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I am a single mother trying to raise a 13-year-old boy. When I caught him stealing cigarettes and booze, I grounded him, told him I contacted to the sheriff, took the door off his room and explained to him that the decisions he is making now will affect the rest of his life. I have absolutely no idea if this is going to make a lasting impression. How can I know if what I am doing is making a difference?


Sondra Drahos Replied: Being a single parent is not easy. Being a parent of a teenager is even more challenging. I assume what your son is seeking (by acting out in this way) is attention and he definitely got yours. While spending time with his mom is probably not something he would admit to wanting to do, I would "punish" him instead by spending more quality time with him whenever possible. Ask him questions and be sure to know exactly who his friends are - and their parents. Take him to a movie (even if his friends join you) or throw a football around with him. He may act like this is the worst punishment ever, but it's much-needed time together that you two both need. If his behaviors continue or the things you've already implemented don't seem to be working, sit down and ask him what he thinks you should do. Kids are blown away when we as adults as them for our help and admitting that you don't quite know how to respond to his inappropriate behaviors will help him realize that while he may be going through some tough times right now, it's not easy on you as well.
Posted On 2010-10-05 17:02:12
Nadia Thonnard Replied: Being a single mom to a teen boy can certainly have it's challenges. Although I am not a great advocate of "punishment" it is important that your boundaries are clear. Some teenagers will push boundaries, but if they are not sure what they are, they will get confused and lost. It is important that you "welcome" the situations as learning experiences. Instead of punishing him, explore first what drove him to do so. Was it a dare from some peers or a way to get your attention? Then find out what he has learned from doing this? Does he understand that it is wrong. You want to establish a healthy communication channel with your teen and make him know that it is safe for him to discuss issues with you. In punishing him you risk breaking that bond and loosing him. Some children will be more prone to experience more things than others. These children need extra assistance in understanding that there are consequences to their behaviour. Let him know that you love him and that you are there for him and that together you will figure things out and treat him how you would like him to treat him and others.

Nadia | Parenting Coach
Posted On 2010-06-16 05:07:28
Rosalind Sedacca Replied: You should know fairly soon by your son's attitude, behavior and relationship with you. Was he contrite and sorry for his behavior -- or arrogant and flaunting it in front of you? Is he angry at you or more apologetic? This is the time to deepen your relationship with your son so that he feels your love and support. Catch him doing "good things" and acknowledge him whenever possible. Also trust your gut feelings. If you have a sense that things are not moving in the right direction, move ahead with therapy or other support. Most likely you're right!
Posted On 2010-06-15 11:44:08
Mike Mastracci Replied: Dear single mother raising a 13 year old boy: It certainly sounds like your actions would lead your son to realize the seriousness of his actions. Sometimes we can only do what we can do and hope that it makes a difference. The key is that he learns that your heart is in the right place when you try to teach him about the ways of the world and the stumbling blocks that come up from time to time. Does your son have some positive male role models that he respects? Some more time with those folks might be good too. 13 is a touch age. I would alert the school guidance counselor to your concerns and seek any resources that they may have.The fact that you are here on this sight asking for advice makes me think that you are indeed going to make a difference. Frankly, I think there are others on this site that might have more to offer. Don't be shy about asking. All the best. Mike
Posted On 2010-06-08 01:31:28
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