Troubled teen

Angie - posted on 04/23/2015 ( 1 mom has responded )




My husband died 6 months ago and now my 15 year old son won't go to school or listen to me at all. I've tried everything and no response. He just don't care and I don't know how to help. He will not go to counseling and if I try to take his games or tell him to do anything it just gets worse. I can let him control everything! I feel like he is just going to rot away, no school, no real friends, no rules, what do I do?


Ledia - posted on 04/23/2015




Take his games anyway--yes, his behavior will get worse when you do it because it will make him mad and he will want to rebel, but you have to do it anyway, and do it without backing down. He needs to know that his behavior is unacceptable, and that you are in control, and for the foreseeable future, you are his boss, and he will act accordingly if he wants any of the benefits you provide for him.

He needs grief counselling. He is NOT going to want to go--no one ever wants to go to grief counselling, but he needs it, and you probably do too. I can't even imagine losing my husband while raising a teenager. 15 is a turbulent age even when you have both parents and a stable home, now you are trying to keep his life on track by yourself while struggling through your own grief. It's not easy, and it's okay to get help.

Tell him you will both be going to counselling together. If he insists that he doesn't need it, tell him that's fine, but YOU do need it, and you need him to be on board and supportive. You've supported him in every way he needed you to over the last 15 years, so he needs to support you in this one endeavor. Don't give him the games back until he completes the therapy you want him to complete.

Make him go to school by eliminating desirable alternatives. In the morning when you leave for work, walk him out with you and lock up the house behind you so that he cannot get back in. Now, if he doesn't want to go to school, he has to find somewhere else to go, and he'll get hungry, so he'll have to find a way to get lunch. He might break a window to get back into the house, if he does, press charges for vandalism (He's 15 and it's not a felony, it will go away once he's 18, so it won't ruin his life, but it will scare him). If you give him pocket money, stop. Buy him what he needs, and resume spending money when he has earned an acceptable report card and attendance record.

He is 15, you shouldn't need to tell him to do anything, just let him live out the consequences of not doing what needs to be done. Make it clear that you are a team, not a set of dueling opponents.

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