Ask an expert
Question

26 Feb 2004

Grounding a 15 yr old teenager
My son will be 16 in Aug2004 : in grade 11. He went to school a yr early, so he is a little younger that the rest of his classmates. I have always given my best for him and have always tried to do the right thing where he is concerned, He goes out 2 times a month at night (Late afternoon) and curfew is 23h00.......BUT ......He got home @ 02h30 on Sunday morning (15/2/04) He said that he was with his friends. When he goes out I either drop or pick up. He goes out with friends; I have met a few of them. He said that he met friends at the mall, they walked around, then went to the casino (which is not to far away from the mall - they walked there and back.) He knows that he is not allowed to be near the mall, but one of the boys' parents went to the casino. Now this boy's parents were supposed to drop him off, he knows the drill - if he does not have transport back etc he must phone home - we will pick him up. His friend's mother phoned the friend to say that they will be late, pls wait. I phoned my son twice to find out where he is, and what is happening, he said that his friend's parents will be bringing him home shortly. Well, he got home at 02h30 - I was cross. I took away his cell phone, and immediately told him that we will speak in the morning, both my husband and younger son (4) was asleep.
The next morning, I woke him up at 11am, and then told him that we will have a chat. He did not remember that I had taken his cell phone away. He was aggressive and did not want to say anything regarding the previous day. I told him that he is grounded for 2 months, took away his cell, he will not receive any phone calls, and should he wish to make, he will use the landline, and that will be just for school related issues.
He does not do any homework, is up late at night - sometimes till midnight, watches late TV after we have gone to bed and is rude to me, his brother and my husband (not his bio dad) He has no respect, does not tidy his room, dresses untidy for school, shoes not polished, does not care about his tests or assignments/projects, and does not know what he intends to do after matric. BUT when he goes out, he has been spoilt by my family, he has designer wear and shoes and the best deodorants etc. My husband is do fed up, that he does not say a thing to him, but remarks that the younger child is picking up those nasty habits.
He went on a leadership course over the past weekend. He wanted to wear an unsuitable T-shirt - it had the words "STONED" emblazoned on the T-shirt, I told him that he may not wear it, and when I went into his room in the am, I found it on his bed ready for wear. I took it away, and when he walked back into his room after his shower and couldn't find it, he walked into my b/room when I was half naked and began looking for it. Because he could not find it, he kicked my side table, on his way out, dropping the things on it. That same weekend, my younger son found a packet of ciggies in his cupboard. My son denied it was his - saying that it belongs to a friend - I reminded him that "possession is 9/10 of the law" ...........or something like that. I suppose someone is bound to say that I should not be snooping in my son's room, but a parent needs to do this so that one know what one's child is up to.
Could I have some comments from both teenagers and adults?
Answer 441 views
Expert
CyberShrink
cybershrink

01 Jan 0001

Dear Joy,
I agree with most of what our readers have said. Consider seeing a counsellor briefly to work out a consistent and logical plan for encouraging some discipline amidst his rebelliosness. And take the time to tell him, as you've told us, all that you love and appreciate about him.
Teenagers push all your buttons, both from sheer instinct, and because they find it irresitable to do so. Of course, if you disconnect some of your buttons, they can find that disappointing, and may even stop pushing them.
Don't blame yourself for "doing something wrong" --- he's being a normal teenager, and you're being a normal mom. But it does sound as if he's been rather spoiled --- maybe stopping the provision of all those designer clothes ( like moths, the fashions don't live long, so he'll want replacements ) and making them conditional on specified good behaviours, could help to encourage him to be more reasonable --- if he has every luxury he wants, however he chooses to behave, why bother to behave ? Belle makes the essential point that there have to be boundaries --- reasonable and justifiable ones, yes --- but kids actually can feel frightened when they perceive that "anything goes" --- it can feel like the parents don't care about you, rather than feeling as if they're very caring.
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.
Voting Booth
Have you entered our Health of the Nation survey?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes
33% - 9361 votes
No
67% - 19296 votes
Vote