teen son arrested, needs motivation


My son is 16, has up until yesterday been a good kid. He and some friends were arrested and released to parents for smoking pot. I was shocked. Yes, I am a stay at home mom so he doesn't have alot of time alone in the house. He never loved sports/will not get involved with school activities although he is an A/B student (but is capable of being straight A just not motivated). My husband and I have truely encouraged him all of his life to become involved in activities knowing it would keep him busy as a teen. He started to hang with a new group of boys this year at school and bang, trouble. I am so distraught, never thinking this would happen. We have taken his cell phone/computer and he is punished for 2 months, no dances home after school etc. Is there any way to motivate him to do positive things and hang with positive people with good values?? I need some advice from those of you who have experienced this. As I said, he has always been a respectful, kind young man. I cannot get over the grief of seeing him handcuffed and need to get him on the right path. Please advise...thanks

Comments (4)
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Well perhaps the fact that he has had handcuffs on has made a big impression on him and he won't do it again.

You said that he is a good kid, I am sure he still is.

If it is possible a change in schools might be a good idea to get him into a crowd that likes positive activities.

Are you and hubbie good role models, do you do sport or engage in interesting activities ?

Remember kids experiment so don't panic too much.

Talk to him about harm minimumisation so he can make safe judgements about what he puts into his body.

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Sounds like you're doing the right thing by grounding him for at least a couple of months. Does he seem to have been "scared straight" by the experience? If so, you may need to back off a bit. And restore privileges gradually -without making a big issue. Give him a chance to make things right.
You're lucky he's getting decent grades. I had a son who wasn't interested in anything much, either, and his grades were awful. So your child has something going for him - and it sounds like he also has caring, loving parents. Don't think he isn't aware of it, though he may not say anything!

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What volunteer activities is he involved in? I'd mandate that he get involved in some activity that gets him working with others less fortunate. I'd also make sure that you are volunteering as well....and if you're not at present, make time for it.

On the flip side, did you seriously think that your son would never ever try pot? I think that might have been a bit unrealistic on your part...

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As you're a stay-at-home mom, you're in an excellant position here. Why not set aside 2-3 afternoons a week for the TWO of you (and any other children you have) to do volunteer work as a family. Not as a punishment, mind you, but as an opportunity for the family to do something together that's good. I'd start by trying to find something that might be interesting and/or help your son with his plans for his future.

There are so many opportunities for volunteer work in any community, you shouldn't have any problem finding something interesting, needed and worthwhile. A few things : raise puppies for the Seeing Eye (dd did that as a 4-H project), volunteer at nursing and group homes, tutor (he's got the grades for that--be the elementary schools could put him to good use), hospital volunteer, summer rec program, walking the dogs at the local animal shelter, volunteer at a local zoo or museum, etc. The AIDs baby hospices always need help, it seems. Homeless shelters, soup kitchens need extra hands. You might find some individualized opportunities--maybe your veterinarian could use a few free hours of work each week?

Try making it a family activity though--set the example, give yourselves time to spend together, helping others, and use the time to talk and get to know each other better.

He may not be happy with the situation at first, but if it's his only time out of the house during the week, he may soon start to look forward to it, and if you choose well, he may just get interested in spite of himself. And don't make this an activity for just the time he's being punished. Make it clear that being a responsible member of society is everyone's responsibilty, for always. We always made volunteering an important part of our family life when we were raising our DD--and she continues to give back to the community now that she's grown. It's totally a win-win situation. But you will need to be careful that you don't tell him that volunteering is part of his punishment--that won't work out well.

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