July 07, 2011,
A.V. asks from La Crescent, MN on July 04, 2011
Preteen Son and Single Mother
My son is 13 and he has been hanging around with boys that are ages 16, 17, and 18. They have drivers license and can stay out later. My son has been smoking cigarettes for a while. Lately, he has been staying out late and just recently got a ticket for being out after curfew. At home he is asking me for money all of the time and when I won't give it to him, he grabs something and wrecks it, calls me names, grabs things and throws them, and tries to bully me into giving him money. I had to call the police today. What happened to him? The older kids aren't allowed in the house. Has anyone had a similar situation and if so, how and what did they do to get through it? Please let me know. Thanks!
So What Happened?™
Thanks for the advice. I can take away his Ipod, laptop, and PS3. Tonight he is spending in juvenile jail. Tomorrow he is to go to court. The officer thinks he will probably get community service and be followed by a probation officer. I am a single parent and work during the day. That is the thing, I can't be here to see who he hangs around with but I told him the older kids aren't allowed in the house, at least when I am not there. The plan is for him to stay with his dad for the next 2 weeks. Hopefully, he will realize that he has it good here and want to turn his behavior around. Believe me, I do track him down when he isn't in the house. I belong to a church but don't go every Sunday. But he doesn't want to do anything with me. I have a readlly hard time getting him to go to school and had to have a police officer come over one morning and make him get dressed and go to school. I tell him everytime he smells like cigarette smoke that I don't want him smoking and how it is going to make him sick. I am at a point where it seems like nothing works! We have had in-home counseling but I think that could be better.
L.B. answers from Biloxi on July 04, 2011
First thing to remember is that you are the parent - he is the child.
Second, stop allowing him to go hang out with older teens - nothing good is going to come of that.
Third, without more background info it is really hard to know what your past relationship with your son has been and what his past behavior has been.
But it does sound like something has gone drastically off track with him. If he where mine I would take away all privileges, stop allowing him to go out with older teens, never leave him alone, and do a drug test on him. Oh, and make him quite smoking! Really, where is he getting the ciggs from? Then I would run, not walk, to the nearest therapist and get us both into counseling pronto. If your health insurance doesn't cover it, or you don't have insurance, there are many sliding fee scale services available - check with your local health department and/or associated Catholic Charities.
My son is 15 - he is still not allowed to go out - especially not with older teens in cars when I don't know what he is doing or where he is going. He has friends over, he goes to friend's homes - but adults, that I know, are always present. I know what he is doing and when he is doing it.
13 is a tough age - but, if he has gone off track, you have a chance to get him back. It will not be easy - you have to fight for him.
God Bless - my prayers are with you both.
1 mom found this helpful
M.A. answers from Minneapolis on July 05, 2011
Do you have Youth Services in your area? When I was dating 10+ years ago this mans son was in a bad place at the time, We were as a family involved in youth services. It was wonderful! Might be worth checking into.
C.W. answers from Las Vegas on July 04, 2011
What is your parenting style? You mentioned he has been smoking for a while? Sounds like he needs a strong foot down. You have to get some effective discipline in hand, practice, and use them. I would look into some resources and some professional advice. How does he try to bully you? Grabs things and throws them? He could turn into a wife beater if that isn't controlled. I'm sure he's a great kid, sounds like he fell into the wrong crowd and needs a wake up call. I would take the door off his room, lock all the windows so he can't sneak out, take all the stuff out of his room except the bed and bed linen and he can earn them back. I am including his clothes, as in you set out his outfits. It takes some work on your part, but I would NOT tolerate that disrespect. He should NOT be allowed to hang with those older kids either. I don't know the perspective on keeping him from them but maybe you two should go to a family counselor and start sessions to encourage him to better his life and see his friends are losers. He needs to be watched like a hawk now. I think there are phones that you can track him if you want to. If my daughter was going down hill n a hurry I'd probably do it for a while until my trust in her was back.. then you can check his location and call him to make sure he didn't just leave his phone where he told you he was going and leave without the phone.
Good for you for not giving him money, I wouldn't do it either. If my daughter were a preteen and grabbing and throwing things, she would be grounded and working to replace those things while she's home.
Hugs <3 from long distance. I know it must be tough :)
That's great that Heather could share her experience. There's a lot of wisdom in her post.
L.D. answers from Minneapolis on July 07, 2011
Do you have a "real man" in your/your son's life? An ex-husband, father, uncle, karate teacher, coach? A real man would put the fear of God into this kid about screwing up. Police are on your side, but your boy needs a positive relationship with a good adult MALE role model so he know what's expected of him. If he can't find a male role model, then these 16-year-olds will fill the gap.
Can you send him to an all-boys camp with good role models? Live with an uncle in the country? I have no clue what resources are around you.
Get a MAN on your side. Moms can't do this.
I.B. answers from Wausau on July 05, 2011
You said you can take away his ipod. laptop and ps3. I agree with the hard-core momma who said to take away EVERYTHING and make him earn stuff back. Taking the door off his room is a very good idea also.
And I'll just say, Heather D's post was awesome :)
A.C. answers from Jacksonville on July 04, 2011
Can you give a little more info.? What was the outcome of calling the police? Is his father in his life?
S.C. answers from Eau Claire on July 05, 2011
A. - You did the right thing. The first step is the hardest. Noone wants to see their children get in trouble with the police so many parents let the problem go on and on and give in to the child. Don't be fooled though you have a long road ahead yet. First, he has already experienced the freedom of hanging out with older kids and will not want to give it up. He thinks he had you over a barrel before and now probably thinks he can get you to feel guilty about calling the police and can blame you for his arrest. At the very least he will want to go back to doing as little as possible and trying to get out of going to school but will stop breaking things so that you can't have him arrested. If I was you I would start with the older boys he is hanging around with. You aren't supplying him with cigarrettes so they are and that is an arrestable offense and finding out what other charges you could have put on the older boys may keep them away from your son. Threats of arrest could be enough to get them to back off since their ages could have them tried as adults. Then you have to be strong and make him see the real world. Taking away electronics and things is a start but you need to send a message of what things cost and how money is made and that without a highschool diploma he will have a very hard time. If he does get community service be careful that he doesn't find worse friends. Try to play to his abilities. If he has a way with animals, electronics, or woodworking get interested yourself so that you have a common thing to talk about and you know enough about it so that your praise for an accomplishment in that area is based on knowledge not parent requirement. Sorry to go on so long. I had two step son's that had similar problems and their mother wouldn't work to get through to them so I did. They raised their grades and both graduated. It takes a lot of time and energy to get through to a kid with an attitude that thinks they know it all but it can be done. Good Luck!