Parenting --Teens/Son is making life hard...


QUESTION: Good morning! Im not sure were to start on this since we have been through so much. But the story begins with my then 14 yr old son stealing xanax from his grandparents and abusing them as well as abot $5k worth of her jewelry. I found out through the reading of his text messages so i reported him to his school. He was caught, sent to an alternative school and is on probation. At first he thought it was a friend that told on him but then his father told him it was me (we are divorced). That pretty much ruined everything. He failed at the alternative school so he was not allowed to return back to his home school...which was his goal. Because to him, this new one is much easier and they dont care if you do you work or not. I am the primary disciplinarian since his dad chooses to be the "buddy" parent. So i get no help when it comes to setting rules for the house. He is now repeating 9th grade and is still failing. Ive had him evaluated for ADD by the school and they said he wasnt because he pretty much slept through each evaluation period in class or chose not to do anything. This meant no IEP either. His psychiatrist said he does show signs of ADD/innatentive but wont prescribe a neruostimulant due to his drug tests coming back positive. He also REFUSES to sleep so he crashes at about 1am each morning, up by 5:45 for school. This is even after having all internet devices taken away.

Yes, he still smokes weed even though he is on probation but they do nothing about it and he is somehow able to work around the system. He goes to a weekly sub abuse group therapy, an individual therapist and the psychologist. Its all a joke to him. He said he is just going to sell weed to make money since its an easy route to go. Wont do his school work because he said he wants to drop out when he gets the chance. Told me the other day that he doesnt do school work at home and proceeded to rip it up and throw it away. When i set house rules regarding grades and consequences, he just throws a huge tantrum, breaking things and telling me how he wishes i was dead. Pretty much bullying me to give which i end up doing to keep the peace in the house. I fault. I am remarried with a 2 yr old. My husband is supportive but feels there is but so much he can do being in his position. My son is polite to him and respects him. Would NEVER talk to him the way he does to me. He waits for him to be gone before going on a rampage. Or he corners me in the house to bully me where he knows he wont be heard.

Im to the point now where i feel like there really isnt much i can do anymore. Ive driven myself crazy trying to create the "good" child and all attempts backfire. I try to reward, punish, etc...nothing works. He could care less. This then makes me not want to do anything nice for him. I got him nothing for his bday except for a cake. Now christmas is coming up and he is asking how much im planning to spend so he can tell me what he wants. I dont want to get him anything. Sometimes i just wish he would go away because he is ruining each and every day. We cant even have a lighthearted conversation anymore without him trying to find a way to push my buttons. We have done joint therapy, doesnt work. We still go just because I hope one day something will kick in.

I miss my boy. I want him back. I want to feel proud and excited. I feel nothing these days but sadness and defeat. We were close when he was younger, now i dont now who he is.

ANSWER: Traci,

My heart goes out to you. Here is my response.

M Kay Keller, PhD

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for the response. Since my original post, he was sent to JDC for 3 days for violating his probation. Problem was, it wasnt long enough for him to get a good taste of life in there. But i have taken your advice and I am beginning to back off of him. Im not nagging him about school work. I have told him that if he wants a phone he has to bring his grades up to at least a C and left it at that. HIS choice. When he tries to get me in a uproar about something I just say ok and walk away. I have also told him that he is to no longer talk about his drug use to me. He knows that is a sore subject but yet he likes to discuss what, how much, how many etc to me but i said that is not the life I lead so i dont want to hear it.

He has also been managing himself a little better. The day he came home from JDC was hard. We had one of the worst arguments. That was the changing day for us. He has begun to recognize when he is getting angry with something im saying (usually when things dont go his way) and now will leave or go smoke a cig then come back and is better. He verbally tells me that something is making him angry instead of just lashing out with words.

So im now leaving the ball in his court. He is in control of his destiny. Im am stopping the helicopter mom role and am done fixing things that happen before he has to experience the consequence. Its baby steps, but i can already see a little bit of an improvement.

Dear Traci!

I apologize for the delay. I was very busy in December with defending my dissertation and all of the paperwork that goes along with graduation and teaching...and then there was Christmas. I am just getting caught up again.

You can view my response here:

My Best,

M Kay Keller, PhD

Parenting --Teens

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Dr. Mary Kay Keller


Questions concerning Teens & the developmental stages that they are in. It doesn`t matter what the psychological or emotional behavior they are exhibiting. What matters is that you ask the questions & search out solutions!

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I have worked with Teens in the school system through programs to provide life adjustment classes and with the Substance Abuse Prevention programs. ¿Quieres hacer preguntas en español? Haga clic aquí para pedir en español y traducir al Inglés.

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