15 yr old son point blank refusing to come on family holiday day before we leave

(125 Posts)
mulranno Fri 23-Aug-13 23:14:08

what do we do?....force him into the car at gun point?....he says because it is the last week of the holidays and all his mates are back from their breaks and loads of parties that he doesn't want to miss

Sunnysummer Sat 24-Aug-13 02:00:23

2 year olds have parties, but the most dangerous substance involved is usually food colouring. I'd be ok with a 15 year old going to parties, but only if he knows that he's going to have to face his parents when he gets home.

Fwiw, people saying it would never happen to my DCs/family/generation may just never have had a naturally tricky teenager - plenty of our grandparent's generation acted out, if ou read old newspaper accounts of 'apprentices drinking in the streets' and the like, and I'm one of 5, with 4 of us being boringly obedient and 1 who had a nightmare adolescence, but is now a responsible family man in a nice steady job in the suburbs wink it just took a lot of patience to get there!

Solo Sat 24-Aug-13 02:09:00

This is such an awkward age! not a child but not yet an adult. I remember it very well and now have a 15yo Ds...it's tricky, but he'd be going with me anyway!

Alonglongway Sat 24-Aug-13 02:12:46

My 15 yr old DD did a bit of this at Easter and I said she could stay behind but with the grandparents. She hated this idea and came with us and had a great time. Tough in between sort of age as others have said and I do think sometimes they push at the boundary and positively need you to push back and say no.

MariaLuna Sat 24-Aug-13 02:20:08

At that age I always suggested him to invite a friend to come along. 15 on your own on holiday with your parents can be challenging/boring etc.

As an LP I could relax while they went and did their thing, meeting up for lunch and dinner etc.

As for putting his foot down the day before, no way would I give in to that.

Monty27 Sat 24-Aug-13 02:27:17

If I had someone trustworthy who would look after him I'd leave him. He really is going to ruin your holiday. i can see the other side of the coin about him dictating to you. It's a hard one.

No help at all sorry. Just hope you have a good break, you probably need it. from ds

flow4 Sat 24-Aug-13 04:26:10

Oh what a pain mulranno!

What you do needs to be determined by how likely you are to 'win' if you push him on this. If he really pushes you to the edge and literally refuses to get in the car, you'll be in an awful situation, effectively forced to do something you don't want to do, and losing a major power battle.

IME it's always better to give control than lose it.

So, if you're confident you can still 'make' him come, then try. There are good reasons why it's not convenient, easy, maybe even possible at short notice, though it might have been with planning... And even 15yo teen logic may see this, I think. No time to sort out alternative accommodation that is going to suit his plans - he'll have to put up with whoever will agree to have him at short notice, and stick to their rules. No guarantee he'll be able to go to the parties he wants to go to, because grandma/aunt/whoever may not be able to collect and can't be expected to make special arrangements. No extra cash to leave him...

On the other hand, since I see you do have people you could leave him with, if you think it's a real possibility that he might actually refuse to get in the car, despite all these good reasons, then personally I would negotiate for him to stay, to ensure you are giving him what he wants, rather than losing control because he's taking it...

Good luck. I think you may need it!

Cloudkitten Sat 24-Aug-13 07:46:19

flow I see what you mean about giving control etc... but even so, this is 15yo not a 17yo. He is still a child, a minor. It also leaves whoever he is staying with, with the responsibility over the parties, and/or risking being the "bad guy" because they can't take him/don't want to take him.

It really is possible to just say No to what is an unreasonable request and then punish any bad behaviour resulting from the No. The DS should learn that he doesn't demand and get - it is not right when toddlers do it, or children, and it shouldn't be right age 15. I honestly fear for our future generation if we are so frightened of saying No. Besides which, it's damned rude and inconsiderate to ignore the expense and effort involved with going on holiday that his mum has put in. It's really outrageous request. He will almost definitely be going back to the house in the daytime too (unless friend/family lives miles away which I bet they don't) to do ---- what???

Also it doesn't matter how much you dress it up, this was not in the OP's plan, she is reacting to the 15yo's ransom demand (let me stay at home, last minute, or I'll sulk) so she is losing control with her son if she's pressurised into letting him stay. She knows it, he knows it - the window dressing of "I'm letting you stay on my conditions" is superfluous. It is still giving control not taking control.

Cloudkitten Sat 24-Aug-13 07:54:06

And TBH if it's already at the stage whereby the DS would physically refuse to get in the car then that's a bigger problem than just this holiday issue. That suggests that even the verbal argument about the holiday is superflous if the OP has lost authority to the point whereby the DS can trump all discussions with physically not getting in the car anyway. Teenagers might argue and be sulky but to actually carry out a physical protest not just a mental one is dangerous territory. When people say "what do I do, drag him there" umm.. yes! If necessary. She really needs to channel a no-nonsense attitude here. And OP really should know more about these friends and these parties regardless of this holiday matter.

ENormaSnob Sat 24-Aug-13 08:00:20

He would be going on the holiday.

I wouldnt be leaving him home alone and i think its out of order expecting someone else to have him at such short notice.

My ds1 is 14 next year. He has been asked whether he wants to come on holiday next year. He is, but if he'd said no he would've been staying with his dad or my grandparents.

bigTillyMint Sat 24-Aug-13 08:13:06

Oh you poor thing - what a nightmaresad

I sometimes wonder what we would do if either of ours physically refused to leave the house - DH could pick DD up, but DS is already as big as me at 12!

Completely agree with flow, I think you would have to talk it out and come to an agreement one way or the other, but surely this should have been addressed at least a day or two ago - did he really only bring it up on the day you are leaving?
And agree with Norma, I would want their full agreement before I booked them onto the holiday, and if not, a proper plan of where they would stay.

I would not be happy leaving either of ours at home at 15. The only option would be to stay with friends/rellies (and hand the house keys in!)

Tiredemma Sat 24-Aug-13 08:16:28

I tried this once when I was 15.

I was told to get into the car of my own accord or I would be dragged into the car. Alongwith a reminder that I was still a child and had to live under the rules of my parents. It just wasn't up for negotiation.

I have a 13 year old ds who is currently trying to push boundaries with us at home. I'm not tolerating it at all. If I do what the hell will he be like at 16, 17 etc.

AmandaCooper Sat 24-Aug-13 08:19:25

Well ok I don't have teenagers but I would think you will feel the consequences if you don't manage to get him in the car. It sounds like a bit of a watershed moment in terms of jow things go forward in the future. I guess if you absolutely cannot get him in the car, cancelling the holiday and staying home to police him is another option. Maybe it would help if he thought that was your intention?

tigermoth Sat 24-Aug-13 08:19:49

Any chance of you letting him come back alone early from the holiday so he gets the last weekend with his friends? This is on condition he behaves really well on holiday while he is with you - any arguments and he stays for the whole time Effective stick and carrot?

It also gives you time to sort out who he will be staying with - ok a pain to have to do while you are on holiday but at least you are not having to do things within 24 hours notice

noblegiraffe Sat 24-Aug-13 08:33:32

I'd say if he refused to get in the car 'You're too young to be left so if you don't go, none of us can go and I promise you we will make you miserable for making us miss our holiday'. And no, we won't be ferrying you around your mates.

TheToysAreALIVEITellThee Sat 24-Aug-13 08:37:44

Absolutely no effing chance would he be left on his own iiwm. Your house will be trashed. I wouldn't be surprised if they already have parties planned there.

MoominsYonisAreScary Sat 24-Aug-13 08:57:34

Id be saying the same as noble, except id also be adding that he will be staying in the house for the week so will be missing all the parties anyway.

If he'd decided he didn't want to go a couple of months ago id probably have tried to sort out him staying with a family member. At the last minute not a chance and not on his own in the house. I think if you give in now it will cause nothing but problems in the future

eddiemairswife Sat 24-Aug-13 09:03:47

Too late I suppose, but as someone suggested earlier it might have made it easier if a friend was going as well. We used to take a friend as each of our children got to that age and were too young to be left, and it always worked out really well.

LovesBeingOnHoliday Sat 24-Aug-13 09:08:43

Sorry but he would be going if he were mine. Yes it's crap timing but life's like that sometimes. At 15 you still have to do what your told.

TSSDNCOP Sat 24-Aug-13 09:10:16

Is there any chance at all that you could take one of his friends with you?

I agree that 15 year olds can go to adult supervised parties, need increased independence and I'm all for discussion of terms.

But it's a 2 way street. Pulling this little stunt so close to departure is holding you to ransom. It's even more annoying when you think he'll probably sulk all the way there, loaf about pissing everyone off and then have the best time of all of you.

I think he's got to toe the family line this year. Start discussion now on what might be the best situation next year whilst also planning the trip of a lifetime to a place he's gagging to go

Cloudkitten Sat 24-Aug-13 09:23:38

I've probably said too much on this thread already but I really am aghast at the number of posts who are entertaining this 15yo demand and looking for ways to make it better - inviting friends, letting him come home early.... why is it so difficult to just say NO? In fact I do know the answer to that - to avoid the strop. Well, that's just part of being a parent - stepping up to the plate and taking the strops on the chin. The 15yo has made an unreasonable, last minute demand and it should be met with a flat NO. Any kind of negotiation is going to weaken the OP's authority and the 15yo will be given a lesson in how easily he can manipulate his mother.

I am 100% all for teenagers being allowed some freedom and being given opportunities to be trusted, and treated like the young adult that they are becoming, as much as they are in fact still a big child - but this issue is not the one to make hasty last minute arrangements, negotiations and deals about. It is too much to ask, he's too young, with too little notice or time for discussion.

mummytime Sat 24-Aug-13 09:28:22

Our 17 year old started saying 2 days before our holiday that he didn't want to come. I just told him it was too late to object now and he was coming.

JenaiMorris Sat 24-Aug-13 09:56:04

I'm on holiday at the same house in France we go to every year (it's a family thing - we're obliged). My heart sinks every bloody year as it approaches.

Yes I know that I'm lucky to have 'free' accommodation and I love France, but it's a bit of a double edged sword. I can empathise with a 15 yo feeling less than enthusiastic tbh (albeit for different reasons perhaps).

Sorry, that's not terribly helpful is it? On the other hand I do generally perk up once I get a whiff of moules frites and eventually snap out of princess mode.

flow4 Sat 24-Aug-13 10:14:44

The thing is, Cloudkitten and others, this is precisely why parenting teens this age is such a challenge. The bottom line is that if mulranno's DS won't get in the car, mulranno can't make him. Seriously, even if it were physically possible - and many 15 yo boys are bigger than their parents, so it isn't - using physical force to get him into a car unwillingly would be totally unacceptable, and teaching dangerous lessons about getting things done using violence.

It doesn't matter how outraged a parent is, how they threaten or cajole, how wrong they think/know it is to 'give in to blackmail'... It has nothing to do with 'just saying no' or 'taking the strops on the chin'... It has nothing to do with sanctions and consistency - you can crack down hard and be absolutely firm, clear and consistent... If a teenager refuses to do something, despite all that, you can't make them.

Those people saying "He must come" or "He'd be coming if he was my son" are lucky enough not to have 15 yos who want something so much, or are wilful enough, that they are prepared to defy their parents even though they know they will be in deep trouble.

Those of us who have had teens like this know the op has to find another way. Even if she 'wins' this one, she will have to find another way pretty soon, because his DS will react like this again.

Even if/when you enforce sanctions, that still may not get them to do something they don't want to do. And some of them are prepared to put up with a lot of sanctions, to assert their autonomy!

That's why it's crucial to 'pick your battles'. You pick the ones you know you can win. You still may not be able to 'make' them do what you want - at this age they have to make themselves. If you can't offer them good enough reasons for doing something they don't want to do, then you're stuffed if your approach is just threats and sanctions, because they simply do not work.

In this particular case, the OP's best bet is to give him good reasons for wanting to make himself get into that car. No doubt she's trying that already. If she thinks there are no reasons 'good enough' for him, then she really, really is better off allowing him to stay, however reluctantly, than losing the battle and finding herself standing on the pavement some time today, choosing between driving away and leaving him when she's said he can't stay, or missing the ferry and cancelling the family holiday.

You're quite right it's outrageous, Cloud. It is. That's why some parents of teens like this get so desperate and feel so powerless and angry... But all the outrage in the world will not change the fact that, in this particular situation, the OP can't make her DS get into that car: he is only getting in if he decides he will.

BeQuicksieorBeDead Sat 24-Aug-13 10:23:14

I love the idea of saying, fine, we will all stay at home, and you are grounded for ruining our holiday with your last minute tantrum. Think he might change his tune!

assumpta Sat 24-Aug-13 10:31:10

flow I agree completely with you. I have 2 dds, one 16 and one 13 and a half. We are having MAJOR problems with dd2. She is as tall as me and very strong. She has been putting herself in VERY dangerous situations sexually, through social media, for which I need huge amounts of advice and will post for help later, but I would have been a mum that would have said "for goodness sake just tell him he is going" before I had to deal with my dd's problems. I now realise that it is not that simple.

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