Dysfunctional family


New member
Jun 14, 2020

I am currently going through a terrible time in what seems to have become a dysfunctional family revolving around managing my son's behaviour and his complete disinterest in anything beyond his phone.
In as short a summary as possible, let me describe our situation as follows:
  • Our son, 14 is not creating any trouble, his teachers are not complaining, etc.
  • The only thing he seems to be interested in life is his phone which he is stuck to every single moment he is awake. He seems to be watching youtube or playing games - not sure what all he does on the phone because he is very aggressive about defending his privacy. I think he has also discovered porn because he was recently billed for some sms's sent to an adult website. He denied having sent the sms's and claimed it was a "system error".
  • He does not seem to have any really close friends at school. He has been at this school for a rear and a half, took some time to settle down then seemed to have made a few friends but lately is not mentioning any of them. And no friends at all in the neighborhood.
  • Does not like to talk to us about anything to do with his 'personal' life.
  • His mother and me don't see eye to eye on this at all - she thinks it's a phase while I believe that his behaviour is progressively becoming worse . And our disagreements about him are known to him. Of late, the disagreements are poisoning the situation at home. I have many arguments with him while my wife only "wants peace". I will not absolve myself - I am not very patient and I have a personality that can be best described as dour / serious.
  • There are absolutely no rules that we have been able to establish vis-a-vis his responsibilities and our expectations of him. He is disobedient to the point of total unreasonableness.
  • His disinterest in us or our desire to have him spend more time with us is punctuated with declarations of love and caring.
  • I am now reluctantly coming to the conclusion that I do not have the wherewithal to handle what this situation has evolved into and I don't know what my wife even thinks.
  • We are right now pretty dysfunctional as a family unit. Clearly. In my view, it centers around how to parent a teen-ager and how to get out of this rut.

What do we do? Is a 14 year capable of turning around by himself? Do we need counseling? Should my wife and me seek help first before him? What kind?

Any advice or anecdotal experience would be great.