16 year old aggressive behavior


New Member
My 16 year old son has been getting worse. He has been diagnosed with ADD and has taken Ritalin in the past, no help. Recently started Wellbutrin. Not helping. He is failing half of his classes and now he doesn't seem to care about anything. He has friends at school but doesn't do anything with them. He comes home from school and really doesn't do anything. He doesn't do anything on weekends. He is very disrespectful and rude to me and my husband. He swears and argues. He is a jerk to his younger brothers. He takes no responsibility for himself. Then all of a sudden he will be nice. It's almost like he is bipolar. His teachers say he is usually respectful. He just is very low energy all day.
I beginning to think he's using drugs but he is never around anyone but us so I don't really think it's the case. He has recently become more aggressive in his tone and demeanor. He continues to swear and not listen. Today he said under his breath I'll f-ing kill you when I asked him what he said he denied it. I said to him I heard you threaten me maybe I should call the police? He just looked at me and said I'm a :censored2:. I don't know what to do anymore. I am so sick of him screaming at me. He says I deserve it because I'm not listening to him or I'm accusing him of something so he's only defending himself. We have tried different doctors etc but he doesn't participate. I am so sick of this and how it is affecting me my husband and my 2 younger kids. If I could kick him out if the house I would. It's so sad. I'm worried his aggressive behavior will get worse. He's told me when he's calm, that he gets sometimes so mad sometimes that he feels rage and feels like he's going to snap. I've had to pry his phone out of his hand. He puts his hand on mine and tries to pull my hand off of his phone. He is much stronger than me. I'm worried one day he's going to hurt me or someone else at home. If he does do anything I will call the police. I hate to do it but I can't live in fear of a 16 year old. It's affecting so much in my life. I feel like I can't tell anyone I know because I'll be judged. I feel like I have to suffer in silence until he turns 18 and I will kick him out if my house. But what about the damage he will cause in the meantime to my other kids and me. I don't know what to do.


Staff member
Welcome @kimw123

I am so very sorry you are facing such a very difficult parenting journey. You have been through a lot, and the future of parenting this boy may be very challenging.

Hang in there. You are not alone. I just wanted to let you know that I have read your post and that other parents will read it too and offer their support.

Make sure to keep in mind that your well being is just as important as his is. Take the time and effort to take good care of yourself too.


Well-Known Member
So much of what you describe is typical "difficult child."

The lack of motivation; rage and hostility; social withdrawal; adhd; volatility; argumentative, defensive.

He may be depressed. In young men depression can manifest as agitation and aggression.

I would keep a wide berth from him until you figure out what is going on. For right now I would not focus on the interactions and conflict so much: this may be missing the forest for the trees. Clearly he is impossible. And it seems like he is suffering. You and he and the family will be helped if you know what is going on inside of him. The less conflict there is, the calmer he will be and the more likely to talk about it he will be.

I would tell him clearly what the consequences are of serious misbehavior: If he touches anybody aggressively or threatens, the police will be called. And I would follow through.

Does he have any hobbies? You say he does virtually nothing after school although he has friends. Are there sports or other recreational pursuits that interest him, like martial arts or music or fishing or camping? Something special that might entice him. Is he academically inclined where he might be interested in taking a college class? Some hobbies like art, or model-making or woodwork, running, fishing are solitary. Would something like this interest him do you think?

I would take him to his pediatrician and describe this behavioral change. I would ask for a referral to a child psychotherapist.

It sounds like school is OK, and his behavior is worse at home: have there been any changes in the family; any particular stress; is his health OK? In the family is there a relationship that is difficult or any that are trouble free? Has he suffered any losses lately or could he have been hurt by somebody that you may be unaware of?

Do you have a religious affiliation and does he participate? Is there somebody there you can reach out to?

My son was miserable during these years he says retrospectively. I focused on the conflict too much and not so much on his distress. We did see a therapist but my son always acted like I was the problem. He did participate in martial arts and he went to a gym. He always had a close friend, for which I am grateful.
Our troubles went on in one form or another for 10 years.

This is why it is crucially important that you learn how to be OK, and that you look for your peace and your joy. Do you fish, do art, have hobbies, spiritual and social activities, and the support you need?

Most of us when we find this forum have run dry...we have focused to long outside of ourselves, and we no longer have what it takes to sustain ourselves let alone our families. You will find a great deal of support here. It is important, too, to look to what you can do to enrich your own life every day.

Welcome. I hope you keep posting. It does help.


Well-Known Member
Hi. Very sorry you have to go through this. If your son goes to school, he has access to drugs. He can save some for home too. Also, never underestimate a drug users ability to get drugs in ingenius ways, if that is on the radar. My daughter got out at night through her window, after we were asleep, and she was being homeschooled! We found out when the cops brought her home for a curfew violation!

Hon, he threatens to kill you and is verbally violent. He says he feels like he may snap. Believe his words. He has already snapped but it could get worse. You have other younger kids that he could possibly hurt too. He is not 18 yet, but if you call cps for help they may help you find an out of home mental health residential treatment center so that all of you are safe and at peace and he is getting 24/7 help. I dont think you can risk him at home since, even if you and hub love him enough to take that risk for yourselves, you are aware that you must protect your other children. If not residential care, there is foster care. He needs to be an only child now if he is not in residential.

My daughter was asked to leave at age 19. Her younger siblings were nine and six and scared when she went on a drugged frenzy or when the cops showed up for her unannounced. The good news is she quit drugs, evrn cigarettes and is ten plus years clean with a wonderful life snd my granddaughter. It can happen. The younger they receive help, forced or otherwise, the better. Dont wait on this or he will continue to spiral. He still may, but at least then you can tell yourself you tried your best before he turnred eighteen.

We have a zero tolerance for violence in our house. While you are waiting for this to shake out, I suggest do call the police the first time he lays a finger on anyone so that he knows you wont let him hurt anyone. Also have your other kids lock their doors at night. Yes, i know. It can feel like jail, but the younger kids MUST be safe.

Hugs for your hurting heart. I think you have the right inclination. Good luck!!
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Well-Known Member
Hi there,

Allow to me add my voice to the chorus. I am sorry you have to be here, but you won't find a more welcoming or understanding place on the Internet.

If you like, you can review my posts over the past year to have an idea of what my famlly has gone through with our difficult child. He is currently 16 and lives with his father (my wife's ex). Many years of problems and all of them identical to the list Copacabana provided. From early years of underachieving despite a very high intellect; social isolation; eventual school failure, truancy, violence in the home, drug and alcohol abuse, we have seen it all. The only thing he has not done is threaten to harm himself. We didn't see him for almost an entire year-he just flat quit speaking to us. To be honest that was preferable - without the break in contact, I honestly believe he would have seriously injured, or even killed, my wife (his mother). My wife and her ex-husband just allowed him to withdraw from his high school and is now attending an online school. He would have dropped out otherwise and they felt it was the best option to keep him on track for a diploma.

We have issues with his parents not being on the same page as to holding him accountable, and difficult child exploits that. The parent he lives with is the permissive one, and he does as he pleases with no structure or rules. He has grown accustomed to that lifestyle and it will continue. We can do nothing and my wife feels going to family court, when this child is about to turn 17 years old, would not be productive as he will soon be a legal adult. If I could offer one nugget of advice that would be to get on the same page with his father regardless of whether you are together or not. Otherwise nothing will likely change unless your son, himself, decides he wants to change. In our case difficult child is enabled and will not change.

Recently, I have accepted that I cannot change him or the dysfunctional family situation (I married into the family when he was 13). If my wife wants a relationship with her son she has to play by his rules. He will accept no authority from anyone. If he doesn't like what you have to say, he'll simply leave - if he cannot escape, he will lash out with violence. He drives now and drove to our new home for a family dinner yesterday. He brought his 15 year old girlfriend with him along with his 14 year old brother. We had a pleasant time as a family. I suspect that after they left they stopped to run a drug related "errand" but that is neither my business, nor my problem. I have to constantly monitor myself for over-involvement and check myself when I get out of line.

As his parent you have to do what is best for him, even if it sends him into a rage and is the last thing he wants. That didn't happen with my stepson. I hope it can happen in your family. I agree that he needs to be away from you and your other children. Their lives cannot be ruined because he is out of control.

Please keep us posted, you are not alone.


New Member
Thank u so much for your advice and support! Everyone! It's so hard because he can be nice. I'm to the point that I just don't trust it. I actually looked into how I can get him out of my house before he's 18. It sounds terrible but I'm preparing for if it gets worse. From what I understand he can take the GED exam and we can sign for him to join the military when he's 17. I can't even believe that is an option but I don't know what to do with him.
I picked him up from school today and he told me he got a 93 on an English assignment. I'm happy for him but in the big picture what does it mean? We pay tuition for him to go to a private high school. His grades have gone seriously down. He only does well when we are constantly at him then he gets mad. We back off and he lets stuff go and fails. Up until he became so mean we told him he has to get his grades up but he wouldn't take us seriously. This school is the best place for him. It's small so he is able to stay semi organized. He would be lost at our local public school because it's huge! I don't mind paying tuition if this was the best he could do or was trying but he acts like who cares.
I did tell him about the GED military option. I think he was shocked. I explained to him that is probably his best option if he's unwilling to do work in school. He thinks he's just going to graduate somehow! At least if he goes in the military he might learn a skill because at 18 if he continues the way he is, he will have nothing. I will not have him live in my house one day longer than he legally has to if he's going to be belligerent and disrespectful.
I feel like a horrible person for thinking this way. But then I think about my other 2 kids and the negative influence he has on them and how they are learning his behaviors. The thing that makes me see this is really bad is when I look at my other 2 and think wait a minute they don't say or do the things he does. That's when I realize this isn't normal and I cannot put up with it!
I am so glad to have found this website! I feel like I'm living a lie and no one understands what I'm going through. I don't have friends or family I can talk to about this.


New Member
I should add that we have an appointment with a new therapist this Wednesday. I don't know what will happen. He has an appointment with a new psychiatrist later in the month. The one we took him to left the practice after we only saw her twice. She prescribed Wellbutrin because she said it helps ADD kids and depression. Could this medication make him extra volatile? I just feel like no matter what we do it's wrong or we get bad advice! Except here of course!
I read the replies in tears partially because I'm upset this is happening but also because I'm so happy I've found people who get it and want to help! Thank you!


Well-Known Member
the military
If you live in the United States Job Corps is an option and a good one.

They have excellent trainings, have centers all over the nation, have great supervision (is government run), includes room and board and it is free.

My son went when he was 18. I can speak from experience that the program was excellent. Did it change him? No.