Parenting --Teens/Sons drug use
I've written to you a few times before and your advice is spot on. This time I feel like its spiraling out of control. My son is 14(will be 15 in 2 wks) and failed school for the first time ever this year. He also failed summer school which I forked out $200 because he HAD to take it. He is on probation and currently goes to group and individual counseling once a week (2 sessions at $60 a piece = $480 a month) as part of his probation. I guess he is staying clean, although his PO doesn't test him like he said he would, so I'm not too sure. But what has me frazzled is the way he spoke to me yesterday. He pretty much told me that no matter what i do, he will still do drugs. He has chosen this for himself because he likes it. And no matter what all i do, its a waste of time because its not going to make him stop. But for now, since he is on probation, i guess he is doing what he has to do to not be put in juvie. I was the one that initially reported him having xanax on him so yes, I've put all this on myself. But a concerned parent cant just let it go and not do anything. There is the other problem. His biological father. He blames me for everything. Said that i didn't have to go blabbing to police about it. That i need to stop complaining about how much money i have to spend because its my fault. That we could have handled it by talking to him. His dad is the "good guy" in this situation. Only seeing him on the weekends so he doesn't deal with homework, his social life, chores. When my son goes there its like a guys retreat. He can blare his music, go fishing, to the beach. And never gets disciplined by his dad. His dad says that he doesn't want to ground him while he is there since he has such a short time to spend with him. So i get to do all the dirty work. My son tells me that he hates me and my husband and to just let him be. When i had first reported him, my son didn't know it was me, he thought it was a friend that ratted on him. But his father told him i was the one about a month ago. Out of spite. Which made the entire situation worse.
So now, I'm debating on whether or not i should send my son to live with his dad for the rest of the summer. To let him see what its like to have a teen son, whom you cant trust, around 24/7. But I've already been told that all I'm doing is pawning him off, like I've always wanted to do(from his dads mouth). I'm just scared of what might happen there. Its not the best neighborhood and he is left alone at times. He lives paycheck to paycheck and is a drinker. But I'm tired of him making me feel like a failure as a parent and i want him to see if he can do a better job.
I will be attending my first NA meeting this weekend to try and cope with all of this. I'm becoming a wreck. I also have a 18month old little girl who needs my attention as well.
Sure, there might have been other ways to handle the situation when you first found about his drug usage, but you did what you thought was appropriate and that is that. Any second guessing or blame at this point is just an exercise in drama and a waste of time.
Let's explore your alternatives regarding where your son is going to spend his vacation. You could let the arrangement be as it is now with you being the cop on weekdays and your ex giving your son a "get out of jail free" card on weekends. The other alternative which you present is that of sending him off to live with your ex for the rest of the summer. Your reasoning that that would give your ex a reality check regarding parenting a teen, sounds like it might have some merit. Your consideration regarding that idea, being scared of being unsupervised in a bad neighborhood living with a poor alcoholic, is well founded, though, that is exactly the same environment he has been living in on weekends. The only difference would be that your ex will be getting a massive dose of out of control teenager AND will have total responsibility for whatever happens, good or bad with his son. He might gripe about pawning him off, but so what?
If you decided on doing this, I would run it by your son first. That was you are not going to give him the opportunity to accuse you or abandoning him to your ex. I would present it as an opportunity for him to get to know his father better.
You mentioned NA. Is this because you qualify for NA membership or are you exploring possible solutions for your son. If it is the first reason, if you want to discuss that with me in private, go to my website and either email me or find the toll-free phone link at the bottom of the front page and call me. I have over 35 years of familiarity with 12 step programs.
I hope this all helped. You can always reply with follow up questions if you want or need to. If you go to my website,http://TheParentsCoach.com
There are a bunch of useful parenting tips on my blog. There is also a parents resource page with recommended books. My favorite one, which is required reading for all my clients, is "Parent As Coach." It is low price, a quick read, and it transforms even pretty good parent/son relationships. You absolutely need to buy and read this book. If you click on the title it will take you right to the Amazon.com page to order it. But you already know this. I hope you have read the "Parent as Coach" book by now.
Jason Wittman, MPS