Southbridge, MA asked in Civil Rights, Family Law, Juvenile Law and Patents (Intellectual Property) for Massachusetts

Q: Where can I turn for real help with an out of control 12 year old when the police wont help?

He has physically hurt his 8 year old brother. He doesn't listen to his father or me. Yells at us, hits walls, throws things and does as he wants.Leaves thw house when he wants, tells us he isnt doing chores becuase he isnt a slave. I am scared of him, what he can do to me and my yougest son. I need help!

2 Lawyer Answers
Ali Shahrestani, Esq.
Ali Shahrestani, Esq.
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Brooklyn, NY
  • Licensed in Massachusetts

A: Perhaps therapy is the answer. You and your husband may start with a therapist to learn how to deal with this. More details are necessary to provide a professional analysis of your issue. The best first step is an Initial Consultation with an Attorney. You can read more about me, my credentials, awards, honors, testimonials, and media appearances/ publications on my law practice website, www.AEesq.com. I practice law in CA, NY, MA, and DC in the following areas of law: Business & Contracts, Criminal Defense, Divorce & Child Custody, and Education Law. This answer does not constitute legal advice; make any predictions, guarantees, or warranties; or create any Attorney-Client relationship.

John Espinosa agrees with this answer

John Espinosa
John Espinosa
Answered
  • Lowell, MA
  • Licensed in Massachusetts

A: Love is the answer. As an attorney who was once not that different from your son I urge you to talk to him, try to understand why he is acting this way. Therapy can help with that, but do not assume that something is wrong with him or that he must have some mental issue just because of this behavior. Do not put him on mind-altering medication just to get him to be more compliant. What does he want? How does he feel? What are his reasons for behaving this way? Talk with him, communicate, and really listen.

Legally, as a parent you do have the constitutional right to direct the care, custody, and control of your minor children. In Massachusetts there is even legal action you can take against your child for disobeying you. However, as a practical matter courts are really inadequately equipped to deal with things like this and can't do much about it. Have you considered parent-child mediation? It is a wonderful alternative to taking legal action. You could engage a trained mediator or a practitioner of restorative justice to facilitate discussion between you. Here is just one example of what is available: https://www.nsmediation.org/mediation-training/family/parentchild-mediation/

Whatever you do, do it with love, understanding, and respect for your child as an individual person. Be willing to get to know and understand your child for who they really are, not just who you think they should be.

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