Advice on my 16yr old son

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Registered: 12-31-1969
Advice on my 16yr old son
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Fri, 09-07-2012 - 10:44pm

I had read through a few posts already and its nice to know Im not alone in this battle because I often feel like I am. I am a mother of four kids. Boys 18 and 16 and girls 15 and 9. My trouble is with my 16 yr old son. It start about a year ago. He started going to his friends house [with permission] but then he wouldnt come home. Then when hed get grounded hed just go to his friends house after school and not come home. The school is 40 minutes away from our house. My son is well loved and has most things kids want, a phone, a playstation 3... that kind of thing, but we arent rich. I take those things away and he doesnt seem to care. He just doesnt have them. Anyways this last summer we got him a summer job, he did very well made his money, bought his own school clothes. Things got alot better. Now that hes back in school though its starting up again... the other night he asked to stay at his friends house going there after school on the bus. I told him no so he did it anyways. He came home was grounded and I took things away phone, playstation 3... that kind of stuff. He doesnt care once again. We of course are terrible parents... according to him. I am a lose. My son is a very smart kid, and used to get straight As but even his grades are slipping. Im starting to wonder if hes on drugs or something?

Avatar for sabrtooth
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Registered: 12-03-1999
Sat, 09-08-2012 - 11:10pm

I also strongly suggest you get counseling for ALL your children, to deal with their feelings of abandonment by their father.  Those feelings always affect children, whether they act out, or don't show it at all.

Avatar for sabrtooth
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Registered: 12-03-1999
Sat, 09-08-2012 - 8:18pm

I agree with everything everyone has said so far, and only have a few things to add.  I cannot fathom any reasonable parent allowing their house to be turned into a crash pad for their children's friends, for days on end.  I mean, most of us have trouble enough getting our OWN kids fed, clothed, homework done, to bed and then up & off to school on time the next morning, much less do that with a stranger's kid!!!  Have you ever talked to, or met the parents at the house where he's spending all these nights?  Are they aware that you are NOT allowing your son to camp out there?  I strongly suspect that either you son has made up some total falsehood about his family life, and those parents think they are 'saving" him, OR (and much more likely, IMHO) the place where he's crashing has NO supervision at all, and he's smoking, drinking, whatever.

I would cut him off from those "friends" totally, by going over there and finding out what's going on.  Tell the "parents" they are contributing to the delinquency of a minor by sheltering a runaway, and that you are calling the police and/or DCFS.  If you realize this is a drug dealers house, CALL THE POLICE.  As MomUK said, YOU have to be the discipline and the strength, since stepdad is worthless.  Show your son you mean business. 

Dh & I have talked together with our now-adult kids many times about discipline.  Dh's father died of leukemia when dh was 15, and he spent several years out of control.  He admits he respected and FEARED his dad's wrath, but not his mom's.  One dd is a HS teacher in the inner city.  She sees that fatherless teens get in MUCH more trouble than teens with a strong male presence in their lives.  Try to find a strong male presence who will back up your play.    

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-25-2007
Sat, 09-08-2012 - 4:44pm
Agree with music. I would try not allowing him out at all during the week -
especially if he is being disrespectful and disobeying grounding. And yes only let him go see his friends if he respects the rules during the week. Tell him upfront so he has the incentive to behave. I also am highly suspicious of boys sleepovers after my first born son was staying somewhere nearly every night and I found out later it was drugs. (I was a single parent at the time and he was driving and nearly 18. So now with my very difficult adhd/oppositional anti school 2nd son almost 18, we now only let him stay the night at a friends house if the parents have verified he is staying there AND I know that house to be drug free. No verification means we pick him up - though its a lot nearer than your distance. And mine is grounded and even when he turns 18 in a few days will stay grounded until he gets his grades back up!LOL Granted its EXTREMELY hard to do as a single parent - and without the male back up - thats is what you are to your son. Oh and drug test for sure - I am confident those are accurate - but DO NOT warn him ahead of time. And if he is positive my recommendation from a parenting class for strong willed teens is TEASPOT - Take Everything away for a Short Period of Time - and I mean EVERYTHING!!! 3 days without absolutely anything - it will be a huge deterrant and sends a very STRONG message.. We did it recently for mine. Oh and if he itests negative and he keeps doing the same thing after the privileges are taken away, then find something he DOES care about - phone, friends or whatever. - oh and double the time for each time he defies your original punishment - you have to "hit them where it hurts" and if the one thing doesnt work you look for something that does. JMHO after dealing with a VERY difficult son without a strong male role model for most of his life.

mom_uk2socal - Mom to DS22, DS19, DD16

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Sat, 09-08-2012 - 11:39am
Motheroffour1975 wrote:

I will add a bit of history to something cause I think it could play a part. My sons real dad and I spli when he was three month old. He died when he was less then a year old. Dustin never knew him. When he was a year old I meet his step dad. He was very good to my boys but their step dad has changed through the years, we have seperated a few times and things dont look good. He also doesnt help with the discpline, its all up to me [one of the problems in he relationship] So he always just says, and even in front of my son [Ive asked him to stop sayng it and he wont] Hes gonna do what he wanted you cant stop him. I hate his attitude like that. Its like he doesnt even care. Anyways I think this could be affecting my son negatively, though I know its not the only problem here. I keep going back to drugs, and thats why he cant come home, if hes high he doesnt want us to know.

I definitely think this could be contributing to the problem because you have a teenage boy with a very poor male role model.  For all intents & purposes, his Sdad is "dad."  So his dad is basically saying "he'll do whatever he wants to do"--doesn't he get this message from a man that it's basically ok not to obey his mom and just do whatever?  Yes it's possible that he could be doing drugs or alcohol but I think this lack of caring about him by his dad is a big issue.  FWIW, if it was a 45 min. drive to pick up my kid from his friend's house I just wouldn't allow him to visit his friends on school nights--it would just be too inconvenient and too bad, but that's how things are.  I'd let my own kids visit their friends after school & then pick them up before dinner but we're only talking maybe 15 mins. out of the way.  I want them home to make sure they have dinner & then do their homework.  I might make up for that by driving them over on a weekend.  Maybe you have to start saying that if he doesn't come home every day after school, then he will be grounded the next weekend but if he does, you will do something that he wants, like drive him to a friend's house.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-16-1999
Sat, 09-08-2012 - 9:19am

Welcome to the board!

I would guess that there's something going on with friends from school that he didn't have much contact with over the summer.  Drinking? Smoking a little (or a lot?) pot? Sleepovers in high school rarely lead to good things, that might be a place to start.  One of my sons smoked a lot of pot for a semester and one of the biggest changes we saw in him during that time was a huge apathy for everything. Is there any way you can limit the time with those friends that he didn't see much during the summer?