My son's latest episode

Hi Mike,

I’m very sorry for your situation.It seems like you have a lot on your plate currently with your son/family dynamics and also with your wife having an illness.

How is your relationship with your son generally apart from when taking a discipline role?
Eg:does your son feel he can talk to you about things and do you do things together or is it always in the context of drama or discipline?

IMO It’s important to find out if your sons behaviour issues are simply due to decisions/choices or the alternative option is it because he is in pain of some kind due to family and or life circumstances.
What is his home environment like?
Is he still at school or if not how was his school environment such as any bullying etc or was he happy and had friends…

He doesn’t talk to me much at all, and rarely in a civil manner.
Recently, he hasn’t told much of anything important to anyone.

when does your son turn 18? is he into drugs?

Keeping you in prayers.
There is hope. My son, who got into similar trouble several years ago, just got a new job and is working to pay off his debt to me. They do eventually mature and appreciate their parents who have tried to be there for them.

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He turns 18 in 2020. To my knowledge, he uses no recreational drugs, alcohol, or tobacco.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, Fatima, AMEN!

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Uh, having a job to support one’s family IS family first! He also has a wife to support and perhaps other children as well. The son who is causing trouble should not be allowed to cause problems for those others in the family.

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Sorry. But nope. If you have the kind of job that doesn’t allow you to break your gaze when your son is getting in trouble with the law, them you are obligated as a parent to find a new one. Despite the common misconception, fatherhood is much more than pulling a paycheck. A boy getting in that much trouble needs an attentive male roll model.

Cardiac surgeons, ICU nurses, I do not want them to stop an operation because they get a call that their teen got picked up by the police. Many jobs do not even allow workers to look at texts or take personal calls outside of breaks.

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The OP already knows about his son and says he’s still trying to focus on his job.

So the OP should take a job as the Pillsbury dough boy?

Now it’s MY turn to say “sorry, but nope”. I don’t know how it was when you were growing up, but it was commonly understood when I was growing up that if the father had to take time off of work due to a misbehaving child, that child would probably be in more trouble over making the father take time out of work than for the infraction that caused him to be called from work in the first place. So we were afraid to have to have our father take time off work due to our misbehavior.

In a world where so many do not have their father at home, the fact that the OP is still at home working and providing for the family IS being an attentive role model. Unless and until evidence is presented otherwise (such as the father does not go to Mass with the family, or is an alcoholic, or is abusive, or never spends his free time with the family, or does not help out with the family chores, or if we find out a specific legitimate reason as to why the wife gets angry with him), my point stands and it is up to you to show evidence otherwise.

It’s high time the son starts appreciating the role of his hardworking father. In fact, it’s high time we ALL appreciate the role such hardworking fathers play.

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Well, whatever. If one wants to stick with the attitude that all there is to being a father is pulling a paycheck and not getting drunk or beating on anyone, that’s on them. Doesn’t seem to be working out too well for the OP or his son, but whatever.

Getting back on topic, but maybe you should just let him suffer the consequences. Let him spend a few nights behind bars. Let him get “scared straight” before the kid is born.

Do you have any other sons? Any older, bigger sons that can try to have, as they say in hockey, a “conversation” with him?

Also, if he is “too old and big to listen”, does he pose a physical threat to you? I suggest you see how much of a physical threat he poses to you and your family and take it from there.

Wait, I don’t see where you can infer that from the posts. Nobody is saying that the father, in obviously trying to deal with his son, AND making sure that he is still able to carry on with work as best as possible, is ‘just pulling a paycheck and not getting drunk or beating on anyone’.

You know, there is a tendency for people to get so caught up in seeing ‘one side’ of a situation that they tend to dismiss any other possible aspects, belittle them, etc. That isn’t helpful for anybody. Catholics, of all people, know that life is a ‘both-and’ far more than an ‘either-or’. This situation is not "either the father focuses every second of his attention on the child OR he’s a jerk who only cares about money and appearances’, it’s a “the father is both doing his best for his son in trouble, and carrying out his responsibilities in all other areas of his life as best as possible”

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@Mike1w

You have a heavy cross, Mike. In all aspects possible, take the high road in what you say and do.

When your son chose not to remove himself from the presence of others who were considering illegal activity, and then participated in the illegal activity, he “crossed the line” with his family, with the legal and penal systems, and with God, of course.

I think psychologists “would have a field day,” since you’re in a facet of law enforcement and your son has chosen to break the law in a way that may involve serious repercussions for him, plus embarrassment all around. Perhaps interacting with him as though he’s an adult and fully on his own, and now calling all the shots, would impress upon him the severity of his actions? I have no idea. I’m guessing. A priest, a counselor, and a lawyer are essential.

-In regards to his arrest and what follows, I think that I’d tell him something like, “I’ll always love you, but you know that I can never condone what you’ve done.” I think that on the surface, I’d let him wrestle with the legal and punitive uncertainties, while working as much as possible behind the scenes to secure good legal representation. Since he’s a minor, it might help him most—wake him up—to face the music, depending upon what the likely penalty would be. You know your son and the juvenile penal system best. You certainly have my prayers.

-In regards to the baby, a paternity test should be performed as soon as that can be done. If the baby is his, it needs him and its paternal grandparents in its life as often as possible. Maybe part-time responsibility for a tiny infant would help him to turn his life around. Again, you, your wife, and son have my prayers.

He hasn’t been arrested yet. We are still figuring out how to handle things.

A dad and breadwinner losing his job does not help the family in any way.

Kind of a big assumption that the dad is not putting family first because he is trying to hold onto his job, which provides stability and pays the bills, while simultaneously dealing with a kid who’s gone off the rails.

I see no indication that this father is a workaholic or doesn’t care about his son.

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You also need to be careful that any actions you take on your son’s behalf are not interpreted as trying to use your position in the justice system to exert an undue or inapropriate influence to get your son “off the hook”. For all you know, your son may be counting on that. That may adversely affect your career as well.

Have you spoken with a lawyer?

Personally I think you should try talking to him in a father son way in a context separate from just about his behaviour issues to build a better relationship.

Kids do stuff like this, and parents must respond with appropriate consequences. See it as a learning opportunity rather than “how did I fail” or the boy is irredeemable.

I’m not a parent but do work in a juvie diversion program. I think thoughtful consequences is the right tactic, something that aids in reflection.

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