suggestions for seriously angry 17 yr.old?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by peg2, Jul 16, 2007.

  1. peg2

    peg2 Member

    Need serious help for very,very angry 17 yr.old. Has had 2 out of home group home placements, diagnosis of ODD, Imopulse control, nothing else, and I don't see anything else. No criminal record,no drugs,etc. but main issue is dad abandoning him at age 11 or so, first placement at age 12. Continues to blame it all on me, as dad did, no respon. for anything. Am thinking of wilderness camp and have been PMing a poster who has used one. Basically, like a toddler, won;t take no for an answer,wants it all now with-o having to work for it. Won't do therapy,see a dr., see a counselor,won't do anythig of that sort. I see anger has gotten worse over past few months. Got so angry looked like he would blow yesterday, so I threatened to take him to hospital. for screening, doesn't want to go, so is lsick enough to calm himself down. At thsi age, I have learned there isn't much. Please answer with reasonable sugg. As you all know, sometimes we have come to the end of the line when you have an almost 18 yr. old.
  2. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member

    Do you think there is depression from biodad abandonment?
  3. peg2

    peg2 Member

    Maybe, but I am back to square one with anything because he won;t see a doctor, therapist,won't communicate with me reasonably,etc. I think I need suggestions as to where to place him because he won;t deal with anything, not what would give him help because he won;t accept it. I feel he will do something bad that will get him arrested,etc. and until then, I need some peace for myself and family because he doesn't believe he has a problem. I have tried everything up until now, nothing else I can do.
  4. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member

    I think I may be tempted to just tiptoe around him for the next year and then he is on his own. Once in the real world - he will figure out pretty quick what anger gets him.
    Is he into drugs or drinking? Why would he be arrested - maybe you mean for making the wrong person mad or fighting?
  5. Sunlight

    Sunlight Active Member

    I too would not involve the programs I think. I would ignore him and let natural consequences take over. in the programs, he will feel abandoned too.

    sit him down and tellhim you are sorry he is so angry. tell him you are willing to get him counseling if he wants it. tell him when he is 18, you will ask him to leave if he doesnt live peaceably with the rest of the family. tell him you love him.
  6. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Try putting the ball in his court. For example:

    "you won't talk to anyone about the obvious problems"


    "I want to have you talk to someone, so I will find 3 people who you can choose from, but in order to stay within our family space, you have to deal with your issues (NOT PROBLEMS!!!)"


    "then you have to start looking into where you plan to be when you are 18"

    I know I sound like a broken record, but "The Explosive Child" (Ross Greene) would help you get some sense of how to communicate with him. He's probably thinking a counselor looks and thinks like all of the tv actors in neckties and glasses! Try to find someone that he'll be able to actually communicate with both visually and emotionally.

    Good luck!
  7. peg2

    peg2 Member

    Thanks for the advice, I have been "sitting" it out for a year now and truly want to continue that, but it might get out of control, so I want to have an option and have a wilderness camp identified. No, I don;t suspect criminal activity, I think he may get arrested for getting the wrong person mad and fighting, nothing else. He already knows in May he will have to leave if he doesn't get his act together, and that!!!! is making him angry. thinks I want him out of the house so my husband and I can be alone. His anger has been getting out of control, so I wanted some input. I don't want to send him away, but I won;t be sending him away, he would be sending himself away. I do believe I do not have to put up with disrespect either and he is beginning to cross the line.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My daughter was far worse than your difficult child. She was a drug addict at his age. She fooled us too, we thought it was 100% mental illness, but it wasn't. We knew she smoked some pot, but didn't think it went beyond that. And she had been on probation twice by age seventeen. We couldn't control her--it never worked that we could--at 18 she had a choice--get help or get out with no help from us. We would continue to support and help her if she went to rehab. She left, and went to live with her older brother, who is very straight and she got her life together because SHE wanted to. I find that there comes an age when it's up to the child. Legally, yours will be 18 soon. I don't know that you can make him go anywhere unless he is a threat to himself or others, and I'm not sure he is old enough that you can make him leave the house, which it doesn't sound like you want to do anyways. It may turn out that you have to wait it out then play "Tough Love" like we did. I cried for three weeks, but it's been five years now, our daughter is doing great, and I'm glad we didn't enable her. I don't think she would have decided to change if we'd still been around to fix her messes. I don't know that a Wilderness Camp will change anything, although it gives you respite. I'm also not convinced that our kids turn out this way because of one event or issue. Some kids are just more vulnerable to problems, it's nobody's fault, and they have to work hard for change. How does your husband feel? It's his child. Will he make him leave? I hope you work it out.
  9. slsh

    slsh member since 1999


    I hate to point this out, but you're assuming he will go to a wildnerness camp. If he's refusing help at home, he may very well refuse it somewhere else. Quite a few of us have run into the unfortunate situation where the "age of consent" for psychiatric treatment is far less than 18. In IL, for example, the age of consent is 12 for psychiatric treatment. Once they hit that age, they can refuse treatment unless they're a danger to themselves or others. Even then, medications cannot be forced and if it's a case of involuntary admission, the courts do get involved.

    I would put this on his shoulders, a la NVTS above. Is he happy? Does he like his life? If not, what is *he* going to do about it? You can't do anything other than offer support and options. If he won't avail himself, I think you're pretty much stuck until he hits 18. Personally, I wouldn't hesitate to call 911 for transport to a hospital for psychiatric evaluation if there's a threat of or actual violence. You deserve to be safe in your home.

    It does sound like you're dealing with- some really circular thinking (typical difficult child - ugh!). He's mad because you have told him he's out at 18 if he doesn't get his act together, but he won't get his act together and it's all your fault and that just makes him angrier. Don't get sucked into this (hard, I know). *His* life, *his* choices, he's more than welcome to stay (I think I'm understanding that from your posts) but only if he behaves like a civilized human being.... again, *his* choice. You are under no obligation to live with an adult child who needs help and refuses to seek it out.

    Just out of voyeuristic curiosity, have you ever asked him what he wants you to do? Are you just supposed to put up with- his volatility? Are you supposed to divorce husband? What does difficult child want? Does he have any solutions or is he dumping all this on your shoulders?

    Hang in there.
  10. peg2

    peg2 Member

    My husband is not his dad,that's a problem. His dad abandoned him and his 2 siblings about 5 yrs. ago, haven't seen or heard from him since, I have a rest. order against him. He can stay, if he does what he needs to do, work or go to school. I will call 911 for anything serious and he knows it. Would go for a screening but might not be admitted anyway. Here in NJ I can't throw him out, our youth and family services would charge me with adandoning him. I could send him to wilderness camp and have a transport co. bring him, that's my right. It would be more of a respite for me I know, but I can only take so much. I can barely communicate with him, he gets so angry he loses control, blames everything on me. Wants the $13,000.oo my mom has in an acct. for him to get a license and car(I won;t let him do either until he finishes high school, both his brothers had to) He won't work, excuses for everything. Too far to walk, no one will hire him(uses race card all the time, he's mixed blsck/white. Wants it all handed to him, very impulsive. Won;t take any suggestions, I would drive him to work, when I could, give him cab fare until he gets enough money,etc. will not hear of anything. Blames it all on me, refuses to take respon. just like his dad. I don;t want to send him away and will definitely call 911, I will not take any type of out of control beh. Hates his step-dad, police here many times over their battles!!! Son has no plans unless it is all handed to him......
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    You've had some good advice, although I know nothing will help until he is willing to see the light.

    I can understand why wilderness camp looks attractive, even if it IS just respite. Don't blame you one bit.

    Will it help? I don't know. I've not really been in that situation. difficult child 1 was sent on a sort of wilderness camp - the school recommended him and about four other boys, all of whom were 'problems' from the school's point of view. They shoved all these boys together for a week of self-awareness in the Aussie bush, but they never really analysed the presenting problems and so they never really got a handle on what was wrong, hence couldn't help much. It turned out in our case, that the most common presenting problem of the boys sent to camp, was undiagnosed Asperger's Syndrome. The campers afterwards formed their own clique and where difficult child 1 USED to hang with some decent, studious, 'normal' kids, after the camp he only hung out with his new best friends - the weirdos. His best mate would do things at school like pour lighter fluid over his hand - and light it. So from that point on, difficult child 1's social interaction at school went wildly downhill.

    I tell you this to ask you to really check into the camp - have the other campers been fully evaluated, at least at some time? If the camp leaders really know what's eating the kids, they have a better chance of reaching them and producing some benefit. But if some kids have been badly mislabelled, it could impact badly on your son. But then again, could it be much worse?

    A point of yours - you said, "uses race card all the time, he's mixed black/white. Wants it all handed to him, very impulsive".
    I've had kids use this on me - "You're only picking on me because I'm black" - when I frankly didn't even notice their colour. My response - to play the race card ALL the time is itself racist and a cop-out.
    A question - are you also mixed, or one-or-the-other? He could be blaming you for whichever side of his colour he doesn't value. It could be a way of getting at whichever parent contributed most of the black, in his point of view. Stupid idea, but that's kids for you, especially when they're being unreasonable, unfair and trying to hurt you. If you're also mixed, you could try, "Hey, buddy, at least you're male. Do you know the level of discrimination for a WOMAN in your position? And do you hear ME blaming others for my failings?"
    I don't know - just a stupid idea from me, maybe. I'm not in the US and here is an area where I really can't understand what you're dealing with from personal experience. We do have discrimination here, but it's a different flavour entirely.

  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Peg, expanding on what I said, I certainly don't mean give up! It's just that I saw with my daughter that she refused any help offered her. It was heartbreaking. She DID work. We cut off her money to bare essentials (clothes from Walmart, nutritious food, school supplies) and she got a job at Walmart and worked there to pay for extras. Maybe that helped. I'm not sure because she found druggie friends there and was high at work. She didn't have a sense of entitlement, but she was so wrapped up in the drug culture that she really behaved off-the-wall, and I, having been a big prude, didn't realize how deep she was into drugs. Not until she quit, grew up, and told me horror stories that I didn't want to hear.
    Do what you can. When he's 18, it's his own choice if he wants to help himself or not. He may chose to do it, don't underestimate him. I thought my daughter would end up in jail or dead, and nothing bad has happened to her--it was all uphill once she moved in with her brother, which took her far away from her druggie friends who live near us. I would cut off his money and MAKE him work. He wants clothes? Well, there are Good Will stores and garage sales. He wants good food? Buy nutritious food for the family, make meals, if he wants McDonalds or Cheetos make him work to buy them himself. He wants to drive? My daughter had to pay for her insurance and gas and, when she screwed up on the road, we took away her use of the car and she walked. It's good exercise!!! :smile: (If we'd known about the drugs, we never would have consented to allow her to get a license). There comes a point when we have to wait for them to come to us for help. My daughter just laughed at her therapists and told them lies. She really had to decide to change on her own, and she did. And yours could. But I'm a big believer in not helping kids become their own worst enemies. If a kid is acting disrespectful or breaking rules, no money. None. He wants to make his own rules? Have him earn his own money. I'm rambling Hope this helped. It worked for us. I highly recommend "Tough Love." I was very against it before I had a child who didn't respond to kindness, compassion, extra talks, rewards, etc. Now I'm a big fan. Oh, yeah. My daughter is asian (adopted). She used the race card too because, where we live, there is a lot of prejudice against Hmongs who are asian and some kids thought she was Hmong. "Everyone hates me because I'm asian!" Waaaaaaaaaaah. Now that she's 23, she admits that she was actually well-liked and that boys always told her how pretty she was. Only my biological son is white. The others are asian and black. If they try to use the race card, I don't minimize it, but I don't maximize it either because they have to learn to handle some prejudice. I basically tell them, "Prove them wrong. Show them what you can do." And I don't dwell on that. Whether or not that's a good response, I'm not sure, but my African American friends gave it the thumbs up.
  13. peg2

    peg2 Member

    Thanks to all, as soon as we can communicate a little, I will tell him(which I was planning on anyway) to prove everyone wrong, although he alreadyknows that because of his 2 older brothers, who are doing ok. To the poster in Australia, I am white, dad black, which is the root of the problem(not race) but dad abandoned him, so projects anger on me. My son definitely can't get a permit to drive, but that was my stip. with the other two. I do not pay for car ins. or maint. on car and their grandma has money in an acct. for college/car, whatever will help them succeed. His 19 y/o bro is just learning to drive now, I would not let him get his permit until he somewhat got himself together, he got his diploma from adult school and has now enrolled in comm. college for the fall, can get a car to drive himself there.My difficult child doesn't have money, says he needs clothes,complains about "not having any food in the house,etc." so I am providing bare minimum. Has a bike to go to friends all day,that's it. His older bro.(21) has explained to him to use that to find a job,etc. but he blows him off too. He just has to "see the light" and I will wait. Huge strain on marriage,but we work it out. I don;t want wilderness camp, it is just something I am checking out. I truly believe now he has to see things on his own. As far as doctors,etc. I can't get him to go anywhere and will not force a kid that age,so if something is wrong, he will have to find it out through his own free will. Thanks so much to all, I do appreciate it.My situation is minimal compared to most of you!!!
  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I get it. You are white, so you couldn't POSSIBLY understand... yep, I've met THAT one before.

    I do agree, tell him that the best revenge is success, despite the prejudice - he wins, every way round. But to not even try - it means they have won, they believe themselves vindicated in their racist opinions (whoever 'they' are - he probably hasn't defined that himself).

    And don't compare your situation to ours - we all cope with what we have and whether we could each manage someone else's load more easily or less easily - we will never know. To go down that path is to end up feeling guilty for thinking life isn't perfect, and you can do without guilt adding to your load as well.

    You have every right to dump on us whenever you feel like it. Crikey, if we don't understand, who will?

    You have two other sons who aren't like this, so clearly it's not bad parenting on your part.

    Good luck with your decisions, whatever they end up being.

  15. Martie

    Martie Moderator


    I would get him into a wildness program ASAP bec. next May, your hands will be tied. SLSH is correct: within the state of IL, you could not do this, but if you can do it in NJ, go for it in my opinion.

    I don't think wilderness programs are good for many things but one thing good ones do fairly well is address entitlement and teach consequences for actions. It is kind of a microcosm of what other are talking about re: natural consequences but on "fast forward" in a controlled environment. You would probably have to use transport to get him there, and choose a program that admits 17 year olds, but if it is financially feasible, I would do it.

    I also think he is probably very depressed. ODD seems to be the favorite depressive equivalent of some boys, and for thsi,he needs a good psychiatric evalaution and possible medications.

  16. peg2

    peg2 Member

    I don't want to go the wilderness route, I am holding off as long as I can. I do know I only have a limited amount of time,though and that is why I am checking them out. I tis only financially feasible because my mom has a certain amount of $ put away for each of my boys, to be used for college or a car,etc. so that is the only way I could finance it. I am still lokking at diff. programs, but it would be my last resort. I believe I will see what Sept. brings and if his anger gets progessively worse.
    Thanks to all for the support.
  17. cage11

    cage11 New Member

    Thank you for your post. We just threw our 18 year old daughter out yesterday and I'm a mess. I know she has to do it on her own and I have to stop enabling her. Your story made me feel much better.
  18. peg2

    peg2 Member

    I know exactly how you feel, I am enabling my son, to a point. It's one of the hardest things to do.sometimes all you can do is pray, the prayer that was posted a day or so ago is excellent.
    Good luck, things will work out!