16 year old son out of control... Am I doing the right thing?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by twoofthree, Apr 2, 2018.

  1. twoofthree

    twoofthree New Member

    I have 3 teenagers aged 14 (son), 16 (son) and 17 (daughter). My 14 and 17 year old are not challenging beyond what is typical of their ages, however, my 16 year old son is spiralling downward fast. I am a single mom, but dad is in the children's lives. The two oldest live with me full time (their choice) and my youngest spends his time 50-50 between his dad and I. Also important to note is that their dad lives literally 4 houses away from me.

    My 16 year old son has been a handful for years now. His behaviour started to get noticed by the school when he was in grade 2 when he appeared to have severe separation anxiety from me. I would drop him off at school and he would cry and chase me out the school doors and the teachers would need to restrain him. At that time, his dad and I were still married. We separated in 2011 when he was in grade 4. At that time his dad and I had agreed to 50-50 shared custody of all 3 kids.

    Fast forward to about 2 or so years ago when he started to become combative and destructive. He smashed our remote control in a fit of rage over going to a family dinner. At the last minute he wanted to stay home alone for the day and hang out with his friends. He took off and I called the police to bring him back and make him understand that he could not destroy other peoples belongings.
    After that, he continued to be belligerent and refused to follow the rules of my home, so I made arrangements with his dad, for him to go live at dad's (who then lived about 7 minutes away by car).
    The hope was that it would remove him somewhat from the crowd he was hanging with. He continued to go to school but would get suspended on a regular basis, started to smoke weed, and destroy things in his dad's on a regular basis.

    Fast forward again to 16 months ago when he went too far with his dad and his dad called the police and had him arrested for mischief and eventually another arrest for assault. I realized that things were not working at his dads and after he spent 3 and a half weeks incarcerated in a youth facility, I agreed to bail him out as his surety, and bring him back to my house with the agreement that he would attend counselling, attend school on a regular basis, etc. He made almost no effort to do the things he agreed to.

    We have tried to force him to go to counselling, get an evaluation, etc., but the agencies have repeatedly told him that he does not have to do any of it if he does not want to. So he refuses. Over the past year and a half, he has grown weed, gotten arrested for that, broken into cars stealing, gotten arrested for that, gotten kicked out of 3 different school programs and is currently suspended awaiting expulsion. He refuses to get a legal job (I'm certain he is selling weed), and continues to smoke weed. I am certain he is not using any other drugs so far. He is on probation right now. I have tried everything to help this child but he absolutely refuses to follow my house rules, continues to be emotionally and verbally abusive to his 17 year old sister, and his 14 year old brother, and engage in illegal activity (selling/smoking weed).

    On Saturday, when we were all getting ready to attend a family dinner, he refused to get out of bed to come. My family was actually planning a celebration because his 16th birthday is today. He knew how important it was for him to come. He and I got in to an argument, and he called me some horrible names and spit at me. He has never been physical with me, but he has with his sister and brother in the past.

    I am at the point where I feel that I need to protect his brother (14 year old) who wants to beat the crap out of him, and his sister who has been mentally abused and very affected emotionally, by his abuse.
    I have spoken to his dad and his dad has agreed to have him live there. His dad is much stricter than I am. His dad has no problem calling the police if my son is doing anything illegal. I am really struggling with what to do. I don't want my son to go to jail again as the only thing that has done for him is let him make connections/friends with other boys his age who are into worse things than he his, i.e.. gangs, etc. So far, my son has outright refused to live with his dad. I think he may run.

    My plan is to call his probation officer and let him know that he is no longer welcome to live at my house, and that his dad is willing to take him. I feel my son will damage my home, however, I do not feel afraid for my physical safety. Please help, any advice would be appreciated.
  2. twoofthree

    twoofthree New Member

    Also, I should mention that we live in Ontario, Canada.
  3. Triedntrue

    Triedntrue Active Member

    Although he has not been violent with you you said he has with his siblings. I agree he can not stay there and maybe his father being strict is what he needs. Maybe you could talk to his probation officer about what other programs are available. Also maybe the probation officer can talk to him about consequences of what may happen if he runs. I don't know about what programs are available in Canada but you might see if they have residential treatment programs. You are doing what you need to do to help your son become an independent adult. There is an article on here about detaching you should read . Also a book by Melody Beattie called Codependent no More. Although you can't totally detach because of your sons age I think it might help you . know that you have a place to talk with others who have been there.
  4. twoofthree

    twoofthree New Member

    Thank you so much for your reply. I am in close contact with his probation officer. He has gotten my son to start attending a program once a week. He's only been there once so far. His probation officer has talked to him about the consequences of running. He doesn't seem to care.
    I will definitely look up those suggested reads. I am totally heartbroken, and I am struggling with caving. I know I need to be firm and not cave, but to my detriment (and that of my son) I am not a tough parent. If I'm completely honest, I fear he will try to kill himself. My mother committed suicide when I was 19, so I am very sensitive about that possibility.

    I am glad I found this group. I was feeling so alone in this, and my area does not offer any type of support groups for parents who struggle with troubled teens.