An "Angry young man"
I have tried posting before and was not successful, but thought I'd try a short note. We have 2 boys 14 and 12. My husband and I got so much from your book last spring when our oldest was diagnosed with depression. Before I go futher I'd like to see if this msg posts. Thanks
angry young man's story
Well I'm glad I am now able to post. As I mentioned my husband and I have 2 boys 14 and 12. Our oldest has always been a challenging child. Very bright, very lazy, VERY Verbal ! He also looks much older than his age. It is common for him to strike up friendships with 16 and 17 yr olds. He has also always been attacted to the wild crowd, though I have to say not exclusively. I have watched him go in one day from working on film making with some very low key audio visual friends, to working on a new punk band with some pretty pierced freinds, then finish up the day watching Simpson re-runs with his brother and totally enjoying major sillyness. I've learned to really listen to his friends, (when I'm allowed to see them in person) he clearly chooses them based on who they are rather than what circle they travel in. I've discussed this with him and told him how much I admire the fact that appearences or clicks just don't seem to be on his radar. Sounds ideal doesn't it, well it isn't. In 7th grade he had a few episodes of cutting. We took him to a therapist in our town and things seemed to even out. Summer was probably a big part of it. Halfway through 8th grade things got much worse. The cutting was getting worse and he made what we consider a half-hearted suicide attempt. But it was a clear enough signal for us, and we took him in to a doctor who started him on anti-depressants. His attitude through this was mostly quite cooperative. ( He was still raging when not getting his way) but I've been grateful that we were able to say "we can't keep you safe right now, and you are so important that we will find professionals who will help us" I don't know how that would have gone if he had been 16 or 17. He has been compliant with his meds, we don't lock them up, but we give them to him and have had no problems. At the worst of the cutting, we put him in the hospital. They sent him back home after 5 days, but as part of a great out-patient program. It amounted to 2 hrs on each of 3 days of the week. He was also seeing the therapist weekly, so that she could stay in the loop. Again summer came and things proceeded quietly ( on meds ) he was a councelor in training and loved working with younger kids. His instructor let me know how disapointed she was that she couldn't hire him yet due to his age. He was the most responsible one in the group. (Ahh those mysterious children roaming our town with our real kids names and looks This first year of highschool had us worried. School ending at 2pm just seemed a terrible idea. Luckily our town offers several Highschool alternatives, and he goes for drama, and dance every afternoon by bus from 1:30 to 5pm. He is so excited about this as he is hoping for a career in acting or music. Based on some of the scenes I've seen here, he may just be the next "you talk'in to me" guy. Sorry to take such a long time getting to present day, but trust me it felt longer living through it. This past weekend he topped any of his earlier outbursts when told he was grounded for getting home later than we expected 3 times in a row. The scene friday night resulted in his storming out of the house ( did I mention he's over 6 ft? As far as I'm concerned preventing him from leaving can ONLY be in the form of my stating loudly "You do NOT have my permission to leave, but if you do anyway, there will be other consequences" I've been known to take playstation controlers to my office for an extended period of time. computer keyboards, and Guitars are also possibilities). He did call us within the hour and told us where he was and that he was staying there for the night. After asking the girl's mother I decided getting through the night knowing where he was was better than continuing the fight. But the next day he called as soon as he got up, and said that he would come home soon (at my request) but he did not show up till 3 hrs later. When informed that he was grounded for not being able to follow the rules, the stated he was going back to where he'd been. I explained that I would have to call the mother and let her know that he did not have our permission. This set him off like TNT. ( I think he would never consider confronting/arguing with an adult other than his parents) In his rage he took a knife out of the drawer and stood facing me raging, not verbally threatining but there's no question this was real confrontation. He then turned and walked out side with the knife. His dad followed, with me inside wondering if I'd see either again. He did hand the knife over shortly. But not before I'd called 911 and asked for help. My husband considered calling back to say all was well, but we quickly agreed that dealing with the real world consequences was really needed. The officer was very helpful. We met him outside. Our son was actually waiting quietly inside. The officer seemed well trained, and calmly talked to him about this being our house etc. Wait... I get it now. HE WAS the Dispassionate COP. I can't believe I didn''t think of that till just now !!!! We all agreed that a visit to the Doctor was needed asap to review meds and this agressive behavior. We had that visit today. We've added a mood stabilizer and have a family meeting planned for tomorrow afternoon. The doctor was concerned that in their private discussions, our son did not seem to feel that his actions were unreasonable. My husband and I are trying to be as objective as possible and are willing to consider that he may be bi-polar. But we also will be pursuing better understanding of the family dynamics, both ours and the history my husband and I bring in our "baggage". So a long saga, a great kid, 2 mentally exhausted parents, one confused and slight resentful younger brother, one very understanding employer (mine, my husband is self employed) . AND a book we are both going to re-read. Thanks for providing a place to vent. Hopefully some of the steps we've taken will help other parents realize that before it happens to you the thought of calling the police seems just impossible, unreal, a step that you'd never be able to make. Just like calmly cleaning up the blood from your beautiful son's arms while you discuss options for keeping him safe while he's dealing with these issues. But as everone says "you do what you have to do" and you hope they are the right steps. And you face the knowledge that even doing everything in your power is no guarantee of any thing. It is a scary thought and a freeing thought. I care enormously, constantly but I am not in control of his mind or body. Every day I can look at my kids and say, yep... it is still worth the trouble, is a good day