Going to file charges on 16 year old son


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My husband and I have decided that today we are going to file charges against our son. We have had a long rocky road of ODD behavior and him losing his temper and breaking things. He has been smoking weed and as a result of that, we monitor his text messages and basically everything he does. I read a text yesterday where he was reaching out to yet another teen to buy weed. So I promptly disabled his phone. To make a very long story short, he became enraged and threw a 16 year old tantrum. He smashed his phone into pieces and then broke my glasses, grabbed my phone and threw it so hard against the window,the window smashed. I called the police and after they came and spoke with him they suggested tough love. They said we can file charges with the juvenile intake office and perhaps open up some resources for help. I wonder if anyone has experiences to share about filing charges on a juvenile and what that looks like. I love my son very much but can see clearly that he is headed down a horrible path. He has gone through partial hospitalization and wilderness therapy. He has also started refusing to see his therapist. I hope someone can offer advice.


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I think you are doing the right thing as heartbreaking as it is. The justice system certainly has flaws but in general I think the juvenile justice systems hope is to find help for juveniles.....and certainly help is what your son needs. If you don't do something and let your son get away with this kind of behavior he gets the message that he doesn't have to follow any rules and there will be no consequences.

That's not the way the world works....eventually he will get into trouble with the law as an adult and that has even harsher consequences.

My experience with my own son and others I have known is sometimes getting the court involved is the only real option and the best option. Also do it now when he is 16 before he is 18 because you have a lot less say once he is a legal adult.

And he may hate you now for the steps you take...but that may very well change. My son was very angry with us for the things we did to try and protect him from himself...now that he is 23, has dealt with the adult legal system he seems to have stopped blaming us and wants our love and support. So don't let your sons anger at you stop you from doing the right thing. Take care of you too!


Active Member
Thank you for your advice, I needed to hear that. We just got back and the process was that we had to write a report about what happened and then they scheduled a future meeting with the juvenile intake officer. Its in 2 weeks. I wish something could happen today as I am still so upset and actually have the nerve to follow through.

I Believe

... and, having done all, to stand.
I am so sorry that you are at that point. I am really struggling with my 16 year old. He was in the the juvenile justice system for 2 1/2 years. In some ways it did help. He needed a safe place to mature a little. Even after all he has been through consequences still don"t seem to mean anything to him. And he started smoking weed as soon as he got released from the program. Fortunately I do not have anger issues with him. He just think he should be able to do what ever he wants whenever he wants. He is like a 3 year old that you warn them not to do something and then when you discipline them they are totally surprised. I totally don't get it.

I wish you the best. Although turning my son in was the right thing to do for both of us, it was one of the hardest things I've ever done. Be strong.


one day at a time
Up and down, I think acting early is a very good thing. My son's deep dive off the cliff didn't start until he was 19 and I have raked over the past, trying to figure out if I could have done anything to stop the hell of the past six years.

Do it now. Disregard what he says and how mad he is and will be at you. Do it anyway. You are displaying the highest and best love for him when he is held accountable for his behavior.

Please keep posting and we're here for you. We know how hard this is.


Active Member
My 13 year old daughter came into my room last night, crying and asking what would happen when we press charges. Unfortunately she was present during the whole incident the night before. She let me know that she thinks he will only hate us more and things will get worse. That she hates living with someone who acts calm all day and then gets mad and starts breaking things. It was truly heartbreaking to see the damage that he is inflicting everyday. Then I started to think she was right. He even said last night that there was now no reason for him to treat me respectfully since I turned him in. He can twist anything even if it sounds ridiculous. He doesn't care, he has to have the power. He told me that essentially it was my fault that he lost his cool because I didn't tell him ahead of time that I was going to shut off his phone.

Yet, to read your messages of support has given me courage again. I will press charges. I must put consequences outside of my husband and I in place. I am out of options. I wonder what will happen when we finally get our meeting with the intake officer. Will they arrest him? Set a court date? Perhaps give him work punishment? I really don't know what I am putting into motion?

Thank you for all of your messages, it means so much to be able to say these things to someone. My neighbors who are lovely, kind people came over to ask why the police came. I have so much shame in our situation that I lied. I could tell that she didn't believe me. It was humiliating. But normally I can't share these stories. I am grateful for a safe comforting place to talk.


Well-Known Member
Oh I sympathize....my son was very similar at the same age! And even though your daughter is afraid it will make things worse she is all the more reason you have to do this. She needs to see you continue to take a stand. Really if he gets out of control again call the police again. He will think you are horrible for doing so but his behavior is so out of line and you need to protect yourself.


Well-Known Member
Your daughter needs stability and a "normal" life. Yes, NEEDS. His chaos is causing her major stress, and it can accumulate into mental health challenges for her also. He will have made all sorts of statements to her, to get her to not work against him. She's likely been threatened with all sorts of things if she tells anything she knows (she will know more than she will let on), or if she supports you in getting him into trouble.

Do whatever you have to do to protect your daughter. Including involving the justice system. Make sure you tell them that this is impacting your daughter. For some reason, the courts often take things more seriously when a child is affected, than when it is "just" the parents.


Well-Known Member
UpandDown, welcome to our board. We filed charges on our daughter several times. The first couple times we called the police they talked to her at home, then they had her come into the station and the juvenile officer talked to her at length. He was so good with her but made it clear that at some point he would send the charges downtown if she didn't straighten out.

Every time we tried to impose rules she threw a fit. She threw several phones and broke them, she threw picture frames shattering them. One day she opened the kitchen cupboard and took glasses out and smashed them on the floor. The police came and they finally did send her downtown.

The first couple times downtown they put her on probation and told her she had to follow our rules. Then they sent her to detention for the weekend to teach her something. It did work for about a year. We prayed we could keep her safe and out of trouble until she was 18. Shortly after turning 18 she went to college and was arrested 6 weeks later for smoking pot and drinking in the dorm and was suspended.

Our community police were very helpful. They did help keep her out of more serious trouble. We prayed that she would mature and start making better decisions. She had to learn the hard way, living with druggie friends, going to rehab, sober houses, losing jobs, shoplifting, court again, probation, drug testing and now finally at the age of 24 she is holding a job and not breaking the law. She drinks too much and I fear someday it will catch up with her but for now she is responsible and living on her own.

I would do it all over again if I had to. Don't let him threaten you with hating you, he will anyway because he just wants to do what he wants to do. You are not his friend, you are his parent. It's your job to keep him safe until he can do that himself.

I had great neighbors too. I did go to both of them and explain that we were having problems with her and that I wanted them to know we were not abusing her or doing anything illegal and that they were there to help us. The neighbors were so supportive over the years. Don't be ashamed, I found the more I talked about it the more I found parents going through the same thing.

I hope the experience of the intake officer helps and does open up some services.
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Active Member
Thank you for sharing your experience. I hope our community police will help us too. I did some calling around yesterday too and got a better understanding of what will happen when we have our meeting with the officer. When things are calm (as they have been since he flipped out on Monday) I have a harder time sticking to my plan. I begin to question if I am doing the right thing, etc. As I am fretting over all of this, I keep smelling a fleeting smell of something odd. I have looked everywhere and all seems ok. Finally at 1 am this morning, my husband asks me if I have noticed any strange smells and that he is suspicious that our son is smoking somewhere in our house. I go down to the basement and open up the back cellar area and sure enough the smell of weed is overpowering. And right there is a water bottle full of listerine for cover up. His nerve is unbelievable. He knows he is going to intake in 1 week yet he is not even a smidge deterred. I know with 100% certainty that he is addicted to marijuana. All the signs are there. He will risk anything to smoke. He says it is what makes him able to feel happy. I understand that the officer can force him participate in a 10 week substance abuse program. In the meantime, I am calling my insurance company to see if we have any substance abuse coverage.


Well-Known Member
He says it is what makes him able to feel happy
Yes it does. Sort of. What it does is dull the emotional pain so he doesn't feel that, which does temporarily make him feel better.

However... it is more important to find out WHY he needs to bury pain. It will not go away until it is brought out in the open and dealt with.


Active Member
It will not go away until it is brought out in the open and dealt with.

Yes, exactly. And so the million dollar question is how to find out. Does rehab help find out? or tough love? Or a special school? Ugh, I know you can't answer these questions. These are what haunt me all day and night. He absolutely refuses to discuss with us or therapists.


Well-Known Member
Yes, exactly. And so the million dollar question is how to find out. Does rehab help find out? or tough love? Or a special school?
No. No. And no.
Sometimes these can help with addiction, or with other issues (like cognitive disability). They do not help with psychological/emotional trauma.

He absolutely refuses to discuss with us or therapists
How many therapists has he seen?
How many are female?
Are you only using therapists covered by insurance?

We went thru at least 6 therapists with no progress. We had to go to a private (i.e. expensive) therapist to get anywhere. Its on-going. Yes we are spending our retirement.

Any idea the timeframe in which he went off the rails?


Well-Known Member
I really don't know how you find out...I don't really understand the root causes of my sons pain? It could be several things but nothing really horrible tha I know about....but whatever the initial issue it has been compounded by his actions and mistakes which he feels a lot of shame about and it just all adds up....and somewhere in the process of his adolescence he learned that using substances helped numb the pain and that fed into his addiction.

So I think we as parents want some magic answer that will make it all come clear to them and us and then they will recover and tea la all will be better.

Well after many programs, some that were excellent I have come to the conclusion it doesn't work like that. It's all a process and eventually they have to get to the point where they are willing to do the work and deal with the pain.

I will say I don't regret all the help and all the times we got him into treatment even when he didn't want it....because I think it gave him some clean brain development time in the process....and it may have helped keep him alive.


Well-Known Member
The only person who can find out why is the person.

We can not do it for a child over 18. I had a lot of unresolved issues, I have atypical neurological issues which needed exploring and I have a mood disorder. Guess who had to want to find out why I was unhappy and to do the hard work to climb out of the hole? Nobody else could do it for me. Even a gifted therapist/psychiatrist can't if the adult patient is unwilling. And it's hard. And taking drugs to cover it up is easier.

Without self-motivation the answers go unanswered If there is addiction, that has to be stopped before anything can be resolved as it distorts thinking and becomes an obsession. I don't think pot is good for anyone with a psychological or physical predisposition to addiction.

I agree with TL.


New Member
My husband and I have decided that today we are going to file charges against our son. .

File charges! My son was in rehab 8 times, and for up to 7 months, and he stole and lied, was arrested, and bottom line he overdosed on heroin in January 2014, at 18.

Believe me if I had it to do over, no more enabling. Lawyers, bail, etc., etc., instead of letting him go and getting a taste of the repercussions of his behavior. These kids are so alienated from us and believe we are their enemy. You can't be your child's friend, you are his parent. Call it what you will, "Tough love, reality check" whatever. Our children need to understand that there are consequences to their behavior and if we keep coddling them they will never change. My son was in jail just prior to Christmas 2013. I let him stay there for 2 nights, then bailed him out because it was the first Christmas in years that he would spend with his family, since previous holidays he was in rehab. Less that 3 weeks later he was dead. I should have left him in jail.
I remember getting into an argument with one of my son's therapists because she told us about her sister, a heroin addict, who had cheated death many times. Finally, the family had enough of her stealing from them, and had her arrested. She got 5 years. I was incredulous. How could you do this to your own flesh and blood, I asked? She replied at least they knew where she was and she wasn't shooting dope, and she was alive.

I should have listened to her.


Well-Known Member
Death, for any reason, of our children is almost unbearable. My eldest son was killed in an auto accident. One of those things no one can explain. I worry daily that my younger son will die from his drugs. I can hardly function at the thought....

His father, my ex, continues to enable. D C gets nothing, nothing, from me. I can't stop what he is doing and its a horrible feeling.


Active Member
The day that I have been dreading is here. We have our appointment at 3:00 today with the juvenile intake officer. Honestly, I don't know if we are going to follow through. Over the past 2 weeks, our son has not smoked (that I know of), has done all of his chores that he is asked to do, and is showing many other signs that he is trying to make amends. I know if we carry through on this appointment., his hate and anger towards us will only get worse. We had a long conversation last night where he calmly shared with me that I am the source of all of his problems. That he is fine everywhere else but being in our home makes him beyond miserable. That his whole life, I have been trying to "fix him" and take him to therapists and have made him feel confused about what is wrong with him. That he needs to smoke to survive being in our home. That I am the one that makes him feel so bad that he wants to take his life. I am so confused and torn up. I have been the mom that has been here for him, his entire life. He has been in Scouts, travel baseball, swimming, you name it. I have advocated for him at school, when he has struggled. I have tried to emphasize his strengths and not make him feel badly for things he struggles with. Yet, I am also the one who is the bad guy and takes away his phone when he breaks the rules. And I am the one who catches him with marijuana and am the one who has to carry through the consequences. I am the one who makes sure he is where he says he is going to be and not breaking the law. He has had many therapists, both male and female and none have helped. He says he will never go to another therapist. I am so tired of being beaten down and insulted by him. The emotional abuse is taking a huge toll on me. Last night I felt like my heart was breaking in pieces when he told me how much he hates me. This is not new. He has said this for at least the past 18 months. I realize that teens will say mean things to their parents, but the extent to which he describes his hate is awful. Its not just in anger. When he in anger, he breaks things that matter to me. Family portraits smashed on the floor, dishes, my glasses, my phone. Calls me horrible names. Insults me about my appearance, my career choice, you name it. And when he is not angry, he calmly shares how much he hates me. My husband says I should stop being upset when he tells me these things and just move forward. So I feel ALONE. And I fake to everyone around me including my other children, that I am fine. Going about my day, like all is well. When inside I feel so sick and sad and terrified. For sure I am being emotionally abused and if were a spouse treating me this way, I would leave in a hot second. Yet, you can't leave a minor child.