Parenting --Teens/Our 18 year old son

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Question
Our 18 year old son has been making what we consider bad choices lately.  
He is a senior in high school and is skipping classes on a regular basis ending
up with in school suspension.  He is going to fail his lit class thus he cannot
graduate until next year.  To the best of our knowledge, he smokes cigarettes
(since the age of 16), does "recreational pot", and hasn't had sex yet - we
don't think.  All of his friends are high school drop outs, living at home, and
have no jobs.  He has been arrested for fighting and is on probation and has
had a rear end collision.  He drives a car to fast and aggressive. We are
currently in the middle of a legal battle involving our son and another 17 yr.
old. Our son has been charged with failure to report an accident with serious
injuries, and have a civil suit pending from the mother of the injured 17 year
old.  Our question is, how do try to change this behavior before he gets into
any more trouble.  We have tried taking his truck, cell phone, etc. away from
him, tried sitting down and talking with him, tried for bidding him to see his
friends and various other things with no success.  We feel we are approaching
a point of not return with him.  HELP!

Answer
Cindy & Dave,

Instead of trying things you should be consistent and do the hard thing. Sell the truck it is VERY apparent he is a bad driver. Allowing him access just provides the means to easily get to places to use drugs. Any extra privileges he gets should be suspended. If he has all this bad behavior and you still give him money, video games, cell phones, truck, then why should he change? You can't do anything to change his behavior he needs to do it. You can give him incentives to change his behavior. These incentives would be the above items I mentioned. Frankly, since he is 18 you are no longer obligated to keep him in your home. If he is unwilling to abide by rules and follow through on things the best thing for him could be leaving the home. Once he realized that you guys were actually serious about this then that might open his eyes a bit. You can't really punish an 18 year old he is a DEPENDANT adult. This means that all you can provide are consequences. A consequence of bad behavior in your home should be that he is not to be in your home. I know you want him to finish school etc...but he doesn't want to so why no oblige him and let him know that if things don't turn around by the end of the school year you will be asking him to leave. That gives about 2 months. In the meantime I would give other consequences as talked about previously.
David
www.help4life.net

Parenting --Teens

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Dr. David Simonsen

Expertise

I work with teens and parents on a weekly basis. I have learned that one way of parenting doesn't fit every teen. Being able to be flexible and a good listener can really cultivate a great relationship between a parent and teen. I will give you a no-nonsense pratical way to help your relationship

Experience

I am a Masters level licensed Marriage & Family Therapist presently in private practice. Ph.D. Psychology

Organizations
AAMFT;AACC;WAMFT

Education/Credentials
M.S. Marriage & Family Therapy

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