troubled 15 yr old- urgent help(37 Posts)
DS15 (my only child), who is 16 next month, has developed some problems and Im at my wits end trying to deal with them... To summarise, DS is bright but socially awkward and I have spent 10 years looking after him on a single parent basis- father only around a few days per month for visits.
We are living in my mother's house at the moment as I haven't a job and don't want to lower myself to claiming benefits. DS has had enough of living with me and his grandmother and has announced he is leaving home to live in supported accomodation when he turns 16. This is only weeks away and I dont know what to do, legally there is nothing I can do to stop him but I just wish he would be safe... He isnt really ready to live alone (can't cook, doesn't like cleaning, etc.) and I cant see whats wrong with staying to complete college? He has now decided to leave school and apply for a job on a cash in hand/informal basis, as legally he has a year of compulsery education left and big places would flag that up and therefore refuse him for the job.
He has psychiatric issues and refuses to live by the rules of society- he is foul mouthed and called me a C*m swallowing C!@t while he was high on drugs, into extreme hardcore porn which he discusses with strangers and underage girls, loves drugs and plans to relapse on them as soon as he earns money- I have had to stop his allowance due to lack of child support from father, so now he cannot afford to buy any supplies. DS says his behaviour is just "ahead of its time" and social standards will change one day so it will be accepted. I reminded him he must survive in the here and now, but he said he'd prefer to be "underground" and a "strung out pervert" than obey the law or live what I think is a decent life.
He was permanently excluded from the local comp for reading other people's data in the headteacher office- because he believes it is unfair child-protection files are kept under wraps and the public are not allowed to access them. He had a relationship with someone who discussed child protection issues explicitly with him at age 11 and says thats what "f*&!ed him up", and he has "Withdrawal symptoms" from the data he accessed then. He goes to CAMHs who prescribed anti-depressants (at DS's insistence, I was skeptical about the whole pills idea) and offered counselling- but he declined this because the counsellor told him off for mentioning extreme porn movies and promoting drug use. They are now moving him to adult services which is another worry for me as this may go on the record for any jobs he applies for when older- if he changes his mind about living underground on drug profits.
I have to suffer him every day being rude, repeating the same things about leaving home and drugs etc which lead to the same old arguments. I've had enough and could anyone who has had experience please tell me a way forward? Also has anyone else got experience with non-professionals illegally reading social service files?
I have no idea what to say, but didn't want your post to go unanswered.
hopefully someone with more experience of teenagers will come along soon.
I can't really help, but just sympathise as I am going through something similar with my 15 year old. Maybe he would be better in supported accommodation if he can get it - at the very least he would learn to survive and look after himself.
The only advice I can give you is that you cannot change his behaviour, you can only change your reaction to it. Regardless of his psychological problems, he is making his own decisions and must live with the consequences. If he continues down the drug route he will eventually either end up in jail, or in serious debt. You cannot save him from either, and you will have to come to terms with that.
Thanks for the support maryz, it is difficult to change my reaction as I have tried being strict, staying calm and now just ignoring it and DS continues to behave the same way. I have warned him time and again about the dangers of drugs but he thinks with his 15 years life experience he knows more than me (at 40+). DS says as I haven't touched hard drugs I shouldn't make judgements on them, and that he knows heroin and crack addicts whose lives are together despite their extreme substance use.
I am concerned about supported accommodation as I was all ready to teach him cooking, cleaning, being responsible for oneself etc. when he was in college to prepare him for leaving home to go to University. (DS always planned to go to uni until this spring when drugs entered his life.)But there he will meet more thugs and drug abusers and people with problems (the place he's considering offers help to 16-24yr olds with family problems, abuse histories, alcohol/drug or crime issues and these all sound like things DS doesn't need to get mixed up in.) I told him he has a home and sheltered accommodation is for people who need it, but he insists the house isnt good enough for him and it's my fault we still live there.
I'm not thrilled at the idea of living with my mum in middle-age either, but fail to see a better option in the financial position I've got stuck in.
If you dont mind me asking is your ds a drug user? or does he have other behavioural problems- violence/ abuse/ anti social behaviour etc. My son has never been one to trash city centres and get into punch-ups but he has a gutter mouth that makes up for it sadly. I wished I could blame the problems on the drug use, but he has been different all his life (suspected ADHD, ASD or conduct disorder- I believe it's one of the first two but my ex and DS prefer the latter.)
I have absolutely no advice for you, it sounds like such a helpless and scary situation for all your family to be in
I just wanted to say I have read your post and to acknowledge it (and bump for the Sunday crowd)
my dd is 14 and we struggle with some stuff, but no way on this scale
ds has a diagnosis of Aspergers - in fact to most people he comes accross as perfectly normal, but his real problem is his obsessiveness. So when he was at school and playing sport he was ok, but when he gave up his other interests he became obsessed by other things, including drugs. He smokes cannabis, and was expelled from school for that. I think he has used ecstasy, but says he won't any more because his best friend committed suicide having taken a mixture of ecstacy, cannabis and alcohol.
Your ds sounds very like mine. Once he has made his mind up about something, he then believes it 100% and cannot be disuaded. As far as he is concerned I am an interfering bitch, trying to make his life a misery.
I know what you mean about supported accommodation - he will meet all the wrong people there, and will possibly get more involved, but to be honest you cannot stop him.
It is the hardest thing in the world to watch your child self-destroy, and like you I have tried everything to stop it. But I can't. I have two other children, and I suppose I am coming to the realisation that I may have to make a choice between him and them. He has told my 11 year old all about cannabis, and how great his life is, and that is unhealthy for a child that age.
If your partner was behaving like this everyone would say "why stay with him". But when it is your child it is not so easy. Of course you wouldn't put up with it from an adult (in fact I am thinking of starting a thread on how to survive in an abusive relationship, when you can't leave!).
Can you get some counselling for yourself? You really need to believe that this isn't your fault, some children just grow up like this (the fact that I have 2 well-behaved normal children is a relief to me, as it proves it can't only be my fault). Is your ds's father involved at all, or can someone else take the strain for a bit.
I just hope that ds's obsession will move on to something else, and that he may eventually grow up. I used to be afraid that he would kill himself, now I am more afraid he will kill someone else (not on purpose, but by car or motorbike, or simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time). I don't know how I would cope with that.
Sorry, this isn't much help - it's all a bit depressing really isn't it.
Could you talk this through with the people that run the supported accommodation he wants to move to? I understand they are there to assist young people with problems but if you were to approach them and explain your DS's situation maybe they would agree that in his case it would not be benefical to be surrounded by people likely to pull him further in the wrong direction. Have you asked him what he intends to do if he does not get a place at the supported housing?
Also, I understand ideally he needs to finish school but perhaps if he were to get a job it might give him a bit of a kick into the real world. Employers won't put up with the behaviour you have had to endure from him for long?
On the basis of no relevant experience at all I'm with Maryz - maybe supported accommodation will be the better thing for him and for you.
It does sound as if he is pretty extreme - whether this is a psychiatric illness or his conscious choice his attitudes and activities are well out of the normal range. I can completely understand your desire to keep him with you and encourage him to be more mainstream but to be honest it sounds like he needs more professional and drastic measures than that.
However, like BrightShiny says, will the supported accomodation people be able to give him the support he needs or even to take him?
Very very difficult for you.
I have teenagers and we have had the usual teenage problems but nothing on this scale TBH. However oldest DS has a friend who has. He regularly came to stay here to give him and his parents a break from each other. Of course when he was here he was respectful, followed the rules, home for dinner at the time we set, bed at the time we set and up for college, no drugs, no drinking etc etc. He understood that if he crossed the line he wasn't coming back. I think we were that bit of therapy that he needed someone he could talk to without being shouted at or judged, we tried to give advice but mainly we listened. He too left home at 16 but has recently gone back asking for help to come off the drugs, get a place at college/job (he got thrown off the course he was doing). As other posters have said I do believe there comes a time when you have to let them go because nothing will stop him if his mind is set - in time he'll realise he's got to grow up. I also agree that you too should talk to someone about this - please go to your GP and ask for help.
I really dont have any good advice but can only offer this.
My db was 16 when he got into drugs, he comes from an affluent family who did everything they could for him. He was admitted to the priory at 18 after attacking me. He is now nearly 40 and the results from this time are still evident. He is bi polar and suffers with extreme paranoia. He is on medication for life but it is cyclical, when he is ill (and we are talking as low as a human can go) he relents and takes the medication, he speands about a year getting well again-to a level where he can function relatively normally although still unable to socially interact hold down a job etc. he feels so well that he then stops taking his tablets and so we start again.
I have now realised that this is his and therefore mine as well life. I know that when mum and dad die he will become my responsibility unless something terrible happens.
Drugs can pose a huge danger, resulting in the complete wreckage of a persons life or they can just give you a good high.
I used to avoid the weirdos and drop outs in the street but now i realise that my own db is just a step away from them, it is only my parents financial commitment to him that he has a home etc.
I hope so much for your own ds that he can get through this unscathed but if not you need to put plans into action now for his future if it is at all possible to do so.
I cannot speak to the sheltered housing as DS is not telling me where it is. I asked what would happen if he couldn't get a place and he said he would live on the streets or in a homeless hostel.
I agree a job would help him to face facts that his behaviour needs to change pronto... but the question is can he change? It may be impossible given his problems. I can't believe DS got this way just by reading Social Services files, have NEVER heard of anyone becoming unhinged by doing this.
To be honest I'm sure that simply reading the social services files were not in fact the cause of his behaviour. You said he was around 11 I think, maybe in his head he puts it down to those events but in fact it was just that around that time was the start of puberty and hormones. Perhaps as you say he has always been different the effect of the hormones etc may have been too much for him to deal with, I don't know I'm not qualified to guess but it just seems, like you say, almost unbelievable that that one event(s) would cause such extreme behaviour.
I would agree with what others have said about having to allow him to go and perhaps make all the mistakes he needs to. My parents did the same with me when I was 17 and wanted to leave home, nothing they could have said would have made me want to stay.
I also don't believe that reading social service papers can "cause" someone to go so far off the rails. At the moment, because he knows you care, he can treat you as he wants. You really need to step back and look at this more dispassionately (easy to say, harder to do as I know from experience).
How this started is pretty much irrelevant. Where you go from here is much more important. You can't start getting upset when he talks about leaving home. You simply have to say, well that is your decision but you know you always have a home with me so come back when you want (at least as long as you feel you can cope with him home).
He won't live on the streets, but he may make you believe he is. It might be worth ringing social services BEFORE he turns 16, just to voice your worries and have a talk to a social worker about what you can do. In my experience social services will not be very interested - he has a safe home, so they won't get involved where I am.
I believe that the only way he will realise that he won't cope is to let him try. Let him try to get a job, let him try to live away from home. Either it will make or break him, and it seems at the moment you haven't got much to lose.
You need to talk to someone in real life about how YOU are going to cope. I think that is very important (saying that to myself as well!).
He is prepared to live on the streets, I kicked him out once before in May and he would almost certainly have slept rough that weekend if his drug dealer didn't take him in. When he called me and said he was living with his dealer, I phoned police to report a missing child and he was picked up and forced to come back home, then I stood in front of the door to stop him leaving for 36 hours without sleep or a proper wash. If my (army trained) ex-partner hadn't been home he would have possibly beaten me to the floor, and there would be no way he'd have stayed at home.
DS no longer claims the social service files were the only thing that damaged him but still says they played a part and has written in his school books and on grafitti: "Section 47", "Section 31", "2k5 f*ed me up", "Child Prot' & OxyContin" (does anyone know what oxycontin is?), "CPS 17", "f**k the common abduction framework", "17 files 2 life" and more.
oxycontin is a highly addictive, opium-based painkiller
I am sorry
have you looked into getting him a mentor? I don't know if social services provide this or access to it but a bloke across the road works with 'troubled youngsters'.
I think he sounds like he is finding excuses for behaving the way he does (like blaming it on the files). Did he have issues at school other than his behaviour (i.e. was he struggling with the work)?
Have you tried letting him get arrested for the drugs so that he has to spend a night in jail or has some sort of interaction with the police?
He is too smart to be stopped by police, he is "mentored" by experienced criminals who have taught him every trick to escape being caught. He can't afford coke anymore and is now planning to go on temazepam and diconal (temazapem is sleeping pills i know, is diconal the same?)
He never struggled when he did the work (A*-B for his essays) but was quite lazy so sometimes failed coursework.
i would be more worried about the under age girls he is approaching!!!!!!!!!!!
You know Im not having a go at you - but how did all this start?? the drug taking and the behaviour?
Its a smaller scale I know but I realised ds2 was smoking - i cut all his money and went to local shops with his picture told them he was 13 and if he was served with cigarettes I would report them.
Im a mum of 3 sons and they do get rough (not on the scale you describe but they know theres a limit and dont cross it).
I dont know you (obviously) but I do think you need to claim benefits (this is what they are there for) and find a home for you and your ds and try and get him the help he needs.
Please dont think im being nasty to you but tbh theres parts of your post that dont add up - you are sat at a pc and know how to use one yet you havent googled diconal??? id have done that long before I posted on mumsnet ....btw diconal is a pain relieving drug - I googled it.
Distraughtmum, how awful.
I don't quite understand who showed him the ss files, and under what circumstances. Is there a sexual abuse element in this? Is he deliberately discussing porn with underage girls, or with girls, some of whom are udnerage?
Do you feel that he is punishing you with the information he gives you so frankly, or genuinely expressing his beliefs/wishes?
How could you kick him out at 15 ? knowing his problems and knowing how he behaves in a sense you are allowing him to behave like this.
you are the adult you must behave as such.
i didnt google because i was posting quickly. with using this type of painkiller surely there is only one thing left for him to progress to... if he hasnt already used it.
in december last year DS started getting upset and emotional. thats when he started speaking about "Special files" and "seventeens" and "forty sevens" (i assume something to do with the children's act...) he got a bit better over christmas but afterwards he just got out of hand.
in january he threatened to kill himself in school and they phoned me so he started playing up in school. because DS wont accept being "snitched" on as part of the street gang culture. he threatened to leave school and run away if they phoned me again and they never did (not on that issue anyway. they phoned me MANY times to discuss his general bad behaviour though.)
i suspect the drugs began in january. he was found in a methadone clinic with concerta XL (upper's) and sent home from school and youth club for acting like he was high. i couldnt be sure till i found some uppers in april then may the full story came out.
DS's behaviour just got mental frankly. pushing and hitting girls, walking out of school/not going whenever he felt like, cheating in tests, refusing to obey teachers, making threats, using unbelievable language (c**t, c**ksucker, n**ger, paki, c*m eater, pussy lover- he just wouldnt stop it.)i never say anything stronger than shit and only when im REALLY upset- and i brought DS up not to swear. but my porn loving, lying, cheat of an ex-h taught him otherwise.
he discusses porn with girls of like 14-15. not a real pervert element there (thank goodness) but he'll ask ANYONE about "cum shots", "deep throat", "extreme associates" etc. and I told him its not normal but he decides to do it anyway.
DS used to be very close to the management of the school (when he was 11/12 and good as gold.) the child perversion co-ordinator had a really close relationship with him and told him details about her job. but he denies she actually showed him files, he read the files in april this year when he sneaked onto a computer in the school office.
He does sound like my ds with the obsessiveness, only in your ds's case it seems to be different drugs and porn. He is obviously going through a stage of believing everything he is told by older kids/young adults and that is the main problem. You cannot get through to him. The fact that he is telling you all about it sounds like ds too - the times ds's autistic behaviour comes to the fore is when he is excitedly telling me about things that no "normal" 15 year old would tell their parent.
I agree with nickschick, you can't kick him out, but if he goes you have to let him and just hope that reality will kick in and he will realise what he is missing.
He is obviously mentally unstable, but you have step back and look at this more dispassionately. You have to make decisions which are not emotionally based, if you can. You really need to talk to someone in real life - I would go to your GP and ask for help for YOU.
I also agree that he is punishing you (only he knows for what!). He told you that he was staying with a drug dealer, because he knew that would hurt you most.
The only thing which has any effect on my ds at the moment is me getting on with and enjoying my life. Nothing I do for him earns me any respect. I have to live my own life and hope that he will learn by watching what I can't actually teach him.
Could you please tell me what a "child perversion co-ordinator" is?
It is extremely unlikely that any really sensitive information would be held on computer- they are in the written files normally, not computer files... unless it was the word docs of typing up minutes of meetings etc.
child perversion coordinator= a person who perverts the lives of children by referring them to social services, usually a member of a school senior management team. (AFAIK).
the school ds went to had details of sexual abuse, etc. in computer files. they were all electronic- i was told there are paper files locked away securely, but the staff generally used computers to communicate with SS and other agencies so had to have information on them.
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