My adopted son who will be 20 in October has been diagnosed first with severe conduct disorder and now antisocial personality disorder together with ADHD and on and off depression. His biolgical father has the personality disorder diagnoses as well, I don't know if there are any others. My son is both a drug addict and an alcoholic. He has spent the better part of his time since he was 16 in and out of jail. He is a master at convincing us that he is going to try and stay out of trouble. We have "kicked" him out of the house on a couple of occassions. He steals both at home and in the community on a daily basis. He is on probation for the next 2 1/2 years, but he constantly challenges his conditions. He is being verbally abusive to my husband, myself and the other children in our home right now and we are again facing the decision about whether we make him leave. We can't tolerate the constant stealing, challenging, griping and grandstanding that goes on. He is extremely manipulative. He has been in therepy for many years and is on Epival and Seroquel right now, but seldom takes his meds. He tried to steal Ritalin from us t\last Friday but fortunately we recovered it before he had a chance to sell it or use it. We consider ourselves to be pretty skilled because we run a treatment foster home for children with mental health disorders and take a lot of training on dealing with the various issues that arrive. Our dilemma right now is what to do. He won't accept any help, won't talk to us, is scheduled to go to drug rehab next week but is going for the wrong reasons, won't seek any more treatment and is treating us worse every day. If we turn him in he could face more jail time, if we put him out on the streets, he may die and if we keep him home he will destry the rest of the family. Can you offer any insight as to where we should go from here? My thought right now is to speak to his probation officer. When he went to rehab the last time, he only lasted four days before they had to ask him to leave. We refused to take him home and he ended up on the streets and slashed his wrist. We love him dearly and don't know where to go from here. He fights non stop and we doubt any of this would change even after rehab because it has been going on for three or four years now and we really don't wnat him at home nor do we want to lose him. We aren't wealthy people so setting him up on his own would be cost prohibitive plus he won't work, so he would be evicted from any apartment within months. He has been away from home for up to 7 months in the past through jail time. My first though is to report his offences and have him put back in jail because then I can sleep at night knowing he has food and shelter but I don't know if that is the best place for him or not. I despatately need a professional opinion as to where to go from here.
I don't think you need a professional opinion, but you would like some real help in making such a hard decision. First of all, you have spelled out the options well, and there is no good option. He is a tough case, and he is young, not nearing any natural burnout or turnaround stages of life.
All I can give you is general advice, which you probably already know quite well. When handling someone like your son, you must be self protective first and strongly set the boundaries of what he can not do to you, your husband or the other children. If he violates those boundaries, and you have warned him of the consequences, you must carry through...whether it is eviction, talking to parole officer, or the police. Words don't mean anything, this is a conversation about power and control that is carried out in the action arena.
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