When a child, like Gavin, is sent to a psych unit it’s usually for good reason. It’s a heartbreaking task for any parent. It’s done it for many reasons but there are two common ones. One the child needs to get help that can’t be provided at the home (maybe the child is to violent or dangerous and you have to worry about safety as well). Two, it’s also used as a deterrent to negative behavior. For example, if the child continues to hurt themselves they will go back. I realize that there are many more reasons for needing to send a child to an place like this. These were just two examples.
After speaking with the case manager yesterday, she said Gavin is having a blast.. She said it’s very clear that he’s having fun. Am I the only one to see this as a problem? He was sent there as a result of violent and inappropriate bevavior. This is supposed to be a learning experience for him. He’s not supposed to be viewing this like a bloody vacation. I told her that I feel that if he’s having a good time it no longer serves a purpose. No child should want to be locked up in a place like this…right?
At the risk of sounding like a bad parent, this needs to be a negative experience with a positive impact….if that makes sense. If you discipline a child for an inappropriate behavior the consequence needs to be undesirable to the child in order for it to serve a purpose and have the desired impact. If the consequence is something the child enjoys then what’s the point?
That’s what my problem with this whole thing right now. I don’t want him to be enjoying himself. I want him to get help and at the same time learn a lesson. I don’t want him to want to be there because it defeats the purpose. I want this to be something he NEVER wants to do again. No one is sure why he’s “enjoying” himself so much but he is. The only other option we have left to do is not visit him. We couldn’t make it to visitation last night and he called us angry and upset. We talked for a bit and I told him that when he is there we won’t be able to visit him very often. I explained that if he wants to see us everyday that he needs follow the rules and let them help him so he can come home and make better choices. This was not an easy conversation to have but I truly think it’s whats best. When we or anyone else goes up to visit him he becomes the center of attention and everyone feels “bad” for Gavin. The problem is that we are sending the wrong message. By not seeing him every day he finds him self in a situation he doesn’t like. So in the future perhaps Gavin will think twice before he repeats this violent behavior.
It’s one of those “tough love” kinda things. If Gavin continues down this path it will be jail time he has to worry about…not oatmeal. We love him and want him to have a future. If we don’t curb this behavior now then that future looks bleak. You have to remember “outside the box”.