14 yr old son about to be expelled..

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by crysbuck1, Dec 14, 2011.

  1. crysbuck1

    crysbuck1 New Member


    Reading some of these other issues, mine almost seems typical. However, I am a stay at home mother of 4 boys at home; ages 4,7,11,and 14. My 14 yr old is a newbie in High School but has had issues in school since he started middle school. He is smoking cigarettes, and marijuana. He steals from me at home and is very disrespectful towards me. He has just recently returned to his High School less than 2 weeks ago from a 6 week alternative school program (to try and get him refocused on how to be a good student) and now got in trouble again for bringing tobacco and paraphernalia to school. He is on paper thin ice with the principal and the ice is cracked. His principal told me today that I need to find an alternative because he doesn't think my son is going to make it much longer there because he won't cooperate. What do I do? I have grounded him, cleared his room, he is in counseling. He has even been to a 2-4 week behavioral center to get him straightened out. He does OK for about 2 weeks when he comes home, then it's back to making the same mistakes. I enrolled him into the Gem State Young Marines program and I was called to come get him the same night they started their boot camp or they were going to call the police on him for battery. I am just lost for what to do. He is constantly in trouble at school and at home. Grounding just makes it worse for everyone. My apologies for rambling on, I am just in desperate need of help and don't know where to look.
  2. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Hi crysbuck, sounds like you are having such a rough ride. Does your son have special needs beyond these issues? Does he have any mental health issues or does he have medical issues like ADHD etc. If you think he is self medicating any underlying issues (and it could be hard to know, middle school is a huge change in ability requirements and he may have not had the skills to get through but if subtle, the school may have missed that)...

    So, it could be worth doing a few evaluations.... One being a neuropsychologist evaluation which can help see his learning style, if there are challenges that are interfering with his success and which now are resulting in behavior issues. The other of course you probably have had, that is with a psychiatric. or psychiatrist to see if there are any mood disorder types of things going on.

    At this point, you have tried shorter term placements, If he has no special needs documented, you still have rights if you think he does have them. It is part of the Special Education law when there is a behavior problem that could be related to a special need. If you even think they should look write a letter tonight and state your concern that your child has unmet special needs that are affecting his ability to perform in school You are requesting an evaluation for special education services to determine if he has any problems in the area of academics, emotional and behavioral needs. If he has any reading or communication or motor needs, you can ask for a speech/language evaluation (remember lang. issues can show up as reading problems) and Occupational Therapist (OT) which can look at his ability to motor plan, write (they look at sensory stuff too but you didn't mention anything here about any of these issues, I am just throwing ideas out there).

    Now, if you are really thinking school is not good for him right now, can he do online school? Can you find a residential treatment (longer term) program for him.

    If he is drug dependent then it may not be possible to assess the reasons for all of this until he is clean. Since he is 14 you still have some power over him to do a long term therapy setting. He needs to be off the drugs for a long time and then they need to assess any issues that can also contribute to his problems like depression, anxiety, social anxiety, learning problems, whatever.

    It would be hard to let him go away but it sounds like if you don't do it now, then you might lose the opportunity. Does the district have a treatment program or a sober school??

    Sorry if none of this applies, just brain storming here with you. Do you have the book The Explosive Child by Ross Green? I agree for these kids, typical stuff like grounding etc. does not give them the skills they need to do better. They need to be done at times, but it is only a small part of the solution.

    You have done so much, I really applaud you. He is just hard. Some of our kids are. Makes us have to really think outside of the box.

    I know there are many here who will be able to guide you more. People who have actually walked in your same shoes. Keep checking in and venting as much as you want.

    If you decide you want a school evaluation, write it and send it return receipt because the date will start a time clock and also put a hold on them expelling him. They may choose to put him in a temporary placement though while they evaluate because he did one of the few things that allows that by having drug stuff (serious bodily assault, weapons, and drugs are things that even special needs kids can be kicked out for but their educational goals must still be provided for if special needs).

    by the way !!!??? FOUR boys???? holy heck.... I have ONE and I go nuts.
  3. givingmybest

    givingmybest New Member

    Hey crysbuck! I can't really offer much advice but say that what you just wrote could have been written by me. My 14 year old - 15 next week - is doing the exact same things at the moment. He has ADHD but refuses to take his medications. I think him smoking marijuana is a form of self medicating. He has admitted to once a week but I believe it to be more. He also smokes, he's been picked up by the police for drinking in public and school...well, he just can't seem to get there these days. The change in him has been dramatic over the last 6 months. We are starting a new program next week so my fingers are crossed that we can get somewhere with that.

    I also feel like I have tried everything but just can't get through to him. I did find out today that I can call the non emergency police line and discuss with them and they will dispatch some officers to come to the house and talk to him. That might help for the short term. I have put him into a crisis anger management retreat. That kept him level for about a month. Like you said, grounding just makes it worse for everyone.

    Please know that you are not alone. I'm sure everyone here can give you good advice and just be there for you to vent - they've let me so far!!
  4. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Oh I have so been there and so sympathize with you. I wish I had really good advice and an answer for you but I don't really. My son was in a similar position in 9th grade as well... and we tried everything, some of which helped for a while. However I am not sure it helped in the long run as my son definitely still has a drug problem and he is now 20.... and is getting help (we hope) from his own volition... however time will tell if it takes this time.

    So although there have been other behavioral issues in the past my guess is the drug use is making things much much worse. That was true in our case. Good chance he is using drugs to either self medicate some other issue OR he is dealing with some kind of pain or self esteem issue and is using the drugs to numb the pain. I think both of those were issues with my son but it hasn't been until recently that my son has really sought help for his underlying issues.... however that is where I suggest you really push to figure out what is underlying the drug use. Sounds like you are trying to do that with counseling. I hope your son has a good therapist that can get somewhere.

    Another suggestion is to see if you police department has a youth officer and if they do check in with them. They can sometimes be helpful (and sometimes not). They may know what kind of services your state has for troubled youth so a call for information could be good.

    Other than that I don't have any answers except let the natural consequences take their course... don't protect him too much from himself. Get support for you via therapy and a parents group of Alanon might be a good source of help.

    Good luck.... you have come to a place where we may not have answers but we certainly understand and you are definitely not alone.

  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I have been there for sure. My daughter started pot at twelve. However, when they start stealing and failing in school, you are probably looking beyond pot...he is likely taking other drugs too. It's hard to accept, but it is probably true. Whether or not he has another disorder, drug use will make it impossible for him to improve.

    I'm too tired to go into details, but would like to comment that my daughter and her friend's favorite drugs to use were ADHD medication. They LOVED Adderrall in particular...it goes for $10/pill. They crush the pills in a pillcrusher then snort then either alone or with other drugs, including cocaine. I learned all about Drug Users 101 after my daughter quit. Then she gave us the lowdown. It explained, in a scary way, why nothing worked for her and why she was disobedient and moody. Once she put her hand through a window. Another time she pulled a knife on herself. She was on probation twice and it didn't scare her.

    Have you ever drug tested Son by surprise at home? Not all drugs show up, but you may find something. Have you checked his room when he isn't home? I just hate for him to get to the point that my daughter did.

    Hugs, and keep us posted!
  6. Zardo

    Zardo Member

    I too have been there - almost the same exact scenario. As other have said - the drug use is probably driving the inability to reach him and it's probably more than pot. I know in our case, that was the case. In the 18 months that we lived in this hell, one of the most impactful events was when my son got caught with pot and tobacco at school and got expelled. That was the beginning of the change. Prior to that event, he was so out of control, not doing ANY school work, screaming at us every night, throwing things in the home at just the suggestion of "time to do your homework", etc. When he got expelled, it was the first time that he saw that we (my husband and I) were not the enemy and, in fact, were trying to help him. Unfortunately, the effect of that event didn't last as he had to suffer several more setbacks and self-created natural consequences, but instead of us policing him, the natural consequences really hurt him inside and each time, he came to us for help. Here we are almost two years later, and it's not "fixed" yet, but we and he are SO much better than things were freshman year. As others have said - don't protect him too much - if he's acting out this way, he will probably get expelled, don't beg for him not to. If he acts out at home either abusively or damages your property - consider calling the police - if he gets sent to juvenielle court, step one is they try to help by mandating programs including drug treatment if he is caught with that. You can even speak to your youth officer now to see if there is a way to appeal to the court for help with him now. In my town, you can and THEY will mandate programs including drug treatment if need be. Take care of yourself - either find a support group or read up - there are several good books that helped me through - "Teens Under the Influence" - "The Unchanged Mind" and "To Change a Mind". Also - if you have the funds - a Wilderness Treatment program can be a good intervention and there are programs that take kids who are not interested - they come in the middle of the night and "escort" them. It sounds extreme, but for us, it was one of the things we used and the positive peer culture there was an important step in my son being more aware of his emotional issues and level of substance dependance. One last thought - since the principle is suggesting that he is not going to make it at the regular high school - how about appealing to the town for funds to send him to a therapeutic boarding emotional growth school. They will not tell you about these programs unless you ask (in writing), but they do exist and your town have access to these programs. The first step in pursuing that is formally request an evaluation, as others have suggested, to see if there are emotional or academic issues that are affecting his ability to function at school. If you want to pursue this, you must e-mail the principle and guidance counselor requesting "psychoeductional testing" to determine this. GOOD LUCK - I know it's so hard.
  7. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    If he's on the edge of being expelled... you have every right to pull out the stops on finding "root causes".
    We did that... played the "mental illness" card... as in - this is not normal, it is not just a behavior issue, there is something more going on.
    Ended up with support for that process... and finally (after 10 years of trying) got answers that are working.

    But... while ours was in VERY serious trouble, it wasn't drugs. Drugs really mess up the process - warps what everybody sees, including difficult child. So you end up having to deal with that first, in some ways.
  8. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    Does your school district have an alternative school? Sometimes they really help our kids. If the principal suggests alternative placement what does he suggest? 9th grade is a tough year and our kids really have a stuggle especially when they are in a high school and not junior high. The principal knows this-ask for his advise. Does your mental health hospitol have a day treatment center? How do kids get there? Sometimes the county system has a day treatment program as well. How do kids get there? What about charges? Has the school filed those with the paraphenalia? Does your boy have an IEP? There are some safeguards in place if he does. Maybe he needs a second round at the behavioral alternative school?
  9. AmericanGirl

    AmericanGirl Guest

    Our county has a Mental Health Officer with the Sheriff's Dept.

    I don't have any other ideas beyond all the great ones posted.

    Praying for your family.