1. School employees – Tyler’s behavior escalated as soon as he moved from elementary to middle school. During the first six months of 6th grade, we lived from one outrageous episode to the next. We received regular calls from the principal and the school counselor. Of course, the school wouldn’t tolerate his behavior and he had to leave school. We had no options.
2. Police department – The sheriff called us when he had a problem with Tyler. After he called us, we thought, who were we supposed to call?
3. Mental health hospital – When his school couldn’t tolerate Tyler any longer, a local mental health hospital took our son in handcuffs. The hospital evaluated, talked to, and medicated Tyler. After two weeks, the hospital said he had to leave. We went home with the same issues.
4. Counselors—While at the mental health hospital, counselors with the county mental health service arrived. They evaluated him, talked to him, handed me a book, and said, “He’ll be okay. We recommend you read this book.” I was shocked. I said, “My son is threatening to kill himself and his family and you’ve just told me to take him back home and read a book!” I felt they didn’t think he was worth spending the money or time to help.
5. Our pastor—While we love our pastor, he simply didn’t know how to help either. In a conversation with our pastor about our struggles with Tyler, he asked, “So do you think you’ll give him back?” Give him back? Give up? On our son? If we didn’t help him, who would? We felt like we were on the losing side of the battle.
And then, relief…from the very first telephone conversation with Forrest Lien, we felt hopeful and relieved. He listened to us and told us he thought he could help. He opened his schedule and made time for us right away. An immediate short-term plan was made and a treatment parent met us at the IACD office the next day. There were people who understood. There were people who could help.
I know there are a lot of other parents just like me still searching for help. Keep hope and keep searching. For those who have found it, share the hope you’ve found on the Facebook page of the Institute for Attachment and Child Development.