Question: I am in my second marriage. I am having problems with my son, 14. He has been getting into trouble, is unappreciative and has an “I don’t care” attitude when he gets in trouble for doing things that we have told him time and again not to do.
He doesn’t seem to have any remorse. He continues to lie about things. If we catch him doing something he should not do, he will deny doing it. He lies about schoolwork among other things. He makes good grades without studying at all. He will get a bad grade just for not turning in assignments.
We can’t trust him. He has gone through our bedroom, he continually tries to get on the Internet when he has been banished from it. He was banished from it because he used my credit card to charge up $400 worth of porno registrations and Internet services. I am afraid he is going to turn into his father.
He who never can hold a job down and his hole family can’t stand to be around because he has no respect for anyone but himself. My son also has a tendency to cut things. I found a knife in his room and his sheets have cuts all over it. He is taking Adderall when he takes it. I just don’t know what else to do.
My marriage is on the brink of a divorce because of this. My husband believes that my “bad parenting” when I was single is the cause of all of this. I just need to find out how to fix it.
Answer: Dear Melanie:
I am concerned from you question you son may have developed a sexual addiction. You really need to get into a qualified therapist and have him evaluated. The lying and the other negative acting out behaviors are all symptomatic of addictions.
THIS IS NOT ABOUT BAD PARENTING. No parent causes an addiction. I suggest before you and your husband consider divorce trying alanon which is for families who has a family member struggling with addiction.
Stop blaming each other, stop being embarrassed by his behavior and start supporting each other. No one is prepared as a parent to deal with behaviors outside the norm in their children and this is outside the norm.
Be kinder to each other and to yourself. In the meantime try and catch your son doing things right and make a big deal over these things. Reacting to his bad behavior will get you more of the bad behavior. We often reinforce what we do not want from our children without realizing it.
Trust me when I say he is not doing this to you and is probably terrified inside even though he will not tell you so. Develop the ability to listen more than you talk as he needs you more than he ever will in his life right now. He needs help and he does not know how to help himself. We expect so much out of teens because they are almost adults and we tend to forget they are still children inside those almost grownup bodies.
Please do seek professional in person assistance for your family. You can get through this and have a wonderful life!
M Kay Keller