Help me with my teenage son
June 9, 2007 7:16 PM Subscribe
Help me help my troubled son.
posted by anonymous to human relations (46 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Here's the scenario. He's sixteen, and two weeks before the end of the school year, he dropped out of high school. This was his sophomore year, and through it and the preceding year he earned a total of 2.5 credits due to his failure to attend classes, turn in his work, or make any kind of effort. This is not an unintelligent boy - he frequently scores in the 99th percentile on intelligence tests and passed the state's high school exit exam on his first try during his freshman year.
Before he dropped out, and against my better judgment, my wife and I allowed him to get his drivers license, hoping that would be enough of an enticement that he would do better in school, the reward for which would be time behind the wheel. He did better for a few weeks, and then went right back to failing grades and skipping class, so I took his car privileges away. Less than a week later, we caught him sneaking back into the house after taking the car during the middle of the night. I was extremely angry and kicked him out of the house for what I saw as car theft, although my wife did not agree with me on this point. A few days later he came back, apologetic, and asked to stay. We agreed that he could, as long as he obeyed the rules of the house. That was about three weeks ago, and he was doing pretty well. His attitude had improved, and he was for the most part getting along with his siblings and us.
Then, this morning at 3:30, my wife discovered he was gone again, with the car, apparently using a spare key he had made in secret.
Needless to say, we are extremely disappointed and angry, and don't know what we can do with him. We can't trust him to obey the rules, and we can't allow him to be out at all hours doing whatever it is he's doing while we're supposed to be responsible for him.
He has expressed interest in the Job Corps program, but I am concerned that his lack of respect for authority and inability to follow rules will only get him into more trouble there, especially since the daily regimen is much more structured and restrictive than the rules we have in our household. On the other hand, if he successfully completes the program, I could see it as being a huge step towards being a responsible adult.
My questions are directed to those who either were like him, or had children like this, and have had experience with Job Corps or similar programs. Did you find that they were beneficial? Did you find later that there was something else you could have done that would have been more beneficial? Is there another course of action we should be considering?
If you wish, you can email me at DadNeedsHelp@gmail.com.