My son is 15 1/2 and has been a pretty good kid minus minor issues. He's never been into drugs or alcohol, this I know for sure. I did however recently find out that he has lost his virginity to his 16yr old girlfriend of 10 months, his grades dropped, we ground him and he brings them up, then they drop and this is the cycle we have gone through all year. I have taken away his cell phone but he still sneaks calls to her with the house phone, he's not allowed to go anywhere but I think he's been sneaking out of the house for several months visiting her and doing whatever they do. I am at a loss as what to do now. We have run out of options on discipline and my husband is literally just ready to throw in the towel with him. We understand the sex, it was bound to happen and I am disappointed but it's not the end of the word. I don't like the sneaking and the lies. How can he earn our trust and his freedom back if he won't even uphold to the disciplines we give to him. I am at a communication loss here. I have tried to be open with him and I have tried to give him small trusts to see what he will do with them and with every inch we give him he takes a mile. Any suggestions we haven't thought of would be greatly appreciated. Thanks ~M
You seem to have the right attitude and approach. It's not about the sex--it's about the lies. I would never say you can be "sure" about drugs and alcohol. The first step is to respond to the lies and drop in grades by restricting digital media and making sure he sleeps. The second is to start the communication on why you are restricting him. Be clear. Thirdly, I would consider a meeting with his guidance counselor to cover what is going on in school. Finally, I would say that if things don't improve, you as a family would consider a third party therapist to work with you all. Don't lay it only on him. It works best when he sees you are all invested.
Best wishes for a good outcome.
Wayne Yankus, MD, FAAP
expert panelist: pediatrics