Is This the Best Option and is it the Only One?
My 15yods acts even worse now than he did last school year. Summer was NOT fun. He acts as though me might be bipolar, but some people think he is just "getting out of control."
He has these fits of rage where he throws stuff, unplugs the PC so no one else can use it, etc. Then he acts all calm and sometimes even repentant. But nothing ever truly changes. Some of the problem is that my dh is bipolar and has anger issues of his own. He and ds clash, to say the least. I have been guilty of just sweeping things under the rug to keep the peace, but it's not true peace, kwim?? I have been seeing a counselor. Dh was, and was on meds, but then quit, claiming it didn't help. After one of the last episodes between him and ds, he finally started back on meds again (just a few days ago)
Ds and I used to be close, but not as much now. He lies some, and holds things in more than he used to. The "friends" he has seem to mostly be of the juvenile delinquent variety, which I never thought would be true of him, because he is smart and didn't use to be a behavior problem except in a typical ADHD way (he has ADHD).
To make a long story short, I had to take him to the emergency room last night. Actually the ambulance did. We called 911. They almost admitted him but decided not to since he wasn't going to harm himself or others and was calm while talking to them. They said he REALLY needs counseling to deal with his anger and whatever else might be going on, but that it was probably just "behavioral" and not necessarily bipolar.
Well, he says he WONT go to counseling, and is especially balky since I resorted to tricking him into it a while back. He has been to a counselor maybe 4 times total in the past two years. He also WON"T take meds for ADHD despite the postive changes we saw in him when he did. He says the side effects weren't worth it. His ped respects that, but any other adult professional or friend who hears that says he should be forced to keep trying meds and also to be further evaluated.
So now they say the only other thing I can really do is go to Juvenile Justice and file some paperwork that will force him into counseling or get put in juvie...just the thing that most books on adolescent bipolar seem to say is the worst thing you can do if a kid might have that!
I am so torn up over this. He has had numerous adults ask him, "which do you prefer, to get medical help or to have a criminal record once you turn 16 and do crazy stuff like smash things, etc.??
He is so angry thinking I will do this that he threatens to run away and never come back, and assures me once he is 18 he will cut all ties. Not the ds I had just two years ago.....his dad says, "fine, I hope they put him away somewhere and that's the end of it!" and then he will say, "no, I do love him and I just want help for him. His attitude makes it harder on ds, I think. Not making excuses for a kid acting out, but if I knew someone felt that way about ME....
Please share your thoughts. Thanks!
it sounds like your child obviously does not know what is best for him at this point in time. Of course he going to blame you and anyone around him for his actions and feelings, but eventually (and it may take years), he will realize that this is just a hard time in his life and people are trying to help him. I think it is absolutely important for him to stick with counseling and meds if that was the track you were taking before. As the adult in the situation, you need to keep as much control on the situation as possible - after all, you are the parent, he is only the child.
The situation sounds really difficult and I know first hand how hard it is to deal with teenage rage although my son's was more verbal/manipulative. For him it was drug fueled and it makes me wonder if it is possible that he may be experimenting with drugs? In my experience, drug use can mimic bipolar disorder and it certainly can cause the kind of rages that you are speaking of. I wondered if they did any testing in the ER? And of course both can occur together..ie. bipolar plus drug use. It sounds essential, no matter what, to have him fully assessed psychiatrically because if he is bipolar (and perhaps there is a genetic tendency if his father is as well), then instead of ADHD meds, you'd want to look at mood stabilizers. There are many new ones on the market that have remarkable success with not many side effects.
Is there some positive incentive you could bribe him with to get him to go? Like a new video game? It would be worth it. It does sound like if he doesn't get into treatment, the situation itself will end up in the juvenile justice situation which might not be a bad thing. If the treatment has to be forced that way, it will still be the way to get help and assessment for him. As far as the criminal record when you are 16, my understanding is that it is 18 when that kicks in. It's much, much better to have this happen now than after that. Maybe his school counselor will be able to help direct you? Just keep telling your son that you love him too much to allow him to hurt himself with this out of control anger. I'd imagine it probably scares him as much as it does you.
I'm very glad that you said your husband went back on meds. He needs to keep his mood stable with this going on and it is good role modeling for your son. Btw , I hope I'm interpreting "DS and DH" correctly!
I can understand the pediatrician saying that he respects your son's right not to take meds, but I can't imagine him supporting him NOT being evaluated. Remember that YOU and your husband can go and seek help even without him and it can take some hunting to find the right person for the task. Trust your instincts! Good luck, I unfortunately know how hard it is and hope you can hang in there and keep championing his wellness.