Tuesday, November 26, 2013

My 14 year old is using.


 Good morning!

I'm not sure were to start on this since we have been through so much. But the story begins with my then 14 yr old son stealing Xanax from his grandparents and abusing them as well as about $5k worth of her jewelry. I found out through the reading of his text messages so I reported him to his school. He was caught, sent to an alternative school and is on probation. At first he thought it was a friend that told on him but then his father told him it was me (we are divorced). That pretty much ruined everything.

He failed at the alternative school so he was not allowed to return back to his home school...which was his goal. Because to him, this new one is much easier and they don't care if you do you work or not. I am the primary disciplinarian since his dad chooses to be the "buddy" parent. So I get no help when it comes to setting rules for the house. He is now repeating 9th grade and is still failing. I have had him evaluated for ADD by the school and they said he wasn't because he pretty much slept through each evaluation period in class or chose not to do anything. This meant no IEP either. His psychiatrist said he does show signs of ADD/inattentive but won't prescribe a neruo-stimulant due to his drug tests coming back positive. He also REFUSES to sleep so he crashes at about 1am each morning, up by 5:45 for school. This is even after having all internet devices taken away.

Yes, he still smokes weed even though he is on probation but they do nothing about it and he is somehow able to work around the system. He goes to a weekly sub abuse group therapy, an individual therapist and the psychologist. Its all a joke to him. He said he is just going to sell weed to make money since its an easy route to go. Won't do his school work because he said he wants to drop out when he gets the chance. Told me the other day that he doesn't do school work at home and proceeded to rip it up and throw it away. When I set house rules regarding grades and consequences, he just throws a huge tantrum, breaking things and telling me how he wishes I was dead. Pretty much bullying me to give in...in which I end up doing to keep the peace in the house. I know...my fault. I am remarried with a 2 yr old. My husband is supportive but feels there is but so much he can do being in his position. My son is polite to him and respects him. Would NEVER talk to him the way he does to me. He waits for him to be gone before going on a rampage. Or he corners me in the house to bully me where he knows he wont be heard.

I'm to the point now where I feel like there really isn't much I can do anymore. I've driven myself crazy trying to create the "good" child and all attempts backfire. I try to reward, punish, etc...nothing works. He could care less. This then makes me not want to do anything nice for him. I got him nothing for his b-day except for a cake. Now Christmas is coming up and he is asking how much I'm planning to spend so he can tell me what he wants. I don't want to get him anything. Sometimes i just wish he would go away because he is ruining each and every day. We cant even have a lighthearted conversation anymore without him trying to find a way to push my buttons. We have done joint therapy, doesn't work. We still go just because I hope one day something will kick in.

I miss my boy. I want him back. I want to feel proud and excited. I feel nothing these days but sadness and defeat. We were close when he was younger, now I don't now who he is.

Traci



Dear Traci,

First let me say how sorry I am that you are experiencing this with your son. I know how heartbreaking it is to be a parent of a child who uses. I also know how it feels to endure their abuse. You are not going to like what I am about to say. You are not a professional and he needs professional help. You maybe in the way of his being able to get better. As long as he has you in the picture he can dump his emotional trash in your lap.

Your attempts to save him are not working for you or him. You need to stop looking at him like he is still your little boy. He is not the same child that you gave birth to and you have to let that go now and grieve him. It is like experiencing the death of a child except they are still alive and not the person you gave birth to anymore. You are also going to have to let him go. You have a two year old who needs you more than he does. He is choosing his life now and even though you are not prepared to let him go. LET HIM GO for the sake of the baby and your husband.

You cannot allow him to emotionally terrorize and bully you. To do so means that one day you are going to watch him do the same to his family. To your grandchildren. LET HIM GO NOW! It is often when we let our children go to their own consequences that they can start to get better. We cannot as mothers make them better.

He needs consequences. When you are emotionally abusive to a parent then you lose the right to live with that parent. When you are menace to yourself and your family then you need to be out in treatment or in a foster care treatment program. From what you have written here there more than likely is an undiagnosed mental illness that is underlying the substance abuse. The stealing and the abuse he piles upon you is unacceptable and you really need to focus on how unhealthy this is for the baby you have and I KNOW you will hate reading this because it means that you are in a position to have to choose between your children however you two year old needs you to choose her right now!

If he wants a relationship with you then he needs to earn it back. He needs to earn your respect and your trust back. He has broken both of these and it is his responsibility to earn it back. I know first hand how counter this will feel to you as a mother. As a mother we are genetically encoded to throw ourselves under the bus in order to save one of our children. However, it plays against our best interest when a child is abusing substances. You have to let go for him to ever have even a slight chance of getting better.

PLEASE don't walk, RUN to your nearest Al Anon program. Al Anon is for parents, caregivers and loved ones of someone who suffers from an addiction. And he is suffering. His anger towards you is him displacing his own self hatred out onto you. You do not need to take any action alone. Many people in Al Anon have been where you are right now. They can support you and listen to you without judgement and even share their own experiences in dealing with their children, many who became Adult Children who abuse substances and their grandchildren.

Best,

M Kay Keller, PhD.