Question:

The reason I type this question is because I have a 15-year-old son. He has been acting up over the last 2 to 3 months. He has always been a well behaved lad. But over the last few months he has been getting in with the wrong crowd at his high school. His grades are going down and he going out till 3 am in morning. Who knows what he is up to.

We have tried taking his things away and we have not given him any more pocket money. But it isn't doing any good. My wife has spoken to me about spanking him, but I don't really want to. I have never needed to spank him before, but since he has been getting involved with some people at his school, his behavior has has a huge turn for the worst. He is an only child. We gave him everything and we taken things off him.


Answer:

I recommend reserving spanking for times when a child is violent or willfully defiant. What you describe is neither of these things. You describe yourselves as parents who are wishy-washy in your expectations of your son. Who is in charge of your household? You or your son?

Establish a reasonable time for your son to be home, say 11 pm or whatever works for your household. If he is not in by that time he loses the privileges of going anywhere for one week.

He is probably into drugs or alcohol as well. If he comes home late, require that he takes a comprehensive drug test. If he fails, enroll him immediately in a drug rehabilitation program.

He is old enough that he doesn't need spending money from his parents. If he wants something, hand him the classified ads for jobs in the area.

Whether you see improvement or not, you must be consistent with what you ask of him and what the consequences are for violating the rules of the house.

He will likely try to push the two of you to see if this is for real. If he continues to leave despite the curfew, a spanking would be appropriate. But also consider taking his house keys and tell him the doors will be locked at the given curfew time. Meanwhile make arrangements with a trusted friend or even a nearby homeless shelter. When you lock the door and he isn't home, attach a note to the door that says where he can go to spend the night. If he has any intelligence, he will get the message really quickly.