Parenting an Angry, Explosive Teen: What You Should—and Shouldn’t—Do



When your teen is angry and screaming at you, the temptation for many of us is to fight back and scream louder so you “win” the argument. But what does that do? It’s natural to want to push back or stand up for yourself if someone pushes your buttons or provokes you in some way. We often unknowingly internalize this message and it becomes a parent’s mantra: “I’m not going to let my own child walk all over me.”

In addition to prolonging the argument—and encouraging your child to keep it going—yelling back also means that you’re giving up your power.

The temptation to yell or fight back is so great that it can feel nearly impossible to resist. Yet giving in to that temptation can be quite costly in ways you probably didn’t realize. When you yell or scream back at your child, it simply challenges him and effectively “ups the ante.” To put it another way, it escalates the argument. Not only that, but it keeps the fight going longer—the more you try to “win” and come out on top, the more your child fights back, so the louder you yell, and then he starts throwing things… When does it end?

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Understand that in addition to prolonging the argument—and encouraging your child to keep it going—yelling back also means that you’re giving up your power. You and your child are now on the same level; you’re equal. You are engaging in the same exact behavior and as long as you do that, you’re only going to get more of it from your child time and time again. By bringing you down to his level, your child gains the perception that he’s in control because he can make you lose control by getting you angry.

The Brain of an Angry Teen

First and foremost, it’s important to realize that even though adolescents might engage in adult-like behaviors or try to act like adults, they do not have the brains of adults. The brains of adolescents are still developing, and they continue to do so into their early to mid-twenties. That considered, it does not make sense to really expect children to act like we do as adults. In fact, kids often perceive things in a very different way than we do, in part due to faulty or distorted thinking. The danger comes in when they use this distorted thinking to justify or rationalize their angry behavior.

In the Total Transformation Program, James Lehman identifies several different kinds of faulty thinking that kids experience. Keep in mind that faulty thinking is not something someone engages in intentionally. Rather, these are automatic thoughts, like “It’s not my fault that I broke the door. I was mad at my brother.” Or, “My teacher’s a jerk. Why should I do what she says?” If you pay attention to your own thoughts, I’m sure you’ll find that you experience faulty thinking from time to time as well, because it doesn’t just occur in children—we all do it.

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What Not to Do

Yell, curse, or name-call: There’s no excuse for abuse—not by your child and not by you. In the same way that playing the victim role is no excuse for your child to abuse someone else, your child abusing you does not excuse your yelling, cursing, or name-calling. Being verbally abusive to your child only makes things worse, both in the short-term when the argument escalates, and in the long-term when your child’s behavior doesn’t change and your relationship becomes strained.

Threaten with consequences: It’s always most effective to avoid threatening your child with specific consequences in the heat of the moment. For example, saying, “If you don’t stop, I’m taking your computer for 3 days” is not likely to get your child to suddenly stop yelling and retreat to his room. Instead, it will upset your child even more and keep the argument going. What’s more effective is to say, “If you choose not to go to your room and calm down, there will be a consequence later” and then walk away.

Attempt to control your child: This is one of the biggest stumbling blocks for parents. We hear from parents every day who, without realizing it, are trying to control their children. I think this is due, in part, to some common confusion about accountability and what that really means. Holding your child accountable does not result in a child who is obedient 100 percent of the time. It does not mean that your child will always choose to follow the rules even if you give him consequences consistently when he misbehaves. Accountability means that you set the rules and the limits, and you provide a consequence when your child decides to break the rules—period. The goal is not to prevent your child from ever breaking the rules. You’re not a puppeteer; you’re a limit-setter. Let your child make his own choice. Limits and rules were literally made to be crossed and broken because that’s how we, as humans, learn about consequences and accountability.

Another way to look at accountability is this: If your child doesn’t follow the rules, someone will find out and there will be a “price” to pay, a “cost” for his poor choice in the form of the temporary loss of a privilege he enjoys. When a child experiences this unpleasant outcome, he can use that information to help him think about things next time he is considering breaking the rules. He’ll learn to ask himself, “Is it worth it?” as he is making his choices in the future.

Get physical: This often goes hand in hand with trying to control your child. Your child didn’t turn the X-box off when you told him to, so you try to take the controller or the console itself in the heat of your argument when everyone’s emotions are running high. Or, your child threatens to leave the house when she’s angry so you try to physically keep her in the home by blocking her path or holding her back physically. Let me be clear: it’s not a good idea to get physical with your child, first and foremost because it shows your child that the way to gain control of a situation is to use physical force. Secondly, you run the risk of escalating the entire situation. Remember how we talked about that natural urge to fight back? Well, I’m sure you know that urge is very real for your teen as well. I’ve heard many stories from parents about their kids striking back in response to the parent getting physical with them first. Don’t risk it. It’s not worth it.

Try to “win”: If you’re one of those parents who already knows that the way to gain control of an argument with your child is to walk away and calm yourself down, then you can disregard this point. Realize that if you continue to try to “win” every battle with your child, you will lose “the war.” To be honest, I don’t like using “war” and “battle” comparisons because it makes it sound as if your child is your enemy. It may feel like it more often than not, but remember, your child is not really your enemy—he is a kid in need of some more effective problem-solving skills.

What I have found is that the goal for most parents I talk to is to raise their child to be respectful, accountable adults that can make it on their own in this world. If that’s the case for you, then think carefully about the battles along the way. James Lehman says, “Pick your battles, and be prepared to win the ones you pick.” This means asking yourself “Is it worth it?” before you go charging into “battle” with your child. It doesn’t mean to “win” by out-yelling your child—it means that you succeed by using effective strategies that are going to help you achieve that long-term goal.

What to Do: Try These Techniques Instead

Pick your battles and consider walking away: As mentioned above, ask yourself if it’s worth it to deal with this issue. Does it need to be dealt with right now? Should you take some time to calm down before you address it with your child? Are your buttons being pushed? Think about the situation carefully and allow some time for things to cool down. You can address it later if you still feel the issue is important after you’ve thought it through.

Use a business-like tone: James Lehman talks about the concept of treating your family like a business in the Total Transformation program. You’re the CEO of your “family business,” so when things are turbulent, remember to address your child in the same tone with which a professionally-mannered boss would address an employee with a performance issue. Stay calm and neutral, and stick to the facts.

Self-disclosure: Let your child know you’re having a hard time communicating with them in the moment. It’s perfectly okay to say things like, “It’s really hard for me to listen and talk to you when you’re screaming at me,” or “When you scream at me, I don’t really feel like helping you.” This is a simple way to set a limit with your child and let them know their behavior isn’t working.

Challenge your child’s thinking: When I say “challenge” here I don’t mean invite your child to keep sparring with you by saying things like, “You think you’re pretty tough, big guy!?” What I mean is to point out that his behavior is ineffective. Say to your child, “I know you want to go to the mall, but talking to me like that is not going to get you what you want,” or “I get that you’re angry, but screaming at me isn’t going to get me to let you play your video games before your homework is done.”

Related content: 8 Steps to Anger Management for Kids

Last but not least, one of the single best ways to teach kids is by example. Role modeling is one of the key components of teaching kids how to behave. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: If you don’t want your child to yell at you, don’t yell at him. If you don’t want your child to curse, don’t curse. As James Lehman says, “You’ve got to model the behavior you want to see from your child.”

Related Content:
Dealing with Anger in Children and Teens: Why Is My Child So Angry?

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Sara Bean, M.Ed. is a certified school counselor and former Empowering Parents Parent Coach with over 10 years of experience working with children and families. She is also a proud mom.

Comments (34)
  • Hope
    Omg! I though I was the only one going through this . I have two teenage sons , I had a rough start with the first son but he’s doing well now , but my youngest son is 14 and he is absolutely horrible , I’ve sacrificed everything for himMore . He says I’m a bad mother and I’m broke . Yes I have stooped down to his level and said mean things and arguing but that’s only after a long time of being nice and walking on eggshells to keep the peace , he has all Fs , all of his teachers have nothing good to say and they email and text me constantly about his grades and aggressive behavior… . He wasn’t always like this , he didn’t start acting like this until like a year ago ,,,, I understand he’s a teen and going through changes but got damn I don’t know what to do , I have to take care of my mental health , the next step is boarding school because of can’t die of a heart attack .., I’ve taken care of him all his life and he seems to forget , he will be mean to me out of nowhere, I really believe he hates himself and that’s why he acts this way . I read all these articles about how to deal with a unruly teen but none of that stuff works … I mean I’m thinking about dropping him off with his grandfather and disappearing where no one can find me . I’m 39 about to be 40 , I need some peace . Hes a like a demon child and I don’t think I’m meant to be a mother and handle parenting at this magnitude. Any advice besides the obvious or basic advice …
  • Tanya
    I'm a grandmother of 15 year old boy with explosive behavior who plays sports.lets call I sport if you lose it your fault. he cannot take lose He explodes vulgar language. to all around him. coaches, team-members, teachers.He will realize the next day. He has not hit anyone yet.More what do you do?
  • T
    I have an almost 13 year old daughter who is such an angry kid and hate to say but hateful kid. I have read every book possible in trying to determine what to do about her behavior. She is mean, rude, calls names, has started getting physical and pretty muchMore wants to do whatever she wants. I have lost it with her on several occasions as I am only human and there is only so much I can take. We don't ask for much from at all, room clean, dishes done, clean up after herself etc. Parents have lost their rights to parent their kids, its true, thanks to social media and the internet and to people out there conditioning these kids to believe they have more rights then parents. We have boundaries and rules and those are to be followed, mind you they are very easy rules to live by. How can I prepare my kid for the world out there if she fights me all the way? I have been mentally abused by her and I am exhausted, my husband and I live in hell.
  • Josh
    Living hell with my 17 year old - I do feel for all parents going through stuff with difficult kids. I do think that we, as parents, hae lost our way. We have relinquished our power to our kids which have given these kids a sense of greatMore importance and entitlement. I general, reclaim your power - acknowledge that you cannot change your kid's behaviour - but you can change yours. I said to my son...not in anger but in a very calm manner. Here are my expectations of you - no drugs in my home, you attend school everyday, no abuse of any sort, you keep your room tidy and cleanup after yourself (YES, that includes your dishes). It is not your right to live here and I don't owe you anything. If YOU decide you can't abide by my rules, YOU need to find somewhere else to live. Parents...stop parenting out of guilt!!!!!! Do tell your kids they are loved...own your own stuff
  • Debra Brownlee
    I have tried it all. I'm so overwhelmed I made him leave. He blames me for his dad's death and I'm his stepmother not his biological mom. All we do is fight. He's 17 and angry and hates everything if means he will have to help around the house orMore it means he has to come home I am at my wits end. He has his family thinking I am the bad guy. He is a totally different person around me.
  • Esther
    Do u know how we empower parent??? By setting up old rules our parents used with us!! Main issue here is INTERNET, LACK of DISCIPLINE because we are scared we might damage them or violate their rights we turn them into self centered monsters!!!! Lets go back to how thingsMore used to be abd start earning the respect as parents!!! We are not our kids friends we are their authority
    • Brenda
      Your child isn't going to comply with your rules if you yell at them, that will show them that they need to fight back in order to get what they want as you do. If you want to have a healthy relationship with your child, I suggest you follow byMore these rules. It isn't hard to be a good parent, nor is it hard to teach your child how to be a good kid. Be cautious of outside influences (by this I do NOT mean keep them like a prisoner, they're a person too and they should be treated on an equal level as the parent in question, they didn't ask to be brought into this world, you made them.). Keep the kid out of trouble
  • rjw0211


    I don't know what to do. I have a 15yr old daughter that has completely changed our household with her anger. She can be so sweet, loving and funny....but it lasts a few days and then she blows up. Not just screaming and yelling, but threatening to hit/beat up her 9yr old brother. She screams how she hates him and how she wishes he wasn't there. She gets so angry she is shaking/crying.

    I don't know when these episodes are going to happen (this was the 2nd one in 8 days). Tonight has scared me to the point that I have the nanny coming this week ( I am a single mom) to make sure she doesn't hurt my son. I have tried the being calm and trying to get her to calm down, but she just starts screaming again. This isn't healthy for anyone in the household.

    • NMM
      When your daughter is calm, tell her how she'll get in trouble w the police if she hurts his brother/child. Also always tell her how much you love her and how you want the best for her. Good luck
  • Asshole for a son
    I have a 15 yr old son who thinks he's way more important than anyone else. Treats everyone like shit. I swear i get the worst of it. He skips school, lies constantly, manipulates, steals,does drugs, drinks, smokes. Rumages through your things that aren't his. Fights back threatens toMore kill himself for attention games. Ive tried counseling, mediation, school counseling. I've called the cops. But they always come back on you. I am a single mother. With a messed up back. I need help. Ive already pleaded to my County I've asked for help from lots of people. I will not let him take my power. But something needs to happen. He won't back down.
    • NMM
      My empathy for you, I also have problems w my son, this is not an easy situation. When he's calm try to talk to him, and tell him how much you love him, and how you want the best for him, make him realize that if he stays inMore that path he's not going to have a good future. Make him think about how all the people out there w great careers had to study and stay out of trouble. Kids like money so encourage him to think how he won't end up w a good career/good money, unless he changes. Never swear at him, or call him names, let him know how smart and capable he is of doing great things he is. Wish you the best.
    • Rileys_pops
      I have the exact same problem with my 15 year old son and it is extremely difficult and frightening. As I right this a 2:30 in the morning on a Wednesday I am waiting for him to crawl back into his room through the window that he left out ofMore over 6 hours ago. Neither I nor his mother know where he is, what he has been doing or who he is with and he has done it every day this week since Sunday and he had to go to court, first appearance, for domestic abuse against his mother today and yet these real word consequences and the threat of entering the justice system has not swayed his behavior. Even though he is nearly impossible to understand and we are at the end of our wits as to what to do to bring him back to normal behavior or even compliance, I do know that it is important to becarful the words you use toward and about your kid. I am the worst about getting upset and letting things come out of my mouth that shouldn't be said to or about my son because I frustrated and it has taken a long time to learn to bite my tongue. I just wanted to tell you I understand, you're not the only one dealing with more crazy than you can handle and even though you want to fix them and get back to normal living, we can't change others no matter what we do. We can only change ourselves and do the best in each situation. Don't let the frustration and loss of hope change you into something you don't want to be, before it all started you probably wouldn't have said I have an asshole for a son, don't let him bring you down to that level, stay cool, handle each situation individually and keep believing it will get better even when it feels hopeless. You love yours like I love mine, it's just hard to be around the awful behavior, it's just a phase;)
  • mum needs help
    My 14 year old girl is out of control with her moods and more she now seeing her dad aging and because I'm telling her or and her step dad is helping when I need if I'm not in for taken money with out asking she says I wantMore to live with my dad who she was not talking to for mths and before that not seeing him for 11 year s. She cut her slef in the past I cant carry on like this in school to I am working with them to and my 6 year old boy it's not not fair on him.
  • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


    We appreciate you writing in to Empowering Parents and

    sharing your story. I am sorry to hear about the arguments between your brother

    and your parents.  I understand your fear and your concern about the level

    of violence which occur during these fights.  Because we are a website

    aimed at helping people become more effective parents, we are limited in the advice

    and suggestions we can give to those outside of a direct parenting role. 

    Another resource which might be more useful to you is the Boys Town National

    Hotline, which you can reach by calling 1-800-448-3000, 24/7. They have trained

    counselors who talk with kids, teens and young adults everyday about issues

    they are facing, and they can help you to look at your options and come up with

    a plan.  They also have options to communicate via text, email, and live

    chat which you can find on their website, We wish you

    the best going forward. Take care.

  • Mommabear
    Hi..I am a single mother of 2 beautiful daughters and tired. Its 3 am and I am so stressed out over my oldest I can't sleep! She is 16 and the worst attitude ever and her sister usually isn't that way but it rubs off sometimes and I have toMore remind my youngest not to follow her sister's lead when she knows it gets her no where. She hears only way she wants, especially when she has her friends over, and even on a great day she some how finds a reason to argue or just be ugly. We have had a long couple years with family issues like their dad going to prison for drinking and driving and killing their step sister but is all blamed on me by my oldest( she was in the car) and have done tons of counseling, group stuff for girls, you name it and trying it all! She was lying to the counselors and because she want getting anywhere she quit. When family therapy was offered...she wanted nothing to do with it. I think because her lies would come out fully! Tonight both girls had friends over, I let my oldest and her friend go to the park next door and gave a time to be home as well as my youngest and her friend ebook went to see another friend and they were home on time but not my oldest. I pointed out my daughters disobedience in front of everyone, she threw a fit, of course I hate you moms and how just be bipolar and im crazy and I told her she watch it and use her manners( yes ma'am and such) and stop her bad attitude I was gonna take her friend home and she would just be bored then. Her tone worsened like she was trying to act big for her friend and tried to leave to " get out n go for a walk to calm down". When I reminded her she ignored the time before and said she's not leaving with her attitude and needs to get over it and be a little more mature like she claims to be and so I just tried ignoring her crappy mouth and started dinner. 5 mins into cooking, knock on door, COPS! My kids dont have cell phones and we have no internet. She used her tablet she says with my old neighbors WiFi to text people in her fathers family who is not allowed near us until ALL court papers are final and had tried kidnapping my kids nor has been around in months anyway to call them. Cops came, dunno what she said, and OMG these cops told her to basically stop it and get it together and they told me who called because it was so crap. I dunno what to do. When they left, her friends mother came and got her friend and said she allow her back because to much drama which I am sad for cuz she just got this friend this year and she was a great one! I hope her mother understands always this stressed...her sister is sick of sick of
  • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


    We appreciate you writing in to Empowering Parents and

    sharing your story.  I hear how difficult your relationships with your

    sister and your dad are right now, and I’m glad that you are reaching out for

    support. Because we are a website aimed at helping people become more effective

    parents, we are limited in the advice and suggestions we can give to those

    outside of a direct parenting role. It may be helpful to look into local

    resources to help you develop a plan for addressing your particular issues. One

    that might be useful to you is the Kids Help Phone, which offers 24/7 phone

    counseling to teens just like you.  They also offer options for live chat,

    information on local resources and archived questions from other teens on their

    website which you might find helpful.  You can reach them by calling

    1-800-668-6868 or by visiting their website at  We

    wish you the best going forward. Take care.

  • Sarrah
    HI I am 16 and I have a little brother who is 12. I know that this is a site for parents but I still have a problem and need help finding a solution. So I find that when ever my mom ask my brother to pick up around theMore house, throw something a way, take out the trash or just asks him to help out around the house or with anything at all. All he does is yell back and my mom, dad or me when ever we ask him to do something like that and it's not fair to my mom who works all day or to my dad that works 2 jobs or to me because I watch him and my baby brother all the time. So I just don't understand why he doesn't have any respect for any of us at all. And taking stuff away from hI'm has not worked. He has not been aloud to play sport because of his attitude and grades. He lost his video games because of it. And then recently he got it back so I'd think that he'd be a little nicer cause he got his stuff back but no he's not. He still yells and talks back to my parents and he is still so disrespectful. I don't know what to do cause I feel like since I'm the oldest that my job is to try and help my parents with this. It just kills me and makes me upset to see my brother treat my parents like this.
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      It can be tough to watch people you love be treated poorly

      by others. I can hear how important it is to you to help your parents manage

      your brother’s acting out behavior. I’m glad you’ve reached out for support.

      Where we are a website aimed at helping parents manage their child’s acting out

      behaviors, we are limited in the coaching we are able to offer you as his

      sibling. There is a website that may be able to offer you the support you are

      looking for.

      is a website dedicated to helping teens and young adults work through the

      challenges they may be facing. They offer support in various ways: by e-mail,

      text, online chat, and a call in Helpline. I encourage you to check out their

      site to see what they have to offer. I do wish you and your family the best of

      luck moving forward. Take care.

  • jj

    I have  a 14 year old son who is finding things difficult right now. He is going to school no more than once or twice a week  - he chooses when he wants to go. He gets angry when we try and talk to him and agree on some boundaries. He is very controlling and aggressive. I would like to know how I can support him in a positive way so we can move move forward. This has been going on for nearly a year. He is getting to the stage where he finds it difficult t have a 'normal' conversation with any member of the family.  Only when it suits him and only when he wants something he can be delightful.

    Amy support to move forward would be greatly appreciated.

    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      I am sorry to hear you are facing this struggle with your

      teen son. It can be distressing when your child refuses to go to school. As

      you’ve nodoubt discovered, you can’t make him go. Trying

      to make him go may turn the situation into more of a power struggle than it

      really needs to be. You mention that he does make better choices when he wants

      something. In that respect, it may be possible to establish a plan for

      motivating him to make a different choice in regards to going to school. Pick a

      calm time to talk with your son about possible incentives he would like to work

      for. For more tips on what you can do in response to your son refusing to go to

      school, you can check out the article Be sure

      to check back if you have any further questions. Take care.

  • Meltod
    I can't even find a starting point here. I have two sons who are 15 and 16 years old. They are both very angry . They tell me they hate me and can't wait to grow up to get away from me. They are very entitled and selfish . IMore have been in screaming matches and physical fights with them. In fact a couple days ago I had to have one of them arrested as he shoved me across our hallway and j was afraid for my safety. Because of that incidence my 16 year old son who is having a baby in a couple days has deemed my house unsafe for his son and will not allow the baby here. It blows my mind how disrespectful they are. Let me be clear. We will in a good home , they have a great example for a man in my husband , they also have two sisters who are good, loving members of our family. I am at my wits end her.
  • jimmy

    I am a 46 yr old male with a wonderful wife and 2 daughters.  The younger daughter is 14 and is ANGRY.  She resorts to name calling, judging, putting words in our mouths, and somehow thinks attacking someone physically will help her relieve her anger.  We never have been physical with her, yet she picked up scratching and hitting somewhere.

    Our house is quite bad.  Everyday there are horrible words said.  I am at the end of my rope because I try walking away, I try talking calmly, and I've gotten so offended I've even done what this article says not to do - yell back and restrain her, but it doesn't quell her anger.  She is just so full of negative thoughts and assumes the worst in other people that those thoughts set the stage for how she interacts.  It's physically and emotionally draining.

    Kids have no clue how much they hurt their parents.  I'm very depressed over my girl and I've told my wife that I should have never had kids.

    I'm not looking for support here, I guess I'm just blathering.  I googled "Angry Teens" and this page came up.

    Hope things work out for everyone, as reading these other stories reveal how different everyone's' situation is.  Life is not easy.

    • Maureen
      “I’ve told my wife I should have never had kids”. That’s so real and exactly how I feel right now. My 14 year old daughter is making everyone miserable with her shouting and screaming, name calling and threats of self harm when you call her out on it. I haveMore talked to her, calmly and lovingly, walked away from her when she’s flipping out on me but nothing works. Her spiteful disposition has put a wedge between all of my relationships because she is so difficult for anyone to be around. I relate so hard to your situation because it’s just like mine. I just enrolled my daughter in an intensive 12 week therapeutic program that I am praying will help. It’s breaking my spirit so something needs to change here.
    • Sars50
      Hi I feel your pain. My daughter is so angry and tells us all the time hiw she hates us. It effects my son and the problem is when we say no to her she flies in to a rage swearing and she shouts all the time. I amMore so upset to where we have gone wrong . She is unreasonable, her boyfriend has been told to leave his home.she's said to him he can stay with us. I said no he can't stay .she went mad screaming at me swearing. I've now said he can stay for a couple weeks simply I cannot deal with the tantrums. People can't believe how she speaks to me. Do you know what we've given her everything, I love her to the moon and back. What am I to do .?? . I totally understand how you feel. I feel your pain ??
  • stef01

    wow I basically did everything in the article "Parenting an Angry, Explosive Teen: What You Should—and Shouldn't—Do"

    Read more: Parenting an Angry, Explosive Teen: What You Should—and Shouldn’t—Do that a parent is not suppose to do in regards to this article. To make a long story as short as possible due to losing our house to a fire in July of last year I sent my two teenage sons to stay with there grandma twelve hours away. My plan was to let them go back to our home town to live comfortably while I searched for a place to live so I could finish my schooling. I lost my job but found a landord who allowed me to rent a one bedroom apartment as long as I was able to come up with the required deposit. I recently brought boys back to live with me because both of them ended up smoking marijuana and continued to get bad grades. They have been with me since february and I recently found my sixteen year old has been smoking marijuana only because he left his phone at home and his friend text  after school"if he wanted to blaze it with another friend and my younger son who just turned fifteen". I immediatly picked them both up from school talked to them, questioned them, and while this was happening the friend mentioned in the text with my younger son ran right into a pole and split his lip open! Makes me wonder was he high? I took him to his parents home all the while thinking of talking to the parent about the info I just read on my son's phone. I didnt by the way not yet. Then some hours after our talk I found a bong, marijuana, and blunt wraps all rolled up in a shirt in my sixteen year old's backpack. Only because I asked him for my headphones that he returned to me smelling of pot. Of course I then searched his bag. This is where I did everything that a parent is not suppose to do minus any physical contact. His reply was this is Humboldt county you brought me to the heart of it! I honestly don't even know how to handle him. He basically told me it helps him and I can't stop him. He also said he found the bong today, which I don't think is true. My fifteen year old denies smoking since he has been here. My mom had bought a drug test while they were at her house when she found that they were smoking because they lied about it. She didn't want to tell me but later did and they were positive for the marijuana. I thought they have been through so much, they were really close to their dad who past away July 3rd of 2007, moving away from our hometown, losing our house to the fire July 4th 2014, seperated from me; this is alot to adjust to for them. What revealed today only makes me feel like I'm doing something wrong, I don't know where to begin especially after reading the article because everything I did and said is everything not to do. I thought I was already doing something, bringing them back home though it is a one bedroom apartment. I know it's a hard adjustment after living in a three bedroom house but they knew what the consequences were if they were to get bad grades. The pot was the major reason why I felt they had to come back home. I feel we all need some counseling. I can't help them if I can't communicate with them. I don't know what to do to get through to them, taking thinkgs away didn't seem to help. Giving them some freedom backfired on me. Giving lunch money don't even seem like a good idea anymore for fear they are using it to buy pot. My son had four buds that smelled pretty potent, and to think he had more then that. Who in the world could he be in contact with to get that much. It is so scary, frustrating, and stressfull. The article makes sense I just find it really hard to be calm and not get in an argument or being upset. What makes it worse is i'm preparing for my finals right now for school and can't even focus. We don't have any family here or close friends. It is all bad timing, but really I know there is never a perfect time for anything to happen. What comes next on how to help my sons?

    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      You have a lot on your plate right now. I’m sure you are

      doing the best you can considering the circumstances. We all make mistakes as

      parents and respond in ways that are less than effective. What’s important is

      you are trying to make a difference in your life and the lives of your sons.

      From what you have written, it seems like you are trying to develop a plan

      around the choices your sons are making regarding marijuana. This can be a

      tough thing to manage, as you’re not really going to have much control over the

      choices your sons make outside of your home. You can develop some rules and

      expectations, however. For example, you can let them know that drug use of any

      kind will not be allowed in your home and if they come home and seem to be

      under the influence, then there will be consequences. You could also implement

      random rooms searches, letting your sons know that anything you find will be

      confiscated and destroyed. We would also suggest limiting the cash you give your

      sons, as Kim Abraham and Marney Studaker-Cordner suggest in their article Even if your

      sons continue to make the choice to smoke pot, you will be doing what you can

      do as a parent to hold them accountable for their choices. Good luck to you and

      your sons as you work through this challenging issue. I hope you will continue

      to check back to let us know how things are going. Take care.

    I would love to hear from anyone who can help me with a situation which I am unable to find a solution. I have picked my battles, walked away, spoken in a calm voice but have also exploded, name called, punished and restrained my 14 year old son as heMore has been so angry that both parents are unable to come to a solution to help him turn his life around. The family has been under a lot of stress for the last 7 months and It all started when he was attacked when he was on his way to a party with some friends. He was sucker punched to the side of the eye which caused severe damage. He has been unable to shake the evenings events off that he has been angry ever since. The stress is causing him to have nightmares almost every night and also causing him to lose his hair which has made things even worse. From a straight A student he is now failing some of his classes. The bullying at school about his hair hasn't help and the anger has gotten worse. The kids are aware of what happened to him but yet they still continue to make fun of him every chance they get. We believe his anger is causing him to lose most of his friends as his phone has stopped ringing by 90% of what he use to receive. The hair loss and loss of participating in his favorite sports due to possible further damage to his eye is causing him depression and anger with life and we don't know how to help him. I have told him that it's due to the stress he's putting his body through and the problem will correct it self once he goes back to the happy child he once was but he can't shake it off. As far as people making fun of him we told him to laugh with them and never to let it bother him or they will own you and will continue to pick on him. My son is very strong and could probably beat up anyone that has crossed him but we never raised him that way and are glad he has never resulted to hurting someone physically. We both fear my son my do something harsh to himself. Please help us save him.
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      I am so sorry you and your family are facing such hardships. If

      you have not yet done so, it may be helpful to find out what types of local

      resources are available to help your son and family through this very

      challenging time. From what you have written, it sounds like your son is

      continuing to struggle with the aftermath of his assault. Having someone who is

      available to work with him directly may offer him some support in coming to

      terms with the adversity that he now has to face. His doctor may be able to

      offer you information on services in your area, such as counselors and support

      groups. The 211 helpline would also be able to give you information on local

      supports. You can reach the Helpline 24 hours a day by calling 1-800-273-6222

      or by visiting them online at While

      the hardships your son faces are certainly no excuse for any acting out

      behavior he may be exhibiting, they are still something that need to be taken

      into account when deciding what the most effective response to his behaviors

      will be. As much as possible, remaining calm and not responding the same way he is when he is behaving

      inappropriately will be more effective. We have several articles that discuss

      ways of remaining calm in the face of acting out behavior. One in particular

      you may find helpful is Losing Your Temper with Your Child? 8 Steps to Help You Stay in Control. Hang in

      there. I know it’s not easy to parent a child who acts out in anger. Good luck

      to you and your family moving forward. Take care.

      • difficult sit

        DeniseR_ParentalSupport DESPERATE PARENTS


        wife sent me this link, and just like many of these comments, the situation is

        a bit different.  Just like the comment

        above, our teen acts out in a physical way despite us trying all these methods

        in different ways.  When confronted with accountability,

        he has lashed out phsycially punching. I really feel for the moms above, in a

        real way.  However, I am a dad.  He THINKS he is bigger and stronger than me,

        and not really sure what to do.  Do you

        think I should call the police, or use my physical ability to calm him? Or both?  Taking punches from a teen, and filing a

        police report seems like an open door for worse things.  I continue to talk and stay business like,

        but having a teen move to punch you is a difficult situation, so looking for input.

        Teen today have many inputs that create a sense of independence, and as you

        mentioned the faulty brain, if they feel physically they can achieve a result,

        it is difficult situation.


        this comment thread is not dead.

        • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

          @difficult sit DeniseR_ParentalSupport DESPERATE PARENTS

          This is a really difficult situation. We wouldn’t recommend

          trying to physically manage any child who is acting out as this may lead to an

          unsafe situation for everyone involved. Calling the police on your child can be

          a tough call. It may be helpful to contact your local police department at

          their non-emergency number to ask them how they might be able to help when your

          teen son becomes

          physically abusive to you or other family members. Kim Abraham and Marney

          Studaker-Cordner have developed a Police Intervention worksheet for parents

          that outlines specific questions you could ask. You can find a link to download

          this worksheet in the article  I hope this

          helps. Good luck to you and your family moving forward. Take care.

  • Canadian Mom

    I would appreciate hearing more on how to deal with things with respect to the paragraph dealing with 'Get Physical".  I feel like I have been left hanging on how to actually deal with the situations when your child (who is taller and bigger than you) will not give youMore the his cell phone, or get off his computer, or on how to stop/block them from running away to their father's house? If I take his cell phone or keyboard for computer as consequence; until he gets his chore completed or stops swearing at me or destroying the house, etc; he threatens to take away my cell phones and computers.  He doesn't really have anything that matters to him except for being on the computer; doesn't go to friends as they communicate through computer games! :( I do try to communicate with him when he is calmer but he is extremely stubborn and than could takes a day or two!  

    The problems generally stem from not doing chores/ lack of responsibility and respect. Even if he knew about he chore/task a day before.  there is a joint custody situation (60/40 split) and my kids do not have chores or responsibilities at their father's house.  Even though the father gets the kids 40% of the time; he actually gets more quality time with our kids due to his shift schedule. Might get verbal support from my ex but no actions.

    • TamaraB_ParentalSupport

      Canadian Mom 

      The situation you are describing is a tough one. It is very
      difficult to deal with a person whose primary solutions for solving problems
      are using aggression, threats or just leaving. That type of behavior can be
      considered abusive. In order to effectively hold your son accountable, it
      may be useful to assessMore any safety concerns that are present when setting
      limits and seek out support from law enforcement or a crisis intervention
      service. Depending on the age, if a child is unwilling to honor your
      authority, it can be necessary to access a level of authority that can enforce
      limits. Having those kinds of supports in place will help you send the clear
      message that your expectations for his behavior do not change based on the
      level of aggression he displays. Additionally, planning in advance for any
      escalation will  help you disengage as well as stay calm in the moment.
      You can find more information about resources in your area by calling the
      Canadian National Health and Human Services Helpline at 211 or 1-800-836-3238.
      While it may be needed, it is certainly understandable that calling the
      police  may not be your first inclination. Kim Abraham and Marney Studaker
      –Cordner provide parents some very good strategies for dealing with children
      who are destructive in their article . It
      is good that you reached out for support. Please keep in touch.

  • Kwolf15

    TamaraB_ParentalSupport Kwolf15
    Thank you Tamara. Unfortunately Daniel has not qualified for insurance since hid dad died last year because of an infernal, ongoing mix up betweent the afordable healthcare act site and medicaid, both claiming the other is responsible for his care endlessly. He took himself off all his meds andMore our county noffers no healthcare for our "super wealthy" (27,000 a year for 3 people) family, nor does our state accept extended medicaid funding. So it's not as simple as just getting him some medical care with an expert in Aspergers, unfortunately.

    • Need an Intervention
      Kwolf15 TamaraB_ParentalSupport I have been dealing with the same thing.  The verbal abuse, the breaking things, even locking myself and my daughter in my bedroom until he calms down.  After my livingroom and everything in it was destroyed I finally called the cops.  I too can not afford the mental careMore that he needs.  I used the system to my advantage.  Since he is still under 16 I felt the need to rush to get help as he is turning 16 this month.  I have called the police on him 3 times now.  This was after replacing 5 windows.  The first time I called was after he broke my floor model tv, a stained glass floor lamp, my ceiling fan which he hung from and cut his hand when he punched another window.  The second time the tried threatening me while my 8 year old was behind me.  And this final time he grabbed a steak knife out of the strainer, stabbed my cupboard and cut his finger to the bone.  He has had 3 MHA's (mental health arrests) and I finally had to press charges in order for the court to send him to a diagnostic facility for mental health evaluation.  There he will continue schooling, he will also get the counselling and if necessary be put on the correct medicine.  This is the only way I could get him into such a facility and not wonder how I was going to be able to afford it.  If I didn't do it now he would end up in jail.  If I didn't love my son I wouldn't have bothered and this wouldn't be so hard.  Until he is sent to the facility he is staying at my fathers.  However, my father is against everything I am trying to do for him.  He thinks I am wrong and that I over react.  Unless you have gone through the stress and threats and destruction how can you know.  But until hes sentenced to a diagnostic facility he will be at my fathers.  When that honeymoon phase is over.  You know the first couple of weeks where he can show others how good he is.  I do know that he can be good.  It's just the rages.  But after the honeymoon phase his rage will start to show and I won't look as crazy as they think.  I just hope nothing dangerous happens there.
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