I have a 17 year old son who should be a senior in HS. Second semester of his jr. year he took part in a prank, got caught, took the blame (several were involved) and was expelled for 1 yr and was in trouble with the law due to the seriousness. Needless, to say he chose to not go back to school. Background: this son was on advanced diploma,Who's Who, Class Favorite, representitive for serveral program in our school district, football standout and letterman. Since being expelled he has gone to counseling, got his GED (had a perfect score in 2 areas), has enrolled in Community College and has a co-op job. Because of his involement in these activities and his progress his probation was cut short. Now since hearing this and out from under probation he has become moody, combative with his Dad and me, says he may quit his school and job since he doesn't HAVE to go now, says we were MAKING him go. He will be 18 in one month and he has changed so much I am so sad and don't know how to deal with this changed person. I know he has been embarrassed by what he did (we are from a small town and he is very popular), he seems to be attacted now by some of the more low-life in town, his self esteem seems low and again his way of thinking has changed. If he quits school and work do we kick him out? He has such an arrogant attitude now. He feels sorry for himself I think since he should be in high school having fun and playing football but it was his own foolish mistake that put him out in the adult world. Kick him out?? What do I do?
I think you have such a good understanding of your son that talking with him, and having some patience with him, would benefit him greatly. Kicking him out would probably be wrong and only solidify his anger, and probably drive him into the hands of the "low life" and you don't want to do that . This is an important transition...stick with him and help him make the right decision. its also a scary time, becoming an official adult, and sometimes kids like this push too far to prove their independence when, as you say, he is probably dealing more with shame and loss of self confidence....help him make a good plan for the near future that he and you can support.
17 is a very difficult age. It's like they're 17 going on 2. They want independence and freedom--but not really. Your son is probably dealing with a lot of self-imposed guilt, too.
There are a lot of wonderful self-help books out there for teens. One in particular that I bought for my son on his 17th birthday is: "Nine steps to success; Teens Can Make It Happen by Stedman Graham. This is a book for parents and teens to read together, discuss and work on a plan for the future that all can live with.
Dr. Phil and his son have some good books, too.
Don't give up on your son. I'm a widowed mom with a 17 year old who has a lot of emotional and physical problems. But they are all fixable.
I was once told by a theraphist treating my son that the main 2 causes of deaths in teenage boys are car accidents and suicide.
We've just had 3 suicides in our high school in one month. We also live in a very small community.
One thing I tell my son all the time when he is down on himself is: "Yesterday is History; Today is a Gift; and Tomorrow is a Mystery."
Take the advice of the Dr. Gould, and don't give up on your son yet.
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