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My 13 year old is out of control.

Discussion in 'Parenting' started by ironbjorn, Jul 13, 2021.

  1. ironbjorn

    ironbjorn Wanderer

    United States
    In Relationship
    My now 13 year old son has become a different person since his mom and I split up and then divorced a couple of years ago. He's getting into things that's worrying me. It started with marijuana. His mom found it in his room. He had stolen it from a friend's parents (legal state). We scolded him and grounded him, but how well it was implemented at his mom's house is unknown to me.

    Then I got a call that he was found with a nicotine vape pen. He said he had found it in a park, but we soon learned that he had gotten it from a friend at school. Again he was scolded and grounded.

    Next, just a month ago, I had him for the weekend. We were staying in a hotel to get a boat to spend the day on the lake with some friends and my fiance the following day. I had brought a third of a bottle of bourbon to make some whiskey sours. When we were packing the cooler we discovered that there was only a shot of bourbon left. My fiance was the only other one in our room and she doesn't drink whiskey. He had been up in the middle of the night. I thought he was being sneaky, but sneaky for what didn't make sense to me, and I certainly didn't think he was drinking, so I brushed it off and went back to sleep. He of course denied drinking it, but we're not stupid and he was the only explanation.

    And now I've got custody of him. He's been living with me for nearly two weeks now. The other night my fiance said his room smelled like cigarette smoke. I went in there and sure enough, it did. He came clean, but he didn't tell me where he had gotten them. I told him the dangers and stupidity of smoking and he said he wouldn't do it again and didn't have any more. Well sure enough my fiance woke me up at 4am and told me that he was being sneaky and kept checking to see if we were sleeping before he snuck outside. I looked out the window and there he was with a lit cigarette.

    I'm at a loss. I know he struggled and continues to struggle with the divorce. His mom chose a different man over us. Her adultery, change in attitude, and who she has become has been difficult, more so for him. I don't want to be too hard on him, but with school starting soon I'm scared. He's going to be attending a school much larger than anything he's ever attended before. I worry that he's going encounter bad kids and real drugs and be more than willing to give them a go.

    I'm a Christian, he's supposed to be a Christian, but telling him how God feels at the age of 13, on the track that he's on, having gone through what he's going through, goes in one ear and out the other. He's at the age where God and church is boring and the invisible guy in the sky so to speak doesn't mean to him what it will mean to him once he's older and past this stage that most kids go through.
  2. mama2one

    mama2one Well-Known Member

    United States
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2021
  3. thecolorsblend

    thecolorsblend If God is your Father, who is your Mother? Supporter

    United States
    I'd never be one to make light of your problems.

    However, except for the wacky tobacky, his infractions aren't all that severe. It is worth wondering that if he's doing that stuff now, what might he be doing two years from now? Possibly something even worse?

    The reality is that he's going through a tough time. Usually, I recommend full disclosure to children in the event of a divorce. If a spouse did something wrong and a divorce ensues, it affects the entire family. The children have a right to know.

    But it sounds like he's taken the news of his mother's infidelity badly. I can't blame him for that. But he should be channeling his frustration/anger/pain/resentment/whatever in more positive directions.

    Positive directions might include doing activities together. Not just boat trips. But spending time together. Going out together just the two of you for lunch on weekends, praying with him, doing chores around the house together (i.e., in the same room at the same time, talking to each other) and stuff like that.

    What's his relationship like with your girlfriend? Has he accepted her? Have you asked him? What will you do if he says he doesn't want you to marry her?

    Something else to consider might be his social influences. I imagine his friends dabble in similar things. That's something to keep an eye on too.
  4. Tolworth John

    Tolworth John Well-Known Member Supporter

    United Kingdom
    A couple of suggestions.
    Be consistent in how you behave and in what you expect of him.
    Teenage years are a difficult time, growth spurt, homonal changes, etc etc
    He needs the certainty of your love, care and consistency in his life.

    Second suggestion.
    Stop talking rubbish about feelings about God.
    God is not a feeling, God is a fact. If your church talks about ' feelings ' more than it talks about the historical facts for Christianity.
    Talk to the minister, give him Lee Strobel book on the case for Christ and if he doesn't change find a biblically based church and attend it.
  5. mina

    mina Brown Eyed girl

    He's dealing with loss, anger, probably resentment and hurt , and lots of changes in a short period of time, on top of being the wonderful age of 13. I would get him into some counseling if he isn't already and do some family sessions with him as well. It's not going to magically all go away, but he may learn some better coping skills and you both may learn better ways to communicate with one another.
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  6. LukeChester

    LukeChester New Member

    United Kingdom
    I remember myself at this age - the period was quite strange and difficult. I think that most teens look for love and support from adults around, but they usually struggle in conflict with the external world.
    Anyway, everyone has the right to choose. If your son wants to do something, he will find a way to do it. But with your love, support and care the risk gets reduced.
  7. Gd3001

    Gd3001 New Member

    It sounds like there is a lot of anger in his life. Someone suggested giving him the Lee Strobel book, the case for christ. (there's a teenage verison.) That might be helpful if he's having doubts about God's existence, I guess, but being a rebellious teenager he will prob. just dismiss it. Maybe you could talk to him about how he is feeling, encourage his mum to be invovled, talk about the divorce and the pain it has caused your family.... He's defiently experinced trauma in his life and this seems like his way of coping, cigarettes, whiskey, sneaking around , vape, weed, etc, though it is very destructive, if you just scold him it may increase the thrill of this stupid behaviour. And you are justifed in having fears about his friends, but I think it will all work out ok for you and your family if you look after your son and try and give him safety yet gradual freedom
  8. timf

    timf Regular Member

    13 is a difficult age. This is when abstract thinking becomes active. For example, if one is ten and someone tells them "you stink", the insult sort of rolls off their back. If the same thing is said at age 13, questions arise as to why the person said this and anxieties that were never know at age 10 start to percolate.

    When you confront your son, you might want to avoid the accusation/proof trap. Rather consider the approach where smoking is not as much of a problem as lying about it. He can smoke if he wants to in a few years anyway. What he may not understand is the damage he does to himself by lying.

    If he places a greater value on getting what he wants than he thinks of others, it is not only his relationship with you that is damaged. He damages future relationships because he is elevating selfishness in his life that is the opposite of love (1 Cor 13:4-7)

    Lying also causes a lack of discernment in regard to truth. It is sort of like putting your own eyes out. In 2 Thess the reason given for a great number of people being deceived is that they had not received a love of the truth.

    As he gets older, he will be discovering new abilities and he will face choices as to how to use these abilities. If he choses to pursue a path of deception, he may get good at it, but will find his life devoid of healthy relationships because people will have learned he cannot be trusted.

    It is easy to feel betrayed and focus on infractions. However, it can be helpful to go to the underlying issues and show him that there is much more depth to life than he may yet realize.
  9. Daniel Marsh

    Daniel Marsh Well-Known Member

    United States
    If insurance is available, check to see as his parent if you can have him check into rehab.