Out of control 15yo son breaking my heart and the law

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Cor, Sep 22, 2017.

  1. Cor

    Cor New Member

    Hi everyone, my name is Cor and I am new to this site. I am a broken mom holding on by a thread. Honestly I just don't even know what to do anymore. My 15 yo son within this past year has taken up hanging with the wrong crowd(trying hard to fit in)...smoking/stealing/selling weed, cigarettes, being disrespectful to authority(especially to me), skipping school and not putting much effort there at all...to lying about many many things, stealing all sorts of things from family members and others, to lastly just 2 weeks ago getting arrested for robbery and dangerous weapons. He apparently robbed someone he was getting weed from and who he was also selling weed to of their cellphone and metro pass with a knife.
    You would like to think that being arrested and detained for 10hours with the police was enough to scare him straight...it worked for about a week. Then he had started going back to school(serious need for freedom and "friends") and now, it's nothing but skipping school again, and disregarding all our advice, guidance and not caring at all to follow the two rules we have for him currently which is come home by 4pm and no skipping. He has a court date in October and doesn't seem to care when we say this will affect the outcome of his case.
    I am at my wits end. Daily phone calls from principals and teachers letting me know he's not in class, me feeling defeated day in day out not knowing how to get through to him anymore. He's always telling me I talk too much and to stop talking he doesn't want to hear it and this angers me. He has no care or concern about how he's treated all of us, no remorse or signs of wanting to change his ways and this crushes me. I deal with my own depression and anxiety and I can't express how hard this whole ordeal since he was arrested has been. I have him in counselling, and I feel he needs to go to the doctor but I know that's going to be a fight and not even sure what process to start because I don't know what is wrong but my mom instinct tells me there's deeper issues I just don't know what.. depression? ADHD? ODD? Bipolar? Anger issues? I have no idea. :(
    this past year I've watched my sweet, empathetic, kind, loving son turn into some little wannabe "thug" who acted like jekyl and Hyde for a whole year.. at home acted like a typical teen who was late for curfew and started skipping school to someone I see throwing his life away to fit in and be cool and bad...I'm broken and don't know how to help my son get through this and it doesn't help when he could care less it seems. I'm truly scared to see where things go from here and want to do anything I can to stop this train wreck but also feel defeated, drained, disrespected, hurt, and completely a mess myself. Been trying hard to stay strong, patient, understanding and loving yet firm and he just tries to manipulate me and if that doesn't work(which it hasn't been) that's when all the attitude, disrespect and lack of caring come in to play. Any words of advice or wisdom, help and support are greatly appreciated. I'm trying my utmost best here :( he has a big family and 4 parents here that love and care deeply and want to help him somehow before things get even worse. Where do we start? :(
  2. BloodiedButUnbowed

    BloodiedButUnbowed Active Member

    So sorry you are going through this, our stories are very different but somehow all the same.

    You have come to the right place. In our own way we all understand what you are going through.

    From what you say it sounds like substance abuse is playing a large part in your son's behavior. It can be hard to tell the difference between the effects of drug use and mental illness.

    It sounds to me that you feel very defeated and powerless. From my experience, taking care of yourself and finding your "inner strength" is key to things turning around for YOU - regardless of what your son does.

    You are the parent, therefore even if you don't feel like it all of the time, YOU are the boss - not him. YOU decide what is acceptable in your home and if he refuses to abide by your rules, YOU get to decide the consequences.

    If my child was skipping school, I would allow the resource officer to write him truancy tickets. Allow his legal problems to multiply. If he is committing crimes, he should feel the full impact of his decisions.

    I would schedule an appointment with a psychologist to evaluate him. If he won't go, YOU go by yourself. The psychologist will be able to offer you advice, feedback and a caring ear.

    Is his father in the picture? Is he supportive? Are there any other relatives or close family friends with whom he is close and to whom he might listen?

    Some parents get to a point where their children will not listen to reason and refuse to abide by the basic rules of the household. In these cases, sometimes, these parents must find the strength to put the child out to either a relative, a private residential school, or the court system. This is not an easy decision but sometimes it is necessary.

    Keep us posted, we are here for you.
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  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I can tell you what I did when my daughter started using drugs. She actually quit. First off, it sounds like your son is stealing for drug money. I agree his behavior is driven by drugs, but I believe it is more than just pot. We are the last ones to know the worst. Not trying to scare you but few kids go on stealing binges for pot. Usually it is to pay for a powerful addiction like meth, cocaine, benzos and heroin.

    Secondly, my daughter was not given any toys or money once we found out...and the car....no way. We homeschooled her for two years (her last years of high school) but she still found ways to get drugs, like sneaking out when we were asleep. We had to make her leave our house with nothing for her to quit. She used from ages 12-19. It has been twelve years now.

    If i were you I would get very tough on him. Pulling a knife is extremely serious. He goes to rehab or you look into foster care placement or residential, if he can get placed there. I believe in very early and intensive intervention. I think it is more effective than waiting until they are still using at 21 or in prison.

    I am sorry you are going through this. It is not easy. Hugs!!
  4. Cor

    Cor New Member

    Thank you for your reply, it means a lot to me. I know deep down I am not alone in this, but yet I feel that way. I feel guilt, I feel disgusted. I feel completely broken down. I feel like I'm failing at being a good mom and I honestly do not know how I have been getting through any of this. I'm glad to have found this forum because out here in the real world I feel like I have to just keep being strong not just for myself and my family, but especially for my 15 y/o.
    I have decided as of last night that I will no longer enable this behaviour in any way or "protect" him any longer. It's been daily fights and struggles to get him to do anything. I feel like he has chosen that he does not want to obey the school, the law or home...and with that I have to learn to allow natural consequences to happen. If he keeps skipping, truancy officer will get involved and he will fail or get kicked out. Not only that, but when he faces the judge on his charges, him not going will not create a good look and potentially he could go to jail because of that and his continued disobedience and lack of care. I have to try and accept this instead of fight him on it any longer. I refuse to give up on my son, but I can't keep beating my head off the same brick wall over and over.
    I will work on getting in touch with a physchologist and think that is a great idea. In the meantime, he has a counsellor as well which is hopefully helpful. Deep down in there is my good kid and I'll do anything to help get him back to who he truly is because the person he is being now, it is just not him.
    As for me, coming to terms I'm an enabler and have allowed him to treat me like garbage on one too many occasions and I will no longer. He has times where he tries to behave and follow rules and in turn, I give him a little freedom or money for lunch. I do his laundry for him. I have found a lawyer for him. Pretty much, I give everything I can and he takes anything he can get and runs. When he gets home today he will be given his legal aid information and told he should deal with this so he can pay his lawyer and that if he wants me to come with him, I will but I refuse to do it for him. He also will be doing his own damn laundry or wearing dirty clothes. I will no longer be giving him any money unless he does something around the house to earn it. This is to hopefully help with his sense of entitlement issue and hopefully help him realize it's time for him to man up and be responsible for himself and his actions. I'm not perfect, I tried hard to raise him right and all my mistakes are being thrown at me by his actions or lack of. All so tough to take in :(
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Dont feel guilty if you stop doing his laundry. I really wanted all of my kids to be i dependent and they all did their own laundry by 12. And one of my sons is autistic, but he is living independently. Your son is 15. There is much he can and should do.

    I would not throw him money for a few days of better behavior. He needs to get his act together for the long term. He is heading down a very dark alley and needs to feel that going down this alley is too hard.

    After my daughter quit she said "doing drugs is too hard." Your son needs to feel the same way. The more understanding we try to be, the more they manipulate and abuse us.

    Drug use in our kids makes us go against our maternal instincts...loving nurturance only encourages them to keep it up. It doesnt motivate them to change. They need to feel pain and it starts with us. Yes, it is heartbreaking. But it is because we love them.
  6. Cor

    Cor New Member

    Thank you so much for your response, it gives me some type of hope that things can change for the better and I'm so thankful to read that your daughter did what was best for her and her health and life in the long run
    My fear is that there is more to it then just pot, and if not, that we are quickly heading that direction. I do feel at this point that if he cannot respect his family and household then I have no choice but to call the police to discuss options. I say this because they released him to me on conditions that he would obey household rules and live in my home under my care. I truly pray it doesn't have to come to putting him in residential care(group home) or rehab, but the way things are going.. it's something I'm starting to think about.
    The fact is that he has a little brother (8)with hf autism who lives with us and I cannot continue to have him see this all unravel with the fights and disrespect. The last thing I need is two out of control kids. So for me this is weighing heavily on my head and my heart. Also, the thought of him pulling out a knife on someone scares the sh!t out of me and leaves me feeling intimidated and scared in my own home. He has not ever been physical with any of us but I would hate for it to ever get there.
    NR(15) has a stepmom and a dad. His dad wasn't in the picture until he was 9 and over the years I wonder if I made the right choice allowing it to happen. They are very strict and he grew up in my home which was not very strict at all. One of my many mistakes. He went to live with them for a few months and when he came home was when I realized the damage it caused. He felt "caged" up there and refuses to ever feel that way again which is part of why I'm struggling with him now because he has only the freedom of school and to him, it's not enough. He wants to control his own life so I feel like I have to allow that and natural consequences to follow no matter how bad they will be.
    I definitely think the substance use is a big factor here, low self esteem and more, I just need to take steps in finding out what else is going on.
  7. BloodiedButUnbowed

    BloodiedButUnbowed Active Member

    This is not your fault. Raising boys is difficult. They go through stages of development that are very different from girls. As both a teacher, an aunt and a stepparent to boys, I have found that their sense of masculinity and identity is very fragile. Of course there are exceptions but this is a pattern I have noticed. They have to "prove" themselves in some way, especially in their teens and early adulthood. They need to assert their independence and their manhood. Part of this for many boys seems to be defying the values with which they were raised, hanging out with a bad crowd, doing drugs and making very poor choices.

    I am sure your son will be OK when he grows up. I agree with SOT that getting tougher sooner is probably better for both of you. Your plan as you stated in your last post sounds great. You know what you need to do. You can do it. It is FOR him, though he won't see it that way now, he will when he is grown.

    Take care of yourself. Therapy and support groups such as Al Anon (my personal lifesaver) helped me a lot.
  8. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet


    Welcome. You have gotten good advice. You are ME six years ago.

    My beautiful son started with weed at 15. Got kicked out of school in sophomore year for having it in the boys bathroom (too harsh but I was like a train wreck so couldn't even fight it). He was in legal trouble for taking stuff out of unlocked cars. His juvenile officer told me to have him tested for Special Education to get him back into the school system. He tested too high for an IEP (actually above average IQ - oh great) but I was able to get him back in with a 504 Plan for anxiety. He went to an alternative school and the kids there were worse than him but most followed the rules better than he did. Who was this kid????

    I took him to a psychiatrist that put him on a benzo for his anxiety. I trusted the doctor. He was very loved in the community. Had many admirers. BIG MISTAKE. He got addicted and we have been fighting this since that time. I hope and pray that you do not go through what we have been through. We have watched our son self-destruct for many YEARS. He barely graduated high school. We have been robbed of every joy since that time of having a child.

    I have been in therapy on and off for years which has helped me create healthy boundaries which are necessary for ME and also good for HIM. I blamed myself for a long time (isn't it the parenting when a kid goes off the rails???) but I finally realized that he had a great life and loving family and it was just the way HE was wired. I had to accept that there was only so much we could do. It has been hell. Our marriage was suffering and my whole life was falling apart. Looking back I have no idea how we survived it.

    I am still waiting for our happy ending. He has been in multiple rehabs but always goes back to using after a few months. We even sent him out of state last year. In a few weeks he is going to a Christian based long term program. He doesn't want to go but we told him he has to trust us that this will help him. He is at least willing to go and that is a start. This is our final attempt at directing him to a better life.

    Keep reading and posting. There is so much wisdom here and we all get it.
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  9. Cor

    Cor New Member

    I completely agree with what you wrote here, and you are right I will not give in for any circumstance. He does need to feel that I'm truly done giving in to him, and realize that I won't continue to any longer.

    "The more understanding we try to be, the more they manipulate and abuse us" - this hit me like a ton of bricks. It is exactly what is happening.
    My partner and I thought by trying to show him we understand things are hard for him and try to work with him would help but has only backfired and left us both feeling stupid, used and abused.

    Today is the day that I completely let go of trying to control his life and actions. I can't keep up and it's high time he learns the hard way...sadly, it's the way he's choosing to go.
    I will only focus on getting him help (getting tested, rehab, etc) and keeping my foot down, no giving in any more! and boundaries/consequences for our home loud and clear. Follow them, you can stay. Don't, we will have to send him somewhere else.

    He does have many family members that do try and talk to him and some have yelled and screamed due to the stealing from all of us but none of our appoaches are working.
  10. Cor

    Cor New Member

    Honestly, I'm definitely at a point where I need therapy to help get through and maybe a couple bottles of wine lol (just kidding, as I seldomly drink, but feel a need to add slight humour somewhere in my life).

    Im sure many, if not all of you can understand or agree when I say I'm the type of mom/person that has always put everyone else's needs and wants before my own so even trying to figure out putting aside time for myself to work on myself seems impossible. Especially when all of this with NR(15) is going on, it feels selfish of me to put my needs above his...But, I feel like being a healthy, strong mom here is what's most important so I can continue the battle of trying to help him get whatever help it is he needs and be able to help my younger son JS(8-aspergers) as well.
    I am clearly overwhelmed and a range of emotions and all over the place, so I do appreciate you all for reading my long winded posts it's just nice to finally find a place where I can let it all out I guess.
    We have a great support system/family but none of them have gone through being a parent to a teen (in the first one) and it's just like none seem to truly understand or can relate to My pains and heartaches in this. Here, I am getting to know others with their similar stories and it's helping a lot already. I thank you all for welcoming me in this and for your kindness, understanding, advice and wisdom.

    @culturanta, i completely agree that raising boys seems to be a more difficult path because of this need to fit in and you described it perfectly. That's exactly how my son is acting and I know it's hugely the need to fit in and be accepted and with that comes substance use and that's a whole different ballgame to deal with. I do have faith he will get through this eventually tho I just can't help but wonder how bad things are going to get which is why I am thankful the arrest happened because now I know what I'm up against and can intervene.

    NR(15) is a good actor and had the wool pulled over everyone's eyes. Not anymore tho.
  11. pigless in VA

    pigless in VA Well-Known Member

    Welcome, Cor. You aren't failing at being a mother. You son is failing at being a good son. He is making terrible choices which you don't condone. I'm glad that you joined us for support. We understand. Remember to take the advice that you agree with and disregard the rest.
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  12. BloodiedButUnbowed

    BloodiedButUnbowed Active Member

    Get the therapy you need. You deserve it. It will help you.

    If sending him elsewhere is in fact a possible option depending on how things go, it might be a good idea to start working out how that might look in the event you need to play that card. For example, if a relative would take him in, talk to that person and work out the logistics. If you were thinking court/jail would ultimately place him somewhere, you might want to speak to a social worker for the county and learn how that process works.

    Do you share legal custody or is he solely yours?
  13. Cor

    Cor New Member

    Oh dear, my heart breaks for you and your family immensely and I pray this final attempt is the one that is his breakthrough and saviour.

    Reading this brings me to tears because where we are right now it could go either way and this is the reality of it. I could and probably very will be soon sending my son off to rehab for the first time and it may not end up being the last time. It crushes me that sadly some kids/adults have all the help out there and yet still end up getting sucked into the vortex of drug addiction. I can't imagine what you have been through over the past six years with this and I'm hurting for you that you ever had to go through any of it but I'm also proud of you for having boundaries, getting help for yourself while not giving up on him and trying to get him help the best that you can.
    I truly hope the best for your son, you and your family. Xoxoxoxo
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  14. Cor

    Cor New Member

    Thank you so much, it means a lot to me to actually feel like people do understand what I'm going through as a mom with all of this and know that I am not alone. I am so thankful and in need of the support.

    You are right, I feel like society tends to blame the parents when our kids do wrong, but the truth is we all have done our best and our kids are the ones in control, choosing to make decisions that not only affect their lives, but the lives of others.

    I certainly did not raise my son to be this way, nor do I encourage or condone these negative behaviours. It's a struggle within myself because ya know, as a parent you want to do anything you can to save them from the bad outcomes but I'm quickly realizing that I can no longer do that - he has to learn on his own whether good or bad. I'll be by his side helping him to get whatever supports he needs, but I will not just allow him to keep going on this way either.
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  15. Cor

    Cor New Member

    I have sole custody so ultimately it's all on me to decide what happens next which is stressful enough on its own.

    Thank you for helping me try to figure out this mess and what my possible steps can be next. I hadn't even thought of a social worker, but I'm sure they could help as well. I have a fear of him hating me if I choose to send him away, but In the same breath, I'm sick of him telling me "and this is why I don't want to live here"(me on his case, nagging)and he even had the gall to tell me yesterday to just call the police when I tried to explain if he keeps this behaviour up he will end up in a group home or jail. It's like he's just given up on himself and life and I wish I could shake him straight again.

    It's at the point I think he's going to force my call and I'm going to have no choice but to do it to prove that I'm serious about everything and my boundaries.

    Also at this point, the only people in my family that would be willing to take him in are his grandparents and they would just not be able to cope with this, he would continue to try and do whatever he wants and they would be left feeling helpless. Any other family members love him but don't even want him in their house as he's stolen from them too.
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  16. BloodiedButUnbowed

    BloodiedButUnbowed Active Member

    As you go through this experience with your son, and hopefully seek out other support for yourself such as this board, therapy and maybe some 12-step groups such as Al Anon if that works for you, you will grow stronger. You will realize his angry, hurtful words do not really reflect his feelings for you. In his own way, your son realizes he needs more structure. Maybe subconsciously he longs for the rules, regulations and accountability that a locked environment would provide.

    Even if in a worst case scenario, he does end up being placed in the juvenile justice system - this could save his life. I have felt for years that my Difficult Stepson needed this kind of intervention in his early teens. He never got it. He is big, strong, and violent. At 15 he tried to kill his mother (my wife) by strangling her. Still he was enabled.

    He is now 17. He cannot handle attending a traditional HS. He is going to school online. He is not acting out violently to the best of our knowledge at this time. At the same time, he has damaged our entire family, especially his little brother, beyond measure. We are now dealing with the aftermath of a suicide attempt by his little brother. We thought little brother was "normal." He is not. He was deeply affected by his older brother's cruelty to him and to his parents, among other factors. You are correct that your littler guy needs to be protected from your older son as long as he is acting this way.

    He may say he hates you. He won't. Not for long. He will always love you no matter what he says. It's OK if he hates the decisions you have to make to save his life. Pull up those big girl pants Cor!

    If you have access to the necessary financial resources, military school may be a good option for him.

    We're all here for you!
  17. Sam3

    Sam3 Active Member

    Hi Cor.

    Sorry you are going through this. It is painful and stressful beyond belief even if it were just you and him living on Mars. Add other children, extended family, friends and neighbors, schools guilt, shame. It feels unbearable.

    But you will survive whether he turns his life around tomorrow, in a month, in a year or in a decade.

    It will take an active decision on your part though, about when you want to thrive again regardless of how he is doing.

    I think that being as unhappy as our least happy child makes some sense when they are suffering what life has dealt to them, but doing it when they are suffering the consequences of their own choices doesn't.

    There may be psychological reasons or just plain old shame that makes them project onto us. They put us in the path of the mirror they don't want to look at. It's easier to offload their bad behavior onto us and glare at our horrified and angry reactions, than to find and face their own consciences. If we loathe their behavior, then they don't have to self-loathe. And that's more bearable for some reason. Maybe because they know parents love unconditionally and want to find reasons to forgive.

    If you can pull yourself out of the moments and go "meta" you can approach this from a place of empathy. He has control over being out of control. Why he doesn't want to regain healthy control is a question that professionals can help him with.

    And you will be there for him to help him get that help when he is ready. In the meantime you love him. There are boundaries about how family treats one another and acts in the family home. You love him. And that is worth you staying firm and calm with him about. You can come here or to your SO or friends or your own professionals to help you manage your sadness, anger, fear etc

    Im trying to keep the mindset that I am rooting for him and I have hope. But that first required that I disengage from the power struggle and attempts at moral teaching and catastrophizing. They know by now what is right and wrong and for whatever reason they are choosing wrong right now.

    Unfortunately it's a waiting game. It can be a very very long road but the silver lining in that is: he is young now and his brain will mature. He is not a middle aged man making these choices.
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    Last edited: Sep 22, 2017
  18. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I was dealing with a girl and they have similar issues. Not the same. Similar. Such as needing to feel pretty and liked by boys and sexual acting out has bigger consequences than with boys (i raised two of both.)

    I also have a son with high functioning autism and he and his younger sister were afraid of my daughter when she went on a drug rage, once putting her arm through glass, once pulling a knife on herself and putting it to her neck. I called 911 hoping they would take her to a hospital. They did, but they handcuffed her and threw her in the back seat of a police car and thats how she drove there.

    We all bawled.

    I was at the time in denial and still thought she just smoked pot and maybe had a mental illess. (Since being clean she has no symptoms of mental health issues).

    My younger kids could not handle my oldest childs drama. One night we went out, leaving daughter alone to watch the dogs. We came home early to a pill party and that was when we finally made her leave. It was such a betrayal. She had sworn she was clean now and promised not to let anyone in the house. She left at 19 and did not take long to quit, even cigarettes.

    I think girls and boys are equally difficult. I have one difficult one of both sexes but also one easy one of each sex. All are now doing well, on their own, clean, law abiding. There is light at the end of the tunnel for many.

    Although you did not cause this with your son, there are ways to deal with Son that may help him. I think therapy is a great idea so you can learn to cope. You are very important and matter too. You need to be able to calm down and tske oe day at a time. If you get sick, you can be there for nobody, including yourself.

    Please keep us updated.
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    Last edited: Sep 22, 2017
  19. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    The truth is when our kids are sick we are too.

    We need help as much as they do!
  20. Cor

    Cor New Member

    My heart goes out to you and your family also, I truly cannot imagine what you have been through this far and how hard this has all been on you. Thankfully it sounds like you have a lot of support and love and are in a healthy strong place for yourself which is good! I pray for both your step kids that things will get better for them.

    I am a stay at home mom, while partner works nights (which makes me feel like single mom) but I have definitely thought about military school. I need to start looking to google to do research about the options I have. There's quite a few so that is a start. An overwhelmingly sad start, but I'm willing to do anything to stop this from getting worse and worse.
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