Post # 1
Hi Bees, this is a NWR topic but I know that this is always a good place to come for valuable insight on many different types of issues.
I am at my wit’s end with my 17 year old son. He is a very intelligent, likable, funny, loving, loyal, and sensitive young man. My heart swells when I think of what a good person he is at the core. However, the past few years, this year especially, have been pretty challenging. He has made some pretty bad choices including truancy, staying out past curfew or not coming home at all on occasion, experimenting / using alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana, and getting caught shoplifting twice in the past few months. If he graduates on time, it’ll be a miracle, in fact, I’m terribly worried that he will drop out of school.
I have involved his counselors at school and he also sees a counselor outside of school, too. I am so worried about him and days like today, when I have a pit in my stomach and tears in my eyes, are very difficult.
I guess what I’m looking for is any words of encouragement or support. Or, especially, any stories of teens you know who went through similar issues and eventually grew into responsible adults…
Post # 3
I haven’t been throught this yet, but I just wanted to give you a big hug! It sounds like you’re really trying to stay involved in his life, and I think that makes a big difference in the long run. Hugs!
Post # 4
Thank you, I am trying so hard but at the same time it’s hard not to wonder where I’ve went wrong…
Post # 5
I don’t have kids, but I was a 17 year old not horribly long ago. I did everything he did, and now at 22 I own my own condo, have established my career, and am a responsible person. I was very well behaved until my junior year in high school, and then I guess I just felt like rebelling. I wish I could tell you why he’s doing it, but I just wanted to let you know this does not mean he will always behave like this!
Post # 6
@MissPine: I am a girl, but still… I was a total BASKET case at that age. I smoked a lot of pot, stayed out late, etc.
My saving grace was that I had a sport I loved that kept me grounded.
Maybe it would be beneficial to get him involved in something he will care for — music, sports, art, etc. I think a lot of youngsters go through this faze. The people we hang out with are small minded just like us lol. I grew up to join the Air Force & am now working on my Master’s Degree.
He just needs to be aware that if he plays around there are consequences… he doesn’t want to mess up and get a record.
Post # 7
- Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast
It sounds like he doesn’t have any sort of focus on his own future. he’s living for the here and now, and to hell with the consequences. Is there trusted young adult that you know who he could talk to? Maybe share their own experiences and help your DS see that his behaviors right now will 100% affect his future?
My brother was much like your son, and managed to get himself kicked out of school just a few weeks before graduation. He gave my parents a case of permanent heartburn. He’s now in his mid 30s, has a full-time job, pays all of the bills on time, and is a loving husband and father. He turned out to be a great guy. But he never went to college, works as a mechanic, and is in constant pain after 20 years of lifting engines, contorting his body to get in tight spots, etc. He can’t play with his toddler the way he wants to because he could throw out his back yet again at any moment. He had one rotator cuff replaced, and will need surgery again in a few more years. His knees are busted, his neck hurts, etc., and he has no options. He doesn’t have a degree, which is necessary in order to get into management at his employer, so he is stuck. It’s not that his choices in his teen years made him a bad person, it’s that his choices in those years really limited his options and potential.
Whenever my DS acts like he doesn’t care about school and tells me that grades don’t matter, I point to my brother’s unused potential. I remind DS of how much my brother physically hurts due to his job, and how my brother’s own choices directly led to this current state of being. It definitely helps my DS put things into perspective (a huge challenge for all teens!).
Post # 8
@MissPine: Wow. You literally quoted what’s going on with my younger brother right now. Same age, same experimentation, even same shoplifting! (He tried shoplifting alcohol -IDIOT- he’s no longer allowed in that certain grocery store; then later he tried shoplifting eye drops because he smoked weed and didn’t want my mom to find out)
All I can say is I’m sorry you’re going through this, and hopefully it will get better.
My uncle is a somewhat similar story, and while it took him until he was 30 to figure it out, he did eventually figure it out (even though he is still basically a child in the logical/common sense way, half of the time lol).
Good luck, and best wishes!
Post # 9
I’m going to assume your patenting style is not the problem here, because you sound like a devoted mother. I don’t have children yet, but your son sounds a lot like my father in high school.
The only advice I can give is that sometimes, people need to fall on their a** to stop making mistakes. I think this goes for all levels of problems whether it be grades, or more serious things like shoplifting. I can imagine that goes against your every instinct as a mother, but sometimes the best thing you can do is let people make their own mistakes.
Post # 10
@MissPine: Ah good luck! I’m sure your son is a wonderful person, and that he’ll grow into a really fantastic adult!
I’ll add that my little sister was a real wild child. She’s a wonderful person but just got caught up in some stupid stuff when she was a teenager. She really started turning around in her early 20’s, though, and now, at 25, she’s so amazing and mature! She’s very stable, has a great boyfriend, just completed courses to becoma an EMT, etc… She sowed her wild oats as a teen, and now she’s just the most responsible/reliable adult!
Post # 11
@MissBoPeep: Thank you for sharing this – I know I wasn’t a complete girl scout when I was 17, either, but I lucked out in staying within somewhat reasonable limits. I did skip a lot of school and I did some other stuff, too. It is just super hard to see him doing things that could impact the rest of his life.
Hearing stories from people who went through a similar “phase” really does give me hope. Thank you so much!
Post # 12
@deetroitwhat: Thank you – this is really reassuring! I wish he had a specific interest, like a sport, but he doesn’t. He’s hopped around from sport to sport and interest to interest but hasn’t found something that he’s stuck with. He’s taking acting/drama this year which I’m hoping he might find interesting 🙂
Post # 13
The only thing I can suggest is to include your son in the solution. Talk to him about his behavior and ask him what the two of you can do together to improve his current outlook/place in life. Try to work with him. Help him feel empowered to make responsible choices. Try not to force school counselors or any other authoritative figure on him – that might only cause him to act out more.
Other than that, just know that he will grow out of this phase. This is a tough age for both parents and children. Use your family and community for support, and try to hang in there.
Post # 14
@MissPine: i had a rebellious 17 year old son. my ex husband and i had just split and he started acting up like your son. luckily he never got into trouble with the law or anything but it took him a while to “grow up”.
i found that the more i pushed him the more he rebelled. i was pulling my hair out so i stopped pestering him. i decided to let him learn by his mistakes. i was always there for him if he needed me but i let him do his thing. i figured that he had a good base of morals and values so he will eventually figure it out. he did.
he is now a maturing 27 year old. he definitely had to grow up and find himself. he is wonderful. i am very proud of him.
Post # 15
I honestly think some people are just going to do what they’re going to do and grow up at their own pace. My brother did a lot of that stuff in high school. He even got brought home by the cops a time or two for minor vandelism type stuff. My parents helped him get into college, he dropped out, went to community college, dropped out etc etc. Basically in and out of trouble until he was 26. Then he turned it all around. Got a good job, ditched his loser friends, moved to a new city for a better job, met his wife, bought a house, and he’s doing great! He’s even talking about maybe taking some courses to supplement his career.
I know it isn’t what my parents wanted for him, and that he made his life a lot harder by essentially wandering for a decade… but I just don’t think there is anything they could’ve done to change him. (I was raised in the same house and was a straight-A daddy’s girl who graduated from law school at 23, so I really don’t think it was parenting styles!). He eventually grew up and got his act together and life is good. It’s just the waiting that is hard I’m sure.
Post # 16
My brother was a COMPLETE a-hole the ENTIRE time he was a teenager and it was definitely NOT my mom’s fault. You sound like you love him very much and are a devoted mother. Please don’t beat yourself up over this stuff! You can only lead children so far.
What’s your relationship with him like?