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Horrendous fight with son

Old 11-20-2012, 02:45 PM
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Horrendous fight with son

Working my program, but I'm new at it, and thought some of you old-timers might weigh in on what just happened.

My ADHD son has not been doing his homework during his 10-day suspension, so it's been piling up. This has concerned me greatly--now all his grades are in the 50s. He will start the alternative school soon, and will then start doing work there.

The fight started when--trying my best to work the program--I suggested that he talk to his sponsor about his homework, work out a solution, and then I would help him implement the solution. He has been asking to go to cyberschool, because he thinks he won't have paper homework.

The principal has told me that my son is intelligent, and cyberschool won't give him the quality of education he is capable of doing. His probation officer told me the same thing. I was more concerned that my son would feel socially isolated. So I'm not real keen on the cyberschool idea.

Anyway, to the fight. I have not been able to get a handle on my resentment. There have been no real consequences--just a 45-day supension (I have to babysit him) and a fine that I have to pay. No rehab, no IOP, no nothing. It feels like I've been the one who's been punished, but I'm working hard on letting that go. It is what it is.

Anyway, during the fight, he was so enraged he got honest about a lot of things.

1. He hates the program; only has stopped smoking weed so he doesn't get kicked out of the house.
2. He hates God. If he could, he would nail God to the cross himself. (His quote.)
3. This is the most important one: He feels overwhelmed by paper homework. He hates it, cannot even imagine doing the big stack that has accumulated during his suspension. I know kids with ADHD have problems like this, but this is the first time has has told me this directly and honestly, and only because he was roaring with rage.

We screamed for about 45 minutes at each other, then we both calmed down. He does know I love him. I told him that it was no surprise that he wanted to smoke weed--he was an addict, which is normal behavior--but that if he did, he would have to leave. I also told him that since he can't be on his own until he is 18 (he is 16 now) that he should try to make the best of the program and see what he learns. Told him I didn't care what he thought about God--that was his business.

Finally, I told him we would schedule a meeting with the school to talk about the possibilities--cyberschool or perhaps an IEP if he returned to his regular school. I said that we would get all the facts, and then decide.

I know this is a lot of "I said." Most of what he said was that if we went back to regular school he would be reminded of people places and things and he was afraid he'd use, and then get kicked out of school again (and out of our home).

I am positive I said and did the absolute wrong things, but I did the best I could. I now feel like a **** mother again. But I also know that there's no choice but to go on from here, and so we will.

I am absolutely drained. And going to an Al-Anon meeting tonight. My second one today.

Uh...it does get better, right? I am studying the damn books, got a sponsor, going to meetings, writing stuff down...I am doing my best but today was pretty damn stressful and I am not at all sure I did anything that was in those books.
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Old 11-20-2012, 02:56 PM
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I would like to add that my son and I have a volatile, intense relationship and I wonder if he would be better off living somewhere else. It's as if, by some way I do not understand, I am keeping him from growing up. If I am doing this, it is not conscious--I believe he's smart and his a bright future, if he shapes up, and I am ready to let him go. He needs to fly, is looking forward to getting out of our home, and I'm fine with him getting ready to leave the nest.

I have to admit I sometimes wish he could live elsewhere. But I cannot afford a posh therapeutic boarding school, would never put him in a sketchy living situation (foster care, etc). And besides, he is my son, I love him, and want the best for him. But I wonder if we're just oil and water, and I am doing him more harm than good. I am drained and exhausted by having to care for him, and feel guilty for feeling this way.
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Old 11-20-2012, 03:48 PM
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((ISO)) - I don't think it's abnormal to wish he lived somewhere else. Sometimes, we just can't provide the consequences that may get through to them. Been there, done that.

As far as cyber-school? I'm in an online course for college. It is FAR harder than any bricks-n-mortar school that I've ever been to (this is my 3rd associate's degree). Papers? OMG, I've done a TON of them.

I, too, thought it would be easier, but I was sadly mistaken. FWIW, my niece chose one to finish high school, I chose the same school to get my degree. I found out that my degree wasn't accepted by the accrediting board that would offer my certification, my niece found out that her high school diploma was not accepted by any college, but one, in GA. I chose another school, my niece got pregnant, married, and school is the last thing on her mind for now.

Hang in there, sweetie. I get the part about no consequences, but maybe he will find those consequences in his own time? I know my niece is now regretting not finishing high school. She wants better for her daughter, but also realizes she can't stress that without doing it herself.

Hugs and prayers,

Amy
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Old 11-20-2012, 03:56 PM
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Hi Amy,

Well, I'll let the school officials tell him that there is still paper work to do! Maybe that will change his mind. I totally get his fear about people place and things, but it seems to me that if he has a strong program, he'll be able to handle it. But I am not 16, and not as fragile, so if cyberschool is really the way to go, I will support it. But we're not even in the alternative school yet...he is still home. All I can say is, I need a vacation.
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Old 11-20-2012, 04:00 PM
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I am sorry you had a stressful day with your son. I truly understand.

I have learned along the way (the hard way) that his homework is his. Not mine to worry about. If he fails, he has to pay the natural consequences of his choices. (repeating the year, summer school, etc.)

I was always so stressed about my son's education. He could have cared less. Looking back, it was the least of my worries regarding his choices and behavior. Some people don't really buckle down in school until later on in life. That's OK!

My son is glad he did not have to return back to his HS either. He actually thanked me for that.

There are other options for you and your son. Maybe a tech high school to learn a computer skill? Maybe some kind of job corp program, the National guard program. There are lots of places, spend your time being resourceful and not worrying about his homework and grades. It just become a power struggle between you and him.

Reward the positive behavior and but don't enable the negative ones. He is 16, will bait you every time and feel like he won. In fact, he does win. I doubt he is as stressed as you are right now!!
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Old 11-20-2012, 04:07 PM
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Hey you,

I'm not stressed right now--I get to go to an Ala-Non meeting in a few minutes, and he is going to his NA meeting. Hopefully, we'll both get some much-needed serenity.

And tomorrow is a new day. A new day in which he is home with me, LOL.

Hey, gotta laugh to keep from cryin.
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Old 11-20-2012, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by ISOHumility View Post
Hey you,

I'm not stressed right now--I get to go to an Ala-Non meeting in a few minutes, and he is going to his NA meeting. Hopefully, we'll both get some much-needed serenity.

And tomorrow is a new day. A new day in which he is home with me, LOL.

Hey, gotta laugh to keep from cryin.
There are many places for kids to volunteer. I know because my son had many community hours and of course, I stressed more then he did. lol

His probation officer would have a list. Does he like animals? The shelters are always looking for help and animals can be very therapeutic.

My son always felt so good about himself after he worked hard doing his hours. Everyone told me what a harder worker he was....and this is the same kid who couldn't put a wrapper in the trash. lol
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Old 11-20-2012, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by ISOHumility View Post
1. He hates the program; only has stopped smoking weed so he doesn't get kicked out of the house.

Yay, he stopped smoking weed! It's okay to hate the program.


2. He hates God. If he could, he would nail God to the cross himself. (His quote.)

Don't worry about this. God can take care of himself, God understands. When your 2 year shouted I hate you I wish you were dead and threw himself on the floor, did you think twice about it? This is a non issue. Please do not despair or read too much into his anger with God. The two of them will work it out in their time. It's not a sign of your son's character.


3. This is the most important one: He feels overwhelmed by paper homework. He hates it, cannot even imagine doing the big stack that has accumulated during his suspension. I know kids with ADHD have problems like this, but this is the first time has has told me this directly and honestly, and only because he was roaring with rage.

My ADD son hated paper homework too. He could not do it. He explained it to me once, what agony it was. Get a student advocate and work on a IEP and see if there is an alternative school in a building, or if he can go to another regular school that is away from his drug haunts, or if he can go to a private school on the public dime.


.
Hugs, hugs, and more hugs.
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Old 11-20-2012, 04:46 PM
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I'm the mother of two sons. One is 21 yo alcoholic. He is now in recovery and doing very well. He has only been working on his sobriety for about 2 months and had one major slip but tonight he is at AA and will get his 30 day chip. What I am going to say is my experience with my son and some things I would do differently. I am not the cause of his drinking but I do believe that he started drinking because of a learning disability. It was easier to drink than to deal with it. We allowed him to graduate HS at 16 which was probably a bad idea because he had much more access to alcohol at college.

You son is an addict and he fully admits that. He is telling you that cyber school would be better for him because he is overwhelmed. If my son would have had that option I would have jumped at it. What I would do is ask my son to write down the pros and cons of cyber school. Address all the issues you have (challenging, friends, etc) and all the issues he has. Since he would be in alternative school anyway, I would try it for the rest of the year. I would hire a tutor (even a college senior would work) to come over twice a week for an hour or so at a time to be the "enforcer" of the work. This would help him keep on tract. My son will graduate college soon never reading a college textbook because of the disability. He has a B+ average and can read and is probably one of the best writers ever but has to read in small segments and he is overwhelmed by it. He has found a way to cope and it has worked for him.

Not sure where you are but I know of several people who have their kids do cyber school and these are wealthy people who could afford the boarding schools etc. - one actually sent two to boarding school.

I'm not saying the Cyber school is the right thing for your son but I wouldn't toss it out before considering it.
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Old 11-20-2012, 05:01 PM
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I ask again...what about living with his father?
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Old 11-20-2012, 05:26 PM
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Just wanted to add my experience with Cyber school/home school

I was not an addict as a teen. However due to circumstances at home I did get a chance to try these options.
From my experience there was very little accountability for these options. If there isnt a parent there or someone else to enforce this work getting done, it starts to pile up more and more. Its a lot easier to drop out or just stop doing it.
I would see if you can get some advice from other parents in your same situation before doing or not doing it.
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Old 11-20-2012, 05:53 PM
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A few thoughts -

Cyberschool does have homework - at least the one my son attended. He was very successful at it while he was in the program for troubled teens that we sent him to-- but the cyberschool there was during a structured period, with tutors available to monitor and help. When he tried it at home, he just couldn't focus...I don't think it's a good fit for kids with ADHD.

His comments about God are actually ENCOURAGING - as anger is the flip side of love. You can't hate someone you think is irrelevant- so if he hates God now, he's on the way to a spiritual experience.

If he has an IEP or Ed Plan, the school is legally required to provide a tutor while he is suspended-- in most states, anyway. Talk to his special ed team about having a tutor come to work with him while he's home (taking the pressure off you) and about dealing with the "pile" that's accumulating and increasing his stress.

Best of luck with this- detaching with love from a dependent child living in your home is pretty tough...
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Old 11-20-2012, 07:19 PM
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Any chance for him to go to a school that has or will implement the iPads in place of books and paper? Or if an IEP could specify he should use one?
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Old 11-20-2012, 07:51 PM
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it is very draining to get so upset. sometimes it is easier to just walk away. things will get better. just go to the meetings & work your program. the more u learn the better it will get for you. hugs & more prayers.
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Old 11-20-2012, 07:59 PM
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Just got back from a meeting, and my son from his. Geez, two crazy, wonderful peas in a pod.

Thank you, wonderful people, for all the thoughtful comments and advice. I am open to any option that will help my kid graduate high school and salvage his self esteem. If that happens to be cyberschool, that's fine. But I, too, am concerned about the accountability--what motivation does he have to sit at his desk at home?

I am thinking that perhaps he could stay at the alternative school if it's a good fit for him. Or, failing that, the kid definitely needs an IEP. He never needed one before--his natural intelligence carried him through--but I do think he needs one now.

Not having ADHD, I simply do not know what it's like to have to cope with all the studying and "paper." He is an excellent reader, and excellent writer, and very smart, but very unmotivated. I wonder now if that lack of motivation is simply an inability to deal with paper.

Lots of help here, and lots of food for thought. In the meantime, son and I are cool with each other...he had a good meeting, and loves his sponsor. And that is a blessing (whether he thinks so or not).

Thanks again, everyone.
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Old 11-20-2012, 08:14 PM
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DollyDo,

I wanted to answer your question about my son living with his dad.

His dad loves him. He's a good guy, and we get along well, for an ex-couple. We've always put our kid first, and we even spend holidays together.

But his dad isn't up to the challenging task of caring for a teenager. One, he works a service job with constantly changing hours--he would never be home with my son, especially at night. Two, dad has ADD--without the H. Three, his dad doesn't have much in the way of income--he makes, literally, poverty-level wages. Fourth, his dad lives, as my son puts it, "in the ghetto." Lots of drugs and ample opportunity to spend long hours with other troubled kids, without his dad around because he has to work.

Although my son and I have a challenging relationship, it's best that he live with me, especially since he's made some solid program connections here. That said, if the above were different, I'd send him to his dad in a heartbeat, because he is too dependent on me and needs a strong male role model. As much as my ex loves his son, he cannot be that role model.

Thank goodness he has a loving sponsor. This dude is as opposite of me as you can get--former Special Forces, politically conservative, etc.--but he is a wonderful guy and my son is just soaking up his ESH and attention, which my husband is unable to give (although he absolutely loves my son--in his own way).
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Old 11-21-2012, 05:37 AM
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Doesn't sound like that is viable option. Too bad, might have resolved alot of issues.

Hope your son keeps finding his way and that you find some peace.
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