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15 Jan 2004

Evil child
Dear Doc.

My sister called in tears last night because her teenage son as usual was giving her grief. He has dropped out of school, uses drugs and has no respect for anyone. When you ask him about school he tells you to butt out of his affairs. But that is not the worst thing, he verbally abuses my sister in front of everyone and threatens to beat her up. He steals from her, beats up his siblings and does not respect my sister's boyfriend. It has come to a pont where he does what he wants when he wants and one one can do anything to him.

She called the police last night and he took his clothes and ran before thay could arrive but he is back this morning demanding money. He has always been a problematic child. Sometimes I think he is inherently evil. He was not even high yesterday when he harrassed her like that.

What can she do and how can I help her?
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Expert
CyberShrink
cybershrink

01 Jan 0001

Dear cs,
Sounds like the sort of nauseatingly cocky little kid who is still at the infantile stage of thinking he knows everything, and hasn't managed to achieve the wisdom or recognizing all that he doesn't know. She should absolutely and forever refuse to provide him with money --- isn't the cheek breathtaking that he announces that whatever he chooses to do, however self-destructive, is "his affairs" --- but he expects other people to pay for them ? She needs to make it absolutely clear ( and stick to it ) that his behaviour is totally unacceptable, and that if he ever expects to visit and stay in her house, he must live to her standards and rules --- exactly as, if he stayed in a hotel, even though then he would be paying for the privilege, he'd be thrown out if he misbehaved and broke their rules. If he threatens her, or his sibs, or damages anything in the house, she should again call the police and lay charges against him --- even a brief experience of prison may help him to recognize that his seleced way of life, selfish and destructive, is unacceptable, and leads to consequences he won't like.
Of course it's hard for a mother to manage to do that, but indulging him is only encouraging him to get worse and worse. At least in the criminal justice system, profoundly flawed though it is, he has some chance of having to see a probation officer or similar person who he might actually listen to, if it was a condition for avoiding even worse consequences.
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