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Fifteen Year Old Drug Abusing Son Defies All Boundaries

answered 07:48 PM EST, Wed January 04, 2012
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My 15 year old son drinks, does drugs, does not go to school and basically won’t listen to anything I say as he tries to live some sort of gangster lifestyle. This morning I saw that he had a new tattoo on his neck that said motherfu…..r and I just lost it and I told him to get out. I have not been a perfect mom but I have done my best and I think that now by giving him a free place to stay while he gets high every day I am doing him no favors. Am I allowed by law in New Jersey to kick him out of the house before he is 16? I just don’t think I can do this with him anymore. Or should I just call the police on him when he leaves his weed laying around in his room and ask them to deal with him? He is so bold he lights up in front of me and his brothers now and what can we even do about it?

David Johnson Says...

I'm so sorry for your family. There comes a time when an out of control adolescent creates so much chaos at home that for the safety and peace of other family members drastic measures are appropriate. Kicking your son out is a method with which I'm sure many parents will empathize. Whether this is illegal in New Jersey I can't answer. Make a call to authorities to find out. 

Calling police and reporting the possession of drugs by your son in your house may well be the best course. 

You are legally liable for whatever your son stores in your home or hides in your car. Some states will confiscate a vehicle or even a house that is involved in the drug trade. In addition, you could be arrested for possession of your son's drugs. Your other children could take your son's drugs and use or sell them. And they too could be arrested for possession. Not acting while your son blatantly uses drugs in front of younger children could be construed as neglect. You and your other children need a peaceful home without illegal drugs and a disrespectful member.

Fourteen and fifteen year old adolescents know  that they could, if they had to, survive on their own, at least for a while. The only control parents have over their older adolescent's behavior is what they allow parents to control. This sometimes leads adolescents to feel emboldened and increase their disrespectful behavior. Any values or expectations must be taught before they reach this rebellious age. Any awareness that they need the security of a healthy home has to be instilled earlier. Discipline, at this age, is, at best, a symbolic message. Discipline tells them about what parents think is important and how important it is. 

Your only influence on an older adolescent is by example. Be a respectful and law abiding parent, report his behavior and turn in the drugs. That will send an unmistakable message to your son. Then it's his choice as to whether he will learn from it. 

Mutual cooperation is where you want to end up. When he understands the consequences, hopefully, he will be ready to cooperate. That could take some time. Meanwhile, seek family counseling for you and your other children to bring peace and mutual respect to your home.

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Page last updated Feb 25, 2012

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