My son is sabotaging himself

Sharon - posted on 04/17/2010 ( 25 moms have responded )

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What would you do if your son has slowly been on a downward spiral as far as school goes? My son is in his senior year of high school and has failed 2 of his classes that he needs to graduate. Luckily there is one more quarter left to make these classes up. I know he has experimented with alcohol and pot too. Although I think the pot smoking is a regular thing he is doing now.
It took all I had to get him to fill out his application for college. When he finally did finish it, the due dates for the 2 schools he was considering passed. There is always community college if he still wants to go to college. I am fine if he doesn't go right away but I do need to get him away from the friends he has been hanging out with....If he doesn't go to school he will have to find a full time job and pay rent to live at home.

Should I push him to go to college or is this a phase kids go through when ending high school and entering the unknown. My son has been focused on what he wanted to do after school since the 8th grade and now he doesn't know what he wants... I am totally frustrated because I want the best for him as we all do for our kids.

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Terri - posted on 04/19/2010

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First all, if your son is smoking pot, what are you doing about it? I had no tollence for drugs, and I meant it, it was not negotiable. Does your son have a vehicle? Take it away. Does your son have a cell phone? Take it away. How does he buy the pot? with money that you give him? It's serious business. Kids are exposed to Meth, Pot, Cocaine, prescription drugs, such as oxy, and they think they are invinsible. Find out why he feels like he needs to medicate. Maybe, he is feeling pressured into something he does not want to do. But your number one goal is to stop the drugs. If you think he is doing pot, he is prob, doing way more. Talk to him and ask him what he wants to do. Help him put together a plan of what it is he wants. Listen to your child. Make a drug test manditory. You can buy at the local pharmacy. Stop the drug use, and everything else will fall in place.

Suzan - posted on 04/18/2010

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Well as hard as it sounds, you need to let him see the consequences of his attitude. Teenagers have a need to prove their own theories, so in short side questions (rather than long lecture) invite dscussion about what he would like to do with his life, how he plans to get to where he would like to go, what can he do now about creating his own future. Look for teachable (not nagging) moments.
At one stage my son found talking with me difficult, so I became a facebook and an IM buddy, and I took him for long drives. Thankfully my sense of direction is hopeless and we would end up getting lost. but it was on these journeys with nobody else around, he was able to open up and let me know how life was going, ask any wuestions. etc... i also noticedd the older people he would relate to and made sur he had time to spend with those I thought most appropriate.... ie had a good effect on his morale.
It is difficultto be a teenager.
In the end, I had to let him fail all of year eleven before he came to an understanding of his theory of just doing enough was not taking into account how much enough was. One day I asked my son what he wanted to do and his reply was to be an electrician...so I sent him to a trade school...and he isnow an apprentice electrician and not looking back.

Good luchk

Penny - posted on 03/18/2011

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I am having the same problems but I am not particularly glad to hear about others having it also. I already know the school system is failing our sons. Whatever happens I have decided not to blame myself. Luckily my son is a wonderful person who may or not find his way in life but I have given him all the tools he needs and I don't plan to finance his failure in post secondary. I told him - don't waste you time and my money if you don't want to get a college education. I also don't want a 25 year old living in my basement. Life is hard and there is no manual. I was hoping to find some suggestions here but it just seems like everyone has the same problems. Just lay the ground rules - don't let them abuse you or use you and keep on loving them... keep the lines of communication open at all times... wait.. who the heck am I to give advise ? oh welll.. tomorrow's another day :)

Teresia - posted on 04/19/2010

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At first I thought I was reading about MY own son! Although I don't suspect drugs or alchohol are playing a part in his demise.
What has your son wanted to do since grade 8? Sometimes that can change. Our rule was that they had to continue their education somewhere. They cannot just go get a job somewhere. Although I'm disappointed that my son doesn't want to go to a traditional 4 year college, I also realize that forcing him to go will not be the answer. Some people just don't enjoy school. My son is getting into a trade ie: steam fitting which is what my husband does. He will make a great living in this field so I don't worry about that as it's mainly a commercial field so isn't suffering the same fate as say... construction etc. He will also take classes at a technical school so he always has something to fall back on should the economy stay soft.
It's hard to know what you want to do with the rest of your life at age 18. Many kids in 4 year colleges change their major SEVERAL times, thus blowing a lot of extra money. It happens across the board! Don't worry. I feel your frustration though!!!
Maybe he can take his general courses at an area tech school. These credits will transfer to a regular college. Maybe in the next couple years he'll mature and get back on track!
Good luck :)

Deidre - posted on 04/19/2010

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Hi Sharon
My son hasn't quite gone down some of the same paths that your son has, but has had his share of issues with school and authority. Last year we decided to take our hands off and just put things back on him with his schooling and life decisions and have basically said we love you, but the choices you make will affect the direction your life will take and the friends that you hang with will also determine that. Bad company corrupts good character. At the end of the day, there are certain boundaries that we have put in place in our home and they are non-negotiable, as we have 3 younger siblings to consider also, but other choices that he makes will affect him and his future. After attending a parenting course for teens, we decided that we would take our hands off and try to only give advice and "our opinion" when asked for as he is now 18 years old and needs to start making choices and decisions for himself. This can be very difficult when you see them making poor choices, but in the end things have started to work out for him and I hope it will be the same for you. For our family having great mentors (who weren't their parents) for our kids has also helped and they have been involved in a very good Youth Group which has helped heaps when they go through stuff in life that they may not want to talk to Mum and Dad about. Our son was very worried about whether he would get his Level 3 and be able to get the credits he needed to go forward with his education after mucking around for a large majority of his final year, not handing things in and missing far too much school for our liking. Thankfully once we took our hands off and put things back on him, he started to take responsibility and stepped up. He only just passed his Level 3, but had enough credits to get into the area he was looking at studying in. It is now over to him to motivate himself if he wants to succeed in his chosen career. I know that we think that education is so important, but kids can get out and work for a while and figure out what they want to do, before studying further. Sometimes I think it's us as parents that are more worried about them working out their careers and achieving than they are and placing our priorities on them. My advice is to try to take your hands off a little and let him decide where he's heading and just make sure he knows that you love him heaps!!

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Frances - posted on 03/16/2011

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My problem is with a 21 year old son, who it was a struggle to get through high school, he was an athlete, so had to keep his grades up in order to play sports, but just did the bare minimum needed to be able to play, As a single parent, and working at a University, have explained since a youngster the importance of a college education, and he understood it, and wanted to leave home and go away to college so I figured ut financially how to do that. After 2 years away at various schools in the area, come to find out he hasn't been attending classes, racked up financial aid bills, lied and lied about everything, and now has to move home and work and pay off financial aid before he can even go back to school. He is so depressed considering suicide, so have him in counseling for that, blames me for forcing him to go to college, but what else is there, I don't know, as a single parent, I ruined him I guess. Now supporting a near 22 year old man that is unmotivated to find work, can't find work anyway apparently and can't go to school, don't know what to do, hate to send him out to live in his car on the street,a car a bought for him, but don't know what else to do!

Zatonda - posted on 05/02/2010

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keeping pushing him, it is a phase if the got off track. if he hangs around those not doing nothing why would he want to do anything? maybe you can limit who comes to your house, one thing about being a parent is learning not to be a friend at the right time. You need to have a talk with him and see where his head is and go from there. If you feel like he is not being honest with you, test him. Once you understand your kid is using the sooner you help the sooner he gets off, the longer you ingore it, you most likely will have a life time problems with other drugs that are harder to get off of, weed is consider a starter drug. With him college will be your least concern, control what you can right now. if he is failing and not caring I would say that is a big red flag to be concerned about what is going on with him considering it is his last year and his most important year. I would go for a local college before I invest in or send money in his direction for right now, a class or two may interest him but, school is school is school. rules in hs do not apply in college when your out your out.

Louise - posted on 04/22/2010

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Kids today are so disheartend because there are not enough jobs to go around. Many kids don't bother going on to college to train as at the end of there training they have no job to go onto. I am sure your son is feeling this too. I have been lucky and have a son that is off to uni in september and my other son is going to college to study mechanics. They have finally found a focus which now helps them stay on the straight and narrow. Your son sounds depressed to me and is trying to avoid making judgements on colleges by smoking pot. All pot is is escapisum. Try and talk to your son and tell him your concerns and see what he says. He might just need that one to one time to tell you his concerns. Smoking pot and hanging out with kids who have no focus is a dangerous situation and you are right to be concerned. Sit down with your son and go through the college application form and see what courses he wants to do may be if you show an interest he may be more inclined to make an effort. I don't think you are alone many of my sons friends are in the same boat, not knowing which way to turn. None of them smoke though. It is going to be a bumpy couple of months seeing him through this I wish you well. xx

Stacy - posted on 04/21/2010

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Has anyone else had to motivate their kids to get on the baa=ll abnout school? I would love some suggestions.

-Stacy

Amy - posted on 04/20/2010

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Well I am happy to know that I am not the only one having problems....my son is a senior and is 19 I found out last week from the school counsler that he is failing english...so what did i do grounded him....yep you heard me and we argue about it EVERY DAY!!! luckily he is not into drugs or alcohol HOWEVER he is leaving for the Army on July 12th....he already has enlisted etc......so the recruiter is on his butt....I am on his butt.... and I am tired of the arguing....the reason he is failing english????.....not turning in his work!!!!!!!!!!!..........I mean come on.....this is ticking me off now!!!....and this all started when he got a girlfriend about 3 months ago....everything was fine up until that point....and she is also a senior but guess what she is 17!!!!.....i dont know what to do.....I am at my wits end.....I hate to make our last 3 months before he leaves a living h%** but that is what it is turning into.....he thinks I am "being unfair" about grounding him since he is 19 and I got mad and told him yesterday what was "unfair" was to the teacher who was begged by the counsler to let him turn in all his late assingments for full credit and it was "unfair" that she had to spend her weekend grading it so she could get the grades in on monday....and it is also "unfair" to the other kids who did turn in their work ontime that he is getting special treatment!!!!....of course he is mad because he cant see the girlfriend who is just bad new and rude anyhow!!!!.....I dont know what to do with him....but i did tell him that since he lives under my roof and is still in high school i have the right to do what I want as far as grounding.....am I being unreasonable?????? any suggestions to help me?????

Ora - posted on 04/20/2010

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All of this is very interesting, I have just been toiling over this same issue all night about my son. He is in 9th grade. I am very concerned about him now even finishing. I know that he can do so much better than he is. He just does not seem to care or think it matters and it has been like that for awhile even in Junior High. We had some issues with friends and other situations. He just seems to have very little interest in the traditional school environment. I am seriously thinking of trying something else. I am also shocked to see that this is not just a black thing. The devil is after all of our sons. We must pray ladies without ceasing. This has to be a burden that we carry from now on. I know my son loves music and I believe his gifting is in his hands. I am looking around now to check out an Arts and Music school. Maybe if he is doing what he is interested in he can see that working hard for what you want will bring some good results. I am so encouraged to read your postings. I know now that I am not alone and its not me. I am not a bad parent. Because that how it makes you feel like you have failed them somehow. Thanks alot

Mary - posted on 04/19/2010

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dont push for college he could be scared of the future as far as the pot i dont know as to why but something needs to be done

Ramona - posted on 04/19/2010

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Sharon,

My son is on the downward spiral as well; however he is doing his in a different way. He has always had issues with learning, and since he entered high school it has only gotten worse. He is currently failing his 3 core classes, and doesn't seem to understand that he will have to make them up next year which will take away from the classes he DOES want to take.

I would do anything and everything to get him away from the group of friendds he is hanging out with before he lands himself in serious trouble,

Joann - posted on 04/19/2010

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hi sharon, i know exactly how u feel. my son is only 15 and for the past year, i have watched him slowly go into a terrible destructive state. i know for a fact that he is taking drugs, but i don't know to what extent. he lives wit his grandmother, but i have an input in his life, i have tried to talk to him, but i get the same answer all the time. he is supposed to be sitting his junior cert and the school refuses to take him in. like you, i've tried to keep him from the company he keeps, as all of them are older than him, but to no avail. at this stage now, all i can do is hope for the best, and pray that he realises the mistakes he is making sooner rather than later. if he does'nt then the next place he is looking at is prison...noone wants their children to go down the wrong road, but as parents we can only do so much, we're only human. i know its a real worry, but sharon they're gonna do their own thing anyway...

Julie - posted on 04/18/2010

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Hi sharon, I too have teenagers, however I cannot relate to the drug problem, but I do know that teenagers want to be themselves and they want to explore on their own terms. They are trying so hard to become independent and do things there way. Sometimes I think if we just let them go and make mistakes as hard as it may be for us to watch, in the end it will make them appreciate hom and mom and dad more. They will eventually come around especially if they were raised in a loving supporting family like it seems like your son has been. But I do know by experience that when you push, they just run farther away. Let him make his mistakes, one day he will realize and either he'll get himself back into college or a trade school or something and he will find his way. It just takes time and always let him know you love him. You may not love his choices but you will always love him. He will wake up someday. Just try to be patient. I know that's a lot easier said than done. Good luck.

Jennifer - posted on 04/18/2010

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I am comforted that I am not alone. My son also has a drug problem and is 17 yrs old. He may or may not graduate. He has been arrested, been in group therapy, and both his father and I have gone to support groups with him. None of it has helped. He say's he has everything under control. Unfortunately, some people just need to learn the hard way and we as parents can pray and rely on the promises of God. I have two other teenagers who have no interest in drugs or alcohol. Everyone is different and they need to know that we will always love them no matter what. However we can't condone the behavior. Keep talking and praying!! We can get through this.

[deleted account]

My son is currently 19 yo & is on the same path as yours. nfortunately, I just let him "go down his own path" after trying to get him to stop pot, quit his loser friends etc. He ended up leaving home as I was "pushy"
He is now finding out now ( living on his own) he is quitting the very things that led him to leave. He is very sad he didn't listen " to my parents for you were only looking out for my best interests." All turned out well in the end- it was the waiting that was a killer ( for mom) I did pray a LOT!!!
He told me "guess I have to learn things on my own & the hard way,same with girls."

[deleted account]

Hi,
It is nice to see that people are open and offer advice based on experiences. I am also glad to hear that he is going to a therapist. I don't have any advice, but offer support to you. He is fortunate to have a Mother that cares and loves him! I know that my growing pains must have been hard for my parents too...

Erana Makere - posted on 04/18/2010

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Hi Sharon,
I was reminiscing as I read through the previous conversations. Thankfully my son gained all of his Level 1 & 2 credits-not by fluke but because that was his plan. Sadly he fell into that habit that so many of us dread-but often he would say things like, 'Mum my english teacher is so boring she doesn't inspire me to learn' and his report would reflect this fact, conversely he said one day 'my science teacher is one of the best teachers I have ever had' and of course his science report marks were significantly higher than other marks. I guess what I'm saying is it's not always the teenager's fault that they have lost interest in school-they just need the right teachers to inspire them and unfortunately they're not in great supply. In addition, males (my son informed me) are not good at multi tasking and many of them prefer to learn by doing rather than simply listen to someone it helps them to retain what they are hearing. In terms of furthering his education he will when he is ready right now he is happy working and learning from the school of life.

[deleted account]

This is so much what we are going thru with my son...he just withdrew from school, is a senior...Flunking most of his classes due to poor attendance. He has been skipping, which he never did till this last semester. He has always just did what he could to get by and most of classes were retakes. He has never got into the academics of school, however very sociable and was involved in many activities. But he is quit most of them, including being very involved at church. He is 18 and wants to move out bad, and is willing to work, he has held down a parttime job for over a year. We are praying he will follow thru with a GED. He just wants to hang with his friends, and party! He has been losing respect for us, and we hope he finds his way back. The more I push the harder he pushes back...getting weary of trying, his 18 year old mind in made up!

Karen - posted on 04/17/2010

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Hi Sharon,
Boy can I relate on this!! My 17 year old son is a senior and were still waiting to see if he's gonna pull off graduating. He's making up classes he failed but struggling. He's kind of realized at this stage in the game that he's screwed up and is motivated to graduate but we'll have to see where that gets him. Like your son, he smokes pot and will debate you to the death on the pros of its use. I have 2 older children who made it through their teens without falling into this pothole (pardon the pun) lol. College is definitely a big party scene and can be trouble for some young kids I'm not sure what to do about that yet. My 20 year old son is still unsure of what path he wants to follow, though he is working, supporting himself and has attended a year at the community college.

Ricci - posted on 04/17/2010

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First off, I do not think pushing him to go ro college is the answer. We all want to see our kids go to college, but if hes not ready or doesn't want to then it is a waste of your money when he goes and flunks out. This may be a phase, I am not sure. I know that I had a brother that turned 18 in march and then was suppose to graduate in may and quit high school 3 weeks before graduation.

This may be his way of rebelling against growing up. Unfortunately there is nothing you can do about that concept, but know that hipefully this phase will too pass and it may take a little tough love to get him to snap out of it.

Sharon - posted on 04/17/2010

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Thanks Gina. There have been consequences for my son although I will admit he does seem to get off easy. He pretty much admitted to me that he was smoking pot. All the signs were there, he started hanging out with a different crowd and stopped playing sports he had been playing for years...grades started dropping...things they say to look for. The thing is, I have had many drug talks with my son and thought we had a good open communication. He hasn't lied to me whenever I have confronted him about things. I don't think though that he volunteers any information...He has been arrested and it did scare him for a while. He was put on probation and had to go through a diversion program which he just finished but I don't think he learned anything he hadn't already learned in school. My thought about making him go to college is I just don't want this to be a phase that he will regret not going but I do understand about if he goes and is not ready and flunks out. He has started therapy so maybe that will help and I should get some too.

I wish all the best for you with your kids. If I was to give any advice I would say to set boundaries and stick to them. I would say that is where I went wrong but who knew...My son is very bright and has always been focused on college until this year.

Gena - posted on 04/17/2010

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Sounds like majority of kids these days!! The pot smoking needs to stop immediately. I know it is only a misdemeanor,but have you called police. Spending a few hours in jail might be the Wake Up call he needs. Sounds like you have not made him suffer any consequences for illegal activities...On college,if he's failing now in high school, what makes you think he'll do any better in College? Tuition is not cheap..If you can afford to pay the tuition and don't mind losing money then u can pay for his education. Doesn't make sense to me to try & force him to go. He may end up getting into worse things than just pot at college. Just some things to consider. Wish I had the magical answer for you. Have you thought about seeking out professional help? Sometimes therapy really does help, especially if you can find a good christian counselor if you are Christians or believe in God. Hope some of this will at least get you on a starting point..Keep us posted..Would like to know how turns out. I have 13 yr old & 17 yr old that will be senior in High School next year. Would like to know how you found out your son was drinking & smoking pot.

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