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Discipline Teenage Son

My 14 yro son will not follow rules or stay grounded, he keeps leaving to stay at friends house. His grades have been slipping and constantly wants to spend time with his girlfriend (who is 14 also). My husband has a hard time punishing him or sticking to the agreed punishment, so I always am the bad guy. His punishment is usually being grounded from phone, games, and friends. My husband works out of town a lot and we also have a 9 yro son. I had planned a trip (the 3 of us) out of town for Spring Break and he refused to go and was left to stay at a friends house (not what I wanted). I did not know what to do, I could not physically pick him up and put him in the car. I gave him the option of going with us or being grounded the rest of the year and he chose to be grounded the rest of the year. So for four days he got to do what he wanted at his friends. Once we returned (my husband too) we explained to him his punishment and has refused to accept that. I need help with what to do with him. Do we get the police involved if he leaves, or kick him out and let him see how bad he has it. He is a good kid, in GT classes and has just started acting this way this year.

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So What Happened?™

Many Thanks to you all for your input, thoughts, and prayers. I did call the school counselor and informed her of what all has been going on. She did talk with him. I also informed many family members that would somehow be able to help. He has talked with my mom, his Aunt, and Grandmother inwhich I beleive everyone was able to help in some way. We are on talking terms, negotiating, and learning to listen and understand each other. I am looking into a family counselor which I believe is very much needed. I am so happy that we are communicating. Thanks again.

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I had to end up putting my 13 yr old daughter in a boarding school because of her not folllowing rules, sneaking out at nights etc.... She was heading in the wrong direction in her life. Since she has been in this boarding school she has realized what she was doing was wrong. She has only been there 2 months. But she still has a long way to go.
I know what you are going through. Help him and help the family by thinking about a boarding school.

I am a single mother of 3 kids. Twin daughters 13 yrs old (oldest one in boarding school) and a son 11 yrs. old.

J., He is definitely too young to kick out. I dealt with the same issue with my 16 year old and quickly learned that there were others out there who would take on the responsibility of trying to be her parent. Unfortunately, it was only to their detriment because they quickly realized that it wasn't mom who had the problem as much as it was just a typical teenager in rebellion. I would reccommend trying to get counseling, not just for him but the family as a whole. As long as he can determine that you and dad are on the opposite of each other he will continue to manipulate the situation. If you and dad could come to the agreement that you agree with one another it will make a difference. He needs to see the stability in a relationship that is strong and one that won't be manipulated. Remember, you are the parents. Find a way to help him realize that he is a person, and you respect his ideas but somethings you guys, as his mom and dad have to make the final decisions on, because he is only 14. Hope this helps.

J., I have worked with teens for the past twenty years, please call me for a free consultation - ###-###-####, D. Elder

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Hi J.,
I've been there w/the rebelious teen.That was about the age i started noticing change.He wanted to leave the house when he wanted and do as he wanted.We as parents are respossible for our children and if that means calling the police for assistance so be it. If he leaves the house w/out your permission hes considered a runaway.Report him they'll pick him up take him to juvinal hall and he'll have to deal w/the judge and the conditions he puts on him.If you don't get this under control now he'll continue as he gets older,come and go as he pleases and you'll be at fault if he does harm to others or if harm comes to him.As hard as it may seem to do you have to stick to it.Because it only gets harder as they get older.You not doing anything about it allows him to think he can get away and do as he wants.Counseling was a step we also took.If your from Austin there is a place called LifeWorks who does counseling for teens at a sliding scale or if you qualify for a grant they have,its free.Don't give up and be FIRM FIRM FIRM!!!!!!!!

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I cant go back and change the mistakes I made with my teenage son, but if I can help someone with a similar situation than it is my duty to reach out. My son is now 26 and I am still paying the price.
Because we love our children so much we tend to do things that we know will not hurt them or make them mad at us.
There is nothing wrong with showing TOUGH LOVE. We need to let them know that we are the grown ups and we have the knowledge to know the difference between right and wrong that is why we are the PARENTS and they are the children. Constanly tell him that you love him and because you love him you are making these rules for him to follow. Remind him that in life we ALL have to respect rules and that we as parents are not eternal and that when they are grown in life and have to move on they will be good positive and productive citizens. Some times they will pout and try to push as far as they can BUT dont let him. Be firm and make him follow your rules in the end he will appriciate what you are doing for him now. He will grow up and thank you for caring enough to guide him in the right direction.

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Do not kick out your son. I would get your family into group counseling to try to overcome these issues. Find out where the anger is coming from. Talk to the parents of the girlfriend and to the parents of his friends and ask them maybe not to be so accomodating to him. It is easy for parents to feel sorry for kids who are "treated badly" at home which is clearly not the case. Your husband has got to get onboard and support you. If there are no consequences to his actions, he will continue to act out and ignore you. I would lighten up on the grounding though...it never did any good for my parents to ground me and I got grounded the whole year too once. All it did was force me to have my social time at school and ignore my schoolwork. Have his friends and "girlfriend" (should have started the "no dating till 16" rule a lot earlier..but hindsight is 20/20)to your house often so you can at least monitor his activities and keep him out of drugs and alcohol.

He should be able to "earn" rights back by doing chores...mow lawn, pull weeds from flowerbeds, do dishes, take out garbage. He is old enough to be participating in household responsibilities. No matter what, you need to set and stick to rules, don't back down...but also don't directly confront or argue with him (it will just make you both mad)...treat him like he was two again and give him choices...he is trying to assert his independence again (like when he wanted to pick out his own clothes) so give him options so he feels like he is in control. Let him set his own punishments for things as long as it is reasonable, then he can't blame you. Sit down together and make a chart of rules/punishments and stick to it. Pray a lot, and good luck!

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I have read many of the responses to your letter and I agree with them. My oldest son is now 19 but we had the same issues with him at that age. My husband was also the "easy" one and he discovered that he had to step up and take his rightful place as the dad. It all came to a head one night, and after a long loud fight my husband grabed my son in a bear hug and just kept saying over and over how much he loved him and that he was not going to let him go...not emotionally, not spiritually, not physically! We were NOT going to lose him. Needless to say, it was a hard emotionally draining night, but my son finally understood that we loved him and were not going to let him tear our family apart. Just recently I have been seeing an advertisement for a program called "total transformatiom". You can see their website at www.theTotalTransformation.com It is a set of cd's and dvd's teaching parents how to deal with teenagers. I have not tried it but my husband and I are concerding buying it...you see we have another son coming up (now 14). I think this program will give us some tools that we did not have before to keep things from reaching the point they did. One thing is for sure you and your husband have got to be on the same team!! Not working against each other but together to show a united front. I know that parenting is the hardest job any of us will ever have and the most important. Sometimes we start to doubt ourselves but remember God did not give your son to me or anyone else...He gave him to you and your husband because you are the ones who have what this child needs!! Be encouraged! Please know that my prayers and with you. Feel free to email me if you need some support or just a listening ear.


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This is a pivotal time in your son's life - well, for all young teens. I strongly suggest you speak to his school counselor, teachers, vice-principal, and/or principal on his slipping grades and "attitude" with your son present. It may not provide an immediate turnaround, but it will let him and the school staff know you are concerned and are reaching out for help.
On the homefront, PLEASE do not kick him out. It serves no purpose for him and the only break you might get out of it is a good night's sleep.
I feel we (parents) are sometimes so hung up on "punishment" that we forget the other angle --- redirection. Yes, punishment is the consequence of poor choices and defiance, but if we also take the time to redirect (just like when they were toddlers), it can make a difference so the child see's past their own gratifications.
Get him involved in something outside of his own comfort zone. Call a nursing home near you and inquire about him coming to read, play chess/checkers, etc. on a regular basis. Maybe his girlfriend would like to join him. This is a "service", not a punishment and falls under "redirection". Your younger son could be just as involved.
At home, the police won't do much to really help you unless he's gone for an extended time. Even at that, he's just reported as a runaway kid. If he just takes off out the door when you've told him to stay home, then go after him! Tell the friend's parents he is not to be there.
There is a book called "The Roller Coaster Years" that may help you wade through these times. I can't remember the author's name, but you should be able to track it down by the title.
Some of what we do is "hang on for the ride", but I do know it's hard. Best of luck to you and and yours.

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Wow. Sounds like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders. The first, and most important, thing I would suggest is sitting down with your husband and making sure you are on the same page. Kids figure out very quickly that "divide and conquer" works really well for their purposes, and will continue to use it against you as long as you let them. Talk things out with your husband (minus your son) and come up with a plan you can both agree on, and then agree to stick to it like glue. Your son will immediately pounce on ANY inconsistency, so getting the same answer each and every time is key. No matter what you come up with, if you and your husband aren't on the same team, you'll get beat every time.

The next thing I would do is test him for drugs. I have seen drugs turn straight-A, church-mousy kids into flunking, rebellious ones. And drugs can happen to ANY kid, so even if you think there is no possible way, test him anyway. You have nothing to lose by finding out for sure. You can buy home drug kits at Walgreens or CVS, possibly even Wal-Mart. If that doesn't turn up anything, perhaps you can get him to go to a counselor. If you do take him, make sure you tell him that it is so he can have a place to sort things out on his own, not so that you can "figure out what on earth is wrong with him". (My quote, not yours...ask my dad how well THAT worked out sometime!)

Another thing you might try is contacting CPS yourself. By not being able to control him, you open yourself up to the possibility of an investigation, so it might not be a bad idea to call them and find out exactly what your rights and responsibilities are in the eyes of the law. For example, if you kick him out, it's possible that you could be cited for neglect. On the flip side of that, they can tell you exactly what IS required of you and exactly what you CAN make your son do. Also, that way your son can't use the "I'll call CPS!" threat on you, because they will already be well aware of the problem, and if they know you are being as proactive as you can be, they'll side with you immediately. Lastly, they might have some ideas and options that would work for you.

Hope this helps,

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Hi, J.. I've read through many of the responses, and I've yet to see one that addresses what has caused this change in your son's behavior. I'm sorry to say, that when radical changes in behavior take place and grades start falling, many times drugs or alcohol are in the picture. I worked at a middle school for many years, and this was not an uncommon occurrence. Even "good kids" get involved in the drug scene, and it's really hard for them to get themselves out.

My first advice would be to talk to your son's counselor at school. Have they noticed a change in him, as well? Ask her for her advice. Perhaps your son needs to be tested--not just for drugs--but perhaps for some emotional disturbance.

One thing I completely agree with the other responses: YOU MUST get your husband involved and on the same page with you. If you are not in this together, your son will continue to be the authority at your house (for that is what he is now.) As others have said, your younger son is watching. He must see that you will not let this situation continue without intervening somehow.

I hope you have the strength to do the right thing, even though it will be really hard. No one ever said that child-rearing would be easy!

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You can't kick him out, he is 14, a minor. yes get the police involved if he leaves without permission. Minors have curfew and usually a city wide curfew also. You and husband need to be on the same page as far as punishment and both of you talk to him at the same time so that you are all in agreement of your expectations. His acting this way is HORMONES. Sounds like you need to talk to the girlfriends parents also. I also have a 17 year old son who acts the same way, since about that age also. What has helped us is consistency with the punishments and I also do what I call TAG TEAM Parenting. My husband sounds like yours and you need to talk to him to formulate a plan. When my husband is home, he is in charge of discipline, punishments, curfew, permission and such, to give me a little break, but constant communication between us and our plans is key. I pick up with the responsibility when he is not home. I have also tried to tone down my way of doing things--because it is usually a battle of wills between my son and I. I have learned to speak with him instead of at him and not yell (because I tend to do that) and then stick to my guns as far as grounding and such. Good luck to you--this to shall pass.

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Why is he leaving the house when he is grounded? Is no one home to enforce this? Good kid or not, he is not showing respect he should. YES! I would physically pick him up and put him in the car. If you have to be the bad guy, then be the bad guy! You have just showed him that your words don't matter. Your mistake was giving him the option. When it comes to simple things, options are fine, but things that matter to you, like a vaction for four days with the family, THAT is not an option. At this point, you have to play hard. You will be tested because up till now, he knows you won't follow through. Won't he be surprised to see you actually do it? Do NOT let him go to his friends. Threatening to ground him for a year was not a realistic threat. You must make consequences that you can really follow through on. I would start by having a serious talk with him and telling him you were unrealistic in the grounding for a year, but because of his behavior, you feel that two weeks is sufficient. Take away all music, games, and other toys from his room. Tell him you love him and that his freedom must be earned. Tell him that as part of the family, he has certain responsibilities and he is expected to complete those duties. Give him things to do like laundry or vacumming. He must keep his room picked up. If you make him rot in his room with nothing to do, it's only giving him time to stew and harden his heart more. Make him take part in the family. Tell him he is responsible for dinner once a week. He will plan, buy and prepare it for the family. In fact, I would make more effort to do more family things and force him to participate. And don't tell him what you're doing or where you're going. This way, he isn't given the option whether he wants to go or not. Take everyone bowling, take them to a free event in town, out to eat, to a movie. This is not breaking the "grounding" rules. This is building the family unit back.
And you can expect a fight at first, but I'm telling you sister, if he is doing this at 14, you can be sure he will be out of the house by 16 if you don't do anything. If he runs away, go get him. You have to fight for him. Do whatever you have to, to be home when he is and you can't leave him alone! He hasn't earned that freedom yet.

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I would first pick up a copy of Bringing Up Boys by James Dobson...that might give you some valuable insight. My husband and I are experiencing similiar things with our almost 17 year old boy and 14 year old boy. They are trying to assert themselves and become men (separate themselves from us)...
We homeschool and it has really helped to lessen the influence of bad company (acquaintances) and GIRLS... all of that, though the world we live in sees the peer dependency and romantic ties as normal, is toxic, if you ask me. I don't know if you can consider pulling him out of school and homeschooling him (he would probably have a fit if you suggested it!) but I have heard of folks that have done it and it really was a blessing to them.
Another book that might be an encouragement to you is "She Said Yes: the Story of Cassie Bernall", one of the girls that died in the Columbine tragedy about ten years ago. She was in full scale rebellion and her parents reigned her in really hard. And it ended up for her good.
I usually don't respond to these posts (too busy most of the time) but I saw yours and I just had to offer some words of support and suggestions that might help.
One more thing: do you think maybe your hubby could take a weekend away with him? Camping or something he is really interested in...there is one more resource I will point you to: go to familylife.com and do a search for "The Passport to Purity" It is a weekend curriculum for young people to do with their parents that explains the changes they are going thru and it is wonderful! Maybe just some one on one man to man time would do a world of good....
I hope this helps.
PS I should have started my note with encouraging you to stay on your knees for the next ten years...I have been praying so much more this last year or two and it has been helping...God always has the right answer!!!

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I can see from the other ladies that I am on track in saying "jerk him up." Scare him. YOU ARE MOM! Take everything out of his room except a blanket and a pillow. If Dad isn't going to back you up-tell him to shut up. You are building a human being here, he needs to be able to function in a world that has rules. He needs to know that although you may love him like no tomorrow, you will be happy to make his life miserable in order to save him from himself. Look at him and say "I love you enough to make the tough decisions for your life and if you hate me, that's ok becuase I lov eyou enough to take that too." Good Luck Sister! I am also still afraid of my Mom and I am 34. It is easier to build boys than mend men. C.

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Hello J. my name is J. and I can feel your pain, I to have a 16 yr old who is very much the same. My first suggestion is to find out what does he be doing at this friends, I found this wonderful program for trouble teens and its free, the catch is that he'll want to stay. My son has been there for three months and has made great changes. If you want more information contact me at ____@____.com don't matter how you punish him it want help because now he feels that the punishment want be carried out. You really need help and it's help out there.
I have a prayer website and this week we'll be praying for trouble teens. I'l add you to our list.

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First, it is against the law for you to "kick him out". If your son isn't truant or excessively tardy, or hasn't been in front of a judge/gotten the attention of the local police there is no point in briging the police in. There IS the TRIAD Prevention Program with the goal to reduce and prevent truancy, delinquent behavior, & family conflict (MHMRA/Juv Court/TDFPS/DePelchin) at ###-###-####. Restrictions and punishments are like spanking---they may produce a short-term response but no long-term benefit, even wear away the trusting bond between parent and child.
While there's no quick fix to teenage rebellion, employing a new communication method often works. How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and How to Listen So Kids Will Talk, by Faber and Mazlish is great. For all ages of kids. Their follow-up book is How to Talk So Kids Will Learn. It's like learning a foreign language, and worth the effort. Let your husband know you need his support and participation and so does his son.

Positive Discipline for Teenagers, by Dr. Jane Nelson is another wonderful resource. Also Chores Without Wars by Dr. Nelson.

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How can a kid.... refuse punishment? Who is the parent here? It sounds to me like you and your husband just let him get away with whatever he wants, make a bunch of idle threats then wonder why he doesn't take you seriously. Your son doesn't respect you or your husband.

The trip shouldn't have been an option for him, he's 14... yes, you physically put him in the car. Of course he was going to take the "grounded for a year" option, he knows you won't follow thru with it so he got a weekend with his buddies and it won't cost him anything.

Just because a kid is GT doesn't make him a good kid. He sounds like he is spoiled rotten and is basically in charge at your house, not you.

I'm not trying to be mean, its just that when I read your post all I kept thinking as I set her with my mouth open was... "be a parent, have a backbone and stop letting him make the rules". I know its not that easy once you've gotten to the place you're at though. I do wish you luck!

Have you tried the total transformation program? I don't know how it works but it touts itself to work wonders on problem kids. I've also seen a book and I can't remember the name, but someone on here will post it, that is supposed to be a great resource for parenting teenagers.

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Hi J. - Simple ... Military school or some kind of treatment facility where he will have very strict rules that will be enforced. If you and you husband cannot make sure he does what he is told then you will just continue to have problems with him. Imagine what he will be like at 15 and 16? Regarding the trip, yep - you can physically put him in the car and if he refused, he should have been sent to a juvenile facility. Allowing him to be "rewarded" for his behavior by leaving him with a friend did not help the situation at all. My question is what type of parent would have allowed him to stay with them? I have a 13 year old son and had one of his friends pulled that on their parents, I would not have allowed him to stay with us. Remember, he is not in charge - you and your husband are. If he doesn't like the rules, he can go somewhere else. He is too young to kick out of the house so he will have to go to a juvenile facility. It will be the best thing for everyone!

Good Luck

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Hi J.,
You very much need to get the police involved if this continues. First though, I would recommend you sit with your husband and tell him exactly how you feel and have him understand that you will not tolerate your sons behavior in the house. Hopefully, he will get on board with you. Secondly, speak with your sons' friends' parents. Let them know the situation at your house and ask them to not let him stay at their home unless they have direct permission from you. Some parents dont give a hoot but maybe theirs will. And lastly, before calling the police, sit your son down (hopefully your husband is right there next to you) and lay down the law. This is your home, not his, and he is still a minor and will respect your rules. Maybe he has some issues that he has not told you, this would be the time for him to let you know as well how he feels, but the point of this conversation is that everyone has and understanding of what is and is not expected of your son. Tell him that from that point on, when he leaves the house without permission, or refuses to go where you tell him, the police will be called. You should not be expected to physically make a 14 yr old do anything, so he needs to know other measures will take place. Hopefully, he will respond to all this, but if you have to, do not hesitate to call police. Your son may very well test what he will see as a challenge! Finally, in the end, if nothing has worked, you may have to show him the door. It's tough love, but you have another child to think of, your marriage, as well the peace in your home. And not to say that's its a permanent situation. If he ever wants to come back, he knows the rules to which he needs to abide. I hope my advice helps you and your family. I'll be praying for you guys.

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Hi J..I'm sorry your having to deal with your sons attitude.I think most,ot all of us have had at least one challenging child.It sounds like this girl friend has made him lose his mind. She is all that matters in his eyes
.Its that puppy love thing. This is a hard one. You either stick to your rules on EVERYTHING,he probually will
running away ( which he would be considered a run-away and could be picked and taken to juvi )or be a little giving and meet him in the middle.I wouldnt let him live with any of his
friends that gives him control,and lets him do what ever he wants to do.My son is a great kid to but im telling you when these girls get them its hard as heck to get them to listen to you or anyon else over 16...
if he refuses to follow any of your demands because thats whatthey are,demands remember YOUR THE PARENT. If you have to make his life a little difficult with some tough love thats much better than watching him run your house hold.and ended up screwing his future up.
I was raised that we were the children and we didnt have any choices.I have had issues with my son at the age of 17 when he "fell in love" I no longer "knew"anything and he was all "
grown"up.Sometimes they have to learn from their own mistakes but at 14 your in control of what he doesand where he is going. If he is so into this girl be careful you sure dont want to be a grandma having to raise a baby,because this stuff is going on at 14.if he doesnt listen now he wont then either. Be pro-active not reactive before he turns 17.he will then be considered an adult in the laws eyes and any stupid mistake he makes will effect his future.I know we didnt have these hard choices when we were growing up but it is soooo different now.DRUGS,SEX,GANGS,ECT.....and they are donig these at 14. dont be blinded.suggest taking a drug test if you have any doughts on this issue.and see what his reaction is .that will tell you alot.I have know GT kids that have been pulled into that trap of drugs and their whole attitude changes.it doesnt matter GT, band,football,church going,ect.the youth today have many choices they have to make I promise.
If none of this works,save him and look out for you younger son. There are several free facilities you can place him in where he can still get his education and also a future career
but he wont have a choice on following rules.They will tell him what hes going to do.Most are six to 9 month programs. they stay there and have to earn privleges to get certain things.They do let you go and visit once a month.Dont lose him .some times we as parents have no choice but to show tough love and it is TOUGH.but its his future.Hope this helps. I am notsaying he is doing any of the things i mentioned but i just wanted to give you some advise in case he was at this level of risk.You will be in my thoughts and prayers Being a parent is the hardest job ive ever had....good luck

We have been through this twice! You and your husband need to make some changes in your parenting. Things are very out-of-control with your son. You need to get back your control. I can share much with you but am running out the door. You can email me at ____@____.com. I have resources and information for you. If I don't hear from you via email, then I will try and update this one with more info - sorry I cannot do this right now. HAng in there - these things happen for a reason and the changes you will make, if you do, will change your whole life, your relationships, etc.. all for the better!


My teenage daughter has been a real pill lately too. Because your son is 14 he MUST do what you say or you can call the cops to back you up. The officer told us that if we could not keep our daughter under control she could be taken to Juvi. If he runs away call him in as a runaway. get a cop to explain your sons options to him. If he is acting up this bad you definitely need to take him in for counseling. Sounds like family counseling and parenting classes could help.

Find out about "boot camps" in your area for your son. Maybe information caan be found at school.

hi i'm jesse in san antonio, i know that punishing ur son is hard, but i wouldn't call the police, i would try and sending him to boot camp, if u don't do this now, by the time he's 18 he'll be getting into alot of trouble and then the police will get involved and then that's when u start paying lawyer's to get him out of trouble, my advice, send him to boot camp and don't back down be firm

start now and geb back in control. if you have to get the police involved then do it. make sure you follow thru with any "threats" or "promises" if he mis-behaves. if he leaves when you tell him not to, he's a runaway and you need to call the police. you're husband needs to get on the same page as you and you need to portray a united front. yes, it may just be a phase but it doesn't give him the right to openly defy you. you think you have it bad with him, your 9 yr old is watching and taking in everything he's doing and you will have a much harder time with your youngest. he'll know what you will do if he tries to do what his older brother is doing but if you act now, he may think twice about it. Good Luck!

Girlfriend! When you are 14 there is no choice! If he is living under your roof and you pay all the bills; including his meals, clothes, and all of his accessories.....he has NO CHOICE. He is being the parent. He is telling you what he will do and you and your husband say, OK! Your husband has to step up the game and put his foot down. You said the key words "my husband has a hard time sticking to the agreed punishment." If the two or you aren't on one accord then he plays you. I don't know if you believe in God, but in the Bible there is a scripture about a "divided house." People in the Bible accussed Jesus of being a devil, b/c he cast a devil out of the person. So, Jesus told them, "how can satan cast out satan.....a house that is divided against itself can not stand." (No I'm not calling your child satan, just quoting!) And it's true. If you and your husband don't agree on how to deal with him and punish him, then what you try to build and establish won't work. The two of you have to get together and make it work. And if it gets to the point that he just flat out becomes rebellious, put him out! I know that it sounds harsh, but let him see that he is still a child. Calling the police won't help unless he has broken the law. Sometimes it helps if you know a police officer or if you go to one and ask them to talk to him one on one. I hear you saying that he's a good kid and that he's in GT classes and that this just started this year. Has something happened in his life to cause this behavior? Somethimes these kids hold things in and they won't talk (especially boys). Maybe he has something going on that he doesn't want to talk about. If I were you I would get my husband to spend some one on one time with him. Just to see if he would open up to him.

First of all, you and your husband need to get on the same page and DECIDE to make a change for this kid. You both need to set boundaries and consequences and put them in place. Your son does not need to know or deserve to know the consequence, he just needs to know that it will stink. Being grounded for "the rest of the year" is impossible to even follow through, so you need to come up with realistic consequenses. Try some "work", sounds like he could use a realistic view of life and what happens when you decide to grow up too fast and leave "childhood" and parents behind. He definitely needs more structure. If this means that you and your husband decide what he does for every single hour of his day, then that's what it is. Then when he accepts those boundaries with a happy heart, you can allow some freedoms.

Definitely get the school involved and let them know what you are doing. They need to know that they have your absolute support. If he leaves school, he is violating the law and get the police involved. He may not see it as love at first, but he will appreciate it later. Boundaries provide security which ultimately secures that you love him. Also, you and your husband getting on the same page will bring security and love to this child. His whole world depends on the parents relationship, so if he knows that you and your husband are first priority and he is just a bonus to the family, then he will begin to realize his place and his role. Get tough because the world will be very tough on him. Lastly, Pray, Pray, Pray. God will put on your heart, what he wants you to do. If you and your husband don't pray together, well this one is a good time to start. As awkward as it can be, it won't matter because you are doing it for your son and for your marriage. I will be praying for you all!!! A. V.

At that age they only want to be with friends, did you let him invite a friend along with your family for spring break? That is the only way I have found to somewhat control teenagers is to let there friends be involved in almost everything.

Hi J.,

It seems as though you need a slight miracle. So did we. We are still struggling with issues with the way our 12yr old acts. But, he's getting better. We're getting better. I can only say you have to get the LOVE & LOGIC program/take the course. We took the class through our younger son's school, and it has taught us how to be completely different parents. We are more pro-active rather than re-active. It has been a God-Send to have the knowledge to speak a language they can understand. They are allowed to make choices, and understand in complete detail the consequences. My husband and I both are now on the same page, and while we have a long way to go, we are on the right track. I do emplore you to look it up and look into it. It will do you a world of good. Especially with him, and it will help bring sanity back to your home. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about it. Thanks and the best of luck to you.


Sounds like he needs a good dose of reality! My kids are not that old yet, but i recently went through this with my 15 yr old cousin. Her mom suffered a big heart attack last summer and it has been a long recovery. She lives 2 blocks from us so alot of the responsibility has fallen on me and my husband. She tasted a little freedom and ran wild with it. It has taken everything that we can do not to give her a good whooping! (Which my husband still thinks she needs). But I sat down and talked to her and let her know that no longer would her behavior be accepted. I started researching boot camps! I was seriously sending her to one and had the total support of my family cause we were at our wits end! But when I actully picked up the phone and called one of them and she found out I was serious her entire attitude just melted away! Thank goodness I didn't have to go through with it, but she knows that if she slips up just one time shes gone. Tough love is a hard thing to do but sometimes it is necessary!

I feel your pain. the behavior can be anything from as little (?) as typical adolescence and their "self-centered" behavior or a medical/emotional problem such as the beginnings of bi-polar disorder.

First of all -as i learned - grounding does nothing - it is in essence a waste of breath. When kids are always grounded - they begin to feel that they might as well do what they want because they are always grounded anyway.

About 8 yrs ago i had surgery - and was unable to drive for a few days. When i made the comment to my daughter (who was then about 15 yrs old) that it is tough when you have to get someone to take you everywhere - she said - yeah, tell me about it". That is when it hit me that the teenagers feel helpless as to how to have control of their lives. So - as difficult as it is to get teenagers to talk - try to have a conversation with him. Try to see where he would like to take control over his own life - and have some decision making ability. (even tho as adults, this often equates into the kids doing more chores) they have got to perceive it as having some element of control over their lives - not as a punishment. But at the same time - he has to learn that he has to earn privileges (ie: the phone, video games). Also - try to convey that he is still lives in a privileged society - and that he must "give back" to others in the form of community service. i have found that when kids are too young for an actual job- community service gives them a chance to learn skills and care about something other than themselves - and they can begin to look "beyond themselves" and their own personal issues, it makes them feel "needed" and "important" and it keeps them busy. So perhaps make him earn privileges with community service hours. Let him research and select an organization of his choice and develop a way to be "proud" of himself. Also - he will soon be driving age. If he is interested in that - perhaps work out a reward system of personally giving him driving lessons when he exhibits desired behavior.

DO NOT involve the police. From experience, i have found that they are not the "helpful neighborhood friend" as we perceived them to be when we were kids. Many police have too many of their "own issues". They will easily do illegal searches and arrest kids - and expect you to sort it all out in court, at a huge expense. Once a kid gets "in the justice system" they hardly ever get out of it.

If persistent unusual angry outbursts at insignificant events or extreme "risky" behavior begins to surface, please do check out a doctor and have him evaluated.

good luck

About me: A 53 yr old married working mom of two young adult children.

Have him talk with your pastor or school counselor.

Hi J.:

I am new to this site so I am assuming that you are in the Leander area. If your son goes to a Leander middle school, go to the school and ask to have him drug tested. The do it for free in the school district. I know that's a hard thought to entertain but drugs are so bad with the kids this age now. I have a 14 year old daughter in the Leander middle school system and she has told me about lots of kids whose parents have had them tested. She also tells me who uses and what the use and it scares the heck out of me. From the change in his behavior, I would really check this out. I watched my youngest sister go through what you are describing. The school will help you with resources is he comes back positive. Don't tell him you are going to do this - just have it done.

I also know and highly recommend a counselor here in Leander who is excellent at working with kids who are going through what your son is. She takes most insurances. My daughter saw her at one point for a while and I have a friend who's daughter see's her now on a regular basis.

You could also set up an appointment with the Williamson County Juevnille Complex and have him talk to the instructor's there. My daughter went there as part of a Leadership program she is in. Needless to say, it left a very powerful impression on her. Let him see what a 'day in the life' is like for kids who continue to walk his path. Sometimes, they need a rude awakening.

I am sorry you have to always be the 'bad guy'. You can call the police the next time he leaves without permission and report him as a runaway. If fact, if you don't and he gets caught out after curfew or gets into trouble some other way, they are going to look right at you and the judge will question why you 'let' your child do these things - even though you and I know you aren't 'letting' him do anything. You can't 'kick him out' without getting into trouble yourself - the law would be in his favor on that one because he is still a child.

He is at that age where he is going to push as far and as hard as he can. It may take someone other than you to 'push back'. There are alternative schools in Texas for kids whose parents are in your situation. He is to young right now, but when he turns 16, there is a program called the National Guard Youth Challenge that another child I know went to and it did her tons of good. You might give them a call and see if they have any suggestions for you as well.

Best of Luck!


First off, the wrong person is in charge - your son. Take away everything - his clothes, everything in his room except a bed and blanket - you can take the door off his room too. Tell him you expect him home at a certain time - if he is not, then call the police and report him as a runaway. Explain that these are LEGAL consequences that will go on his record. You need for him to show he can follow rules and meet reasonable behavioral expectations. GO see a family counselor together immediately! God bless and good luck!

It might be worth it to get some family counceling and see what issues come out that way. At this point harsh punishments aren't working. Grounding him for a year will only further the resentment he's feeling. He's really wanting to get your attention by acting out, so you and your husband need to get to the bottom of what is really going on. Good luck.

I had to end up putting my 13 yr old daughter in a boarding school because of her not folllowing rules, sneaking out at nights etc.... She was heading in the wrong direction in her life. Since she has been in this boarding school she has realized what she was doing was wrong. She has only been there 2 months. But she still has a long way to go.
I know what you are going through. Help him and help the family by thinking about a boarding school.

I am a single mother of 3 kids. Twin daughters 13 yrs old (oldest one in boarding school) and a son 11 yrs. old.

Here's a rather novel idea, but it just might work (not that I have teens, but from what I hear from others with teens that have tried it, it works).

You said he's grounded. Instead of grounding him to the house, change it to he's grounded to being within x# of feet (say, 5) of you our your husband at all times when he's not at school or sleeping. This will seem extremely boring to him at first, but it doesn't have to be SOOOO bad. If his girlfriend can come over, they could visit, but not alone. He could do his homework while you fix supper or clean the living room, for example. When dad decides to change the oil on the car, he could help. Get him involved in what you're doing when his homework is done. If you're cooking, have him chop lettuce. If you're raking leaves, give him a rake or have him pick up the piles, whatever. Basically you're revoking all privileges. If he wants to talk on the phone, he needs to be near you (and if you have a speaker phone, you could say he needs to use it, if you feel you need to). Then at the end of the year, evaluate his attitude and see if you could allow him some privilege, like spending time alone in his room to do his homework (with you checking in to see if it's really getting done), or spending the occasional evening with his friends, etc.

The problem with grounding as it's typically done is that they say, "I'm grounded anyway, doesn't matter what they do to me now". But this way, you can address his heart while carrying on the punishment. In fact, I would mention to him, when you explain how it's going to work, that if you see a real improvement in his heart attitude (not just outward change, but a real heart change), then you might considering giving him privileges back sooner.

You can read more about this at www.raisinggodlytomatoes.com. The book is mostly about small children, but she has a chapter on teens, and I think you might find it helpful.

Hope that helps!

I think that he chose the four days of freedom over a year of punishment because he knew that you would not enforce the year of punishment! he is teaching your 9 yr old how to behave in the future. you have to take a stand with him now! He probably is involved with the wrong crowd and may very well be involved with drugs which is why he has changed so much in this past year. Drugs will completely turn a kid around! luckily so will Christ! I suggest that you drag him kicking and screaming if you must to a good christian church with a really involved youth program. you might look for a ten crusade in your area it would be like a weekend retreat that focuses on teens and there would be lots of councilors and live bands and worship that could break the evil that is going on in his heart! Get the police involved if that's what it takes, but he is not in charge at your household! My son obeyed my rules and treated me with respect right up till he left for the army when he was 20 yrs old. He was not involved with drugs and had an active christian upbringing. You must take an active role in parenting for both of your children's sakes! the 9 yr old is watching how you act with the 14 yr. old! this is only the begining. you could start by finding a very active and involved church and then tell him that he has to attend or move out! even if he leaves it should not take him long to realize it's tough on the streets and his friends can only accomadate him so much! Best of luck to you, but definitely take a stand with him now , you and your husband both, if you don't save him, you will at least save the 9 yr old!

Hi J.,

It sounds like your son realized earlier than most teenagers that you cannot, in fact, physically make him do much of anything any more. Unless, as so many have pointed out, you decide to imprison him in military or boot camp school or something similar.

However, I would like to offer you another option: building a mutually respectful relationship. That's going to take a lot of work and a lot of patience on everyone's behalf at this point. But I think it's possible. I high recommend the book Parent/Teen Breakthrough by Mira Kirshenbaum. It talks about how to build a relationship with your teenage child so that they will respect your opinion and input and will create the foundation for a life-long, high quality, parent-child relationship.

If you're interested in talking more about this option - rather than the lock-him-up option - feel free to e-mail me (____@____.com).

Whatever you decide to do, start by finding your center. When you're not in control of yourself or your reactions, your son will not find an example in you and will tend to be out of control as well.

Dr. K. Rayne

Please don't take offense: Check your son for drugs. An erupt change in behavior sometimes leads to experimenting with drugs. It's fine to be the bad guy this means that you love your child, not that your husband doesn't but together you need to sit and work out a plan of action and agree to it together. then present it to your son as his new way of life not an option.You and Dad are the parents and he is the child , it is not up to him to accept your terms. I have a teenager in my house who abides by the rules given not by the exception. Big mistake- never allow your child to manipulate a family situation, you, Dad and brother. He got what he wanted both ways, he didn't go on your trip and is not grounded. This is a bad example for your 9 YO. I truly think he's silently screaming for attention. Wheter or not you get the police involve will only show that you don't have the ability to set forth rules and stick with them and you'll show him that you'd rahter a higher authority intimidate him instead of you and your husband maintaining the household.
Take your son out on a date and have a nice talk, Mom and Son, leave the cell phones at home. Allow him to express his feelings, listen more talk less. It might be akward at first but cautionly peel those layers back slowly...don't talk about how much he's messed up,do not criticize- talk more about what you as a family can do to fix the problems in the future. If you feel you've accomplished nothing from it, you have at least shown your child that your willing to take time out to spend with him alone, one on one.
I'd also check the girlfriend and other friends that have an influence on your child, he's way too young to be put out on the street,he can't have a job yet and it will show to him as if you don't care, you'll loose the battle with that strategy.
Unless you find that its drugs, then turn it over to the authorities,never allow law breaking to take place it will definitively affect your younger son.
Raising children is not an easy job, don't throw in the towel. Never give up! We loose our children way too soon, they grow up way too quickly.
From an ex drug user- sober now 11 years, Praise God.

J., I have worked with teens for the past twenty years, please call me for a free consultation - ###-###-####, D. Elder

J., He is definitely too young to kick out. I dealt with the same issue with my 16 year old and quickly learned that there were others out there who would take on the responsibility of trying to be her parent. Unfortunately, it was only to their detriment because they quickly realized that it wasn't mom who had the problem as much as it was just a typical teenager in rebellion. I would reccommend trying to get counseling, not just for him but the family as a whole. As long as he can determine that you and dad are on the opposite of each other he will continue to manipulate the situation. If you and dad could come to the agreement that you agree with one another it will make a difference. He needs to see the stability in a relationship that is strong and one that won't be manipulated. Remember, you are the parents. Find a way to help him realize that he is a person, and you respect his ideas but somethings you guys, as his mom and dad have to make the final decisions on, because he is only 14. Hope this helps.

when my son was 15 he started doing drugs and I didn't know about it tell a couple of years later. It sounds to me like he is hanging with the wrong people and may be using drugs. My son is now 23 and still using and it is to late for me to do anything about it. And yes if you have to get the law involved, call your local police dept. and ask what your rights are how they can help. When mine was 16 he ran off for 5 weeks and it didn't make a difference, yes he called to come home because it was boring where he was. So my advice to you is find anyone you can to help and get this under control now if you don't want the next 3 or 4 years to be a battlefield, because believe me it ain't nice. I as so sorry, I will be praying for you. God Bless.

I have had this situation and you really need to give him a drug test. Secondly if it is not drugs then you all need to put your foot down and keep it down. You are the parents he is the child treat him like one. He doesn't pay the bills in your home you all do. Until that day comes he is living with you and your rules Period.

My husband is the same way with his son, gives him a punishment and I have to see it through not fun, because I am always the evil one. But if I don't be the bad guy no one will and he will run all over us. I would rather a step son hate me and see the reasons later than run all over me and never respect my authority.

Hi J.,

It sounds as though your son is testing how far he can go and it appears that he is winning this battle. My suggestion would be to contact the parents of his friends and of the girlfriend and explain to them that while he is grounded, he is not allowed to stay over any of his friends houses. If these parents respect your wishes, they will not allow him to stay over. He is using them in his plot to gain more freedom to possibly hang out with the new girlfriend or explore his independence. I do not think these would want their own child to start to get the courage to act out in the way he has, so it would not be a bad idea to team up with these other parents and set down the same rules no matter where he is. He will get the picture. Another suggestion would be to explain to him that if he continues behaving this way, there are places you can send him to that will help him learn how to properly behave and listen. Now I know that this is pretty drastic, I probably would not go through with it myself, but taking the inital steps and letting him realize you are serious is not a bad idea. I would definitely throw out the idea of military school:) If he is into his friends, he will not want to do anything that would jeopardize being able to hang out by being sent away.

And seriously, the next time you want to go out of town and he does not want to go be nice and tell him you will drop him off at his friends house, but make sure he has plenty of clothes to wear. Once he is in the car drive off to your Spring Break destination.

You can't give in. He is testing you now to see how far he can go and he will take you as far as you will allow yourself to go without having a breakdown. You need to set the rules and if he does not like it, tough! And you know, the next time he takes off and does not listen to you. Report him to the police, of course explain to them the situation so that an officer can come by and have a talk with him. I am sure, assuming they are allowed and have an opportunity to do so, they would want to chat with him now rather than later.

Good luck!!!

Watch SuperNanny, I have actually learned a lot from that show. I had behavior problems with my 5 year old last year and took her to a counselor and they used the same methods as Jo does on the show. She is doing great at home and in school now! Sometimes they deal with older children on the show. But for the most part he is just seeing how much he can get away with, and being able to stay home for four days by himself!! I would have canceled the vacation.
Note: Call Austin Child Guidance and get on the waiting list, they work with children. My health insurance paid for it. Also, I have found that it might not help much if both parents aren't there.

J., I have raised 2 boys and being 14 and 15 for boys anyway is tough. They go through so many growing pains, negative self esteem, friends are the most important thing in the world all of a sudden. It is just turmoil. All of a sudden he finds he is too old for the things he really probably enjoys doing, but too young for the more grown up things he wants to do - like drive, have a job. On the other hand - such extreme behavior could be he is involved in some activities that he knows is not right - and he is conflicted. Having a girlfriend at 14 and being able to just hang with her is not healthy - and can lead to some real relationship issues that they are both too young to handle. But having a teenager hear the word no - and grounded just sets off triggers in their already rebellious state. Go to to your school and talk to the counselor - he needs to be tested for drugs, alcohol, talk to his teachers and see if there are behavioral problems there. Depression is not uncommon in teens. You and your husband need to really get on the same page and do some research and find positive parenting skills that you can both deal with. With my sons= we set down and said, things are not working - we want things to work -- what is going on - what can we as a family do better -- and we talked honestly. You may have to make contracts that you all can live by - do the work - your son is worth it and he needs to know he is worth trying to work things out. Kids at this age are so self absorbed -- I don't know whether your family goes to church- but learning to serve other people in need goes along way in helping build positive self worth in children, if he is in the GT program - check at school and see if he can be a tutor, or a mentor for someone younger. Your husband needs to also spend some "man" time with his boys - camping, fishing, ball games, build a relationship man to man. Before you go to the police - do the ground work first and see what is truly going on with your son. It is normal for our children to have problems bigger than they know how to handle - and that's what we parents are for -- love, support, team work, yet, able to be tough when the situation warrants it. Sounds like it is time to clear the air - you may need the help of a counselor or mediator to do this so everything can be said honestly without any yelling or fighting. Good luck- my sons are now 25, and 23 and a joy to be around. You will have a relationship alot longer with them as adults so do everything in your power to HELP not alienate yourselves from your son when he is in his most confusing years.

I have no right to respond to you because I'm behind you in age. My oldest is 10 & a GT kid too but I've been dealing with a rebellious spirit and God says if you don't get it under control you lose. So, I loving and humbly suggest:

Beg your husband as the spiritual leader to pray with you for your 14 yr old son...God really cares about this. My husband took Spiritual authority by praying at my begging and things started immediately changing in the household. More power will be freed if you both take turns agreeing for what you are asking for out loud.

Blessings to you and may God move Heaven and earth to help your family so Police and kicking to the curb don't happen and may God show himself so strong for you and your husband that everyone in the household Praises God for what he can do.


Before you involve the police I would try 3 things.
1. Check out his friends to see what type of activities they are engaged in(even if you have to hire a private investigator) I would even talk to his friends parents to see if they will discuss their childs behavior to give you some incite on what to do.
2. Try family counseling. Even if you have to lie to him to get him in the car or even maybe get the counselor to come to the house (around dinner time probably, he's gotta eat)
3. Military school or boot-camp. My son who is 13 now was refusing to turn in homework and stopped listening to things i would say. So with me being a military brat I would put pamphlets around the house and threaten him that his grandpa (retired military) was going to escort him personally. My dad even stepped in and talked to him a few times. since then everyting has been great. his grades are better and his attitude.

One of the first potential problems I saw is the possibility of unrealistic punishments. Grounded for a whole year? Is there any way you could possibly make that stick, especially since he ignores you when you ground him in the first place? Frankly, he probably laughed himself silly inside when you offered him that choice, because he knew you wouldn't be able to go through with it. And the punishment, in my opinion, was all out of proportion to the offense.

I agree with those who suggest counseling as a first step, before some kind of military school. Your son is not the only one who needs it--it sounds as though your husband needs a reminder of what a parent's job is, and you could probably use the suggestions of a professional on how to deal with a rebellious teen. I'd also see about trying to work with the girlfriend's parents; they may be willing to help limit the time the two can spend together. Good luck!

When I say this don't get mad, the first thing you need to do if you haven't already is to go check his bedroom for any kind of drugs.under the mattress in pillows everywhere.I have 3 sons and 2 step-sons. the yougest stepson acted up.He was getting pills.I found them showed his dad and flushed them.At one point my yougest started acting up and I told him we're going for a drive.I parked out front of the juvenile detention center and told him if he didn't straighten up he could get out right here.He got his act together.The stepson wouldn't listen and we told him he either had to abide by our rules or get out.He left and went to live with his mother.You also have to follow through when you tell him something.Good Luck it will work out and he will eventually understand.

Are you in TRICARE? If so, you might want to check on sending him to behavioral counseling. What are his teachers/coaches saying? If you don't want to try full blown counseling, maybe someone at the school will be able to get him to talk. I also recently read a christian/psychologist based book called Boundaries by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend. It helped me see some things, but I know they also have one called Boundaries with Children. I pray that things will work out for you and understand what you're going through since my son is 10 and he's been difficult for the last 3 years.

It sounds to me that nobody in the family seems to understand who the parents are. Dicipline is tough but it only works if you adhere. You and your husband need to be on the same page. If not, punishments will never work. Your son already knows that dad will give in. Another thing you might consider is setting a realistic punishment. "The rest of the year", whether it be school year or not, is a long time. You gave him the choice to go or be grounded. That was a huge mistake. You make the rules. Tough Love...it works. Maybe you could speak to his counselor at school and get some ideas or even make an appointment with a local therapist. Is it possible he is hanging with the wrong crowd? Is he active in any extra-curricular activites? Being active and talking to your kids makes a huge difference. Try to get him to open up.

From what I remember of being a teenager, I think the best you can do right now is to support him and believe in him.
I know you love him so much. If you want him to listen to anything you have to say, you need to stay in his life ;not distance yourself!
Try thinking about what he is going through and have compassion for him. Like you said you can not physically make him do what you want him to do anymore. Be honest with yourself about that. Try thinking and saying things to him like." I love you so much and I believe in you. You are so wonderful and everything you do makes me proud to be your Mom" without any buts atatched to it.
Good Luck, I know it is going to work out for you!
-Angela Peace

God Bless you and your situation.

Unfortunately you need to have him tested for drug usage, and he will call you all kinds of names. Seek counseling.

You need to assert your authority and if he leaves, although it will give him a record you need to report him as arunaway. If he breaks the law when he is gone, you are responsible.

I was having these problems with my 16 yo daughter who is also a GT child.

There is a place in El paso called Lee Moore's Children's Home that is a residential home for troubled teens. If he wants to think you are the worst parents in the world, it will give him an alternative safe place to live. It won't feel good and won't make him love you right now, but it will keep him safe.

Your year of grounding didn't work because he knows you won't stick with it. You are too busy to keep up with the around the clock monitoring. Consistency is the key.

Just for the record, I find parenting a teen not very much fun.

Pray without ceasing!

hi there J. it sounds like you are starting to have those tuff teen years.well i have a 13yearold son that is a great kid thank god he still likes his toys and is not really in to the girls yet he started saying stuff about likeing girls and my husband told him real fast that he was to young for girls and to just worry about geting his school work done and growing up before thinking about girls.well it sounds like you have to deal with this problem by your self because your husband has to work.so if you have to put a fear in to your son call the cops on him let them have a talk with him.because he thinks he can try his luck with yall put your feet down show him that yall are the parents and he will listen to you are you will have him put away.when my son starts to think he dont have to mind i let him know real fast i dont have time for his games so you will listen are get put in a boys home.he wanted to have a smartmouth with me oneday so i told him once to pack his stuff i was takeing him to a boys home it scared him so bad that child has not had a smart mouth but you need to try to put a scare on that child and he would have got in that car with his family are i would have called the cops right then and he would have went with me are the cops he would have not got his way on anything.and he still trying to push his luck take everything away take it out of the house to wear he cant get it.good luck girl.

J. first of all im not trying to be mean or nasty with my comments.Your husband has to put his foot down and stick to the rules that you and he has set.I dont know if your husband is out of town a lot or not,he may need to come home and spend some time with him to set some ground rules.Children tends to run over the mother if the daddy is not home all the time.A 14yr old kids should not be running the house like hes doing,he only refused to go on the trip because he knew that he was not going to do the punishment.If you dont get a hold on him now your 9yr old will start to do the same thing,he going to think that its ok to do the same thing that his older brother does.You cant kick a 14yr old out because youre still responsible for him,the child protective services will be at your door before you close him out(lol).Try not letting the girl friend come around and see if that will work.Check around your city or state to see if their is any help for your son.You will want to get help from the state and not let the state get him.I wish you all the luck in the world with your situation.B. F.

Hi J.,
Don't give up! Talk to dad. You need to present a united front and you need to be consistant. You should also consider having your son see an adolescent counselor or having the family seek family counseling. If you don't take steps now the problem will probably escalate and it will effect your younger child. Understand that a good counselor will be a support system for your son and a safe place for him to talk about what's bothering him. You may not be told the things your son talks about but the counselor will be working in your son's best interest. Most health insurances offer at least a limited number of sessions with a mental health professional and if not, there are places that work on a sliding scale.
Please contact a professional. Your son's behavior may be a warning sign or a cry for help.
Good luck,

sounds like he gets his way - why wouldn't he continue with the behavior
of course he chose to be grounded for the rest of the year (not realistic btw)
There is a wonderful class called "Redirecting Childrens Behavior" -
There are wonderful books by Michael Thompson,Phd re boys
You and your husband need to be on the same page, he needs to be able to trust you - and your word

I know this may come as a shock, but I also was in your same shoes with my 17 yro daughter. Her grades were slipping and she is a straight A student. Spent a lot of time at friends houses, more then being home. She would talk back, and sneak out. I found out by sitting down with her, that she had been smoking weed. Two noticeable things to watch for are acne breakouts and change in eating habits. Plus she would come home from school and eat a bunch then fall asleep right away on the couch.
When I would ground her from her friends, is when she would sneak out.
Recently I had found drugs in her car. I thought about calling the police as all my friends and spouse said, but found that difficult. I took the keys away, and also her phone and make her sit at the kitchen table to do her homework, that way i know she is doing the work. I have gone and picked her up from the friends house that she has run off to, which has embarrassed her also. It has let the other parents know that they should call to see if she had permission to visit. That way if the police get involved they are not held responsible for harboring a runaway.

As for the girlfriend maybe talk with her parents and invite her over to your house more often, that way you can watch them more closely.
Hope this helps some

The first thing I would recommend is getting your husband on the same page as you- otherwise there is no point. I would also recommend that you keep your punishments reasonable, not for the rest of the year (too hard to actually do.)
Yes, I would have physically put him in the car and taken him where-ever you were going. I would clean his room for him, taking out TV, phone,games, music, etc- and let him earn those things back. My next step would be a mandatory home drug test-taken on a weekly basis, Randall's pharmacy carries them. Then I would cut him off from his friends, at least temporarily- let him earn his freedom. That may even take calling his friends parents, taking away his place to stay. In the meantime he can fix his grades and start earning back your trust and respect. He doesn't get to pick and choose the rules he follows, he's 14. If he decides to leave- I would change the locks on the house to keep him out- because the time will come that he will want/need to come home. I would also call his school and speak to a counselor to see what services may be available for him, and you.
I would not recommend getting the police involved, because that could lead to long term problems- and he isn't breaking the law.
When my middle child got a little froggy- (he was 17) we cut him to the quick, he spent more than one night sleeping in his car in front of our home. He had to learn there are consequences for his actions. (Better now than later.) It was hard, but it worked out and he came around.
Good Luck.

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