Help! My 18 yo son is out of control - FamilyEducation
Help! My 18 yo son is out of control
01/03/2009 at 19:04 PM

Hi.  My husband and I recently found out that our 18 yo son has been smoking marijuana, smoking cigarettes.  He started college this past september and didn't do very well.  He self sabatoges himself everytime he gets a job and is now currently unemployed.  We have spoken to him and want him to go for counseling.  He says he doesn't need counseling and refuses to go.  He has promised us that he knows what he has to do and will start off his second semester on the right foot.  I don't believe him because he has made all these promises before and has never followed through.  We can't even through him out of the house because he has no job and he will probably end up in worse shape than he is now.  We truly don't know what to do.  I am so afraid that he will never change. 

1. Do not feel guilty for your kids behavior. 2. Unemployed and can afford cigarettes ? Lock up your valuables! 3. Ultimatum time maybe. Passing grades in school and rent on the room you provide for him, or he gets out. In his free time, he can get up before noon, get his S*#+ out the door and if not going to work, then volunteering somewhere. I had to get my son motivated in the same way. I provided him with the local want ads and a list of area places that were looking for volunteers. I made food available for a packed lunch , but it was up to him to make it. My wallet was NOT an ATM. Most important you and your spouse stay on the same page as far as rules and the consequences.

Are your other boys older or younger? If they are younger, then you have a responsibility to provide them with a drug-free environment--so the druggie brother is showing he's clean with random urine tests or he's not living in your house. No paraphernalia--search his possessions, no marijuana. It is really hard.

My other 2 boys are younger and we absolutely agree that we have a responsibility to them. My husband and I decided that we are going to give him until May after his second semester is over. We hope that he can change his ways or else he will have to make other living arrangements. This is a really hard one. I never could have imagined that this could happen to our family. We have always been there for our kids, joined the PTA, spoke to them about drugs, smoking, etc. We tried to make a solid foundation for them. This wasn't supposed to happen! Thank you all for your wise words. It is greatly appreciated.

Stop paying for your son's tuition, if you are. Stop giving him $ of any kind. Force him to get a job, anything so he can help contribute to the household. Give him responsibilities around the house to do. Make him pay rent w/in his means (love that idea). Explain to your son that if he doesn't shape up, he has to leave the house. As long as he's under your roof, he needs to follow the rules. Also explain that when he starts to show responsibility and respect, you will then be able to better trust him. When that happens, he can earn his priviledges back. Take car keys away. Do whatever you have to do to get through to your son. Just don't feel sorry for him or baby him. He's doing this to himself, and he needs to learn that it's not ok. I know most children go through a rebellious stage, but it's your job as his parent to educate him. This may just be one of those things that your son will have to experience the hard way. Sooner or later he'll wake up, and hopefully then he will have learned his lesson.

If you're son is 18, you ought to treat him like an adult. This happened with my little brother and I think my folks handled it well. My brother was experimenting with drugs, being lazy, not doing well in school (community college), and using the house like a hotel. Here's what my folks did: They sat him down and told him that he was an adult and ultimately responsible for his own actions. They told him that they loved him, and were going to respect his decisions. They told him that although he loved him, they were not going to support behavior not in line with their values. They kicked him out, and he was forced to fend for himself. He grew up quickly. After working crappy jobs for a couple of years he went back to school, financing it himself with student loans (which he was forced to navigate himself). He's now 28, with a degree in communications and working in advertising, his own apartment, and is doing well. Treat him like a kid and he'll act like a kid. Like an adult and he'll act like an adult.

I heart goes out to you...I sincerely know what you are going through. I too have an 18 year old. I'm a single parent and it's a financial struggle to put food on the table. Will not give me an allowance. He does nothing to earn it. He doesn't work; clean his room; wash his clothes; or pick up after himself. Dresses like he comes from the HOOD (very embarassing). Everything is a STRUGLE from getting out of bed and ready for school, is late often, gets detention often for not wearing school ID. He feels it a waste of time to wear his badge. At times I want to SCREAM ON THE TOP OF MY LUNGS and then RUN AWAY. I feel he is very needy. He needs to stand on his own two feet. School is a strugle, he's in inclusion classes. This year he made the honor roll (don't know how with all the absences & detentions) but he did. I can't get myself to PRAISE him. I think these grades were handed to him. Don't believe he worked hard for them. Not proud of myself for thinking this way, but hey, it is what it is. Not fond of his friend who is an unmarried father at 21. The friends been arrested for smoking and selling pot. The other day was the most recent arrest. Don't want the guy in my house. I don't need the police to monitor my home. My son becomes defensive, and rude...that's when my temper flares up and we fight. My son gravitates towards this fella Mike. I fear my son will follow in Mike's foot steps. I don't sleep at night worring about my son's future. He has no desire to go to college. He wants to go to a Vocational School but doesn't know the area he wants get involved in. How can I put myself out there financially if he has no clue what he want to do with his life. He has promised that he will do better, but I've heard all this before. I fear for his future.

Glad to hear your brother has turned his life around. He must be a motivated person. Nice to read something happy. CONGRATULATIONS!

Hi, I need all kind of advise regarding my 18 yr old son. He was a wonderful kid until he turned 16..I had the best relationship with him until then..He was in trouble(legal) by the age of 16,I helped him through all that, hoping that he would change after all that, to my surprise he turned out worst.Smoking pot,his attitude and disrespect,etc. I had warned him that by 18 he needed to move in with his dad,which he didnt. I've been struggling with him, worry about him 24hrs.,doesnt work or go to school, has all the time in the world with his friends.I'm a single parent,at this moment,I am out of a job and loosing my house, I see no compassion from his part nor any help at least.I feel very guilty that I have to make a determination and let him go,with the fear that he might end up in jail.. what do i do, how should I feel.. help!!! mother in coral springs,florida

One of the hard parts of being a parent is giving up the fantasy that you are in any way in control of your child's decisions. It seems that the more you try to protect them the more problems they have.

I don't mean to sound harsh but you are under no obligation to continue housing or feeding him. In other words, you MUST throw him out or he will never learn to do it on his own. Letting him stay with you is the worse thing you can do. You've done your's hit turn now.

Talking to your kid is the first step... ALWAYS! Don't go behind their back to try and solve the problem for them. Most kids know they have a problem before you do and don't need you to tell them. Have a non-accusitory conversation with them about the dangers of drugs and then ask them if they have any questions or comments. Don't be mad if they don't admit to anything at first... They know they need help they just may not have known they could get it from you... Remember to always be supportive of them never tell them they are disappointed because you will lose their faith in you and then you'll both be disappointed. programs for troubled teens

He made the honor roll and you think he didn't deserve it. You sound like a bitch, why don't you just give him up for adoption.