There are times when your authority as a parent just isn’t enough. There are times that you may need to call the police on your child.
If your child’s behavior has escalated to the point of physical abuse, assault, and destruction of property, or if he is engaging in risky or dangerous behavior outside the home, then getting the policed involved might be the right thing to do.
But calling the police on your own child is a difficult decision to make. And there are several factors that you need to consider before doing so.
I’ve heard many parents say to me: “My teenage son is bigger than me. He threatens me physically. I’m afraid of him. What can I do?”
To parents who tell me “I’m afraid of my teen,” I say, I believe you. Our kids can be scary and threatening. They are often bigger than we are. And we are not quite sure what they are capable of doing to us, to others, or to themselves.
I’ve seen too many parents who live as prisoners in their own home—prisoners of a threatening child. These parents are often the victim of their kids’ acting out issues, not the cause of them.
That is why if your threatening child doesn’t respond to your authority, then you may need to bring in another authority, and that’s the police. But should you really call the police on your own child? Aren’t we supposed to protect our kids from getting into trouble?
(By the way, I use the pronoun “his” in this article, but girls can be just as threatening as boys and this article applies equally to both.)
Think about your child’s school for a moment. Does the school tolerate assault, punching holes in the wall, or speaking in a verbally abusive way to others? Of course not.
In fact, all the schools I’ve worked with call the police if a student assaults someone, uses drugs, or destroys property.
Schools take action because they understand something that parents can lose sight of—kids make the choice to do these things, and as a result, they should be held accountable.
Kids with behavior problems seem to have no self-control, whether it’s managing anger or acting out. In fact, they’ll say and do things to give you the impression that they’re out of control as a way to avoid responsibility.
But remember, everything they say and do is a choice. And it’s important for parents to understand that your child makes his own choices, even when he seems out of control.
When you focus on your child’s choices, you begin to realize that it’s your child, through his bad choices, who is responsible for the police involvement.
Your child made the choice to hit you, take drugs, or destroy your neighbor’s property, and he should be held accountable for his choices. And this may mean answering to the police.
Most parents, even those who fear their kids, are uneasy with the idea of calling the police on their kids. And believe me, I understand that. You’re getting the law and the government involved in your home. The parent’s I’ve worked with fear many things about police involvement.
Parents fear that if they call the police that they will lose control of the whole process. They fear that the police and courts will now be in charge.
Parents fear the social stigma attached to calling the police. What will the neighbors think if they see the police at their house? No one wants that kind of attention in the neighborhood.
Many parents are embarrassed and ashamed of themselves. They think they are bad parents who can’t handle their own kid.
And parents fear that calling the police will harm their long-term relationship with their child. They worry that their child will never forgive them for calling the police.
Believe me, these are all normal and legitimate fears. I’ve heard these fears from many parents.
I want to be very clear here: whether or not to call the police is a very personal decision. It may not be for everyone. And sometimes you just have to trust your gut.
After all, you have to live with this decision. Twenty years from now, your child’s teachers and counselors will be out of his life, but you will still be his parent. And you want to act in a way that you won’t regret later.
Ultimately, it comes down to this: when you fear your child more than you fear calling the police, then it’s probably time to call the police.
This point is reached when you have a child who willfully violates the rules of your household and threatens you, other family members, or your property.
If calling the police is a choice you’re ready and willing to make, then you should tell your child your intentions in a clear and direct manner. In a calm moment, when things are going well, you can say:
“The other night you pushed your mother. If that happens again, I’m calling the police.”
Be matter-of-fact and business-like about it. Just let him know what you will do. And mean it.
If you don’t mean it, if you don’t follow through, then your words are empty. It’s just another empty threat. And with each empty threat, your child’s contempt for you grows. And your authority shrinks until your authority is gone and your child is in charge.
Related content: How to Stop Threats and Verbal Abuse
It’s important to have a plan in place for exactly the circumstances in which you will call the police. A plan helps you make the decision calmly and reduces the likelihood of things spinning out of control.
Your plan may include contacting the police ahead of time to discuss your child and to let them know that you may call them the next time he is abusive. The following related content is an excellent article by Kim Abraham and Marney Studaker-Cordner, author of The ODD Lifeline, on how to talk to the police about your child.
Related content: How to Talk to the Police When Your Child is Physically Abusive
Let’s say you don’t have a plan and you wind up hitting your child in self-defense. You’re the one who will be arrested and penalized. And not only may you wind up in jail, but the courts are going to blame you for all your kid’s previous problems. I’ve seen this happen. So make a plan.
Parents who are willing to get the police involved ask me how to know when it’s actually time to call the police? In other words, what specific behaviors would constitute a good reason for calling the police?
Call the police when safety is an issue or when the behavior crosses the line and becomes criminal. This includes when your child is breaking things (significant property damage) or hurting or threatening to hurt others.
For example, if your child grabs a book and throws it across the room, I don’t think you call the police. Hold him accountable with an appropriate consequence, but minor damage is not worth calling the police.
Related content: How to Give Kids Consequences That Work
But if he punches holes in the wall, smashes furniture, or does more serious damage to your home or property, I think you tell him:
“Next time you lose control like that, I’m going to call the police.”
And if he does it again, you follow through. That’s when you make the call.
To put it another way, I think you should consider calling the police when you see a pattern of behavior that’s unsafe and threatening to others.
Make it clear to your child that calling the police is the consequence for his abusive, destructive, or criminal behavior. Make it clear that his choices determine whether or not the police show up. And, if the police are called, then he has the opportunity to learn from that consequence and to make a better choice next time.
You also need to consider the other members of your family. They need to be protected.
Siblings who grow up with a violent, destructive, or explosive brother or sister can be severely traumatized. These siblings don’t know when they’re going to get hit, pushed, or verbally abused next.
I know from personal experience that many siblings of kids who act out—the brothers and sisters of kids who are violent, abusive, or destructive—develop PTSD-like symptoms. Indeed, it is a traumatic environment.
When I hear from parents in this situation, I think of the terms “domestic violence” and “domestic abuse.” Because that’s what it is. Somebody in your home is taking advantage of weakness and physically assaulting family members.
I think that’s when you have to ask yourself, “What do I have to do keep my family safe here? And what am I going to do to help my child learn that he can’t behave this way anymore?”
For me, calling the police is a legitimate part of the solution.
I think you should call the police for criminal behavior. This would include possession and selling of drugs or stolen property. Say to your child:
“I can’t stop you from using drugs and getting high. But if I find drugs, I’m calling the police. If I find stolen property, I’m calling the police.”
You want your child to know that you’re just not going to sit by and let him throw his life away and that you won’t tolerate criminal behavior in your home.
Parents ask me, “Will my child have a record for the rest of his life?” It really depends on where you live and the seriousness of the charges.
But, most states have provisions whereby juvenile records are sealed or expunged when they become adults. There’s no access to it and the public can’t find out about it.
Nevertheless, having a record can affect getting a job, joining the military, or even qualifying for public housing. That’s why I understand that parents don’t want their kid to have a record. That’s one of the reasons this is a hard decision.
So ask yourself, “Is this behavior dangerous enough that it warrants me taking this action? How dangerous is he, really?”
Personally, I’d rather have a child learn to be in control of himself and have a juvenile record than be out of control and have no apparent future.
Be aware that many kids blackmail their parents by saying, “If you call the police, I’ll get a record.” Or “They’re going to send me to juvie.” They manipulate their parents this way.
But I think if the abusive, violent, and destructive behavior doesn’t change then your child is going to have much bigger problems than a juvenile record. Make no bones about it, someday he’s going to get an adult record. Out-of-control juvenile behavior becomes adult criminal behavior the day he turns 18. And if he’s already 18 and his behavior is criminal, then maybe he needs a criminal record.
That’s a legitimate fear. I can’t in good conscience tell you that won’t happen, because it does.
But in my 25 years of working with the juvenile justice system, I’ve found that the wheels of justice turn very slowly. If the police come, they might write a report, but they can’t do anything if you don’t want to press charges. And they’ll usually encourage you not to press charges the first or second time you call them.
Look at it this way: nobody wants to take custody of your son or daughter. Nobody wants to take responsibility for your teenager.
But why are you calling the police in the first place? You’re calling them to send your adolescent a strong message that you’re not going to tolerate his behavior and that you’re not helpless.
And if the behavior continues, the parents should press charges—especially if a parent or another sibling gets hurt. Understand that virtually nobody goes to jail on their first charge. It just doesn’t happen that way. The state doesn’t want to take care of him so they’re going to try all kinds of non-institutional remedies first. They may even set you and your child up with counseling.
If the abusive, destructive, or criminal behavior continues, the main thing that you want is for your child to be held accountable on another level.
One way the courts do that is by putting your child on probation. Having a probation officer adds another dimension of accountability. Once on probation, if your child punches a hole in the wall, not only do you tell him to stop, but you call his probation officer. When your teen meets with him, the probation officer says, “Your mom told me you punched a hole in the wall. I thought we said you were going to work on that. I thought you promised me you weren’t going to do that anymore.” Think of the probation officer as another level of authority for you.
I’ve seen probation officers and judges work out plans for kids who are aggressive and violent. They’ll put them in juvenile detention for a weekend or two. It can be very effective. They don’t send the child away forever.
After his time is up, they bring him back to court and say, “So what do you think? You think you can stop hurting people?” If the kid smarts off, they send him back for another weekend. They’re trying to teach him to be accountable.
Ideally, a counselor or therapist says to your child:
“I’ve noticed that you’re not punching any holes in the walls in here. That’s because we’re holding you accountable and you know we won’t tolerate your disrespect or abuse. You’re making different choices about how you treat people and property. You can punch a wall here, but you’re choosing not to. Now let’s figure out how you can make those same choices at home.”
That’s how coping skills are developed by professionals. These punishments and consequences are all designed to teach your child to make different choices—choices that are healthier and safer.
Expect your child to be angry if you call the police. He’ll say, “You stabbed me in the back.” He’s going to feel a sense of betrayal. He’ll play the victim.
Don’t waver. This is just what abusive people do when you stand up to them. I think when things are going well, you want to say:
“If you make different choices, we never have to call the police again. But if you assault somebody, if you break people’s stuff, if you bring drugs into the house, if we feel intimidated by you, or if I’m afraid somebody’s going to get hurt, I’m calling the police. And I just want you to know that.”
What your child will learn to say is, “So what, they won’t do anything anyway.”
But then just say:
“That may be, but I’m still going to keep calling them.”
By continuing to call the police, you are adding to the paper trail on your child. You need that paper trail as evidence that your child is out of control. The police may not do anything the next time, but they will eventually as long as you have that paper trail.
By continuing to call the police you are also showing your child that you mean what you say.
I understand that it’s just very difficult to raise a child with serious behavior problems. It’s a terrible situation for parents.
But it’s important for parents to remember that these kids make their own choices. Even when they seem overwhelmed by feelings, they’re making conscious choices—but that’s not what they want you to believe.
They want you to believe that they become overwhelmed by anger and so they really can’t control themselves, even if they want to. I think that’s an out-and-out lie. Don’t believe it.
Your child makes choices all the time, and I think one way or another they need to be held accountable for those choices. If they are not held accountable now, then they will be held accountable when they become adults. And the older they get, the more severe the consequences. So, the sooner they are held accountable, the better. And that may mean involving the police.
When Kids Get Violent: “There’s No Excuse for Abuse”
Kids Who are Verbally Abusive: The Creation of a Defiant Child
Empowering Parents Podcast: Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher
James Lehman, who dedicated his life to behaviorally troubled youth, created The Total Transformation®, The Complete Guide to Consequences™, Getting Through To Your Child™, and Two Parents One Plan™, from a place of professional and personal experience. Having had severe behavioral problems himself as a child, he was inspired to focus on behavioral management professionally. Together with his wife, Janet Lehman, he developed an approach to managing children and teens that challenges them to solve their own problems without hiding behind disrespectful, obnoxious or abusive behavior. Empowering Parents now brings this insightful and impactful program directly to homes around the globe.
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Thank you for reaching out to Empowering Parents. I am so sorry you are going through this with your son. I can only imagine how distressing this must be for you and your family. We have several articles found here that offer tips for dealing with violent and abusive behavior:https://www.empoweringparents.com/article-categories/child-behavior-problems/abusive-violent-behavior/
There are also a couple of support services available within the US that you may find helpful. The first is the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, which can be accessed by dialing 9-8-8. The second is the National 211 Helpline, which is available in the US and Canada. They can give you information on services in supports in your community, including information on counselors, therapists, crisis response services, and support groups. You can reach this service by dialing 2-1-1 or going online to 211.org (211.ca in Canada).
We appreciate you reaching out and wish you all the best moving forward. Take care.
I can understand your concern. We have several articles that offer tips for dealing with aggression in children you may find helpful:https://www.empoweringparents.com/article-categories/child-behavior-problems/aggression/.
Thank you for reaching out. Take care.
Hi, Okinawan. It sounds like you have been experiencing some fairly extreme behaviors from your daughter. I am sorry you are having to go through this. We have several articles that offer tips for managing abusive and violent behavior you may find helpful. You can find a list of those here: https://www.empoweringparents.com/article-categories/child-behavior-problems/abusive-violent-behavior/.
Thank you for sharing your story.
Please help. My 17 year old is out of control. I've called the police on her numerous times. She's stolen a neighbors cell phone (she was 6), my mother's jewelry and money (7), shoplifter (7-?), stolen money, jewelry and car keys from,me. She's run away twice, has been expelled in abayance twice, for taking pulls to school ands handing them out. She overdosed herself and another girl on xanax. She filed a false police report against a fellow student for rape. A REAL KID. She destroyed his life, and the detective declined to press charges. He even told me the kid could press charges, but he wasn't going to term the family that. It was a Hispanic family, 1st generation. I asked if I could press charges against her. They said no.
The police refuse to arrest her. They say unless it's a violent crime, they don't arrest juveniles.
What do I do? This is not the kid I raised. She's absolutely foreign to me
I have 5 kids 3 boy's and 2 girls my young sons pushed me down and said that I was died to him and I was worthless and called me out of my name I asked him to live to cool down and said wow sorry you feel that way about me his older brother come and jumps on his side of things so I told both them to live I then had to call police the police asked if I new anyone that they could stay with I send them down to my aunts...this was 6 day from today I called down to talk to both of them and my older son said hay miss could you give me custody of the young one I cried really bad and thought I have field as a mother...I just wish I new what to do I don't want them to hate me and never speak to me aging ...
A mother that feels she needs help.
I’m so sorry to hear about the issues you are facing with
your daughter, and how the stress is affecting you physically and emotionally. I’m glad that you are reaching out for assistance,
both in your community as well as here online.It can be quite difficult when you do not feel supported by the
resources who should be able to assist you, such as the police.Sometimes, it can be more useful to contact
them during a calm time on the non-emergency line, and talk about how they might
help you if your daughter runs away, becomes violent or is using substances in
your home.We also have https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/how-to-talk-to-police-when-your-child-is-physically-abusive/ which can help guide this conversation and create a
plan.In addition, in many communities,
there are programs which are commonly called PINS/CHINS (person/child in need
of supervision), or something similar.In these programs, you petition the juvenile courts to help keep your
daughter safe, as well as hold her accountable if she is engaging in risky or
unsafe activities.For more information
about this process, you can contact your local clerk of courts.I can only imagine how scary and difficult
this situation must be for you, and I wish you and your family all the best
moving forward.Take care.
It can be so difficult when you have been doing everything
you can as a parent to help your child, and he still continues to
escalate. You have some great questions about the legal process, which
are unfortunately difficult to answer specifically because the juvenile justice
system varies among communities. If you are not already doing so, I
encourage you to consult with a lawyer about the next steps you can expect at
this point with the charges your son is facing. If you need legal
assistance, one place to start might be contacting the http://www.211.org/ at 1-800-273-6222. 211 is an
information and referral service which connects people with resources in their
community. I recognize what a challenging situation this must be for you
and your family, and I wish you all the best moving forward. Take care.
Hell yes you should. Just tonight I called the police on my 28 yr daughter. And my daughter did not go as far as yours did, but I feel for you believe me!! Mine has been very verbally abuse lately and this is NOT how I’ve raised her. So let down, hurt, tired of crying, tired of her verbal abuse today I truly thought I was going to have a stroke. After working 10 hrs I come home to her disrespect smart A— mouth, I reached my point- I called the police. I cried the whole time I explained things to them, she stared at me with a stone cold face, ( then a smirk), that’s when I said she should probably stay at her boyfriends, she said “ I can’t “ ( bull—-/) one officer was a jerk so I asked the other if he had kids, that’s when he stepped in and let her have it just a bit. It was killing her not to talk back ( or over talk him ,( like she does) I don’t regret what I did, if she doesn’t want to listen to me, hopefully “” now she’ll realize “ maybe I should watch my mouth or she can explain it to the police. End of story- completely utterly fed up. 🥲 ( if this ever does happen again, ( hopefully it won’t!🤷♀️, I will ask them to have her leave for the night. I have no problem, especially since the kind caring empathetic girl I raised is not who I’m now living with.
Broken heart ❤️🩹
I’m sorry to hear about the challenges you are facing with
your daughter, and how her choices are impacting you and her siblings.
Although I hear how concerned you are that she might hurt a sibling, I do not
recommend becoming physical with your daughter. Instead, I encourage you
to https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-lost-children-when-behavior-problems-traumatize-siblings/ which you and her siblings can implement if she is acting out
in an unsafe or abusive way. In addition, you might consider talking with
the police during a calm time to talk about how you can work to hold your
daughter accountable when she is doing things like sneaking out and making
threats. We have a downloadable worksheet which can help to guide this
conversation with the police; you can find a copy https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/how-to-talk-to-police-when-your-child-is-physically-abusive/.
I recognize how difficult this situation must be for you, and I wish you and
your family all the best moving forward. Take care.
I’m sorry to hear about the challenges you are facing with
your teen, and I’m glad that you’re reaching out for support. Something
that could be helpful is to meet with police during a calm time so you can talk
about your options, and develop a plan for holding your daughter accountable
for her actions. We have a free downloadable worksheet which can help
guide this conversation; you can get a copy https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/how-to-talk-to-police-when-your-child-is-physically-abusive/.
You might also consider looking into other local resources which might be able
to assist you, such as counseling and support groups. For help locating
these, and other supports in your community, try contacting the http://www.211.org/ at 1-800-273-6222. I
recognize what a difficult situation this must be for you and your family, and
I wish you all the best moving forward. Take care.
My 14yr old son is out of control...he has bipolar disorder, ODD, ADD/ADHD. He refuses to go to school, follow ANY rules, listen to anyone, come home when I ask, verbally abusive, can be VERY aggressive, disrespectful and inconsiderate of anything or anyone else, feelings or possessions, he shows no remorse. He took my car while I was gone, I was searching for him at 4am this morning, we were supposed to be going out of town for the weekend but he's refusing to get into car. I'm a single mother
It sounds like you
are dealing with quite a few serious behaviors from your son right now, and I’m
glad that you are reaching out for support. It can feel overwhelming to
try to address so many different issues at the same time. Something I often
recommend to parents is to prioritize the behaviors you are seeing, and only https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/in-over-your-head-how-to-improve-your-childs-behavior-and-regain-control-as-a-parent/ at a time. Based on what you have described, I
recommend addressing the abusive and unsafe behaviors in which he is
engaging. Some articles to help you get started include https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/is-your-child-engaging-in-delinquent-behavior-4-ways-to-manage-it/ and https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/when-kids-get-ugly-how-to-stop-threats-and-verbal-abuse-part-2/. I
realize how difficult this must be for you right now, and I wish you all the
best moving forward.
No parent ever
envisions their child struggling with addiction, and I’m sorry to hear about
the challenges you are facing with your daughter. At this point, I
encourage you and your husband to develop a plan of how you can each respond
appropriately, and in a way which keeps everyone safe, if your daughter becomes
escalated again. This might involve https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/how-to-talk-to-police-when-your-child-is-physically-abusive/ to see how they might be able to assist you
if your daughter becomes destructive or decides to run away. You might
also talk with her counselor about what you can do to help your daughter stay
safe and sober. Kim Abraham and Marney Studaker-Cordner offer more advice
on this point in their article, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/my-child-is-using-drugs-or-drinking-alcohol-what-should-i-do/ I
recognize how difficult this must be for you and your family, and I wish you
all the best as you continue to move forward. Take care.
We speak with many parents who are in the same challenging
position in which you find yourself; you are not alone. It can be very
frustrating when you reach out for help, and it doesn’t appear that there is
anything you can do to address your son’s behavior. I also understand
your concerns about possible risks to your family’s safety and well-being as a
result of your son’s choices. It could be useful to talk with the police
during a calm time about your options to keep your family safe. We have a
free downloadable worksheet which you can use to guide this conversation which
you can find https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/how-to-talk-to-police-when-your-child-is-physically-abusive/.
I recognize how difficult this must be for you, and I wish you and your family
all the best moving forward. Take care.
Jiggs007 What advise would you give if it was a 16 year old teenage girl who was doing the same thing. In my case she looks the sweetest girl, she could charm anyone for better or worse. She discovered the likes living that dark/racey lifestyle, we even have her reported running away from home 7 times. She refuses to obey or listen. She isnt the type to punch holes in the wall... shes smart enough to make sure she doesnt bring it into the house. Now she has a gangster BF shes been hiding and refuses to give him up. We feel hopeless and at the same time I'm very worried about out 11 year old who is to nieve to understand anything and not quick enough to catch on. I feel my oldest at some point is going to try and corrupt her sister. We have received threats from her friends, reported to the police with no avail. She is just out of control, but we as parents seem to have no real rights of protection or ability to control our 16 year old. Calling the police doesnt make her flinch.....
She has NO remorse... she wont even say sorry just to pretend, to get back in our good graces. She is a ticking timebomb.... I dont know what to do. Even the authorities dont seem to be able to assist much in these matters until something terrible happens. Please advise in any way.
I am sorry to hear about the troubles you are having with
your 16 year old. It can be so difficult when you are dealing with
behaviors such as running away, and becoming https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/does-your-child-have-toxic-friends-6-ways-to-deal-with-the-wrong-crowd/. While I understand that involving the authorities
has not had the effect you might have wanted, I encourage you to continue doing
so. After all, the point of consequences is not to make your daughter
care, as her emotions and perspectives are entirely up to her. Rather,
the goal is to hold her accountable for her actions, even if it is simply
having a written report of her behavior. Something else you might
consider is filing a petition through your family court to help you hold your
daughter accountable for her behavior. These petitions are often referred
to as PINS/CHINS (person/child in need of services/supervision), and can
provide additional levels of accountability through tools such as probation,
court-ordered counseling and/or treatment programs. Your local clerk of
courts can give you more information on what this process might look like in
your community. I recognize how difficult this must be for you right now,
and I wish you and your family all the best as you continue to move
forward. Take care.
I have been reading various topics on this website for the last year. I have been struggling with my eldest son (16yrs) for the last few years. He has worsened week by week.
It started off with him arguing with teachers, refusing to do work etc. His behaviour at home was strange, he would make silly noises right in my ear, throw shoes at me, incessantly tap my leg (just annoying things) for hours on end. But in front of anyone else he was charming, intelligent and confident.
He then started attacking his younger brother for no apparent reason, no argument, no provocation whatsoever. I contacted social services who worked with us to ensure my youngest son's safety. This has now stopped and been sorted.
Eldest son was on target for straight As in GCSEs (live in UK) over the last two years he has been a nightmare at school and consequently will be lucky to get one A in his exams which he took May/June this year.
The last 6 months he has got into drugs (weed and not sure what else), he's been dealing weed too. The night before my 40th birthday (April) he jumped out bedroom window at 11pm and was missing over 12 hours. Police searched for him all night. I thought he had killed himself. But when police found him he was very nonchalant and went to school that afternoon!
He has since been caught shoplifting in local shop half hour before his maths exam. Climbed to top of a very high crane. Punched his best friend of 13 years who has reported him to the police.
Been awful and abusive to me, intimidating and bullying saying the most wicked things. He's a compulsive liar and seems to have thrown his whole life away.
Last month his abuse got too much and I asked him to leave and identical to the retired police officers comments he threatened to smash my house up. He left house immediately after. I've since received some nasty text messages from him, demanding money and calling me awful names - I have not replied to any of his messages.
I can no longer cope with him. I'm heartbroken, feel a total failure, frustrated and hopeless. I've racked my brains and wondered where I went wrong. He never leaves my thoughts. I rarely leave my house and struggle to cope anymore.
I don't know what to do anymore.
I’m so sorry to
hear about your eldest son’s choices and behavior, and it’s quite normal for
parents in your situation to experience many of the emotions you
described. As Debbie Pincus points out in her article, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/throwing-it-all-away-when-good-kids-make-bad-choices/, one of the most effective
things you can do is to identify your own boundaries, and focus on taking care
of yourself. Sometimes, it can be beneficial to work with local
resources, such as a counselor or a support group, to help you work through
this trying time. For assistance locating this type of support, try
contacting http://www.familylives.org.uk/ at 0808
800 2222. Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are
going for you and your family. Take care.
I have progressed through everyone one of these steps in almost the exact way it is laid out here in this article. I agree with the advise.
My son was born with a temperament that is opposite of my own. He is angry and aggressive and I am peace loving and joyful. It has been a challenge to parent him.
Since, I have always recognized in him the potential for self destructive behaviors and future criminal behaviors, he has been in counseling off and on as needed since pre-k. I also surrounded him with mentors and strong men.
When I reached out to the authorities, as he entered the pre-teen years, I was told repeatedly that "unfortunately" there were no preventative programs available. I would have to wait until he entered the juvenile system and then they could help.
So here we are, neck deep in the juvenile system, and there is very little help. Of course, my son's behavior is getting worse. As he got more and more violent at home, I started expressing my concerns (verbally and in writing) to police, judges, probation, counsellors, and anyone who would listen. However, every time he was released from juvenile detention or from an arrest, he would be released back to me.
I am now in fear of my safety and that of my daughter. I worry that when my son couples drugs and his rages that he could take my life. So, the last time he was released from juvenile detention, I refused to pick him up. I was bullied by the juvenile system who only wanted to send him right back to my home. This has been complicated since I am a single parent and his father has chosen to be absentee. My son does not qualify to go to our local youth shelter due to his violence and drug use. I have no relative that qualifies to have him and besides would not want to put their families in danger. The state can not find a foster home for him since no foster family will take someone with his history.
With out going into detail his history includes multiple arrests, multiple confinement s under the Baker Act, violent acts in my home and upon my person, and kicked out of school for threats of widespread violence.
I seriously feel a tragedy will happen at my home if he is here. So, I made a stand and absolutely refused to allow him in my home. Now, I am being arraigned on child neglect and abandonment charges. It is a felony punishable up to 5 years in prison. Isn't that ironic!
In the state of Florida, you can not put a restraining order on a juvenile, so you have to get the order against the juvenile's parent and have it extend to the juvenile.
You should have seen the faces of the court officials when I said, "So I have to put a order of restraint against myself? Wouldn't I be in constant violation?"
No, a single parent can not put a restraining order against their own child. Possibly, you could get the order against the other parent if they are involved and agreeable.
It sounds like you’re experiencing some really challenging
behavior from your son right now, and I’m glad that you are reaching out for
support. I can tell from your comment how worried you are about your son,
and how much you care about him and want to help him. Because your son is
currently working with local professionals, it might be a good idea to work
with them to develop a plan for how you can respond effectively, and keep
everyone safe, when your son is becoming abusive towards you and others in the
house. We have many articles, blogs and other resources which address https://www.empoweringparents.com/article-categories/child-behavior-problems/anger-defiance/
and https://www.empoweringparents.com/article-categories/child-behavior-problems/abusive-violent-behavior/ here on our site which you might find helpful in developing your
plan. We don’t recommend spanking your son when he acts out because it is
not teaching him how to behave more appropriately, and it also could be
reinforcing his aggression. Thank you so much for writing in, and please
be sure to let us know if you have any additional questions. Take care.
It can be
incredibly frustrating when your child does not listen to you.
Furthermore, it is quite concerning that he responds by running away for days
at a time, and putting himself in potentially unsafe situations. During a
calm time, I recommend talking with your son about what he can do differently
the next time he is upset or frustrated instead of leaving the house.
James Lehman outlines how to have this conversation in his article series https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/running-away-part-i-why-kids-do-it-and-how-to-stop-them/ and https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/running-away-part-ii-mom-i-want-to-come-home-when-your-child-is-on-the-streets/.
In addition, you might consider contacting your local law enforcement during a
calm time on the non-emergency line to get information on how they might assist
you if your son continues to leave the house without permission. Please
be sure to write back and let us know how things are going. Take care.
grandmother in fear
Thank you for reaching out for support. I can hear how
worried you are about this living situation, and especially for the safety of
your daughter. This type of behavior can leave many feeling scared,
helpless, and unsure of what to do next. You are not alone. At this
point, it could be useful to talk with your daughter about how you can best
support her during this time in order to keep everyone safe. You might
also consider contacting the http://www.211.org/ at
1-800-273-6222. 211 is a service which connects people with local
resources, such as counselors, support groups, domestic violence services as
well as many others. I recognize how difficult this must be for you right
now, and I wish you all the best moving forward. Take care.
Help a mom
Thank you for reaching out for support. I can hear how
worried you are about this living situation, and especially for the safety of
your daughter and your 8 year old grandson. I’m glad to hear that your
daughter has contacted the police, although that has not stopped the abuse
directed towards her. At this point, it could be useful to talk with your
daughter about how you can best support her during this time in order to keep
everyone safe. You might also consider contacting the http://www.211.org/ at 1-800-273-6222. 211 is a
service which connects people with local resources, such as counselors, support
groups, domestic violence services as well as many others. I recognize
how difficult this must be for you right now, and I wish you all the best
moving forward. Take care.
You ask a great question. Whenever a large ticket item is
stolen or goes missing, we would generally recommend putting in a police
report. This can help to create a paper trail should there ever be a need in
the future for further legal action. It would be beneficial to talk this over
with your wife beforehand as it’s usually more effective if both parents are on
the same page when involving the police. Even though your situation doesn’t
involve physical abuse, the article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/how-to-talk-to-police-when-your-child-is-physically-abusive/ offers some great
tips for talking to the police. It may offer you some ideas. I hope this helps
to answer your question. Best of luck moving forward. Take care.
Dealing with anger and aggression in a young child can be
very challenging. Dr. Joan Simeo Munson offers some useful tips in her article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/hitting-biting-and-kicking-how-to-stop-aggressive-behavior-in-young-children/.
Spanking isn’t an effective way of addressing this behavior as it doesn’t help
a child learn more appropriate ways of handling their anger. Instead, you could
help your son develop more effective problem solving skills as explained in the
article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior-i-cant-solve-problems/. We
appreciate you writing in. Take care.
I can hear how overwhelmed you are trying to deal with your
son’s aggressive and belligerent behaviors. It can be tough to have to
experience this from someone you love and many parents would be wondering how
much more they can take. It is concerning though that you’re beginning to think
about harming your son and are having very specific ideas about how to do so.
It may be time to reach out to services within your community that may be able
to offer you support and guidance through this very troubling time. The 211
Helpline would be able to give you information on resources such as parent
support groups, transitional housing for young adults, counseling and other
mental health services. You can reach the Helpline 24 hours a day by calling
1-800-273-6222. You can also visit them online at http://www.211.org/.
I understand how much of a struggle this has been for you. You don’t have to
struggle alone. There are people willing to help you and your family. Good luck
to you and your family moving forward. Be sure to check back and let us know
how things are going. Take care.
You ask an interesting question, one best answered by
someone familiar with the specific laws and policies in your area. The 211
Helpline would be able to give you information on legal services that may
better be able to answer your question. You can reach the Helpline 24 hours a
day by calling 1-800-273-6222. You can also visit them online at http://www.211.org/. I hope this helps. Take care.