My Situation...

CDN Dad,

Please consider starting your own thread to discuss your son's issues, so as not to detract from the original poster's need for feedback on their situations.

Next, I am going to be blunt and I am sorry if it is offensive, I do not mean it as such, but sometimes outsiders can see things we cannot.

Your son is a danger to himself and to you. He is violent, and you responding with violence in turn is not helping the situation to say the least.

You seem to have every excuse under the sun as to why help is impossible. It is only impossible if you make it so.

If you continue as is, you will end up in the newspapers as a tragic situation with one or both of you dead. In other words, things cannot continue as they are.

What are YOU going to do about it? Post here and seek sympathy from other parents of problem children? Wallow in your misery? I understand we all do that to a certain extent, but what ACTIONS are you going to take to improve your life and that of your children?

Canadian law in many ways is similar to US law. We also have members from Canada who hopefully will jump in with advice.

First, contact child protective services. Tell them your teenage son is violent and you are in fear of your safety with him in the home. Tell them he is mentally ill and refuses to seek psychiatric care. Tell them he cannot continue living with you as you are unable to provide him the care he needs as a mentally ill minor. Make them do their jobs and find him a group home or residential treatment center - or jail.

The next time he strikes you, call the police and immediately press charges. Tell them you want him taken to a hospital and evaluated for mental health issues. Don't do this yourself, make the police do it. That way if son lashes out it will be plain for all to see how sick he is.

Secondly, contact your ex wife and tell her you cannot handle him anymore. Perhaps you can take younger son and she can take older or if she is not willing to do this, once again CPS can get involved and find him a placement somewhere else.

Don't think it will necessarily be so easy to put him out at 18. He may have tenants' rights and you may have to forcibly evict him using the courts. For this reason as well as the others I have mentioned, seek legal advice.

I took your advice and started a separate thread...

First, I agree with much of what you say. The violence that has erupted between myself and my son is in no way anything that I endorse or feel is the correct way to manage things. It's terrible. Things have in fact sort of leveled off and calmed down ftmp in that regard. And yes, my intention is certainly to call the police if there are threats and so forth. The violence that has occurred hasn't really been us striking each other or him grabbing a knife or anything like that. It's more the "physical restraint" type of thing where I'm trying to prevent him from for instance kicking in my locked bedroom door. We end up in a grappling match. There's only been one such occurrence in the 5 months we've been in the current apartment and I ended it quickly. It didn't "escalate." Ftmp, I'm not in fear of my safety. At least not at this point. I'm just not very confident that things will stay leveled off like they are right now...

Am I making excuses for not finding solutions? I don't know...I guess maybe. Like I've said, we had a period of about a year where CFS and the police were regularly involved in our situation. We had for a time a person assigned to come in the morning and escort my son to school. He also spent a brief period of 5 days (the max allowed) at a "cool down" place after one especially bad night. Much of this occurred while I was staying at my own parents after my wife and I separated. Until that period, my extended family and friends really had no idea of the troubles we were having. Under my parents roof, they came face to face with the reality of the situation and over time they found it more and more difficult to come to terms with my son's behavior. I have a failry big family, and he completley has cut them out of his life. No contact whatsoever. Says he hates them (and me).

He's a very clever manipulator in many ways. He'll play the depression/anxiety card in circumstances where it benefits him, but then when you try and get him to take any sort of action to get help in that regard he refuses. He wants me to take him to his doctor's so he can get "medications" but refuses to talk to anyone to actually determine if he needs medications. And depression and anxiety never seems to interfere with him doing things he wants to do. Only with things he doesn't want to do such as going to school.

While we were working with local CFS, they recommended I take part in a counseling class where myself and a group of other parents in similar situations all sat around with a group leader/counselor and discussed the issues we were dealing with. I enjoyed the process and one thing I learned was that my story is in fact not nearly as bad as some others. One mom had a girl that had on occasion punched her in the face while she was driving. Several others had kids who had run away for periods of time and so forth. All of them were dealing with the same schooling issues and unpleasantness I was. In some ways, my situation isn't that bad - which I think is why I've found it difficult to get real help from the various local institutions. My story hasn't "hit critical mass" in quite the right way yet for them to take meaningful action. As well, the past year or so has seen some improvements. Much of that is due to his having this relationship with a girl who happens to be a good student and he is making some effort to do better at things in order to keep that going. I fear for what will happen when they inevitably break up. Even so though, he's still basically failing every class, doesn't actually do any real school-related work that I can see, and continues to skip a high percentage of his classes on a weekly basis.

My ex wife and I have tried to maintain a rotation where he stays with her every second weekend (in other words I have both boys one weekend, and she has both the next). It has worked at times and it's a nice break for me in a sense, but in another way it isn't really a break because I stress about him being there and how things are going - especially in terms of my younger son. However, he doesn't get along well with her either. They can get through a period of days ok, but soon they are fighting and then he often cuts off contact with her until he decides he needs something from her. He says he wants to live with her - but I know that's because he feels he can get away with more under her roof. She isn't able to maintain control over his actions like I do (in whatever small way I do). He's able to bully her more easily.

Wrt me putting him out at 18, yes I am aware that there could be issues there. I suspect he'll be wanting out as much as I might want him out. on the other hand, I still hold out some hope that he gets his head straight by then and maybe has taken some steps in a healthy direction.

As it stands right now, things are operating at a sort of "dull hum" of stress and anxiety. I'm getting through the days. He lives with me but really doesn't have much in the way of contact. I put up with him having his girlfriend over a couple times a week and I deal with the daily issues of providing for him. I mean I'm still his father and I still care about him and try to make sure he's getting some decent food into him and what not. But I always have that feeling in my gut that any day now the crap is going to hit the fan...


Well-Known Member
Hi there CDN Dad,

You are doing the best you can in a very difficult, stressful situation. Your son sounds a great deal like DS, my oldest stepson. At least you are trying to set boundaries with him - this is more than DS' father has done.

DS and your boy are close in age. DS turns 18 this year. We do not have contact with him at the present time and I don't see that changing anytime soon. He was supposed to graduate high school this month, but he dropped out. He's a very smart young man and college was definitely in his parents' wishes/dreams/goals for him. For my wife especially it is a bitter blow.

Are you in counseling for yourself? I've also personally benefitted from Al-Anon, and it might be something to check out if you haven't already.

Do you have a plan in place in case things get physical again in the future? For example, calling the police instead of going hands on with him?

I wish I had some answers for you....and for all of us!
I'm not sure if a really do have a plan in place. I mean my thought is pretty much always "call the police if things get crazy." But the immediacy of any given situation is so difficult for me. I have in the past called 911 in these situations and the problem is that unless you are in one of those circumstances where there is real and specific threat of serious violence ("my son is threatening me with a knife!") you don't get a very quick response. Just calling the police and saying "my son is being an ass and he's going to try and kick in my bedroom door" doesn't seem to rate that sort of emergency response - and so you either have to try and keep him from doing that damage or just let it happen and wait an hour for the police to arrive. I seem to have a real problem with the "letting it happen" part...

I have been in some counseling in the past. It's something I'll certainly consider more of going forward as it does provide some benefit.

Baggy Bags

Active Member
Feeling for you, CDN. Hugs. You're an amazing dad and he's lucky to have you, even if it takes him 20 years to appreciate what you gave him despite everything he was putting you through.


Well-Known Member
CDN dad. You are doing the best anyone can expect. Unfortunately the police are not always as helpful as they should be. If they would take things more seriously at the beginning maybe it wouldn't escalate later. or if more were trained in how to deal with kids like ours and if the mental health system worked a little better maybe we would have better options. My thoughts are with you.
Feeling for you, CDN. Hugs. You're an amazing dad and he's lucky to have you, even if it takes him 20 years to appreciate what you gave him despite everything he was putting you through.

Well I’m not sure about that. I don’t feel very amazing. Lol. In fact, mostly I feel like a failure as both a dad and a husband. But I’m not really beating myself up about it. I don’t think very many of us are really “amazing” at much of life. I think I am just a person. People have strengths and weaknesses and I certainly have my share of both. I’ve come to the conclusion that my ex wife and I were probably not the parents my older son needed. My younger boy is a person I “get.” He does things in a way that I understand even if I sometimes don’t like it/have to correct it. But looking back now I can see that there were signs with my older son at a young age that he had issues and we should have done something then when we could have exercised more control. But we didn’t and there’s no way to go back and fix that now.

Honestly, I’d really say I’m not cut out for fatherhood. I do my best to try and be a good dad, but I’m actually a very selfish, and not very patient man. In dealing with my younger boy - who is almost 13 and doesn’t exhibit any of the really OTT characteristics my older boy has presented since he was maybe 7 or 8 - I’m fine. I can work with him. But my difficult older son and I seem to have diametrically opposed needs. It’s like we are two reverse magnets or something and we almost automatically push against each other. That’s a big part of the challenge of parenting I guess right? I mean it’s not like there’s a matching service to make sure you are going to get kids who think and operate exactly like you expect they should...


Well-Known Member
I think the parenting trick is to get to know ow all your kids and how they tick and try to tick with each one's individual personality, no matter how hard it is. And it can be challenging if we are very different. I swear I had to interact with each child differently.

You did the best you knew how and that is all any of us can do. Dont beat yourself up.

Baggy Bags

Active Member
I think you're amazing because you are sacrificing so many aspects of your life to give your son a safe place to live, while he gives you absolutely nothing but difficulty in return. This is love. And strength.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
I guess right? I mean it’s not like there’s a matching service to make sure you are going to get kids who think and operate exactly like you expect they should...

I understand what you're saying CDN_DAD, I raised 3 girls, my daughter, my sister and my granddaughter and the only one who is like me and whom I truly "get" is my granddaughter. However, my daughter and sister struggle with mental/emotional issues so their behavior, thinking and choices are considerably different than "typical" people.

Aside from learning how to set strong boundaries and how to detach from their behaviors and choices......the next step for me was learning to accept them as they are........which can be challenging when their behavior is violent, cruel, manipulative, self serving, blaming, entitled, etc. I had to work on me for the acceptance expectations, my resentments, my judgements, my being "right," my own dreams for their lives and my disappointments about I cleared out those emotional reactions, I was more able to respond in a healthier and more productive way.

I think our kids feel our judgements, expectations, resentments & disappointments......all most of us really want is to be accepted for who we are.....and when our kids are off the rails, it can be difficult for us to accept them as they are.......therapy helped me to heal my own "stuff" so that I could show up and be present for my daughter without my be very clear about what I was willing to do and what I wasn't and to let her know clearly that I love her but there are distinct consequences for poor choices and behaviors.

You're doing the best you can under trying circumstances........which is all any of us can do......don't bother with guilt or self judgements, it will only serve to keep you stuck....

Hang in there CDN_Dad, this is not an easy path. For many of us, getting support for US helps to navigate this bumpy terrain, helps us to find different and healthier ways to respond to our troubled kids and helps us to find a quality of life with our own peace and joy.