DEAR HARRIETTE: I am single mother of four, and my 15-year-old is out of control. He lives with my mother, has been arrested twice in the past year and is currently on probation for a year. My mother does not discipline him, nor does she make him do any chores. He is hanging out with the wrong crowd, and every time he gets into trouble I am the one who comes to his rescue. I am getting tired because I have three other children who need my attention. I need my mother to help me raise my son because I really need help with him. Please help. -- Confused and Worried Mom, Mineral Wells, Texas
DEAR CONFUSED AND WORRIED MOM: You have gotten yourself into an unmanageable situation for which you are responsible. After all, you are the mom of all of these children. Since your mother is not helping enough based on your son's needs, you have to make a shift. Find out if your mother would feel more comfortable helping you take care of one or more of your other children. Perhaps they are less volatile and would be easier for her to manage.
I recommend that you talk honestly with your mother about your predicament. Recommend that you swap your son for other children for the time being, and then bring your son home so that you can actively parent him. Use every moment that you can to talk to him about his choices and encourage him to make smarter ones. Do your best to enroll him in activities that will keep him off the street and away from any bad influences.