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ST Cluelessness

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As requested by Da Gookie (straight outta Three springs mutha fucka .yeeeh!).  

For your reading pleasure.  ST's clueless parents Greatest Hits.:

from the "Celebrating the Holidays" thread.

emphasis added in places

--- Quote from: ""BirdFeeder"" ---Our daughter has been away from home since March and is now in her 2nd wilderness program and headed for a boarding school in October we hope will be a better fit for her than her last one. While we are past the "shock" of having to place her away from home and have the benefit of this site, other support groups, wise professional counsel, etc., we also realize the upcoming holidays will be our first without her. Certainly some constructive advice I have received is to focus on last year's holidays with her home and recall how tense, scary, and sad they were. We will do that. BUT, we have another teen AT HOME and therefore spending the holidays under the covers doesn't seem like an option. Would be grateful for any advice from parents who've already walked this path...what worked, what didn't, what would you do differently? My best guess is that she may "earn" a very controlled parent visit from us between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Just as an FYI, we've been - in the past - big observers of the holidays with rituals, traditions, family, entertaining, decorating, church services, etc., etc., etc. Can't wait to see how I'm going to deal w/our "situation" in our annual Christmas letter...we don't even have a photo of her with the family this year.
--- End quote ---

Aah.  Christmas in program.  That brings back some memories.  I never did find out what happened to the presents i was sent.  Apparantly i didn't deserve them enough and they were confiscated.  Oh well.  I was more than happy with my 10$ secret santa gift straight from WallMart (no kidding).

--- Quote from: ""LizV"" ---We kept the holiday traditions last year, and it was good. As a family, we focused on the meaning of each holiday, and were thankful that we'd found some help and some peace.

We were able to see our son a couple of weeks before Christmas, so we took a photo of the four of us in front of the school's fireplace. I did write a holiday letter, kept it light, and mentioned how tall the kids had gotten and a couple of their interests. It didn't feel right to me to mention where my son was or why, since we'd explained it personally to anyone who truly needed to know, and holiday letters should bear good news not sad. So, I just didn't mention school! That's the beauty of writing--you can omit whatever you want.

At church we simply told people that he'd gone to a boarding school that better served his needs. Again, those who needed to know already did, and happily there was no gossip among the rest.

Thanksgiving was hard. We made the mistake of isolating ourselves. It increased the loneliness. So, for Christmas I invited the whole extended family to our house! I knew I'd need to keep busy, so I chose to do everything myself. Actually, with so much stress-energy to burn and lots of time on my hands, it worked wonderfully. The house was bustling, I didn't have time to dwell, and except for miscounting the chairs at the table (I ate standing up!) it went fine. The best moment was when my son made a surprise call from school to wish us a Merry Christmas! We really needed that connection.

Do listen to your other child. Be positive, but also acknowledge the sadness when needed. You will make it through with grace and prayer, and next year will be different.
--- End quote ---

Hee hee.  A boarding school that "better suits his needs".  Whee.  I love the horse shit these socialites push at their little Church functions.  Makes me want to listen to "Ministry".

--- Quote from: ""GoldenGuru"" ---We spent Christmas with our daughter "in a controlled environment" in the town where our daughter's RTC was located. We rented a small cottage. It was not ideal. It lacked the traditions and the extended family that make the holidays rich. But, we chose to focus on the fact that we were together. In hindsight, I am sure that it will be one of our most special holidays.

I was grocery shopping one day and the song "I'll be home for Christmas" came through the PA system. I was undone. I steered clear of alot of the holiday hoopla after that. It was what I had to do to get through the season.

We did spend other major holidays without her home. And her 16th birthday. Mothers days ... etc. For me, it was difficult. I put on the happy facade, but truth be known I hated it. I went through the motions for the benefit of the other family members.

My point? If it is difficult for you ... that's ok. Don't try to make yourself feel celebratory.

I agree that it is important to remember that there will be Christmases for years to come. Hang on to that.
--- End quote ---

Is that guilt i hear.  Sweet sixteen in program.  And the PARENT hates it.  Oh boo fucking hoo.  Having personally experienced both Birthdays and Christmas in program.

--- Quote from: ""Rochelle"" ---We spent spent "Christmas" with my daughter, her sisters, step dad and grandmother in another town between wilderness and RTC. It actually was very nice, but we've never made big deals about christmas. It actually wasn't Christmas day - that day she and I spent were flying to the RTC and spent the evening in a hotel and dinner at Denny's. Not something I would recommend! But maybe you can celebrate when you go to visit her.

For the letter I sent a montage of pics, one of which was of her from wilderness (FILTHY) and just said she was in Utah and looking great... no explanation... no one aske questions and in fact I'm not sure the ones who didn't know even noticed. It made me feel good and now the letter looks really cute (I think). I don't feel a need to explain to those who don't ask, but don't mind explaining to those who do, I kind of figure if they judge me or her, it is their problem and they are not worth worrying about. There is enough important to worry about. most people I've run into are incredibly supportive and understanding.

It did help me a lot to remember how much worse it could've been and how tense the year before was.
Good luck!
--- End quote ---

Oh isn't that sweet.  She got a letter from her daughter in wilderness in UTAH and it's just so cute.  Warms the heart doesn't it.  Anybody check out that 63 days blog yet?

Oh and the people she's run into on ST have just been so incredibly supportive, oblivious, and understanding.  They can thank Lon for the feel good kool-aid.

--- Quote from: ""BirdFeeder"" ---Since it's been a while since anyone weighed in on this and the holidays are closer AND we have new parents participating, I thought I'd "bring it to the top", so to speak. My biggest worry at the moment is that it's possible we may get to visit our daughter the weekend before Christmas and I'm wondering how on earth I'll be able to hold it together for that! It will have been 8+ weeks since we last saw her at that point.
--- End quote ---

Whee.  Visits only if they earn it.  Reminds me of where i was.  How can parent's be so...  Well i think Lon knows the answer to that.

--- Quote from: ""Rufus"" ---I just visited my son this past weekend and he's doing great at his RTC. So great in fact that they let me have him overnight at my hotel for one night. We were both nervous, but it could not have gone better--even had the requisite-are you going to brush you teeth battle, over which we both laughed because it seemed so normal! Over the weekend we had moe fun than we'd had together in years and talked more than we have in I don't remember how long.
We both decided afterwards that we would hold that time together as our special holiday--so that when the real holiday came, we could both hang onto that and feel good.
He won't be home and it will be so weird--but last Thanksgiving and Christmas were so unpleasant for all of us that I'm just greatful he's safe and in a better place. He's sad, but says he understands. We're all going to try and make the best of it and keep moving forward.
--- End quote ---

Wow.  Wasn't that sweet of them.  Well at least he's safe from himself.  fucking idiot parent.  He says he understands BECAUSE THEY WILL FUCKING INTERVIEW YOU AFTERWARDS IDIOT!.  Jeesus.

--- Quote from: ""TechDad"" ---    
--- Quote from: ""BirdFeeder"" ---    My biggest worry at the moment is that it's possible we may get to visit our daughter the weekend before Christmas and I'm wondering how on earth I'll be able to hold it together for that! It will have been 8+ weeks since we last saw her at that point.
--- End quote ---

You may get to see her just before Christmas? Are you serious? Aren't you the one paying for this program? If you want to see her, just go see her. If the program "won't let you" because she's not yet at the right "level" or doesn't have enough "points," then you should remove her immediately and get her to a place where you can be assured that she is safe and is being treated properly. Any place that denies a parent access to their child is neither "therapeutic" nor is it a "school."

For kids that have been in a program for awhile, the holidays might be a good time to consider whether your kid has had enough behavior mod and is sufficiently 'cooked' to come home again. My lucky nephew got to cut short his stay at his TBS. My sister simply decided she wanted him home for the holidays, and he was due to finish the program at the end of January anyway. She figured a couple more months of whatever they do at these places wasn't going to make much difference -- he had already been there 10 months. Besides, the so-called schooling he was getting there was worthless and she was worried about him being away from academics for so long.

Yes, the holidays are a great time for damaged children and damaged families to reunite and start healing. Some of you can't bring your child home for the holidays, out of legitimate fear they might kill themselves or whatever. Fine. But you can still see them. Take them out of their facility and have the holidays in a town near the facility, as several parents here have described.
--- End quote ---

whoo.  one who has a smidgeon of common sense.

--- Quote from: ""hb"" ---techdad,
My take on the holidays and TBS are a little different than yours about just pulling your kid out because you want him to be home with the family, against their advice. Taking a kid out too soon makes it very hard to have to bring him back and in some cases, parents decide to keep them at home for good, or at the very least have a painful scene returning them back to school. We were fortunate that our son had been in the program long enough to have a 3 day off campus visit (which we spent with family during Christmas last year). [/b]It went very well and he was almost relieved to be back to the safe environment.

It is usually spelled out quite clearly when your child is enrolled how the visits, on campus, off-campus or home will go. The schools are sensitive to the needs of both the family and student and at least in our son's TBS they are allowed a home visit if the student is ready, an off-campus (but not at home) visit or at the very least an on-campus family visit for the newest arrivals.

A lot of time, money and heartache goes into placing your child in a program. You need to trust that they know what they are doing regarding visits. I would insist that no matter how long my son had been there that I be at least allowed to come up and visit on campus. That is your right as the parents.

Regarding birthdays and other religious holidays- they were extremely painful for us (more so than for the kids). What got me through was knowing that it is only temporary and he will be home next year, happier and healthier. I am pleased to say that he graduated 3 months ago, spent his 18th birthday with us, our Jewish New Year and next week Thanksgiving. We all have a lot to be thankful for this year. Mostly, having the strength and courage to do what we had to do and while the road has been a bit bumpy, we got through it. He has thanked us and I go to sleep at night knowing that we did everything we could do to get him on the right path. It is amazing to look back at a year ago. So for those in the midst of the the path, hang on. Think of next year! Happy Thankgiving to all. Helene
--- End quote ---

How much you wanna guess this is an ed-con.  "No facility names" makes it a lot easier to cloak your identity as an ed-con.  Otherwise you might meet another parent from the same place who might want to meet up.

Lon says it's better to keep names to private pms.  Yeah.  With no names ed-cons can recommend different schools to different parents.  "Oh my kid is at Facility Y" to one parent while "Oh my kid is at facility X" to another.

--- Quote from: ""WillieNelson (Karen Austin)"" ---Techdad- I realize you have a different opinion on these programs, since you chose to NOT follow wilderness with a TBS or RTC, but I don't think you have a good understanding of how many of the good programs work. It is a building process and a program, now a warehouse. When your child is accepted into the program- and in the case of my son's program they turn away many kids and came close to turning HIM away- you commit to a certain term. If kids are leaving whenever the parents think they want to see them, if affects the integrity of the whole program. My kid actually did leave the program early, and he did miss some things from which he could have benefitted. There are very good reasons these kids don't go home for holidays or whenever the parents think it would be convenient to see them. There are good reasons why they are thoroughly searched when they return to school. Missing Christmas with your child can be hard, but not as hard as sitting up all night wondering where he is and whether you are going to get the dreaded call from the police.
--- End quote ---

Hey Gookie.  What might some of those "reasons" be?

--- Quote from: ""TechDad"" ---   Icon 1 posted November 15, 2006 03:56 PM      Profile for techdad   Email techdad   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote  I understand about affecting the integrity of the program, but I strongly believe that in most cases parents & siblings must be part of the therapy process, and not just via letters and monitored phone calls when the program decides.

I wasn't suggesting parents take their kid home or even for an overnight stay at their hotel whenever they want to. But BirdFeeder said "it's possible we may get to visit our daughter the weekend before Christmas," which sounds like the program requires the daughter to earn the privilege of the visit, and I'm sorry but I find that absurd and very un-therapeutic. "Sorry mom & dad, but she's only a Level Two and hasn't earned the right to see you in person at the holidays."

I also understand your statement that the program makes you "commit to a certain term." My nephew was committed to a 6-month term, but of course as the 6 months drew near, my sister was told he wasn't ready yet, so she signed him up for another 6-months. She ultimately forfeited the last two month's tuition when she brought him home early. Had she done everything the program expected her to do, I have no doubt he would've been stuck there until either his parents ran out of money or he turned 18, whichever came first.
--- End quote ---

Whoa.  Somebody figured it out.  Like the "12 month average" program i was in.  Heaven help the kids with rich parents who don't care.

--- Quote from: ""WillieNelson (Karen Austin)"" ---If you sat in one of the family groups like I have, you would understand the concept of the kid not being ready to see the family. The kid has to learn how to communicate respectfully first. This frequently has to start with meetings WITH the therapist either alone or in a group. Some kids refuse to talk to the parents even by phone. Unfortunately, it isn't possible to have completely unique visitation schedules for each kid. You can't have individual families showing up to visit their kid whenever they choose or it disrupts things for the rest of the kids and the staff. For other kids, earning the right to have the family visit or go off campus is a huge incentive to follow rules and engage in the program.
--- End quote ---

Somehow I think she knows that from experience.  Something makes me think her kids acted out on purpose.

--- Quote from: ""mallebabbe"" ---Dear Techdad, it has nothing to do with the fact you are paying for your child's education. WillieNelson (love your name) is right. These kids have usuallly no respect for the parents and have to learn this. Only away from home can they be taught to respect their parents. They feel entitled to so many things in their lives, when, in fact, they are only entitled to a roof over their heads, a bed to sleep in, food and education. You would disturb the routine of the school by just turning up. The school our son attended was expensive but these schools do cost a lot : imagine all the professional staff that is needed. Anyway, I think that it is good for kids to long for their parents. Only the therapists can teach them some respect, CB
--- End quote ---


She's right about disturbing the routine though.  Parents have no idea how much effort goes into putting a nice show on for them.

--- Quote from: ""DadRod"" ---I think I have a good understanding of how many good programs work, as well as how some not-so-good ones operate. I respect the importance of not disrupting a whole school to indulge a parent whim. I also agree that some minimum time - perhaps several weeks, perhaps more - should pass from initial admission to any visits. That noted, I must agree that the idea that a parent MAY get to see their child after a wilderness program and eight weeks in a controlled therapeutic (presumably) environment, and before a major holiday does seem troubling.

Similarly, the idea of "committing" to six months enrollment at a time seems geared more to the income of the school than to the therapeutic progress of the student. I think a parent should mentally commit that they and their child will see the program through, but should never have a legal/financial commitment extending more than a month or two.

As much as parents may "check out" a school, and as much belief and trust they place in that program, it is still critically important to SEE how things are going, and not rely solely on school reports or monitored communications. Sometimes even the best-intentioned programs just don't work as they should with everyone.

Final note - I think respect has to be learned , but it is not something only for therapists to "teach".
--- End quote ---

Whoa.  One with a brain.

Well this should hold us Until the next big thing.

Anne Bonney:
I cannot begin to explain in words the loneliness and feeling of absolute and utter despair of spending Christmas in a program.

Bet ya dimes to dollars the ones with brains are really Fornits members.


--- Quote from: ""Anne Bonney"" ---I cannot begin to explain in words the loneliness and feeling of absolute and utter despair of spending Christmas in a program.
--- End quote ---

Yeah.  It really can't be described.  It's worse than skipping it altogether.  It's knowing you aren't with your family and not being sure if you ever want to again.  It's abandonment.  It's remembering all the past Christmases with a twist of bitterness.  You feel worthless.  Like you're some fuck-up of such proportions that you deserve nothing but a 10 dollar wal-mart secret Santa gift.  You think "well i must have done something to deserve this".

Did they let your parents send you presents?

Oz girl:
Stealing christmas gifts from children. It is like these people model themselves on Dickens. For shame.
You know there was another ST thread where the girl did come home for thanksgiving but the mum claimed she was regressing because she dared to have a single glass of alcohol with Lunch. On a special occasion. At the age of 19. I would not be surprised if this girl actually became a raging alcoholic just as a way of coping wiht her nutbar relatives! Crazy people!


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