Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Specter of Residential

Some things we just don't want to hear.
Photo by Ambro

Last week, we had a meeting with the Wrap team and E's ABA therapist.  We went over the current plan and schedule and discussed what was working and what wasn't.  Mostly what wasn't.

We've had a few scary instances with E. lately.  These were relayed and discussed.  Each ABA session so far has been one big non-stop meltdown.  It's exhausting.  Appointments are becoming non-stop meltdowns.  We're all tired of walking on eggshells around E.  Sometimes his meltdowns are unpredictable, but usually we know what will set him off.  The reality, though, is that he has expectations to meet, including chores, and life is not one big party where you get to do whatever you want.  Just this afternoon, he threw a hairbrush at my head because I reminded him that there was a load of his laundry that needed to be put away.

Residential treatment was brought up at the meeting for the first time as something that could be a real possibility.  Even though I know that it's necessary for some kids, the idea is terrifying to me.  If it gets so bad that E. has to go into residential treatment, I feel like I've failed.  How many kids come back from residential with real improvement?  It seems like the ones I know of are a lost cause.  I feel like if I send E. there, I'll be washing my hands of him.  I fear the judgment:  "You can't even take care of your own child."  "You sent him away to be someone else's problem."  I would certainly feel that way, so why shouldn't everyone else be thinking it too, even if they are too polite to say it to me?

I don't know how to make this better.  I don't know how to make residential okay.


  1. You gutted me, my friend. I have no answers, but I understand the questions. The journey is so hard and the answers are so obscure. How do we know what the other path might bring (or might have...when we look back)?

    All we can do is take it day-by-day and, above all, follow your instincts.

  2. 1. Parenting is not one-size-fits-all. Even twins need customized parenting, so your decisions for your son have to be made based on your best judgment.

    2. Parenting is, unfortunately, OJT. No one gets through it without making mistakes. Recognizing them and learning from them is the take away. Forgive yourself the rest.

    3. Parenting is done by people still trying to work out their own problems, and sometimes we don't have the wisdom at the time that we have later. Remember that you didn't know everything then that you did now.

    4. People who don't get it won't get it. But there are a lot of smug parents whose kids are superficially all kinds of successful, but I know more about their kids than they do, and there are a lot of hidden traumas. The only good thing about a public trauma, like, for instance, teenage pregnancy, is that it's more difficult to pretend it's not there, although some people manage.

    1. Crud. It gave me a chance to review and is still managed to miss an error. "Remember that you didn't know then everything you do now." Sorry.

    2. And, because I just can't shut up:

      Doing the right thing is no guarantee of a good outcome. Life isn't TV. People who don't understand your dilemma and have the cojones to judge you are delusional.