15 year old son is continually making bad choices

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15 year old son is continually making bad choices

My 15 year old son is making continual bad choices and then tells me to trust him. He is experimenting with drugs, refusing to attend school and generally not acknowledging that he has any boundaries at all. I’ve always treated him with respect and he is very open about what he is doing but becomes verbally abusive if he doesn’t get his own way. He wants complete freedom and cannot understand why that isn’t possible. His father and I split a year ago and I thought he would be better as it wasn’t a great situation. I’ve taken him to a psychologist and done everything I can to help him but nothing seems to work. I’m at my wits end... I’m willing to work with him but as far as he is concerned he hates rules and shouldn’t have to obey them
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Re: 15 year old son is continually making bad choices

Hey @Jaype 

 

It sounds like you're going through a difficult time with your son. You mentioned your son has received professional psychological support  - is he still seeing a psychologist? Also, I'm wondering whether you're seeking any professional support to assist you through this difficult time? Parenting can be challenging at the best of times so it's important that you're seeking the right support. Not sure if you've ever tried calling Parent-line, but they can be a really good (and free) resource for parents like yourself. Check out this website to see what services are available for your state. 

 

It sounds like your son is struggling with boundaries. I guess a tip that I've found helpful when working with young people, is ensuring I follow through on said rewards/ punishments. E.g. if you tell your son that you'll take his Xbox if he does Y, and then he happens to do Y, make sure you take his Xbox away. And then, if he reacts negatively (such as throwing a tantrum), try not to give in and instead just ignore him as best as you can, otherwise it'll teaching him that throwing a tantrum = mum giving me what I want. Same goes with rewards. It might be useful to find something that your son loves, and tell him you'll reward him with it, if he follows X rule. 

 

The upside of the situation is that your son is open about what's going on. It's good that he confides in you. Was he even open to you about experimenting with drugs?

 

I've tagged some parents here who are generally very good at supporting other parents on the forum @JAKGR8 @Maruko @JohnT @DadFad @DSmum @KattMomma @Dad4good @sunflowermom @Nikkita @Faob_1 @Orbit64 @PapaBill 

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Re: 15 year old son is continually making bad choices

Thank you
Yes he tells me everything, the whole sex, drugs and rock n roll part of his life. We went for a mental health care plan appointment last week and got a referral but even if I take him I’m not sure he is going to help others help him. As for the other suggestion I’ve racked my brain as to what I can use such as Xbox. The only thing important to him is freedom. I’ve told him he has one month to steadily improve his behaviour and if he chooses not to that I’m cutting off his phone and he will have to pay for it himself if he wants it. He’s 10 foot tall and bulletproof at the moment
Frequent scribe

Re: 15 year old son is continually making bad choices

thank you for sharing problem with us .Being a mother , I can feel the concern and sadness in your post for your son . Why you don't think to take him to Psychologist .They will give best advice on how to come out to this situation .Good luck for you son
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Re: 15 year old son is continually making bad choices

I'm sorry you are going through this. It sounds all too familiar to me. I know how draining it can be. One of the best peices of advice I received while I felt I was on my last straw, was to be sure to take care of myself. Find time to do things for you and relax. Getting myself to a better place made dealing with my teenagers 10 times easier.

One thing that has been working well with my youngest (she's 16) is holding her license and driving privileges. She knows that they will be taken immediately if there is any drug/alchohol use. She is tested regularly and so far that has been the most effective "bargaining chip".

Hang in there.. I'm told it gets better. And know you're not alone in this crazy adventure we call teenagers. Take care!
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Re: 15 year old son is continually making bad choices

Thanks... unfortunately things have gone from bad to worse. He punched a hole in the wall this week. I spoke to him again about respect and general good behaviour. That didn’t end well. He became physically aggressive and spat at me. So to keep us all safe I had to get him to leave. I know where he is and he will be going to his fathers next week. I feel that his drug use and experimentation is more frequent than he has told me. It’s incredibly difficult doing the tough love at the moment
Mod

Re: 15 year old son is continually making bad choices

Hi @Jaype, I am so sorry to hear that. It must be such a horrible experience for you to deal with. It is great that you were able to get him to leave the house. It puts you in such a difficult position but you do need to keep yourself and others safe. I was wondering whether you do have any other children? I really love the advice that @MomTo3Plus has given. It can seem selfish or somewhat counterproductive but it is for important to look after yourself throughout this. Do you receive any professional support? Unfortunately, a lot of support is only beneficial if the person is receptive and open to it. Do you know what your son dislikes about the professional support he has received before? It is a tricky situation as it is difficult for a lot of teenagers to open up.. That being said, you can still receive your own support to help you deal with this situation.. especially if your son is hesitant Heart
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Re: 15 year old son is continually making bad choices

Thank you @Taylor-RO 😊 I have a 21 year old daughter and she was the only one home when he punched a hole in the wall. She is now terrified. Unfortunately we have experienced another family member like this... PTSD, depression and anxiety that resulted in a lot of aggressive threatening behaviour and my daughter is traumatised from that. I will definitely get some help if I need it. I’m ok at the moment because I’ve had experience with this before. Doesn’t make it any easier but does mean I have some strategies in place to cope. A youth worker has been in communication with my son which is good. I’m here to help him when he is ready to help himself

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Re: 15 year old son is continually making bad choices

And my son has been receptive to help before but part of me thinks he is comfortable with the choices he is making. They being said he is going to see Headspace this week
Mod

Re: 15 year old son is continually making bad choices

Hey @Jaype

 

It's really good to hear that your son has been receptive to support and help in the past, as well as the fact that you have already organised a meeting with headspace. I was wondering whether you were doing anything to support and protect your own mental health? It can be really stressful or overwhelming when family members are struggling with their own thoughts and behaviours, and can be really important to check in with ourselves. Parentsline is a really good resource to talk to counsellors who give family based advice and support, and might have some extra insight for your current situation. 

Hope this helps!