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

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


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


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.

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