Hope for parents of troubled teens

I can think of nothing greater than my love for my children.  Which is why I was pained beyond anything I have ever felt last week when my husband and I tricked our son into attending an all boys school in Utah for Troubled Teens.

How did it come to this?  I can remember my bright eyed handsome son and I doing everything together.  I used to laugh that he was like a puppy:  he needed nothing more than for me to toss a ball to him.  We are close, we have always been close, and yet I lost him. I weep as I write this because I did. It got to the point that our parenting and rules were not impactful to him and we lost his respect and knew that he wasn’t being truthful to us.

My heart is broken.

I don’t want to dwell on the behaviors that led us to this other than to say that the fear we lived with that he could hurt himself or others became greater than my sadness at having to send him away.  That’s how I knew that the line had been crossed.

We knew we needed help with him, but we didn’t know where to turn.  He was using drugs and alcohol, yes, but was he addicted?  I don’t think so. Yet he was certainly in need of rules, improved respect, and better behavior.

Sean and I were on vacation when a full blown behavioral melt down back home occurred.  Fortunately, we were together and able to use skype and google search to do a full research project.  (Thank you, technology!  I love technology!) We learned that state laws impact our ability to deal with our children and that Utah has laws that allow parents to force their children into residential therapy.  On our vacation, we would search a school, call the parent references and then go and have lunch while we wept together.  Then we would call another one, do more research and have another sad dinner together.  And yet it was one of the best vacations we have ever had because we found an answer.

When we found Liahona Academy it all fell into place.  My husband said it felt like a lightning bolt hit us.  It was a small school, for all boys.  They stressed rules, fitness, health, academics and a lot of therapy.  Their main goal is to reunite families.  We all know that people make all the difference.  We talked to the Admissions Director and the Program Director for hours and they both answered all of our questions and treated us with respect and kindess.  In the last 10 days since Jack has been there, they both return every call promptly and answer every email thoroughly and with patience and love.

I am hell bent on reuniting our family, just like they are.

So my heart is still broken, because my son is far away.  But I am hopeful.  We just got our first letter from him and I swear I have read it 10 times.  He will return home and be the man I know he is.  I love him so much.  I am so thankful we found Liahona.  Work hard, Jack.  Come home.  We love you!


About Anne Loughrey

I am an avid member of several book clubs and a prolific keeper of my books. I love to discuss books and hear what others think of books I have read.
This entry was posted in Book clubs, Unbroken, Louis Zamperini, Laura Hillenbrand and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Hope for parents of troubled teens

  1. Anonymous says:

    Anne- I have been praying for you and your family, I know this is such a difficult time. Jack has a lot of people sending positive thoughts his way- we all want him to get better and come home to you very soon! Love to you all!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Frankly Anne, I do not know how you hold it all together and do such an amazing job at being a parent, a wife, an employee and an incredible friend. You are so brave. Both you and Sean. It took a tremendous amount of courage to do what you did. So many people would have buried their heads in the sand. Jack will come back to you the same funny, cute boy, but different too. And the changes in Jack will be wonderful. You have my utmost respect, Anne, as well as my prayers.

  3. gruggen says:

    Hi Anne,

    I too love your Jack! He was always great fun…be it at the house or carpool. Just so you know, he always treated me respectfully.

    The hardest thing about the divorce is its impact on my boys. Moving out next week causes me great anguish as a mom. I love most of the little day to day interactions between mother and sons. Hate to reduce that contact one iota…there are so few years left.

    This Thanksgiving brings us both mixed emotions.

    Love, Judy

    Judy Gruggen 952-456-2544 Via my iPhone

  4. Jessica, JL and Judy-
    Thank you all for commenting on this theraputic post. Writing helps me so much. Judy, thank you for sharing such a personal thing with me. I respect both you and your decision so much. Yes, it will be painful to lose any of the contact, but I know you made the decision that is best for all. I am glad Jack was respectful to you, I adore Patrick and can’t wait to hear of them banter when Jack comes back.
    xoxo to you all-

  5. JAN says:

    You have been in our thoughts and prayers all week-we’ve seen first hand the kind,funny and sweet boy Jack is and he will come home happy and healthy. We love you all so much!
    Jan & Uncle G

  6. Teri Beinlich says:

    Anne, how courageous and humble you are not only to make the very tough decision to send your son to get help.. But also for sharing with others your heartache. I will pray God continues to bless both Sean and you with wisdom and guidance but also comfort and peace. God can make beautiful, wonderful, amazing things happen from difficult and heartbreaking situations. Finally, I believe your gift of eloquent writing will help in your healing as well as your son , Jack… Not to mention thise along the way that you may not even know about. God is good… Trust Him to work in your lives! And know it is so evident in your words that your love for Jack is palpable….how blessed is he! Xoxo
    Teri Beinlich 🙂

  7. Auntie Jan, thank you for your comment and your prayers. Teri, it was so nice to hear you here. I appreciate this comment. I loved what you said about God blessing us with wisdom and guidance and also comfort and peace. I long for comfort and peace. Thank you both. Your prayers are needed and welcomed!

  8. Shelly says:

    Oh Anne. I can hear your hurt in your writing and am glad for you that you have this outlet – I know it’s therapeutic for you. Ava showed me a tweet from Erin that shows Jack with his famous “twinkle in his eyes” smile – I’m sure you were beyond thrilled to see that. (For me, it’s the only Jack I know!) I have to echo what Teri said… God is good. And to trust in Him. He helped you and Sean make this courageous decision. You WILL all get through this and all come out better, happier, more peaceful souls. Long you long time my Boz. Can’t wait to see you on Friday. XOXOXOXOX many times over! Shel.

  9. Rachel says:

    I admire your courage to make such a difficult choice and your unmistakable love and compassion for all of your children. What a heavy burden on your heart. Your decision so clearly came from a place of love. That will be obvious to him, if not today then some day. This is an amazing gift you have given him, but certainly not an easy one. I’ll keep you and your family in my thoughts.

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