Posted by: snookums | 2007/04/05


My teenage son is very down and throws fits of rage. As I am a single mom I don ot know what to do. HE hits the walls and doors and punches whatever he can especially when I dont want to give him money and says his life is messed up and he is very depressed. He does not want to work he wants to do a course that costs R8000 and says I owe it to him to pay it, but I do not have the money. I would rather he moves out but how do I get him to go on his own to get a taste of the real world he keeps telling me it is my fault his life is a mess even though he dropped out of school against my wishes. There are terrible rumours going around about him and he is embarressed to face people as well. I dont know how to deal with this.

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Our expert says:
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Sounds like the kid is being a bit more alarming and annoying than the average adolescent. I like RMC's approach here. He has to understand that there is no way you OWE him an R 8000 course, especially as by dropping out of school he has shown an impaired capacity to persist and achieve within a course. And he is old enough to take responsibility for the choices HE made, including dropping out of school, and for the effects these choices have on his life. As Britty says, don't accept his invitations to feel guilty, and don't enable him to blackmail you.
Make it clear that you care about him and what happens to him, and willsupport him, to the extent that you can, in realistic moves to get his life right. He ca get a job and earn the money to pay for the course he wants --- and if he does it that way, he'll be unlikely to be as ready t waste his own money as to waste yours.
You havent said what the 'terrible rumours" are, but these two he could deal with in counselling, to choose the most useful way of responding to them.

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Posted by: Britty | 2007/04/06

Don't let him blackmail you by pushing your guilt buttons - its time he grew up and took responsibility for himself. Is there a male member of your family or extended family that will sort him out and where is his father in all this? Don't let him scare you with the physical stuff and if you are afraid of him physically then prepare yourself so you have a chance of getting away. Maybe with another family member confront your son about the rumours, maybe your son thinks you don't know about them and there might be a grain of truth in them - don't ignore the rumours, his demands or tantrums and don't let him get away with anything else. Its tough being a single parent but if you are all he has then help him by being tough but loving. When a friend of mine wants to tell me something that she thinks may hurt me or annoy me she always begins by saying she loves me. Take care of youself and be strong for your son.

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Posted by: RMC | 2007/04/06

If he dropped out of school you cant know he won't drop out the course as well. Tell him to get a job and do the course part time and you will consider contributing towards it.

It is never too late to change things - but it is up to him to do it. He needs to take it and no one else can do it for him. Its his life and he is responsible for what he makes of it.

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