Strained Relations

Strained Relations: Help for Struggling Parents of Troubled Teens

Posts Tagged ‘restraining order against son’

How to Listen to Disclosure of Family Estrangement or Difficulties

Posted by Marcia on March 2, 2011

In my last post I wrote about the process of deciding to share difficult information about one’s family. This post is devoted to receiving this information.

Some of the richest and most heartfelt conversations I have had have been when someone decides to confide in me or when another person listens to my story.

When your family member or friend is having family problems and decides to share these issues with you, it takes a lot of courage, hope and trust that you will not judge, will listen carefully, offer help if asked, will not gossip. This is a confidential and difficult conversation.

Truly listening means that you turn off distractions: this is not a time for watching TV, texting and taking calls. Turn off your phone and give that person your attention. Listen with your head and your heart. Don’t ask a lot of questions, just a few to clarify the situation if needed.

Don’t change the topic unless you’re very uncomfortable hearing this news, and if you are, it’s better to just say you’re uncomfortable.

This conversation is about the other person, not you and your family, unless you’ve experienced a similar situation. Then it’s appropriate to share but limit your input: this person has a lot to say.

Be private and confidential. If the person wanted all of the family and friends to know, there are many ways to alert everyone. It can hurt the person’s feelings if you talk about this to others and damage your own credibility as a confidante.

Don’t judge the people involved. You’re hearing a part of the story and you’re hearing it for the first time. It may be shocking news, but all of it is in the realm of the human condition: the things that happen to people and the decisions we make.

Ask if there is anything you can do to help and provide resources if you have them. One woman called me regarding her son and after listening to her story, I asked if she wanted resources or how I could best help her. She was looking for resources and I gave her a few places to start, indicating there were additional resources in my book and on the blog if she needed them. It’s easy to become overwhelmed when you’re already dealing with a stressful situation. I also keep in touch, ask how things are going, and remember her on Mother’s Day and Christmas, two really hard holidays for her.

When you see or talk with the person in the future, ask about his or her child. I know from personal experience that the concern people show is helpful. It helps me to know that they haven’t forgotten I am a parent, and birthdays and some holidays in particular are really difficult.

Keep in touch and show concern and compassion. That’s the best way you can help anyone.


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A Man’s Restraining Order Against His Son

Posted by Marcia on March 30, 2010

Please note I am now primarily posting at Strained Relations: Parenting Troubled Teens. You’ll find all of the content you have sought on this blog. Please follow me over there.

Thank you,


Today’s email included a note from a parent who had taken out a restraining order against his son. I asked if I could include some of his story as I know others are interested in this topic.

“Jack” read my book as he was looking for information about being estranged from a child. He wanted to know he was not alone.

Jack and his wife had been living in fear of their 17 year old son, “Tom.” This son had been stealing from them, and they couldn’t even estimate the amount missing as it was in the hundreds of dollars. They were also missing jewelry and other expensive items. They had gone to family therapy and tried many different therapists to help Tom.

When they found a stash of pills in his room, they told him he’d have to either stop or leave home. Tom picked up a chair and threw it at them, and they ran to the bedroom, locked the door and called the police. They were terrified of what would happen next. Tom left before the police arrived, but they completed a report and then filed a restraining order, also known as a protective order.

Jack said this happened a few years ago and they have not seen their son since that night. They constantly worry about him; this is their only child and it’s been hard on them. Family and friends ask about their son and Jack and his wife say Tom is working and studying. It’s easier to lie than describe the nightmare they are living.

When I interviewed professionals for my book, I spoke with a lawyer about restraining orders. Here is a quote from Jerome Wisselman, J. D.: “There are some situations where people have brought proceedings to get orders of protection against their children, so that if the kids continue to act in the way they were acting, parents could actually have them arrested, if necessary. Often the parents want to restrict the child from being in the residence under the influence of alcohol, or drugs, or other situations. I have seen situations where the children assaulted the parents and a restraining order would address the assault issue. Sometimes the kids stay at home while they’re under the order, and sometimes the kids don’t want to stay in the house. They just go and stay with friends or relatives.”

If you are living in an abusive situation, you may need to file a restraining order. You can research help in your own state/country, often by contacting domestic violence agencies.

We did not experience this, but I can understand how things could escalate. I think it’s more important to protect your life than worry about embarrassment. I’m sure there are many other parents who have been in a similar position.

Do you have an experience to share?

Posted in estranged, out of control teens, Troubled teens, worried parents | Tagged: , , , | 24 Comments »

Barry Bonds’ Son & Restraining Order

Posted by Marcia on January 15, 2010

An article in the local paper caught my eye a month ago. Nikolai Bonds, Barry Bonds’ 20-year-old son, “was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, vandalism and other crimes at the home of his mother, Sun Bonds.” During their argument, he allegedly threw a door knob at his mother and caused around $400 worth of damages. He also allegedly spit in her face, blocked her from leaving, and threatened an officer. He was released after posting $50,000 bail.

The court granted a restraining order, barring him from contacting his mother or coming within 100 yards of her.

I can’t imagine what was going on in that household that precipitated all of this, but if it all happened as charged, it must have been pretty scary. It’s got to be horrible to have to get a restraining order against your own child, but sometimes you have to protect yourself against your child.

Posted in family difficulties, out of control teens, Parents and teens, Troubled teens, worried parents | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

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