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Teenage son going off the rails

(10 Posts)
Effervescent Sun 23-Feb-14 03:55:21

I am at the end of my tether with my son. I called the police because he had stolen a litre bottle of vodka from me and some beers. This is not the first time he has been involved with the police. He is heavily into marijuana, and he has been caught shoplifting in the past. I just don't know what to do. He is failing at school big time, I don't know where I have gone wrong, I think we are an alright family, we love each other and he has lots of friends and a good life, but I must be failing him somehow. I think I may have been too easy going in the past, because I wanted my house to be where everyone hung out. I generally like teenagers and I felt it would be better to have him in my place so I could keep an eye on him. It did also work with my older teen and we had an open door policy and lots of fun and also trust. I just can't do it with my younger son though, and we have had to adopt a zero tolerance policy. He has nice friends and although they are experimenting they aren't shoplifting, lying, aggressive or failing school. Please help, I just don't know which way to turn with him. I cry all the time, he really is making life so very difficult

uiopw Sun 23-Feb-14 17:20:17

It seems to me that you know exactly where you have gone wrong and I would agree with you. This laissez-faire parenting can backfire big time. Simply adopt stricter rules but also be patient. It may take quite some time until the kid is back on track again.

chocoluvva Sun 23-Feb-14 18:41:41

Please don't blame yourself - your parenting approach worked with your other DS - even children within the same family can have very different personalities.

I'm sorry I don't know what to suggest practically other than to find out if there are any groups offering support for getting off marijuana.

Effervescent Sun 23-Feb-14 19:47:16

Thank you so much for your replies. I think another big problem is that for much of his childhood his dad worked away and was very bad at getting involved long distance so I was left to deal with everything. This week his dad has gone away again and guess what? Even after the drama of last night (I emailed to let him know) we haven't heard a peep from him. What message does this give his son, that he doesn't care?
I think one of the reasons that I was so easy going was that his dad was rarely here for him, he also struggled for so long to make friends, he didn't have any real friends for years that I am so pleased he has nice friends now. (like I said they do experiment but are basically decent kids who do well at school and are polite and friendly) but my son seems to focus on the negative aspects all the time.
I find it very hard to ground him or stop him seeing these friends as they are his support network and he maybe feels like he hasn't got that at home. But every time he goes out I dread what will happen.

HelpfulChap Sun 23-Feb-14 20:09:34

When I was young I got in trouble for shop-lifting and as a teenager in trouble for fighting.
Never did drugs though.
I eventually became an Investment Banker.

What I am trying to say is, don't give up on the boy. All you can do is make sure he knows he is loved, has the support of his family but that certain lines must not be crossed.

In public my parents would show a united front but in private they would make their feelings well known - in the end I decided I loved my mum too much to put her through anymore grief.

Effervescent Sun 23-Feb-14 20:35:39

Thanks, that is nice to hear. I know that deep down he is a good kid. (or was once and could be again) I know he loves me and doesn't want to hurt me, but he does hurt me and I hurt him too. I find it so easy to be positive with my eldest child, she is crazy, lazy and stubborn but she is also kind and although has never been academic, I am so proud of her just for being kind, funny, gentle and independent. I am not proud of my son for anything at the moment and that makes me feel sad and guilty as he must know this. So I guess that contributes to his behavior as his self worth must be so low, but I can't seem to break the cycle because he is so difficult and so horrible at the moment. Sorry for the ramble, I just don't have anyone to talk to in real life and seemingly even his own dad doesn't want to know.

chocoluvva Sun 23-Feb-14 20:45:02

I really sympathise - some teenagers are extremely wilful (I speak from experience).

2 thoughts - hopefully someone with more specific advice will come along soon

would his brother be able to speak to him usefully?

Do you know why he's being wild? If he simply has a strong need to rebel it might help if you don't react too much. Try to appear calm and briskly say things like "That's a pity DS". So much easier said than done, of course.

As others have said if you are generally supportive and give him the impression that you will listen without judgment, criticism or advice he might open up to you with any fears or anger he has.

chocoluvva Sun 23-Feb-14 20:50:03

Sorry for the x-posting.

Compliment him for anything he does - not being a fussy eater, being well-dressed/being wonderfully low-maintenance with his clothes if he's not bothered about his appearance - whichever applies. Etc

You don't need to feel guilty though - many teenagers are not remotely likeable a lot of the time.

Try to find time for some things that you enjoy too, so his behaviour doesn't take over your life completely - also, easier said than done.

Kazzyv Mon 24-Feb-14 06:25:20

Does he have a teacher he likes/ respects at school, Or a family friend that could talk to him. Sometimes an outsider will find out if something else is going on, or else be able to stress how much he is upsetting you without it getting too angry.

But hopefully this is just a phase and he will come out the other side, however it can last months.....sorry.

julieann42 Mon 24-Feb-14 23:07:58

I'm suffering too with a wild teen DS. Very angry and hates us all. Nothing we do or say is right. You have my sympathy and I'm watching the thread with interest for any hints or tips!

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