For over 10 years, teens have been asking us questions on every topic imaginable. While we are no longer taking new questions, we have a wealth of information we would like to share with teenagers.
Questions about suicide? Call the NATIONAL SUICIDE HOTLINE 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433).
Navigate: FAQ Home Page > Family Issues > Parent question about discipline
However, when you add that he curses at siblings (if this is new behavior), then perhaps something else deeper is troubling him -- there may be moods that are hard for him to ontrol and he finally lashes out, or leaves (through the window). We don't know whether he is oppositional out of defiance or out of emotional difficulties he is unclear about himself. My suggestion is to have the parent whom he is most likely to share with, take a walk with him; find some quiet and unscheduled time (probably during the weekend) when he's positive. Just propose time together, maybe go to the park and play catch; later, just ask how things are going, good things and things that have been on his mind. Don't give up if magic doesn't happen the first walk, demonstrating you're available and aren't going to react negatively to what he says, is important.
Also, check with teachers and a counselor to see how school and peer relationships (all are important but often difficult in middle school years) are going. Kids this age are also exposed to substances and it's perfectly OK to ask the school what sort of problems the school has been dealing with in that regard. If your antenna has been up for awhile that something is bothering him, it would be a good idea to have him assessed by a professional (often available through your or your spouses employee benefits) who can get to know your whole family, and also give some direction to how to pursue parenting him. Hang in there, and remember 12 year olds are in big transition, and this too will pass. Good luck.
Susan McKenzie , LCSW