How can someone deal with a stubborn child who hangs out with a gang and is likely to start using drugs?

My auntie has a son – now about 18 years old, who never listens to her advice against hanging out with his close colleagues – a gang of outrageously unstable and stubborn youths – most of whom don’t live with parents and are suspected to be involved in criminal acts. She’s so heartbroken about what he’s always doing, but her love for him has never made things better.

I keep wondering whether this may happen to my children too, when they grow-up, or something – but how can a parent deal with such confusion when a child doesn’t listen to them and keeps hanging out with kids who may make their lives much worse, esp. getting into drugs and other substance usage? Thanks for your advice?

Regular User Asked on November 7, 2018 in Family Support Systems.
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I think what is happening to your aunt ‘son  is every parents worry. Most of the time, it is a bad period in the kid’s life and someday, if the kid is still alive, he will grow up and realize what he is doing has no meaning. He will seek change usually for the better. I hear stories like that all the time. Raising children is the toughest thing in life and most of the time your kids will turn out the way you want them to turn out. Remember, it is all about parenting and being a constant presence in your kid’s life.

Super User Answered on November 8, 2018.
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IngridStanford, children are easier to mold when they are still young than when they have already grown through puberty. The mistake we normally make as parents is that we do not cherish and strengthen a child’s bond with us when it is still possible. Indeed, there’s always an undisputed relationship between a parent and a child, but its the quality of this relationship that matters most. A child is more likely to stray and not listen to parents if:

  1. The parent is very distant from the child. It’s no secrete, a child’s likes, hobbies, and friends may have nothing in common with a parent, but a parent is more mature, flexible and less likely to make a mistake when he makes  a calculated compromise to get into their child’s life so as to fish them out of wherever they are wandering. The parent has a stronger and more authoritative position in the life of a child, so that means he or she is able to mold the child while he’s still young into a better and more responsible person by knowing everything about the child, and caring to help them through their needs – not just substance or material – but emotional, social or even psychological.
  2. The parent never listens to the child’s needs. Every child desires to be listened to, like a wife wants to be listened to by her husband. If the child fails to find someone to accommodate his/her challenges, he will find someone who’ll listen and understand them elsewhere.
  3. The Parent fails to provide for the children and instead compensates the disappointment with constant anger. I’ve seen several stray youths who felt insecure just waiting on their parents. Have you talked to a street child before? Granted, most end-up street children due to child abuse cases, but some feel insecure and would prefer to determine their future elsewhere.
  4. A parent fails to get past a child’s old mistake. All children make mistakes, some may be too hard to get over and others unacceptable to you. One thing every parent should always remember is that no matter how greatly a child may be in error, you’re the only one who can help them make it right.
  5. A parent simply fails to love their child unconditionally and sacrificially. Though the majority of parents truly love their children, it’s not true everywhere. The real challenge however is not whether or not a parent has enough love for their children, it is whether the child knows it. Some parents treat their children, day in and day out like total strangers. Their love is locked in somewhere but is not allowed to come-out as some think this would make them look vulnerable and less strict as they want to appear. In turn, they instead lock away the child’s trust, feeling of security and comfort whenever they are with their parents.

Your children are still young so you have a better chance to raise them in away that they will remain focused on the best possible destination you’ve set out for them. I can not fail to mention that there are so many reasons why a child may become stubborn and insolent, I only listed the parent’s duty side, but issues such as suffering from ADHD, trauma, low self-esteem, harbored anger and forgiveness in a child, child abuse, sexual abuse among friends or strangers, etc.. reasons are endless why your auntie’s son is behaving this way, and we can not tell which without professional help and analysis from both the child’s family side and the child’s own life history. I sincerely hope he realizes that he’s on the wrong path before its too late. We wish you and you’re family all the best!

Kind regards.

Moderator Answered on November 8, 2018.
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Thank you everyone for your words of wisdom. I see you’re people who’ve had great experience raising up a child, its not so easy, quite challenging and in someways, truly interesting. I love my children, and I wish the best for them in life. Thanks again!

-Ingrid.

Regular User Answered on November 8, 2018.
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So, what is ADHD, is it like some kind of a disease in children?

Regular User Answered on November 8, 2018.
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Jack, ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It is a medical condition. A person with ADHD has differences in brain development and brain activity that affect attention, the ability to sit still, and self-control. ADHD can affect a child at school, at home, and in friendships.

We are not sure what causes it but evidence points to the fact that ADHD is mostly hereditary. This means that if a parent has every had ADHD, chances are high that his children, grand children or great grand children may also suffer from it.

How can you know that you have ADHD?

Kids with ADHD may have signs from one, two, or all three of these categories:

  • Inattentive. Kids who are inattentive (easily distracted) have trouble focusing their attention, concentrating, and staying on task. They may not listen well to directions, may miss important details, and may not finish what they start. They may daydream or dawdle too much. They may seem absent-minded or forgetful, and lose track of their things.
  • Hyperactive. Kids who are hyperactive are fidgety, restless, and easily bored. They may have trouble sitting still, or staying quiet when needed. They may rush through things and make careless mistakes. They may climb, jump, or roughhouse when they shouldn’t. Without meaning to, they may act in ways that disrupt others.
  • Impulsive. Kids who are impulsive act too quickly before thinking. They often interrupt, might push or grab, and find it hard to wait. They may do things without asking for permission, take things that aren’t theirs, or act in ways that are risky. They may have emotional reactions that seem too intense for the situation.

Sometimes parents and teachers notice signs of ADHD when a child is very young. But it’s normal for little kids to be distractible, restless, impatient, or impulsive — these things don’t always mean that a child has ADHD.  A child has to be diagnose to conclude that they suffer from ADHD.

The good news is that ADHD is treatable! When a child is found to be suffering from ADHD, there are medicines suitable to treat this condition. Please seek a doctor’s advice on this matter. Other forms of treatment such as behavioral therapy, parent coaching and school support can be employed.

I hope this answers your question, Jack.

Regular User Answered on November 8, 2018.
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Yep, got it. I’m fine 🙂

Regular User Answered on November 8, 2018.
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