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danny541, Parenting Answer Team
Category: Parenting
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Experience:  Have 5 children !
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Our 17-year old son is spiraling out of control ...

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Our 17-year old son is spiraling out of control with defiance, truancy, disrespect, and physical violence towards us if we attempt to stop him or hold him accountable. There is also some experimentation with marijuana too. We need to make a change, but also wonder if there is some chemical imbalance that needs to be addressed. HELP!

Hello and welcome to Just Answer !

Sounds like you have your hands full !

Has he always acted this way, or is it just recently ?

How is he doing in school ?

You say he's physically abusing you, how far has he gone with this ?

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to danny541's Post: Hi, yes he has always been demanding, but it has been in the past two years that it has escalated. He's truant, doesn't do his school work claiming that he can't focus, yet he can play video games forever. His physical abuse has been directed toward my husband, and in addition he pushed me into a bookcase as well. He threatens that if we do take anything away that "we will pay" meaning that he will be destructive...

First let me address the physical abuse. It must not continue, someone is going to get hurt. Either tell him the next time that he gets physical, you will file charges on him. Do not let him continue to hit your husband or yourself . As much as I'm sure you love your son, his hitting is a wrong way to go. What if he hits a girlfriend, or a teacher then he will go to jail and have no choice.

Not going to school is also a bad sign, if he can't focus, take him to a doctor for tests, something could be wrong. I have dealt with young people that can play games but still either out of boredom, or is ADD or ADHD, and still can't focus on their studies.

Sometimes we have to play tough love with our kids. I believe you might be best to take him to a counselor and see what they say, playing around with drugs, isn't his solution, and its going to probably get much worse.

It would be my suggestion to go down and file unruly charges on him. It is against the law for him not to go to school, and if they would decide you are responsible they could file against you.

You could also check into a drug facility that takes kids his age if you think the problem is really bad.

If he is this bad now, another year down the road is going to bring a lot more trouble and misery for you, unless you do something now, after he is 18 someone is going to pay for it.

danny541 and other Parenting Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
We have had the police come to the house before, and they have outlined for us that UNTIL he does something there is not much they can do; they even told us of a 14-year old who had pushed his mother down a flight of stairs. He was held in juvenile detention for 2 hours - not because anyone was pushing to pick him up, but because that's as long as they will hold him.
Trying to get him to go to a counselor is near impossible, we went to an idiot last year who has now soured him against any further assistance psychologically. I did bring him for an assessment to in-patient facility who determined that he did not meet the qualifications for admission. I have tried to convince my son that he needs bloodwork to try to establish if there is not a chemical imbalance, but flat out refusal... I have tried to explore out "therapy schools" but they are financially not feasible. Any other thoughts?

But he has done something ! If he hit you, then you can file assult charges, and if he has threatened you menacing also. I would suggest also calling Children's Services, they can assist you in getting help for him, and possibly other things too.

Unless he complies with what you tell him to do, let him know 18 is around the corner, and you no longer have to keep or support him.

I would also call the school and tell them to press truancy charges. You have to let him know you are serious. If he breaks things, then there's another charge. But you will have to do it, and not let him get away with it.

danny541 and other Parenting Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
The atmosphere is already negatively charged, it's hard to imagine inviting more. I think we have to muddle through, and I continue to pray for change - at some point, you do what you need to do to try to keep some peace.

Sometimes that can seem like the best course to go, but something was suggested to me that I hadn't thought about, this is a whole family problem. Could you tell me what state and city you are from ?

All of you need to consider going in for counseling. The entire family. This just started really getting out of control 2 years ago, you said. But he had always been demanding.

You have all been dealing with the problem, we don't know what caused it, if he was ADD or ADHD, my colleague reminded me that it would have showed up before now.

So I'm going to suggest that you check into family counseling, and the other expert may have some other things to add, after we know where you live. If thats okay with you.

Thanks Terri for the help.

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
We are in the state of California, Orange County to be more specific which is southern California. I do suspect that we are dealing with ADD/ADHD, in addition to depression. I am going to again try to seek a family counselor too. Thanks to all of you for your concern, advice, and support.

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