Rebelious Teen - Possibly Depression


#1

I have to make this brief because I'm at work so here it is.

I'm remarried through the church. My previous marriage was an illicit marriage which my 2 teenagers come from. My ex wife is COMPLETELY against the Catholic church. I can't express that enough. She constantly curses our son and calls him worthless, loser, failure and many other things that are a lot worse. Our son has rebelled at one point smoking weed, breaking into deserted motels, etc. We started walking in the Neocatechuminal way and he's made huge changes.... however lately he's been falling off on his grades and responsibilities. It almost seems like depression.
His mother is taking me back to court for custody even tho he'll be 17 in 1 month. She wants to force him into military school.

Sigh... I'm looking for some kind of Teenage Catholic Retreat for troubled youth's. I live in California and just curious if anyone can point me in the right direction.

Also, please pray for my son Anthony. I worry about him alot.
Thank you & God Bless

Christ is Risen!


#2

Try to find if Fr. John Amsberry will be giving a retreat near you any time soon.
I think he is on Facebook; look for URLVD.

If it "almost seems like depression," have him evaluated for depression. You can explain to your son that though depression often comes from emotional issues, it is a physical ailment that makes addressing the emotional issues difficult or impossible. If he were having shortness of breath and tightness in his chest, you'd have him evaluated, to rule out a life-threatening condition, right? Well, depression is a life-threatening condition, particularly in a teenage male. Better to rule it out, and then go from there.

Certainly the behavioral issues could go beyond what good parenting alone is likely to address. Your son, as you point out, will attain the age of majority very soon. Get him some professional help....not to "get him into line", but to open his life back up to happiness that comes from confident maturity. There may be a fair number of happy people out there who will tell you they occasionally smoke weed--it is a habit that some manage to have without becoming addicted--but they are not breaking into deserted motels. His choices prove that he needs some help. Tell your son that he needs someone to talk to that he can rely on completely. If he can't talk to you, you're going to find him someone to talk to. Make certain he knows that you're looking for someone who has his back, not someone who will force him to toe the line with his parents. It might be a counsellor, it might be a priest, that is something he can look into. The only non-negotiable is that it will be someone with the background to be of real help. You are not going to hang him out to figure this out alone, nor to be bulldozed by his parents.

Does your wife think that she'll get Robert E. Lee just by sending a kid to West Point? Under no circumstances should a young person be sent to military school to be "fixed." I would be very suspicious of a "military school" that does not seek students who have a positive desire to be there. Military school is for young people preparing for a life that needs the particular discipline and structure that is exemplified in the military. A school that simply sets out to reform students through strict structure and the threat of hazing and other harsh punishments will ruin as many students as it helps. If your son needs a rehabilitation school, send him to a school that is openly that, but only as a last resort, in order to protect the people your son would be likely to harm (including himself) if he were not sent there. Otherwise, go to bat for your son on this one.

PS Assuming your first marriage was attempted in good faith, and was not a matter of bigamy or something like that, it would be better not to refer to it as "illicit". Invalid would be a better word. These are words that will make a big difference to the children produced by the marriage.


#3

you are correct in the comment I had about my previous marriage. It was considered invalid and annulled( I think that’s right) by The Catholic Church. I’ve been given the blessing of truly receiving this sacrament with my wife (not my ex) thru the Church. She’s a big help in carrying this part of my cross. Specially since lately I’ve begun to lose a little hope. I will make an appointment today to have him evaluated And try and talk with him today. I will also look into what you’ve mentioned above. Thank you soooo much for your help.


#4

Get someone for yourself to talk to, as well, and not just your wife. I mean someone with some experience guiding men in your position. Unfortunately, men who are roughly in your position are legion.

Fr. John Amsberry is very positive, never leaves the topic of how deeply and unconditionally God loves us, but yet isn’t wishy-washy or given to false do-what-you-want morality. He is the real thing. He had some difficult times in his own teen years–although no motel break-ins that I’m aware of–and is not one of those priests who was obviously headed to the seminary from third grade. He’s written some books, too, extremely accessible.

You might find them very helpful:
Reaching Out To Joy: Jesus Over You
More of You Through Prayer

More to the point, even though he is in the Archdiocese of Portland, he does a lot of work down in California.

youtube.com/watch?v=KJMRXoAXpzI&feature=related

He does rap, too, but I’m a poor judge of that, because I can’t stand rap. I don’t think there is anything within the realm of God’s will he would not do in order to reach a teen, that’s for certain.


#5

[quote="chief714, post:1, topic:239882"]
I have to make this brief because I'm at work so here it is.

I'm remarried through the church. My previous marriage was an illicit marriage which my 2 teenagers come from. My ex wife is COMPLETELY against the Catholic church. I can't express that enough. She constantly curses our son and calls him worthless, loser, failure and many other things that are a lot worse. Our son has rebelled at one point smoking weed, breaking into deserted motels, etc. We started walking in the Neocatechuminal way and he's made huge changes.... however lately he's been falling off on his grades and responsibilities. It almost seems like depression.
His mother is taking me back to court for custody even tho he'll be 17 in 1 month. She wants to force him into military school.

Sigh... I'm looking for some kind of Teenage Catholic Retreat for troubled youth's. I live in California and just curious if anyone can point me in the right direction.

Also, please pray for my son Anthony. I worry about him alot.
Thank you & God Bless

Christ is Risen!

[/quote]

Why don't you and your son do some family therapy? Sounds like he's got more than enough reason to be angry and hurt, since his parents are divorced. I am glad that you, his dad, have custody of him. Will he talk to you? Have you asked him what is going on with him? Does he have a social life, a girlfriend, a part-time job, a hobby?

I would not advise out of home placement in any way. He needs you, his father, to help him work through this. Get him some help, get him involved in male activities, take him fishing, hunting, bowling, whatever you can do just to spend more time with him. If he wants to be with friends, take all of them out. Just hang with him whenever and however you can. Talk to him, and encourage him to talk to you. Listen to him. Praise him for whatever you can. DO NOT, and I repeat DO NOT get into the negative cycle of criticize-fail-more criticism-more failure, etc. that happens when teenagers screw up big time.

If your son were truly rebellious, he wouldn't have responded to ...what did you call it? Neocatechumen? I don't know what that is, is it a program at your church? Did something happen at your home or at school that might have caused him to slip back into the bad behavior? You have to be honest with yourself and see your part in things. Does he get along with your wife?

I just think a counselor might be able to address the issues better than any stranger in a retreat. Trust me, he needs his dad. If your wife does go to court to try and get custody, if you and he are in counseling then the judge is a lot less likely to think you are not doing your job.

St. Joseph, help this father to reach his son's heart and help him in whatever way is needed. Jesus, you know the purpose that you have set out for this young man, please help his father guide him safely toward that purpose. Amen.


#6

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