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Kicked Out of School and Defiant Behavior


I am a single mother of a 14-year-old boy. His father died five years ago, and it was a difficult time before his death, but it’s been even more difficult since. I have been dealing with behavioral issues with my son in school since he started pre-K, and it seems to have only become worse with time. He has been kicked out of regular school and has attended an alternative school for the past two years. He has been tested, and the school diagnosed him with a mild academic handicap. We have done everything possible to set up a plan to help him succeed, but he is fighting it tooth and nail.

I held him back this year from the ninth grade because of fighting and other problems. He has told me and the school staff that he does not want to be there, and he has acted out by fighting (becoming increasingly more violent) and getting kicked out of school. The last time he was kicked out of school, the police were called because the staff could not calm him down, and when the police arrived, they couldn’t calm him, either. When they tried to arrest him, he resisted, so they used force and took him to the youth center.

He is becoming worse, and I’m unable to hold a job because the school is constantly calling and I can’t leave him unsupervised. At home, he has become more defiant and does not do what he is told. I have tried taking everything from him and have disciplined him, but it does not seem like anything is working. The last fight he had at school was more violent and two teachers were injured. My son does not realize the seriousness of his actions, especially when he is angry. He has no respect for the adult figures at school or at home because he doesn’t listen or follow directions. He has stated on several occasions that he does not want to live with me, and his actions show that.

I do not want to give up on him. I want so much more for him out of life, but if he doesn’t want it for himself, then I’m fighting an uphill battle. I love my son with all my heart and want the best for him, but if I can’t get him on the right track then I need to know what options are out there because handing him over to the state is not an option I want to consider.

About three years ago, he was seeing a therapist, but unfortunately my insurance was dropped. I am lost and need help before it is too late. Thank you.


It sounds like you’re going through an incredibly frustrating time, and it’s even more difficult when you add financial issues into the equation. You’re dealing with loss, money issues, severe behaviors and academic difficulties. With all of these issues together, it’s no surprise that the average 14-year-old can’t handle it.

If you haven’t already started, it’s a good time to bring in some support in the form of family or friends. Usually, when a teenager gets to the point where he becomes violent and completely uncooperative, constant supervision will get him moving in the right direction. If you can find a way to schedule constant supervision for him, it would be very helpful, especially as you begin to focus on looking for a job. Maybe his father’s family would be a good resource, and it might be a powerful way for them to deal with the grief they might be feeling.

It’s understandable that you don’t want to give up your parental rights. This doesn’t mean that you should refuse to let him get help through a treatment facility. Sometimes when we can’t provide the structure and strength that our mentally disabled or mentally ill children need, a facility is the best option to provide balance, not only for them, but for us.

If you’re willing, we can help you look for treatment facilities or counseling options in your area. Free or sliding scale options are often available.

In the meantime, build your support. Talk to your son about what he wants. Talk about why things aren’t working in school. Discuss how he feels after losing his father. In situations like these, when we are disappointed with our children’s behavior, the dynamic that the parent is the enemy and the child is the victim can become established. Don’t let him take you there. You are his mother, you love him, and if you two can cooperate there will be ​a way through this.