just walk away?
Teen son was required to be assessed and started treatment program due to weed use. During assessment he had major self awareness that alcohol was big problem. He has thrown himself into outpatient intense treatment, according to school is a changed person and has voluntarily stopped hanging with friends with whom used. Days when he has treatment are sometimes 15 hours long with school and group. I understand the stress he is under. He is alternating between actual communication and verbally raging at me and I am hypersensitive adjusting to information about his addiction, concern about him and major mom guilt about not knowing earlier, our part etc. I do have control issues and it deeply bothers me to have him direct language at me that I would never imagine, particularly in front of a friend of his. My husband can just walk away before things escalate. I am having trouble doing so and end up either reduced to tears, trying to resolve things (unsuccessfully) or snapping back. I keep reading chapter on rage. Help.
Ask yourself what is the "payoff", the thing you are seeking from your son when you stay and try to reason with a raging adolescent. Think long and hard to find that answer, since it's likely connected to your own childhood somehow (i.e. getting approval, feeling connected, being loved, controlling others for safety, and so on). Then when you finally see that payoff, STOP ASKING A CRAZY TEEN TO FULFILL THAT NEED. Remember that he can barely keep himself afloat let alone help you with your needs. Invisibly write your need across your son's forehead with a big red line through it so you realize (prior to each interaction) that he will not take care of that for you, and likely will make that need even more painful without even realizing that he's doing this.
Please let us know how you make out with this. We parents all try to get our kids to "take care of us" in these ways that often blow up our relationships until we finally figure it out.
Dr. Mike Bradley
I have also tried to just "walk away" from my teens' intense anger and hostility but when I do, she follows me. It's really tough because she has absolutely nothing going on in her life irght now except Internet. She barely passed school this past year (she's 16); she failed 2 classes, and passed 2, each semester.
I'm trying to get her into counselling but until now she's refused. She's now willing to go, but angry about it and may still try to avoid it.
The bottom line is I think she has severe anxiety but there are many additional issues, like her anger over us moving (due to me wanting her to have distance between some very troubled youths she was close friendw ith, the majority of them using drugs and stealing).
She dosn't usually just start yelling at me out of the blue. It happens when I approach her to ask her something, or try to have aconversation. Then her volume increases and she gets really angry. She has admitted she's angry over ourhaving moved, and her not having any friends in our new city (even though I've offered to pay to get her into new programs, so she can meet new people, she's refused). She says she's angry and is going to stay angry until we can move back to our former city, which I'm not inclined to do because it would mean regular contact again with the druggie kids. So I think the only reason I stay listening to her tirades is because I feel badly for her because I know she's sad/depressed but I also know it won't improve unelss she agrees to get help and/or I force her to get help. Also because she told me that she can't let go of the anger, and is going to nee dme to understand that she's oging to stay angry. I like that at least she's been honest on that, but what do I do to manage it in the meantime? Can I force her to go out and do volunteer work or get a job, and go to counselling? Frankly, I'd like her to do all three, so she's not on the Internet all summer long (what's left of it...)
Instead of "forcing" those things, instead offer incentives for her to do them. Remind her that "Net" access is not listed in the Bill of Rights, so that is something she should earn by being responsible. Offer to let her earn money for that and the other things she wants by volunteering in a positive "giving" place (food pantry, meals on wheels, and so on) and by trying family counseling with you. From your posts it sounds likely that she is struggling with some bio-chemical disorder as well as adolescence, something that the counselor should evaluate. Tell your girl that you know that you make her crazy, and that the counseling would really be for the two of you to try to co-exist better.
Dr. Mike Bradley