NEED HELP! - 14 yr old boy on grafitti probation and extremely angry and defiant

June - posted on 05/25/2012 ( 26 moms have responded )

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My 14 yr son on probation for grafitti, now leaving house when he feels like it, can only call police to file "missing person" resport. I have found marijuana. Door off room, took away phone, money, grounded but doesn't do any good. He is pissed and leaving house. I can't keep wasting police resources because he comes home, police never catch him anyways and he doesn't care. He leaves up crumbled drawings of marijuana and of angry mom with big man genitals. He comes from two loving parents. He refuses to go to orthodontist and says he will remove braces himself. Please help. It is an awful strain on my marriage and job. Had to switch his school schedule to just 4 periods so he can finish. Smart A/B type student but teachers can't take him anymore.

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Counselors/therapists, I'm afraid for the most part are not updated on attachment and relationships. I'm not trying to be rude about them, but they are behind in many ways of the more progressive ways of working with children. I'm really hoping that he/she is giving you more advice then just keeping "restrictions". It is important for your son to know that you still care enough to keep boundaries, but that is the least of the advice you should be getting at this point. Restriction is not what addresses why the behavior is happening in the first place. Also what do restrictions matter when things are so bad a parent can't even enforce them and a child doesn't respect them? I don't mean this towards you, as what's happening is complicated, but the therapist should know this and be working on other issues in the family such as active/true listening skills/communication for example. It may not be a bad idea to send him to wilderness. Only if you have full understanding of the program ( there are some super shitty ones out there). Also if you can afford a wilderness program you should really check out the site I gave you. It's cheaper and healthier than punitive measurements, which most wilderness programs believe in and practice. There is this tough love quality to them that isn't always the answer. It would give you time though to sort through yourselves as parents as far as educating yourselves to give this whole situation a better chance. You're not a crappy parent either, June. We have all made mistakes and will continue to. We are human. Most of us parent off of what we were taught as children and it's hard to find that balance, unless we actively seek out education and solutions. You are in a spot most Americans are in, so you are not alone by ANY means. But there really is hope. If you decide to do wilderness, I would still actively seek what I mentioned above on your own, to help prepare for the return of your son. Like I said most therapists are not evolved and were not taught in school, what we know now in working with children/parents and the importance of connection/how to do this and why. They are still very stuck in the mentality of punishment and that children are manipulators without addressing why they think this is. As if it's natural and kids were born this way. It's not natural and it is an attachment issue. No matter where you send your son things will not change unless you find help for yourselves as parents and find the support you need in making that change. Parents have to change first, and that is the bottom line. New ways of dealing with things, new ways of perceiving things and a new attitude on how that can be accomplished. Things are complicated enough at this point that I would not worry about his friends and missing out on that for a couple of months while in wilderness either. His safety and getting back on track and healing the relationship at this point with your son is more important than public education and peers. As parents we can do it now- or put it off until later. Sooner is better then later. Hoping things will get better never works. I don't mean to sound like a harsh bitch either. My work consists of working with teen and parents (dysfunction) so I'm very passionate and very supportive/pro active. I see the pain of both child and parent. He would be very angry at you for sending him (wilderness), but that won't last. It also doesn't mean the relationship will be healed upon return. It's typically better for a short period of time and that's it. That's why I stress the importance of you guys changing and finding out how to do this. Same reaction/same response = worse reaction/response from the child/teen. Also if you did find a new way of dealing and working with your son, it won't change things over night. You will see a difference in the sense that he will be shocked at the difference and not know how to react at first. He then will test that reaction to make sure you mean it. He needs to know you mean it and that he can trust you with is feelings and who he is, and he also will have a backlog of issues/resentments/feelings that have been suppressed for a very long time that need to come out. Just like adults when we hold in feelings/thoughts/opinions we become resentful of our friends/spouse and whoever we are attached to. It's no different for a child. Most have just been programmed and brought up to believe that children's feelings are less then ours and we need to prevent or stop them. As parents most feel and see these feelings and attitudes as a threat. Humans/children/adults don't' work that way and are not wired for this type of suppression though- hence the behavior. Children who can't share their feelings/thoughts and opinions are children who live in fear and do not feel secure with who they are due, to how the parent has made them feel through different messages in many forms for an extended period of time. This is one reason I don't punish and each and every single time my kids make a mistake I show empathy/love and respect more then ever. My kids know when they do wrong and they are naturally upset that they have disappointed me ( as even children being "defiant" still feel, believe it or not- they just aren't as connected at the time). They feel disappointed within themselves, so I don't bother making them feel worse by punishment/threats. Kids who are attached and connected with their parents, easily and naturally feel bad about themselves when they make a mistake and that's when I jump into role modeling and showing empathy/love and acceptance. To teach, that it's normal to make a mistake, that depending on the mistake they can make it better and that our mistakes aren't who we are, nor do they define us, just as our fleeting emotions throughout the day as humans don't define us. Am I perfect at this- hell NO!! I never will be, but as time goes by I'm better and better at this. And when I do make a mistake I apologize without excuses to my sons, for my behavior and lack of respect towards them. As I don't like to be treated that way myself- so why would they? That question is not directed at you btw. lol Anyway I could talk forever about this. I'm very empathetic towards struggling parents in this manner. It pains me to see others suffering with their children. I care very much and I believe in you and your husband!! I also believe that you have a good son! I believe he is scared, hurting and feeling rather lonely- although he won't share that and agree with my opinion. LOL

Jenny - posted on 06/02/2012

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June I'm so happy to hear he is home!!! Sounds like you guys have some great plans! That's wonderful that he wants to get back into surfing also. If he is not willing to go to rehab, then hiring someone will get the job done. My parents actually had to do the same with me, but not for a rehab- boarding school instead. =) Keep me posted. =)

Jenny - posted on 05/28/2012

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Sorry took so long to respond June. I'm not affiliated with the Post Institute. I'm just familiar with their work and very supportive of their approach. Their approach and material is wonderful. It's something I would suggest whether a parent is struggling or not. It's that important as far as the knowledge is concerned. It has a whole approach to children/teens meaning updated information on the brain combined with approaches. Which is vital and can make parenting so much easier. If gives us parents the comfort of being able to step back and not take everything so personal when guiding and working with our kids. Which is so important and and helpful. It allows for a type of breathing room so many of us don't afford ourselves or even know is possible as parents. The program is based on the knowledge and understanding that attachment and connection is key with our children. Why that is, how it happens, why it diminishes, how to maintain and how to get that connection back. It's the basis of human life and all relationships really and truly. It may feel that the information is mainly geared to only adopted children or foster kids but that's not the basis. Kids in this situation just tend to experience a more difficult time or in the least harder time then non-adopted/foster children. I do not have a struggling teen ( i have a teen though) and I still use the information/technique from The Post Institute. It's not the only group out there with this kind of approach but it's sound and well rounded and they WILL give you your money back if you don't care for it. I find that parents have many ahha moments though when they get the material. That hope is created and deeper understanding is had. It would also be something I would share with your therapist so that they can then focus on helping in practicing these techniques. It does become first nature after more understanding and re-training our brains from the "traditional style of parenting". Your therapist will most likely grow and learn from it also. lol It's not extreme either, nor is it new or controversial in this sense. We just know more now than ever before on children, relationships in general and the brain. Some parents get angry and wish they had had this knowledge before. Which I experienced myself also. Still do at times. I would have done a lot of things differently when my children were younger. But is is what it is and I can't wallow in that in a negative sense. I did naturally and fairly have to go back and of course see how things I did had a not so great impact but I've repaired that with my children and actually continue to do so. So it does a lot of courage and dropping of ego and pride in that sense. Which is really fear anyway. So it has felt better to let some of that fear go and I also now know how to handle that fear compared to before where I reacted to it and off of it. My kids still bring up things now that they know, remember and share their feelings and opinions that hurt them or affected through the yrs. It pains me, especially with what I know now, but I sincerely apologize to them and we talk about it. It also helps them to release and let go of the hurt that I caused. Because I listen and don't try to explain it away to them. I'd rather like you, deal with it now compared to later. It good role modeling and it teaches also abut relationships and how they deserve to be treated and others. It's not like I was abusive either in a traditional sense, so that's whats even sadder. Our children are so sensitive and we don't realize how much so, especially when we know/believe we are coming from a loving place. I can hear from your posts you are dedicated and I respect that. I would be very much interested in hearing your thoughts and how things are going once you get the material. What your opinions are, updates and progress. I'm very here for support, also because it is frustrating. I'm also positive that you will find a whole new type of confidence through all of this, even while working through it and experiencing the ups and downs of change.

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You're in a tough spot. I would get into see a counselor as soon as possible. As the parents, I would reccomend one for yourselves too. You're son is not having this behavior for no reason. Typically this is a breakdown of the relationship between parent/child. So pushing harder and more punishment will only make things worse and push the already strained/insecure relationship further apart. You're son is crying out for help and unless you and hubby get help for yourselves and change some things, it's going to get worse. It always has to start with the parent though, I'm sorry to say. I don't mean this in a bad way either. But the last thing he needs right now is more yelling, lack of empathy, anger, threats and punishment. He is in survival mode right now and scared deep down. Punishment will only escalate even further, this lack of connection with you as a parent. The more things we do that damage our bond with our children, the less impact we have on them. They will go elsewhere to find that connection, which usually isn't the best as you are seeing. It's a very painful spot to be in for you and your son. When kids act out in behavior it's a last resort for them,(cry for help) meaning he has had some big feelings for a long time and for whatever reason he was not able to express and relieve himself of these feelings and hence the behavior. Feelings if suppressed in any way by a parent for whatever reasons will come out in behavior. That's how humans work, adult or child. I would check out the Bryan Post Institute online. They are wonderful!!! Hang in there and don't give up!! As long as you're open to learning to respond to your son in a different way you will have success and start the healing process of the relationship. Please check the site out I mentioned.

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June - posted on 07/03/2012

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Update-my son got probation until end of year with random drug testing and curfew of 10pm unless with parent. So far things are way better. There is no more crazy stuff happening. He comes home before 10pm unless going to a movie and a parent gives him a ride home. My older son is better behaved too. They want to be with their friends all the time which I don't care for but I can't make them stay home. At least there are no more drugs involved and it feels like normal teenage stuff now.

June - posted on 06/25/2012

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Thank you, Jackie. Good advice. This week is stressful because we go to court over the grafitti charge and he is finishing the short stop meeting which includes a lot of homework including narcotics anonymous meetings. I will start to take him to get a bread bowl & shop for shoes. He is of the mindset that he only wants to be with friends, but since he needs shoes really bad, we'll start there. We started requiring family night on Sundays which has worked out pretty good. I hope I can look back on this time and think whew that was a close call. I really want both of my boys to be nice citizens and go to college. I have saved since I was pregnant with my first boy, and it would be a shame if they didn't take advantage of their opportunity. There has been way less stress and we've eliminated all of the screaming. It takes a huge mindset change to not react with anger.

Jackie - posted on 06/24/2012

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As a mother myself, i believe you should have a private meeting with your son. like a time to out together( a movie or a place to set and have a little snack, his favorite fast food) then ease into a conversation with small talk. choose a topic and then ask him how he feels about things that are going on around him. hear what he is saying, it is important to him and please listen and give possitive feed back. he may open up to you with certain things. dont't give up, continue to have a one on one date with you son. eventually he will share things with you but dont get upset about what he may say. just be possitive and support him. This is one way you may win him over. SHOW HIM THAT YOU CARE cause there are many objects out there that will drive him from you, so be careful. when he comes home, dont be nagitive towards him. to keep him always be possitive and respectful. he will calm down......... i believe he wants your attention from you. I try this with my son, and believe it or not, it look forward to going out just the two of us. things got better. just open up to your son.

June - posted on 06/15/2012

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He is back to being sweet and cooperative, but this has happened before and then he reverted back to the weed so I am on my highest guard with him. The things I think have turned him around even if it doesn't last is 1) We have been to counseling and I learned my husband and I have not been a united front so the kids have been lying to one or the other and negotiating themselves out of every consequence 2) My son got TB bacteria and now has to be on daily antibiotic for nine months. In addition he got asthma attacks that I'm guessing is from the weed, and I think he is scared of being sick 3) I bought the Bryan Post home study guide for $250. I normally don't buy stuff like that but I was completely desparate and it was suggested as a reply to my post. I think just buying the books might have worked but I was desperate and wanted the videos and everything. It is opposite to what has been ingrained in me to parent. Instead of being so militant and angry I changed to being loving and understanding that my son is scared. I'm just learning this stuff so I don't know what works and what doesn't but I know my son is back to talking and loving me back and he communicated a lot about the drug use and even selling it. I am so devastated that I feel ashamed even writing that. 4) Through the CA probation system I learned of the Short Stop program and enrolled him. Holy cow, for 3 hours he was in a jump suit handcuffed and shown what it is like to live in juvenile hall. It was similar to the scared straight program but not so much in your face directly. There was a prior criminal who talked about what it's like to live in juvenile hall and now that guy is graduating from college. Hearing stuff about getting violated and the fights and strip searches freaked me out. At the end of the night my son was pissed at me and said he was not going to complete the program. The next meeting is more of a build up after they have been torn down on the first meeting. He has homework which includes 4 meetings at narcotics anonymous, interviewing all family members about how we feel about what he has done, studying a book that is written well about what prison is like. In the past I would have yelled at my son about not wanting to continue. What I did was say is I know you are scared and I am here to help you get your life back to normal. If you finish the class you can tell that to the judge. (He still has to go to court over the grafitti charge.) When you are ready to talk about why you are so angry I am here. He didn't yell at me and was quiet. What actually made him agree to finish the class and do the homework is that I said none of his privileges to spend time with his friends would be allowed. For now my household is back to peace, but I'm on guard and the leash is very short.

June - posted on 06/09/2012

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Hi Jenny, Can you please take a look at my last post and give me advice? We are communicating now and he is not leaving without permission and has been very nice to me on my birthday. I'm proud of how he tried out for surf team and has made up all the school work missed. I read the book from Bryan Post and tried out some of the reaction. Found empty med bottle w/ marijuana remnants hidden behind a panel in bathroom. Told both boys "NO MORE", but both deny. I am sure the 14 year old lying, but don't know if I should punish again or keep trying to make progress with empathy and love. If I do catch him with positive proof with weed I plan to ground him and take phone away. We have parental controls so I can shut down phone for everyone except us. We've been through hell, and we're making little baby step progress in getting the relationship back. I don't want to screw it up. After reading the Post material I feel my extreme anger reactions along with punishments backfired on me. What should I do about the lie? The empty bottle didn't just walk into the panel below my bathtub. I know it happened within the last week since the med bottle had real medication in it just seven days ago.

June - posted on 06/09/2012

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14 yr old been going to school, got grades up to A/Bs. Tried out for surf team and will probably make it. Things this week relatively calm. Let him see his friends although strict curfew and he has been answering all calls and texts. However last night discovered bathtub panel loose. I took panel off and discovered empty medication bottle with remnants of marijuana in it. He is on med once a day for TB bacteria. His meds were in a plastic baggy. I asked him about it and he said he didn't do it. Clearly this has to be a lie because I drug tested older 16 yr brother and came out clean. I didn't know what to do. He won't admit to it. After reading the Bryan Post book, I said, "it really disappoints and hurts me when I am lied to; Everything is going to be okay". Do I punish the boy further? I feel we are just making baby steps to get back a decent life. Should I take away his allowance that I just gave him before the discovery? I want the drugs eliminated. I'm so worn down and tired of being suspicious and investigating the house and smelling him all the time for weed. I can't test him because it will be positive since he has admitted to smoking just two weeks ago.

Vawny (Siobhan) - posted on 06/08/2012

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Well, I can say, again from having worked with teens in treatment, (defiant or otherwise), and from having raised two of them, (and please forgive me for sounding unfeeling) that he's clearly "Pissed." The problem is he needs to discover that basically, so is everyone else, (about something). And we don't get to go around wreckin other people's things or disrespecting authority. Ok, so that's pretty rhetorical, I know. But mom, he's got one chance here--he doesn't get to take it back once he messes up EPICALLY.



Believe it or not, I dealt with extremely similar stuff, so I know your pain--I cried myself to sleep for MONTHS! And I was a newly single mom with another teen to deal with! But I knew what I had to do if I truly loved him. I HAD to do whatever it took to save his life, even if it meant that he might hate me for the rest of mine. Because it's NOT ABOUT ME, it never was. This being a mom thing is my most important job in life--if I don't step in when he's drowning, who will? Am I gonna stand by and watch it happen? No. I knew the answer to that question. That made it easier to swallow at least--and I told him those words by the way. I told him that he could choose to jump in over his head, but I would NOT stand by and watch the drowning. So I shipped him off to be with men I knew could role model for him, young men that he respected, and most importantly, young men who wouldn't take any crap from him--at ALL. I was very blessed to have some family members who could fill those shoes.



Now, I'd love to tell you that was it--end of story, but it was only the beginning. However, it was the beginning of a succession of synchronicities that followed once I became willing and opened that door, which progressively helped him to become one of the most amazing, impressive young men I've EVER met in my 52 years on this planet.



Don't give up on him!! But DON'T try to be his buddy! You're his MOM--if he can't count on you to make the right choices for him who can he count on? He's SCREAMING for boundaries Mom! Unfortunately, sometimes there comes a time when we as mothers have to step aside and let others who are qualified, help us to raise him. Screw your pride here too--this is your child, your baby--he needs you to save him before it's too late. Get him help--and my opinion is that it'd be best to get some guys involved who could really put some pressure on him from the other side; healthy guys—not maniac flip sides of the same coin.

Good luck to you—YOU CAN DO THIS!! YES YOU CAN!!

Jenny - posted on 06/02/2012

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I most certainly did June. LOL It was a private school for kids with behavioral issues. I was 15. I was not a pleasant teen and struggled just like your son is now. The first school I did run away from twice in the 3 months I was there. After that I was kicked out and sent to a school in the middle of no where. From California originally and ended up in Idaho. Quite the difference and culture shock for me. I graduated in 92. And I do think its crazy when parents do drugs with their kids. It doesn't surprise me as I do see it, but it's terrible. It really makes me angry though when they bring other people's children into that filth. It's one thing to be a whack with your own kid, but how one can justify in doing this with someone else's- is just wrong. =(

June - posted on 06/02/2012

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Jenny, you went to boarding school? I was considering army navy boarding academy for boys. I don't think I could get my son to even go. He probably would run away. I'm going to just work with him with surfing and keeping him and his best friend (w/ parents and sister that have gone to jail) free of drugs. I banned him from best friend but it didn't work so now I'm taking a different tact to keep the friend & my son from drugs. The best friend ratted out all of the drug providers to campus police yesterday because he was concerned about my son who went into hide out mode. Get this - another 14 yr old boy they used to hang out with has a mom who is physically and mentally ill, and she provided them with marijuana and cocaine. She apparently does drugs with her son. Crazy!

June - posted on 06/02/2012

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Thank you for your insight, Jenny. I spent the entire afternoon and evening calling all his old phone records. The first call I made was to his friend's mom who got out of jail six years ago for drug sales to let her know the police was involved in missing kid case. I told the mom to also warn her daughter who just got out of jail for something not to have anything to do with my son as the police were involved. My work is going to suffer from all this time dealing with this. He came home at 9pm hungry, but not appearing on drugs. He is quiet but still angry this morning, but willing to sit there and listen. We will keep a tight leash on him, and do the rehab home if we catch him doing drugs again. We'll have to hire "transport" though so he gets there. He wants to finish school and try out for the surf team. I found more of my plants hacked and I don't know what to think or which son did it so I'm going to just let it go and chock it up to just one more unbelievable thing that has happened recently. We can afford an outplacement, but I'd rather have my son here and my family right again. The rehab I had lined up is in CA and my insurance covered most of the cost, but in CA the kids are allowed to run away. I couldn't even get him to the place without him popping out of the car. In Utah the kids can't run away but this far from where we live so this is only last resort. I have already called several places and some are very aggressive to get you to sign up, and the prices are extraordinary. I'm going to just try and deal with this with local counselor, and my husband and I work together. I think I'll let him stay here, we'll keep working with him, and he is grounded except for being allowed to try out for the surf team for high school next year. Phone still stays away (he can only call family) and I think I should wipe out all the contacts because when I was calling all his contacts some of them sounded like the 18-20 yr drug dealer losers I've been told he was hanging out with a couple of months ago. Counselor says he can be grounded for months until he gets his act together. My husband is going to take a leave of absense so he can be around during the summer months where there is no structure. I'm eager to get my home study Bryan Post kit to do some learning. A year ago my son was A/B student winning surf contests and today he lives like a fugitive. Unbelievable.

Jenny - posted on 06/02/2012

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His "just doing better" was a quick attempt at getting you guys to relax and convince that he is doing better. He is not stupid. At this point he has realized you guys are serious and he played the game to try and convince you he was on board. It goes along with the manipulation and lies that so many kids end up doing when they live in a household of punishment and feel they aren't respected and heard. Most likely right now he is with someone he actually knows or someone he was introduced to by someone he knows, to better help him in his escape from re-hab and home. This run-away behavior will actually not last as long as he is hoping. You will find him, whether he comes home or someone calls, or you spot him and pick him up. There is also a chance of him being picked up by police if he is caught in a illegal situation. For starters I would call all his friends parents- that you know, and let them know that you will press charges if you find out they are aiding him as an underage run-away. Get the word out!! This will also put other parents ( some anyway) in the mode of feeling uncomfy if they hear something. Let parents know they can call with info without you sharing their info or identity to police or your son. If things really don't go as well as he thinks they will- he may also show back up at home or in the least contact his brother or someone else in the family depending on your family. I can almost guarantee that he is not aimlessly wondering about- he is with a friend or a friend of a friend. Someone knows exactly where he is! His home life is not that bad to where he is willing to live under a bridge or bench. Hell no!! In saying this June, I'm truly sorry as I can't imagine what it feels like- not knowing where your child is!! This is truly abusive on his behalf. Sometimes things get to a point where you might have to find a program to send him to- if you can afford it. I'm not talking locally either, or re-hab or a place that is punishment based. Sometimes it's that change/break in environment with supportive staff/counselors that makes a teen slow down, and can make that initial wake-up. If you are interested in this avenue- let me know. I can put you in contact with the right people that can assist in finding the right place/environment for your son. People that I know and trust. There is not much more I can say right now, as not knowing where your child is- is painful and brutal on the mind and soul for parents. I'm sad right now in knowing this, and I will not be able to stop thinking about if myself, until your son is home. Please keep in mind, that so many other teens do the same thing when they find out, Mom and Dad are serious about getting help. It doesn't ease the fear of not knowing where he is, but it is something common in this regard as far as, running from it/help. Please keep me posted. xo

June - posted on 06/01/2012

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Today my husband tried to take son to rehab teen house for 30+ days. He was just doing better and wanted to be able to go out with friends. I took him to outpatient therapy for an assessment. When I found out about the LSD, cocaine and spice use I freaked out and took the recommendation of the assessor to send him to inpatient house. As soon as son realized he was not going to school he jumped out of car, ran and is still missing. Police, school, friends do not know where he is. I've driven all around and can not locate. What now? I'm super worried about my kid.

June - posted on 05/31/2012

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What a wonderful response. Life has spiraled out of control. Yesterday my ipod is discovered missing. Since I never take it out of player I can only guess he stole it. Then I discover scissors broken upstairs & my plants outside wacked & a candle with holes poked through it with scissors. My older 16 yr old son was the only one in house so I thought he did it. Grafitti 14 yr boy was with me the entire day for assesment and ortho repair appointment. Turned 16 yr old phone off, and he went beserk about me punishing him unfairly. He smashed the phone against the wall and permanently broke it. I guess I messed up again. I never thought my life would be like this. I will talke Jenny's advice and try and get my family's life back together. I think I'll choose the Decisions class instead of Scared Straight which might be to much. I'm unsure about the 30 day inpatient treatment, but will talk over with counselor too.

Jenny - posted on 05/31/2012

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Hey June, sounds like a busy time since last posting. =) Don't focus on the braces or room painting. It's not about you at this time- as in poor reflection of your parenting. He has backlogged feelings/needs and part of healing and change is letting and allowing this form of expression (although do not let him know this) At this time, it's actually good and healthy for him that you are allowing this. Might sound crazy to most, but allowing this type of freedom in such a difficult time is good. He's home doing it, can feel free to paint what he wants, it's expression (negative or positive- it's where he's at and REAL for him) and it also is an inside look into some of what he is going through ( although don't read to much into it). Doesn't mean he will stay like this, turn out like your ultimate fear or be the writing on the wall. Remember this in your heart!! Do not at this time fight or even mention about re-painting walls. Don't even bother yourself with thinking about it- let it go. It's the least of worries in the big scheme of things for your family and healing right now. You could for sure do the rehab. And yes and hell yes it's devastating to hear and discover this information about our child in regards to the drugs. Right now you're going to have immense and intense feelings over this. It's very difficult when we know something isn't right and then to discover it's worse then what we even knew or thought, it can be crushing and usually is!! At this point with what you have found out, you need to depend privately on friends to release some of your own feelings and fears. You need to take care of you in this sense. It's vital, so that you don't put you onto him and what he is going through. The fact that he shared all this drug information is a positive thing and first step for him the sense of understanding on some level that he needs help and wants it. That he is not in control and is lost right now. Will he say that if you ask?- not likely. So don't push that. But at least he is not in full fear/lying mode in this sense. He wants help and needs for someone to understand- so this is good. So there has been progress since your post, even though it feels like it's gotten worse. xo At this point I would only use rehab as a time for you guys to get some time to educate yourselves to where there will be some confidence in what you will be learning- and practice time. Ultimately at 14, I would not advise on rehab. He is still young, impressionable and can meet more screwed up people then himself at this age and time in 'rehab'. That's the secret they don't tell you about. He is not 'strung out' as they say on drugs. He's crying out and has lost connection to his parents and himself. At 14 you still have time to learn and figure out how to bring that connection back. He has done the drugs and sold the drugs in an attempt to feel cool, better then what he normally feels and to test out a connection to another world to see if it's what he is looking for in order to gain some sort of connection to something or anything. Again the fact that he shared so much drug info is a sign he is not sold on his current choices and is laying out, that if someone realizes this and catches on, he might just do different. It's almost like a challenge to those around him that 'supposedly' love him in his mind. Which I know you love him, but what I think doesn't count. What he feels is what counts at this time. If he has all his credits for 8th grade go ahead and skip the ceremony- go on vacation. Even if he is turd, a least it's isolated and with you guys. There may be opportunity to connect on some levels and for him to see other things. I would think twice about the scared straight program right now. If you feel you need to do it for now then go ahead and trust your gut. Just remember that you are super scared and stressed right now and searching for all kinds of answers and some sort of relief in feeling that you are doing something- which you are. This is normal and good, but I never support in dealing with difficult/troubled kids from a state of fear. When stressed our memory, ability to learn and think becomes distorted and suppressed. If you feel for starters that doing a scared straight program would actually give your son that quick edge and wake-up call- then do it! You know him best! No matter where you go and where he goes right now- you will still need to learn effective and alternatives ways to understand him, treat him and respect him, in order to help him. Ordering what you ordered is not to late in this sense. If it is totally unbearable right now ,to a crippling state mentally and emotionally- I would go ahead and call for a consultation with the Institute. There's damage/feelings/pain for all involved and that will take time and dedication. It's a process and a journey and so worth the understanding and patience involved. There is no sprint right now but more of a marathon. This is good and can be soooo good, especially when you have the right tools and support. I'm still here for you and will remain your cheerleader on the side! xoxo

Melinda - posted on 05/30/2012

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His behavior will result in 2 things either he will get expelled or fail his subjects. Sometimes drastic times calls for drastic measures. Have you thought about enrolling him in programs for defiant teens? I think based from the information you shared, its one of the solution to consider. But if you think that you can still change him then I suggest you read this article on how parents can be proactive and help their child with their problems. Because your son could be struggling: peer and school pressure, poor family relationship and he could be experiencing conflict with his identity/role. As a parent we need to understand, guide and support them on whatever they are facing because if we wont, nobody else will.

June - posted on 05/30/2012

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My son did remove his braces himself. Got him to the ortho to complete the job. Lucky he was almost done with the treatment. He is now cooperative and anxious to earn his privileges again one week at a time. Each week he is good he gets one thing back. I let him paint on his room walls and he painted inappropriate stuff with cartoon guy with gun and skull with cigar and NOTORIOUS BIG in huge letters. He likes drawing and is pretty good, but jeez, now I am going to have to get in an argument about repainting the walls. I took him to a teen recovery center for an assesment and learned he has done not only marijuana but xanax, spice, mushrooms, lsd, and cocaine. In addition, he has sold too. When you look at him he looks like a nice innocent young man. This is shocking, and I am completely devastated. He said he would not do drugs until court date for the grafitti. When asked about if he would do drugs after the court date he said I don't know. He said 70% of his friends do drugs. The teen recovery center said because of his young age and the drugs used was varied and more and more serious they recommend a 30 day inpatient center, and recommended one very close by. I am so confused and devastated. I did buy the home study Bryan Post system, but maybe it's too late. I never thought my life would end up here. Should I have him finish up school, then we have our prepaid family vacation and then commit him to inpatient center or should I do it now and then he misses 8th grade graduation and miss our vacation? I also have a class like scared straight scheduled. Jenny, if you read this please comment.

June - posted on 05/28/2012

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Thank you Jenny. I will get the courses & try and learn. I'll let you know how things turn out. I just know my militant rules were producing angry and crappy response so I am willing to change and try to make things better.

June - posted on 05/27/2012

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My son stayed home today! He is cooperative and loving. I'm trying to talk with him instead of doling out militant punishment. I told him his true friends would want success for him, not ditch school and smoke weed when he knows my son is on probation. Breaks my heart that my son said he does not have any true friends, no one cares about him. He says everyone including the "good kids" are smoking weed and some have parents that are okay with it. I'm NOT that kind of parent. I don't want my kid smoking at all, ever. I'm going to buy the parenting stuff on the Bryan Post website that someone who had smart suggestions replied with. I'd rather do the work to repair stuff than send my boy away and spend a fortune. These 10 month therapy programs seem fishy to me anyways. They all seem so eager to enroll you and they are a fortune at $17K -$72K.

June - posted on 05/27/2012

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I was wondering if the Bryan Post Institute Home study course would be applicable. I will call them. Are you affiliated in any way? I really like the suggestions.

June - posted on 05/27/2012

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Thank you. Great suggestions. I'm trying caring and empathy & not militant reactions. It seems to be working as he is nice to me again. I realize this probably won't last, but he is out of money and stayed home today. The challenge will be to control my anger, fix my issues with my husband and get through the court date. I'm going to hold off on the wilderness program as I want to figure this out with our own issues. I agree with you that it starts with the parents.

June - posted on 05/26/2012

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Thank you for replies. My son leaving house without permission, but has been coming home earlier than normal to eat as I don't give him money any more. My husband and I are have problems now, fighting about which privileges to give vs. take away. He is more lenient, but trying hard. I agree that we need to deal differently. The more I yell and am angry with him the more he rebels. I'm trying real hard to keep my cool and just talk about the choices he is making. We are in counseling, but the counselor just says to keep up the restrictions. I am considering a wilderness program for the summer but am scared that this may not be a good move. I want him to go to the local high school and hang out with the good kids again and have a good experience and go on to college. I feel like a complete loser, but am trying real hard to understand what we are doing wrong and how to fix it.

Louise - posted on 05/26/2012

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Have you considered giving him an area inside the garage that he can paint to express himself. I know it is not want you want all over your walls but it can easily be painted over and you will know where he is! He does need to talk to someone either you or a councillor to see why he is reacting this way.

At 14 he is neither a man or a boy and lots of lads his age flip out and need to express themselves. Try and get him into some sort of group that he is interested in. Some areas have grafitti schemes where youngsters with painting talents can legitimately paint areas to brighten them up. Maybe he would like to have a go at karate or Army cadets to let off some steam. He sounds like a bored, angry young man to me. Sit him down and tell him you dont want to fight but you want to understand. Hopefully you can get to the bottom of all this and start a fresh.

At 14 he needs your time more than anything. I know I have raised two sons. They both went through a really rough time from 14 to 16 before they settled down again. He needs to know you love him and you want to help. Obviously if he is taking drugs you are going to need some outside help here. You know your son better than anyone, so you will know when is the right time to approach him to sort all this out.

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