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my son has become defiant, sarcastic, disrespectful, beligerant, withdrawn, combative and even close to striking me .... confides in school friends with personal family matters rather than talk to me about it, trusts friends and teachers advice over mine, even though I have been there every hour of every day for him for school or any activity since his mother died last October he thinks I have never been there for him, chooses to deviate from school plan to follow what his friends think is a good curriculum when he has neither the interest nor the talent necessary for it, bated me into an argument with his friends prearranged and waiting outside telling them I am abusive and physically hurting him and he is scared of me ( there have been only 2 heated arguments including this one since last October ) to justify it then runs out the door with his bags to an awaiting car of one of his friends parents .... now he is staying at his friends house and will not come home .... he just turned 17 ! ..... I don't know what to do ..... i feel like I have been set up and the parents that help him leave have not called me ! Is this legal ? Apparently I have no say and if I try to curtail his involvement with these people ( my wife always thought they were a bad influence but I let him see them anyway .... big mistake ) my son leaves to go to them !


Beverly Willett Replied: I'm not a therapist and certainly cannot give you legal advice, but from what you have said it appears that much if not all of this may be related to the passing of your wife. (I don't know the circumstances surrounding your wife's death or many other facts, so I'm going only by what you have posted.) That is an extremely traumatic event in the life of any child, let alone a developing teen. The situation could be potentially volatile based on what you've said; you don't want it to escalate. I suggest that you consult with the following people as soon as possible to obtain further information and seek their advice: your son's teachers at school, a therapist and an attorney. In the meantime, try and be as calm as you can. You can only deal with the situation, help your son and think straight yourself if you can maintain as peaceful a mind as you can. Believe me I know that is hard in the midst of what you are going through, so I do not say that lightly. If you believe in prayer -- I do -- then I would recommend that as well, especially for easing your own mind. And when you feel yourself getting angry, remember how very much you love your son. All the best.
Posted On 2011-06-14 16:00:05
Amy Sherman Replied: This is definitely very complicated. Apparently, you have lost your son's trust and that is difficult to get back without sincere dialogue and some contact with him. And of course, you don't trust him either. There are a few things you can do, however. 1. If you give it some time, things may cool down, and he may contact you. At that point, you want to convey that you love him and that you may have not handled things as well as you could have, but you now know better and want to work things out. 2. Solicit the help of his grandparents, if he has a good relationship with them. Even if they don't live close by, just having the support from a family member may help him open the door to you. 3. Seek out counseling from a professional who deals with belligerent teens to gain insights as to what you can say and how you can say it. 4. Understand that your son is mourning the loss of his mom and that this is the only way he is able to express his anger and resentment for her leaving him. Kids don't always know how to handle their strong emotions appropriately. The important thing is to not give up on him!
Posted On 2011-06-14 12:45:18
Dr. Vicki Panaccione Replied: My guess is that your son is still grieving the loss of his mother, and for whatever reason is casting a lot of his anger and grief toward you. Without knowing the background of your family, it is difficult to know what the dynamics were before her death, as well as how dramatically things have changed since her death. You mention being there for him for every activity since his mom died. Does that mean you weren't there as much before? Does he resent the fact that she had to die to get you to focus your attention on him? Or is he angry about the kind of relationship you had with his mom, or how you treated her? Whatever the history between the two of you, it certainly sounds that it will be important to call some kind of truce in order to regain any relationship with him at all. Perhaps you might invite him to meet you for dinner in a public place, or join you at a counselor's office to work out some of the issues. If you haven't had a real conversation about his mother's death, now might be the time to let him know you understand it's been hard for him and allow him to vent. Just understand…if you open up the topic for conversation, then you need to be willing to really listen to what he has to say, regardless of how much it may hurt or you may disagree. It is a shame that the parents of these teens are not working with you to work out a solution. I am not an attorney to address the legalities. I will tell you that until he is of age, you are responsible for him. Bit, once he's 18, he is considered to be a legal adult. You could get the authorities involved but that might create even more animosity than there already is. If he has a place to stay, is safe and is attending school and staying out of trouble, perhaps a break is best, while you try to rebuild the relationship in neutral territory and/or in loving, understanding ways. Understand that underneath all that anger, I suspect, is a hurting, grieving little boy.
Posted On 2011-06-03 16:33:03
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