Helping My Son's Friend Deal With Anger At Home

by Marilyn
(New York)

My son's friend has run away several times. My doors are always open as I do not agree a teen should stay in the streets. He is 19.

His problem as expressed in his own words is that "he can't control his anger therefore he leaves rather than argue with his parents." His parents do not see it that way though. They see it as him rebelling and wanting things to go his way.



Even when he goes to his room to try to turn down his anger, the family will go in the room and continue the argument which in turn gets him angrier. Last night he came to my home in tears expressing the fear that he did not know what to do. His parents had expressed the desire for him to leave because of another disagreement.

I spoke to the parent to see if their stories matched and for the most part it did. I want to help this family. I don't know how. I don't know where to begin. I am a single mom of two young men, 23 and 25 years of age. I had my battles with them but never asked them to leave my home. I really don't know what to do.




Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Marilyn, and thanks for telling your story here. How great it is that this young man has you in his life, someone who cares so much and wants to help.

There really is not a whole lot you can do in your position. The power and freedom to improve the situation lies in the hands of the parents. At 19 years old, however, the son is legally an adult, and can make his own decisions.

I suggest you support him as a friend, but give up on trying to help the family. You can only help them if they come to you and ask for your help--otherwise your efforts could make things worse, not better.

Believe in this young man, and do not see him as a helpless victim. These are his parents, and it is no accident that he's in this situation. Trust him to make the right decisions for himself, and let him go. You can still be a refuge for him, but I strongly suggest you avoid doing anything else unless they ask for your help, or if there is some type of illegal activity.

I hope this is helpful to you.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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