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punkrockworld's avatar

What to do about a stubborn teenage boy?

Asked by punkrockworld (944 points ) April 14th, 2012

I have a friend who’s going through a difficult time with her 13 year old brother.Her mother is out of town and her father has not been around since he left the family when they were very young. The mother has medical conditions that she is dealing with and can’t be burdened with anything because it could have severe consequences for her health. In the meantime, the brother is getting expelled from school, getting into smoking marijuana and hanging around bad people. He has ADD and ADHD and emotional problems and my friend has no one to talk to but me and I honestly don’t know what to tell her since I have never been in her position. The school does not understand that sending him home and suspending him for a couple days is just an award for his bad behavior? My friend does not know what to do about him and is juggling work, school and now these problems. I can see that she’s at the end of her patience and is getting extremely stressed about this situation as anyone would be if they were in her shoes. I guess my question to you is how do we make him stop getting into trouble? He’s currently enrolled in a special program at his school but things are getting worse every day. Today, he got suspended for being in possession of marijuana when he for sure got it at school, since that is the only place we let him go unsupervised. He also now has a court date and it is getting ridiculous, especially for his age. When he got caught, he showed no sign of remorse and does not feel sorry whatsoever. Didn’t shed a tear or said anthything remotely close to “sorry”. Any type of advice is helpful…

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16 Answers

partyrock's avatar

How about therapy or counseling? Sending him to boarding school for rowdy boys? Sorry if my answer isn’t help, I’m only 22 and was a young once wild child myself…. Not really wild, but rebellious for the sake of being a teenager… So the thing that comes to mind is to send him to a boys school for problematic teenage boys, that would be the last option I guess. There must be a lot of things going on with this young boy so I don’t want to judge him. Some people need to learn from their mistakes but obviously since people care about him they don’t want him to go down a path of deep destruction.

If I was his mom and he showed no signs or behaving properly after repeated attempts to try and help him my last option would be to send him away. That would probably hurt me a lot more than it hurts him but I don’t want to take any chances. So this is my advice.. Hope it helped, even just a little.

punkrockworld's avatar

Boarding school would be too costly since it is only my friend providing for him, but counseling might help.

partyrock's avatar

@punkrockworld – Sorry I didn’t know that. I’m sure there are a wide variety of programs, if need be to that point, maybe she could research. Again I don’t know. There’s a lot going on with that young boy, probably the mother doesn’t even realize. And he’s showing it through rage or getting into trouble. Yeah counseling would be the way to go :)

partyrock's avatar

Knowing how wild teenagers are, he might not even want to go and push therapy and counseling away, but that’s definitely a good step. His father not being there was a big blow. Has the mom tried getting him into other activities like sports to take out his frustrations? Again I’m only 22 with no kids so I have no idea. I wish your friend the best of luck and only positivity.

cookieman's avatar

Are there any adult, male relatives or friends available? A cousin, uncle perhaps?

He could benefit from a mentor of sorts to talk to and spend time with. He’s likely acting out in response to his parent’s situation (which is understandable), but he also needs to understand that his mother needs him and this sort of behavior is unacceptable.

I think a combination of counseling and an adult male role-model will help.

punkrockworld's avatar

Yes, I agree, if she ends up going for a counselor/psychologist I want it to be a man, that way he can have a guy to talk to. There really isn’t any relatives around either.

Aethelflaed's avatar

Get him to a therapist. But, often when kids act out this way, the kid isn’t the only one who needs to change their behavior. Therapy has a much better chance of being successful if the parent (or if I’m understanding correctly, parent-figure?) is also open to critical feedback and to changing themselves.

@partyrock The Troubled Teen industry does some really phenomenally screwed-up, unethical stuff, and they have a horrible reputation in psychology.

cheebdragon's avatar

There isn’t much you can do about a teen, this is a problem that should have been corrected while he was still a child. I was terrified of my mom when I was a teen and to be honest, she still scares me a little, lol. I only remember 2–3 times when i was a kid, where she had to spank me, but there was never any confusion over who was in charge after that.

creative1's avatar

Who else is watching them?? Someone needs to bring him into the school and have a talk with the guidence counsilor at school about maybe using inhouse suspension where he would sit in a classroom away from the other kids. Also someone needs to be able to punish him for not following the rules, such as grounding or taking away privilages. There needs to be some sort of parental figure there if there isn’t then someone needs to contact social services to get him the help he needs rather than let him run wild and do something he may regret in the future.

jca's avatar

The problem with boarding schools is that when the bad kids are all together, they learn from each other how to really be bad, plus there is the potential for the kids to be mistreated by workers. That said, if that was the way your friend chose to go, it might be paid for by the court system or by the local Social Services department. They also need to impress upon the kid that this is definitely becoming a consideration, so unless he wants that, he needs to put some effort into acting right and behaving.

I’m also thinking a psychiatrist might be in order. If he has ADHD, he may need some meds. He may become a med abuser, though, or not want to take them as they may slow him down and that won’t be a familiar feeling to him. Often people with ADHD like the hyper feeling, as it’s familiar to them, it feels like “them.”

I am thinking in-school suspension would be the way to go. Your friend should ask if the school has that, as waking up when he wants and staying home all day playing video games is definitely not punishment.

I am also thinking therapy, but many times, for teens, they are resistant, they don’t want to go, they find excuses not to go, or they do go and they don’t participate willingly, which becomes a big waste of time for all involved.

Judi's avatar

I don’t have a real good answer for you except to say that I would be really pissed off and probably act out in his shoes as well. It sounds like his dad abandoned him and his mother, although not intentionally has abandoned him as well. It may be to late, but this poor kid needs therapy. He is self medicating to cover his pain and putting on a hard shell to protect his heart.

wilma's avatar

I agree with @cprevite . A male teacher neighbor, friend, counselor, coach. Someone with a firm but understanding way about them.
This kid needs help and he needs it fast. The court might set something up for him, but that isn’t always the best answer when it is forced that way.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Father is gone, mother is out of town. And when she IS home she can’t be burdened with any troubles? So, basically there is no one to watch the kids? Honestly…I hate to say it…it’s time to involve CPS.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@punkrockworld I think your friend needs the counseling. It would be good if the brother would go, but I’m guessing it isn’t going to work with him right now. Your friend might benefit for some though, as to how this handle this situation. It’s pretty bad all around.

YARNLADY's avatar

Is there anything like Big Brothers around? My teen was helped by a police cadet program for teens

Your friend needs you to listen to her. You are not qualified to solve her problems, but you certainly can be sympathetic and a good listener.

geeky_mama's avatar

@punkrockworld – Has the sister gone to the school and discussed the brother with the administration? Is it possible that the High School doesn’t realize the mother is not really able to parent him at this time?

I realize schools vary greatly – but our middle and high school both have counselors, psychologists and Student Life Advocates and several other professionals who not only could intervene if they saw a kid on the wrong path, but would know which social services to bring in to assist the sister. (And as long as she’s over 18 and the mother is willing to sign some papers giving her legal guardianship—she need not worry about him being moved into Foster Care or any other situation. Don’t let fear of his being removed from the home keep her from reaching out for help. There is help out there..and it’s free/easy to get the legal guardianship paperwork in place. Have her Google a sample document, print it out, and she and the mom can walk into any Bank. Banks have notarys and the Notary can observe them signing the paper – voila, she has legal rights to help this boy.)

In our area we have several programs similar to this Boys Ranch for intervention for troubled teens. It’s possible the judge (when he goes to court for marijuana possession) will actually refer him to a program like this—but if I were in the sister’s shoes I’d start researching programs, contact his court appointed attorney and REQUEST that he be referred to a program as an alternative to juvenile detention.
I know she may be at her wit’s end—but she needs to take the reins and notify his school (if he’ll be returning there) and his case worker for his court case what’s going on with this boy. If she doesn’t speak up for him who will?

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