When is enough enough with a 17 year old?

Kelli - posted on 03/27/2012 ( 2 moms have responded )

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My 17 year old son (he will be 18 in May) stopped going to school at the end of grade 10. He should have graduated grade 12 this year with his friends but he is missing 2 grade 10 credits, and all his credits for grade 11 and 12. He said he was depressed, so I have taken him for counselling, and to a psychiatrist. We have tried medication, but he won't take it on his own, and gets angry when I try to get him to wake up and take it before I leave for work in the morning. He sleeps all day..most of the time he is still in bed when I get home from work at 5. He says he is depressed, and that it is because he has a bad relationship with his dad.(we have been apart since 1999) His mood is good if he is not challenged on going to school, or getting out of bed and doing somethng useful. When he feels I am pressuring him too much, he destroys things...a brand new leather chair with a knife....he punched holes in the wall in his room...he punched a bifold closet door and broke it...kicked my daughter's bedroom door and cracked it..etc...etc..He has stolen my car twice..the second time the police caught him and fined him..then he got a suspension for not paying the fine. I had the option to lay charges but didn't because I didn't want that to follow him on his employment record. Another night he was angry and sat on a chair outside my bedroom door while my daughter and I were in the room. Then he left for a few minutes and came back and told me good luck driving my car the next day. He said he had done something to it.

He attended a young adult program for a few weeks, but did not make it every day..especially when the classes started in the morning. He expects a ride everywhere..and part of that is my problem for giving in. He does have a part time job, and that is about the only thing he does...unless his friends are having a party. I told him that at 18 he would have to start paying board. He said he can't because he wants to get a truck and his insurance will be over $500 a month. Today his boss called to see if he would work...my son never answered the phone, even though he has one in his room. My daughter checked the message and he could have worked today, but by the time he called back several hours later, they had called someone else. He stayed in bed. I have listed my house for sale. Told both my kids the realtor was coming by today to look at the house and get a key. We left a key out for her. She called several times before she came over....my daughter was out but my son did not answer the phone. She came to the house and rang the doorbell...he didn't answer...she unlocked the door and came in to see the house..and found him still in bed. He was still there when I got home at 5. Tomorrow a photograher is coming for pictures. I told him if he is not out of bed, he is out..and that if he spends one more day in bed..he is out. He says he is depressed, but he doesn't act it when he is out of bed and no one is challenging him, or when he is at work or with his friends. He has ADD and he blames a lot on that but I think he is using that as an excuse. When he is up, he is watching TV or playing video games.

I have really had enough. A lot more has gone on than what I have written here, but I could fill a book. I feel like I have failed as a parent, although I have successfully raised 3 other children. I think he has just gotten lazy and nothing is going to change unless he is forced to deal with life. Maybe the best thing I can do is kick him out??

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Kelli - posted on 09/06/2012

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Yesterday I reached the end of my rope. He bought a car, with his own money. I thought this would motivate him to complete his driver training so he could actually drive the car. He also said he needed it to get back and forth to the adult education school he said he was going to attend starting this week. He has had several days off work since he bought the car, and hasn't made any effort to go to driver training. He stayed in bed most of the day Tuesday, and when I got home he was playing on his computer. I asked why he didn't go to driver training and he said he was tired. I told him that people were bending over backward to help him and he was throwing it back in our faces. My boyfriend took him to shop for cars, my daughter offered him rides to driver training and school until he could drive his own car...I took time off work to take him to see psychiatrists and councillors..his high school and another school offered him many chances to start over and get his credits. He looked at me and said "you can leave." On Wednesday, he was supposed to go and register for school. I arranged for his sister to drive him since I had a meeting at work in the morning, but his school is a 5 minute walk from my office so I told him if he needed me he could call and I could be there quickly. My daughter texted me and said that she heard his alarm go off, and he got up, turned it off and went back to bed. When I came home from work at 1:30, he was still in bed. This was the last straw for me. I wote him a letter telling him that he has 30 days to move out, and that if he chooses not to find a place, his belongings will be packed and outside the house on October 5. I told him that I loved him, but that he needed to realise that the world does not operate on excuses, and that he needed to get out in the world and take responsibility for himself. I sat down on his bed, said I loved him, but that I wanted him to move out and experience what life was like. He didn't say anything, just looked at me. I told him he could take his bedroom furniture, a TV, some towels, and whatever else he needed we could talk about. Since then we have not talked. I have cried a lot. I go between thinking I am being too harsh to realising that nothing will change unless he is forced to take responsibility for himself. He missed an entire day from work, didn't even call in...said that he got talking to, but that he was their "best clerk" so they would not fire him. He was late again within 2 weeks and was formally written up. As long as you do not expect anything of him, other than to eat, sleep, and make it to his part time job (barely) he is fine. Most days that he works, he doesn't eat before he goes because he is too lazy to get out of bed early to make something. If I don't have supper made, and there is no pre packaged food in the house, he just doesn't eat. H stays up all night on his computer and sleeps all day. When I took his computer away , he told me it was his property, and that by taking it, I was stealing it. When I was away for work, he removed the lock from my bedroom door so that I could not "escape" him when he wanted to argue with me. I am hoping, someday, that he will realise I have done this "for" him, not "to" him. I honestly love him so much. If he turned himself around, became motivated, got a full time job, or started going to school, and lost his attitude that the world owes him something, I would be happy to have him come home. Until then, I think this is a lesson he really needs to learn.

Angie - posted on 03/28/2012

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Don't feel like you failed...all kids are different, not to mention times are different. When my 17yo (almost 18) started doing what he wanted, not checking in and being extremely inconsiderate (not near to your extremes of damaging property/stealing cars), I cleaned out his room one night while he was at work, removed all his toys (PS2, surround sound, guitar, etc) & took them to my work, put a lock on his bedroom door & moved him to our den. When he got home, I told him if he was just going to use the house for a place to crash, I'll give him a place to crash on the pull out sofa bed. He was MAD and left that night. If your son is damaging your property & stealing your car, you should call the police and you should press charges. You can only protect him for so long and at some point he has to be responsible for his behavior, no matter what those consequences are. I tell mine I'll help them as long as they are helping themselves...and I am very happy to say, my 17yo is now almost 21, he did come back after a very rough year ~ but he got his own apartment 6 months ago, works 1 full time job and 1 part time job, our relationship is soooo much better, he is so much more appreciative and doesn't act like he's entitled to "kid" benefits..he surprised me last week by getting my grass cut before I got home from work & has let me know he'll make sure he takes care of it for me; he says mom, you've done so much for me for so many years, it's no big deal..he was impressed I didn't cry..lol..because it is a big deal to me that he works 7-3:30, then 5:30-8-9 ish, but makes the time in between...does my heart good especially compared to where we were at a few years ago. There is no right or wrong decision, there is no magical handbook (there seems to be some chapters missing from the parent handbook..lol)...believe in yourself and do what is best for your family..it sounds like he needs to grow up & until he figures that out & begins behaving with respect, he wouldn't be getting rides, he wouldn't have any video games to play, I wouldn't be paying for a cell phone, he'd be lucky to still have a bedroom, but certainly no TV in it, him telling you he isn't paying board wouldn't work at my house, but again there is no right or wrong answer, do what's best for you...try to talk to him as an adult and make realistic goals and consequences...best of luck to you :)

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