My son is headed down the wrong road fast. How can I get him back on track?

My son just turned twelve, he has pretty much stopped going to school, is lying, not following rules, bullies his little sister, has become violent and destroys doors, walls or whatever is in his path. He has been involved with the police on several occasions and is going through the restorative justice program, I believe he is using drugs and alcohol. All of these things are out of character for my son, he is a very kind, gentle, caring, smart, mild mannered, and has many other great qualities. He has a new “friend” who I think is a bad influence, and do not agree with him hanging out with him. My son will not admit or take responsibility for his actions or behaviours, he seems to think what he is doing isn’t all that bad. I have talked to him, begged and pleaded with him and nothing seems to help. I have referred him for counseling and finally got it after a few weeks wait but he refuses to go. I have been doing everything in my power to turn him back around, talking to him, telling him what I expect, counseling, have gotten him a mentor, spoken to the school social worker and guidance counselor, teachers, principals, child welfare, police. Pretty much everyone who I think will help and it seems to me that if my son doesn’t want to stop what he is doing no one can make him! I see him going down the wrong road fast and I can’t seem to get him back. Do you have any suggestions on anything else I can do?

You are right; you have to get control of him. Use a combination of positives and control. Let him know how much you love him and tell him again and again that you think he is a good kid. But make no excuses for his behaviour. Tell him clearly he is going wrong.

I would focus attention on his principal or child welfare. There are legal requirements that children go to school and the welfare authorities have legal power to make him do this. Get an appointment with one or both and make it clear that you demand their help. If they won’t help, demand to see their boss.

Your son’s chances of turning around are pretty good if he has not been like this for too long. But his behaviour needs to be controlled.

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