16 year old teenage boy with multiple issues....(8 Posts)
Throwing this out there in desperation...
My 16 year old step son came to live with us just shy of two years ago due to a poor relationship with his Mum (think daily shouting matches and him punching holes in walls and doors etc) plus the fact that he stole a vast amount of money from his Mum & Step-Dad. His Step-Dad was basically going to go to the Police if he didn't come and live with us. All well and good, we were more than happy for this to happen as had suggested it previously with his Mum to try and assist with their strained relationship.
Since living with us we have moved to a new area (which is actually much closer to his Mum than where we lived originally, so he gets to see her alternative weekends). Part of this included him moving secondary school. He moved from his original school to come and live with us for a couple of months then had to move again in the summer to start Year 10. We had no choice in the move as was work related.
However, since we moved to the new area the issues have continued and, I would say got worse. He was stealing money from us to begin with which we had to address and to this day he has issues with money and will happily spend all of his Christmas and Birthday money (think £200) in a matter of days with nothing to show for it or any explanation for it. He is massively anti drugs so don't suspect this.
His behaviour at school is shocking. He is in Year 11 and due to start his GCSE exams in May and we are worried about his results. He could be an 'A' student but literally doesn't seem to care. He lies about doing revision and course work, turns up for GCSE module exams having done no work which have resulted in re-sits or poor results, gets detentions or calls home from school on a weekly basis and seemingly has issues with females in authority and now has three notes on his school record for shouting at, being aggressive or intimidating towards various female teachers. We are obviously mortified at this behaviour and have punished accordingly.
He has a behaviour/reward chart that we use but this seems to have little impact. He's barely had use of his phone/ipad since he returned to school after the Christmas holidays and is grounded yet again bar football for his team once a week.
We have worked closely with the school to get him support and he recently completed a set of counselling with the YES team to try and address some of his issues. He also had a referral to the EWMHS team who believed he didn't need their sessions due to other counselling being able to meet his needs. Since he stopped his counselling it has all gone to pot. The YES team can't take him on again for another three months but did refer him to their eating disorder counsellor as they agreed with our concerns over his eating issues he also has. He is just shy of 6 foot and is barely 9 stone in weight. He skips meals, controls what he does eat and would live on sugary sweets only if left up to him. His eating disorder counsellor has worked out he eats less than half his daily calories and is concerned that he doesn't believe there are any issues. She is working out a meal plan to try and support him with this which we are waiting to receive.
Due to some recent shocking behaviour at school towards a female teacher we took him back to the Drs who referred him straight away back to the EWMHS team asking for them to take him on again.
So that is basically where we are up to. I won't lie I am massively drained. We have two other pre-teens in the house who are constantly being sent to their rooms so we can try to talk to the teenager or at the end of his outburst or hearing our frustrated conversations/arguments with the teenager. My husband feels massively guilty and stressed about it all and I'm literally at the end of my tether. I feel like saying I'll get him through the next 15 weeks until his exams start but once they are over if he wan't to stuff up his life then it's his responsibility. It's a huge pressure on our relationship as we question what we are doing (in a weird way it is bringing us closer together); We know we are trying out best to be good parents and do the right thing. Maybe we are too strict on him compared to some other parents but we feel if we didn't enforce the no phone/grounding rules due to poor behaviour it would actually escalate as he has some dubious friends too.
Please can someone say that they have been there and come out the other side okay? No matter how many times he apologises and say's he will change, things never do and it just feels like lip service - this is when he's actually taking accountability for his behaviour and not blaming someone else!
Has anyone got any suggestions of alternative help out there or ideas or how to turn things around?
Sorry for such a long message, no matter how much I talk to work colleagues or friends who agree we are doing the best we can there still doesn't seem to be a solution, so it's over to you lovely lot to try and inspire me or even just commiserate with me and say yes it is shit, but only another two years until his is 18!
What if you told him his results are up to him, but he must be civil & respectful to the teachers who are only doing their job.
I'm sorry I won't express this perfectly... my gut feeling is to treat him more like an adult, not less.
Thanks for the reply.
We have incentivised his results and are enforcing daily revision from in our expectations as honestly don't think we can do much more... We have told him how crap it would be to have to retake at college next year etc. but who know's how much he is taking on board?!?
Have you and suggestions on how to treat him more like an adult? Do you mean take punishment away and let him deal with consequences if in trouble from elsewhere? I'm not too keen on that idea as feel we need to teaching him right from wrong and that his actions have consequences etc?!?!
Shouldn't he know those things by now?
Most MNers would chivvy & hen & cajole them along like you are, fair enough. If you think that's working well then carry on as you are.
I'd be quite worried about a 6' tall kid only 9 stone. So I'd take all the unnecessary pressure off if if was me. I don't think that's what you want to read; I think you want the same things that don't work to start working with just a few changes. I guess I can't help.
I'd hand more responsibility to him. He is nearly an adult, and the sanctions you have in place don't seem to be doing anything.
I'd talk to him and tell him his life is up to him.
It's not the end of the world if he doesn't sit his exams, they can always be retaken. I think you need to treat him more like an adult and less like a child
You sound such a loving parent. I think you need to push for counselling again - could you afford some private sessions in the interim - or can the school provide a counsellor? He obviously has some deep seated anger and resentment issues.The aggression to women is worrying and he needs coping strategies.
I think these issues and the eating are more important that concentrating on the exams - he could take a BTec course at a college next year, do an apprenticeship, retake or do an Uni Access course when he is 19 - there are always options and a sixth form/FE college may be a much better environment for him than school - what has he applied for next year? His mental health is the paramount issue.
Perhaps rather than sanctions you could praise any little thing he does - something to help out, washing up etc to build his self esteem. Praise and reward what you can rather than punish bad behaviours. Could your DH set some one on one time aside with him each week - take him bowling, football, for a meal/coffee- spend some time just with his son and show him he cares and loves him and is not always disapproving and annoyed with him (I know your DH is probably not like this and does love his son - I just mean that it may seem to your DSS like he is always in trouble). Reconnect with him and reassure him of his value.
He sounds to me like a young man with a lot to say but doesn't know how to express it. I agree he needs to be treated like an adult. You need to take a breath - GCSEs can be resat - he needs to get his head in the right place first. The exams are for him, his future but it feels like he is refusing to work so that he can piss everyone off - give him pissed off on a plate - do not take the responsibility for studying, hand it back to him - gently. Be there but stop trying to control him, ask him what he wants, listen to him, ask him how you can help. It's really hard to know what is making him angry without talking to him. There are a few charities and therapists who offer half price sessions, might be worth looking at.
I'd be v concerned about weight and eating issues. I'd forget the behaviour charts, sounds unbelievably infantilising at his age. I'd investigate the money, if he's spending a lot and u dont know how. He may say he's anti drugs but...
I'd make a real effort to start treating him as a soon to be adult. The weight, disordered eating would really concern me tho.
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