Thursday, March 6, 2014

When teenagers run ... what do they run from

Being a parent I know that the most difficult decision you can make doing this job is when you realize that you cannot handle illness that your child has at home.

When the local treatment system fail, when the local school accepts bullying, when your complaints about bullying are met with angry false accusations to the local department of social services then you know that it is time to move your child out of your home. It is not that you try to avoid the responsibility as parent. But you are not a trained 24/7 nurse. You are not a doctor.

When your child need residential treatment, then you have to step aside as a parent with your need to have your relative near to save the child.

Of course the next question as a responsible parent should be: How to I make sure that my child is treated for the illness and for the illness only. I have my level of ethics and morale. I have my customs as an old-school Dane. I know that my children will grow up being an adult in a different world. When I was child there were no Internet, no computer games and Disney show were on one show Christmas Eve. It was OK to be a loner and odd by hanging out in isolation fishing in the nearby river.

Today the society is all about being social, work in groups and drinking a lot of alcohol in short time instead of spreading it out over the week. What equals 21 beers was the recommended quantity per week for a grown man when I was young. Today it is only 14 and to keep the party going the teenagers drinks them one on night staying sober the rest of the week. The teenagers are hammered and it takes days for them to recover which make me think that they lose quality of life. But that is the modern life. Instead of drinking a beer with your co-workers Friday after work learning about what went down with customers and suppliers, communication is emails with initials. Sometime you even don’t learn the name of co-workers before they move on.

So when a child gets lonely and tend to have enough quality in life doing art and just be alone enjoying nature a lot of well-meaning doctors and teachers will help this child to become more mainstream and a social person. Before you know it they suggest residential treatment.

Residential treatment programs are often located far from home. They tend to place themselves in the same area where other kind of businesses can’t function so they can get cheap and low-paid workers. How can you learn what it going on in these remote communities?

I found it difficult but established a network by going there every 14 day. People suddenly knew who I was. More importantly the employees knew that they couldn’t keep anything secret because any suggestion to limit my visitation with my child was met with protest and the possibility of me pulling my child from the treatment facility.

So when I see cases like the one with Gregory Mayer who ran from Discovery Ranch, I ask myself: How did the parents communicate with their son and was the son able to talk to the parents without employees present? I know there are some programs where there no communications with parents for months just after the child is enrolled in the facility.

That is dangerous. Every facility needs rules and guidelines. The parents have to learn and accept anyone of them. They need to know why they exist and why they need to be enforced. If the parents question the rules they must demand a good reason. If they cannot accept the rules, they shouldn’t enroll their child.

I had many talks with the employees at the facility where my child lives. My child has made no attempt to run. My child travels with trains and busses unattended. My child attends a public school near the treatment facility every day. My child has accepted the situation. This is the result of me acting as a responsible parent speaking about issues openly. It is not about demands made by me but open talks where my child has rules applying only to my child on an individual basis based on the illness which is treated.

There are some privileges other children at the facility have which my child doesn’t have. I don’t care. More importantly my child doesn’t care. We both know that it is a question about getting the most out of a situation where the illness has the potential to ruin my child’s life and the treatment plan is more important than any privilege.
I hope that Gregory Mayer makes it home alive. It cannot be fun being on the run and live like a homeless. But once he and his parents are united they should try and find a more local treatment facility where the facility has an open-door policy. Only then the treatment can be a success where both parents, employees and not least the child support a common goal.

I searched the Internet for testimonies which are clearly not false marketing. It doesn’t sound like a nice place I will send my child to. I know what suffering it has for a parent to make such a decision in the first place. I just don’t understand how they can be in business. Just the slightest research should have warned every family not to use this facility.

I send my prayers to Gregory Mayer and his parents. They need it.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...