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We've hit a rough patch again...troubled teen drinking, smoking and getting into trouble

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Alvah Sat 16-Apr-16 09:18:17

Things have been ok for a while, but I can feel us slipping again. DS 15 has been troubled since he was a toddler, mentally and emotionally unsettled and low self-esteem. He had a couple of episodes at age 2 and again age 4 where he would get in such a rage and would actually say, whilst crying "I hate myself, I want to die". Very shocking to hear coming from a 2 year olds mouth sad At 4 he had another of these episodes and went to get scissors from the draw.

Our living situation was tense from the start. My now ex partner was 15 years older than me and turned out emotionally and mentally abusive (physically abusive at one point when I had decided to leave, he hurt me in front of DS (then 5). DS now says he remembers him as violent in general. We moved out when he was 5. But he continued to go to his dad with his younger siblings then aged 3 (DS2) and 1 (DD). Social work risk assessed the situation and found ex to be no risk in regards to the children.

I contacted school and GP when he was 9 because of anger issues and extreme defiance. Primary school never brought up any issues though (although I knew he could be cheeky to teachers he didn't get on with). Then in the first year of secondary, he punched a boy in the nose (because he had threatened his my DS's girlfriend and called her a slag). He was excluded for two days.

In the meeting with the school the head teacher asked me to assure her that this would never happen again. I wanted to be honest and said I honestly couldn't guarantee this (knowing his temper and how he gets into a blind rage when anyone threatens or hurts someone he cares about). Luckily this led to arrangements of anger management in school.

He has now seen a youth support worker in school weekly, which my son appreciates. He says it takes the pressure off.

Over the last year DS has started drinking, smoking and there has been incidents involving drugs. DS insists he hasn't touched drugs since an incident a while back, but I don't know for sure. We had a year from hell. He's punched holes in his walls, not gone to school, gone out partying and not come home. I phoned the police, school, GP and social work. He refused to see his dad and cut him off completely. We were walking on a knifes edge for a while, him being threatened by children's services to be taken into care. He cooperated with the family support worker and came to the GP for bloodtests, however is refusing to engage with CAMHS or to 'talk' to anyone about his issues.

Currently things are considerably better. He seems to thrive on more responsibility for himself and has been generally very well behaved at home and at school. When out with friends, he always answers my texts, calls, is home on time and tells me where is and who with. He'll tidy his own room, change is bed covers and put his dirty clothes in the laundry without being asked, he keeps himself clean and tidy looking. He is on a relatively low allowance, but does not ask for much. When angry now, he will set up his punch bags and hammer away on that (instead of the walls). He talks sensibly about drinking, smoking, drugs, showing that he knows how to keep himself safe in theory.

However over to the problem....he will go out with his friends pretty much every weekend. Sometimes I can tell he has been drinking, other times not. However, lately it has been a lot. Both Friday and Saturday night. Last weekend they had mixed a cocktail of spirits/whisky etc and he was in a terrible rage. He wanted to see his dad and tell him he couldn't push him around anymore "If he touches me I'll punch him". It was really scary. He really needs to go and see someone about how he feels. He frequently says that me and his dad really messed him up. I believe he is depressed and he has trouble sleeping. He misses school some days and is often late in the morning. He towers above me and I've gradually lost the power to ground him. When I tighten up and consequence him, he goes AWOL and I am afraid what he would do. Running away for good, do drugs, break something etc. At the moment I've got him staying in touch with me when he is out and I pick them up at about 11.30 at night to take him home. Occasionally he will stay over with a friend, but often I will still pick them up and take them there. I really don't want to lose this contact and trust I have with him, but I also want to stop him drinking to excess! I feel trapped.

He has never hurt me or his siblings, but he will hurt himself instead. He is very vulnerable, but I need to put my foot down and put a stop to this excessive drinking. I am scared it will become a habit or a coping mechanism - but how do I tackle this wounded beast (my lovely son)??

Thank you xx

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