Is Your “Lazy Teenager” Going To Be The Death of You?

Date: 07/06/2023

Title: "My 17 Year Old Is Going To Be The Death of Me!"

00:00:00 Speaker 1
You? Is your teenager's Laziness going to be the death of you? Well, we're going to talk about
that today on tips on teens. My name is Kent Toussaint. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist,
and I specialize in helping kids, teens, and families live happier lives. I lead two organizations,
teen Therapy Center and the nonprofit 501 C three organization, child and Teen Counseling,
both here in Woodland Hills, California. Every Wednesday at noon, I jump onto Facebook Live
to answer your parenting questions, and today is no exception. Let's jump into today's. He's
literally a genius, but he's the Laziest. He smokes weed, vapes, barely passes his classes,
and won't take his ADHD meds. He also refuses counseling when he's depressed or suffering from
anxiety. He's a junior in high school, but I'm terrified he's going to drop out. I literally
can't make him do anything. He's not combative or confrontational, except for the occasional
angry outburst. I worry about him not being motivated to

00:01:11 Speaker 1
do anything after high school. Plus, my wife and I are always fighting, and his dad isn't very
helpful either. I'm about ready to just give up. Well, don't give up. I think there's always
hope. First, I want to recognize there's a lot of anxiety and worry and anger on your part, too.
And before we deal with your son, I want to make sure we're supporting you and make sure you're
getting the support you need. I mean, obviously, post like this shares a lot of your frustration
and understandably so. Totally understandable. But we have to make sure that we as parents
are taking the high road. We have to make sure we as parents are on our own stable ground, stable
footing, because if we're not, then we're both 17 year olds arguing and yelling and screaming,
and no one is the mature adult in the room, and your high school student is not qualified for that
role. So make sure that you're getting your support. If you can't get your son to see a therapist,
maybe make sure you're seeing your therapist

00:02:12 Speaker 1
so you are making sure that you've got it grounded so you can approach him from a place of compassion
and dignity and self control. That's a big thing to ask, and I get that it is not an easy thing to
do. All of us with kids, our kids can trigger us like nobody else. And you see all this potential
being wasted by your son. It's not the end of the world. He hasn't hit the end of the world. There's
always time for him to regroup and restart, and I really believe that having hope is really important.
Secondly, if he's having bouts of depression and anxiety and he's not taking his ADHD meds,
those are real causes of concern. Obviously, we want to make sure that he doesn't get into a place
where he's self harming or harming someone else. So I would encourage you to try to get him to
see a therapist who specializes in working with kids and teens even. He says, I'm not going to
talk to anybody. Don't let that throw you. Usually if you can get him in the door, we can take care
of the rest. But

00:03:13 Speaker 1
aside from that, where is he getting all this money for weed and for vape pens? He's getting it
somewhere? Is he selling his own? Is he selling weed? Is that how he's getting the money? Is he
using his allowance money? Is using his lunch money? If he is smoking weed on such a consistent
basis, he's got to come up with some money. And so my question is, where is he getting that from?
Is he getting it from his dad? Getting from the two moms? Where is he getting that from? And figure
out how to turn that spigot off. Also, if he's wanting to have so much independence and freedom,
maybe that comes at a cost. Maybe you have say, okay, well, you're 17. Maybe you need to start
ponying up on you got to pay for your own cell phone bill. If you want that cell phone, you got to
pay for WiFi access. Make it so there is motivation to do something. If you're not going to pay
attention to his classes again, just get him to graduate. But maybe getting him a part time job
because he wants his phone. So maybe

00:04:08 Speaker 1
he has to pay for his phone. Maybe he's got to buy for his own clothes. I don't know if it's gas money
again, if he's smoking weed on such a consistent basis, maybe he shouldn't have the keys to the
car. But you got to figure that out. Obviously, I don't know the details of this situation, but
I think it's really important that the three parents find some way to come to a common ground
on what's best for this young man and how to support him. Because obviously he can't self regulate.
He's showing you he can't do it. He already has some deficiencies because he has some intention
issues, which at 17 is going to probably impair his ability to make sound choices and sound decisions.
I'm not saying he'll never be able to, but he may be behind a couple of years maturity wise. And
if he's smoking weed, that's even aggravating the problem. So it's really important that we
find ways for him to get that support and have real clear boundaries and then let him make the
decisions. If he wants to smoke

00:05:07 Speaker 1
weed and he can afford to pay for his own phone and pay for his own gas, well, then okay, then he's
going to do that. You're not going to stop him. Like you said, you can't make him do anything.
You're right. You cannot make a 17 year old do anything, but you can't have influence, which
comes back to something I talk about a lot, is how do we reestablish the connection and the trust
and the relationship between parent and child? And especially at 17, it's really important
because he is naturally pushing away, which is normal, but he has to have something strong and
stable and safe to push away from so he can bounce back to it. If not, he'll just go wander around
and find other attachments that may not be as healthy for him. So it could be that some of therapy
is family. Therapy is how to help you guys connect and communicate and find an imperfect middle
ground between the two of you. Anyways, that's my answer for today. Hope you enjoyed it. If you
have questions you like me to answer here

00:05:58 Speaker 1
on Tips on teens, email us at tips on or you can direct messages
right here on Facebook. We love your questions. Thanks again. My name is Kent Toussaint with Teen
Therapy Center and Child and Teen Counseling. And I'll see you next Wednesday at noon. Bye.

Is your “lazy teenager” going to be the death of you?

If you’ve tried everything you can think of to motivate your “lazy teen” but feel like you’re going crazy, don’t give up! The first thing to know is that you need to make sure you are getting the support you need. When working through these types of issues with our kids, we as parents need to be grounded. That way we can approach our child in a compassionate way that will make a difference. Your teen isn’t qualified to take the high road so you will be the one who has to do it.

Influence Through Connection

You can’t make your 17 year old do anything, but you can have influence. Your kid needs something strong and stable to push away from, so it’s important to make sure you maintain a connection with your kid. There are a lot of different strategies to motivate your “lazy teen” and we talk about how to get started in this Tips on Teens video:

“My 17yo is going to be the death of me. He’s literally a genius but he’s the laziest. He smokes weed, vapes, barely passes his classes and won’t take his ADHD meds. He also refuses counseling when he’s depressed or suffering from anxiety. He’s a Junior in HS but I’m terrified he’s going to drop out. I literally can’t MAKE him do anything. He’s not combative or confrontational except for the occasional anger outburst. I worry about him not being motivated to do ANYTHING after High School. Plus my wife and I are always fighting and his dad isn’t very helpful either. I’m about ready to just give up.”

Clinical Director Kent Toussaint answers your parenting questions every Wednesday at 12:00pm in our weekly segment Tips On Teens on Facebook Live. Have questions about parenting kids and teens? Send them to: We love to hear from you!

Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE!  Check out our page here –

If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.