Parenting --Teens/angry 18 year old son


I have an 18 year old son who is out of control with his anger.  He is in the 11th grade but is failing and wants to go into the Marines.  I don't think we will survive getting him through school and to the Marines.  For the most part he is a good kid no drugs or alcohol but when he gets mad at anyone or anything no one can even talk to him.  He is very destructive and very disrespectful to anyone he sees. It's like he just snaps. I have tried medicine but he is refusing to take it refusing to go to the Dr. His dad and I struggle to pay the bills and we have no insurance so sending him to a boarding school is not an option financially and I worry he is going to end up in jail which he doesn't belong but I have no idea how to help him. I would send him to the Marines but he hasn't graduated yet. I'm at my wits end and don't know what to do. Please help.

Hello Linda,
I'm sorry to hear that life is so stressful with your adolescent son.
Most of the options you might think about probably would not last long given his anger problems. That includes the Marines. I don't see him at this point in his life being able to successfully make it through boot camp.
Since he is 18, I don't think you could actually stop him from dropping out of high school and going into the Marines. However, he does need to get his anger under control.
I have a couple of suggestions for you.
One, when he is calm and reasonable talk to him about planning for the Marines. Indicate to him that in order to be successful in the Marines he needs to learn to better control his anger. Tell him that you found a couple of anger management classes for him and ask him to select one to go to (you can probably find some anger management programs in your area by contacting the local Family Service agency or other social or psychological counseling agencies).
Two, suggest that you and he make a visit to a Marines' recruiting office to talk about what he has to accomplish before they accept him. My guess is that they will suggest he finish high school first. Perhaps they will also talk about character issues as well. Whatever they say might be motivating for him to begin -- on his own -- to get his life in order.
Let me know if you have further questions and whether he accepts any suggestions.
James Windell

Parenting --Teens

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


James Windell


I am a parent trainer, psychotherapist, and author specializing in parenting issues.During the past 40 years I`ve worked with parents with discipline problems and challenging children. I give frequent lectures and workshops related to discipline, social skills, and aggressive children. I consult with various agencies and schools where there are child behavior problems. I am listed in the American Psychological Associations` media panel as an expert on parenting and am frequently quoted in leading magazines and newspapers.


I have worked in a juvenile court as a clinical psychologist and as a psychotherapist in private practice. In the Oakland County (MI) Juvenile Court, I developed an award-winning parent training program for parents of adolescent delinquents. In addition I have done group therapy with adolescent delinquents using a social skills-building model. I have consulted with courts, schools, churches, preschools, and domestic violence shelters in areas of parenting.

I received my BA with a major in Psychology in 1963 from Wayne State University. I got my MA in Clinical Psychology from Oakland University in 1972.

I am a member of the American Psychological Association and the Michigan Psychological Association. I have written pamplets, newspaper articles, and professional journal articles. I have been the Coping With Kids columnist for several newspapers for 26 years, and my columns appear weekly in the Staten Island Advance. I have been the author or co-author of 16 books. My books include, 8 WEEKS to A WELL-BEHAVED CHILD, CHILDREN WHO SAY NO WHEN YOU WANT THEM TO SAY YES, 6 STEPS TO AN EMOTIONALLY INTELLIGENT TEENAGER, and THE FATHERSTYLE ADVANTAGE. My most recent parenting book (2012) is THE EVETYTHING CHILD PSYCHOLOGY AND DEVELOPMENT BOOK. I have appeared on over 180 radio and TV shows related to my books and parenting. For more information about me, my books and columns, go to my website at

I have an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Oakland University.

©2017 All rights reserved.