My sister is having difficulties with her 17-year-old son. He is an angry young man who resists people who tell him what to do. He does not take on responsibilities around the home, and he comes and goes as he pleases without parental permission.
His behavior changed about three months ago when my sister prevented him from leaving their home by blocking the door. My nephew physically pushed his mother aside and left the home without her permission. My sister works nights, and often comes home to find her house full of my nephew’s friends. What can I do to help? How can my sister handle her son?
Adolescents often rebel, but your nephew’s actions extend beyond typical teenage behavior. It may not be easy, but change can happen. The first step is determining when or why the problems started. What happened three months ago before his change in behavior started? Did a major trauma occur in his life at this time? Has he always been allowed to do as he pleases? Have there been any consequences for his behavior in the past?
It is important that your sister consider each of these questions to see if the answers can explain some of these situations and reasons for his behaviors. Sometimes challenging situations can cause a child to act out in ways he did not before. If he was always able to get what he wanted in the past, he is going to believe that should always be the case. If he never suffered negative consequences for his actions in the past (such as loss of electronics, grounding, etc.), he most likely thinks there will never be consequences.
Your sister’s work schedule is not her fault. But as long as there is no supervision while she is gone, she will have problems. Can she make other arrangements for her son while she is at work? Are there other family members who can get involved? Is there a father or a strong male influence who can talk to him about his behavior? Can she contact her son’s friends’ parents and tell them that their children are not allowed in her home while she is at work?
The bottom line is that she needs to reach out to as many people who can help as she can. If your nephew continues to be unsupervised, he will most likely continue to disobey her.
If your nephew is willing to sit down and talk with his mother, the two of them should have an honest conversation about what is happening. They won’t agree on all points, but it will provide a chance for compromise and hopefully establish a degree of respect for each other.
Your nephew at age 17 is not an adult and therefore cannot come and go as he pleases. With age comes responsibility. Your nephew is not taking responsibility for himself. Your sister can help by showing a little tough love; if she stops providing some privileges and luxuries for her son, he will quickly get the point.
We encourage you or your sister to call our hotline at any time to talk to a counselor and explore other options. The number is 1-800-448-3000.
My 15-year-old son is failing many of his classes and does not care. When his teachers offer to help him make up missed work after school, he doesn’t show up. I have been in consistent contact with the school’s staff, and I have taken away privileges like his phone, TV, gaming system, etc. Nothing seems to work.
He is disrespectful, leaving the house without permission and calling me names. And now he is becoming physically aggressive. I even had to call the police when he attacked me one time. I am a single mom without family support. We do see a psychologist and a psychiatrist once a month. What else can I do?
We are glad you are accessing help for you and your son. We encourage you to also call the police when your son leaves your home without permission. You are responsible for his safety until he is an adult. If he leaves, call the police and report him as missing. The police will pick him up if they see him and return him to you. This will hopefully send the message that it is not OK to leave without your permission.
There are agencies that help at-risk youth. Programming includes mentoring, tutoring and independent living skills. Often there are also substance abuse prevention programs.
For yourself, seek parent support groups in your community so you know that you are not alone in your struggles with your son. Parents in these groups have often experienced what you are going through. They can offer you suggestions that helped their child, which you in turn can use with your son. We can provide referrals for locating these services in your area.
What is the time limitation for an 18-year-old girl living with her parents to return home after a party?
Kids this age naturally want to make their own decisions and resist parental guidance. This makes parenting and living with an 18-year-old challenging. However, ultimately she lives in your home, and you establish the rules for your home. Anyone and everyone living in your home are to respect and comply with the house rules you establish.
Taking a realistic approach with this age group helps. You have to acknowledge the fact that if your daughter is in college, she is used to setting her own schedule. She finds it difficult to shift back into the child mode when she returns home for summer or school breaks.
At this age, kids often work full-time jobs during the summer that require them to be up early and at work. This makes natural consequences a more meaningful parenting tool. For instance, if they stay out late it will be more difficult to wake up in the morning and head off to work on time. They may find that a lack of sleep may affect their efficiency at work.
Make sure that the time of night you want your daughter home is reasonable. Explain to her why you want her home by that time, and what she should do if she is unable to be home then. If she violates the rule, then she should suffer a consequence, such as extra chores around the house or an even earlier curfew the next time she attends a party or is out with friends.
It is summer vacation. How many nights a week is it reasonable for my 17- year-old son to go out? Is two nights a week appropriate or too strict? He works part-time and completes all of his chores he is asked to do each day.
Your question is an interesting one because your son is of an age where he likely wants to make his own decisions and should be managing parts of his own life in order to develop good, independent choices.
That he meets your expectations regarding his chores and holds a part-time job indicates that he is responsible. Does he play summer sports? During the summer months, teenagers are often very busy with activities that take them out of the home, providing a nice contrast to the schedule they keep during the school year. At the same time, their responsibilities at home increase because they have more time to complete chores.
Whether two nights a week plus weekend evenings is too strict is up to you and your son to determine together. If his behavior meets your expectations, then an increase in privileges typically follows suit. These privileges are motivation for him to continue to meet your expectations. They are rewards for good behavior. If he makes poor choices or ceases to meet your expectations, then the privilege of spending one night out with friends can be removed.
Time away from home during the summer months is reasonable if you know where he is, what he is doing and whom he is with. If your family has a designated family day, then maintain that tradition.