Any advice on "bad" teenage boys? Or-Is it too early to disown my little brother?
I have a little brother who is 15 and I'm uneasy for his future.
Over the past year or so he has been arrested once and has stolen things from people's houses. In one incidence the cops were involved, in the most recent due to its nature he'll probably get the crap beaten out of him rather than the cops being involved .
Growing up I'd say we had different rules/boundaries with our single mom, who is also now battling cancer. I don't think you could say he is acting out because of the cancer because most of his infractions happened before the diagnosis. His personality has always been strong/defiant, and he has been a little lazy about earning money.
My mom has a support network of friends helping her out right now, and I am still at school for the next couple of weeks, but we're all at sort of a loss at how to deal with him. One plan was for him to go visit his Aunt in Alaska this summer, and I think those plans got moved ahead of time to get him out of town sooner rather than later, and that he sort of lost his right to vote. My mom asked me to call him last night, and he rejected my call.
I don't know what could be said to him to get his attention about his behavior. Rather than to seem remorseful, he seems to sulk that he got caught. What I really want to tell him is that his behavior is disgraceful and that I am fully prepared to cut off a sibling relationship with him until he has proved that he is following the rules of society.
But I really don't know how that will go over, and I figure that COTH probably has some advice on what to do next with a miscreant teenage boy.
I'm sorry to hear about your situation. (Also jingles for your mom and you)
About your little brother...do you have any family members in the military? I know we had a cousin come live with us for the summer (my dad was in the Marine Corps) and he straightened him out with lots of hard work and discipline. In fact, years later my cousin has thanked my dad for helping him turn his life around. Maybe something like that would be an option for your little brother? I know you mentioned sending him to an Aunt for a short time. Is she a no-nonsense kind of lady? That sounds like what he needs right now. That and some hard manual labor.
Sorry about your situation, and I wish I had good advice. All I can offer is the somewhat empty, "Time can make it better." I had 2 miscreant half-brothers (the youngest about 17 years older than me) and they got into all KINDS of trouble as kids. Took them until their 30's to straighten out, but now 1 is finishing up his Ph.D. (after getting his GED, then going back to college in his late 20's) and the other has a good job and a pretty happy family (though he never finished college). They pretty much straightened themselves up on their own, since their parents (my father and their respective mothers) did pretty much jack squat to help them out. So, I guess what I'm trying to say is... don't lose hope!
Sorry to hear that you're in a tough situation right now. Growing up I had sort of a similar situation - except I was the little brother (well, sister, but you know). I wasn't quite getting arrested, but I also was no angel and was the rebellious kid between my older sister and I. Somehow I also got a much looser rein (har har, no pun intended) than my sister did so I had many more opportunities.
In the end, I turned out fine. I got my act together and went to a good college and since have moved on to a successful career. I think that what's really important is to have some stability and GOOD role models outside of the house. When things are crazy at home, he's going to turn to his friends, teachers, other family members, neighbors, what have you - even if he's not talking to them, he's watching. Make sure he sees enough of the good stuff to have some desire to straighten himself out. If he doesn't have the best environment now, some time away with your family in Alaska could certainly help. And I know it's very cliche but having a hobby or playing a sport makes a big difference too... if you can encourage him to pursue something positive that he's interested in, he'll most likely want to go for it.
I have a relative who was running with a dangerous crowd, and now is about to graduate this summer from a theraputic school - in Costa Rica. They've done wonders with him, but I'm guessing it wasn't cheap. The alternative was letting him continue with behavior that was likely to get him killed, so it was worth it.
First Major Jingles for your Mom and your family. I hate cancer.
As to your little brother, find a military school or boys only boarding school. Many of the boys at the local military school are from single parent (mostly Mom) and after a certain age boys.just.tune.out.females - all females unless they are "hot"
Many moms bring their sons in around age 12-14 because they are being influenced by others instead of their family. In fact one of my great nephews may be attending this summer. He is a good kid, only his mind is going full bore 24/7
Try to get him in for summer school so he is surrounded by strong male individuals which 'usually' helps them. PM me if you want and I will send you info on the local school here.
FYI - this school has zero tolerance for bullying, fighting, drugs and alcohol. They have expelled Seniors dumb enough to "smoke one" 1-2 weeks before graduation.
"Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
Courtesy my cousin Tim
Geographic cures don't work. And what happens when he goes back to his ways in Alaska? Because the local cops don't know about his 'habits' then he might get away with more, meaning that when he's caught it will be for more crimes, and they don't play games with juvenile sentences a lot of places now. They showed the juvenile lockup in Alaska on "Alaska State Troopers" on the National Geo channel, and it wasn't pretty with many hardened criminals in there.
And not everyone reforms from early criminal activities, only some do. With some it can be the beginning of a long road downhill.
Is he attending school right now? I know that when teens start getting into trouble, the first thing a lot of them do is bail on classes. Some schools are really good at calling parents each time a student misses class - that might help track him a lot better. A conversation with his principal / vice principal / guidance department (all three if possible) is an important step. Most schools have the ability to refer to a social/youth worker or programmes we don't know about. Even speaking to each of his teachers - they NEED TO KNOW that you are all on the same page and don't want your little brother to slip through the cracks.
Even something as simple as removing his cell phone for infractions and making him earn it back - any parent here will attest to how much power that little device wields. i'm not saying it is a quick fix-it - but it sure gets their attention in a hurry.
All the best - I'm really glad you're pitching in and helping.
I'm going to tell you about my experience, it might be tldr, but here goes...
I was a single mom with 2 boys, my oldest, Jake, started doing drugs and other stupid stuff around 14. We lived in a small town 1 hour north of Toronto at the time. I eventually booted him out and sent him to my brothers in Lake Louise AB when he was 16. Jake continued to do drugs and get into trouble until he was 23. Jake would come home to live off and on during this time, he would always try to do the right thing, but it seemed his "friends" were always more important. He would inevitably start doing stupid stuff, and I would boot him out.
Fast forward to Christmas 2003, Jake gave me my best Christmas present ever, he went to rehab on Boxing Day. I had always told him it's one thing for a "kid" to be doing stupid stuff, but if you are still doing it at 25, you are pretty much a loser. He was 24 1/2 when he went into rehab. He turned his life around. He moved to Alberta where my family is to get a new start. He fell in love and got a good job working in the oil patch.
In 2006, Jake was settling into life, and my other son was traveling the world working for Princess Cruise Lines. Both of them wanted me to move back to Alberta where all my family was, because really, now that my kids were grown, there was nothing to keep me in Ontario. Jake was getting married on August, and they were going to start a family right away, and he wanted "Grandma" out with him. So after much thought, I moved back home. I landed here in May, Jake got married in August.
Now here comes the shitty part of my story. Three weeks after Jake was married, he was killed on his job in the Patch. 10 years of worrying about him when he was doing drugs and getting into trouble, worrying if I was going to get a call from the cops saying he was dead, and he survived all that.
My younger son spoke at Jake's funeral, and the statement that stayed with me is this.
"If we knew Jake would die, we would still encourage him to move here, because Jake found himself. He loved his wife and he loved his life. Jake found what he was looking for and he had 2 years of happiness. So yes, even knowing he would die, we would have encouraged him to move here because we are glad he found himself."
My point in telling you this is simple. You and your Mom must not enable his bad behavior out of fear he may die. There is no guarantee in life. Tough Love does work, you must believe your brother was raised right and that he will find his way in life. Keep loving him, but make it clear you will not tolerate his bad behavior.