Why couldn’t they have told him he was suspended on Monday instead of Friday? Did anyone even stop to think what kind of a weekend they were setting us up for?
We brought him home and tried to talk to him about what happened and about how if he had gotten suspended from regular school, he would have had consequences, so we would like to have him discuss possible consequences with us.
Wrong thing to say.
I thought we were going about it in a calm way and I thought we might come to a consensus that didn’t involve grounding from the X-box because that would just add to the problem.
His sarcastic comment to that was, “Isn’t being in rehab consequence enough?”
That made my husband mad and he said, “Forget trying to come up with any kind of solution tonight. You are not playing the X-box!”
F-bombs and every other kind of verbal attack began. It was the worst tirade ever.
I told my husband that is exactly what I was trying to avoid by NOT grounding him from the X-box.
And then, I had both of them angry.
My son went to his room. My husband went to our older son’s house to go over some details about an electrical job that they were having problems with. I understood that they needed to figure out that problem, but I wasn’t happy about the timing.
Let’s have a big fight with our son and then leave me alone with him.
My son is famous for trying to “work on me” when my husband is not around. It was only a matter of time.
45 minutes later, it began.
He said that he would like to do chores for a consequence that night and that he would unload and load the dishwasher. I said, “Well, it is 9:30 and you have used up almost all of the time you would have had to play the X-box, so you can only play it for about an hour.”
And then he said, “That’s what you think. When I get the X-box controllers back after I load this dishwasher, I am playing the X-box for as long as I want.”
Oh my gosh. This was getting bad. There was no way I could go along with that. I couldn’t believe that he was talking to me like that.
I will admit that I was kind of afraid of where this was going.
I said that he might as well stop unloading the dishwasher then because if he wasn’t going to accept playing it for an hour, then he wasn’t going to play it at all. But, he replied that he WAS and there wasn’t anything I could do about it. He planned to search my room until he found the controllers.
I went to my room, shut my door, and stood in front of it to try to block him from going in there. I seriously was getting more scared of what was going to happen next. I called my husband on his cell phone and told him to get home, NOW!
While I was talking to him, my son began shouting at me in his colorful way and I just snapped. Frustration, fear, and helplessness just got the best of me and I said something that I never expected to say and regret saying.
“You know what? If it is so bad here—there is the front door and you can just leave!”
I was sobbing by this time and forgot that I was even talking to my husband on the phone.
My son went to his room and began packing his back pack.
He was just going out the door when my husband came home. He wasn’t much help. I don’t know what was going on with his thinking that night. His effort to try to reason with our son and to try to get him to stay went like this: “I promised you that if you ever ran away again, I would call the police. I am going to do it if you walk out that door!”
My son’s response: “If you do that, you will NEVER see me again!”
Thanks. Come home and threaten him. That is the kind of help I was asking for.
Everything was just getting more and more insane by the minute. I felt like I was in a movie where all of the other characters knew their parts and I had no idea what I was supposed to say or do.
I was so sorry that I had told him he could leave. I tried to convince him that I shouldn’t have said that.
But, he left.
I was hysterical by then. But, there wasn’t time for any comforting or consoling. We started arguing about calling the police. I didn’t want him to, yet. I wanted to see if our son would come back voluntarily. And, I didn’t want him to make good on his promise that he would NEVER come back.
This was breaking my heart. My son had just run away. My husband was fighting with me.
How in the world did we get here?
He came back about two hours later. He said that he just walked and skateboarded around the neighborhood until it started to rain and then he decided to come back.
Relief was followed by the fact that he was back, but wasn't ready to admit to any wrong-doing or to apologize for all of the things that he had said and done. He was just ready to make sure we had a horrible weekend.
Saurday morning he informed me that I was to pretend that he really had run away and to ignore him as if he weren’t here. But, there he was lying on his bed watching TV like he was mad at the world all day.
I don’t know what he thought he could prove to us by acting like he did. Who accepted pills at school? Who almost relapsed (or did relapse)? Who got suspended? What did I do that was so wrong? I tried to not have getting grounded from the X-box be his consequence. I tried to have him help me come up with a different one.
I know that telling him he could leave was wrong. Maybe he was hurt by the fact that I did that. Maybe he really thought that I had given up on him. No matter how many times he has said that he didn’t want me to care about him, maybe when it seemed like I really didn’t anymore, it hurt him more than he could admit—so he acted like a jerk, instead.
On Sunday, he refused to go to church and his attitude did not improve. I went alone and nearly burst into tears when in someone’s talk, they said that if you just act interested in your kids and do things with them, they will always stay on the straight and narrow. Well, okay. Glad they could clear up what I did wrong. One of our leaders saw me crying and said that he would get our Bishop to call me to see if he could help. I cried on a friend’s shoulder all during Sunday School, then sat by her during the women’s Relief Society meeting. The closing song in that meeting was called “Through Deepening Trials.” For some reason, we both just started laughing and I said, “Oh, we can’t just have trials, we have to have DEEPENING TRIALS! Why can’t they be level trials? Why do they have to be deepening?”
As I have said before: Sometimes you just have to laugh.
It didn’t last long. I had to go back home!
I was not looking forward to the next three days. He was suspended and would be home alone with me! I was afraid of how those days were going to go and didn’t think I could manage it alone. I called my parents and told them a little bit about what was going on and asked them if they could come and spend the day with me. I was babysitting my grandson that day, too, so I knew that they would enjoy a day with him. It takes a lot for me to ask my parents to do anything for me—that shows how desperate I was. I appreciated the fact that they agreed to do it.
The day went fairly smoothly. He stayed in his room and was cordial to my parents. That night, our Bishop came to visit. I told him what had happened and how my son was acting. Then, he and my son talked for over an hour. I don’t know what they talked about entirely, but the bishop did tell me one thing that he said to my son. He said, “I don’t care how mad you are or what may be happening that you don’t like. You will NEVER, EVER speak disrespectfully to your mother again. That is just something that is not acceptable for any young man to do and you need to realize that.”
I had my doubts that my son would listen to that advice, but I really think he did.
I was grateful for the help that our Bishop gave us that night. He also told me that if our son did get expelled, he would help us find a new therapist through our church’s network of Family Services and that he would talk to our son anytime we wanted him to or anytime our son wanted to talk to him.
I felt a lot better after that.
The next day, I took my son with me to run errands for the senior citizen relative that I take care of. I thought that he probably wouldn’t be disrespectful and rude to me in front of her and that we would have another fairly calm day. I was right. It was a better day. I think that the talk with the Bishop had something to do with it. I hoped it did. I hope he had done some serious thinking about his life in the last few days.
Wednesday, I decided to try staying home alone with just my son, my grandson, and me to see how it would go. I was very nervous.
He was calm again and even though he asked me if he would be able to get the X-box back, he didn’t argue with me about the conditions. He seemed to think that the conditions were reasonable and I don’t know why he wasn’t willing to do what was required, but it was fine with me to not have to give him back the X-box. I think the X-box is one of the most damaging things to our family relationship that exists and I wish it would be an easy thing to just destroy it.
He even interacted with his nephew a little bit and I think that did him some good. My grandson is fun and just gets to your heart in a way that you can’t help but love him more and more every time you see him.
Maybe that love helped wear off some of the armor that my son had piled on himself because he actually teased me and tickled my side a few times like he used to when we were getting along and he even smiled! It is amazing how things like that can actually make a difference in the mood in the house.
Hearing Day was Thursday. We were to meet with the Doctor, the alternate therapist, and a new Psych therapist. They were going to ask my son questions, allow us to ask questions, and tell us what they thought was the right course of action.
They gave us the impression that they were going to reinstate our son, depending on his answers to their questions and how seriously he acted about completing the program. We were at exactly 4 months after he had been admitted to rehab and here we were trying to fight for him to be able to remain in treatment.
During his suspension he had to complete an honesty paper and an incident packet. Both things said basically the same thing:
“On Monday or Tuesday, _______ asked me if I wanted any pills and I said yes so he said he would leave them under the sink in the bathroom and he did and before I used them I thought about what I was doing and felt like sh!# and so I decided that I wasn’t going to use so I flushed them down the toilet and didn’t tell staff.”
I was so nervous about the hearing. I just didn’t think they wanted him back. And, I thought that if my son didn’t want to go back, he might be rude and uncooperative with their questions just so that they would expel him.
It wasn’t as intense as we were led to believe it would be. They agreed to take him back on a three week trial basis. He was asked to verbally commit to do what he needed to do in the program to advance. They even got him to commit to go to bed with a better routine, and to eat more so that he could gain weight.
The doctor told him that if he could not remain in this program he would be referred to another program that was more like a boot camp which was nowhere near as nice as this program is.
They said that they were going to do more behavior-type therapy with him and would give him detailed lists of what they expected him to do and we would have to keep them informed about whether he was doing what was expected.
They wanted to take him right to school when the meeting was over. He thought he would start back the next day and tried to get me to tell them that would be fine with me. But, I said, “Are you kidding me? You have been tied to my hip for five days! You can go to school today!” He actually seemed to understand. He wasn’t happy about it, but went willingly.
It was such a relief.
He wasn’t expelled.
I was so happy.
I kind of think, that in a way, my son was, too.