Hi everyone! I haven't been on CM for ages... but a couple of years back, you were a great help with problems with my DD who was a wild woman at 14, but now a well balanced 16 yr old.
Now my issues are with my son who is 18, and a sr. in HS. Let me first say, we live in Europe... so kids drink earlier (pretty much from 16 on, and fully legal at 18) and drive at 18 (but also have programs to drive with parents from 16-18). Sorry... it's a long one!!
So, my 18 year old is smart and had gotten great grades in 10th, but slipped a bit in 11th and now just sailing through to get a passing grade to finish the year.... doesn't study, but ensures us he knows enough to pass.
He's never been a big talker, but has gotten extremely quiet, short when we talk. Says little or nothing about going to college next year ... picked one, but has no real arguments on one vs. the other.
The real problem is that he is developping a history for really dangerous behaviour... in spite of clear warnings, etc.
A few years back in Jr. HS, he got caught graffit'ing at school... in spite of the fact we agreed to buy him markers and frames, etc. for him to draw, etc... and we clearly discussed the pbs of graffiti.. he did it anyway; got turned into the cops... and the school dropped charges when we paid for the cleanup (and he reimbursed us from bday money he had).
Now, a few years later... I see the same pattern. A friend of a friend was killed having taking a car while she wasn't yet a licensed driver. A cousin has also take his mom's car without having a licence... fortunately no damage to the car (but broke mailboxes, etc).... so for sure, when we started the driving accompany program, the rules were made clear again!
And as an example, one day I said to him... stop cutting classes, etc - You can't follow rules and I bet too you'll decided to drive drunk even if you know it's wrong. He says... No, that's illegal; cutting classes is not!?! The kid knows what is legal, what is not!
Well, a few weeks ago, he took one of our cars out... apparently drunk, supposedly alone (we are trying to verify that)... fortunately, only got to the end of the street where he drove up on the curb and got a flat. Called some friends, changed the tire... and top it all off, couldn't get the car started, so they pushed it... up a rather step hill, back to where it is parked!?! Supposedly he was going to see friends on the other side of town...
We learned this from a friend of my daughter, who forunately had the wisdom to tell her parents who told us, cause she realizes how dangerous it is.
But as we learn this, another friend tells us they saw my son already with my car a few months back, again, just coming down our road, so he stopped him... made him go home, and gave him a lecture and made him promise never to take the car again. (This is a good friend and one of his former teachers!!)... Supposedly he was going to pick up his sister on the other side of town (we assumed he never got there...) Hearing the story, we can't believe he repeated the whole thing a few months later...
But, then learned last night in questioning my DD as to how could she agree to be picked up by her bro without a licence, and she said... I assumed he could drive (ah duh, not legally..) and the way she said it made me realize he had gone to pick her up on the other side of town... and she got in the car with him!!?!?!? And to make a long story short, she also knows I now refuse to take him driving... he does not listen to our advice, and takes too many risks!
FYI... the laws here are the same! it is very serious to drive w/o a license and had he injured anyone, besides the emotional damage, they'd take all we have.
As I said, she is much better these days... generally making good decisions, but obviously, not as good as I thought!
Now, here is my question... I have thought of a number of dispositions to take (keeping in mind we'd like him to get his license because he is going to live at home and go to a near by college in the fall), but I'd like more ideas on what you think, and how you'd handle the problem!
We know he drinks occassionally and smokes... probably some weed. In general, I don't have a major problem with such behaviour as long as it remains 'festive' and exceptional (weekends)... to me there is a big difference with having to smoke a joint to get through the day or have a drink every evening after work... than having an occassional one during a party, etc. (and respecting DUI laws). I have never found any drugs around, but I'm suspecting he is drinking or smoking more often than 1x week... or at least when he does, gets seriously out of control.
It's obviously the fact that the rules and danger we're clear from us, the he was already caught and warned, and continued anyway, and then continued a couple months later (and who knows what will come up as we dig more!)
He knows it's wrong, he always apoligizes and changes... that lasts about 2-4 weeks! Strange thing is that I haven't gotten any calls this year.. just a few missed classes, bad grades but passing, etc... but no police calls (and the school gets patrolled regularly) nor any other incidents. So I was cautiously optimistic until now...
1) how would you handle it?
2) does anyone have any thoughts on seeing a DR, and drugs to treat what I see as compulisive behaviour? Has anyone had success with counseling or drugs to avoid teens from getting out of control? Are such drugs a benefit or a hinderence given the many side affects? (I'm anticipating what the dr. will say there is some depression and compusion... that's what I think!)
So before I comment on what I am thinking to do... I'd appreciate your suggestions and input!