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15 year old tried cigarettes!

Discussion in 'Parents of Teens' started by mischloss, Jan 2, 2011.

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  1. Nancy in VA

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    Maria: Everything you are saying is so much like my other friend. Her son is a charmer too, has convinced other parents that his parents are gone for the weekend and he needs places to stay, etc. Unfortunately, I think you have a long road ahead of you.

    I know that you said that you worked, but is it possible for one of you to change your situation - even if only for a few months, so that one of you is home all the time he is out of school. You can drive him to school and pick him up at the door, you can even get the school involved to not dismiss him except to you (ie. don't let him walk out the door without you, etc) and try some tough love discipline for a few months. Seriously, physically keeping him in your house and away from the bad influences for a little while so that you can work on his soul (and honestly, his BG management too). I get the not taking away the phone, but maybe he needs to backtrack to one with only a few pre-programmed numbers that are yours and that restricts his texting with his friends, etc. Ultimately, you may or may not be able to get control of this situation, unfortunately.

    Knowing all of this, I would have a conversation about smoking but leave it at that - I think you have bigger fish to fry right now and hopefully he can learn that smoking is awful on his own - he might not right away but eventually he probably will.
     
  2. emm142

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    You can't physically restrain him, so I'd cut off all his income. Let him keep a phone, but is it possible to set it up so he can only call one or two numbers?

    My mom doesn't give my brother money anymore, but he gets to keep a phone with just a small amount of money on it. If he's given a phone on a contract he runs up huge (really, really huge) bills. Mom puts enough on that he could call in an emergency but frankly can't do much more.

    I don't think you should focus on the cigarette.
     
  3. mischloss

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    Nancy, a couple of things...my work right now is a far drive so i can't just drop by school...my husband works a lot closer and has actually done a lot of the after school shuttling as he can manage...for doc appts and some after school activities. We can't give up the income right now. I actually am the primary breadwinner in the family. I am trying to look for work closer to home but with the economy, things are very slow in moving in that direction. My boss I must say has been pretty nice about letting me take time for any emergencies that I need (read that as the latest drama and teachers calling me at work!). He knows my son is T1 and has ADD so he is as I said good about giving my the time I need. But still it is hard to balance both.

    Also, I tried to get the school to make him go on the bus to come straight home but they said that they don't manage 10th graders to be on the bus. They have no authority to make sure that he gets on the bus! So school is of no help.
     
  4. wilf

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    If it gives you any comfort, I was a "troubled teen" (considerably worse than him) and turned out just fine..

    You need to carefully pick your battles, so you're not in full-out confrontation mode 24/7.

    I would say one of the very least important issues right now is the smoking. Most teen boys will experiment and will do stupid things. You can't stop that from happening. It has happened, it is happening, and it will continue to happen.

    What you need to do is clearly communicate your beliefs (what is right and what is wrong, what is good for him and what is not) in a non-lecturing, non-nagging, non-yelling way. I know it's easier said than done, but he will tune out lecturing, nagging, and yelling. If he listens at all, it is most likely to happen in the course of a good open conversation.

    If he were my kid, these would be my concerns in something like this order of priority:

    - keeping him off of hard drugs

    - keeping him from getting into heavy or binge drinking

    - ensuring that he's managing his diabetes reasonably well (A1C under 8)

    - ensuring he keeps his marks up

    - aiming for minimal consumption of alcohol or soft drugs (ie. marijuana)

    - setting clear and reasonable times for him to be home week nights and weekends, and ensuring that he respects those times - and applying curfews if he doesn't

    - stressing the value you place on honesty;

    - worrying about the smoking..

    If he were my kid and smoked I'd let him know I thought it was a rotten idea, I'd tell him what it could do to his health (in terms of negative synergies with the D), I'd give him explicit reading materials, and then I'd drop it.

    Flying off the handle about trifling matters (like a cigarette) diminishes your credibility and authority, and makes him think it's not worth trying to stay on your good side since any excuse will do for another outburst of parental anger/admonition.

    If you're going to use the term "zero tolerance" then reserve it for the things that are critically important - like hard drugs and alcohol abuse. If it's overused it ceases to have any real meaning.

    I would be working on finding the positive achievements in his life, and giving him praise and encouragement for those. I would ensure that he is still getting the message that his family loves him.

    If at all possible, I would aim for a permanent truce around the D management - that really should be something that you try to work on as a team with the goal of keeping him healthy.

    Keep in mind all the way through that you only have control of him for a short time now - in a couple of years he can do what he wishes in any event.

    What he needs from you are firm and reasonable boundaries which are enforced, consequences when he oversteps those boundaries, and you communicating your love even when he is least loveable.

    One thing I'd be looking at is getting him away from his buddies for as long as possible as often as possible. Go somewhere as a family regularly on weekends, for spring break, for a long summer vacation. The more he's with you, the less time he's with them.

    I don't envy you. I also don't envy him. It is a tough situation for you all. Good luck. :cwds:
     
  5. chbarnes

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    He seems to have a lot of energy and needs constructive outlets to release it. Our High School has something going on from 6am to 8pm every day. Some kids are literally at school for 12 hours then come home and do homework. If he is 15, and not already involved, it may be hard to find an activity he will do. But do some investigation on your own. He may need a push to try something new.
    Martial arts can be great for kids with ADD. They usually have some behavioral expectations built into the program. Some programs are expensive, but some are not. I think most Masters really want to help kids.

    An opportunity to work with animals can be life-changing.
     
  6. OSUMom

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    I'm sorry your family is struggling with these issues. As you take into account a lot of these great ideas here and try to keep the lines of communication open, my advice is to make it clear to him that your interest in setting limits and rules for him is for his success and future. Sometimes I think kids think parents just are there to make their lives miserable. :p We've tried to convey to our boys that we really only set rules for their own benefit of success and happiness now and later on.

    With driving when it wasn't working with curfew arrival on time, we set up a reasonable contract where he knew what was expected, what the consequences were if the expectations were not met, and we all signed it. That worked out great - but everything needs to be clearly stated and understood. That could work with anything I think.

    For sure there is going to be experimenting imho. Keeping the lines of communicating open and not freaking out helps an ongoing conversation about these things really always ending with we love you and want the best for you. Adolescence and young adulthood is difficult. They need us to help navigate these waters and setting boundaries with respect and love. It's not easy at all. :(
     
  7. katie.c

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    For anyone who's at the point where their kids are testing the waters an honest talk about drugs could be good for them. If they really want to do it chances are they will but if they know specific things about specific drugs it could save them form getting into something worse than they realize. If you know your kid is trying marijuana or is going to, you could tell them all about what the effects SHOULD be like, what it should look/smell like and anything that might we warning signs of something questionable. I wouldn't go as far as telling them "This is going to get you so trippy you'll love it" but if you explain if in a factual, not so exciting way they'll know if something is wrong and maybe even realize it's not as cool as they think. There'sa big difference in excitement factor when you hear a friend tell you about "this trippy stuff" and your parents telling you about auditory hallucinations and paranoia. People these days will go as far as even lacing marijuana so it's that kind of stuff they need to be on the lookout for. Pills are getting more and more common too, and don't even get me started on those.
     
  8. mischloss

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    Thanks all for the wonderful responses. I see that this has certainly been a hot button topic for a lot of you and some great advice thrown in. As an update this is how it went down today:

    I called his pediatrician this morning to get some advice and also let him know what my son did...since D in involved. The doctor has known his since my son was 3 days old and my son really looks up to him and loves him. So they have a great bond and communicate well. He suggested counseling for later on but agreed with my actions...which were to implement a 30 day infraction. For 30 days he will not get to drive, and will not have a penny put onto this prepaid card. In addition he will be drug testing weekly for the next 30 days to make sure he is behaving. His weekend curfew is 10pm (we can really slide until 11pm but we started lower to be able to have wiggle room) and on weekdays he must be home before dark. If there is a 2nd infraction then the punishment goes for 60 days. Three strikes and he is out of a car or any driving for the remainder of the year. Something that for him would be worse then death!:D

    I also gave the phone over to my son for the doctor to speak to him one on one...kind of humiliating but what the heck.

    We both had the day off so for the remainder of the day, I did take him out for lunch, and spent the day with him...also allowed him to continue with his tennis lesson since for one thing, it does keep him engaged with good activities. In thinking things through, he definitely needs to be engaged more with school and athletic activities. I spoke with his tennis instructor and he is going to try to arrange more "play dates" for tennis for him. Also sign him up for T2 tennis which is a local group that does some games and tournaments around town.

    One post mentioned spending more family time together...we will try more for weekends but for vacation and spring break we do go away together as a family and will continue to do that when possible financially.

    Again, thanks for coming through with a lot of great advice and suggestions.
     
  9. Lee

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    I guess I just don't understand. I have a 15 yr old - and there is no way in hell she would be out on weekends if she was acting up; much less weeknights.

    When did you loose your parental authority? I know that sounds harsh, but you and your husband are the boss. This is the time to remind him and yourselves of that before it gets worse.

    You had to call the cops on him and he still has privileges, like going out?

    Take his door off the hinges, call all the parents in the group, pick him up and drop him off from school, everytime he leaves without your implicit permission, take away something else - he has to earn them back.

    I would be less concerned about counseling for him and see if you and hubby can find a parenting coach for difficult teens.

    Like others have said, I was a BAD BAD teenager...and I turned out ok. However, my sister was even worse and she is still a mess.

    I know that sounds harsh - but parenting classes helped me immensely and I only wish that my mother would have taken them when I started acting up...
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2011
  10. Flutterby

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    If you take everything away and he's got nothing to do and no where to go except school, he'll smarten up.. He will continue to do these things because he knows he gets away with it.. the longer it goes on the worse it'll get. You are the parent.. he is a minor.. there is nowhere that says he must have video games, cell phones a debitcard and 'funds' from his parents. Food, shelter, clothing and love is what you must provide, everything else is icing on the cake.
     
  11. Mody_Jess_Pony

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    As a teenager, taking 'Stuff' away never phased me, just saying, nor would taking the door off the hinge, I'm not physically autoregressive, but I know how to play hardball.
    And why are you consulting your doctor on your child's behavior? The only doctor I would be consulting would be a therapist, and I'd find a good one, because 1) if the kid doesn't click with the psych. then it's a waste of time 2) A good therapist should be able to help find ways of coping. 3) if one therapist doesn't work then move on, keep trying till you find a decent one (Decent therapists, psych, etc are hard to find but try and avoid
    My sister is like this, I sure was NEVER allowed to do half of what she does, yet she can just get her way because she's physically aggressive.

    As for the friend issue, well thats rocky water right there, chances are he already has fostered quite a bit of hate for you, I hate to say it. As bad as the friends are, I think a direct attack on that front is just going to peeve him off and make things ten times worse. and at 15 to BE honest they already know how bad drugs, cigarettes are etc. it's a fact scare factors DONT work on teens, they've been to conditioned (well, most have I'm still a softie).....

    You need a counselor, because right now you need a third party to determine how much of this is the A.D.D., how much of this is really affected by his peers, how much is it hate towards perhaps diabetes (just a possibility but maybe how protective you are BECAUSE he has D makes him feel the need to be aggressive about being out and being with his friends, maybe he's bottling it up) You can't figure that all out on your own without going crazy, but this behavior fits a lot of the ADD/ADHD boys I know....
    http://www.enotalone.com/article/4123.html

    this sites explains the reaction however it's aimed at younger children.....
    and perhaps a new ADD med is needed.
     
  12. Jacob'sDad

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    For what it's worth, I never drove until I was 18. Why? I didn't have a car. I didn't have a learners permit because it was pointless without a car. Using my parents car was never even remotely in the realm of possibility. Them buying me a car was never going to happen either. Even if I bought my own car, I would have had to have been able to pay for all the upkeep and insurance. My first car was a '73 Pinto that I paid $300 for.

    So that must have been inconvenient for my parents because they had to drive me everywhere, right? Nope. They hardly ever drove me anywhere. Why? Because they chose not to. No law says they had to drive me places. I had a bike. And legs. Eventually my friends did drive and I went with them, but if my parents didn't trust them, they wouldn't have allowed it.

    But if they have access to a car, it's a privilege you can take away, right? Gives you leverage, right? Sure it does. Right after they get pissed, grab the keys, charge out the door, jump in the car, tear off down the road and get in an accident. Oh, was that YOUR car? Now YOUR insurance rate will go through the roof. Hopefully no one got hurt.

    A disrespectful 16 yr old with a car. Is there actually a worse combination? Jeez I almost forgot to add type 1 diabetes to the mix.
     
  13. Lucky 868

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    You have my sympathy for what a difficult and painful situation you are in. One thing that concerned me most that has not been addressed in other replies is when you wrote that your son has no empathy. That is scary. Certainly makes your uphill battle harder. For that alone, I concur with the other posters who recommend you get him to a good counselor pronto.

    In another post, you were concerned that taking away all privileges and material non-necessities would give you no leverage for future misbehavior. I understand that you mean, but I'd suggest not worrying about future misbehavior. Take everything away now. If that doesn't get him in line, you may end up having to get the law involved. Certainly a last choice option since that also decreases your control over the situation, but it sounds like your son is on a dangerous path.

    You and your husband might also benefit from counseling. A different counselor than your son sees. One that can help encourage and support you in the tough love actions you need to do. It's one thing for all of us to give your advice, I'm sure it is much harder to come down so hard on the son you love so much. As another poster said, at age 15 time is running out for you to retake control.

    Is there a reason your son has to have his license at age 16? Kids are not automatically given their license on that magical 16th birthday - you parents have to sign for it. Since he has not shown appropriate responsibility in other areas of his life, don't allow him the added responsibility (and yourselves the liability) of him having a license. Take the permit away, don't let him get his license at 16.

    Good luck to all of you. How hard you're having it right now.

    Cyndy
    Mom to N, 17
     
  14. Pavlos

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    Back in 1976 when I was 13, my late dad took me on a ride to a very seedy neighborhood where I saw junkies in action. It was true shock therapy, to see human beings in such a pathetic state of degradation. He then gave me a long talk about the physiological and social effects of drug abuse, in a very factual, non-preachy and non-police-like manner.

    He then told me: If you ever get involved in drugs, come to me and let's talk, I will still be your dad and I will always love you.

    As I progressed into my teen and college years, every time I faced peer pressure and temptation to indulge in readily-available dope and coke, the memory of my dad's loving voice averted me. I will try the same approach with my own kids, hopefully it will work with them too.

    What I'm trying to say is that love can under certain circumstances be more effective than coercion...
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2011
  15. Gaia

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    Maria, I just want to say that I can understand. Im actually crying as I write this after reading your posts because I am going thru exactly the same thing with my 15 year old. Except add in verbal abuse to mine. He curses at me, curses constantly in his speech and texts to me, is always antagonizing his younger brother and sister and smacking them. I too am at my wits end so badly after 3-4 years of this that I am working w/ the court to transfer custody to my brother and sister in law in Colorado. As soon as things are done, he will be moving out there. My brother just retired from the AFC and can handle him much better than I can and will hopefully straighten his butt out. My SIL is also former military and in college for her teaching degree.

    I dont mean to hi-jack your thread in any way and if it seems that way I am very sorry. I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone. I am going thru it too. :(
     
  16. Bigbluefrog

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    definately, teens are tough to parent

    I understand your fears of lung cancer. I lost both parents from lung cancer.
    Unfortunately, we can only do so much...set boundaries,guidelines,encourage healthy choices....ultimately tough love.

    Not a friend but a parent....
     
  17. Butterfly Betty

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    I am not going to tell you anything that you haven't been told already but here goes. First, I am sorry that your son is giving you so much trouble. I can't imagine how difficult that has to be for you and your husband. That being said, you need to take control now. If it were my kid, I would strip his room of everything but his mattress. He would not have a door, a dresser, a TV, anything. Second, I would turn off his cell phone. A cell phone is a privalegde and not a right. There would be no car fund, or money card until I saw a huge improvement in his attitude and behavior. THere is no reason why he should even be out after school with the way he is acting. You are the parent.

    Also, I would advice that you get him into a therapist as soon as you can, someone he trust. Don't use Diabetes and ADD as an excuse for his behavior. I know the ADD effects it, but you can't let him use that as a crutch in life. Good luck, hon.
     
  18. JoseC

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    15 year old tried cigarettes

    I feel your frustration and helplessness. My two cents . . .

    In 1983 Dr. Dan Kiley wrote the book The Peter Pan Syndrome: Men Who Have Never Grown Up. I read the book and he talked about one of his cases. It was similar to what your son is going through. A teen age young man was sent to see Dr. Kiley about behavior problems he was having at school, with his parents, friends, and so on. The young man had seen many therapists. Dr. Kiley was next in line. On the first session he started giving Dr. Kiley the business (It is my parents fault, everyone is out to get me, my teachers do not like me, and so on.) Dr. Kiley cut him off saying, "Stop it. I see through your act and it will not work with me. Cut the Bs." Dr. Kiley asked, "What is really going on in your life?"

    From that start Dr. Kiley was able to help this this young man turn his life around. I feel your son needs to see a therapist like Dr. Kiley. Someone who is not going to put up with your sons "act." Good luck.
     
  19. momof3sons

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    Karla, Nancy, and Becky have some very good suggestions. Sorry for this very difficult situation.
     
  20. Trev

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    I think you sound very frustrated, and have run out of options. I remember being a self absorbed teen, punching things, and doing things, my parents provided structure, which it sounds like you are doing, and this did send a huge non-verbal message that they loved me.It still didn't change the outcome of my behavior. Not much you can do. The more you push the farther the distance he will create. I hope you make out okay.
     
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