Will take any comforting words about teenagers

lots2doSeptember 18, 2006


DS just picked a fight with me over his own irresponsible actions. Let's just say it was about laundry. My stepchildren were happily doing their own at this age (14) so maybe that's the solution for the laundry problem. But that is really not the issue. He is just being impossible and pretty nasty toward me. He really, really wants to make a sports team that he isn't qualified for. I do support his decision to try out and admire him for it. But, I think that deep in his heart, he knows it will be tough and he is setting me up to be the fall guy. He has even said a few times during the past week, 'oh great, now I won't make the team and it will be your fault.'

He also watched me turn on the computer and said, 'oh great, you're going to get more viruses on the computer.' He even slams this forum!!! LOL

He will be nasty and then ten minutes later is sweet. Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hide.

This is such a hard way to start a busy day. I'd get up and take a walk but I really don't have time to do that and get ready for work.

Thanks for listening. That's what I really need.


PS DH is supportive but he is not a target of this angst.

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Sounds like you have been eaves dropping at my house (only I have girls). I bet he doesn't pick up his room or do anything else you ask him to do either. I am told this is normal, they take out their frustrations on the parent they are closest to. This doesn't help a bit when it is you they are screaming (and I do mean screaming) at. See if you can find a quite moment for a discussion of something that has nothing to do with the triggers that cause the outbursts. If he is quiet and reasonable about those subjects, then once the team is chosen things should settle down, if they don't I suggest you make an appointment with his Dr and discuss his actions. We did, and it just reassured us that things were normal. It is very hard to have your own children "abuse" you in such a way, but it is part of them "breaking away" (no wonder animals in the wild chase their teens away).


    Bookmark   September 18, 2006 at 9:31AM
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Boy, can I remember those arguments. You will survive and he will outgrow it. ItÂs a long row to hoe. You can do it. My boys are now decent human beings  I never thought theyÂd make it but they did.

One of the best moments IÂve had was a few years ago when I was visiting DS#1. I heard him making father noises to his teenage son. DS sounded just like me and going back, my dad. It was great. ThatÂs when I knew he had been listening.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2006 at 9:52AM
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Ah yes, the puberty blues.....I remember them all too well!
Just know we are here for you, come to vent when you need! I don't have a whole lot of advice not offered already except just be patient! He doesn't really hate you, although he may act it at times! Went thru the same thing with both of mine. Remember, you are not ruining their lives, they and you will live thru this, and in many years they will tell you what a great parent you were. Listen to him, try to still instill common sense and values in him, and stand your ground too. Remind him (before the fact) that the decisions that he makes are his, and therefore so are the consequences. You are his mother and deserve the respect of the title no matter what his raging hormones are saying! I think the toughest thing for me was to have to ground them or take away priveleges during this time. It'll work out, really it will....and he'll be a better man for it!
Remember, we are here for you!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2006 at 10:46AM
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Sounds like he is angry with himself, and a little scared, and you are available to blame. Oh, you have my sympathies! My girls were harder for me to deal with than my son, but the one daughter is as close to me now as my closest friend!! Pick your arguments well - I learned to somewhat ignore the "small stuff" and held my ground with the really important issues. (I'm sure I was responsible for alot of my mother's gray hairs, in my day, too). It's all part of the normal flow of life - fighting for their own identity and independence - doesn't mean it's easy for us, though!!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2006 at 1:22PM
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Thanks everybody. It meant a lot to me to have messages waiting when I got home from work. We will make our way through this journey called adolescence and independence...and I will keep covering up my gray hairs with hair dye! Just a truly upsetting way to start the day and unexplainable but I guess that's part of the package, right?
Anyway, I do appreciate all of your kind words...

    Bookmark   September 18, 2006 at 4:19PM
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Don't have any words of wisdom or advice but...

*hugs* It'll get better eventually. If it doesn't, some day he has to move out, right? ;-)

~ Kit

    Bookmark   September 18, 2006 at 5:08PM
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My 2 oldest were in the 6th and 7th grade when they learned to do the laundry. I became ill and was out of commission for about 6 months, so it was out of necessity, but I think it's funny they had/have their kids learning way earlier than that. I have a 14 yo grandson and when his 'mouth' gets going, his mother reminds him he only has to live with his parents another 4 years and then he can move out and do things the way he wants to.....and be on his own...laundry, car payments and ins, rent, food, health ins, utilities, etc. As someone else mentioned, choose your battles and stand your ground. Someday you'll be getting Mother's Day cards from him thanking you for being such a great mom and for putting up with all the things he's now having to experience!

Hang in there......it'll get better.


    Bookmark   September 18, 2006 at 10:10PM
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  1. Yuck. Yes, it does get better. Now that mine are 23 and 26 I can look back with wry humour at it all but it's hard at the time. Just remember that we always hurt the one we love most. It's such an uncertain age for kids, 14. He's probably wondering where the heck his place in this world is. To fail at his age is very painful too. I agree that he's scared. He knows you love him and that's what's most important, I think.
    Bookmark   September 19, 2006 at 2:53AM
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I got a hug this morning with some muttered words that I couldn't quite make out. But I'll take the hug.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2006 at 7:25AM
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About the time that we were having alot of difficulty with our 2 oldest sons, then 14 & 15, we had our 20 year class reunion. I really didn't want to go but we did, it helped so much to see that the kids that were in so much trouble in high school were now the conservitive ones, several were home schoolers and turned out to be great adults, just as my sons have grown up to be and keep your fingers crossed, so will yours.
Hang in there mom, it will get worse before it gets better, boys stay stupid until about 23, but then it gets better, I promise.
Hugs are great any day, haven't had one from my 18 yr. old for quite awhile, he's too stupid for me to talk to right now. I'm afraid I would do bodily harm with intent to maim. LOL Stay strong.

Aunt Net

    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 4:27AM
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Thank you, Aunt Net and everyone.
Aunt Net, you gave me a real chuckle and some perspective too. I'm afraid to say that stupid, judgmental and highly opinionated really are descriptors of how he acts sometimes. And he was such an easygoing, sweet little guy....

    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 5:28PM
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You poor dear.

As the mother of 4 grown sons, my advice is any one of the following:
1. Take an aspirin and go to bed for 10 years
2. Take to drink for 10 years
3. Pack him a huge lunch and send him on his way with the instruction to come back in 10 years

Ahh heck none of those worked for me either.

But, the bright side is, you care and you love, and that's what's most important. In 10 years (maybe before that even) it's going to be absolutely wonderfully fine. Then have a ball when the grandkids come along!

In the meantime, at least take the aspirin!


    Bookmark   September 21, 2006 at 12:54AM
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My two sons were raised by me almost exclusively from the time they were 9 and 5. Age 17 was the worst for me with them - so take heart, it may not be over yet. Ha!

The best thing I can tell you is to stand your ground, don't give in to these bursts of temper and try not to take them personally. Young people need discipline and they need lines drawn as to their behavior and being responsible and giving their parents, other adults in their lives, and people in general the respect we all deserve as human beings. They also need to be shown respect for their privacy and given the chance to make some small decisions on their own. They also have the right to be rejected (by sports teams, girls, etc.) and they need to learn to deal with that rejection.

A little humor on your part won't hurt. When my sons would say things like "you're the meanest mom in the whole world" I would counter with something like "no, that title this year went to Mrs. Jane Smith in Kalamazoo, MI - I was only second runner-up." They probably rolled their eyes, but it made me laugh and let them know that I was not going to get my feelings hurt and cave in to their demands.

The teenage years are not the time to be your child's best friend. You need to be the parent in charge and they need to know it. My boys are now 32 and 28 and we are really good friends now. They realize that I did the best I could with the situation we found ourselves in and they know that I was the parent who stayed and did the best I could raising them. What is very important, they knew that I was the parent and I was in charge until they became older and began their own lives independent of me. Do not ever let your children be the ones in charge in your home! I can see the results of this mistake with other members of my family and it is not good.

Stand your ground, Mom!

    Bookmark   September 23, 2006 at 10:56AM
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I was a single parent from the time my son was born, his father just walked out, came back about 4 years later and caused tremendous problems.
I was told by a counselor the same thing that Beverly said, they act out with the person that they trust will not leave them because of their behavior.
It is a hard time and they are trying to break away and become an individual while they battle hormones and the stresses of being a teen.
I will not sugar coat things at all, it was an extremely stressful time in my life and some days I wished I could just move to an island and leave everyone behind.
It doesn't matter what your argue about, if you agree with him he will just find something else to argue about. Try to relax and talk to a counselor if you need to, they do help.
He will grow up and he will probably apologize later down the road.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2006 at 11:38AM
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This too shall pass. I had 4 teenagers and it was amazing how smart I became as they got older. I think 14 and 15 were the worst years. You just have to roll with the punches. Your son will get better. Colleen

    Bookmark   September 23, 2006 at 5:37PM
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Such good advice on this thread!!! Amen Theresa!

    Bookmark   September 23, 2006 at 11:59PM
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Thanks again.

Things have settled down for the moment. Tryouts for hockey are Nov. 17th. (This was casually mentioned by the DS yesterday in another conversation). I think that I'll try to be out of town! LOL.

Teresa-in my work as a schoolteacher, I've seen young ones that seem to be in charge at home...and I always think oh boy, just wait until they are teenagers!

I am surprised at how focused on the future our son seems to be right now. My stepchildren did not seem to be at the same age. He has picked a very successful uncle to admire right now (which is a good thing) and is talking about a place where he wants to job shadow next year through school.

I do know that he basically has a good head on his shoulders. I just don't like being manipulated - and they always seem to know which button to push!

Take care,

    Bookmark   September 24, 2006 at 7:53AM
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I just want to repeat - pick your battles. Sometimes my decisions were as hard or harder on me than on the boys. I was a single parent for both boys almost their whole lives. I 'trained' them by starting with little things. I wouldn't let them use extremely rude, crude langage in front of me. I'd wash their mouths out with soap. If they were mouthy in a public place, we left immediately dropping whatever we were doing. Ever throw out McDonalds before you're done eating? I wanted them to know I meant what I said. My hope was that they'd be in the habit of listening to me when they got older. I would walk away when I was angry, not make a hot-headed decision. I'd make my judgement and pronouncement at a later time. I would also listen to them - let them verbalize about what had happened.

It helped that I was a single parent. There was no "he said - she said". Only you know what will work for you.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2006 at 9:08AM
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Glassquilt, you speak the words of truth from a woman/mother who has been there! Amen to you!

Even when mine were little, if they pitched a fit in the grocery store, we walked right out. If they started fussing and fighting in the back seat of the car, I stopped the car as soon as I could safely, got out and walked back(with the keys in my hand) to the rear of the car and waited for them to promise not to fight, then I got back in and we continued on our trip. It only takes a couple of times with the parent reacting like this to make them see that you will not put up with bad behavior.

Especially with teens, you need to pick your battles. I considered clothes and hair their form of self expression - within the limits of decency. I always made sure that they bathed and put on clean clothes regularly, but that didn't become a problem. Son #2 came home with a pierced ear one time. I was more upset about how the piercing was done and the fact that he didn't even have an earing in the ear than I was over the actual pierced ear. He didn't even keep it pierced very long.

As a parent you need to say what you mean and mean what you say, then stick with that the next week, the next month, and all the years until they are grown and making their own decisions. You will ultimately fail if you say it one day, then two weeks later fail to stand by your words. The key words here are consistency and letting them face the consequences of their own actions.


    Bookmark   September 24, 2006 at 4:28PM
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Wow, where were all or you when I was raising my kids!! Great advise.

My son, soon to be 29 and a parent himself, was a wonderful kid until his 14th birthday. I think an alien took over his body for a few years.

I learned at an early age to set boundries with my kids, and had to remind him of those boundries many times. Being consistant with the rules of the house, respect being top of the list, was the most important thing.

I often reminded him of the fact that his actions were his own and therefore he owned the consequences of said actions or behavior.
If he wanted to take part in things like sports for example, he would also have to show he is responsable enough of himself which included how he treated others (myself included) to partake in such things.
After all, if he gets away with treating you or other family members with disrespect, he will do the same else where.

Occasionally, I took a day off from work and school, and kept him home and we would spend the day together away from his dad and the girls. These were the times he remembers as finding his footing. I used this time to find out what was REALLY bothering him. I wouldn't always get a straight answer right away, but after a bit of gentle probing the fears, anger, or whatever usually came to light.

We still have these little talks, via telephone in the middle of the night. But the point is that as his mom, he knows I will always listen, and then if I can, offer advise and if I can't, we try to talk it through.

But Kelly, under no curcumstances should he show you disrespect. Your his Mother and deserve the respect that goes with that honor.


    Bookmark   September 25, 2006 at 1:34AM
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Teresa - you brought up something I firmly believe in - to mean what you say. I learned early on to totally mean what I said, and don't say anything unless you are totally prepared to back it up with action. And consistency is so important. We had drastic problems with our girls, and one thing I did take away from all the counseling and help we sought, was "a family is NOT a democracy - parents are authority figures, not friends!"

    Bookmark   September 25, 2006 at 9:16AM
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Ahhhh...the memories! It does get better, and eventually they resurface as humans again. They try so hard to be adults, to "let you know" they're all grown up now, thank you very much, and you'd better listen to them. I used a lot of humor, and a lot of praise along the way with my stepson. Every kid is different, but for my DSSon, if I wanted him to do something, asking him "could you do me a favor?" or "I could really use your help", helped to make him feel responsible and needed I think. I always followed with something like "thanks for helping, I really needed it - your'e the best!".
If that didn't work, I threatened to shoot him with a tranquilizer dart gun, and told him he wouldn't wake up for 3 years.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2006 at 10:08PM
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You've got some great advice above. 14 year olds are little hormone casseroles and I'm sure they must feel terrible about themselves when their emotions get the best of them. Just give them some slack on the little things and choose your battles wisely. Like others here, I was very consistent when my kids were young, in fact, I found out later that my sisters used to talk about me behind my back because they thought I was too strict with my son's behavior. None of my sisters had kids at that time and later one of them told me that she used to think I was too strict but that she realized how well my kids listened to me because they knew I meant what I said. I didn't give my kids warnings over and over. I told them what behavior I expected and if they didn't follow it, we left or stopped what we were doing. Sometimes I felt like I was punishing myself because we'd have to leave stores, resturaunts, even grandpa and grandmas house. It was exhausting, but so worth it.

That said, I thought 14 was the toughest age with my DS. He seemed to think that because he was now physically bigger than me, that we were equals. WRONG. There were a few times when he spoke disrepectfully to me, thought he was smarter than I am and was just a pain in the butt. One thing that worked for me my son was disrepectful to me is my husband (his dad) made it clear to our son that not only was I his mother and it was wrong to speak to me that way, but my husband would not tolerate anyone speaking to his wife disrespectfully, he said "don't you dare speak like that to my wife, I will not allow anyone to speak to her like that and if it continues, you will deal with me" Now, my husband isn't mean or scary or violent or anything like that but it made quite an impression on my son.

14 was a struggle but the rest of his teenage years were mostly alot of fun. Teenagers are such interesting people and its so fun to watch the little person you nurtured grown into a wonderful young adult.

It really helps to keep your sense of humor through this too.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 7:44PM
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As has been repeated several times consistency is BIG. My now grown DD, tells me that life would be so much easier if she felt the exact same way every day. She tells me, that what makes this consistency thing so hard for her. I applauded her for her keen observations and stressed consistency!! Alas they do grow up, and it really is a great time of your life. Do try to enjoy if you can. A number of years ago when my DD's DS was going through a difficult stage. I would remind my DD as often as necessary, "you need to say something positive to your DS every day and if that means you have to tell him he has the most beautiful blue eyes in the whole wide world, then that is what should say that day!!" We now enjoy a good chuckle about his beautiful blue eyes!!!

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 10:09PM
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