New Member
My D.C. Is 16 years old. I won't go into his whole history, but these behaviors have been going on for 7 long years. He was just suspended for 2 days from school for fighting. This is his 2nd code of conduct disorder (for sports). Last year he got one for smoking pot. The school went easy on him last year because he "self reported". I corrected them on that. His dad and I reported him. Trying desperately to get him to see that there are consequences. Last month his school computer was taken back by the school because he was using it to download porn and other stuff. We also reported that. It was turned over to the police and they didn't find enough to press charges. They told us they found that he has an interest in illegal activity but nothing they could charge him with. If he fights again at school he will be expelled. The police are deciding whether or not to issue a citation.

He told us he feels no remorse about what happened and has been a real piece of work with a lovely attitude ever since he got in trouble at school (well, he's always like that but more so now). The school thinks that sports is a good outlet for him (he does have to serve a sports suspension of half a season). I agree that it's a good outlet but am so done with all the crap. I want to tell him that in order to play he needs to get a job and pay for the sports fees. (Oh...he also refuses to work). Why work when you can hang out with friends or sleep??? I feel like he needs to have some sort of monetary input - maybe it will mean more and he'll take behaving so he can play sports more seriously. His dad agrees. So...why do I feel bad? Like I am taking away something from him? Why do I feel guilty? Why do I always question myself?


Long road but the path ahead holds hope.
Welcome and knowntou are not alone. These behaviours are going to lead to more difficulty for your son as he get older if he does not start to be more compliant with societal rules.

I know how this fe last my Difficult Child is now 18 and does not have his high school diploma and is facing adult criminal charges.

Has your son been assessed for any form of issues or challenges? Does he see a therapist? Do you seek therapy for yourself? This is not an easy situation to manage.

I might suggest if he is not compliant with school rules, is smoking pot and or other drugs and has violent tendacies a job is going to be difficult to find or hold onto.

Setting boundaries and expectations at home is very important. This will need to be done with the support of all parents involved. If he breaks the rules you must be prepared to follow through with consequences.

Ther is a good book that is called Don’t Let Your Children Kill You. It’s worth a read.

You are not alone. This is a very challenging time. Many people here are facing similar struggles.


New Member
My son was diagnosed last year with impulse control disorder, traits of narcissistic personality disorder and is seeing a therapist (has been for several years). Therapist has told us that he is heading towards a diagnosis of conduct disorder and I agree. My husband and I are thinking of starting therapy for the two of us. God knows we are under a lot of stress with our son and our daughter (she has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and is autistic). We have also had our son meet with his primary physician, principal , endocrinologist (he's diabetic), pastor, coach, police, etc. Everyone encourages him to get on the right track. That the consequences are only going to get worse but....he doesn't listen.

Thing is that my son is super smart and could absolutely hold down a job. We have encouraged him to do so as he will need some sort of money for after high school graduation. At that point he will be 19 and we have decided that he cannot continue living here. We are within walking distance of several places where teens work (McDonald's, Taco Bell, subway, etc). All of us friends have part time jobs. He is very charming and does very well communicating with adults (a little too charming). He has informed us that he doesn't want to work. Well....he's going to have to at some point because I'm not paying his way after he graduates (unless a miraculous change of behavior occurs)

If I saw any effort on his part or remorse or (list goes on) I would feel better about his future. I'm trying to remember that his future life is HIS and I can't control it. But he's a minor with a lot of potential and I am struggling.

I will definitely check out the recommended book. It definitely helps to know I'm not alone even though I would never wish this upon anyone


Long road but the path ahead holds hope.
We are in the same boat my son is 18. He has drug problems and diagnosis of CD. He is now 18 failing in high school againand facing criminal charges. He has lost 5 or 6 jobs in a year, I have lost count.
We are waiting for a bed in a long term rehab program. We will not support another full time jobless attempt and high school and he needs to get on with his life. We are. It certain If we want him here after he is done rehab.


New Member
I was sitting at my desk yesterday and thought to myself, "It has been so peaceful and happy for the last few weeks because my adult daughter is out of my life". This sounds so harsh and goes against every taboo that we learn as parents in this society but IT IS THE TRUTH. Just wanted to chime in and support all the parents out there of grown children who are addicted or troubled and 'it's all their fault' (the parents). STOP! Detach and live your life!!! OMG it's been the hardest thing, but ultimately, truthfully, my life is much better. She is 25 and my only child; I love her and always will but cannot let her abuse and blame me anymore. We are all masters of our own lives.....much support to everyone struggling with this situation.


Active Member
So...why do I feel bad? Like I am taking away something from him? Why do I feel guilty? Why do I always question myself?

It’s so easy to question yourself as a parent. You’re never sure if you’re doing the best thing or not. I try to remind myself that I am making the best possible decision I can, with what I have, at this point in time.

Making him get a job is nothing to feel guilty about in my opinion. Making him pay for things above necessities (food, shelter and basic clothing) in my opinion is completely ok. I had to work growing up because my parents refused to buy my clothing or my uniform for school. Not because we couldn’t afford it but because they wanted me to work for it. It sucked at 14 but I also appreciate it now as an adult, I know what it means to work hard.

I personally don’t believe that taking away sports is a good choice but having him pay for them, even say half the cost might help. It’s one of those things you won’t really know until you try. If it works, great. If not, we’ll back to the drawing board.

I’m sorry you are going through all of this. I know the toll it takes on a marriage. It’s exhausting and leaves you traumatized. You’re not alone.


Well-Known Member
Why do you feel bad, guilty, question your decisions? Because you're human. Because you're a parent. Because we want to be perfect in every way. Because we think that we should know it all, that being a parent makes us super human.

We can say of course it doesn't. Of course we're not perfect. But we still feel that way. Forgive yourself just like you forgive your kids. Accept the reality that you can't fix it. That's something you must do in order to move to detaching.

On his current path there will be harder things you will have to do. What if he finishes HS and still refuses to work or go to college? I know these things seem far away but at 16 they're not. Start forgiving yourself now. Start accepting that you can't control a teen. At best you can try till he's 18. But put your own mind at ease. Don't beat yourself up for things you can't control.


Well-Known Member
Why do I feel guilty? Why do I always question myself?
I have two answers.

The first is this: Cognitive Dissonance. It is when we hold two contradictory ideas which we cannot reconcile. Or if we hold a very strong idea but we feel something opposite. Or do something opposite. The idea behind this theory is that human beings want to live in a way that is consistent with their values and they want their thinking to fit together, to not be contradictory.

We love our children. We hate what they are doing.

We love our sons. We hate being with them.

We love our sons. We yell at them and are constantly angry.

All of this brings up dissonance. And it is circular. The more we feel unresolved dissonance the more we will feel terrible and have dissonance. The key is to confront head on the inconsistencies and have empathy for ourselves and let the conflict be conscious. I am in the same place as you.

And I am a lot like you, I think.

I doubt myself a lot. Which leads me to my second reason I think you may second guess yourself, if you are like me.

I do not listen very good to how I feel. I do not feel emotions. That is not exactly right. I feel strong emotions, but I do not know what each one is. Or I ignore emotions until they are huge and strong and overwhelming and I get sick. Or have a panic attack.

If somebody does not listen to themselves, does not honor what they feel they have no real information on which to base their behavior and their decisions. They do not know what they want. They are always searching outside of themselves for information, instead of relying on guidance from their own heart, their own gut.

Sometimes our lives have been so hard that we suppress information that we hold in our bodies because we feel unequipped to bear it. But there are therapies now that can help with this.

I just thought of another reason why we feel bad, guilty and don't know what to do, and rethink decisions. This is because our situations are HORRIBLE. And nobody could know what to do. And if by chance they did, they would second guess themselves because there would be no way to know that their choice is right and will yield the desired result. The stakes are so high. We have so little control. Our lives our turned upside down. That is why we feel like :censored2:.


Well-Known Member
I also question many of my decisions. My son is much older than yours and I have come to the point where I absolutely can not continue with things the way they are. My son had many of the characteristics you describe all through school. I struggled with his problems for many years and still do. I am only now recognizing that it has done him no good. You have taken every measure possible to try and help your son. He has to start contributing to the process. I agree that you and your husband go to therapy for yourselves I did and it helped me to recognize that I was not a bad mom. I did the best I could under difficult circumstances and so are you. Good luck to you and prayers are with you.


Well-Known Member
You have taken every measure possible to try and help your son. He has to start contributing to the process.
There are some people who are constitutionally unable to contribute to the process. They do not get it and will never get it. They are hard-wired to see things in stereotypical ways and this limits the extent to which they learn or are willing to learn. For those of us who have the cognitive flexibility to look at things different, this is frustrating and we personalize it. We believe if we explain it differently, persist in trying, try other approaches, etc. they will and they can get it. In the case of my own son he always had behavioral challenges but was never aggressive. He was compliant and loving. He tried to the best of his ability. Until he grew up.

Then he became the center of things. His will. His wants. His rules. Which when you think of it, is the adult way to be. To my discredit, I could not let go of the idea that I knew better than did he and kept making my help contingent upon his listening to me about how to live. I am finally seeing that he is entirely correct. He will have to live the life he can live, and sustain. To the extent he is unable to contribute to the process, he will be helped by or contained by society.

While my own heart is broken, I see what triedandtrue sees. When our children are unable to respond to our support and care, over a period of time, by minimal compliance, insufficient self-care and some degree of cooperation there is no place for them in our homes.

The problem is that it is very, very difficult for a parent to face this. All during my son's twenties I have tried to escape this reality. And still I seek to flee it.

For younger adult children Job Corps is one option. That way they leave the house and get a skill. But keeping them around in perpetuity has not served me or my son. I love him.
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