16 Yr Old Skipping School, Drug Use - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 11-19-2009, 03:18 PM - Thread Starter
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What a terrible couple of weeks it's been. As you can tell from the heading my son has been skipping school, and I found some pot in his room which I promptly threw out. Talking to him just doesn't do anything. Other then grounding him, I just have no idea what to do. Anybody out there with experience with this have some advice to share?
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#2 of 6 Old 11-20-2009, 07:53 PM
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I just saw that you still had no replies and I wanted to offer a hug. Is there something he cares about? What does his day look like?

You are definitely not alone. We might have different problems, but we have some rough times with DSD. Her dad keeps reminding me that if we stay consistent in the example we set, and the love we share - it will all work out in the end. I have to believe him not to go insane on days like we've had today.

New endeavor coming soon...
Raising Alice in Wonderland (DSD, 17), and in love with a Superman
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#3 of 6 Old 11-21-2009, 01:40 PM - Thread Starter
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#4 of 6 Old 11-21-2009, 07:10 PM
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When we ran out of ideas with our 15 year old, we sat him down and asked him what he thought we should do. We set aside the idea of consequences and just listened. We also found a therapist who deals with teens for him to have someone to speak to privately.

It took awhile to sort out, but fairly quickly we felt like we had stopped moving in the wrong direction and were back on a good path.

There have been bumps since then, but we've been able to process and move on more quickly. The teen years can be so fraught and the stakes are so high, so big hugs to you and your kiddo.
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#5 of 6 Old 11-21-2009, 07:27 PM
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Hi- I'm sorry things are rough for you right now.z

My oldest is only 11, so I can't offer first-hand experience as a parent.

However, I myself was the teenager skipping school and doing drugs so maybe I can help in some way.

I was a very bright kid, and I often got bored in school. I knew I could make up the work if I had to and I usually did well in my classes when I wanted to, despite the skipping and drugs and drinking.

I think in my particular case I had a lot of self-esteem and anger and resentment issues stemming from my mom leaving (when I was 7), my father's remarriage, moving around quite a bit, having an older sister with a very strong personality who was very popular in school and who I thought was my mother's favorite child, and the abysmal way my parents handled things - basically not talking about it.

My parents also put a lot of pressure on me to excel in school. It was expected that I would go to university, even if I didn't want to. I ended up failing several of my high school classes on purpose so that I would not get accepted to any uni. (I did end up going later and even went on to get a Master's degree)

I think I often wanted to get caught, wanted to provoke my parents and get a reaction such as yelling or a grounding (which would then justify me being angry and resentful in my eyes, and the cycle would continue).

Then again - sometimes I just wanted to have fun!

So... is there anything going on your son's life that you know about? Does he seem depressed? Is he under stress or is he bored with school? Is he worried about his future? Does he feel pressured to do well in school and get accepted to university when he graduates? Any issues going on in the family or with friends?

For me, I would have appreciated some frank talk about things. Some honest talk about consequences -not just "you will not do X, Y or Z -and the fact that ultimately I was responsible for my actions and any consequences thereof. I didn't want to hear that they were disappointed in me. It would have helped if they treated me more as an equal, discussed their feelings and concerns with me as they would with an adult, and not spoken down to me as if I were stupid.

I did want to hear that they loved me and accepted me for who I was.
I would have liked to be able to explore alternatives to school. (In fact, I did tell my mom at one point that I wanted to go to an alternative school. She let me apply to one, but once I was acepted I decided I didn't really want to go there.)

I also wanted to feel trusted and respected as a person. A few times my parents searched my room and read my private diary and letters to/from friends (and then sent me to a therapist) and I was enraged. I felt that it was a HUGE violation of my privacy, my person, and that they should have handled things differently (how? I dunno!)
And yes, it is a conundrum. I was engaging in dangerous and sometimes illegal behavior, and they were scared and worried, but I felt they handled things in the wrong way.

Anyway, I'm sure it is hard if he won't talk. But you keep talking to him, and let him know that you are there for him, and will listen without judging and that you love him, no matter what. Explain real-life consequences of drug - use or skipping school, but don't resort to scare-mongering. Write him letters if you have to, that he can read in his own time. Focus on the good things he does and let him know that you recognize and appreciate these good things.

And when he does decide to talk - just listen at first. There will be time for discussion later.

Trust that all will work out for the best. That you are doing the best you can but that we all make mistakes.

And know that you will find support (and I hope something that will help) here on MDC.

p.s. - sorry for the novel
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#6 of 6 Old 11-29-2009, 04:30 PM
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My experience is much like pp, I'm not quite to teens, but I was a very very drug/danger seeking/depressed teen.

I was very very lonely, and my parents treated me like I was a hassle, from my perspective. They never seemed happy to see me, and I felt I couldn't do anything right.

I think having more attention in just listening and less judgment in tone from them would have helped. My SD did not trust me to make any decisions or anything really, so I was controlled to a point of excess, and it was a viscious sp? downward spiral.

I think you are far more engaged and caring than my parents were, but teens seem to feel things intensely so he may still feel similarly.

Things I loved when I got it:
My mom would randomly stroke my hair or hold my hand.
my mom would listen to me in the car.
my uncle let me come over after I got in really big trouble and fractured my eyebrow when I was drinking, he held me and didn't scold me or try to give me any advice, he just gave me love and listened.
Sd asked if I wanted to get a CD and sat and listened to the *entire* Slayer Reign in Blood CD even though it was probably torture to his ears, and he didn't give me an opinion.
I liked it when they let me in on secrets like what gift they bought for someone and asked if I liked it or thought it would be a good gift.
I liked being asked along to go grocery shopping - probably because they worked so many hours, but I liked being included.

Eventually for me stuff got bad enough I moved to my Grandma's which was the perfect cure for me, because she was home all the time and gave me a clean slate. She treated me like I was trustworthy and so I was. She just wanted the who what when where and for how long. My SD was mentally/emotionally abusive so I imagine that drastic step wouldn't be necessary for you, but some of Grandma's tactics might work too.

I hope some of that helps!

Heather, mama to Harriet, Crispin, in with Tom and 2
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