Please help me figure out the best route to take before I loose my only son. He has been a good kid until about the last year. We have always told him that grades are the most important thing. I have always tried to fight the battles worth fighting, so he gets to wear the clothes he likes, wear his hair the way he likes. The problem is he won’t talk to us. He grades begin to slip last year. We know he has the potential, but he wouldn’t come home and study. He said he would study enough at school. Well his grades showed he wasn’t. He also seems spaced out by missing assignments. I have always kept him involved so he is introduced to the right friends and this has work. He has a very nice girlfriend. He doesn’t have any close regular friends, but is fairly popular with all types of people. When we show concern about his grades he gets defensive. When we try to ground him he gets really hateful. He threatened to runaway the other day and even packed his bag because I wouldn’t let him go to his girlfriends house because he need to work on his math. I finally gave in if he promised to come home early and work on it. Well he didn’t. He is addicted to this computer game and when he pretends to be working on his homework (he is taking a on-line class this summer) he has the game hidden behind it. I think he bad mouths us to his girlfriend saying we nag him all the time. But she doesn’t know he is spending as much as 6-8 hours on this game. He used to bring her over to our house, but they don’t get as much privacy here as at her house. I feel like he is embarrassed of me and my husband. If I take away his Internet access, phone, etc and think he will run away or am afraid of never getting to have that close relationship I used to have with him. He hates his dad, but his dad can be stubborn. They are so much alike. He is an only child and I am stressed daily. I don’t want to loose my son!
The problem I see from what you have said is that you have have spoiled your son and have allowed him to bully you into things that otherwise he shouldn’t be allowed to do. As long as you remain weak and simply expect him to do things out of the goodness of his heart you will be disappointed. In my mind this isn’t about losing your son it is about instilling character into him. While he is making attempts to show you he is on his way to becoming an adult, you need to not be allowing him to simply do what he wants because you have fear of losing him. He is using that against you. You should be applying clear boundaries and incentives for good behavior. Don’t simply let him do things because he promises things. Last time I checked the world tends not to work that way.