Hi. I'll start off saying that I don't know you, your son, or the whole of your situation. Everything I am about to say comes from love, and MY personal experience
Which is bound to be completely different than anyone else's here, Please take from it what you may and toss the rest! (sorry, lord knows I've given you enough to toss here, just wanted you to be able to understand where I'm comming from)
|My story. I am 25. I am the oldest of four children. I have always been extreamly passive. When I was 21, due to some abusive circumstances, I left my mothers house where i was living in the garage, lived in my car for several months, then met my current partner and moved in with her (halfway across the country from my hometown). It took her three days to realize I was gone, at which point she learned that I was simply gone and wouldn't be back. She didn't know where I was living until I turned 22.
In early 2005 she called my phone and begged me to take my then 13 year old sister, the child was refusing to go to school, smoking, sneeking out, and hanging out with gang members. I paid for the child's plane ticket, picked her up, threw everything she brought with away that wouldn't come clean (that amounted to maybe three items.), and begged, borrowed, and bought everything else - underwear to jacket.
I found out that she was 1)still sucking her thumb and carrying a "lovey" everywhere she went. 2)having sexual intercourse with a 16 year old, and 3) smoking marijuana.
It took us a week to get her into school and properly clothed (there was still snow on the ground here and where she is from, it hasn't snowed in '84)
She seemed to adjust well, had counseling every week, made friends, went from no school to perfect attendence, honor roll, and being excited about picking out classes for her freshman year of highschool.
Five months later she crashed, started sneeking out (or at least trying), sneeking cigarrettes from friends at school, and threatening to kill herself. We put her in the hospital three times, before finally handing her over to CPS and a GREAT foster mom who let us see her almost right away and was very supportive and understanding. (I continue to be impressed with how cacring and understand the entire CPS system was with us, they tried everything to help us!!!) She continued to do well there.
After two weeks in foster care, they managed to find her mother and she came and got her (it was two weeks before the 6 month mark in which the child wouuld be a legal resident of our state and mother couldn't take her freely : )
As soon as the child returned home, everything went back to the way it was before coming to us, with the exception that she was now angry that "mom" had sent her away.
What I learned from this is that children do need their mothers -everyday- even if it is just to see them and get hugs and talk about how school went and what they are doing with their friends (I'm not saying it isn't ok for him to stay with your dad, just that you need to go to him EVERY day, pretty much no matter what...). Also, if you don't demand the child be returned to you full time within xxxx
amount of time, you run the risk of losing custody of them and it is difficult to get it back. Finally, no matter how much it sucks, they want to be with their mommy, all the time.
My suggestions, although I am young and inexperienced...
COUNSELING!!! they do family sessions where the therapist may come to your home and help in the environment, as well is individual sessions. (I don't know where you live, however, here we qualified for medicaid for the minor, and that included $5 out-of-pocket sessions)
One-on-one time. Even if it means putting every one in bed 20 minutes earlier than their next-oldest sibling, that 20 minutes is the next kids in line, and then you could even tell your son that he goes last because he's the oldest and you want to spend EXTRA time with him and give him 30-45 minutes before tucking him in, just like the younger kids got(even a story - he'll say it's dumb, but he'll secretly dig it!) ((Secret: My favorite book has and will probably always be "Love you Forever" it's a little sad, but is also a great opportunity to show that you really do love him forever (when he was nine years old, he made HUGE messes and said bad words, but...
Did I mention counseling?
Consistency. No matter where he ends up, be sure that they are willing to follow the same dicipline that you use. If they aren't sure how you would handle a situation, they need to ask you. (This will also help to aviod I'm going to go live with grandpa, I get to do more stuff there!!!
Love, just love all of them with all you've got, and if you feel your need to feel loved, ask them for it. "honey, can I please have one of your extra special super strong love you mostest hugs???" and revel in it.
And, I just realized that you have four children and there just happend to be four weekends in almost every month. Between your father and the people on here who it sounds like you know personally, would it be possible to sent three of the four to someone else every weekend (maybe thee someone else's, alternating between the three people and four children - so they are with someone different but still loving every time) and keep one of them with you? Friday night to Sunday afternoon, JUST me and mom and no one else grown or kids fighting to steel MY attention!!! is a great treat that dosn't have to cost much at all (sorry, I am pooooooorrrr-think crayons and printer paper taped to the underside of the kitchen table) Maybe on those 5 weekend months, you could find someone to give you a weekend off too?
I know it's hard and that you are afraid, be strong, you will find the strength somewhere.
:HUG :HUG :HUG