So, as I started taking a look at what was really going on, how it was affecting my other children, my marriage, and even our home, I began to realize that something had to be done. We started with a counselor. We got lots of tips and techniques, ideas on how, when, why and for how long to punish, reward, interact, react, ignore behaviors. It was an exhausting summer with an end result of us not being any further along and my sweet sweet boy still running the house.
You see, as an aside, he is our 2nd child. Our first child listened to us, didn't need too many punishments and seemed to learn after one go around of a consequence. He would negotiate out of a longer punishment and, at times, we would allow him to since he seemed to "get" it.
So, back to Mr. Second Child. He loves loves loves to negotiate, in fact everything with him is a negotiation. The word "no" is simply not a word he can accept. When it finally came down to him saying he wanted to die and that it would have been better if he had never been born, I decided to take him to the Emergency Room and have him evaluated. It was THE MOST heart wrenching thing I have ever had to do. My son would go from begging me to just take him home to yelling and swearing at me and telling me to just go away.
The worst sight I have had to endure was my son being wheeled away to the Psychiatric Center for an overnight stay. I took the next day off of work, which incredibly, considering where I was working, my employers were very unkind and not understanding at all about. I had no idea what we were supposed to do, what our next steps were...so I went and sat in the waiting room of the Psych Center until my husband got there and we could see an administrator.
Once we got in and were told about the night our son had had (defiant, argumentative, oppositional) we were asked why we hadn't sought help long before this considering the mental history we gave. Being looked at like, "how did you NOT see that this kid needed help" was the first (maybe second or third) humbling experience we were going to face in the next 18 months.
Being told, when I finally got to see my boy, that this was all my fault, that I had ruined his life and that he didn't want me to call or come by during any of the visiting hours available was horrible. (makes me cry even now). The decision was made that my child needed to be closely observed, have some med changes done and be in intensive therapy for a week. He wouldn't let us come see him, then he would call and cry, begging for us to come and take him home.
The sad part was, our home was so much quieter and more peaceful the week he was gone. It was like all the tension had gone out of the place. Having him gone was hard on my daughter though, she was relieved that he was gone (she's one of his favorite targets...still is) but felt sorry for him. She drew him pictures or printed off his favorite football pictures everyday.
At the end of the week, we decided that he still needed more help than a weekly counseling appointment. We looked at group homes, institutional care, and hospitalization. Knowing what I knew about group homes I did not want him going there, but my husband was not willing to let him back in the house unless something was being done. So, we decided on a partial program. That is where he would go to school, individual counseling and group counseling at the psych center everyday, but he could still live at home on nights and weekends.
For the next 4 months our son got dropped off at the Psych Center every morning and was brought home every afternoon by bus. It was enlightening, a bit of relief to know he really did need the help, terrible because he told us daily that we had "put him in hell" and that "his life was ruined" and a growth opportunity for both my prayer life and my marriage.
We learned alot about sticking together as a couple, not allowing him to split us, and also how to stick by our consequences not matter how far we had to go. This led to more ER evaluation visits, the police coming to our home 3 times, the sheriff coming to my parents' home, as well as a myriad of other experiences I would not ever wish on anyone.