My 16/17 year old boy refused to go to school. He got aggressive and sweared at mum. He told dad to deal with it, who bought him an iPhone saying it's going cheap. Now he is utterly out of control. Does whatever he wants. He met a 14 year old girl online and whatever she says, he is totally smitten. He wants to get married and refuses to go school. He may have longterm sickness but this does not warrant his behaviour. He now claims his parents argue, smack and even whip him so that he won't have to go to school. That girl has taught him a lot of nonsense. I have always been the sole disciplinary and constant figure, while my husband refused to support me in upbringing the kids properly and wanted to be a friend instead of a dad. I can't force dad to be a dad nor a son to be a son as they both are bigger and stronger than me. I can't face that. I have always objected to his liason with this girl and refused to accept her and I think that would trigger it.

  • Hi, lyn, and welcome. This is a question and answer site, and, though you clearly outlined problems with your son, there was no question. If you can edit it to ask a clear and answerable question, please do so and flag for possible reopening. Thanks! :-) Mar 8, 2016 at 20:59

1 Answer 1


Okay, first I'd like to tell you that you are not alone. I myself spent the last 3 years dealing with the same situation with my now 18 year old and before that, his older brother. His father and I have been divorced for 16 years, my son decided to live with dad because dad was fun and let him do what ever he liked. I was only ever called in to deal with drama and if he didn't want to do it I had no one to back me up. The last year of high school he basically showed up when he felt like it. Here is what I learned from this experience:

-Once they are over 17 there is very little you can do legally to make them go to school. Ya, it's bs but you seriously have no recourse.

-Nothing I said or did got him to listen or comply. It just made things worse. He knew that I no one had my back.

-I tried it ALL...and guess what, you can't force them to go to therapy, counseling, school or any of it. In the end they can walk away or just choose not to talk. Where does that get anyone? If you can get him to participate in these things, do try, but remember, you can't force.

I'm going to say this at the risk of freaking people out, but this is what I finally did and it changed my life. I stopped. I stopped arguing, pleading, reprimanding or trying to force it. I just stopped. I finally just told him one day that I was no longer going to participate in the situation. Because here is another fact. You are an adult, you have gone to school, done what you needed to do to get your life in order, you pay your bills, make your choices and you live with the consequences. It's time for you son to do the same and you need to let him. Him not going to school will only hinder his life, his future, his path.

You see the parents who run themselves into insanity to control their children...why? Because its your child and your supposed to? That's what love is? I say No, that is not how it is supposed to be. He is no longer an infant, toddler or adolescent. He is almost an adult and if he wants to make adult choices he can deal with adult consequences because at the end of the day you do no one any good being a martyr to your own child/husband.

What happened when I did this? It wasn't so entertaining to him anymore and it confused him. He stopped being so rude and just started doing what he knew he was supposed to do. He started coming to me instead of me hunting him down. Now don't get me wrong, I didn't just drop off the radar. I still found ways to keep tabs on him, find out what he was doing and stay informed, but he didn't need to know that. This was also not easy to do. I had to stop enabling him (very hard), I had to stop beating myself up (even harder) and I had to constantly remind myself to "STOP". It's retraining your perspective.

He is now 18, he did graduate, he is still kind of a train wreck if you ask me but he is finding his own path. He is still young and has plenty of time to make all of the mistakes he is going to make but they are HIS mistakes. I no longer take owner ship of them because I can't change what is already happened. I can only hope he figures it out without injury to himself or others. This may sound cold but so many parents loose their own lives struggling for their children that they forget that the whole idea of having a child isn't making them into your pet puppet...it's to create and perpetuate life. You have dreams for them, hopes and goals...but those are your dreams, your hopes and your goals. We forget that in the end they too are human beings and what is it that we as human beings are gifted with above all others? Free Will.

I would like to end off by saying I am so very sorry that you do not have a supportive spouse in this situation. I know how it feels. My boys father was not only unsupportive but would actually go out of his way to sabotage things just to spite me...when it was our boys who were suffering in the end. He would tell them they didn't have to go to counseling, didn't have to listen to me and often fell back on "boys will be boys" with every situation. Few can understand this if they haven't been in it. It has been a painful, long struggle.

I'm not sure that this is the answer you were looking for, but I think it's important for you to know that you are NOT alone in your situation. My answer to you is to stop, take control of YOUR life and what You can control. Be there when he seeks you out, love him, don't push him away but stop jumping through hoops.

Best of luck.

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