Need help now?

Out of Control Teen

Discussion forum for parents in Australia


Out of Control Teen


I have just joined.  We are having a lot of issues with our 15 year old son.  He has taken to the strategy of taking off when he doesn't get his own way or like what is happening.  He has done this around 4 times.  He recently got suspended from school (first time) and I stayed home with him the next day, got him out of bed and asked him to help me clean the house.  He eventually got out of bed and helped but when I went out to hang the washing out he took the family car.  He drove it to a friends place some 30km away - I called the police immediately and reported it stolen.  He did make contact that afternoon to say he way ok.

We have not seen him since then and he is staying with a family friend.  He has the attitude that we make him work at home and don't let him live his life.  Our friends that he is living with have recently found prescription medication on him that he claims he has bought off a friend.


He has been diagnosed with Depression in which he is medicated for around 7 months now.  He also self harms.  He has been working with Child Youth And Mental Health for around the same amount of time, which has consisted of weekly meetings.


He doesn't like to take responsibility for anything that he does, its always someone else fault....

We are frustrated!!!! 


Super star contributor

Re: Out of Control Teen

Message contains a hyperlink

Hi @worried1976, welcome to the forum. It sounds like you guys are all going through a really tough time. The teenage years can be very trying when they are trying to assert their independence, often without the acceptance of responsiblity that comes with it. 


Looking at the positives, it's great that he is seeing the CYMHS team regularly. And as much as he's not home with you, it must be somewhat of a relief that he is safe with family friends. 


I can imagine it must be concerning knowing he is taking medications not prescribed for him. I wonder if he feels his own medications aren't helping him? That might be something to discuss with his counsellor? 


My daughter used to refuse to take responsiblity for any of her actions, nothing was ever her fault. That attitude has changed somewhat, but I understand the frustration! I've been so gobsmacked at times all I could do was laugh! 


I learnt that keeping calm, and not getting into arguments back and forth, and being consistent works best in getting results. A great piece of advice I was given that really worked, and quite quickly too, was to start apologising when I had messed up (maybe shouted at her, or said something negative). When I was first told that I thought it was insane - I'm the mother, why should I apologise??! The first time my daughter went on at me about how I should be sorry, ra ra ra. Biting my tongue, I agreed saying I shouldn't have yelled (for example). No excuses, although I had many! The next few times she was caught off guard and stumbled in her responses. It wasn't long before she was saying 'it's okay mum, I was being rude, I shouldn't have said what I said'. Now if we have a blow up (because we still do!), we both have space, and 100% of the time she will apologise and be specific about what she's sorry for. 


How often do you get to see your son? It's clear how worried you are, and reaching out for help shows what loving parents you are.


ReachOut offers coaching for parents which provides practical ways to help us with whatever struggles we are facing with our teens. It's free, and is done online and over the phone. The first session is about 90 minutes, and you have access to another 3 one hour sessions. Having done it myself I can highly recommend it! The link here gives more information about it. 


Keep on hanging in there Smiley Happy





Super contributor

Re: Out of Control Teen

Hey @worried1976 That sounds like a really hard time for all involved.  It can be so overwhelming to have a teenager acting out like this because you are constantly moving between feeling angry and worried.

It's not a happy place for anyone.


I completely agree with @taokat that coaching could really help you with this situation. One of the best things that coaching does, besides being free and available outside of work hours, is gives you a trained professional to talk to about your situation to develop some strategies to help with the conflict.


What do you think?

Active scribe

Re: Out of Control Teen

Hi @worried1976. You might want to check this resources when he comes back.  I watch the lessons with my two kids and we all laugh at the videos, but then talk about them in a way that my kids actually learn and get great takeaways.  They have videos for mental strength and also school and financial lessons.

Active scribe

Re: Out of Control Teen

Hi worried1976
I just stumbled across your post. I'm curious to know how things have turned out with your son, 3 years down the track?