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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5838
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I am a divorced dad who is re married and my ex wife and i

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I am a divorced dad who is re married and my ex wife and i share custody,
however my children who are 13 and 16 {boys] do not stay with me at all.
My 16 year old son has now got an almost daily habit of calling me to get him out of school,with the most weak excuses,his feet hurt from hockey,he has a terrible stomach
ache,.. his grades are 2 b's,1 cand 2 f's.
He has always been a poor student.
But the most troublesome is that his mom has caught him with pot and he has admitted
to using it.
Any wisdom on how to get him in line,he says every one is doing it.
Thank You

Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

It sounds like there could be a couple of reasons your son is behaving the way he is. One, he could be upset about the divorce and not be expressing his feelings verbally but instead be acting out. Sometimes kids will hide what they feel as a way to handle their deeper emotions. Two, he could fear his academic situation and not want to face it. If he struggles, he may feel it is not worth the effort. So he avoids school instead. And three, he may want more of your attention. At his age, you are his role model. So he might be attempting to gain your attention through how he is behaving instead of just telling you that he wants to be around you.

If you have not already, sit down with your son and talk to him about what is going on. You need to hear his thoughts about why he is behaving this way. And although he may not be completely truthful or even truthful at all, just opening up the communication between you is going to help give him a place to go with how he feels. Encourage him to come to you with what is going on in his life. You have to be a parent to him, but you can also listen and let him express himself.

If your son has not had an evaluation yet for a learning disability, you may want to talk with your ex wife about getting one for your son. He is either struggling because he doesn't want to learn or he can't learn for some reason. Clearing up which issue he has can help you focus on helping him learn better in school.

Get the school counselor involved. See if they can provide support for your son while he is in school. Set up a way for your son to go to the counselor first when he wants to leave school and see if the counselor can talk to him first. This helps your son have a "safe" place to go in school when he struggles and it also gives a way to screen his need to call you all the time when he wants to leave.

Consider getting your son into counseling. His struggles in school, the divorce and his drug use are all difficult situations to handle. He needs to talk to someone about what he feels and how to work out his emotions in healthy ways. The school counselor may have a recommendation or you can talk to your son's doctor for a referral.

Talk with your ex wife about boundaries for your son's behavior. He needs to stop using pot and he also needs to focus on his school work (once the reason for his poor performance is found). Setting clear boundaries that you both can enforce can help your son. And set up more time for your son to spend with you. At his age, he still needs his mother but he also needs you, maybe even more. If he has time with you, he may begin to open up and share what is going on. That can help him in all areas of his life.

I hope this has helped you,

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My best to you and your family,