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What direction do I go in?

Hi Mark

We went for counselling tonight and it was a mess.

The counsellor asked how we were doing and C___ said he was fine. Then he asked me why I was so quiet. I said that C___ doesn't really want me to really talk. The counsellor said that there was a wall up between us. I said that I was upset that he stole the car and that there was a trust issue. That was what set off C___. He said that I brought up to him on the phone the other night when I asked him how he was doing with his issue with drugs and was what the counsellor was helping with working for him. He said that it was very hard and I said maybe he should be around the kids that do not use and that would make it easier and he got mad. Tonight he told the counsellor that that made him upset, that I make him upset and the counsellor told him that nobody can make you upset if you don't let them that is your feelings. He used the example of the alcoholic that drinks and says to his wife I drink because you bug me about drinking. Then he got mad at the counsellor and said he didn't want to be here. (He had been calling for a week asking when that appointment was.) C___ asked my husband a question about why he had to leave our house and my husband was trying to explain and C___ cut him off. The counsellor said to C___ you asked your Dad a question but you don't want to hear the answer you cut him off. C___ said that is the way I talks that he asks a question that is how he is. I explained or tried to explain that every action has a reaction and that his behaviour is something I could not tolerate in our home. He told the counsellor that when I see him that he is myr son and she doesn't even give him a hug. C___ started to cry and asked my husband to drive him home. All the way home C___ cried. He told my husband that I keep bringing up all the stuff that went on in the last few months. He said that he didn't want to talk to us and not to call or anything. He said that when he was living here that I was always on his case, I was getting calls from the school that he wasn't showing up for class, he was hanging out at a friends place all day, he wouldn't go to tutoring and I would have to pay for the missed session. I basically was to keep my mouth shut and let him do what he wanted to do that he was running the show. He wasn't going to his co-op job placement for school, no homework was being done, he was lipping off to me. He also brought up that I went and talked to his friends parents about what was going on, ie. that their kids were in my house when I was on vacation, that is break and enter, and that they were in the car and if the police had to do a check on the vehicle and find it, those kids would have been charged and had a criminal record, but the police would not lay charges because the car came right back.

I stayed for the rest of the counselling session the counsellor said that I am looking at C___ and seeing the same things I saw in my dad. My dad was a violent alcoholic and I have to get past this and see C___ as C___.

When I left the session, I went over to C___'s and he was still crying. He told me that he was upset that I didn't come over to the house that he was staying at and ask him to come home. He doesn't like living in the townhouse with these other kids. He didn't like living at his friend's home with the mother that got him out of detox and the same mother that signed the lease for the townhouse. Now he says that he is stuck there for a year until the lease is up. I was suppose to coming running after him and after he did all these bad things to us and ask him to come home. He also said he was upset that I had taken all of his things away, cell phone, computer etc. just before he left, hey I was following the program. It seems that every time a counsellor disagrees with him and points something out he get mad and quits. The counsellor said that he wants my love not my criticism. I think C___ has a problem with authority.

One day last month I went to the coffee shop and came out and my car had a big scratch on it. That night C___ came over to the house to say hi and then out of the blue said, you have to admit Mom that when ever I used your car I always took good care of it, did I, did I. Wow, I wondered if he know or if he scratched the car. Later that week, I came home and there was this tshirt with a big knot in the middle of it I thought this is weird, I opened the tshirt up and there was pieces of glass tied up in this tshirt. My neighbour said that she just saw a car with teenagers back out of my drive way but didn't see who was in it. This all happened before C___ went on a bender and showed up at our door in the middle of the night crying to get him help.

Since I emailed you, I have been using the 30 second rule saying hi, love you etc. and quickly leaving. I dropped a few things off apples, melon, carrots and he said to me on Saturday, thank you so much, I appreciate it and it was nice seeing you, what time is counselling.

Now today after the session what direction do I go in?

Any insight in to this kid from what you have seen?


A.

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A.,

"Counseling" is just another traditional parenting strategy that tends to make a bad problem worse (and you're hearing this from a counselor).

I would say that YOU received a natural consequence for making the choice to involve your son in counseling.

Counseling does not work for a strong-willed teen because he thinks that the parent is blaming HIM for all the family's problems (e.g., "My mom thinks there is something 'wrong' with me ...she's trying to 'fix' me...").

Re: Now today after the session what direction do I go in?

First, I'd question whether or not I was wasting money on counseling. If you son feels like he needs "talk therapy", I'm sure he'll tell you so.

Second, continue doing what you've been doing with one important caveat: Every time you see your son, make it a habit to say things that boost his confidence (e.g., "You're more than capable of making it on your own ...you've got what it takes to be a productive adult in society ...I've got confidence in you ...I love you son..."). Find a thousand different ways to say the above over the next several months - and even years. Eventually he will come to believe your words of encouragement.

Third, don't fall for the guilt trips. A soon as you begin to "feel sorry" for your son, you run the risk of returning to over-indulgent parenting (and I don't think you're one to move backward rather than forward).

Mark

Online Parent Support

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