Thank you to both of you - very helpful. And I particularly like the bit about 'can't change his behaviour, only the way we react to it'
He is currently in bed (still - despite him telling me last night he was getting up early 'cos he has a lot to do today), but I have decided to just let him and not get stressed about trying to make him get up and do something. It's his life and his choice I suppose.
Now it's just a matter of deciding what our bottom line is
hello soaccidentprone. I do feel for you as am in a similar position now, DS is nearly 18 and life at home is hell. We tried family counselling but he refused to take part so i'm really glad your managing that.
I agree with everything flow4 says, her advice is good. Horrible as it is locking the drinks cupboard was a good move.
I've only recently noticed the beneficial effects of looking after myself. If I don't i'm a ratty cow with DH and DDs because all my energy goes into doing and saying the right things to DS - treading on eggshells. The girls, in particular, so need us to be a strong family at this godawful time.
Saying that, something else we've fairly recently realised is that DS appears to feel hard done by, not as loved as his younger sisters. I believe that our main role, as parents, with him now is to show him that we will always love him, no matter what he throws at us. This is a safe house for him and we will always be here. I only wish he'd believe me at the moment when I tell him this!
But as flow4 says he needs to make home as repulsive as possible in order to push himself out of the nest (if he's not pushed first!) thereby 'cutting the apron strings'.
Hang in there, your job's nearly done and it will be worth it when he grows out of teenage mode and reflects. And he will. Goodluck
Last year was like this for me, sop. You're not alone.
After a couple of years spent desperately trying every tactic in the book, I realised I really only had two options: throw him out or hang on in there.
When I decided not to throw him out (it was too close to call for several months) I realised I needed a kind of 'survival plan'. MNetter Maryz was very helpful here, with advice and reality-checks. My 'rules' and 'survival tips' became:
- No violence or threats of violence. Call 999 if there is any.
- Work out your 'bottom line'. Decide what you absolutely cannot tolerate and/or must have from your DC - the non-negotiable things that your DS must/must not do if he is to continue living with you. I found my 'bottom line' was much lower than expected But I found that there was a 'line in the sand', and that when I worked it out, I could take back some control - e.g. call the police if there was violence; fit locks to prevent theft; insist that he did something constructive; etc...
- Keep other rules to an absolute minimum, and don't include any rules you can't actually enforce.
- Keep on giving 'moral messages' about bad behaviour, even if you are powerless to stop it: I said things like "I can't stop you doing that, but it's still wrong".
- Just ignore the people who say or imply that you should be able to enforce certain things, and/or that you should do X, Y or Z to make your DC behave. You will almost certainly have tried absolutely everything already, and found that nothing works. You are not doing anything wrong: it is just that when you have a 'difficult' teen, the 'normal' rules do not apply.
- Try for as much 'emotional distance' as possible (I am bad at that). Rise above it as much as possible. ( Maryz's advice is to treat 'em like they're an annoying lodger!)
- Bear in mind that it's just a stage, and it does pass. I read somewhere that some kids have to behave appallingly and make home a horrible place to live so that they can 'break free' emotionally and be able to leave. That rang true for me, and I found it a comfort.
- Look after yourself and do nice things regularly. I dealt with shit (even pretty major shit) much better if I had recently had a good laugh with friends, or a swim, or a massage. I felt guilty at first but soon realised it wasn't a luxury; it was a survival essential!
You might like to join us on this thread... Lots of views and advice and sympathetic listening ears
He is not longer at school - asked to leave due to constant lateness/not turning up to lessons
Ditto college - missed 2 days (as he was ill) and was late 4 time in 2 weeks
Had 2 police cautions for shoplifting. Now had a letter from debt collecting agency re Primark. Apparently there was a group of them in there - one of them was a friend of a friend and swapped the labels over to get her item cheaper. Was interviewed by security and now had a letter claiming £173 for staffing costs. Didn't think to mention this had happened.
Was caught travelling on the train yesterday using a child ticket. BIL had to buy him an adult ticket as I didn't have enough cash to pay (and neither did ds)
Punched DH on the head a few weeks ago when they were having an argument. They don't get on at all, and rarely talk to each other.
His room is a hovel - I'm surprised his gf will go in it.
So he is currently a NEET (despite getting 4 B's and 4 C's GCSE), and we now don't even get child benefit for him.
His dad committed suicide when he was little, and he has had counselling for this in the past.
We are currently having family therapy - we have had 2 group sessions, DS has been to 2 sessions by himself, and DH is at one tonight.
He acts as though the world owes him a favour, and that he doesn't have to conform.
We have agreed certain rules within the house - but he tries really hard not to stick to them. I try hard to enforce our agreements ie tonight when I got home from work his gf was here. She is not supposed to be here on a Monday evening, as otherwise she would be here all the time. At 6 o'clock I told her it was time for her to go. It took her 45 minutes to get ready and leave the house
I am not sure I like the person he has become, and really don't know what to do.