To those of you with teenage sons......

(13 Posts)
chinup2011 Thu 11-Jul-13 08:04:14

Am I going to let loose into the world a young man who is disrespectful, arrogant, and narcissistic? I've spent the last 14 years nurturing him and truly loving him, and telling him so. I've read Mnet, books and articles on child rearing, I've tried to do all the right things yet I have a child with the above traits.
In his defence, his father has been useless and this will have had a huge impact on him.
To keep this short, do you just keep battling with
• him being rude at school
• not working at school, and not wanting to attend at all
• general lack of respect
• narcissistic behaviour
Do they grow out of this, should I just battle on?

Or do I seek professional help, before things become irreversible. I was an only child, I'm not used to confrontation with parents.
Where do you start when seeking outside help?
Thank you for reading

An exhausted Mum

flow4 Thu 11-Jul-13 09:08:38

Ime and o, you have 3-4 hard years of battling ahead. You don't give up trying: you lose control, but you keep influence; and if you're wise (which I wasn't) you'll focus your efforts on helping him learn to control himself. You'll give consistent 'moral messages', because they shape the man he'll be, even if the boy he is seems to ignore you!

Imo you look for carrots not sticks. Most teens are foul for a while; but the ones who go badly off the rails do so because they can't see any reason not to. Teenagers are naturally pessimistic IME, and school is a miserable place for most of them... So you can help yours find positive purpose and motivation to live well, not badly.

You'll take all the help you can get, professional or otherwise; but there's almost none available, or your DS will be unlikely to meet the 'threshold' for it, so you have to learn to manage alone.

You need to (learn to) detach, and recognise that most of his foul behaviour is biological, not personal.

You have to pick your battles, ignore a lot of stuff you hate, but be clear about your 'bottom line'.

Most importantly, you need to look after yourself: do fun, pleasant, enjoyable things that will give you some strength and joy, and help you deal with the sh*t. It's not a luxury or indulgence to do this; it's a survival essential. If you don't, you will not cope well, you will be miserable, you may get ill... and you will unintentionally teach your son that even you don't think you're worth respecting...

Most of them do grow out of it, it seems. Mine has (and if you're interested, you can do an advanced search on my name to see how bad things got)... Your priorities are to keep them alive, out of jail and childless themselves... And beyond that, help them find a reason to get out of bed in the morning and live life... If they have that, the rest of it seems to fall into place...

Good luck!

HeySoulSister Thu 11-Jul-13 10:31:30

flow great post there!!

I've been through it with one teen and now embarking on it with another!! Tho if this second one gets as bad as the first ( I doubt) I have the first one telling him 'don't end up like me'.... So I'm hopeful

It's shortlived..... It's not 'him' or indicative of how he will turn out. It will be ok op!!

Theselittlelightsofmine Thu 11-Jul-13 10:37:01

You just battle on and hope the turning point comes soon.

chinup2011 Thu 11-Jul-13 10:55:25

Thank you for sharing your experience.
I will not give up, I love him. I think you are right, ATM he is borderline and all I'm doing is keeping things that way by picking my battles. One of the biggest influences I think comes from the Xbox but I honestly know if I were to take this away, for him it would make life not worth living and I know he will rebel big time and will not think ' well if I pull my socks up I'll get it back'. Instead I try and talk to him about it, try to enter his world if you like and try and speak to him there to educate him into civility.
There is a very fine line though between this, treading on eggshells and being in charge as the parent.
My major worry is that he is presenting some very similar behaviour as his father, to whom I'm now divorced who has become a very sad, lonely b....t . He can't end up like that.

His school just view him as a disruptive pain he is given multiple detentions which he is not bothered about and the constant punishment makes him rebel even more.
I've spoken to them about trying the encouragement approach but I suppose if you are presented with several boys all with pleasant demeanours and one who just grunts its going to take a special teacher to encourage the grunting one. So the cycle continues.....

Theselittlelightsofmine Thu 11-Jul-13 11:06:03

Limit computer time is the best thing you can do or say every 30mins he needs to pause it, help you with something then gets another half hours play after helping you.

If that does not work then take it away for a day/2days/ a week how ever long you need to until he realises you mean what you say and there will be consequences otherwise.

HeySoulSister Thu 11-Jul-13 11:31:32

I have removed the Xbox before op.... Didn't go down well! Prob won't try that one again but limiting his money ( so can't buy Xbox live/add ons) was effective

If he didn't appear at mealtimes then no food! I'm not a cafeteria

School isn't a problem yet. He is also perfectly behaved when his older sisters have their mates round and that's when he showers, changes and the lynx comes out! hmm

I was given a stroppy, difficult, school-refusing nearly 13 year old to bring up and the past 3 years have been quite difficult although to be fair, I think in our case he wanted to be saved and so responded well to rules.

In the first, most difficult year we used to take the computer cable away from this x-box obsessed teen for every misdemeanour, but punishments are imo a boggy quagmire inside a maze - and as Flow4 says, rewards and incentives are the better way.

Draw clear boundaries in your own mind - if you won't accept him being rude to you then make that clear. DN now knows from the very moment he is rude to me, he has lost that battle and will have to apologise and try again another day. I personally believe this will stand him in good stead with authority (something his real family have a bit of a problem with). THis took ages to achieve and there have been many screaming matches before I learned the art of sniffy, arch withdrawal.

Keep your sense of humour as much as you possibly can. Do not argue the point, pretend you are a therapist whose job is to elicit information without judgement. How interesting, what did you think about that? Is better than, how awful, amazing, what a mess, opportunity etc.

Never say what the consequences of bad behaviour will be at the time. Just say there will be some. Give yourself time to cool down, post on here, get some perspective. Then let them know their fate.

Do everything you can to keep them talking and encourage anything that gets them out the house. Good luck.

chinup2011 Fri 12-Jul-13 13:08:44

Thank you curable that seems good advice, I'll certainly take heed.
I do tend to tell him the consequences of bad behaviour at the time, when we are both in a frenzy. Yes I think it would be more effective if we were both calm and I'd given myself time to consider them.
Thank you for posting.

flow4 Fri 12-Jul-13 13:55:03

curable's advice is great. I've learned the 'sanction later' rule too... There are only so many times you can scream they're grounded for ever or won't be getting any more money til they're 37, without feeling foolish!

It's a difficult line to walk, at this age. DN for example knows all my buttons to get me irate - i.e. he will make comments about me being snobbish, not liking people because of x, y, z reason when he knows I pride myself on taking each as they come. Now I don't rise to it, I just laugh it off and make a joke, like, there are scones (i.e. to rhyme with tone not gone) for tea and everything is hunkydory. Far less conflict, far more potential for positive talk. I say this now, but for ages I would literally fight my case and cite all the times I'd been incredibly fair and just succeeded in looking ridiculous.

If you need solid consequences to break the pattern of bad behaviour make the rules as simple and clear as possible. In our case it was, if you get a detention, you get 24 hour power cut - no Xbox, no TV. You can be as nice as anything during this time, maybe even organise something fun, or make a favourite dinner, whatever his weakness is (DN's is food) and sort of step back from the punishment, as if once administered it is out of your hands.

MaryZ must be credited for the delayed consequences trick - it induces an air of calm control, which is what you need (and what they ultimately want).

Palika Fri 12-Jul-13 19:48:09

we have made good experiences with a written contract where it is clear what is expected to him and what the consequences are. It helps to stay calm too. DS pulls his weight and tries hard.

I found the book 'divas and doorslammers' very useful and also one called 'teenagers out of control' or similar. It;s the latter that suggests the signed contract.

I sometimes want to give up on my DS but I always see a bit later that giving up is never the answer.

Chottie Sun 14-Jul-13 20:17:08

Just to say that you sound a really caring mother OP - do not give up. Hang on in there and you will both come out the other side.

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