Problems on the Homefront with teen son

  1. Greetings All Nurses,

    I am the father of 2 teenage sons 17 and 14. Both are not known to use drugs or smoke cigarttes. Both are not academic achievers but do well in math and play chess intramuerally. (I can not spell, my downfall). Both compete with each other and share a room, this causes many arguements!

    My eldest works at night during the summer cleaning floors at a grocery store. My youngest wants to work but his attitude will prevent this. He also has ADDHD and a severe emotional disorder (no suprize there, I had problems too but got treatment {multiple years})

    Now here is where I am today and last night. Last night Jon the youngest was cussing with a very derogratory term for sexual intercourse. He was using it in a sentence casually. I took offense and told him about it. He then got in my face and dared me to do something. He is 5'9" 228# or there abouts. I told him to back down shut up and sit down. He did none of that, and then told me he would beat me up (yea right). His mom is freaking out and yelling at both of us to go to our corners and sit down. It ended up he grabbed me and I him (him first- sounds childish but true). Terry (mom) pulled him off me and told him that he was at fault, as I had him in a head lock while he was lying on top me. She told him that his behavior was unacceptable and that round was over LOL.

    Now today he is outside and I get a knock at the door from my nieghbor (who is my niece) telling my that Jon and a friend of his Also 14 or 15 is in a van joy riding. I got him (did not see him in the van but did see the van) and put him on the couch for the past 3 hours, all the while he is yelling at me and I am ignoring him as I do not want a rematch without a referee being here (wife is at work)LOL. So this is why I am writing this to vent and listen to your feedback. I am at a loss of what to do I am usually passive except where the boys are concerned. I do not use corporral punishment (I was abused) but man I could really let loose on them sometimes and now that they are as big as me they think they can go for whatever they want and I will not do something about it. Did I make a mistake not whipping them when they were young?

    I do not want to fight with them either as I know I will be the victor but at a great cost. I also know that I would have to hurt them as they are big boys! Talking does not work either they have selective hearing loss and yell! One other thing I wish I had done was control what music they listen to. I mean I can hear it often and it is rap with all the cussing, violence, and disrespect for people if you know what I mean. I thought it would be a phase but it is not I have listened to it for years The Rap and the argueing I just never put the 2 togather, I think it is an influence in this situatio as well as his cigarette pot smoking friend. That is an other problem I know if I forbid him from being around him it will backfire. We Terry and me, already do not let him spend the night at this kids house and try to redirect Jon's activities to other nieghbors (cousins of his, he has several that live within 4 doors away on both sides). But I can see just in 2 days he is going nowhere fast. Thank you for letting me vent!

    Have a Blessed Day,
  2. 17 Comments

  3. by   CEN35
    i am sorry to hear about your problems jami. unfortunately.....i really don't know what to tell you? i haven't been there yet, so i don't know? think! think! think!.....ummmmmm nope not working to well tonight? i think there has to be someone better out there to answer this than me.
  4. by   tiger
    jami, is your son in treatment? like anger management or something? is this behavior just syarting or escalating. also, whos van were they in?
    Last edit by tiger on Jul 29, '01
  5. by   jamistlc
    Originally posted by janetl
    jami, is your son in treatment? like anger management or something? is this behavior just syarting or escalating. also, whos van were they in?
    No but he is in a special education in public schools. There curriculm has this in it's classroom instruction. He has an IEP also. Tonight he just took it one step frther and punched to solid wood furniture and I did first aid for his swollen hand. He has ice on it as I write. His rasps are intact and = ; His push pull is intact and = ; he can wiggle his fingers ; He continues to cry (part of the DX) and c/o pain (he has always had a low painthreshold). In addition he is very attention seeking (makes a mountain out of a mole hill). In fact whenevr he is in trouble for whatever he tries to distract and displace with c/o abot something else like am Hungry"or in school he will have to go to the bathroom 20 times in a day. He uses it as a defense mechanism. I am truely at wits end and am having a hard time coping with him today. Even his mom is having the same problem with him (coping with this behavior). He pushes till he gets what he wants very manipulative! His mom and I did tell him as a unit that he is not to be around this cory (the JD, pot smoking punk) anymore, his response is I have no friends around here "can we move". See he just keeps you challendged as a parent and at a wits end.

    They were in Cory's mom's van who gave Corythe keys to move it in the parking lot (not a good idea I do not let either of mine do that). No this is not new, he was expelled from Kindergarten for his behaviors/outburst. Yes as he has become a teen he has gone beyond the normal expected "testing of his new status" and very demanding. He has NO PATIENCE and exhibits many addictive traits/behaviors. That is my next worry (that he will pick up use DRUGS). I know all this becuase in many ways he is me!

    My parents also were confused and unable to help me. It was not until I was married that I got help. I mean my parents (dad) did force me to get it when I was 11 but I was not ready to use what they had to offer (in patient psych for teens). The only thing it did do was keep me alive (I was suicidal, but I had a reason my mom abandoned me and left me on the door of a father I did not know and who did not want me, either). I had to go through alot that I really do not want him to go through. I survived but there was a cost. I was a run away, drug addict, and many other things I do not want to disclose in a public forum.

    You know they say you grow up to become your parents. I am trying very hard not to! They also say you reap what you sow and the grief you gave your parents will return to you! What comes around goes around! Maybe I will tell him that, LOL Seriously I think I will. I mean I do not know what else to do?
    Last edit by jamistlc on Jul 29, '01
  6. by   tiger
    i'm really sorry that you are having problems too. guess it comes with the teens usually. i really don't know what to tell you but i guess i would speak to the other kids parents and probably restrict my own child in some way when he/she demonstrated some negative behavior. take away this or stop this activity. the biggest problem to me is that he will actually challenge you physically. if it ever escalates you will be the one charged with child abuse. i had a friend who was a stepmother to 15 and 17 yr olds. apparently the father did not help much and the bio mother was bitter and wanted the dad to take care of them. the stepmother(my friend/coworker) was left to deal with them and they had no respect. she also had a 6 yr old daughter of her own. she said they got so bad that they would challenge her or the dad to physical fights rather than do what was asked of them which wasn't much. they snuck out, when they didn't want to leave their room they got her glasses from the cabinet and urinated in them and left them sitting in the room, when told to keep the window closed in their room they went out of the house leaving it open and boobytrapped the room with nails sticking out of cardboard so anyone entering their room would step on them. i just couldn't believe it when she told me this stuff.she eventually told me that she put them out but the kids returned and threw a rock through the window to get back in and hit her in the head. she said she called the cops but they could do nothing because they were in her husbands custody. just unreal to me. i don't know the law but if all she told me was true the law is messed up. kids can call for child abuse but parents have no rights. she was about 5'7', 130 lbs.and they were 6' something. big boys. i hope you are able to gain control before it gets to a worse point. janet
  7. by   prmenrs
    Possibly, you and the kids both need a break? Go the school counselor or psychologist, and find out what your options are. E.G., are there any inpt places in your area? Check your insurance and see what's covered. There is a diagnosis "oppositional and defiant disorder"--sounds like what your describing.
    Is there a child psychiatrist you can work with? There may be drug therapy that is appropriate.
    Look at all the posibilities with an open mind. Have your sons look at them, too. They may wake up to the fact that being at home and behaving themselves is the best option! Meanwhile, find ways to keep yourself under control. Getting arrested for child abuse will NOT be useful!!
    I will certainly keep you in my prayers.
  8. by   mcruss
    I'm so sorry that you and your wife are having to go through this. I only have small children(2,6) right now, so I don't have any "tried and true" advice !!
    If some of this behavior has started happening or becoming more severe in the last couple of months or so-I would have to wonder if there is really something else going on with him. Have you asked him if there is anything that is specifically bothering him? I know sometimes that when someone starts exhibiting behavior that is out of character--it can mean that there is something more to the story.
    Give yourself a pat on the back Jami-you admitted yourself that you've been through alot---and survived !! If you can do it-so can he !! Have you shared some of your stories(the pg rated ones) with him?? Maybe some of your "dose of reality" stories will help him to realize that you just don't want to see him go down the same path. I know this is all easier said then done, but just wanted to wish you well !!!

  9. by   tinkertoys
    Jami, I'm sorry to hear about the problems you're having with your sons. I have 2 teenage boys myself (19 and 16), and two younger ones ( 9 and 7), and have been dealing in some measure with the confusion and heartache that you are facing now. There are so many things influencing our children today that are beyond our seems hopeless sometimes. But DON'T GIVE UP ON THEM!!! Whether they EVER admit it or not, they depend on your love and your being there for them.
    Prmenrs was right. You need to talk to some experts, and explore your options. Sometimes there are things that must be done to help those you love that you cannot do yourself. I know this is tearing you apart, and your wife as well. It's important, too, not to focus solely on Jon. How is your older son reacting to all of this?? Is he staying out of trouble? Please don't let him and his needs get lost in the shuffle. It's very easy to do...I've done it myself...but he has to know that he has your love and attention without doing bad things.
    Pull together with your wife... you've been together a long time, so I know you can do it Get some professional advice, and spend a lot of time on your knees. There is One who can help you all. God Bless you and your family, Jami. You'll be in my prayers.
  10. by   debbyed
    First let me say that the son I will speak about is now 24, lives on his own and is holding down a decent don't give up hope!

    My youngest (we'll call him J) was diagnoses with boarderling C.P. at an early age and by age 6 was diagnoses with ADHDLD. He had specialized education through out school including therapy and medication. This actually worked well until he was 16 and started high school. He started not taking his medicine, skipping school and getting into trouble. The school knew me well and would always call if he was not at first period. Since I worked ER the police knew me well and would always bring him home (small town), I even had to have a "son sitter" when both my husband and I were working because he could not be trusted.

    When he finally turned 18 in November he quit school. Several times that winter I tried to Kick him out but always relented because every time I did it would snow and it broke my heart to think of him out in the cold. Finally that spring he raised his hand to me and I told him he had to go and I stood by it. It was the hardest thing I ever did in my life. But as it turns out the best thing I could have done.

    Without a home or money his so called friends disappeared and after a couple months he hit rock bottom. He signed himself in to a drug/ETOH rehab. When he completed the program he asked to come home. I had previously spoke with his caregivers and I knew they provided a half way house (which provided some freedom but also had strict rules of behavior) so again with tears in my eyes I said no. I told him if he could stay clean and sober for 6 months he could come home. He did, and the rest of the story only got better.

    Sometimes tough love is the only love that works. Never give up hope, but you also can not allow him to destroy your other children, your family and your life.
  11. by   Jenny P
    Jami, my son is now 22 and is doing well, but for about 4 years he had me scared to death because of drugs. He also is ADHD with oppositional behavior personality; but thank God! he is our straight and sober (and HAPPY!) son again! I joined both "Tough Love" and Al Anon in order to make it through those years. He started smoking pot at age 16 at Boy Scout Camp (yeah, the Boy Scouts aren't all squeaky clean and "morally straight")!
    Long story, but he ended up being expelled from high school a week before he was to graduate because of taking a knife to school. Then 2 months later (at age 18) I kicked him out of our house because of lying, stealing, disobedience, and total disregard for anyone else in our family and violent mood swings.
    We didn't hear from him for 3 peaceful weeks, then he called from jail-- he wanted us to post bail! Although it just about killed me, I refused. He went through court (with a court appointed lawyer), served his time, went through treatment (twice!) then was on probation; and managed to try to trick the system, and was caught 3 times with dirty UA's. The thing that FINALLY straightened him out was being thrown in prison with a felony charge against him. He was scared straight at that point (he was 20 by then).
    If there has been a big change in your son's behavior and he's hanging with druggies, he's using (in all probability). As my son says; druggies don't hang out with non-users.
    Check and see if you can get him in an anger management program (Ohio should have some good ones), and find a Tough Love Support group for you and your wife. Another idea would be having someone in authority scare the daylights out of (intimidate) him so that he won't want to be in trouble.
    If you need a scarey story, I can tell you lots of the stuff I've skipped here for the sake of brevity. My son finally has most of his act together, but like he says: he lost 4 years of his life. There are definitely times when he's only as mature as an 18 year old, and he admits that those years are gone-- emotionally, spiritually, and financially.
    I wish you luck, and I shall be praying for you and your family for now.
  12. by   MollyJ
    Hope things are improved for you.

    I have two books to recommend. First, Dick Shaefer's _Choices and Consequences_, a book about what to do if your teen is abusing drugs/alcohol. I know there is no evidence of that, though I agree with Jenny P, that druggies hang with druggies. What I like about Shaefer is his discussion about the triad of rescuing, provoking and enabling and this triad, when it gets going looks alot like your little incident of the other night. He talks about becoming non-reactionary, but defining and holding the rules in your own house.

    Also, there is anything (books, videos, audios) at the library by Barbara Coloroso, a teacher who has worked with at risk kids. She does general parenting, but enlarges on the theme of being non-reactionary while holding the lines in your home. She also talks about "how to get your child out of jail." She is fun and experienced.

    Seek recommendations for a family therapist that works with teen and their families. You can only lead the horse to water if it wants to go, but you may benefit with looking at any residual guilt from your own past and practicing being non-reactionary and setting reasonable rules in your own house.

    Good luck. This is something that could happen to all of us.
  13. by   canoehead
    The best advice I ever heard on a situation like this is from Dr Laura, go figure.

    Remove everything from his room except the mattress a blanket and two changes of clothes. He needs to demonstrate respect for your rules if he is to live under your roof. He can earn them back an item a week. Refuse to allow him to participate in family fun times, if you are all going to go out for supper make other plans for him, or delay it until you have some reason to give him a reward treat. Provide some physical labor, preferably that you can do together to burn off some hostility, and give a sense of accomplishment and value.

    Having been the receipient of a similar intervention I can say it knocks some sense into kids quickly, but make sure that just because he cannot pertake in an evening of family TV watching etc that he doesn't get left out of the family altogether. I would reccommend frequent discussions, working and playing together so that he doesn't feel abandoned.

    Good luck.
  14. by   realnursealso/LPN
    So sorry for what you are going through Jami. My son is 27, and it has been a tough road to travel. Don't really have anything to add other than, I'll be thinking of you and praying for your family. Sometimes it is still rough with our son. He quit his job the other day...don't know what he is thinking...but I keep trying. They say God never gives you anything you can't handle...sometimes I wonder why he had so much faith in me. So God bless you and I'm here to talk anytime.