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Out of Control Teens:
“My troubled son continues to make bad choices.”

Dear Annie,

I have a 17-year-old son who for months now has been going through a hard time. He recently started attending our local continuation school and seems to be doing better than he was at our local high school. We have been going to therapy once a week, and I have been trying to keep him on a consistent schedule as much as I can.

My anguish is he continues to make bad choices. Example: We were all home including his 7 year old brother and he and his friends went into his room and smoked pot and they all left thinking maybe we were not going to notice!!! At this point I feel he should go to a boarding school. I am so tired.

Thank You for your time.

Camilla

Dear Camilla,

I hear the anguish in your words. This must be a very difficult time for you and your family. Your son obviously has challenges when it comes to being able to predict the consequences of his actions. Makes you wonder "What was he thinking when he and his friends decided that smoking pot in his room was a good idea?!" The short answer is: He wasn't... At least not clearly.

You say that he's at a continuation school and that he "seems" to be doing better there. That's encouraging.

Is the family therapist aware of the pot smoking and this latest incident? Does your son need to be in drug rehab? Bring your concerns to your next family session. Speak openly and honestly, with your son right there and listening, about how very "tired" you are of his out of control behavior. Talk about how it makes you feel to not be able to trust him. Talk about your frustration and your feeling that he should go to boarding school. Talk about how it makes you feel to have his 7 year old brother see the kinds of choices his big brother is making.

I'm under no illusions that one heart to heart session with a family therapist is going to turn around your son's behavior, but it will certainly begin a conversation to determine what is your best next move for a young man who needs help. I believe you also would benefit from getting the support you need to maintain your own emotional well-being through all of this.

I hope this helps.

In friendship,

Annie

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