To give 16 year old ultimatum- shape up or leave?(99 Posts)
DS (16) left school in June and has done NOTHING since - he's basically been sat on his arse for almost 6 months, going to bed at 4am, getting up mid afternoon and going out with his mates until gone midnight.
He refused to go to college, half arsed attempt to get an apprentiship but failed and then eventually landed a job in McDonald's ... however he pissed about with that for weeks afterwards making excuses about why he couldn't start until he eventually gets a proper start date two weeks ago and goes and breaks his hand punching a wall over a disagreement about his girlfriend. Therefore on his first day, he had to tell the manager he couldn't work due to broken hand. I don't even know if he still has the job as he won't discuss it.
Lately he hasn't even been coming home, he goes out and stays out, often for a couple of days at a time.
I've just come back off holiday and he's left the house in a shit hole and has blatantly used it as a hotel for his mates.
I'm at the end of my patience with him. He's disrespectful and not nice to be around. Causes so much tension in the house and we don't even know where he is half the time or whether he's coming back or not. Last night DH waited up until 1.30am for him to come home (not his dad, his dad is a useless sack of shit) only for DS1 to pass the message on that he'd just text him to say he wasn't coming back.
AIBU to tell him he needs to find somewhere else to live if he can't live by normal family rules and expectations?
It sounds hard but I do think that is a bit too far, based on the information you've given.
I lived on my own when I was 16 (not because I behaved similarly to your DS but because my mum and I don’t get along, I had enough by 16 and just left and lived in my dads empty flat) and survived so for him to temporarily live with family would be fine.
I don’t think YABU, I think he needs a kick up the bum to make him realise that his behaviour is not acceptable. If anything to help him for the near future when he’s classed as an adult and will need to function like a decent human being.
Hopefully when he does start his job, things might improve?
Well no, there is a lot you can do before you kick him out
Wake him up and get him out of his bedroom in the morning
Turn off the WiFi and remove his gaming devices from his room
Cut off any money you give him
What were his GCSEs like?
What was he like when still at school?
I think you need to make a stand. So yes. But tell him he is welcome home when he sorts his shit out.
When did this behaviour start? Was it related to your split from his Dad? How is his self-esteem?
But to address the question with limited info, I think at this age punishments are menaingless. Turning off the WiFi will not turn him into an upstanding citizen, but it will make him angry, or at any rate, frustrated.
I think situations like this can be so fraught because no one can justify their actions quite like a touchy teen. While it's tempting to want to 'punish' it out of them, it doesn't work, even slightly. The risk with asking him to leave is that there's nowhere for him to go (unless there's a big drip feed) - he has no income, and even if he did, affording somewhere might prove difficult to say the least.
As such, he'll end up sofa surfing. That is NOT the way to turn a wayward teen around in the right direction! Friendships end up strained to their limits and sometimes broken altogether, and you end up rubbing shoulders with the bad and the sad and the mad. Getting and keeping a job proves damn near impossible (try being up bright eyed and bushy tailed after a night at a mate of a mates who was partying until 3 and then everyone kept walking in the lounge, banging the light on, slurring 'Sawwwwry' and wandering out again) so you need to find other ways of earning money, none of which are palatable.
And so begins the slow slide into the dregs of humanity.
I know some people might think I'm being ridiculously over dramatic there but the thing is, even if he does somehow manage to keep mind body and soul together that rejection will hurt like hell, no matter how much of an arse he is being, and he isn't already a well adjusted teenager.
If he was my boy, I'd be fuming with exasperation, but I wouldn't throw him out. No way.
It can be and often is a phase, albeit a VERY infuriating one. A good friend of my brothers from secondary school went through it - he is now a policeman, a family man, he came through it. There is hope!
His GCSEs were poor, really he should do them again but refuses. I split with his dad when he was 4 years old but he's always been difficult. He's aggressive and violent, foul mouthed, smokes dope and drinks alcohol. I've stopped giving him money now saying he needs to go out and earn it if he doesn't want to go to college but that hasn't had any impact.
What @AdalindSchade said. And is he's not in education, charge him board. Give him fair warning so he can get a job
Some people are in lala land.
'Charge him board' - and if he refuses? If he says 'ok then' but doesn't get a job and so doesn't have the money, what will you do? Go through the small claims court, evict him?
A lot of places won't rent to under 18s anyway.
I am not unsympathetic at all to OPs position here. It's an incredibly difficult one to be in. But there are no easy answers here. Approaching this scale of issue as if young Theo has just not been turning in his A level homework on time misses the point.
Exactly - so I charge him board but he has no money - what then? I tell him he has to get a job but he doesn't, what then? I feel so powerless.
To an extent you are, OP, and in a sense that is your power too.
I don't mean throwing your hands up and saying 'Right! I'm done with parenting now!' It's more acknowledging that this isn't your fault, there's very little to be done, but that that isn't your fault or responsibility.
It's a bit like being caught in a riptide: if you fight against it, you won't win. The riptide is too powerful. You will become exhausted and drown.
If you let it take you, you might end up in the sea longer then you wanted, but eventually you'll wash up somewhere.
In other words, let it happen. If he asks for support, offer it, let him know you love him, help IF it is convenient for you and you are happy to do so, if not, regretfully say it doesn't work for you. Try to avoid any sort of judgement, even if it stems from concern, as this will be interpreted out of context <eye roll> - so with the hand for instance, just a 'oh, gosh, that looks painful,are you OK?' rather than the oh-so-much-more-tempting 'you bloody fool, what did you think that would achieve, you've got work tomorrow ...'
Obviously you can still have rules but they should ideally only cover the more extreme situations, e.g. no physical violence.
I wish you luck! It's a horrible phase.
I'm getting a message about a young man who is rudderless and needs some direction for his life.
I don't know where you live, but is there a mentoring scheme for the young, unemployed in your area? Someone outside of the family who will sit down with him, listen and advise him.
Please do not throw your son out..... he sounds quite desperate......
Unless he has somewhere safe and permanent to live, please don’t throw him out. It happened to a friend if DS, and it didn’t end well .
Great advice from fleur.
If you kick him out where will he go? He's still a minor, if he goes down to the Council they will send him back to you!
No, don't kick him out, the poor boy is only 16. He needs support, love and direction.
Be there for him. Talk to him when neither of you are angry or stressed, see if he can come up with a plan, ask him how he wants you to help him, get a dialogue going that suited your support.
The council wouldn't send him back actually and they have a duty of care. He'd probably be assigned a support worker. But i agree its extreme to do that.
He doesnt have any respect for you. My suggestion is stop cooking/cleaning/buying food, change the wifi password. Basically all the things you pay for lock down. Perhaps even go as far to put a lock on the fridge the lounge or kitchen etc perhaps even the bathroom.
Lay out clearly the things he needs to do as an adult to be entitled to anything in the house. Ie either contribute financially or practically. State this isnt a punishment. But that you can't afford to support him.
See if there is a mentoring scheme near you.
Finally consider if he has a mental health problem. Young men are very prone to this.
I think at this point with the smoking weed and lack of concern about anything you need to just ignore him. Let him come and go, don't stay up at night, let him do what he likes for months and eventually he will stop fighting against you. He needs to move out and I think I would be saying to him that as soon as he can, i.e. He has a job, perhaps you could help him and one of his many mates get a flat together.
I moved out at 17, I didn't get on with my mum because she has mental health problems, but I was perfectly capable.
In your case perhaps if you accepted that he needs to be an adult (I know he isn't) he might stop fighting against you. You could suggest all these adult things and freedoms and see how he takes it ? Maybe he would stick at a job if he thought he could live away from home ?
Although I don't know this OPs DS, it is highly unlikely he would agree to engage with a support worker or mentor.
In fact, it is highly unlikely he'd get as far as th council.
He would end up sofa surfing. Homeless, in other words.
He sounds like an awful yob- kick him out!
And how will that help him? He's 16.
OP, it sounds horrendous for you. Is there anyone at all in his life that he has an element of respect for, that he might listen to?
Fleur's advice is more likely to result in you and your son being able to find some common ground.
You get a breather from the worry, and arguments, by letting go, and accepting that at this time your son is likely to keep making poor choices. Your son gets a breather fromfeeling your abger and feeling a failure in your eyes. As horrible as it is to watch your son make poor choices, you wont be the first parent who has had to allow natural consequences to work on them making better choices. (Me too! And my teen is now making some positive goals for their future. Not sure they will stick to this, but happy they are talking about trying).
He is not going to be 16 forever and in time he will mature and develop some understanding of better choices.
I agree there is zero chance he will listen to judgement and anger ( but also its very understandable for you as a mum to want to stop any further poor outcomes).
By letting go, in time, with your patience, and calm, non judgemental understanding of his troubles and his feelings , im sure he will be realising that you are on his side, and you will be able to talk things through a little more, and a little more.
The council will definitely try to send him back - and if they do offer him housing it will probably not help in the least if the OP is committed to the goal of him stopping drugs and going to college.
I worked with young people like your DS for a long time . Find a provider for NEET young people in your area, approach them, take him for a visit. They will help, help him get some qualifications and work experience, in time they can put him in touch with drug/alcohol specialists- when he's ready.
Please don't kick him out, it has many chances of not ending well. I understand how hard it is living with a young person going through this type of stuff , but he needs support. Help him by finding and getting in touch with those organisations that can help.
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