Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.
It is good that the communication between you and your son is open about this problem. However, sometimes children use this as a way of explaining away their behavior to gain your sympathy and permission to continue with bad behavior. I am not saying this is what your son has done, but it is a possibility.
It is probably very difficult for your son to move around a lot. New schools and new homes are hard to adjust to. But acting out is not the only option, just the option he has chosen. Since this is not the first time he has broken your trust, your concern is justifiable.
Your idea of having your son in counseling is excellent. He will have the opportunity to express his feelings about moving around and vent his frustrations. The therapist can help him find healthier ways to cope with his feelings and to express himself.
It is also very important that you and your husband find ways to enforce the family rules and stick to them. At age 15, your child should already have regular chores, have an allowance he manages, and have rules at home he follows. Punishing kids, especially teens, for their wrong behavior is difficult and the kids do not make it easy. But psychologically, children benefit from parents who consistently enforce the rules in the home. The boundaries help children feel loved and cared for, no matter how much they protest about it.
It is important that you chose punishments that you feel allow your teen to earn back your trust. For example, if you feel you need to let him do activities that you can monitor, then let him know you expect him to earn your trust back before you will allow him more freedom. Make him responsible for his own behavior, much like you or your husband would be if you did something dishonest at work or to a friend. He needs to learn to think like an adult so making him earn back his privileges is a good way to approach his behavior.
Besides counseling, here are some other resources that may help:
I hope this has helped you,Kate
Military boot camps are great, but in your son's case, it does not sound like he is doing anything that would require the strict nature of a boot camp environment. I would try the home punishments first and see what kind of effects that has on his behavior. If they don't work, and your son keeps getting deeper into trouble (to the point of involving law enforcement), then I would consider boot camp.
The fact that your son has a chance at a bright future through acceptance at a top prep school is great. I would reinforce to him that this is a great opportunity and you would be very disappointed if he did not take full advantage of it. Also, if you and your husband agree, tell your son that you will support his efforts financially as long as he shows responsibilty and he progresses. Let him know that if he gets into trouble (you and your husband decide how to define trouble and what your limits are), you will withdrawal your support and it will be up to him to find his own way. Then let it go and see what he does. This way, you have clearly defined your expectations and it is up to him to live up to them. It's giving him a choice on how to behave and letting him live with the consequences.
Sports are a healthy way to express yourself so taking them away is probably not the first choice I'd make. Privileges are the best first option when thinking about punishments and reinforcing good behavior. Losing privileges until they have just school and sports left usually is enough to motivate a change.
Yes, there should. He not only abused your trust, he risked his father's job. Because that is a serious action, the consequences should be just as serious. Try to equate his actions to the legal system. The more serious the offense, the more serious the consequences.
Thank you! That is very kind of you. My best to you both and to your son.