07-16-2017 08:27 PM - edited 07-17-2017 12:44 AM
Thanks for the update @Faob_1. You guys are doing really well upholding consequences, good on you. It can be really hard, especially when our kids are being so defiant and pushing for reactions. It must be so hard for you as well, with the police not willing to give more than a caution. What you're needing is some backup from them. It's not surprising it's just water off a ducks back as you say - he's come to learn that no real consequences will come from the law.
I don't know if this will be a helpful suggestion to you so please don't feel like it's anything you 'should' do. When my daughter used to run away from home I'd call the police, who would pick her up and try to bring her home. If she became volatile with them, they'd take her straight to the hospital and she'd be sectioned under the mental health act, which she hated. She does have a diagnosis though? But, it did stop her taking off in the end. It is good that you know where he is going, but still it must be so worrying for you with him taking off whenever he feels like it.
Your son would be trying to push your buttons, trying to get his 'power' back. By you remaining calm but firm and following through with consequences, he's losing his control over you. My daughter did exactly the same with me, but it did stop once she realised her tactics were no longer working.
There are some awesome meditation apps you could try, to help you clear your mind so you can prepare for your classes. I have a couple on my phone. I use Calm, and another one called Breathe. I find them really useful.
When do you have your next coaching session?
07-16-2017 11:31 PM
Thanks for the response. My next coaching session is not for another week. It's hard to schedule it around my school timetable! But I don't mind early mornings if it means I am getting some help.
I asked son today if he would show me some of his photos from his holiday, or video of him learning to snowboard & got a resounding no as he claimed he doesn't have enough storage on laptop to upload and edit them. While he was gone all day we checked his laptop and the pics on there made our hearts sink even further. There will have to be some huge consequences now, and not all coming from us. Son was in a foul mood when he came home, had texted to say he wouldn't have dinner at home, so none was offered nor prepared for him. The he & I had a very long conversation about what a credit limit is, how to obtain a credit card, what is interest rates, what are the cash loan shops for, etc. I am worried he owes someone a whole lot of money, but cannot go jumping to conclusions as I am very good at catastrophising things and I am relearning not to do that.
I am loving my Headspace meditation app and walking my lovely dog. I have a friend who is in the loop and is being wonderfully supportive. I am strangely feeling very calm and in control and strong despite all I am discovering. Amazing how just making the decision to be firm, fair and friendly can alter your perspective. That's not to say my anxiety levels were not going through the roof as darkness fell and I waited for son to walk in the door. But, I took the time to admire some flowers on our walk, sniff the eucalyptus in the air and BREATHE! And smile to get those endorphins pumping!
It's another day tomorrow and all is quiet at home despite the door slamming when he walked in. I had asked where he was earlier on text, & he said at a particular friend. I checked with those parents & they are 400km away on holiday. So, the lies are there, but I didn't let on I knew.
Hoping my meetings keep me well focussed at work tomorrow!
07-17-2017 05:35 PM
@Faob_1 I really feel for what you are going through with your son. I am so glad you and your husband are a united front - that is invaluable. And yes please never apologise for a long response here! That's what this place is for!
I don't have a lot to suggest but I am thinking of you, with your return to work (Totally hear you hating to be unprepared etc), and what transpires over the next couple of days with your son.
Wishing you strength - which it appears you and your husband have bucket loads of. One day I just know you will look back and wonder how you got through but you will get through!
07-17-2017 06:11 PM
My pleasure @Faob_1. You guys have been going through such a desperately tough time, and I can really relate to you as a parent in that space. I hear and understand how worried you still are, but you sound so much more empowered and confident from when you first came to the forum!
I'm so glad the coaching has helped you so much. I'm not a morning person at all, but I agree, I'd get up early for help too. I had at least a week between sessions as well, just to try the suggestions.
Yes, of course, Headspace! Thank you. I'm going to have a look at it. It's great you're using it, and having a supportive friend you can share with is just what you need. Is it rude of me to laugh to myself about you 'strangely feeling calm...'? I just remember very vividly, that same thought I had. It does feel strange! A bit surreal. It's fantastic knowing we can feel like that though!
I hope your meetings went well today and you were able to get a bit of a break from the worries about your son.
07-17-2017 11:14 PM
Thanks again for your kind supportive thoughts. Son has found out form a mate that we know about his fraudulent use of my credit card now. He claims as I have a new car, he is entitled to spend whatever he wants! Somehow staying with family to go on a snowboarding holiday, therefore no accommodation costs, means he has saved me money so he can spend more! Gotta love that logic. He seems to have missed the point that his trip cost us $3000 by the time we had paid for airfares, food, gear hire, lifts & lessons etc.
He claims he will get a job and pay back my credit cards. I have told him it has been reported and the consequence is out of my hands now.
So, tonight he refused to eat dinner with us, he grabbed the leftovers...not a full meal. He said he will have a guardian soon and is going to pack and leave. It's cold and wet here so I think the packing is taking a very long time tonight. My husband and I have used lots of 'I' statements, e.g.. I find your language is offensive, etc. and remained very quiet and calm. It seems to have disarmed him in a way.
He has admitted to using cannabis but says it is harmless. I have pointed out some facts there and he needs to do some research before he goes spouting off about something he really knows very little about.
So, one day at a time.
Thanks again for being a reassuring voice.
I am getting my head back into work, and feeling better.
07-18-2017 12:24 PM
I've been away for a week so I didn't have a chance to read your full story until today. I just wanted to ask if you think the cannabis use might be daily. In my previous role, I worked with kids who had substance misuse issues and your son's behaviour matches a lot of the markers that go with chronic cannabis / synthetic cannabis use. poor emotional regulation,
Things like: poor emotional regulation, unpredictability around responses to things, demanding money or things that can be used as trade, leaving the house at all hours, anger escalating into aggression and risk taking/law breaking to get money/goods.
Of course, this behaviour can mean other things too so please don't feel like this must be what it is, I just noted that you referenced cannabis a few times and wondered if you had considered a connection.
Also, please don't feel like you have to disclose anything you're not comfortable with. If this is a topic you'd rather not discuss, I completely respect that.
07-18-2017 02:18 PM
Are you able to print out some information on the short and long term effects of cannabis and leave it in his room. He might not read it, but he just might? This article here from the National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre provides great info but is more scientific. This article here from the National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens provides easy to read and informative info.
And you know about using 'I' statements - awesome! It really does make a difference because it's communicating what we want to say but without blame. It's such an effective communication skill, especially when used in conjunction with patience and calm. Good on you!
I can hear how much better you're feeling, it's fantastic. Having some help and getting our confidence back can make such a difference, and bring about change we once thought was hopeless. Our kids aren't actually bad kids, they've just lost their way.
07-19-2017 09:36 AM
Well, last night has us amazed. Son quietly left the house after 11pm. We put a sleeping bag and blanket on the outdoor couch for him and left a message on his phone saying that he had left , we have locked the house, gone to bed, and there is a sleeping bag out the back for him. Wondered what we were in for, and he returned who knows when, and s asleep now on the back porch. Yay to Firm, Fair, Friendly.
troubling now is our older daughter has admitted to how much brother 's behaviour is getting her down and she is miserable. I have put her onto this website and she has chosen a trusted teacher to talk to. We have decided to make one morning a week a going out for breakfast before school morning so we have some pleasure in our life too.
No luck in introducing son to idea of a two week wilderness trip with counselling. Have to make that decision firm this week or delay it for the next trip. Had a long talk to his Year coordinator at school yesterday and she thinks it would be a good idea. Fingers crossed. He actually mentioned homework last night in between being obnoxious towards us. Chinks in the armour maybe.
husband barely slept last night. I slept like a log. Another day. Hoping endorphins come in cups of coffee!
07-19-2017 05:00 PM
Firm, fair and friendly certainly brings some amazing results. I saw many chinks in my daughter's armour with this approach, and I'm sure you'll see many more in your son's armour too. By following through with consequences and remaining calm and kind, he'll learn that there's no point in causing a fuss because he can't get a reaction from you.
I'm so sorry your daughter's been finding it tough as well. I'm glad she has support at school, and I hope she finds the youth forum here to be a wonderful resource for her. What a lovely idea to have a special weekly brekky together.
What do you think your son would do if he was forced to go to the wilderness trip? Would you be driving him or would he be travelling by bus with leaders from the camp? And how long until the next camp? Sorry for the Q&A!
I'm sure you needed a good night's sleep. Hopefully your husband can sleep easier tonight. Fingers crossed for another 'peaceful' evening for you.
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