Tuesday, May 16, 2006

It used to be clearer

Being uncertain how to respond to Evan's non-compliance is really unusual for me. I have been sitting her reminding myself that most of the time I really am good at this. I am good enough that I don't normally even have to get angry. Sometimes I even have fun.

I find a student's paper on the Internet, they fail my class (yes, the whole class) and I assure them if they want to re-take the course next semester I will not hold this against them.

A kid does not come home on time, they don't go out the next weekend.

You don't come home in time for dinner, you have to feed yourself.

Once I had a teen who kept not telling me where he was going. I decided he needed to be escorted everywhere for two weeks. If we did not have time to go with him, then he could not go. However, you have not lived until you taken a gay teenage boy to a sex ed class and asked lots and lots of questions. ("Where do you buy this stuff?" "How much do you have to use?" "I know you can't get HIV from doing that, but couldn't you get hepatitis?" "Is it true that you can get gonorrhea in the throat?")

But what do I do when Evan does not go to meetings? When he palms his anti-anxiety pills or simply refuses to take them? When he continually forgets to call the psychiatrist to talk about safe ways to come off the pills or whether to switch to new ones?

Right now it is just the extremes for him. If he hits a certain place he cannot live with me anymore, but there doesn't seem to be anything in the middle. Freedom to mess up and then eviction.

Sigh....Tomorrow we talk to the counselor. I'll let you know what ideas she may have.


  1. You've struggled with this so much--first addressing your own co-dependency issues so you could get clear on what was within your control, then trying to figure out what rules you needed in place for Evan to return, now working on whether you need more consequences. It's so hard to know what to do. My own 17 y/o son doesn't have any of Evan's issues, and still I can't figure out consequences or where to draw the line. Good luck to you!

  2. I know what you're saying.

  3. I don't know nothing about nothing, but I'm guessing that if Evan is non-compliant it would be a dealbreaker. At the same time I can feel like, if you hadn't said anything for a while, that it would seem like you were just kicking him out.

    Of course, you wouldn't be. You have been very clear and everyone has been very clear. If he blows it, he owns his behavior. At the same time 17 year-olds can be soooo nearsighted.

    Maybe it's reasonable to remind him what the choice to be non-compliant means. Something like,

    "I am not nagging. What you do is your choice. I just wanted to remind you that if you are noncompliant with your treatment then under the outline we've created we are going to have to find somewhere else for you to live.

    That would suck and I would hate it, because I love having you here, but it's up to you. I just want to make sure that you remember that our love is unconditional, but the rent is not.

    I hope you make good choices. I would miss you terribly."

    If you could keep yourself to mentioning it once, without directly accusing him, and making it crystal clear that you do want him around, maybe that would help you feel like this really is his decision and that he's been reasonably warned of the consequences.

    I hate to say this, but I predict that there's no way he's getting clean with his mother's release date looming. If there's any situation where I'm betting he'd feel the need for some chemical courage, that would be it.

    It's hard to be Evan.

  4. Krissy,

    Thanks for the thoughts. I am hoping that things will get clearer with the counselor. It should also get better with the outpatient program. They are the ones that will be requiring him to go to meetings. It will be easy for me to say that he has to stay in the program in order to live with us.

    I don't know how much his mother's release date will affect him. He is 18 and in this program voluntarily. He may stay with us until 90 days after he completes high school, which could mean he would move out in January.

    I am curious to see what sort of relationship, if any, he has with his mother when she is out. They won't be living anywhere close to each other.

    Who knows.

    I thought the weekend from hell would send him over the edge.

    I am curious to find out.

  5. It is so nice to "meet" you! I am currently posting a three part series on my blog (www.prayingforaprodigal.blogspot.com) on "Aging out of Foster Care."

    I have received a positive response from my blog-readers..sadly, many had not even thought about what happens to foster kids once they age out of the system.

    God Bless you as you navigate through this trial! Parenting foster kids is rewarding--but demanding. One of the toughest decisions we had to stick with was not allowing our foster daughter to miss school to come with us on a "family" vacation--because, in spite of numerous warnings, conferences, and plenty of encouragement--she did not do the school work necessary to miss days of school. It was a tough decision--with a lasting lesson. Thankfully--our history with her outweighed one tough decision and disappointment.



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