15 yr old DS - smoking, drugs and school

(15 Posts)
Midlifemumofteens Sun 29-Apr-18 22:53:55

For the past year now we've been having problems with our DS. He's bright, attends a grammar school (Y10) but has always hooked up with dodgy friends outside school, some of whom have been excluded from other schools. His attitude at school is bad - has already been excluded once for persistent defiance; his grades are way off target and has no interest in studying. We have had lots of meetings with school and each time it's been a 'last chance' scenario. A couple of months ago he was picked up by the Police for shoplifting - trying to steal a bottle of cider to take to a party.
We have a Family Outreach Worker assigned to us who seems to have had one session with him a month ago and then has been off sick, so little support there. He's constantly glued to his phone and on his PS4 - except when either of these are confiscated! Very little interaction with the rest of the family - nothing in common with DD, 17. For the last six months I've been concerned that he's smoking - I've found cigarette papers, lighters, tobacco, filters, e-cigarettes and vaping liquid in his room. When challenged he's always denied it. But for the past few weeks I have been able to get into his phone (while he's at school) and have seen photos of him smoking, pictures of bags of cannabis changing hands, texts about dealers and various other references to weed. bud and biffs. I've confronted him about it, tried to talk reasonably about the choices he's making and the risks involved but have told him if I find anything like that at home I'm going to the Police. However, I know if I report him this will very likely lead him to getting excluded from school again and simply drive him more towards his dodgy mates. He has a job so gets a regular income each week - which he mainly seems to spend on clothes on DeePop - so definitely has enough to buy drugs and cigarettes.
My DH had a massive row with him last weekend as he was grounded (due to lying to us about where he was; going away for the afternoon to another town on the bus and not coming back at agreed time) but he ran off anyway. DH is at his wit's end - has said he doesn't even like him, feels if he doesn't 'do as he's told' he will throw him out when he's 16 (can he do this?). There is no negotiation or attempt to understand him and most of the time I'm mediating between the two of them; big strain on marriage. DH doesn't know the extent of the problem and I feel like I'm carrying the burden of this on my own. Anyone else going through this? Any ideas of how to engage with DS and get him back on track? I live in a constant state of high-alert waiting for the next phone call from school or from the Police.

OP’s posts: |
LovingLola Sun 29-Apr-18 22:57:52

DH doesn't know the extent of the problem and I feel like I'm carrying the burden of this on my own.

Why is your husband unaware of the extent of the problem? Are you trying to hide it from him?

Midlifemumofteens Mon 30-Apr-18 19:48:05

LovingLola to some extent I feel I am hiding it from him - I don't show him all the photos I've found on our son's phone, for example. I know DH will just shout, DS will not change behaviour as a result, just shut down or get worse. Also it's a source of conflict between us as a couple as we don't agree about the best way to deal with this.

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Alditha Mon 30-Apr-18 22:24:37

I'm not sure I'll be any help to you but I could have written your post albeit a few alterations to the details. My son is 14 and has pretty much done everything you have mentioned. He is DS2 and has always been more daring than his reserved older brother.
The only thing I can say is you and DH need to talk together and then agree to keep calm to start with. I have lost it and so has my DH but it just doesn't work and in fact I think they love making you lose it.
I read a book called ' your teen is crazy' by Michael J Brady. An American book and I haven't finished reading it yet but I have found it quite helpful.
Re the cannabis - it is everywhere and very difficult to police. We have had the same conversations as you about mental health etc. Basically some teens test everything and the only thing you can do is to continue being consistent and together. Do what you need to do to strengthen your partnership with DH because you really will need each other to get through the teen years with some kids. Also, interesting, those people you know with wonderful perfect teens are usually a bit economical with the truth because a lot of people I talk to are all in the same boat and just don't talk about it like you do at playgroup with a toddler having tantrums. In fact I sometimes think of my boy as a great big toddler but I have less control now. I love my son because occasionally he can be lovable but at the same time I can really really dislike him because his behaviour can be very stressful for everyone else in the family. We are looking forward to the days we can worry about him less whenever that is.
I wish you good luck

Midlifemumofteens Tue 01-May-18 19:41:28

Alditha thank you so much for your reply, it made me feel like I'm not the only one! You're right that everyone else seems to have perfect teens (or certainly not that bad) and as a result I feel so ashamed at being such a crap parent. I take on board what you say about relationship with DH; I just wish his default mode wasn't set to shouting!
This week's challenge is trying to get DS to show some interest in revision (none at all) as he has exams next week and get him off the PS4 long enough to do some homework sigh

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Butterflybelly Wed 02-May-18 19:17:24

I could have written your post. I cannot bear the cannabis use. Looking at his stoned face makes me want to smash it in grin. (Of course I never would). I have no idea what the answer is. I’m hoping it will stop but goodness only knows if it will. You are not alone.

GreenTulips Wed 02-May-18 19:21:56

I've said this before - there seems little help in the middle zone. It's evither parent skeep quite and hope they see sense or it's the police and a record - jobs lost etc.

Where's the middle ground? Kids who need help not police interference - out achoolnjas a drug awareness course. Is it worth chatting to a community police officer?


causeimunderyourspell Wed 02-May-18 20:17:35

This sounds so difficult and I really feel for you sad

Not my own dc but my brother was exactly how you describe. Got in with a wrong crowd excluded from other schools. Grades started bombing and he stopped hanging around with his nice friends and it just went horribly downhill from there.

Disrespectful and threatening to my mum, drugs which started with cannabis and then went on to class As like mdma, LSD etc. My mum hoofed him out and he went to live with our alcoholic step grandad. He started stealing cars and eventually got caught. The only thing that finally caused him to see the light was very very nearly ending up in prison.

My mum did the wrong thing by just kicking him out immediately to somewhere that his behaviour was further enabled. But if perhaps there was some family away from these friends where there was no nonsense, I could see that being perhaps quite helpful. Is he interested in the military at all? Does he have elder relatives who served before?

It sounds like he needs some good role models (aside from parents who are 'lame' by teenager default) and he needs some direction. What does he want from his life and does he realise the impact that a criminal record will have on that dream? You need to get through to him that his life will be at best, mediocre, and at worst, soul destroyingly miserable, if he continues on this path. Show him those people in town who wander around off their faces, socially ostracised and alone. He needs shock tactics I think.

Peanutbuttercups21 Wed 02-May-18 20:22:21

Is your DH his father?

You really need to stand together on this, it is too hard for you on your own!

Nooblynoo Wed 02-May-18 20:28:04

DrugFam the charity supports families and is incredibly helpful. They have a helpline open 9-9. Elizabeth the founder knows her stuff. She wrote "Mum can you lend me twenty quid", a book every parent should read. She also does talks, I went to one talk and was completely in awe of her.

Nooblynoo Wed 02-May-18 20:28:51

DrugFam the charity supports families and is incredibly helpful. They have a helpline open 9-9. Elizabeth the founder knows her stuff. She wrote "Mum can you lend me twenty quid", a book every parent should read. She also does talks, I went to one talk and was completely in awe of her.

Nooblynoo Wed 02-May-18 20:30:00


Alditha Thu 03-May-18 08:09:41

Although I know you feel quite desperate, from what you say on your post, try not to start thinking ahead to very bad outcomes. I try not to do it myself. Obviously I don't know your son but with mine we just keep going. It's like a rollercoaster ride, we have good, bad and horrendous days. I'm no perfect parent myself and haven't had the greatest roll models but I just keep going and don't give up.
Be very aware for the good stuff. Make some clear boundaries that you know you can keep. The school are always quick to alert me but sometimes they ramp up my anxiety and what I need to do is keep calm and keep listening and talking to him.
Find some time that you and your son can spend 1:1 doing something or his dad. A one off outing or something. Work really hard to listen. I think it keeps the connection going. Of course mine wouldn't be seen dead anywhere near home where someone might see him. They are also supremely ungrateful.
Again good luck.

Midlifemumofteens Fri 04-May-18 22:35:00

Just a quick update. This week has indeed been another rollercoaster ride. Confrontation at breakfast time yesterday when he clearly lied to me and I ended up reading out one of his texts (copied onto my phone) to prove that he had been buying drugs. He flipped, threw his cereal bowl across the room, spat on the floor and I thought he was going to hit me. Went to work feeling really shaky. This afternoon I got a string of texts admitting that he has been smoking but wants to stop. He told me he wanted to buy an e-cigarette from a friend so that he could use this instead. Big talk, lots of discussion about this and I told him I didn't feel comfortable about it but if it was genuinely a way for him to stop using tobacco/cannabis then I would allow it - not at home or in school though. This evening he's done revision and been totally charming. Haven't told DH any of this as I'm waiting for the right moment... School has been pretty bad - three detentions; just waiting for another phone call!
Have ordered a couple of books and had a look at some of the sources of support - it helps to read through some of the other posts.

OP’s posts: |
Nb65988 Sat 26-May-18 14:55:21

Firstly your husband should be aware of everything and u should be able to tell him and u both come up with a plan Change his school he is not learning anything in the current 1 see how he likes that then he's got no one to impress and he myt start to learn something some kids just not interested in learning and that's the school fault for letting kids down u can't pick his friends and u ate judging them and u haven't met them maybe try meet them u don't know why they don't go to school ure just guessing and going through ure son phone is terrible u should have asked to see it not snooping that's when u find stuff u don't want to he maybe not smoking weed could just be taken pictures to make him look better u and ure husband need to be a tesm there is no point to shouting he wont listen ryt now u need open dialogue with him so he can come to u and talk to u he's not going to be able to do tbat if u look through his phone and u said u found cigarette and he denied lf it wasn't his who's was it all the kids have a vape it's the inn thing u just need to accept u have a bad teenager he will either grow out it or get worse ask him what job he wants after school cause he myt need those exams

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