Out-of-Control Son Goes to Juvenile Detention and Mom is Beside Herself

Mark, Monday evening was hopefully the low point for M. He did not go to counseling. Later on he "stole" my cell phone off the counter and would not give it back (10:45pm). I told him calmly he had until 11:30pm then I would shut off the service and purchase a new one the next day (on his dime) and I would take his laptop until then. He refused, and kept trying to demand things. He started with the F words, then he was told he lost the computer for 24hr (to begin when the swearing stopped). I asked him at 11:30pm for my phone. House phone not working as we believe he tried to hook his laptop to our desktop internet service (cable modem and disabled our house phone) so took husbands cell to call. He now is trying to grab phones. I am leaving the house to move the laptop to safekeeping (not our home). I am in garage and he is trying to come after me. Husband tries to block his exit and gets hit in the eye--a HUGE shiner (he thinks from an elbow). 911 called and now M taken to Juve.

Court yesterday and they obviously detain him. His next hearing is 1/3/19. Whole nuclear family is reeling and the emotions change often. Oldest son now does tell us M has used drugs. He confiscated some vicodin and a short straw from him a week or two ago and caught him another time he thinks rolling a joint with 2 friends (who are NOT supposed to be in our home). He did not tell us because he did not want to be the "snitch" as he feels I betray his confidences (I may sometimes but really try not to). He also had a straw and a bag of pills (the police did not feel they were illegal or rx) when he was caught shoplifting and I also caught him with some pale yellow powder and a straw on Saturday. Now I'm wondering if he is on drugs. Can you tell me any more information on snorting vicodin? His urine test was clean. (dont know what was included or how long vicodin lasts).

Yesterday after court I get a phone call from some woman I've never heard of. She proceeds to tell me M was at her house Saturday night (when he went AWOL), no adults were home, and is told by her son that M (who she had never met before) threw her dog into a wall, broke it's leg and the bill is $500. She is wanting compensation. She says M is denying it. He also was with 2 maybe 3 other boys who I have not met but are bad--into drinking, drugs, fights, gone all night etc. (Don't know them so don't know the home situation). I won't get to see M until Monday, and frankly don't believe a word he says anymore even if I do ask him about it. I have my attorney friend looking into this from a legal standpoint. (Heresay and not 100% sure of the facts etc. do we pay or wait for a police report, etc.) as $500 on top of everything else is almost too hard to take, but if he's guilty of course we would pay.

Mark, what do we do now that he's gone? Yes, we are finally relaxed and safe in our home. We will go see him on visiting days. What do we say? Do we keep it casual, or ask about his school and sessions and how things are in juve? What if he does not want to see us? What do we tell the relatives (who we really don't wish to share all the details with)?

This is a totally new situation for us and our family as no one in our family or close friends have had this difficulty. Thanks, J.


Hi J.,

First of all, you handled the “cell phone theft” incident very well. That’s you being successful – again!

Re: snorting vicodin—

Vicodin and other prescription narcotics constitute the most-abused group of prescription drugs, according to the National Household Survey, released in 2006. Of the 6.4 million Americans who reported misusing prescription drugs in the previous year, more than 73 percent misused prescription pain relievers.

Vicodin is NOT time released, so people who abuse can swallow the pill or snort it for immediate effects. The risk of both physical and psychological dependence on Vicodin is high. Users may experience withdrawal symptoms after as few as 5-7 days of continuous use. Withdrawal symptoms include chills, irritability, severe anxiety, headaches, and insomnia.

Chemically similar to heroin, Vicodin increases the activity of a key neurotransmitter, dopamine, triggering such an intense euphoria that users keep coming back for more -- and still more, after that.

Re: pay or wait for a police report—

Wait until all the facts are in.

Re: what do we do now that he's gone?

Be thankful he’s where he should be for now. He was about to destroy himself. At least he’s alive!

Re: What do we say? Do we keep it casual, or ask about his school and sessions and how things are in juve?

I think you should say whatever is on your heart – but DO NOT display any emotion of regret, guilt, feeling sorry, etc. Otherwise, he gets a big payoff by knowing he has successfully pushed your buttons (again).

Re: What if he does not want to see us?

Let him have his “mad time.” After he cools down, he’ll have a change of heart.

Re: What do we tell the relatives (who we really don't wish to share all the details with)?

When family inquires, say “he’s going through some difficult times right now, we’ll have to update you on it later.”

I’m glad your son was given a mandatory time-out before he did some permanent damage to himself or others. Other juveniles who have gone this deep into self-destruction have not been as fortunate.

Mark Hutten, M.A.


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