We had to pick our son up from Youth Services the next night. They were only willing to keep him for 24 hours. No matter what we said, they would’t keep him any longer and we were very nervous about bringing him home. As soon as he walked into the room, it was obvious that he was NOT even remotely happy to see us.
A therapist was supposed to help us resolve our conflicts before we went home, but not one thing was accomplished during that hour. Our son was just as defiant as ever and was unwilling to see that the path he was on was not going to get him anywhere in life. As far as he was concerned, his problems were not his fault. If we, as parents, would just give in and let him have every privilege he desired—whether he earned it or not--he wouldn't be bored. If he weren’t bored, he would not have to get so upset, we would not have any problems with him, and he would not have to resort to arguing with us, or smoke pot. Nothing was breaking through his walls and finally, the therapist gave up and just told our son that if he kept acting like he was, he was going to end up in prison someday.
We were on our own again and the first thing he said to us as we walked out of the building was: “I want to do two things tonight—-go to Ian’s house to get my money, and then go buy myself a pizza.”
We had never heard the name Ian before. When we asked him who Ian was and why he had our son’s money, he said, “He is my friend and he has my money because I didn’t want YOU to take it away from me.”
We offered to drive him to Ian’s house, but made sure that he knew one of us would have to go in the house with him. He said, “No. I am walking there because I don’t want you to know where he lives.”
He seriously thought we would have to let him go to a mysterious location to see some kid, who had his “money” and who is probably a drug dealer--because he said so. Not surprisingly, no one went to Ian’s house that night and Ian still had our son’s “money”.
We did buy pizza for dinner, and he thought he would play Starcraft on the computer while he ate it. Unfortunately, for him, we had restored our computer to its original factory settings during one of his recent departures and his game was no longer installed. He screamed at me and said that he was going to make me or the person who restored the computer pay him back for his game because HE certainly wasn’t going to pay to buy it again. This made absolutely no sense because he still had the original installation discs.
I said, “Look, you weren’t here when we had to fix the computer. If you had been here, you could have made sure that the game was backed up. Nobody deleted it purposely. If it is gone, it is gone. Reinstall it, play it, and get over it. It is not the end of the world, but it IS the end of this discussion.”
He began screaming at us about everything from the computer to every single unfair thing that had happened to him in his horrible life, lately. He obviously came home in the same unreasonable, irrational frame of mind that he left in the night before and he was cycling toward another blow-up. The game was just the catalyst that he needed.
It was like Déjà Vu of the night that we brought him home from rehab two years before. He did everything in his power that night to show that he was resuming control and seemed to be doing the same thing this time, too. That night, two years ago, we thought we had made a big mistake in bringing him home and now, we felt exactly the same way. This time, he begged us to take him back to Youth Services because he just couldn’t stand being at our house with us.
Well, I would have liked to take him back, too. But knew that wasn’t an option unless things got really out of hand. I told him that the best idea would be for him to just go to his room, be quiet, and let everything drop for the night.
Needing to have the last word, he demanded that I drive him to the courthouse Monday morning to get his emancipation started. This made me want to laugh. He wanted to emancipate, but he needed his mom to drive him to the courthouse. Yes, he was definitely ready to live on his own.
The next day, I did not wake him up. I felt that if he was mature enough to be emancipated, he should be able to get himself up in the morning. And, there was no way I was going to drive him to the courthouse. He slept until 3:30 in the afternoon. We said about 20 words to each other, if that, until my husband got home from work.
Suddenly, my son needed his ear buds and I was supposed to know where they were. He said they were in his backpack and that since we had taken his backpack from him, we needed to tell him what we had done with them. Well, we had already given him back his I-Pod and everything that was in his backpack (minus his clothes, a Chapstick, and a multi-tool) and I seriously could not remember if there were ear buds attached to the I-Pod or not. In his mind, I stole them from him because I always take away everything that he loves. He informed me that now I owed him $30.00 for the lost ear buds!
He sure seemed to have a huge need for money. First, the Ian money and then the Starcraft money. Now, I magically owed him $30.00. I always seemed to be blamed for everything that he couldn't find, lost, or caused to be gone from his life. He said that if I didn’t give him the money, he would take something of mine and keep it or break it to make us equal on what I supposedly owed him. I told him that he had no right to take or touch anything of mine just because HE misplaced something of his.
At that point, he informed me that I also had to give him the $2.00 worth of change that the police took away from him when they took his marijuana, lighter, and pipe. The police also stated at that time that he should obviously not be allowed to have money and I didn’t really think anything had changed since then to make him trustworthy with money. But, he made me want to just throw 200 pennies at him and say, here is your money. Good luck with it.
Instead I diverted the discussion away from that money and reminded him that as a minor, living under his parent’s roof, he does not OWN anything. I said, “Every single thing in this house, whether it was given to you or bought by you, does NOT BELONG to you. It belongs to your Dad and I. When you turn 18, if you move out, you can then take your stuff with you. In the meantime, if you try to retaliate by touching anything of mine, I will call the police and they will tell you that you don’t have a leg to stand on in this situation. You will not be allowed to steal or damage anything that I own without suffering the consequences.”
He finally seemed to feel that he had pushed the situation with me as far as he could and turned his anger toward my husband, who had been backing me up on everything. My son said that he wished he could go lock himself in his room so that he wouldn’t have to look at his dad and want to punch him in the face as bad as he did right then. He probably really wanted to hit me, but knew that there was no way he wouldn't get flattened by my husband if he did that.
Then, he got a little bit smart alecky and said, "Oh, yeah, but I can't lock myself in my room because I don't have a DOOR! It did you a lot of good to take away my door. It didn't stop me from smoking pot, did it?"
I thought, "It also didn't stop you from getting charged with possession and drug paraphernalia either, Mr. Smart A."
Finally, to show me what he thought about not owning anything, he threw everything out of his room that wasn’t important to him. He kept his TV, X-Box, and guitars. We gathered it all up and either threw it away, or put it in the basement. I guess the next time he wants something that was in the hall, we will have to remind him that he threw it all away that night.
And then, around 10:30 that night, he came into the kitchen and asked me if we had any French fries. As he cooked his food, he was animated and conversational as if he hadn’t just been raging at me a few hours before.
His moods cycle so rapidly, that we almost never know what to expect.
No matter how hard we try to make things better, though, it seems like we should always expect the worst.
I am tired of the worst.