we are overwhelmed it seems we seek Him more.

This is so much. 😞 I think the plan you have could have great benefit. I’m glad you’re getting a full evaluation. If he comes back healthy and well from Japan, there will need to be a plan in place to maintain things and have an idea of what next. 

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Hi Yael, 

Thank you for checking in. I know you have a lot of difficulty in your life right now.

I’m very glad your husband is on his way home.  

I think an MRI for your son to rule out organic brain issues at least to extent scan can do that is really important and I feel relieved long distance that he’ll be getting one. And the general medical check up.  Excellent!  

I have a limited amount of experience with rebellious teens. 

 In situations of an emergency level of addiction or mental illness where action needs to be taken on the youth’s behalf because the youth is a danger to self and or others and or the youth is incapable of participation about decisions in his her own life, then clearly parents need to do whatever they can to get the child into inpatient treatment or removed from the addictive substance etc.

However, I have only seen meaningful long term change when the person doing the changing has a personal  part in decision making about him or herself.  And when change has an internal motivation.  

 I think a wilderness experience or going to Japan  might serve to remove your son from drugs, perhaps from internet and electronics, and certainly from his current group of peers—but I don’t know that it would lead to meaningful change.

It might have the opposite effect due to taking away autonomy and control.  And due to further delaying his ability to move into adulthood it may be the opposite of what he needs.

 

I strongly urge you to contact the center in your area,  I think it was called Think-kids, that @BeachGal linked somewhere above. I’d never heard of that center. However, if it’s based on Collaborative Problem Solving, I’ve certainly heard of that, and I think that’s the basic means by which you are likely to move with your son toward health and healing, and even to reach a good decision with regard to this summer and next year.

Having a center based on Ross Greene work that’s right there local to you sounds to me like a true Godsend. 

If you’ve not read Ross Greene books, I highly recommend them, but I think you need top notch in person outside help, not just some books. 

 

 I believe that science shows that meditation type practices can help to heal brains (change functioning and structure for the better) and can provide some of the benefits (such as relief from feelings of anxiety which sounds like it would be significant for your son) that people sometimes gravitate into addictions to self medicate and relieve.  but meditation would be much more healthy way than pot or other addictions.  Therefore, personally, if this were my 17yo son, but I was in your area, would be contacting Dr. Willard. See post below.

 

Unfortunately life tends to throw numerous problems at us all at once.  It is hard.  I hope you can find some sort of support and perhaps helpful therapy for yourself at this difficult time, as well as for your son .

Hugs and prayers,

Pen

ETA: I strongly agree with the post by Laura Corin above.  And I strongly agree with HeighHo that your son needs an “on ramp” — plus I think she has good ideas about extra support around the family cancers.

Edited by Pen
To shorten at least a little!
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This is a short TedX by Christopher Willard on Kindness from an atheist perspective.  I think he practices somewhere in your part of Massachusetts, with an emphasis on healing the brain via meditation, and some experience with kids if I understand correctly.

 

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I’m not sure why some posters seem to be attacking the the OP for saying she hates her son.  

Does she actually hate him?  Clearly not.  Are we not capable of recognizing hyperbole and words born of fear, stress and anger?  

Parents should be able to discuss their feelings, even the less than perfect ones, while dealing with a child in crisis without being rebuked.  Caregiving is hard, caregivers aren’t perfect and caregivers get to say what they are feeling when venting about the situation even if it’s not the best word choice or literally true.  

ETA:  I don’t hate my sons.  Did I feel hatred when my older autistic son almost seriously injured my younger autistic son?  You bet your boots I did.  I hated the situation, I hated my older son for losing his temper like that, I hated myself for not stopping it fast enough, I hated my state because the support options we need don’t exist here.  It was fleeting and not my actual core belief about either my son or myself or having autistic children, but the hate I felt was real.  

 

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@YaelAldrich  I am glad that you checked in last night and that your DH is on the way back to Boston.  I strongly suggest that the Medical/Mental evaluation have an M.D. who is a Board Certified Psychiatrist, either in charge of the team, or, participating in the team. A Psychiatrist might catch things that are caused by a Physical issue that someone who isn't an M.D. wouldn't notice and come up with a more accurate diagnosis and plan of treatment than someone who is not an M.D.  

You and your DH put him into the school where he was,several years ago, and the first year as he recall, he did very well, and the 2nd year he snapped and rebelled.  I hope they can determine what caused that enormous change in his behavior.

I wonder, regarding the ideas of possibly sending him to Japan for the Summer, or in a program  here in South America, what would happen, how you would get help for him, and how, if necessary, you wold get him  home.  If he has issues with drugs (Pot or other things) there would not be much, if any, sympathy for someone with those issues here.  More importantly, the help that might be available to him here might not have people on staff who could help him in English.   That is not to say that there are not people who use drugs here. There are and it is increasing. But really frowned upon and not considered "normal" or acceptable.  

We live where there are lot of drugs available, but it is primarily for Export to the USA/Canada/Europe and it would be very easy for someone to buy drugs here.   Another issue that makes this a bad place for people with drug abuse issues (assuming he is using Pot for example) is that most medicines that would require a doctors prescription can be purchased, over the counter here. 

Add to that, our laws, which are not as forgiving as those in the USA, and our prisons, which are not as nice as in the USA, and IMO this is a very bad place for someone with a history of using any kind of illegal drugs, or abusing drugs that are legal, to come to.  I speak not only of Colombia, where we live, but of Latin America in general.  Some countries are probably more tolerant than Colombia, but I would not count on that.  

If there is some program near to you, or, at least, within the USA, where he could be out of your house and under the supervision of trained staff, and in their custody, IMO that would be the best possibility of him getting help, and you and your family maintaining your family life.

I will continue to include your family (you, DH, your kids and your parents) in my prayers.

Try to stay calm and to preserve your own physical and mental health while you and your family are going through these issues.

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20 minutes ago, Lanny said:

@YaelAldrich  I am glad that you checked in last night and that your DH is on the way back to Boston.  I strongly suggest that the Medical/Mental evaluation have an M.D. who is a Board Certified Psychiatrist, either in charge of the team, or, participating in the team. A Psychiatrist might catch things that are caused by a Physical issue that someone who isn't an M.D. wouldn't notice and come up with a more accurate diagnosis and plan of treatment than someone who is not an M.D.  

 

She said he was evaluated at McLean.  It’s a top US psychiatric hospital.  He probably got an appropriate team.  

Quote

You and your DH put him into the school where he was,several years ago, and the first year as he recall, he did very well, and the 2nd year he snapped and rebelled.  I hope they can determine what caused that enormous change in his behavior.

 

In my experience, having  been at and having friends at religious based schools in high school, that is an extremely common age / stage for that to happen. 

 

Quote

I wonder, regarding the ideas of possibly sending him to Japan for the Summer, or in a program  here in South America, what would happen, how you would get help for him, and how, if necessary, you wold get him  home.  If he has issues with drugs (Pot or other things) there would not be much, if any, sympathy for someone with those issues here.  More importantly, the help that might be available to him here might not have people on staff who could help him in English.   That is not to say that there are not people who use drugs here. There are and it is increasing. But really frowned upon and not considered "normal" or acceptable.  

We live where there are lot of drugs available, but it is primarily for Export to the USA/Canada/Europe and it would be very easy for someone to buy drugs here.   Another issue that makes this a bad place for people with drug abuse issues (assuming he is using Pot for example) is that most medicines that would require a doctors prescription can be purchased, over the counter here. 

Add to that, our laws, which are not as forgiving as those in the USA, and our prisons, which are not as nice as in the USA, and IMO this is a very bad place for someone with a history of using any kind of illegal drugs, or abusing drugs that are legal, to come to.  I speak not only of Colombia, where we live, but of Latin America in general.  Some countries are probably more tolerant than Colombia, but I would not count on that.  

If there is some program near to you, or, at least, within the USA, where he could be out of your house and under the supervision of trained staff, and in their custody, IMO that would be the best possibility of him getting help, and you and your family maintaining your family life.

 

These sound like extremely important things to consider.

 

 

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39 minutes ago, Lanny said:

Add to that, our laws, which are not as forgiving as those in the USA, and our prisons, which are not as nice as in the USA, and IMO this is a very bad place for someone with a history of using any kind of illegal drugs, or abusing drugs that are legal, to come to.  I speak not only of Colombia, where we live, but of Latin America in general.  Some countries are probably more tolerant than Colombia, but I would not count on that.  

Totally agree with this. I would look at their courses in the US or Canada. Latin American police are feared and loathed by civilians for good reason. Someone who might talk back to an armed authority could easily end up in a bad place. 

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Thinking of you, Yael. I will say Mi Shebeirach for your family and Tehillim, Chapter 20 for you:

1. For the Conductor, a psalm by David.
2. May the Lord answer you on the day of distress; may the Name of the God of Jacob fortify you.
3. May He send your help from the Sanctuary, and support you from Zion.
4. May He remember all your offerings, and always accept favorably your sacrifices.
5. May He grant you your heart's desire, and fulfill your every counsel.
6. We will rejoice in your deliverance, and raise our banners in the name of our God; may the Lord fulfill all your wishes.
7. Now I know that the Lord has delivered His anointed one, answering him from His holy heavens with the mighty saving power of His right hand.
8. Some [rely] upon chariots and some upon horses, but we [rely upon and] invoke the Name of the Lord our God.
9. They bend and fall, but we rise and stand firm.
10. Lord, deliver us; may the King answer us on the day we call.

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Yael, I have not been in your position, so I don't have advice to offer, just concern.

However, I did notice that in your most recent post, you mention that your son has switched his political beliefs and perhaps has adopted some more radical views. You may be aware of this, but there have been news articles about extremists deliberately recruiting teens over the internet. I am not going to post a specific link, but you can google it.

I have no interest in espousing any political views. I am just suggesting that it is an aspect for you to consider, since internet addiction has also been mentioned. I think it's definitely something to point out to anyone you go to for help.

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25 minutes ago, chiguirre said:

Totally agree with this. I would look at their courses in the US or Canada. Latin American police are feared and loathed by civilians for good reason. Someone who might talk back to an armed authority could easily end up in a bad place. 

 

Thank you. In a Travel forum I occasionally participate in, someone wrote, a few months ago, about wanting to carry Pot around Colombia while enjoying his vacation here. Travelling on buses. Stoned.  He had read somewhere that Colombia had changed the law and permitted a legal dose. Well, everyone, including yours truly, who lives here, shot that idea down, immediately, and suggested that he not come here. Also it was explained to him that that law was rescinded.   Even if it had been legal, any police officer could have given him an incredibly tough time and taken him into custody.  He had also read about bribing police here if he got into trouble. Someone then responded that this is not Mexico and that he should not try that here.  To say nothing that whoever he got the drug(s) from or asked where to get them, might have turned him in or robbed him or worse.  There is very little tolerance for drug users here and being able to walk into a Pharmacy and purchase things over the counter that would require a prescription from an M.D. in the USA also makes this a very bad place for people with drug related issues.  

I don't know anything about illegal drugs but I bet they are available, within a mile or 2 of where we live. I am assuming that. In the 24 years that I have lived here, nobody has ever approached me about buying drugs, but I do remember that happening once, when I was crossing a street (?) in Cancun, many years ago.

We have undercover police here too.  

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Yael, I agree about researching the online radicalization of youth into right wing and incel groups. I hope that isn't happening but something to be aware of. I am so sorry for all the extended problems. You are doing so much to tackle it all, and you are trying to keep perspective and balance. I'm glad you got pm's that were helpful and I really hope you get some answers and guidance from the professionals.

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2 hours ago, LucyStoner said:

I’m not sure why some posters seem to be attacking the the OP for saying she hates her son.  

Does she actually hate him?  Clearly not.  Are we not capable of recognizing hyperbole and words born of fear, stress and anger?  

Parents should be able to discuss their feelings, even the less than perfect ones, while dealing with a child in crisis without being rebuked.  Caregiving is hard, caregivers aren’t perfect and caregivers get to say what they are feeling when venting about the situation even if it’s not the best word choice or literally true.  

ETA:  I don’t hate my sons.  Did I feel hatred when my older autistic son almost seriously injured my younger autistic son?  You bet your boots I did.  I hated the situation, I hated my older son for losing his temper like that, I hated myself for not stopping it fast enough, I hated my state because the support options we need don’t exist here.  It was fleeting and not my actual core belief about either my son or myself or having autistic children, but the hate I felt was real.  

 

 

If I came across as attacking Yael, I apologize. I meant to be supportive, not attacking.

My experience includes the world of foster parenting, from which perspective what Yael’s son has reportedly done sounds fairly mild by way of comparison with kids some people I have known regularly deal with.

So while there’s some potential scariness about the situation, hatred of him seemed to me an extreme response, possibly part of overwhelm due to situation as a whole (her parents’ illness etc) where he’s the “last straw.”   

He doesn’t seem to have actually hurt anyone else.   The “gun” at issue as I understand it was a realistic looking fake.  ...  

“Hate” was a very striking word to me in this, both related to Yael ‘s  feelings toward her son, and her feelings about how God feels about her.  I think it’s venting, yes, but that it goes beyond merely venting.  I think there’s probably something behind those feelings that could use support and therapy for Yael herself as an individual — perhaps there’s a self acceptance, problem, perhaps feelings that go back to her own family of childhood issues which could be (unconsciously?)  perhaps especially troubling now with sick or dying parents

 

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1 hour ago, chiguirre said:

Totally agree with this. I would look at their courses in the US or Canada. Latin American police are feared and loathed by civilians for good reason. Someone who might talk back to an armed authority could easily end up in a bad place. 

 

I’d suggest he should stay in the US, and even relatively close to Boston area -  New England.   I had thought the other family he could stay with was someone more local.

Difficult as things now are, if there’s an overseas family crisis on top of the grandparent generation cancers, it would probably make the lives of the whole family exponentially more stressful and chaotic.   Even a cross country crisis would increase difficulty.  

 

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I have a relative who went through something like this.  She is very bright,  and I think she just couldn't stand being a kid anymore.  She ended up dropping out of high school and working, I am guessing multiple jobs since a teen can't work full time.  She did get her GED once she was old enough.  Last I heard, she was enrolled in a trade school and doing well.  I believe the behavioral problems stopped once they stopped trying to make her continue living as a kid and attend high school.  

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4 hours ago, Pen said:

However, I have only seen meaningful long term change when the person doing the changing has a personal  part in decision making about him or herself.  And when change has an internal motivation.  

 I think a wilderness experience or going to Japan  might serve to remove your son from drugs, perhaps from internet and electronics, and certainly from his current group of peers—but I don’t know that it would lead to meaningful change.

It might have the opposite effect due to taking away autonomy and control.  And due to further delaying his ability to move into adulthood it may be the opposite of what he needs.

 

I strongly urge you to contact the center in your area,  I think it was called Think-kids, that @BeachGal linked somewhere above. I’d never heard of that center. However, if it’s based on Collaborative Problem Solving, I’ve certainly heard of that, and I think that’s the basic means by which you are likely to move with your son toward health and healing, and even to reach a good decision with regard to this summer and next year.

Having a center based on Ross Greene work that’s right there local to you sounds to me like a true Godsend. 

If you’ve not read Ross Greene books, I highly recommend them, but I think you need top notch in person outside help, not just some books. 

 

Motivational interviewing can be helpful in getting adolescents to change. It involves listening, then carefully phrasing questions and responses in a way to help an individual devise their own plan to change behavior while maintaining autonomy. It was developed to help alcoholics but is very effective in many situations where behavioral change is needed. We learned to use it with our kids when they were in their late teens and it made a world of difference. They went from fighting us tooth and nail and being self-destructive to making far better decisions for themselves. I wish we had learned it when they were younger.

Btw, our kids are in their mid-30s to 20s. It was certainly not a rose-strewn path for us. I can empathize quite a bit with other parents because we've btdt, too. 

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I am so sorry, Yael. We are going through horrible things with our oldest son (almost 16), things I cannot share on these boards, and not exactly like  yours, but similar in intensity and severity.  He is not living in our home right now and is refusing mental health help.  Everything we have tried has backfired on us. As in, oh, your son is fine, you're the crazy ones Mom and Dad. I have no advice for  you, either on this thread or as a PM because we are just feeling our way through this ourselves.  All I can say is keep persevering, keep trying, but also make sure you do everything you can to keep yourself and the rest of your family safe. I am just so sorry you are having to go through this, but just know you are not the only ones.

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2 minutes ago, KrissiK said:

I am so sorry, Yael. We are going through horrible things with our oldest son (almost 16), things I cannot share on these boards, and not exactly like  yours, but similar in intensity and severity.  He is not living in our home right now and is refusing mental health help.  Everything we have tried has backfired on us. As in, oh, your son is fine, you're the crazy ones Mom and Dad. I have no advice for  you, either on this thread or as a PM because we are just feeling our way through this ourselves.  All I can say is keep persevering, keep trying, but also make sure you do everything you can to keep yourself and the rest of your family safe. I am just so sorry you are having to go through this, but just know you are not the only ones.

I'm so sorry.  We had troubles (NOTHING like what you all have described) and it was excruciating.  It was hard to even *breathe* sometimes.  So sorry for this trouble, for any who go through this.  

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A few thoughts-- first of all, just because you take a loved one to supposedly a great medical center doesn't mean they do not misdiagnose.  Our family is not the only family that has that happened to and so even though Mclean said no depression, no bipolar, no schizophrenia, etc, doesn't mean that is so.  Secondly, i want to stress that neither the military nor going to foreign lands is a good idea. You do not have to go to Latin America to get in trouble.  Forget about the pot, even.  Threats or perceived threats are not taken lightly either in the military nor in foreign countries.  The minute he turns 18, he loses all leniency via school principals, etc.  You are overheard in a store threatening to kill or online,  law enforcement may drop in.  

I was reading about this man who was recruited as a white supremacist and now 15 years later, is teaching people how to spot recruitment and ways to combat it.  He said that 2 factors are needed (and these factors hold true whether it is recruiting for white supremacists, islamic terrorists, or anarchists, doesn;'t matter who)  isolation (loneliness) and lack of purpose.

I know that made a huge difference in my son's life.  Once he had a purpose, his depression became so much better and with the purpose, he made lots of friends too. 

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You guys must have different rules than Texas.  We have laws on the books about terroristic threats.   We had a 13yo student expelled for joking about something involving guns.  i know this student.  I know he was joking.  However, he faced criminal charges and was expelled.  We had a police officer come and talk to our students about how serious it is.  If this young man lived in our town, he would have been expelled and charged.   

I am SO SO sorry for what you are going through.  I don't have any better answers than what others have suggested.  Praying for you. 

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I'm glad to hear you guys are working with a great mental health facility. Like someone else mentioned, don't be afraid of getting a second opinion if you still aren't finding answers. I don't have a rebellious teen, but I was one to some extent, though my dad's mental health issues made mine look like nothing. For me, it was extreme anxiety that went undiagnosed. When you are constantly in fight-or-flight mode, a lot of the time you end up choosing to fight because you reach a point where you can no longer function around other people. I barely slept because of the anxiety as well, which only added to my issues. And even though I was seeing a therapist weekly to help me deal with my dad being whatever the heck he was, no one ever figured out I had obsessive-compulsive disorder. So even professionals can miss stuff.

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2 minutes ago, Mergath said:

I barely slept because of the anxiety as well, which only added to my issues. A

 

Just lack of sleep can cause major problems even without other factors 

 

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In my town, there is a local private school that expelled a 1st grader who angrily told her friends at recess that she would bring a gun and shoot them. Nobody believed that threat, the family does not own firearms, but the schools have zero tolerance policy for violent threats to students/staff. This child was 6 years old and probably did not even know what she was talking about.

Seeing how suddenly his behavior changed in the second year of high school, my suspicion is that he might have been recruited online and radicalized to believe in some militant group's ideology and that he is changing because of that. Every radicalized person's story has a similar theme - they were nice kids or quiet kids, never got into trouble, were helpful etc until they got radicalized. I think that it is very important (also urgent) to watch his internet browsing history and to get a hold of the contents of his cellphone browsing and texting history. If you are paying for his phone plan and the internet, you should be able to do both.

Set up a password for the router at home and turn on logging of every web hit from your family's devices. Also google the names of your son's new friends and go to instagram/facebook/twitter and search if they have posted radicalized thoughts or violent threats using guns, bombs etc. Also check if they are on forums that discuss drug usage.  It is good to keep tabs on these things if psychiatrist evaluation is not showing any particular issue.

Could giving him a purpose in life that keeps him very busy help to wean him off his friends/internet addiction or whatever is making him behave this way? I am not sure what that could be, because I was about to suggest volunteering, but, it is not a good idea at this stage. A lot of lonely kids feel happy and energized to be around others who they can help/mentor/tutor/read to etc.

I am so sorry for what your family is going through.

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