*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events as told to me by a friend who experienced them firsthand; used with permission.
Sometimes life with my teenage daughter Tori can be hard. She has a number of disabilities, and is very immature for her age for one thing, and of course we’re just going through the teen years. You know, if you’re a parent, the teen years can be volatile for your relationship.
Some days Tori comes home from school and doesn’t want to talk at all. Some days she comes home and does want to talk but she’s filled with attitude towards me because as her parent I am the one to be punished for her bad days.
On her worst days at school, she gets into fights with other students because she doesn’t understand the normal social cues of teens her age. She butts into conversations constantly and gets told to mind her own business, which makes her enraged and she lashes out at the other kid.
Once, last year, she even got physical with a kid. She pushed a girl who was yelling at her for something she did, and they both got sent to the principal’s office.
Tori ended up not getting in trouble at school, because apparently the other girl pushed her first, but I was still very upset that she had resorted to physical violence, so I took her phone away for two weeks. That’s a serious punishment for a teenage girl.
My friend Rebecca has a fourteen year old boy with serious behavior problems. He lashes out and screams at his parents and teachers, he can sometimes be violent with other kids if they bother him, and generally is a little unpredictable menace.
Recently Rebecca’s son, Troy, hit another boy in school, and she took a page from my book and took his phone away as punishment.
Troy was, not surprisingly, totally enraged.
One day, against Rebecca’s better judgement, she let him get off the bus alone after school while she was working a bit late. They didn’t often let him be home alone, because Troy was known to be a snoop and go through his parent’s things, but Rebecca did it anyway.
She came home to a nightmare.
When she walked in the door, it looked like the place had been ransacked by burglars.
Pictures were torn from the walls, the cushions were ripped from the furniture, and also ripped. The glass door of the china cabinet was broken and dishes were smashed on the floor. Everything in the kitchen cabinets had been dumped out on the floor, more things broken.
Before Rebecca could call 911, her son walked into the room and said:
“I want my phone back.”
Rebecca knew it was him who had done all this, and she burst into tears, telling Troy to go to his room but of course he didn’t listen and disappeared from the house.
It took Rebecca and her husband days to clean up their house and they lost hundreds of dollars worth of their property to Troy’s ridiculous outburst.
And then they called his therapist. Again.
What would you have done if your son trashed your house?