Dealing with 16yr son

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Dealing with 16yr son

Hi. My 16yr son is doing my head in. He constantly lies, argues, questions everything, is never wrong and never takes responsibility. He recently got expelled from school for having weed in his bag and claims it wasn’t his. He was taken to the police station and questioned. Everything turns into an argument when I try and put boundaries in place and discipline him. He claims it’s not the end of the world and why do I have to be like this, that I ruin everything for him he’s not a baby he’s 16. I don’t trust him. I know he’s hanging with wrong crowd and making bad choices but he turns everything back on to me. I can’t keep him as a prisoner and don’t think it’s right to tell people he considers friends to stay away from him. He’s doing my head in.
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Re: Dealing with 16yr son

Hey @kcsmum, thanks for sharing that with us. It sounds like your family is going through a lot at the moment. It is really hard to place boundaries at times for some parents. Are there any supports that you have in place to assist you with this journey, for both yourself and your son? It is important to look after yourself through all this too as it sounds like you are experiencing some criticism from your son Heart
Casual scribe

Re: Dealing with 16yr son

Its really tricky to handle things with our sons at this age . As i think our Adolescents needs us to be their friends not just parents give them an orders, they are just need feel we are respect them, see them and hear them. Argument  and curiosity are normal in this age and as a parents we should  have discussion with our kids and satisfied their curiosity. 

    

Parent Community Champion

Re: Dealing with 16yr son

Hi there @kcsmum kcsmum , your story sounds very familiar to me. My family has been through the same with our sone who is now 16.5. He's been to three different high schools, barely even bothering to attend the last one preferring to spend his time 'sucking on a bong' and doing goodness knows how many other drugs. In the end he didn't live at home, ended up in detention for the entire summer break, only to repeat the detention experience a few short weeks after his release. 

 

In the end, we were at the point of walk away or flip the situation. Tempting as it was to just Wal;k away, we could never have recovered from that, so we sought help to flip the scenario. The big stick approach hadn't work, we were desperate for a new idea. We came across a US based counsellor who gave us some new 'scripts' to try. Basically, it went along the lines of saying, "We are sorry we haven't been the parents you needed over the past three years. We reacted in the only way we knew to the situations we found ourselves in. We realise now that you didn't need those responses from us. We are sorry, so very sorry you now find yourself in this situation...homeless, dealing with drug withdrawal, and in detention. We are so sorry. When you think there is something we can do to help you, please tell us. Remember what we are like, sometimes we will need a day to think things over, but we will listen, we are ready to listen, and to see how we can help."

 

Amazingly, this approach worked. It took a few weeks and a second major incident, but the dialogue changed between us and our son. We actually began to have a dialogue that wasn't all abuse from him, and angry reaction from us. Don't think it was easy to say we are sorry...it took a while to get over the notion/feeling that he was to blame for his predicament. But, we put those emotions aside, and put our energy into no more judgemental remarks, listening instead....and putting ourselves in a vulnerable position by revealing things that had gone wrong for us at different times in our lives as we passed from adolescence to adulthood. Incredibly, he appreciated these stories, and many times asked why he had never been told those things..."you were just a kid until recently, son, you didn't need to hear these things." 

 

Now our son has made the big decision to leave all the bad influences he was mixing with, and with our support has moved well away. He's had to be resourceful, and find a new place to live - on his own- and access support to pay his rent - and find something to study. He's gotten himself clean, and made a break with the influences of his old circle of friends. He's pursued some cafe training, and is planning to look for work.

 

He is in regular, daily contact with us, and knows he can ask us for support. We discuss what it is he needs, and how we can help. The change in him has been astonishing. to receive text messages that now have sparkly heart emojis instead of F*** You C*** is kinda hard to get used to! Especially when that is the level of abuse we've had for years! He still has a lot to manage with living independently, studying again after barely attending school for 2 1/2 years, and also looking for a job to support himself. I tell him I worry about the 'mum stuff'; is he eating properly, etc. He sends me his supermarket receipts to show me he's buying fruit and veg! 

 

So, believe me, I know what you are going through. I've been there, and it makes me nervous to think it could easily happen again...I have just have to maintain a different approach. If you are finding the big stick isn't working...think about whether you are willing to try a different approach. Can you be vulnerable, can you just acknowledge that what he's going through must be tough, that you are there if he finds himself in a difficult situation. You know it's normal to want to experiment, but if he ever finds himself in a situation where he feels there is no control anymore, he can call you, and without any comment you will come get him...

 

I know this sounds like La La Land! But just maybe it will help. We were honest and said we would not involve ourselves in any conversations that became abusive, but, if he wanted to talk, we would listen. We wouldn't offer advice unless he asked. And we wouldn't say he should do this or that, but rather we presented ideas and options...

 

I wish you well  and I hope our experience is of some assurance to you that there can be changes and an end to the heartbreak.

 

Community Manager

Re: Dealing with 16yr son

Hi @Faob_1,

 

Thank you so much for sharing what has worked for you and your son- it sounds like you have both been able to rebuild a really supportive and trusting relationship through changing approaches.

 

I can imagine it has taken a lot of trial and error to get to this point, but the strong message of hope your story sends is truly remarkable! I have no doubt other parents in our community will appreciate your thoughts and ideas for how to approach difficult issues with teens Heart

Scribe

Re: Dealing with 16yr son

@Faob_1could you share the US-based counsellor you used?

Parent Community Champion

Re: Dealing with 16yr son

Hi @ydna69  I googled ‘dealing with defiant teens’ and came across www.talkingtoteens.com

 

Reach out may delete the details as they don’t like to endorse something they’re not familiar with, but I hope Talking to Teens dot com info and podcasts will help you. 

All the best.

Parent Community Champion

Re: Dealing with 16yr son

Talkingtoteens.com