At a loss - Trouble with a teen and he's not even mine :(

Sam - posted on 08/13/2012 ( 1 mom has responded )

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OK..now before I start, I really don't want to be judge here, I need some advice not judgement PLEASE.

My 14 year old daughter has been dating her 14 year old boyfriend (we will call him Joe), it will be 2 years very soon. He is very sweet with her, holds the door open, brings her to see movies, carries her books to class,everthing that a teen girl wants in a boy.

Being the 'gamer', he has a few 'choice' friends but is very well-liked by everyone. You can consider him an introvert; always very quiet, doesn't like being in crowded areas, doesn't speak unless it is about a subject he is knowledge about, loves sports, an above average student; but needs his alone time to recharge the batteries. He aspires to be in the army or a police officer. I think he is on the road to throwing away this dream.

Now summer is almost over, and well, the kids got older. Different influences have crept up and are pulling him down the wrong path. Well, I would say the influences have always been there, just dormant. His family is a loving family - but an unorthodox one. His parents are a little on the hippy-ish side. Sad to say, but his mother is a functioning alcoholic and his dad is a toker (smokes pots). They themselves are like adult teens, always excited and looking for the next party. They pay their taxes, pay their bills but when they walk through the door after a day of work, pop goes the beer - and this is 7 days a week. He has very little guidance however, being the introvert, he was always up in his room 'gaming', he didn't want to go running out to be with a big gang of friends, this was too trivial for him. His parents didn't really need to look after him.

He was introduced to pot about a year ago with his cousin (lets just say that THAT famiy is the mirror image of Joe's family times 1000) -
he had told my daughter that he wasn't going to start to smoke cause he thought it was 'shit' and thought people were stupid for doing it.

In any case, it is now a year later, and Joe has started to smoke, a lot. He has made a few friends from one of the summer sports teams he is on and they smoke. He has lied to my daughter and has avoided her to be able to go with these people. I have, of course, tried talking to his mom and well, the answer I got was pretty much, he is a smart kid, he is making new friends, they are looking up to him, all kids try new things, I'm not worried, my daughter did the same thing and look at her now, she is fine etc, etc, etc.

Joe is, for a 14 year old, completely taken by my daughter. Recently she told him that she wasn't sticking around if this was what he was going to do and lie about it...that whole trust issue for her was a deal breaker. Now we are two weeks later, I am not worried about my daughter, she will dump him if he lies to her again but she can't and won't stop him from seeing his friends, which she knows he is still smoking with. Knowing my daughter, she won't put up for that for very much longer, what I am afraid of is losing this bright, intelligent, kind-hearted boy to drugs if she does break up with him.

I have tried talking with him, using my past experiences as reference (I didn't do the drugs, I just hung out with people who did) I thought I had gotten to him until the last time I spoke with him and that typical teenage glazeover came to his eyes....moms of teenagers know that 'oh god she's talking to me again' look. Please anyone, insight, experience, I could use a little help here. I don't know what to do.

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Bobbie - posted on 08/18/2012

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Hi Sam,
I have found myself reaching out to many children over the years. Just because they aren't yours doesn't mean you don't care deeply. It will sound very simple and easy to do once you read how I have turned things around.
To do list
First -No more lectures on smoking or his friends, stop completely. Why? Because he isn't doing it for the simple reasons that you think he is. In hanging out with friends and smoking he is self medicating to stop feeling the sadness of his loneliness, or family issues or a million other things he hasn't yet told you or your daughter about.
Second - spend time doing things with him, adopt him mentally. Call him yourself and invite him to go out for pizza. Call and say lets go shopping for some new music. As he spends QUALITY time with you doing all those things and getting the attention he never gets at home, the time spent with these friends will lesson. It will take time and patience. There seems to be a lot of hurt and disconnect there from years of being ignored and shut off from affection.
Also, if you feel comfortable about it and your daughter understands that you care deeply for him as if he were your son, touch him a lot. You have no idea how much it can mean to a child to have you gently touch his back. They respond so well to touch. I had a boy that was a fighter. A real bully and I needed to turn him around. I looked into touch therapy. It made him feel so good about himself. Really simple isn't it? Things that you do for your daughter, the attention and affection you show her may be completely lacking in his life. He will crave the way he feels when he is with you and your daughter. And not only will it steer him away from the people that are going no where but it will also make him feel that he isn't doing it on his own.
Stepping up to the plate is so easy when you really care about a child. Just follow your heart and smile a lot. Accepting him as he is and asking him to share mundane things like hang out on the back porch and snapping peas, whatever it is you are doing that day. Acting like you just like having him around and comment simply that you missed him when you don't see him for a day or so, will make him feel part of your family without effort. That will be the biggest heartfelt feeling he will ever have. In turn he will want to please you, earn your respect and spend time with you.
Best of luck and congratulations on your new son! :)

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