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Teen binge drinking

(12 Posts)
Alvah Mon 28-Dec-15 11:14:09

Hello again everyone. After a few months away from mumsnet, I am back with more worry and need for advice...

The last year or so has been very difficult with my DS 14 (15 in a few weeks). The worst being cannabis smoking, binge drinking, vandalism when drunk, not coming home at weekend nights, two charges (one for vandalism and one for possession of cannabis), smashing up his room and school refusal...

I asked for help as it was all getting out of hand and we worked closely with school, children's services, police and GP. School were patient and understanding, children's services worker was supportive but conveyed the seriousness of the situation to my son (being removed from my care if not able to follow house rules) and the effect of criminal charges. Police were helpful in some ways but not in others. And GP adviced DS to accept referral to CAMHS to work on underlying issues which have bothered him since he was a toddler (saying he hates himself and wants to die at age 2. Attempted self harm at age 4).

My son did/does not want to talk to anyone about how he feels. He wants to deal with it himself. Him and his friends talk a lot about these things and they support each other. And he talks to me.

In the last few weeks things have improved considerably. He has been home on time at weekends, not been so drunk...he has a girlfriend who he seems to really like, and he has just seen his dad again after a year of refusing all contact. He seems a whole lot more responsible, and is showing that he is willing to make better choices for himself and for his family (his younger siblings 13 &11, and me).

However now that things are better, I feel I can start dealing with issues again. He is drinking way too much. Him and his friends drink almost every weekend...and if they aren't drinking, they'll likely to have smoked cannabis instead... last night he came home worse for wear (having been drinking). We had just spoken about him going out on New Year's Eve and he said he would make sure he didn't drink too much, that he would be home on time but that it would be nice to be able to stay out a bit later since it was New Years. He'd made sure not go to any parties over Christmas, as he was going to go out on NYE.

I feel so worried for him as they are binge drinking so often! I also feel ashamed about him being out drunk! How can I stop him smoking weed and drinking to excess. I know he knows what the right thing to do is, but he still ends up making bad choices.

Because of his mental health issues (undiagnosed) punitive discipline has become a thing of the past. Being supportive of his positive choices and putting the responsibility on to him has made a world of difference. But I feel like I'm just letting him do whatever...

Also I feel terrified that he'll try other drugs than cannabis. I've heard kids in his year having tried ecstasy, acid and speed. In fact he's told me some people he knows are taking it...he has often expressed a disgust of drug use (not cannabis) but I feel he is just to close to it.

I want to ground him etc for drinking too much/smoking cannabis but am scared to reopen old wounds, provoke conflicts and end up him feeling let down by me and deciding to just not care and try other drugs too confused

At the moment he says he's staying away from drugs for me...

I'm keeping my 13 year old inside to keep him away from this 'street kid' culture which my oldest seems to 'thrive' in.

Any advice from parents with hard to handle kids?!

Hetty3838 Mon 28-Dec-15 13:53:48

I'm watching with interest !
DD same age is very similar in ways but very different in others. She's not been in police trouble and as far as I'm aware doesn't smoke cannibis but she has MH sees CAMHS and has major anger issues. I got to a point I felt I couldn't keep her safe she was regularly threatened harm or running away if I tried to impose sanctions and would punch walls and scream for hours. I hit breaking point and woke up feeling strong it's bloody difficult but we did extreme tough love. Any shit at all and her iPhone was removed straight away only for 30 minutes if she calmed and complied. It wouldn't be returned till she was speaking calmly. She is phone obsessed is your son ? Or Xbox ps4?! At first it was hell she tested me I regularly had to physically remove the phone she wouldn't hand it over , she called the police twice blush. When she realised I would not back down she complied. Don't get me wrong we are way of perfect she has no work ethic in school is lazy and pushes it but she is in school and doing as I ask. She still drinks but not much and has to stay here if she's going out out she's been in contact and on time which is major progress. She knows no means no and doesn't put up a weekly war any longer. Things are much better but still a long way to go! With explosive teens I find short sharp sanctions work best if you take the phone (or whatever he's into) away for a week in their eyes they have nothing to lose but if it can be earnt back fairly quickly they seem keener to try. It's very much like having a massive angry toddler and putting them in time out. I feel your pain flowers

Alvah Tue 29-Dec-15 00:45:07

Hetty, thank you for your response. It most definitely feels like having a giant toddler on the loose at times!

The last time I grounded my DS is a year ago now. I've not dared to do it again really as I wasn't sure I could have stopped him walking out. He was about 9-10 when I realised I couldn't physically get him to his room/or do what I said. So I have focused on verbal warnings and loss of pocket money and privileges instead. However I feel at a loss what to do if he's been drinking or smoked weed.... If I took his phone/playstation I honestly think he would hit me, although I might be wrong. I've just never gone there lately after seeing the mental state he ends up in sometimes. The only time I can get to his phone is if he's asleep. Every wall in his room was damaged and at its very worst he smashed everything he could get his hands on, and even pulled the ceiling lamp off so the live wire was exposed. All rages due to being restricted (not allowed something/somewhere).

I've ended up instead set boundaries such as earlier times to be home etc. if he was late. When he began to ignore them at weekends (and staying out the whole night) I told him I would be reporting him missing, which I did. He was fuming, but came home the first time. Although i had to take him to A&E because he had punched something. I did it again a few months later when he refused to come home (he was drunk) and the police picked him up and brought him home. It was like hell for a while. Smashed his room up even more and told the police where to go. He said he'd rather die than live here with me. The weekend before I went out looking for him at a party, got him dragged out of there drunk. It really was a living nightmare.

The thing is since we got children's services etc. involved he has pulled himself together and been a lot more responsible, by himself. He got his attendance up drastically at school, he'd be home on time every night, he has not had a rage for a couple of months (I've just had his room done up and painted), we've not even argued...

But the minute I start having a go at him (as in for coming home drunk yesterday), he clams up and shuts down and becomes quite unpleasant. But if I am 'nice to him' supportive and show him that I appreciate all the good stuff he does, he behaves much better...

So his behaviour is hugely improved both at school and at home, he goes to school everyday again, he's home on time, he stays in touch by text or phone when out, he is kind and polite to me and his siblings. He always asks if his friends can come in, and never too many and if they are here for a sleepover they are always well behaved. But....he smokes weed at times and regularly drinks alcohol (sometimes a lot!!). All I want is for him to stop the weed and drink a lot less...then things would actually feel okay again.

I know I should be happy things have improved, but this drinking and weed smoking is a horrible thing. The only sweet thing about it is that when he's had too much to drink, he comes home announcing he came home for me, leaving his friends saying 'nah, I've had enough, I'm going home to my Mum'...and turns up expecting a medal for coming home confused

lustysandra Sun 10-Jan-16 02:21:37

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lustysandra Sun 10-Jan-16 02:21:57


Kleinzeit Sun 10-Jan-16 13:50:32

This must be so hard for you! And you are doing really well and so is your DS.

I think – and it pains me to say this – that maybe you can’t do what you want to do, maybe for him it is still too risky and so you can’t get him to totally stop the weed and excess alcohol. You say praising him is working, and punishing him or scolding him is likely to set him back. So do what works. Keep trying to ignore the slip-ups and praise him for the good he’s doing, praise him for whatever you can even if it's not 100%.

So OK, give him his medal for coming home when he’s had enough grin. He kind of deserves it in a way - and you deserve a medal for definite!

Kleinzeit Sun 10-Jan-16 13:52:19

(PS so long as he behaves OK when he is at home. No medals for coming home and starting a fight or throwing up on the cat!)

Alvah Mon 11-Jan-16 23:30:09

Kleinzeit - thank you for your post. He has been nice when coming home to me smile

This weekend he didn't even get drunk/stoned as far as I know. No signs of it. Went to a party on Friday and stayed home with his girlfriend on Saturday. Things are definitely better.

Only school refusal/lateness to tackle now as a major issue....phew... I really really really hope, this is us on our way to better times.

kukky Tue 12-Jan-16 02:57:10

hi alvah how are things ?
i feel for you as my son has been a handful since 16 so the past year hes been using cannabis and got into trouble with police with his new found friends.there seems to be massive amounts of teens doing drugs and cannabis and legal highs.i know my ds knows so many who are it seems like teens think its part of norm life nowadays.
sadly it wasnt until ds ended up in hospital having risked something stronger that he decided to stop at least the harder stuff.he has had a few relapses and took weed again with friends but i think its part social pressure.he tdid so well agred to go councilling is there an organisation near you some of the drug teen councillign services are very good.they teach them abstinance and safe practises for if thy refuse to ds has now been havign pycotic episode perhaps brought on by the drug use even though hes spent 2months without any now he seems to unwell mentally
the sooner you get services involved the better they often make sure the teen is just aware of all the danger even if they wotn talk to them about ds wont talk but he did listen most of the time.hes now unfortunaly had another relapse and left home.poloce say they cant return him so hes now living with other users so its now up to him to sort himself out
but u may find much support from a drug service there are others who you can also ring for advice and who will talk it through with you it does help so much

Baconyum Tue 12-Jan-16 03:34:44

As a parent I have no experience of this type of issue so far and hopeni never do (I know we all do). It's hard.

It sounds like you're doing so much to support your son.

Re mh and camhs and him wanting to 'deal with it himself' could pointing out that even adults struggle with this, that it's not his fault there's nothing 'wrong' with him his brain just works differently to other people's and needs some fine tuning? I speak as someone with multiple mh dx myself. The stigma and fear is tough to deal with. Is he scared of what he'll say to a counsellor? That they'll be judgemental?

Also is he interested in sport at all? Are there clubs/gyms he could join to work out frustrations physically? You say you are separated from his dad, could they bond over a sport/physical hobby?

Also could na/as help be an option? Perhaps one with other teens or if he wants to be treated more like an adult an adult one? Or is there any addiction charities that provide mentoring programmes?

What does he want to do when he leaves school? Could that be used as a carrot?

I'm not perfect as a mother at all and think that one of the reasons I don't have this type of problem with dd is because the job dd wants to do would be closed to her if she had trouble with police etc. That gives her a reason to give peers that try to pressure her too.

There's a massive drug problem where we live mainly cannabis and e but as I say so far I've been lucky. Partly as my dd has seen photos and video of a family member who died of a drug od too. As a family we are very open about it. He started with cannabis too but progressed to harder stuff. Not everyone does. But it must be scary for you.

I do hope you get the help and support you both need.

Baconyum Tue 12-Jan-16 03:36:04

That should say could NA/AA be an option?

Alvah Mon 18-Jan-16 23:33:19

Hi, thanks for both your posts, Kukky and Baconyum. So sorry to hear if your troubles with your DS, Kukky. I really can sympathise.

It is so annoying that there are drugs available, and so freely. I suppose no one can know for sure if their DS/ DD will be drawn to it or not.

Mine says he likes cannabis because he enjoys getting high with his friends every now and then. He feels there's a huge step to other drugs and has never expressed anything positive about them. I think he wanted me to see that he smokes weed because he left some traces out where he knew I would see them. We talk about it a lot and he knows how I feel about drugs. I particularly point out the danger of becoming dependent and using it to cope with stress, as he clearly doesn't see recreational use as a big deal.

He says he doesn't buy it anymore for himself, but if a friend asks him to come smoke some and talk, he will...very much peer pressure. About the future he talks about moving away from this town and away from this stuff. So at least he sees it as a temporary thing.

The reason he doesn't want to talk to anyone about his issues is because he doesn't want to think about it even, or bring it back to life. The stuff is mainly about his dad, me and his dad arguing when he was little, dad being aggressive and violent towards me etc. He is not ready to bring it up just now, he says. And yes I believe he is afraid of the stigma of depression and anxiety etc. Or there being something 'wrong' with him.

He's been doing really well lately and seems to thrive on being trusted more. He also seems a lot happier, but is still late in at school regularly.

Thanks again for your help.

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