Yes, my husband and I have over-indulged him; which after reading your on-line book is the root of his destructive behavior.
This past spring he became involved with a girl. The relationship went from “date” to talk of marriage within 3 months. We became aware of their sexual activity in May and I notified the girl’s mother. Her mother and I decided that their relationship should not continue. Three days after prohibiting them from seeing each other, they conspired to meet at her house while her parents were away and on his way to her house, he totaled his car. He was immediately grounded and for a month after the accident, lied about seeing her, denied responsibility for the car accident, refused to go to work, snuck out at night, locked himself in his room, carved her initials in his arm and refused to speak to us. We grew very worried that he was going to harm himself with these behaviors. His behavior was so mean, nasty and erratic, I didn’t even like to leave him at home with our dogs.
After much desperation, I contacted a military school to see about sending him away for his senior year. They recommended I speak with an academic consultant. The academic consultant recommended a wilderness camp. We approached him with the idea of the wilderness camp and my husband was going to fly him out; but he adamantly refused. We ended up having an adolescent transport service take him. During his time at the camp, he communicated well (written only) with us and complied with the camp 100%.
Upon his return, we told him that we did not want him to continue the relationship with his girlfriend and that we wanted to start clean with our relationship. But since we did not trust him, he would have to earn back trust and privileges. We felt strongly that a good portion of his defiant behavior was associated with the girlfriend and we still prohibited him dating her. This position seems to have been a mistake as we feel we have created a Romeo & Juliet situation. Recently, we know that their relationship has problems (constant fighting etc.) he continues the relationship; but he makes every attempt to hide it from us. He denies that he is seeing her. I have information to the contrary.
We have implemented many of your strategies and work everyday to be consistent. Although after reading your online book, I realize we have a few things to work on. Our son works 2 jobs this year and is taking a college level course along with the required 12th grade English course he needs to graduate. We allow him to go out with friends and have friends over and he is good about keeping curfew. He no longer sneaks out. I see glimpses of him taking on responsibility, but he still has a long way to go.
My current dilemma is that he turns 18 on March 26, 2007. Although he is beginning to understand a little about responsibility, he has no idea what it will be like for him to live on his own. He has recently been “threatening” to move out upon his 18th birthday. My husband and I have taken the position of not arguing with him but simply asking him questions about how he plans to support himself, get to work & school, and where he believes he will live. He gets ticked-off and frustrated when he realizes that he doesn’t have the means to support himself. My husband and I have tried very hard not to buy into his arguments; it is difficult, but does seem to be successful.
My husband and I have already concluded that when he is 18 & graduated from high school, if he doesn’t wish to comply with household rules, we will ask him to leave. My question is, since he will turn 18 prior to high school graduation, what tips do you have for our handling his defiant behavior for those months between April and graduation? I’m not sure what to do about college either. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
I don’t have a whole lot to add. It sounds like you and your husband are greatly on track. Just continue to digest the material in the ebook (listen to all audio too).
Become an expert in the following strategies (online version of the ebook):
- The “Art of Saying Yes”
- The “Art of Saying No”
- “When You Want Something From Your Kid” (Anger Management chapter)
Re: college – Your son is an adult now. Let him decide what he wants to do, then provide encouragement in that area. If you try to push or pull him in one direction or the other, he will likely take an opposite path.
Here's to a better home environment,