Can I "force" my 17 year old son to do anything to improve his future chances of employment?

(20 Posts)
fedup44 Wed 17-Oct-12 19:01:24

My son is 17 and in his second year at college doing A levels - he is only doing 2, having dropped two so will not be going to university and has said this himself. He was in danger of getting kicked out at the end of last year so is on his last warning now.

He hasn't seen a careers advisor and there was an apprenticeship talk yesterday which to my knowledge he never went to. He hasn't a clue what he wants to do, does no homework at all and spends all his time at home on the x-box, youtube and facebook.

He smokes cannabis whenever he gets the chance which is not often now as we have stopped ALL money due to this. He roams around the park with his friends at weekends - the odd time they have been to a pub but he won't be able to do this anymore because of no money.

I have told him he needs to start doing things that will look good on his CV such as a part time job or voluntary work but he takes absolutely no notice.

When will he get a grip? He is 18 at the end of July and I have visions of him still being like this then. We will not tolerate him lying in bed all day when we are work and he knows this.

He will get a lot of money for Christmas as we have a very big family (usually around £400 - £500) but this will be for clothes etc, not to spend, due to the cannabis problem mentioned above.

I know teenage boys are not good at looking beyond next week but has he plenty of time to turn everything around or do we need to start putting the pressure on. We have stopped him having cash - the only other thing I can think of his turning the internet/x-box off if he doesn't get a grip in the new year.

We all know how tough it is out there - we are slap bang in the middle of two very large towns and every shop is looking for Christmas staff but he just can't be bothered. If he can't get a part-time job this Christmas then I can't see that he will ever get one before he is 18.

Does anyone have any ideas how to improve this situation?

lljkk Wed 17-Oct-12 20:03:39

How can you be sure he won't spend the birthday money on cannabis?
Are you charging him any rent?
I'd be twitching with temptation to flog his Xbox on Ebay.

fedup44 Wed 17-Oct-12 21:11:37

he is not allowed any cash - if he wants anything I have to go with him - he can't be trusted with money. God knows what will happen when he does get a job and has money but we will cross that bridge when we come to it.

I said to my husband earlier that if he does not have anything lined up by his 18th birthday he certainly won't be getting any birthday money- that will be for his keep.

One of his friends had a temp christmas job last year but his mum applied for it online and drove him there. I think this is going a bit too far

fedup44 Wed 17-Oct-12 21:12:49

He is at college so no rent.

gemblags1980 Thu 18-Oct-12 01:21:59

Hi sorry to hear you bare having a hard time at the moment. I work with young people in a similar situation to your son and there families . Here are a few practical suggestions you could try, but one size does not fit all, the same dies not work for everyone, so these are just suggestions.

A) his Channabis use, to a greater or lesser degree will be playing a large pat in his lack of motivation at the moment, so has a parent it may be worth you doing some research, and having a chat to someone, so that you can get support for yourself, and discuss some ways of discussing the issue with your son. Www.talktofrank.com is a good starting point for generic advice and they can sign post to local services.

B) do you have anyone within your extended family that your son gets on particularly well with, who can act s a facilitator so you can both talk bout how you feel and be listened to, to agree a way forward or perhaps at college.

C) if not if you google mediation for young people, and the area you live , you will be able to find organisations that can support in a more formal way, some may even use Skype or online as a tool to engage, which may Appel more to your son, as its using a tool he feels comfortable with. It's very popular where I work!
D) if you can manage to get your son off the x box, could you research together the online resources that are available ? I ask this because pet of your sons reluctance to engage with the careers advisor could be because he has lost direction, and is not sure what he wants to do anymore, so if you did some research together first, and prepared for the visit, so that he knows hat to ask or expect,the visit is more likely to go well therefore he is more likely to want to go.

E) try and find things to actively prise him for each day, I know this may be difficult right now, but everyone responds eventually to praise, and he wasn't always like he is now , try to be consistent and genuine , because then he will be more likely to believe you.

Remember you are his mum, and know him best, and you have got him this far, it will all come right in the end.
Good luck, gemma

BeingBooyhoo Thu 18-Oct-12 01:29:00

what do you mean by 'force' him? how would you force him? and what would you force him to do? you cant physically make him do anything. if he doesn't want to improve his prospects he wont and he will have to face the consequences of trying to keep himself alive without a job (i'm assuming you will not have him living at home beyond full time education age if he isn't going to contribute to the house or at least try and get a job)

monsterchild Thu 18-Oct-12 01:37:25

The only thing I can think is remove the xbox. that and the weed is keeping him from doing anything. And why no rent? He's old enough to start putting something into the family pot, or at least buying his own food or paying for his own stuff. It seems you're rewarding him for doing nothing.

Now, I realize he is your son, and you aren't really going to cut him off, but coupled with some of gemblas ideas, perhaps you can motivate him?

sashh Thu 18-Oct-12 02:02:58

It seems to me that you are letting him behave like this.

Is there any point in him taking 2 A Levels? Will he even get them with no homework?

If he continues to not do homework pull him out of college and make him look for a job. Make him get up in the morning, if you are at work then lock him out of the house and show him where the library is.

He doesn't need an xbox and he only needs the internet to job hunt.

Brycie Thu 18-Oct-12 02:23:45

Write ACV with him

drop it in all the letterboxes and the shops up the road.

money coming in (hopefull)

along with the money, eventually a realisation that he could be doing it vor the rest of life unless he shape up

HermioneHatesHoovering Thu 18-Oct-12 04:07:58

Take the router cable with you when you go to work.

Where is he getting the cannabis from if he has no money??

VintageRainBoots Thu 18-Oct-12 04:20:32

Perhaps you can start charging him rent when he turns 18 so he has to get a job?

brighterfuture Thu 18-Oct-12 06:37:48

fedup44 sounds like you have my son!

I don't think the suggestion to pull him out of school is a good one. At least he is in a contained environment in school where he can't smoke and has something other than xbox going on. Even if he fails his exams its keeping him busy until he hopefully matures a bit ( this is how i'm having to view my Ds schooling at the moment)

You could claim the router is faulty, disable it / put a password with timed slots for each user or maybe take the fuse out the plug of his x box ! My ds lost his laptop {hmm] so at least he spends less time on screens now smile

I tell all the relatives to give amazon vouchers instead of cash , though ds managed to order a bong online with his !

I think it's the cannabis which is the real demotivator it just takes away all drive and zest for anything but being stupid and eating.

Just don't give up on him. try to keep in your mind the man you believe he could become so he can share that vision too and hopefully he will eventually get bored of doing nothing and grow up a bit.

Is there anyway you could get him to do a bit of voluntary work like soup kitchen etc, just so he can get a bit real about the life of addiction. My ds was given a court order to work for the red cross and I think it was an eye opener.

Mrsjay Fri 19-Oct-12 09:34:50

I would tell him that once he finishes college he has to find somewhere else to live as he can't sponge of you anymore he is sucking the life out of you probably because he is stoned half the time he won't want to do anything

say you are going to start charging him rent as you cant afford to feed him anymore , be tough I had to with dd1 she wasn't on drugs but arsing about doing nothing when she wasn't at school and her college last year was only 2 days a week that is the rest of the week to lie in bed , she is now working doing her degree and starting an internship in march,

flow4 Sat 20-Oct-12 00:56:15

When saw your thread title, I was just going to answer with a flippant 'no', but then I read your post...

I'm sorry you're having such a hard time with your DS, fedup. I have been in a very similar situation. It's miserable and stressful. sad

Unfortunately (for you) you can't 'force' him to do anything. He's 17, and he has to do it for himself. People will no doubt come along and tell you to do this and that, but everyone I have heard (or met) who has actual experience of parenting a teen like this will agree that you only have two 'choices', really: you can throw him out, or you can wait.

If you decide to wait it out, you need to look after yourself. Do nice things as often as you can: go out with friends, take up a hobby, have a massage... Whatever will help you relax. This isn't a luxury, it's a survival essential.

It doesn't sound like he is being very obnoxious... But I am aware that it's difficult and quite taboo to talk about it if your child is behaving appallingly, so many people don't mention it at all. I'm also conscious that if your DS is smoking skunk rather than 'normal' forms of cannabis, he may well be being aggressive or even violent. I hope not.

I agree with brighter that it's much better to keep him in school if poss. If he can find an apprenticeship or job, fair enough - but otherwise do everything you can to keep him there. However bad it is now, it will be worse if he's hanging around all day doing nothing.

With any luck, he's just suffering from lazy-arse-itis, in which case he'll grow out of it in a year or two. smile

My own son had to get right to the edge before he started get his act together. If you'd like to read about it, have a look at my post at the bottom of p1 on this thread.

Good luck!

Brycie Sat 20-Oct-12 09:10:16

Flow4 that's amazing, reading your post on the other thread. Thank you for linking it. I have one thing only to add - that when they do chose their route it becomes quite exciting to watch them do what they want to do, rather than what we want or what is expected of them. Mine is doing something different not just from his cohort but from his parents and just about everyone he knows, and it's really quite exciting for us because for the first time it's what he really wants to do. Anyway thanks again. Fantastic post.

maybenow Sat 20-Oct-12 09:26:40

My younger brother was exactly the same (a bit of a shock after me who was dead set on university). He left school at 16 and tried a few college courses but never really liked them or lasted and also trained as a bus driver but hated that too. He smoked a lot, even stole money for cannabis.

His saving grace was a part time job in a kitchen as a KP - he's now a chef in a very well thought of gastro pub.

From the age of 16 to about 21 he appeared to be useless at home but he actually responded well to both the banter and the heirarchy of a professional kitchen.

I somehow doubt that most retail jobs would provide that for your DS but maybe if he could get a job in shop where he will be surrounded by likeminded people would work (Game maybe?) - I'd suggest thinking a bit wider than xmas retail.. but I think that the part time job is key and if i were you i would not apply for him, but give him some quite extreme 'support' in applying.

flow4 Sat 20-Oct-12 12:31:23

"When they do chose their route it becomes quite exciting to watch them do what they want to do, rather than what we want or what is expected of them" << Bricie, that's a great way of looking at it. My DS isn't quite there yet, but I can see a glimpse of it... smile

TiAAAAARGHo Sat 20-Oct-12 12:57:33

My dads friends took the approach with their (7) children that if they were not in full time education, they had to pay rent or leave home.

fedup44 Tue 23-Oct-12 21:19:38

He said to me the other day he was thinking of doing an extra year at college which I don't mind as long as he is focused on something and does quite well this year. Things are slowly improving - he now has 99 per cent attendance at college and no lates which is a miracle for him.

I think he is in denial about being 18 next year and doesn't want to face up to it. Whatever happens, in January I will insist that I go to see the careers teacher in college with him. I don't know how common it is for parents to accompany their children to things like this but I feel I must. His last exam will be in early June and he definitely can't spend the whole of the summer in bed/on his xbox, so he will need to have made plans to start another college course in September or have a full time job by mid to late June. He knows it won't be an option to do nothing.

I work with a lot of people whose sons/daughters have never had a part time job and some are 19 now, which I think is a bit ridiculous but they don't seem to see it as a problem.

The problem I have is that I connect everything back to cannabis - he is not smoking very much of it as as I said above he gets absolutely no money into his hand and I am determined to stick to it.

We told him about some part time jobs at Iceland the other day and he has dropped his CV off so that's a start.

Flow4 - I remember reading your post last week and I agree some people haven't got a clue how hard it is to parent extremely difficult teens - they are not like other teenagers and push the boundaries to the limit until they have to change or reach rock bottom. My son is nowhere near rock bottom so I don't expect any major changes soon. I get frustrated with some of the replies as other people's teenagers appear to be "normal".

I think it was you who said there is nothing that can't be sorted out except prison or a girl having a baby and that certainly gives me hope - when he was about 15/16 we always said there was a 50% chance of him going down the criminal route and I don't feel like this anymore so things have definitely improved

RuthPennyFaith Sun 28-Oct-12 07:24:33

my son is similar to yours, only a bit older, he's nearly 20. My problem is that he's so depressed with applying for jobs and never getting a response one way or the other. He has no experience of working at all, and although his GCSEs are OK, his A-levels are just in music and music tech. It's really tough waiting it out; a friend recently said young adults are essentially teenagers until about the age of 25. I don't know if I'll make it that long. He has become almost nocturnal, going out at 11.30 p.m., coming back in the early morning. I just don't know how to encourage or convince him to keep trying for jobs. I can't not feed and care for him, but I am not giving him any money. What to do?

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