I Think my Son has Addiction Problems and Authority Problems, What Do I Do?
My 19 year old son has always had a rebellious spirit and a problem with authority. He was accused of drugs in high school, though he never failed a drug test. He has recently been busted for possession of marijuana and also underage consumption and obstruction.
He is currently completing a diversion program to get the possession removed from his record. He will have court on the other charges, which he wants to fight.
He refuses to accept that he has a problem. He rages when I refuse to allow him to go places and sneaks out. There are addiction problems in my family.
How can I help him? Do I refuse to let him leave this house? Do I kick him out? His raging is wearing me out and I feel rather hopeless because he justifies his behavior by saying that his friends do it.
He has a curfew of 11 pm on school nights (he is a college student living at home) and 12 am on weekend nights. He is a struggling student and always has been.
What do I do? I want to see him overcome this problems and succeed in life. However, I have an 8 year old son who sees the screaming and raging all the time. My older son doesn't keep promises or live up to any obligations. He doesn't have a job, he doesn't clean his room, and he doesn't help around the house.
Please help me. I feel tremendous guilt to throw him out but I am sick of the way things are. Thank you.
Fighting fire with fire usually isn't the answer for people that have a problem with authority and the idea of being disciplined. Because it tends to lead them to rebel further.
The way to handle your son is I believe in a calm, yet authoritative manner. Tell him that he's an adult now and you can no longer tell him how to live his life and that he is going to have to start becoming responsible for the choices he makes.
So if he wants to continuing using drugs and not put any effort into his studies, there is nothing you can do - but he's going to have to live with the consequences because you're no longer going to protect him or bail him out in any way.
And you also need to make it clear to him that because he has a younger brother for whom you want to provide a harmonious home environment - if he wants to continue with how he's currently going, he has to find his own place to live where he can do as he pleases and come and go as he wants.
Let him choose. Transform and get his act together - or do it his way, but in his own place and his own time. Because the truth is, your son isn't going to do anything about his current drug and addictive tendencies unless he wants to ... and you can't force him to either.
So by treating him as an adult and forcing him then to become fully responsible for himself, he will hopefully come to learn that if he ever wants to make something of his life, he's going to have to get his act together.
There are no shortcuts in life and forcing your son to live a life of accountability is actually one of the best things you can do for him - because that's ultimately the only way he'll ever learn.