My suggestion to the mother was that she seek hospitalization for her child, get the child medically stabilized, and then call a mental health professional I know personally who treats traumatized children and teens. The mother was reluctant, as she said her child had "bad side effects" from medication tried before, and she wasn't sure she could "get her teen" to agree to the plan, and didn't think her child would "like" being hospitalized.
My response: "I am sure it's hard. You know, chemotherapy has horrible side effects, but if my child had cancer, and I was trying to save her life, that would be the choice I'd make. You're in this battle to save your child's life. You'll have to say, 'This is the plan. It's going to be hard, and you may not like it. I'll be with you every step of the way, though, and it's the plan we're going to make.' "
Dear Husband and I have had to make many (too many!) hard decisions, parenting special needs kids. Some of those decisions have been universally disliked, but necessary. There is no fun, let me tell you, in dragging a kid to weekly psychology sessions where someone is holding them accountable for their actions. It's not any fun to see your child hand-cuffed and let away by a sheriff's deputy. Making plans around medication schedules is not pleasant.
We do it anyway.
None of these decisions have been lightly or without prayer and strong spiritual guidance. We also have always wanted to think long-term: we are raising adults, after all, not children. What lessons do we want them to learn? What is most important for them, spiritually, physically, emotionally, mentally, in the "long-haul"? Sometimes that dose of bitter medicine in the here-and-now will relieve them of dire and deadly consequences down the road.
We know, as Catholics, that we must discipline ourselves spiritually in order to grow closer to God. We fast, we pray, we take part in the Sacraments. We want to sleep in on Sunday: we go to Mass anyway. We want to indulge in just "one more drink": we choose a bottle of water instead. We turn down an invitation to go out with a friend or colleague because we sense it might lead to an improper situation. We give up the fun, we postpone a gratification, we do the hard, and we make progress.
That is what parenting the "hard" kids is about. (Oh, for Heaven's sake, it's not all gloom and doom: we laugh and play, too!) We know there are harsh side effects, but we choose the medication anyway, knowing that our child requires it. It's a matter of life and death, health and sickness, good and evil. And we pray to Almighty God for guidance, because more than anyone, He has our child's best interest in His heart.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
on your own intelligence do not rely;
In all your ways be mindful of him,
and he will make straight your paths.
Do not be wise in your own eyes,
fear the LORD and turn away from evil;
This will mean health for your flesh
and vigor for your bones. -Proverbs 3:5-8