On a good day, parenting will test the integrity of your character. On a bad day, parenting will test your will to live. Parenting children with trauma histories will cause you to test the integrity of everything and everyone you thought you knew, for the rest of your life.
~J. Skrobisz

Sunday, January 10, 2010

RTC phones

First, the RTC told us we only get three phone calls a week, 10 minutes each between 6-8 pm and we had to pick which three nights we would call. So we picked Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

Second, the RTC gives the kids their showers between 6-8 therefore many times we've called and Sissy has not been available.

Third, the RTC says they'll have Sissy either intiate the call or call us back. That's only happened twice and one of those times they dialed our home phone instead of my cell phone (which is listed on her forms as the initial contact number) and we weren't at home to receive the call.

Fourth, the RTC has done a lot of nighttime outings, especially on Sundays so the kids aren't back until after our call time and then hurried straight to showers and beds without phone calls. We switched to Saturdays but have had no success with it over the number of missed calls on Sundays.

Fifth, the RTC changed over their phone lines and there have been many glitches which have made phone calls either problematic or impossible. We missed calling her on her birthday because of it!

Sixth, before placement, Sissy was terrified of the phone so learning to communicate with us by phone has been difficult and that's an understatement. It's never a conversation by definition. In addition, because Sissy is so easily distracted, we spend most of the 10 minutes repeating ourselves 20 times only to hear Sissy say, "HUH?" or "What?" or "I don't know" in response.

Seventh, Sissy never seems to care if we call or not and when we apologize to her for missing other calls because of the phone glitches or outings or time constraints, she just says, "oh. i didn't know" so it feels like we're getting frustrated or imagining her worry and hurt feelings and it's for naught.

Eighth, since I was a little annoyed (ok, I was mad) about Sissy's most recent TL and her behaviors, we've only talked to her once and I'm actually kind of glad for the reprieve even though I still feel obligated and neglectful when I don't talk to her when I'm allowed to. Regardless of all of it, it's still nice to hear her voice.

Ninth, our discussion with the staff about our dissatisfaction about the phone contact hasn't solved any of these issues.

And that's what I have to say about that.

If your child has been in RTC, how did YOU manage the whole phone thing? What became a hot button for you? What fears or anxieties did you have to put aside? And finally, how important is it to stay connected by phone with these RADishes when they're at and RTC? In other words, should I be less concerned about the vocal contact than I should be about her working through her treatment even if that treatment means less contact is more? (but with RADs,that seems counterintuitive.)

Diga me!


Mama Drama Times Two said...

When our foster daughter was in drug rehab for several months we also ran into the whole phone call rules thing. When we finally did connect for our speakerphone 10 minutes, we just complimented her on having such a busy life there and how many cool things she was doing that kept her busy...rather than apologizing for missing calls.

waldenbunch said...

When our oldest was in RTC she was told that she was responsible for initiating contact with us. We felt that she had rejected us enough and if she wanted a family she needed to make some effort. She did call some of the time and we stayed connected to staff to keep on top of things. Wasn't ideal but it was what it was.

Jeri said...

My problem was the opposite: he was calling repeatedly and threatening us and using curse words along with sexually inappropriate suggestions. I was even a "ho". Hmmmm, doesn't a ho have to be active in that manner? LOL (I'm a regular married for 33 years, 51 year old woman...trust me, no one would pay for this body.LOL) So, he was restricted from phone calls period. they were in the midst of a med wash when the calls came, so he had no chemical assistance. New meds started and some of the staff let him call, I didn't have my glasses on and answered my cell phone and just had my finger hovering over the end button. He was back to as normal as I think he's capable of being.

My suggestion for you (finally!) is that you visit with the supervisor and ask for a time that would truly work out. You've tried to work with the regular staff, it is time to go over their heads. good luck

Linda B said...

HI! Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog so I could find you-I need more contacts with RTC experiences. Our 17 yr old is has been in RTC for one year. She's being discharged at the end of this month because insurance says it's time-not making enough progress. Make any sense? Our phone experience is identical to waldenbunch's. I had asked the therapist what is best and she said to let daughter initiated contact. Sometimes you have to work on other issues before the RAD, which seems primary, but she didn't want us anymore because we never did enough for her, etc. They can use the phones after dinner until 9:00pm. On weekends only calls in are allowed. They get 10 mins. Sometimes that's not long enough and others I am counting the mins to get off. I need to read your archives so I can learn more about your family. Not sure how old your RADish is.

marythemom said...

Haven't had time to read your archives either and not really sure what to add, but thought I'd confirm that:
a. It stinks, and their system is screwed up no matter what RTC your child is in. With RTC staff do not be afraid of going over their head. Our son's therapist and staff were being totally manipulated by him and we were being patronized and treated as if it were our fault he was there (he'd been with us less than a year and was 14). If you pitch a fit to the higher ups they have to be more accommodating.
b. With RADs there is no real way to win. My son didn't want to talk to me because he didn't like or trust me, but at the same time if we didn't communicate then he was upset because we didn't! (He has a lot of Borderline Personality Disorder traits - "I hate you. Don't leave me!") We had a lot of conversations about what he wanted me to bring him, and a lot of dead air time. When my daughter went, she was anxiously attached so she actually missed me, but at the same time she was upset, depressed (she's bipolar), and very aware of what was going on around her (hyper vigilant from the C-PTSD), and easily distractible (ADHD).
c. I like the idea of letting the child initiate contact. At least that way you're not calling all the time trying to see if he or she is there, and if they're not in the mood to talk they will hopefully not call.

Our son manipulated the whole phone thing a lot. He would play on their sympathy to get them to let him talk on the phone (and get out of doing other things). One time he feigned an interest in his sister who was having heart surgery, but he had nothing to say and didn't really care. I think he just wanted "brownie points" with the staff.

e. or 4 or whatever. I'd do whatever I could to make this as convenient for yourself as possible. Kids with RAD are just not going to get attached to the family while in treatment. If Sissy doesn't care then do what makes you feel right.

Mary in TX