Need help with my 18 year old who acts violently.

Gaynor - posted on 07/30/2011 ( 206 moms have responded )

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I have an 18 (nearly 19) year old boy who is violent when he loses at games and throws things around and smashes things. I have tried kicking him out but he always comes home a few days later saying "I am sorry." Until recently, I have managed to calm him down but now its taking its toll on me. He doesn't earn enough to get a place of his own, and I need advice or help. Can anyone help me please?

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Liz - posted on 08/02/2011

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If you are worried about his mental health and his safety, my question would be should he be assessed by a professional. it does sound like he has anger issues that he needs to learn to deal with,
you also need to set boundaries and stick by them which i know is very hard to do, but he wont change his behavior if he really doesnt have to. the other thing is is it just losing games at home? what else brings out these anger issues and are you afraid that he could physically hurt you? I know i am saying some difficult things but i am actually a youth Psychiatric nurse in Australia and these are things that i would look at, your safety and his. hope this helps and if you want me to explain anything further let me know. good luck

ShellyAnnette - posted on 08/02/2011

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He needs to be in an institution where he can get help without hurting someone. Don't subject yourself or anyone else to his abuse. And don't think that, at 18, you're doing him any favors by allowing this behavior. He needs help.

Rosaleigh - posted on 08/02/2011

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It's not really touch love, you need to speak with him at a calm time and ask him to get treatment for anger management, it is quite possible that he has no control over the adrenalin rush when he has lost at something, speak with your GP or his with your concerns. In a lot of cases it is PRACTICE and that means when he has become violent as soon as he is over it ask him why he reacted the way he did and then ask how he thinks it has affected everyone else who was included then ask how he should have behaved then ask him to please in the future stop and think before he reacts the way he does as there are going to be serious consequences like being asked to leave and will not be welcome back in the home until he has taken on professional help. Making him go into shared accomodation is not fair to the people who know nothing about his anger. There are other problems with your son and losing a game is a great excuse for him to release anger that has nothing to do with actually losing the game.
I hope this helps.

Patricia - posted on 08/02/2011

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Well I am guessing this is not something new and he has been like this for longer then we know. I guess my first question is have you tried professional help? Maybe this is something he can't deal with on his own. Throwing him out will never work,your a parent your whole life and you never stop getting your child who btw is an adult at his age. Please get him help and I hope your family get's threw this God Bless

Carla - posted on 08/02/2011

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B.I.L.Y...... because I love you go get that book and read it. Tough love now, trust me... it will hurt you now of the things you might have to go thru but if you don't both of you will always stay sick or it could get worse. Love him enough to do whatever it takes to make it better.

Gail - posted on 08/02/2011

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Suggest to him the he's not that sorry if he keeps behaving that way and, no, he may not come back until he's really sorry. Of course you and I know you'll let him home again but just make him think a little.

Deanne - posted on 08/02/2011

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Okay, seriously, this is hard.. I have a son that is just 19 and weighs in at over 200 lbs..and I'm just ben reading some of the comments that some of you have given and I'd like to see you spank a man that size.. I've tried it.. LOL.. doesn't work..
I know it's hard to go through this with your son. We've been and are still going through trying times with ours. For the anger, I do agree - something needs to be done about that before someone gets hurt and he ends up regretting a mistake and the I'M SORRY doesn't work.. We've just gave our son two choices..It's hard, but tough love is sometimes something we have to do and there's no shame in doing it and then turning and closing the door before anyone sees a tear fall.. Being a mom has so many ups and downs.. and remember as you can see your not alone..Chin up women..shoulders back and go with your heart.. you are important and sometimes what's best for mom does come first.. hugs

Joyce - posted on 08/02/2011

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Do not give up on him. Get him into counseling. If the counselor does not involve the family, get another therapist. He has been doing this for some time. Address it and let him begin to work through the anger. The family needs to benefit from therapy as well. Follow your guy. Putting him out is not the answer. He will be the father of your grandchildren. Then what? Act now in a very pro-active way. He is classic bi-polar. Your family must feel awfully abused and held hostage. Helping your son benefits the whole family. Blessings~

Kalli - posted on 08/02/2011

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Tough love. My 18 yr old tried the same. He had to live in his car. I let the rest of the family know that they should not help him. A week later he was sorry. I talked to him. Went over the rules. Told him I had no time to be disrespected. Then told him it was time for him to go home. He begged. I repeated it was time for him to go. At this point. I let him know that he needed to think long and hard about the situation. And that he could come to visit the following friday. The next friday. We repeated the rules. Talked about the disrespect. Let him come home. With the knowledge that no warnings. The next episode would be for good. He graduated last yr. And now has move to go to college. But no more temper tantrums.

Ghislaine - posted on 08/02/2011

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You need to talk to him and explain his behaviour is unacceptable and if he can not control his temper he needs to leave the house its not because you dont love him or understand his issues regards paying his own way but you and any other members of your household have a right to feel safe at home and his temper is making you feel uncomfortable

Lindsey - posted on 08/02/2011

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please please please dont givre up on him, my son has just died tragically and im in turmoil that i should have helped him more- talk to him and help him as much as you can, tell him you love him and try to find out the deeper issues

Thaddea - posted on 08/02/2011

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Reading through all the replies, I believe Margaret Turner's advice is so far the best. I come from a culture where we parents give unconditional love to our children. He definitely needs your help and guidance. And it would be best to seek professional help.

Terri - posted on 08/01/2011

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Spank him. Plain and simple. Get someone to help you take a paddle to his ass and then help you gaurd him while he stands in a corner in time out for at least two hours, Make sure you have a supporting audience at the scene. A friend of mine had this done to her lazy mooching, smart-mouthed 25 year old son. He now holds down a job and treats his mother with more respect.

Samantha - posted on 08/01/2011

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Remove the violence from his world so he learns its not normal, movies, games, tv shows, music, clothing anything the promotes violece, hate, direspect and then stand firm with him, dont shout, scream, have any sort of angry outburst. He learnt this behavior from those that have raised him....

Patricia - posted on 08/01/2011

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I have been thinking about you and am concerned. I hope you have someone you trust, such as your pastor, who can give you a referral for help for you and your son. Immediately. Please do keep us informed.

Dawn - posted on 08/01/2011

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My advice is this: if he's going to behave like a child, treat him as a child. When a small child throws things, he has them taken away and isn't allowed to play with them until he learns to control himself and treat his things with better care. I would do the same. Though he's 18 years old and is legally an adult, he is still your child living in your house. Make house rules that he has to follow if he's going to remail in living with you and tell him the consequences for breaking each rule. If he throws something, put it away for a day or two and then give it back to him with a warning that next time it will be for a week. If he throws or breaks something of yours, charge him double what it costs to replace it (teenagers get the point much more effectively if it puts a strain on their wallets). If he doesn't clean up after himself, he loses his kitchen privileges. Those are just some examples that come to mind. Take charge of your home so he understands, without a doubt, that you're not going to tolerate his behavior any longer. Be firm, but not confrontational, and be honest.

Encouraging him to get some help to learn how to manage his anger may be a good idea as well. There are resources at the Department of Health is you need them.

I hope this helps. Hang in there and be strong. Thoughts and prayers are with you.

Jennifer - posted on 08/01/2011

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He needs you to get him to a psychiatrist immediately, or even an inpatient program for a few weeks. This behavior cannot be new. I have a child with a mood disorder, I know from personal experience. SHe is doing amazing and leaving for college in a few weeks. A year ago she was acting very similarly to your son. Her mood disorder is co-mingled with ADHD. Just saying that witht the proper help he can lead a norma productive life. Taking away things seems like a great idea for a normal child but for this type of child it is not the answer and does not work. I cannot tell you how many time we have taken away the cell phone, computer, ipod etc.... Good Luck, I know it is not easy to parent this type of child, I've been there and yes violently attacked by my daughter for saying the wrong things etc....

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All good answers ladies, but just a thought, start with taking back control, remove the games & explain that as long as this behaviour continues he won't get them back, perhaps give him constructive chores to do possibly as "punishment"

Cathie - posted on 08/01/2011

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call dr phil....he can help with that situation, and hell at 18 he is an adult, its time he start living his own life, i know it will hurt to say and do this but you have t...as others have said, its tough love!!!

Milla - posted on 08/01/2011

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Gaynor hi i feel for you its not a normal behaviour for a 18 year old to throw a mental when he hsnt won a game , i think the problems have been there since he was a child. have an actual conversation with him about his aggression problems, but kicking him outta the house isnt the answer, sorry but it isnt, two wrongs do not make it right in any ones page , why dont you suggest he do martial arts where they learn to control their aggressive behaviour...no matter what he is still your son, most people doa lot of things for attention, when was the last time you cuddled him and told him you loved him, good luck

Lisa - posted on 08/01/2011

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I would call the Police if acts out again he could hurt you or someone else! KICK HIM OUT ASAP...............DON'T BE A PUSHOVER.........HE'S TO OLD TO BE ACTING IN THIS MANNER!!!!!!!!

Amy - posted on 08/01/2011

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He needs help and as long as you let him back in when he comes home saying that he is sorry you are allowing the behavior to continue there are programs out there that can help him with housing and food go to your local social service building and ask them he needs to be set in a direction and set on path to either succed or fail and end up in jail you need to change your locks and he has NO access to the key.he is old enough to toughen up and grow up. don't hinder him from having to change and don't continue to let him think he can run your life he needs to know you are boss and you arn't backing down. good luck in your journey.

Afifah - posted on 08/01/2011

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Was he also violent as a child? If so, then his aggresive behavior is a learnt behavior that need to be unlearnt (you may need to consult a psychologist for this). If not, then probably there was an event that triggered it. Sounds like he can't handle frustation very good. I agree with other Moms to let him receive the consequences of his action. . You need to set and uphold boundaries and be firm in presenting the consequences. Yet let him know, you love him. It is not love to let him manipulate you, because he wil get worse. It might help to talk to his closest friends and cooperate with them to give him feedback. Sometimes people hear more willingly from friends than from family, especially parents. Good luck to both of you

Alyssa - posted on 08/01/2011

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Gaynor, there are no easy answers of course, but whatever you choose, choose wisely and be diligent. I spent some time counseling, having to undo some of the negative influences of abuse/violence from my past and learn how to set healthy boundaries. Prayer is certainly the first place I started and held fast to throughout the process. Surround yourself with positive influences whether it be close friends, a counselor, or a great book, you'll need the encouragement. There are a wealth of resources available and one of my personal favorites is Boundaries by Henry Cloud/John Townsend. Learning how to set healthy boundaries for yourself is a necessity in life. One very important thing to remember is that you can set boundaries for yourself, but you can't enforce your boundaries on others, in this case, your son, who can choose not to respect you, but YOU have a choice on how you respond to his behavior and what you tolerate in your home. Children (of all ages) NEED boundaries AND consequences to learn by it teaches them that they are loved as well as how to love and respect others. Good behavior HAS to be modeled to them by the same token, so be prepared & have a plan for those moments when his behavior worsens or tension arrises so you don't loose control when it counts. Think it through...write down some things you will try and what actions you will take if he becomes aggitated or violent again. Take the emotion out of the situation (for you) so you can think clearly when it matters, focus on your plan at that moment and what your actions need to be. If he is violent toward you or you are in fear for his safety or yours, it is very important to seek out someone who is qualified to help. A counselor is a great mediator and confidant. Once you establish your plan of action, communicate with him clearly what your actions will be based on his behaviour so that you're not reacting to a situation without a plan, having a good plan means you'll be more successful. Try talking to him if he's open to that when everyone is calm, ask him questions that will provoke thought and encourage conversation between you, try to leave your emotions out of the conversation, emotions can put him on the defensive and cloud your judgement allowing the conversation to go in the wrong direction. The goal is to help him and to help you. NEVER forget one thing, to give yourself GRACE to fail, then regroup and keep trying, we all fail sometimes, it's how we all learn. Like Margaret Turner said, if his violence puts himself or anyone else in harms way, you should seek professional help from someonw with experience. Remember, with a good plan and persistence, things can and will get better...don't loose hope!

Dawna - posted on 08/01/2011

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Hi Gaynor...this is the first time I've ever replied to a posting so here it goes. My son was first diagnosed with Bipolar NOS and Intermittent Explosive Disorder at the age of 3 and has seen his psychologist and psychiatrist since then. He is now 7 yrs old and still having issues with his extreme anger 'rages'. These rages come on at any given time and at any given place. He's no longer in school but does attend after hrs schooling because he's too violent to be around the other children. When his rages hit it takes 3-4 grown adults to take him to the floor and hold him until he calms down. And yes, we have the video game problem as well, even if it's just a game of bowling and he loses. This also happens with any competitive arena, from board games to chess. Shame on your son's school for not helping you and pointing you in the right direction because your son seems to have had serious

issues going on and no one became his voice, as he was too young to vocalize his problems. Since the time to grasp the problem then has already past, please do not act hasty now by throwing him out. I can't believe the 'mothers' that have posted that he's acting like a spoiled brat, or he needs taught a lesson. He sounds to me like he needs someone to finally step up to the plate and address the 'elephant in the room', so to speak. He may not even realize he has these issues. I know when my son has a rage, it's like a different child has taken over. His eyes glaze over, his breathing gets fast and heavy, and he kicks, punches, scratches, and says the most horrific things. When it's over, he returns to normal, like a light switch has turned back on, and he's my wonderful child again. His doctors say he will forever battle the demon of mental illness and we try as best we can with meds to make it a little easier. If you approach your son about counseling and he refuses, then you try again. If he remains adamant about it, then yes, i agree that you will have to practice tough love. He is now of age where he has to want to help himself, he cannot be forced against his will. I hope my story has helped even just a little bit. Good luck and God bless.

Christina - posted on 08/01/2011

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show him love ...give him a hug !!! and keep your heart and door open for him !!!

Angie - posted on 08/01/2011

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My best guess is there is something deeper going on. I would get him to a doctor and and into therapy. Then see a good therpist yourself.

Christina - posted on 08/01/2011

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Show him alot of love and hugs ..... Its going to be hard ... but you really need to talk to him .. find out what he wants in his life , where does he want to be in his life , what would make him happy , what his interest are .... just talk to him...and make him feel WELCOME !! not kicking him out , he's your son ..he should alls feel like it's his home ...
I know alot .. I have two boys ..26 28 yrs

Tanya - posted on 08/01/2011

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Celebrate Recovery is a 12 step program for every issue, like anger, sexual addiction, sexual/physical/emotional abuse,
Codependency, it works to walk into a program with others who get where you are and what's going on. He needs some accountability with other who get it.Plug Celebrate Recovery in your browser and you can find one in your area, it is a global program that is free. I hope you check it out and go get the help you need. God bless...

Angie - posted on 08/01/2011

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I would suggest spending more quality time with him, talking to him about HIS issues, interests and struggles- take a little time per week or per day making a list of things HE likes to do OUTSIDE the house- young men like him need a LOT of constructive things to do and they still love our presence -

Tanya - posted on 08/01/2011

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Celebrate Recovery is a program for 18 yrs old and up. It's a 12 step group for every issue there is, anger being one of them. Find one by plugging Celebrate Recovery in your brower. It's for everyone with any problem, sexual/emotional/physical abuse, Codependence, Sexual Addiction, drugs and alcohol addiction. He can meet others he can identify with and get some accountability and friendships that will enourage him. It's a free program. I hope that helps!!

SONYA - posted on 08/01/2011

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Everyone of you have given this lady lots of good advice but lets get real here..for 1 why is hie like this? its because he was like this when he was little had to be if you had taken control when he was little this wouldn't happen its time for the law to kick in he is 18 yrs old its time for him to step off, im sorry but i have seen this with friends that had children my sons age and tthrew temper tam and she didnt do nothing to him and now a few is doing time and a few still on the streets battling with people..i didnt take my sons around kids that got mad cause they didnt get their way i have had friends get mad at because i wouldnt let my sons play with theirs because they wanted to fight or seen their hit their mom, yea their moms no way i was gonna let my sons see that..they were not gonna grow up and disrepect the person that brought them into this world.. i taught my children to repect and others had to respect them so ladies tell her whatever you want but im sorry its starts at home first

BARBARA - posted on 08/01/2011

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It sounds like your son may have an autism spectrum disorder. I would also like to know what to do when these kids are too old to live at home. Where do they go? There must be somewhere that will be able to help them or give them community help. I'm waiting to hear what others are telling you.

Albretta - posted on 08/01/2011

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get him professional help he may need anger management classes to learn to control his temper.

Annette - posted on 08/01/2011

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My sister has the same problem. She is 17 almost 18 years old and yells and gets into fights all the time. Calls our mom all sorts of names and throws things all over the place. She was in counseling for a long time and we found out she was ADHD and was on pills for it. It helped for a while, but she hated taking the meds. Ever consider getting him help? They have rehab centers for people like him. If he does not get help soon, something serious could happen to you or even a family member. Kicking him out won't solve anything if he keeps coming back. You will have to stand your ground, take things from him, tell him to get a job. See a therapist or something. He needs HELP!

Patricia - posted on 08/01/2011

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I see good replies. Is there a TOUGH LOVE group in your area that you can attend? They really helped me in the past.

Annete - posted on 08/01/2011

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Set house rules, if he cannot obey, sorry he will have to leave home sooner or later he will do you an injury and then what? he will again tell you sorry, you have to try tough love it will be difficult but for both your good you must do it

Kelley - posted on 08/01/2011

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I have so many questions that your paragraph does not answer, so it's hard to answer something without all of the details. Is he diagnosed with any mental health issues that would cause behaviors such as this? If so, it would be helpful to obtain appropriate treatment for him (mh counseling)...if not, then he clearly should know better and know that this is not acceptable. Does he work? Does he act like this at his job? If he doesn't work, he should spend energy in finding employment so to help him focus his negative energy into something more positive. If he continues to act like this and wants to reside in your home, then there have to be mutually-agreed upon ground rules. I tell clients of mine to start with things that are not-negotiable and then work on the issues that are...when I read 'games' I interpret that as video games...if that's what the case is, then perhaps limiting what he has in the household as far as games or how long he plays. He needs to understand - they are just games and if he can't enjoy them for the recreational purpose they are intended, then he should find something else constructive (and positive) to occupy his time. If he has any younger siblings, then this behavior absolutely cannot be tolerated. GL!

Maureen - posted on 08/01/2011

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Tough love!! If he needs counselling, send him with a list of state agencies. There are so many great resources to send him packing with!!

Please do not take this as an insult, but it would benefit you to find a counselor for yourself. Most of have "issues" that we don't have the objective ability to identify, whether it be co-dependence or being an enabler, etc.

Your son will not have a prayer if you continue to allow him in your home, and you will not have peace!!

Good luck!!

P.S: My brother will be 49...not a prayer!!

Gina - posted on 08/01/2011

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YOu are enabling the boy , he is now an adult and needs to get things right on his own. The money he earns, does he spend it on needless things, is he gambling, drinking, smoking, YOu have got ot let him make his own decisiions now. It is called tough love.

Sonya - posted on 08/01/2011

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Have you considered contacting the television showed called Beyond Scared Straight? http://www.aetv.com/beyond-scared-straig...
I hear they do good things with kids who have issues like this. I've never been in your shoes so I'm not sure what I'd do as a mom. I know people think I'm weird for saying this, but some days I feel blessed that my son is severely disabled. We've got our issues to deal with, but we don't have the same teenage issues that others do!

Deanna - posted on 08/01/2011

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He needs to be held accountable and learn that we can's always get what we want or "win" every game. He's a man and needs to learn to learn that it's not winning that is important, but how you play the game. No disrespect you you, but he is playing you because he knows that he will win. Best of luck!

Jan - posted on 08/01/2011

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The would have/should have/could haves when he was younger really aren't going to help now. We all do the best we can with what we have to work with at the moment, whether it is money, skill, knowledge, training, whatever. The point is, I'm pretty much guessing that if she had been able to stop them when he was younger, she would have. It didn't happen whatever the reason, so the problem is what to do now. NOW he needs to be evaluated and treated for the problem.

Linda - posted on 08/01/2011

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Hi, I agree with Margaret Turner. He many have deep issues, he may need therapy, he may have chemical imbalances & not be able to control himself no matter how hard he tries or how much tough love you give him. Get him in for evaluation!!!!! The sooner the better for all. He has a lifetime of learning how to cope ahead and you deserve the peace knowing that you have done what you can to help. Taking/not taking him back is not always the answer. Will not taking him back trigger more rage? He NEEDS help. You also need the help of how to deal with his rages. God forbid he takes it out on you. Being hit by your child does not feel good on any level..

LaKiia - posted on 08/01/2011

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What?! This is absolutely crazy! It sounds like this has been going on for quite a while now - which means this should have nipped in the bud long before it got to this point. You basically have a grown man throwing a tantrum and tearing up your house. He has no respect for you and your home because (1) he doesn't have to work for anything, so there are no real consequences for his actions - and (2) he wasn't taught respect. At this point you need to give him an ultimatum.....Either get your attitude in check and go to anger management treatment or get out. PERIOD. And you need to mean exactly what you say. No going back on your word because you feel sorry for him. No one is going to do more to you than what you allow.

Cathy - posted on 08/01/2011

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I have a somewhat younger son than yours, 16, but when he got violent over video games a few years ago we took his game priveleges away. Then he could earn, and still does, the game time w/ respectful behavior. For each respectful day he earns 15 minutes of gaming. If he's violent or disrespectful during his game time the game goes off. You'd think the games we let him play are violent, but not so. But as far as kicking him out since he's older I think you need to encourage him and expect him to get a better paying job or an additional job so he can live on his own. I'm realizing as a mom of 3 teen, one who is already on her own at 18 that the best thing aside from teaching them right from wrong is to teach them how to llive independantly and to get along well w/ others. Teens are challenging aren't they? Hope this helps.

Kim - posted on 08/01/2011

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Michelle I have a question for you...obviously he must of failed more than one class in order for him not to have enough credits to pass and graduate from the 12th grade...If he fails again, what are your plans then? Here the parents are forced to be invovled with all school work and activities. We have to sign and read any notes the teachers leave on homework etc...they no longer except just the student failing alone. Just curious! Have you thought about him getting his GED and moving on to a vo tech or college? Always wishing everyone the best!

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