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Question
Posted by: concerned sister | 2004/01/15

Evil child

Dear Doc.

My sister called in tears last night because her teenage son as usual was giving her grief. He has dropped out of school, uses drugs and has no respect for anyone. When you ask him about school he tells you to butt out of his affairs. But that is not the worst thing, he verbally abuses my sister in front of everyone and threatens to beat her up. He steals from her, beats up his siblings and does not respect my sister's boyfriend. It has come to a pont where he does what he wants when he wants and one one can do anything to him.

She called the police last night and he took his clothes and ran before thay could arrive but he is back this morning demanding money. He has always been a problematic child. Sometimes I think he is inherently evil. He was not even high yesterday when he harrassed her like that.

What can she do and how can I help her?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Dear cs,
Sounds like the sort of nauseatingly cocky little kid who is still at the infantile stage of thinking he knows everything, and hasn't managed to achieve the wisdom or recognizing all that he doesn't know. She should absolutely and forever refuse to provide him with money --- isn't the cheek breathtaking that he announces that whatever he chooses to do, however self-destructive, is "his affairs" --- but he expects other people to pay for them ? She needs to make it absolutely clear ( and stick to it ) that his behaviour is totally unacceptable, and that if he ever expects to visit and stay in her house, he must live to her standards and rules --- exactly as, if he stayed in a hotel, even though then he would be paying for the privilege, he'd be thrown out if he misbehaved and broke their rules. If he threatens her, or his sibs, or damages anything in the house, she should again call the police and lay charges against him --- even a brief experience of prison may help him to recognize that his seleced way of life, selfish and destructive, is unacceptable, and leads to consequences he won't like.
Of course it's hard for a mother to manage to do that, but indulging him is only encouraging him to get worse and worse. At least in the criminal justice system, profoundly flawed though it is, he has some chance of having to see a probation officer or similar person who he might actually listen to, if it was a condition for avoiding even worse consequences.

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Our users say:
Posted by: flower | 2004/01/16

Just a thought for all of you out there. I have a brother who did exactly the same things. At 17 he did the same things, and it only got worse. We thought we were trying to help him by giving him money and showing we care, little did we know we were digging his own grave. My brother was a drug addict by 18, infact he admitted that he started very young. We all felt sorry for him and thought his bad behavour was just a call for attention. Today my brother is 28 and is in his second year of a four year sentance in jail. Everyday I thank the good lord that he is there. If it wasn't for that he would be dead in some ditch. Being hard, and getting locked up has saved his life and helped him realize he has a problem and needs to stop. My advise is, be aware of drug problem in teenagers. Take action, call the police on them if you have to, even if it is just to scare them. But don't sit back and do nothing - it could mean that your causing more harm than anything else.

good luck.

Reply to flower
Posted by: Concerned sister | 2004/01/16

Thanks for all the advice. Spoke to my sister yesterday and she agreed with me that he needs some tough love from now on. No more free rides and one step out of line she calls the police.

Reply to Concerned sister
Posted by: Carol | 2004/01/15


having been through two boys with similar problems , i have two suggestions here.

Is he on drugs ?? if he is have him comitted immediately with conditions attached , if he breaks the rules out he goes ... tough but i did it and survived , my son and i are slowly building a friendship again.

It also sounds as if ADD is a possibility , have him checked for that .

My youngest is the same age , with ADD , with diet control and herbal medication and discipline he is a different boy.. Im extremly firm tho , and consistent.. he has to earn priveleges ...its working

just two thoughts ... you never know ... deal with it now tho before its too late

And NO there are no facilities left for problem boys i tried ... reform schools only help if the youth has committed a criminal offence ... and very often these kids operate very tidily just inside the law.

What i also did with mine that was useful . I appraoched the child protectio unit localy , and they very nicely explained to my youngster that while he has rights , I as his mother have rights too , to be quite honest i dont think it ever ocurred to garth (my son) that im a human too ... however thanks to the CPU he does know now .

Reply to Carol
Posted by: Zeena | 2004/01/15

This child is deeply disturbed. I'm in no way condoning his terrible behaviour. But it seems his real dad is not around, maybe never has been. That is probably a factor. His mother's boyfriend does not seem strong enough to take this 16-year old in hand. I wonder if there are facilities in South Africa for a teenager like this? He needs limits set, he needs discipline. He needs love badly, however difficult it might be to love a boy like this. He will probably run a mile if psychiatric help is suggested.

What is his childhood background? Could that have to do with his present behaviour? If there are no satisfactory answers, then the only answer is that which someone has already suggested: tough love. No money, no new clothes, no pandering to his whims. What he needs is for his mom or the boyfriend to grab him, shake him up good and hard, and SET LIMITS. That's not child abuse, it's discipline, of which he hasn't had enough in his life.

I don't know how strong his mom is, personality-wise, but she should not in any way back down before this problem child. No, he's not evil, but he's very troubled. I'd say, first of all, no more money. Full stop. If he needs money for drugs (how terrible this world has become) he can find a job and work for money. (Don't we have any Reform Schools left??)

Reply to Zeena
Posted by: Nobull | 2004/01/15

Refer to posting and replies to subject title "Problem Child". take specific note of the response from Spooky.

This kid needs his ass kicked, not licked.
Team up with your sister, kick his ass till his nose bleeds while you throw him out on his ear. If he wants to get tough, teach him a lesson in how to respect his aunt and mum with the aid of a rolling-pin and/or a broom.

Alternatively, allow your sister to suffer forever for breeding, encouraging, nurturing and harbouring such a despicable piece of crap and for now having to pollute the world with it.

Sorry - There is no other quickfix solution.

Reply to Nobull
Posted by: KK | 2004/01/15

Dear Concerned sister

How is the boy, when he is out of the house is he the same or does this behaviour only appears when he's in the house.

If his rude behaviour only exists in the house, he might have a problem with the house management (i.e.: mothers boyfriend perhaps / there is no communication in the house).

If this behaviour is the same outdoors and indoors, it could be possible that the boy has been spoilt from early stages of his growth, used to be provided with all that he ever wished for, and now he does not want to grow-up and he does not give in to changes and development.

I think if he could sit down with some one he trusts and is free to express his feelings with (like his school friends or guys that he smokes/drinks with) you might find a lot of answers.

Hope you succeed in your journey its a tough one, been there once.

Reply to KK
Posted by: Interesting Reply | 2004/01/15

Cybershrink, don't you think that arresting the child is a bit severe. Aids is rife in prisons - he might get a death warrant.

Anyway, I think measures should be set into place. Isn't there a Problem Child Camp (don't know what it is called). Although, I've always had reservations around those aswell.

It is a tough situation.

Reply to Interesting Reply
Posted by: Klm | 2004/01/15

Agree with cybershrink.

Reply to Klm
Posted by: concerned sister | 2004/01/15

Sadly enough he will only be turning 17 next month.

Reply to concerned sister
Posted by: klm | 2004/01/15

Ever heard about tough love. I suggest that she kick him out of the house. let him go his own way.. it will be hard as she still is his mother and surely also despite everything he does,love's her child. How old is he?

Reply to klm

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