I'm afraid this may be quite a long post. I'm having a difficult time with my oldest son who is 16, nearly 17 years old. I really feel like I don't know what I'm doing anymore, and that I'm failing as a parent.
One of the biggest issues with him is the way he treats his brother, who is 2 years younger than him. He is always putting him down and finding fault with him. Now that DS 1 is nearly 17, I thought his attitude towards his brother would be getting better but it's not. Here's an example.
My boys are horse riders and each have their own horse. My oldest son's horse injured himself in his paddock about a month ago, and wounded two of his legs quite badly. The vet has asked us to keep the horse mostly penned while his legs are healing, as the more he moves around the more likely he is to keep opening up his wounds. Now DS 1 has had a heart problem and is supposed to be resting until he sees the cardiologist again. He can't take care of the horse himself, so DS 2 has volunteered to do it for him. Every day, he spends hours cleaning out the horse's stall, bringing him feed, hay, fresh water etc. He has been doing this every day for a month. Not once has DS 1 thanked him. DS 2 often does nice things for DS 1 and never gets thanked. All he does is find petty things to critisize. I have pleaded with DS 1 to thank his brother for what he is doing for his horse. He can't bring himself to do it. When I try to talk to him about why it is that he can't bring himself to say thank you, he tries to paint this picture of his brother as a bad guy, and tells me I can't see him for what he really is. When I ask him what his issues are with his younger brother, he brings up stuff from the past, petty things, like his brother accidentally breaking his radio months ago. When I tell him that these things are not an excuse for not thanking his brother, and that he has to let things go, he gets angry with me, and starts lashing out verbally at me. I get accused of playing favourites, and told I'm crazy because I don't see things the way he does. He gets completely irrational, I can't reason with him, yet he acts like I'm the one with the problem. We've always had a no-swearing rule in our house, but when he gets mad, every second word is the f word.
Another thing is the accusations he makes. Any time something goes missing, he accuses his brother of taking it. When he finds it, he never apologises. The other night, he couldn't access his facebook page, so he accused his brother of changing his password. Ten minutes later he was able to get in, it was just an issue with facebook. He still didn't feel the need to apologise.
I'm just in despair. I don't know how to get DS 1 to change his attitude towards his brother. Anything I say just results in him getting angry, and I don't want that happening when he is healing from a heart condition (inflammation in the heart muscle caused by a virus). I don't want to ignore things that shouldn't be ignored either.
The intolerance, the anger, the inability to see reason, all make me worry that he has a disorder of some kind. If he's just being a teenager, shouldn't he be growing out of this sort of thing by now?