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Author Topic: How should NCP discipline truant child with PTSD?  (Read 5064 times)


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How should NCP discipline truant child with PTSD?
« on: Nov 27, 2012, 10:33:25 AM »
Hello, I am the NCP (Father) and my son is 14 and a Freshman in HS. To give a synopsis, my son recently and very bravely, came forward (March 2012) with having been sexually abused at the hands of a family friend. This traumatic event had occurred on several occasions at the friends residence and once at my new house (where I currently live). My son had suffered this abuse for almost two years starting when he was just barely 12 years old. The perp has since been arrested, is in custody and is awaiting trial.
My son was seen by a psychologist to help him work through this ordeal but he stopped going about two months after coming forward. In his words, he thinks he can handle it on his own. My son suffers from ADHD as well and is medicated to treat it when he remembers to take his meds. He has just started going to another counselor to talk through his issues but that takes time and won't solve the immediate problems. His mom, the CP, emailed me recently and told me that he missed an unexcused day of school and said that this isn't the first time it's happened. I took it upon myself to call the school and they informed me that my son has missed the equivalent of 16 school days all unexcused absences, 12 of them consecutive days.
I have been in contact with the school, to which they respond that they can't keep him there if he wants to leave. The county he lives in doesn't have Truant Officers and whatever system they have legally obviously isn't very effective. My son has since been smoking cigs and pot and drinking on occasion. He has ran away for a couple hours, usually around the time I am there to pick him up. When I find him, he says he was afraid to face me. My question with all of this is how can I effectively discipline him when he is over for visitation, when his mother seems to be allowing this behavior? Last weekend, I took everything away from him when he came over (actually told him not to bring anything). He had no ipod, no guitar, no money, just the clothes on his back and told him it was his punishment for being truant. We had a few nice talks, he listened when I spilled my guts about his skipping school and smoking. He since went back to his moms and has skipped school yesterday and today and most likely will tomorrow too.
Do I just let it take it's course? I can't just let him get away with it and treat him like it hasn't happened but in the same sense, he doesn't seem to care what I think. I did get out of him that his excuse for not going to school is that it's "boring". I told him he needed something to fall back on in case his dream of being a rock star falls through, his response was "If I have something to fall back on, then I won't try as hard to achieve my dream"
Please help, any advise will be considered.

Kitty C.

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Re: How should NCP discipline truant child with PTSD?
« Reply #1 on: Nov 27, 2012, 12:52:41 PM »
I have a son with ADHD, so I know where you're coming from....including the abuse.  First of all, you say he takes meds 'if he remembers'. I'm not sure why you expect HIM to remember to take his meds, that's something you and the BM need to stay on top of to make sure he takes it.  If I had left it up to DS, he probably would never had taken it.
Second, it sounds like you and the BM need to be more actively involved in his education.  Does he have an IEP?  If you don't know what it is, then he doesn't have one...and he NEEDS it.  Kids with ADD/ADHD need accomodations to help them academically.  My son especially needed it with test-taking.  The IEP should be established in conjunction with his teachers, counselors, principal/school admin., and any social workers the school might work with.  It should be reviewed every year or every time a situation arises that changes need to be made.  You and BM need to be in weekly contact with his teachers to make sure he's staying 'on track'.  That is a term you should be hearing a lot of, with ADHD, because that is one of the hardest things for ADD/ADHD kids to do...stay on track.
As for his discipline, that's tough with ADHD kids.  If you don't understand how their minds work, 'traditional' discipline doesn't work with them.  If he's going to counseling, you need to go with him.  I hope he's going to a counselor/therapist who specializes in ADHD kids.  If not, look for one.  A child psychologist works best as they are specifically trained in how to deal with ADD/ADHD.  I strongly do NOT recommend seeing anyone who doesn't have the education or training with ADD/ADHD.  But you also need to make sure they can also deal with issues of abuse.
Some of his behavior could be attributed to the abuse and if he's drinking or smoking pot, it's just his way of 'medicating', not just for the ADHD but for the abuse as well.....you need to find a better way.  Tweak his meds as often as you need to.  As they grow and change, what may have worked for a while no longer does...either the dosage needs to change or some other med needs to be tried.  I can't tell you how many times we had to tweak DS's.  He's 23 and still on meds, for both ADHD and depression.  If a specialist ever mentions depression, listen to them.  I found it amazing as to how many kids with ADD/ADHD also suffered from some degree of depression.
Just a little insight....DH is my son's step-dad and he was raised 'traditionally'. When it came to discipline, he couldn't figure out why my son was so defiant with him.  They have butted heads multiple times and the effects will be long-lasting if not for a lifetime.  Unfortunately, DH refuses to see that DS's brain is wired differently than his.  Unless and until you have that understanding, your 'traditional' ways of disciplining just won't work.
Handle every stressful situation like a dog........if you can't play with it or eat it, pee on it and walk away.......


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Re: How should NCP discipline truant child with PTSD?
« Reply #2 on: Nov 27, 2012, 01:49:05 PM »
I agree with Kitty.  My son is ADHD as well and traditional stuff just doesn't work.  The best ways I've found to get him to talk to me and open up is to sit down and watch a movie or play a game a checkers or something similar.  (I now regret walking away from my brother in frustration when he tried to teach me how to play chess, a game my son loves.)  Not sure why but he opens up during that time.  Forcing him to apologize NEVER worked.  However, removing him from the situation and talking to him calmly (making sure he wasn't hungry because no way was he focusing when he was hungry) and telling him that he owed the person an apology did work.  It might take a few days for him to apologize but he would and more importantly, he'd understand why he was doing it and he'd mean it. 

My youngest son is ADHD and will graduate in Jan.  He hates school but enough people that he respects have talked to him through the years about the importance of finishing no matter what.  He was recently suspended (forgot to take his hunting rifle out of the truck) and several people figured he'd quit school but he's pushing through and will graduate with his diploma despite the suspension.  (IEP is making this possible.)  My point is that he will value what he's been taught to value and if his mom isn't teaching him to value his education, you need to.  My son is no longer taking his medication.  About a year ago, he wanted to see how life was without them.  While he wishes he had it the day he forgot the rifle, for the most part, he's doing well without them though it's taken some adjustments and he's had to work harder without them.
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Re: How should NCP discipline truant child with PTSD?
« Reply #3 on: Nov 27, 2012, 01:56:21 PM »
Are you close enough to ask mom to take son for the next month? Or go to court to get temporary custody as son is refusing to go to school, missed xx days on mom's time, and mom is not making sure child is medicated.

I agree that ADHD kids have issues remembering including their meds. If he has a cell phone, can make an alarm go off at time he needs to take it each day. Can he get a dose at school? The nurse would be in charge of making sure he gets it.

Are you able to show up to school each morning, or at mom's house and bring him to school yourself? Does the school offer an alternative school (usually a few hours in the afternoon instead of all day)? Can the school make his schedule to get all subjects in by lunch and he can leave?

You really can not punish for all of this if you can not be more involved.

You may be able to get an IEP for him but you have to prove that his education is affected (and not showing up to school or staying does not count). Many kids are on meds for ADHD and are in regular or honors classes without an IEP.

Make a meeting with the guidance counselor, mom and son. Go over what classes he must have to graduate, drop the rest. Try to make a deal that he goes to those classes each day. Have a plan that the teachers email you if he does not show up. Next time he is over, show him salaries of people with a diploma. Make a little project that if he drops out and works at XX for XX per hour, how will he survive. Look in paper for rent, food, car, car insurance...

Good luck!


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Re: How should NCP discipline truant child with PTSD?
« Reply #4 on: Nov 27, 2012, 05:22:31 PM »
My ADHD son loved music and art, so he had electives of both until the school dropped art classes. That's when he dropped out. School didn't hold anything meaningful for him. Next time you see him, let him talk and just listen. No advice. No punishment. Just listen to what is in and on his mind. If you play a game like Uno, you won't be making eye contact and he will talk more.
I could have written your post, word for word almost. Your son has an extra burden of abuse. He needs counseling to work through the abuse and his anger that he is feeling.
One other thing, my son smoked pot because it brought his zinging mind back into focus. It was an ADHD treatment that he liked. A LOT. I believe in cell phone alarms now.


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