Does he not care or is it a cry for help?


So, today was one for the books. Son skipped out of school before 11 am. We had an appointment with psychiatrist this afternoon which I tried to get him to by texting him after school, saying I would get him at 3, not telling him I knew he skipped out. Between my texts and my husbands, he said he wasn't going and wasn't coming home. He ignored later texts. He called husband around 8ish looking for a ride. My husband said no, told him to walk home. I was out at Al Anon meeting. Husband said he got home, he spoke to him a bit and told me not to start with him. I wasn't going to, as much as I wanted to, I was detaching. But then I got home. Husband asleep. Older son in his room, oblivious as only a 17 year old can be in front of Netflix. It was literally smoky my house. I couldn't hold back. I went into my son's room to flip out on him. He was "asleep" or maybe not. He wasn't responding. Probably just as well. I can't imagine it would have gone well had we got into it. This is all awful enough, but here's the is (finally) springtime around here and perfectly beautiful out. He didn't even smoke in his room, it was in the bathroom and smell went into hallway. His room was not smoky, didn't really smell (no more than normal and certainly not like it did in hall). Why did he even have to smoke in the house? I just don't get it. Why couldn't he take it outside? Is it blatant out-right disrespect or a scream for help? I'm thinking maybe it's both. He is so resistant to treatment. He hates going to counselors, psychiatrist, etc. He doesn't think he has a problem. He has been in hospital twice now. First time, they didn't really help him. They weren't focusing on drug use, just anxiety and since he didn't want to participate in groups, he didn't. It was so disappointing. The second time, he was brought to hospital and sent to psychiatric ward because a cop heard him say he was going to kill himself. I'm pretty confident that he only said it to get them off of him. He is full of anxiety and who knows what else, but he's not suicidal. He's addicted to pot, to his stupid a** friends, and to the whole "gangsta lifestyle". I don't know what to do, how to help him. He's supposed to go see his Probation Officer and get a drug test on Friday (which he also says he isn't going to). He is obviously going to fail the test. Then we have the weekend to contend with. I'm dreading it already. Both my husband and I work on Saturdays. He doesn't get home til 3. By that time, son will be out. What do we do? We don't go back to court until 5/27, a lonnng time away if you consider the way things are going around here. How do we make it until then? And, even then, what is going to happen? I don't want him taken away from us, but maybe that's what needs to happen? help. thanks

worried sick mother

Active Member
He's 17, do u still have some leverage? Things you can take away for his behavior. You could take the TV and Netflix. Skipping school, smoking marijuana in your home, he doesn't deserve a TV in his room with access to Netflix or the Internet. Ignoring your text, he must have a phone that you provide. You could take it away. He's most likely using it to contact his bad influence friends. You could get him one of those phones for kids that only contacts you. He needs major consequences for his actions. Don't argue with him, just set some rules and consequences and stick to it. Sounds like he has no fear and he is running the show.
You didn't say if there's other drugs but marjuana was a gateway drug for my son who is now a heroin addict. I can tell you from experience that it only gets harder as they get older. Try to get control now even if that means him being removed from your home. Take care of yourself, I know how hard this is to deal with.


Well-Known Member
What would happen if you contact the probation officer and tell him what has happened? Maybe the PO could give him a curfew, make him do community service, or time in lock up. Last summer, my 15yo Difficult Child, while on court services, for sneaking out and then running away, had the audacity to sneak two teen boys in to her room overnight, while she had a friend spending the night. The boys are gay, so it wasn't for sex, but my husband heard them talking in the upstairs bedroom. One boy escaped thru the window and off the roof... The other one he cornered and had his scared to death. After talking to him, we let him go, we knew him and he apologized. But the next morning we drove Difficult Child to the PO office and informed him what she had done.

He gave her community service and for the rest of summer, she had to get up and be at an organization that cooked meals for home bound senior citizens from 7am to 11am. That helped us tremendously, as she was always tired from working. He told us to call him if she got rude or belligerent and he would put her in juvie for a day... He said it in front of her...and we never had to do that. Lol



Active Member
What an awful day, I am sorry. I can relate and in my son's case he just wanted to smoke inside. It was convenient and why be bothered to go elsewhere. Unbelievable to me. He now smokes outside and I am still not ok with any bit of it. He too is 17 and right now my plan is to get through the next month so he can finish 11th grade. Then the supports are going to be cut off. I have done a ton of reading on this site and have come to the conclusion that things are going to have to get very uncomfortable for him before any chance of change. He is allowed to drive if he pays for the gas, but we will be adding that he pays ALL car expenses. If he doesn't pay the insurance, then we will put a lock on the steering wheel. The phone we provide is going to be cut off and he can pay if he wants to reconnect it. I feel strongly that he needs to be out of the home but don't think that is possible since he is a minor. Wouldn't it be nice if those that think marijuana is harmless could live a day with these teens that smoke.


Active Member
Well see what happens with the drug test PO thing. If he does not meet with PO, etc. and is still around (not put into detention), then I would consult with the psychiatrist as for what to do with situations like the smoking/not going to school. Also talk with his PO and ask for advice.

I don't know if you could go to his psychiatrist appointment if he is refusing to attend - then productively use the time to discuss how to get him to go to his appointments with the psychiatrist.

Then I don't like the sound of your husband telling you to "not to start with him". That sounds like you and your husband are not on the same page so far as rules/consequences and your son are concerned. You need to both work together and have the same rules/consequences. That works like magic. However divided adults and inconsistent rules/consequences equals disaster.

I would recommend asking your local county mental health department, the PO, his school counselor, or his psychiatrist if there are local parenting classes. In those classes they give really good suggestions on dealing with kids like this - the other people taking the class offer excellent suggestions - have worse situations believe it or not! (Misery enjoys company. :))


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

I believe it's your 15 year old giving you issues not the 17 year old which is a big difference in age (at that age).

He sounds exactly like my son who is almost 21 now and out of our home. He would also smoke in our house at times which I feel he did as a way of saying "what are you going to/can you do about it". Very disrespectful in actions but not verbally.

I agree with KSM about letting the probation officer know. Whatever you do, don't try to protect him or don't feel emotionally afraid of him. If you do either it won't help anyone involved. My son did not care. I cared more than he did. I did more work than he did. I was so scared all the time. What was he going to do next??

The bad thing is when they miss appointments you usually have to pay a fee for that. If you don't cancel 24 hours prior etc. which is just so aggravating. Why is he seeing a psychiatrist? Is he on any medications?

My son has anxiety and saw a psychiatrist who put him on benzos which are addictive and can be abused. It was a nightmare getting him off them and it is still his doctor when he decided to relapse. Be careful with psychiatrists. I wish I knew then what I know now.

Marijuana was a gateway drug for my son also. I think some can use recreationally but my son cannot. Keep going to your meetings and take care of yourself too.


Active Member
I think the smoking in the house thing is simply a complete lack of regard for anybody other than himself. My aunt and uncle are 100% sober. My uncle tried a beer in college, but didn't enjoy it. They are about as straight as you could possibly be. One of the very few rules they have is no smoking in the house. Be it pot, pills, or cigarettes. When sober, I never broke that rule. When high, breaking the rule suddenly did not bother me. Also didn't make much of an effort to hide it. That would take more work. I didn't do it to be spiteful. I simply had no regard for their rules.

May be the same for your son.


Hi and thanks to everyone.
Yes, it is my 15 year old that is giving me the problems. The 17 year old is just dealing with it, like us. Tonight, just getting home from work, and I hear screaming from the driveway. This time I guess it was my 17 year old who instigated it. 15 year old was in the bathroom, not getting out, and 17 flipped on him a bit. (15 year old tends to smoked pot in there). Right now, he is wrecking his room. We have taken everything away from him, including his phone. He doesn't care. He just bought a used iphone and just uses it for wifi. That's all he really used on his phone. We had taken away his phone and he had a good week and earned it back (I installed a spy app on it while I had it). The problem with taking the phone is it doesn't effect him, just us, because we can't get a hold of him if he doesn't have the phone. Problem with the spy app is that it doesn't see the snapchat/instagram stuff because I wasn't able to root his phone because our easy child is old and couldn't do it. I can see his texts, phone calls, photo/videos, location (sort of). Thinking it is sort of a waste of money to see what I already know is going on and do I really need to read all about it?
So, tonight's freak out was so scary. He was screaming and yelling and freaking out. He was screaming he hates us and wants to go to a group home. I know he has anxiety, but I don't know what else. . I know he smokes pot, but I don't know what else. He takes Zoloft for his anxiety, which I don't know if it helps or not. He sees a counselor regularly, and has been for years, but she doesn't deal with substance abuse and that's how we came upon the psychologist. We have only seen her once and I really like her. He, of course, hates her. The court told her that seeing her and counselor and whatever else is part of his probation. Again, he doesn't care. He doesn't want to live with us.
This week was killer, the worse yet.


Damn, I always do that. Didn't mean to stop writing.

So, tomorrow we go to meet with probation officer and get drug test. Husband says he is telling her he wants to go DCF and he can go. WHAT?! This is not what I want. How did we get here? I know he has anxiety and I'm sure there is something else going on there too, but I also know that the drugs have riddled his mind. I just want him to get help. I don't want him taken away from me. If I thought that just going would help him, I would do it, but I'm afraid he will just get lost in the system if it happens, he won't get the help that he so desperately needs. I'm so afraid to lose him forever. I'm just so heartbroken and lost. I don't know what to do.


Well-Known Member
Can you talk to your husband to just tell the PO facts about what has happened, and need not things said just to upset you guys? Can you go with him? Sometimes a change of placement can give every one involved enough time to catch up on sleep, think better, and make a new plan of action. I don't think out of home placement is used as a first option... It costs the county more funds...ksm
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Active Member
I'm so sorry for your hurting heart ❤️

I know how scary it is to think you have lost your son to drugs.... Etc....

It feels so unfair to have a child who is struggling when we have done so much.

I hope that you find some supports for your son.

Know you aren't alone.


Well-Known Member

I am here to say welcome and to offer my support. I have nothing useful to add and agree with the others.
Is it blatant out-right disrespect or a scream for help?
I simply had no regard for their rules.
I think it is both. He is in his own world. He could care less what you think. He is out of control, even of himself. Nothing is working for him.
contact the probation officer and tell him what has happened
Maybe the PO could give him a curfew, make him do community service, or time in lock up.
I think this is brilliant. Unlike those of us with older kids you have leverage: probation and school. School has some responsibility in this, too. With mental illness diagnoses your son can qualify for an IEP. In that way his school setting can be changed, possibly, to one with a treatment component.

I would take any action I could, even to shake him up. Change schools to get him away from peers, etc. Take away easy access to what gets him into trouble. Some parents have taken doors off rooms, put in video cameras, etc. Anything you can do to take away easy access to stuff and people he uses to get into trouble.

The actress Angela Lansbury (TV, broadway) had two kids who got into drugs. She packed them up with the family and the dog and moved everybody to Ireland. That was maybe 40 years ago. That nipped that in the bud (no pun intended.)

I love this:
He told us to call him if she got rude or belligerent and he would put her in juvie for a day
And I love this:
Wouldn't it be nice if those that think marijuana is harmless could live a day with these teens that smoke.
My son has the same constellation of issues with POT. He is now 27. We have medical marijuana laws here. Great.


Thanks, everyone, again. The support I get here is more helpful than you can imagine. Its such a relief to know I'm not alone in all of this.
We went to see his PO today and he took a drug test. He tested positive for pot and benzos. He has tested positive for Benzos before because he takes Zoloft. I wonder if the positive test is just that or something else also. I don't know there is any way to differentiate. So, we spoke to PO and she is referring our case to DCF for services. I dont know exactly what kind of services we are going to get. I will call on Monday and talk to them. Then they decide whether he should be outplaced. He says that's what he wants. Why would he want that?
Our PO is on vacation for 2 weeks now (how helpful), so I don't know what exactly is going to happen. It seemed so rushed today. I wanted to ask about a curfew, monitoring, what to do when he refuses. All she said to me was if he runs away, they can't do anything for 24-48 hours. I would like to be able to put him into juvie for a day, would love to be able to have a curfew that could be enforced by the courts/police. This is not what is being offered. I don't know why. I thought that by getting the CRA, we were going to have support from the outside. It doesn't seem that way so far. I don't know how to make him do the right thing. That's why we are where we are. So, now at 12:20, he just got home. We have no control on when he comes or goes. We have no control on what he does or doesn't do. I am so consumed by this. I am like a walking zombie. I am constantly depressed and/or angry. I am finding it hard to concentrate. I've gotten into 2 (minor) car accidents in a month. I'm so quick tempered and constantly on the verge of tears. I keep thinking that it can't get any worse, that this is the lowest point, but it isn't. I'm so scared at what will be next.
Thanks for listening.


Well-Known Member
. I am constantly depressed and/or angry. I am finding it hard to concentrate. I've gotten into 2 (minor) car accidents in a month. I'm so quick tempered and constantly on the verge of tears.
First, this is just the beginning. The two weeks for the po to get back will go by quickly.

I would try to back off right now and let your son cook his own goose. I would document everything, even by photos or camera if you can. I would very quietly tell him your expectations and if there is any question of harm to him or anybody else I would call 911. Then when the probation officer comes back I would present him or her with a objective report.

I think I would call an IEP at the school and if he is not Special Education I would request that he be. You may need an advocate. I would call NAMI the parent-support group for those with mental illness in families. They should be able to help you find an advocate, if you want one.

You cannot allow yourself to be destroyed by this. If you are sacrificed what will become of your son and the rest of the family?

My remedy is historical mystery novels. I retreat. I go to bed and I read.

All of this is not your responsibility to handle alone. The school should help and probation would help. If your son is placed outside the home, and wants it, this will ease things up for you. I would not fight it.

These things happen in families. Sometimes with the closest of relationships--things blow up. That is what happened with me and my own son.

Try to rest and back off. The plan is in place. Let it unfold. Your son is driving this. You cannot stop him. He will achieve a result that he may not like at all.

This is the way it is for all kids, even the good ones. It is how they learn.


Crazy Cat Lady
I haven't found any documents or cites that show cross-positives on testing for benzos and Zoloft (or any other SSRI antidepressant).

SSRIs/SNRIs have to tested for separately from benzos. I suspect your son might be pulling your chain.

Antidepressants work on completely different receptors than do benzos. Hence, tests look for completely different metabolites.


Well-Known Member
False-positive Screens
What could cause a false-positive screen for benzodiazepines? A search of false positive benzodiazepine screenings showed the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) sertraline (Zoloft, others) and the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) oxaprozin (Daypro, others) to be associated with, or possible causes of, these false-positive results.4-7


Crazy Cat Lady
Copa, I'd be interested to see them. I hit the *.edu stuff and couldn't find anything on a quick, skimming search.

I do remember many, many years ago when they first started with all the drug testing stuff, popping "hot" for meth while being on a now discontinued allergy medication called Dimetapp.

Boy, was I startled, LOL!