Q and A with Charlie Taylor, author of 'Divas and Doorslammers - The Guide to better behaved teenagers'

(66 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 13-Sep-10 16:36:38

Untidy? monosyllabic? endless arguments; communication by grunt; Seismic sulking; Lives ruled by FOMO (fear of missing out). Sound like your teenager?

Behavioural expert Charlie Taylor is joining us this week to answer your questions on unruly teenagers. His book Divas and Doorslammers is a practical handbook which is full of simple, effective techniques for improving your teenager's behaviour.

Charlie Taylor has been a behavioural specialist for over 10 years. He has taught every age group, from nursery to 16-year-olds, working in tough inner city primary and comprehensive schools. He is currently the head teacher of a special school for children with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties in West London. He also works as a freelance behaviour consultant, coaching teachers in behaviour management techniques, and holds regular workshops for parents. He lives in London and is married with 3 immaculately behaved children.

Send your questions to Charlie on this thread by the end of the day next Monday 20th September and we'll be posting his answers by the end of the week.

mollyroger Mon 13-Sep-10 17:29:20

Would you be at all interested in borrowing my almost 13-yr-old son and returning him to me when he is a more civilised creature??
I just don't even know where to start....

Bonsoir Mon 13-Sep-10 17:43:52

I dream of monosyllabic grin. DSS1 cannot stop talking/screaming like a banshee/crying - he has to make a noise and to draw all attention to himself, even when he has absolutely nothing that interests anyone else to say.

castille Mon 13-Sep-10 19:31:18

I'd like to know how to re-teach 13yo DD1 some basic rules of courtesy and politeness.

She drives me insane, eg pushing past people instead of letting them pass (eg on the stairs, onto a bus), not looking at someone who is talking to her, not greeting people properly. These are all things she once knew how to do...

supersalstrawberry Mon 13-Sep-10 19:51:06

how do I get 16 year old ds to do things like .....his washing, emptying the dishwasher and taking out the rubbish (he gets paid an allowance to do these things) without having to ask a gazillion times, ending in an argument?

what happened to the lovely little boy who always used to turn and wave to me when he was walking off to school in the morning, he's been replaced by this grumpy, moody, sulky person, who doesn't seem to like me very much and thinks I'm mean and unreasonable.
I get occasional glimpses of this funny, lovely bloke, but they are rare and when he's talking to his friends he's a totally different person than who he is with me.

I suppose it could be worse, he doesn't smoke, drink, there is no girlfriend on the scene (although sometimes I think if he had a girlfriend he might be happier) and he loves college and is very focused on the course he is doing and wants to do well so he can go to university.

I tell him I love him and he responds, but I find myself really missing my little boy on times sad

scurryfunge Mon 13-Sep-10 19:59:25

Why do teens seem to accept a squalid lifestyle?

The things I fall out about with my 15 year old son is tidiness and cleanliness. I am a constant nag when it comes to him keeping his bedroom tidy. He is quite happy to have rotting food, smelly socks on the floor and every available surface covered with games and dvds.

He is getting better at showering but seems incapable of hanging up towels, putting toiletries away and the bath mat appears to be for decoration only.

mollyroger Mon 13-Sep-10 20:11:27

castille - yy, us too!

I felt I was actually rather good with toddlers. Teens, however, I am all at sea. I am terrified to think what lies ahead, given he is not 13 for a few months and we are going through scary hormones. He is constantly tearful and surly, and of course Knows It All.

QuickLookBusy Mon 13-Sep-10 20:36:17

How do you approach "encouraging" a teenager with college work?

DD is 16 and just started A levels.

She didnt do as well in GSCEs as she should have done. She only worked hard during the run up to exams, during rest of year, she had a very laid back approach. [thought by teachers as well as me]

She really wants to go to a uni but I know if she doesnt step up a few gears, this wont happen.

Any attempt to ask about work is met with a grunt!!

Should I back off and just let her get on with it, even if it probably means she wont work to full potential??

supersalstrawberry Mon 13-Sep-10 20:43:09

and dh would like to know "why don't their arms work?"

40someMum Mon 13-Sep-10 20:55:24

How can I bring up three teenagers the same way

1. angelic
2.beasts?

cherylvole Mon 13-Sep-10 20:56:01

ooh hooray
a proper expert! sounds great.

cherylvole Mon 13-Sep-10 20:56:29

Id like to ask what cHarlie thinks of the HOw to talk " book.
i use it as a parent and teacher ( of generally compliant kids)

GetOrfMoiLand Mon 13-Sep-10 22:18:23

My dd is great. I feel it is the calm before the storm perhaps.

Her room is unspeakable though, if I leave her to it. I tell her to tidy it up, then I go in and inspect it, and have the point out the empty crips packets on the floor, the random socks, the spoons hidden down the back of the headboard.

If I left her to her own devices she would live like the Young Ones.

Also, her lip curls whenever I venture an opinion on music, fashion, make up, hair, anything. I am automatically judged as an old fart and past it.

Imo though teens are FAR more fun and enjoyable to have around than toddlers or young children. And she is a lot better now than when she was a tweenie and into High School Musical.

loler Mon 13-Sep-10 22:42:11

I'm a while off having teenagers but wanted to say - Charlie, I love you. In our house the "you're turning into a lizard" line has had made the family a better thing to live with.

The new book is on the shelf for when I need it. I've bought about 10 copies of the last book for all my friends - it's amazing!

Right - I sound like a stalker so I'd better leave my creeping there!

PS Can you come back to do a Q & A on Divas and dictators please - could do with a few more coping methods when the lizard has arrived!

foofi Tue 14-Sep-10 08:44:26

"He lives in London and is married with 3 immaculately behaved children." hmm

thesecondcoming Tue 14-Sep-10 09:09:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mollyroger Tue 14-Sep-10 13:33:05

foofi, that is a joke, i believe.

redpanda Tue 14-Sep-10 14:09:36

Looks like a book to add to my Amazon wish list!
My dd (15) has just turned to the dark side and I'm struggling to readjust and remind myself to zip it so I don't react and provoke further rudeness/I know best responses/sulks/silences/retorts/tears/etc (delete as appropriate).

My current problem is how not to react to her "boot face" which is becoming an increasingly familiar reaction when she doesn't like what I'm saying.
It drives me mad!!
And then of course when I ask "why the face"? (I know I know I shouldn't rise to the bait), then there's further "nothings" or raised eyebrows to contend with.

But in all seriousness, if I have said “no” to a request which is unreasonable and explained why (e.g. sorry I can’t take you to X event because as you know I am babysitting for your cousins), HOW do I then cope with the inevitable sulks that will ensue (without then winding myself up at her behaviour).

My husband tells me not to take it all so personally, but the problem is that I do!
I want my lovely girl back!

Bonsoir Tue 14-Sep-10 14:26:47

How do you deal with a teenager (DSS1, 15), of whom quite different standards of behaviour are expected in his two homes?

His mother sees him very little and does everything he wishes when she is with him and gives him the run of the apartment (with his younger brother), and makes zero demands.

When he is with us there are five rather than two or three people in a smaller apartment and he has a lot of homework etc to do (because it doesn't get done at his mother's) and we don't spend every evening out in restaurants and all weekend shopping.

He is currently seeing everything in black and white: his father is super demanding (actually, he isn't) and his mother is perfect in every way. DSS1 is wildly unhappy and thinks it grossly unfair that we don't give him the lifestyle his mother does. She will never change. What do we do?

fryalot Tue 14-Sep-10 15:02:57

I have a 16 year old dd and then I had a gap of ten years, before having dd2 (6) and ds(5).

Sometimes they get on really well but at other times they fight and squabble like normal siblings, but how can I get dd1 to realise that the level of violence that she sometimes inflicts on her younger sibs is absolutely not appropriate. If they were similar in age/size/weight etc it would be normal siblings having a bit of a spat, but she is SO much bigger (she's a big girl, taller and broader than me) that she is in danger of doing them some real damage.

And then when I tell her off for hurting them she feels that I've taken their side in whatever argument they've been having. I have tried explaining that I'm not taking their side, but she CANNOT behave that way and get away with it, but she still feels quite put out that I prefer them to her (not true of course)

Help

thank you.

maryz Tue 14-Sep-10 15:41:10

As your child gets older, you try to transfer control from parent to child - the idea being that the child will gradually take over the reponsibility for decision making etc. If you don't do this you become an over-controlling parent.

But what do you do if your child doesn't respond positively to this - so if you let them out, they consistently break curfew, if you stop checking homework, they stop doing it.

What do you do when every single thing they do breaks rules? You can't punish them all day every day.

(I'm just trying to work out where I went wrong - it's too late for ds1, but I'm trying to deal with ds2 who is 12 and is beginning to pull away). How can I relax a bit when his older brother was a truanting drug user at the age of 13 sad. I was told I was too strict with him, but every time I gave him a bit of freedom he abused it.

maryz Tue 14-Sep-10 15:43:15

Oh, one more - is there anywhere in the UK or Ireland to send a 16 year old who hasn't been in school for two years, suffers from depression, has a diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome, is currently addicted to cannabis (and possibly more) and hasn't spoken to me for two years because it's all my fault?

I don't really expect an answer to that one sad.

PixieOnaLeaf Tue 14-Sep-10 18:06:44

Message withdrawn

thesecondcoming Tue 14-Sep-10 18:42:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

nottirednow Tue 14-Sep-10 19:23:50

Message withdrawn

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