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Trapped by abusive 16 year old. No way forward, no way out

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Trapped by abusive 16 year old. No way forward, no way out

Casual scribe

Trapped by abusive 16 year old. No way forward, no way out


I have raised 2 sons, with little close family or assistance.

my youngest has been defiant, with attitude/respect issues and refusal to acknowledge his behaviour, ‘crimes’, by telling barefaced lies or blaming others.  He has seen paediatrician for years, was put on ADHD medication, done counselling, at 13/14 he was smoking drugs, hanging on streets, stealing, etc.  he would come home every few days /week for food, promises to smarten up, etc. I sought assistance from family health services, police, DHS, all whom could offer nothing as he was not considered ‘at risk’ from home/me.  I was getting calls daily from police, school, and alt least twice a week had to leave work to sort out whatever he had done. Out of sheer desperation, I sent him to stay with his dad start year 9. They did not have a relationship previously and it was to be a fresh start, new town, no reputation following him, etc. it lasted 3 months until I was getting abusive calls from his dad, his dads partner telling me to come get him cos they couldn’t cope.  DHS got involved again and after a series of couch serving he stayed in a residential care facility by court order for a month.  I then took him back with 6 month joint custody and promises of all the assistance/help I needed. It is now 12 months, I heard from DHS once, family support services way too much - the assigned worker was straight from college, rang/ met with me (not my son just me) weekly for an hour listened to what I thought would be helpful for my son - male mentor/specialist in behaviour problems/ an interest / someone to take him out for an hour and let him vent, tell his side, concerns too. All of which were listened to with promises to check options..then next week no options same conversations, with useful comments like, you should try harder to communicate’ ‘at least he went to school this week (2 classes whole week ) you should see a councillor cos you seem stressed’ ‘I eventually gave up.

he is now in a comfort zone, no school, smokes drugs in my home, expects me to be on call for every minute of the day, clean up after him, cook,drive, fund his lifestyle etc.  if I don’t do as asked he throws a fit that includes calling me a FC repeatedly aggressively, slams doors, throws things around, he can keep it up for hours snd escalates to the point I have called police twice. With COVID and work from home, I spend most my day in locked bedroom hoping he doesn’t go nuts while on a meeting, and end up giving in cos quicker, cheaper than dealing with the argument and damage and embarrassment.


My elder son, 19 year old, has worked solidly since 15 / school & mostly respected house rules. There was a period of defiance, arguing, etc. with poor choices made outside our home.  He is in 2nd year apprenticeship, living independently in town couple hours away. They don’t get along much   

what are my rights, I don’t want to charge him as suggested by police, and potentially ruin his chances of work. I can’t bring myself to get AVO police kick him out to be  homeless he is my son, not yet 18, but I can’t live like this much longer, it is causing me  health issues from stress etc.  I can’t leave house at night or planned day trip, without coming home to kids partying, my pets are terrified. He won’t tell to me or acknowledge his behaviour is not right, instead twists it to me not caring about him or always being angry.. he has no intention of changing his lifestyle, or trying to repair relationship, he has everything he needs without having to put in any effort. 

I need real tangible assistance, how to get him into some sort of accommodation or group home or something so he can maybe b

Super frequent scribe

Re: Trapped by abusive 16 year old. No way forward, no way out

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Dear @Nowayout,


That sounds like an incredibly difficult situation to be in. We can hear that you really love, and want the best for, your son, and don't want to ruin his chances at a good future by charging him for his behaviour. 


It sounds like you have tried several avenues to support him - seeing a paediatrician, put him through counselling, sending him to his dads, getting a DHS mentor, etc.


I thought I would link you this webpage that has information on behavioural problems. If you scroll to the bottom, it has information on treatment options and where to get help.


I'm wondering if you know much about behaviour management strategies... have you ever been informed about these? You can learn about some tangible behaviour management strategies here and here.


I know you said that the mentor recommended that you see someone, which I think (correct me if I'm wrong) you found unhelpful... Of course, you can do whatever you like or whatever you feel is right for you and your family, but it generally is recommended that parents seek professional support when their child is presenting with behavioural issues, for two reasons: 1) it can be extremely stressful to have a child with chronic behavioural issues and 2) learning behavioural management strategies is one of the most effective ways to manage a young person's behavioural issues. I wanted to point out that, seeking professional support, whether it be for stress or for learning parenting strategies, does not mean that you are the problem, or that you are a bad parent. In fact, many parents are likely to be unaware of these behavioural management techniques, and only get to know them once they are faced with a behaviourally difficult or defiant child.


Have a read through the websites that I linked you, and see what you have tried, what you haven't, what you think might work for you, what you think might not. Clear rules/boundaries and consequences might be a really good place to start.


It's really tricky because you don't want to enable his behaviour, or positively reinforce negative behaviours by giving in to his demands when he becomes aggressive, but you also don't want to be dealing with him being aggressive in the background when working from home or dealing with having to pay for his damages, or charge him, or have him become homeless. You definitely are in a tricky situation, and only you can decide what to do next. Perhaps you could benefit from thinking about some things such as:


 ~ Is continuing to live this way likely to help him and his future?

 ~ What has worked, and what hasn't worked, with him so far?

 ~ What would happen if you were to set clear boundaries and consequences (e.g, if he becomes abusive again, that you will charge him) and follow through on those consequences? Do you think you'll be able to follow through on them? [a parent should always follow through on the consequences they set otherwise the child learns that it is an empty consequence]. Are you okay with these consequences occurring?

 ~ Does he have any positive traits? If so, you might want to make a note to positively reinforce them by saying things like "I really like how you _____" or "I'm really proud of you for ______".


These are the sorts of questions that you can also run through and discuss with a counsellor or psychologist in more depth. Asking, and reflecting on, these sorts of questions might help you decide what to do next.


Additionally, I'm wondering if there is anywhere else where you can "work from home"? Might it be an idea to ask your workplace to come into the office? Or could you rent out a room in the local library and work from there, especially on the days that you have meetings so that you don't have to worry about him escalating in the background?


Additionally, it sounds like you are experiencing domestic violence, so you might want to contact services such as 1800 RESPECT, and other information and services such as those detailed on this webpage here might be relevant to you.


Additionally, if you were wanting free parenting support, there are some services available to you:

 ~ Parentline is a phone service for parents and carers of children from birth to 18 years old. They offer free, confidential and anonymous counselling and support on parenting issues. The number for Parentline differs per state. Scroll to the bottom of this page to see which number to call if you're interested. 

 ~ ReachOut Parents One-on-One Support is a free service for parents/carers of 12 to 18-year-olds and includes up to four sessions with a professional experienced in supporting families. You can learn more about this service here.


We're glad that you posted here looking for support. You don't have to go through these difficulties alone.


Re: Trapped by abusive 16 year old. No way forward, no way out

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@Nowayout we wanted to touch base to see how things have been going for you and whether you're feeling safe at the moment?

We also wanted to let you know there may be some other services that could be worth contacting if it seems helpful to you - Anglicare and Berry Street run programs addressing adolescent family violence, WIRE offers information and referrals, and Safe Steps offers a helpline supporting people experiencing family violence. If those services aren't able to help directly, they will hopefully be able to suggest other services that can.

Hope this is of some help. Heart

Casual scribe

Re: Trapped by abusive 16 year old. No way forward, no way out

Thank you for or suggestions and follow up. I did reply earlier but post didn’t accept for whatever reasons.


I have sought and been active in recommended methods to deal with his behaviour from primary school (behaviour charts,rewards, loss of treats/issuing activities, naughty spot to older walk away dont engage, don’t give attention being sought. None of which worked long term.  I found my best option was a reset event. Ie new primary year, with new teacher, I would get on average 6 months before the calls to see principal started. High school lasted a full year till he got bored and started acting out at start year 8.  His attitude toward me didn’t change, but he is better behaved in a new environment, at least until he has figured out what triggers he can use on new adults. Simply will not do as told, occasionally works if suggestions instead of instructions are offered.

The police on my second call, with damage to walls, knowing I was not going to co-operate if they charged him, sought an interim order against him for damage to property and abuse to myself.  They served it with my blessing as a consequence without anything Aniston his name unless I are further reports.  He ignored it, blamed me  for calling them and cos ‘ I hate him and don’t care’. Can’t win! I

they did put Orange Door back in touch with me. I have dealt with them before, they offered support if needed, also advised there was not a to more I can do and urged to report further issues.  
My son turns 17 in April, and I have been making it very clear (police IVO) helped that f he doesn’t engage at school / and a couple of intro to trade apprenticeships programs I begged our way into, then he is out.  Slowly cutting back on giving in and setting some modified rules he is at least pretending to follow  Had a week off work to help eldest move into his first rental house this week (previously living in leaky caravan, car, and other very unsuitable places) less than 2 min s leaving and zach was calling repeatedly because he wanted more  cash the I left.  Fully stocked fridge/home cooked ad favourite microwave foods $40 cash for emergency for 2 nights.  I answered few calls, said no, then blocked his calls, more effective as I wast directly inline of fire however I spent one night away, only worried about pets with him, came home to smashed phone and two more holes In plaster and rubbish everywhere.   One night and one NO, this is why I give in and Dont work in office.

this week eldest is home, getting wisdom teeth pulled today, so my 16 year old is behaving better, he looks up to eldest after a fashion, he even went to school yesterday-at 12 but it’s a start …. Glass half full, or preparing to do the unthinkable and suffer the fall out…I have no more ‘resets’ or mental/financial energy for my ore rounds.



Casual scribe

Re: Trapped by abusive 16 year old. No way forward, no way out

Apologies for poor grammar and punctuation, typing on iPhone in hurry, past time to be up n getting work ready ad hopefully yelling at zach to get school ready and 


Re: Trapped by abusive 16 year old. No way forward, no way out

It sounds like you have taken many approaches to support your son @Nowayout, and I can imagine how exhausted and stressed you must be at the moment. 


Feeling as though you can't win, no matter what you try, must be horrible. You sound like an incredibly resourceful and determined parent who is doing everything in their power to improve the situation. 


I want to reassure you that we are here to hold space for you when things are tough - sometimes, just getting it all off your chest can help to get through the day. Are there any activities that allow you to relax and refresh at this challenging time? 


If it's helpful for you, feel free to keep us updated as things unfold, and we'll do what we can to support you.