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15 yo ds1 thinks he can do whatever he pleases - Page 2

post #21 of 35
Right there with you! For me teens are the hardest! I have a 20 yr old 17 yr old and 15 yr old which I have homeschooled. Plus I have 4 little ones. My 20 yr old is entering college this May and my 17 year old is in college. With my eldest I really was an authoritarian type using groundings, taking away of privledges yelling ect. Well my 20 year old just got more devious. Better at hiding her behavior. Even now she will tell me what I want to hear to my face and go on to make bad decisions (smoking drinking living with guys ect) We are a religious family and she has rejected most of our values. I can see she is still rebelling. I sat down and really looked at things in our family and decided to change the way I delt with my teens. It is easier for me to use positive assertive parenting with my little ones. With my 17 year old who also tried some things (drinking and staying out all night) I really spoke with her and not to her I explained what was concernig me about her behavior and why (making me worry, illegal, rape, unhealthy, eroding of my trust) I also explained I truly thought she was a good kid. I really do. I explained what I need to see to correct the problem. Her coming home when expected and that it would take some time to regain my complete trust but I knew she could do it. I also told her I felt this way because I loved her so much. Well that was 6 months ago and I haven't had that problem since. She has worked hard to correct it. I think it worked because of where I was coming from I wasn't trying to use some formula or punish her I just truly spoke from the heart. Well, now that 17 year old just started college a few months ago and came to me and basically told me that since she was in college and is doing all the responsible things (working, giving money to help out the family, and going to college) I needed to let her grow up and basically treat her as an adult. Oh did that scare me. But I believe she deserved the chance and that she had actually earned it. I made a deal with her as long as she continued to treat me with respect and was trustworthy not doing anything illegal or imoral I would give her freedom that she so desperately wanted. So far it has worked. Just in my family I have seen with my children the more I try to crack down the more it slips through my fingers. It has been hard for me to adjust to talking with my teenagers and having consequences but not punishments there is such a fine line that I still try to figure out. What I have noticed is that she has used that freedom to go out more often with her friends. She still writes down who she is with and when she will be back and I can call her on her cell phone to talk to her. A big bonus she talks to me I mean really talks to me about things like who is doing what (drinking, smoking, sex ect) and what she thinks about it. To little things like if she was bored doing something and it wasn't as fun as expected. She also listens to me and the little things I find interesting. Like this board I found when I truly in my heart treated her with respect trust and love I got it back. Good luck to you and your family
post #22 of 35
Your situation sound so similar to ours. DS1 is 17. Most of what you described about your son down to the basketball (ours will be captain of the varsity team next year) sounds so familiar (add that ours is now driving, has mediocre grades, and no job/no money).

I also can relate to your scenario of establishing rules and ds having a hard time following them when it comes down to it. IE- last Sun dh & I went for a walk. When we got home the car was gone. DS came home a few minutes later. I explained to him AGAIN that the rule in our home is that he must ask to drive (unless it is an emergency) every time. If we are not home & he can't phone us, he can't drive. Okay, rule repeated. Later that afternoon DH, DS2, & I went to dinner (DH1 elected not to go). When we came home, the car was gone. I called him & told him to come home immediately. He did. I explained that I felt hurt and angry with him for taking the car AGAIN after I respectfully repeated the rule to him just a few hours earlier. He seems to just not give a S&*T, ykwim? For now, I have suspended all of his driving priviledges indefinitely. The places he took the car to on Sunday are less than a couple of miles from our home so it wasn't like he went somewhere I wouldn't have let him go to, but he at least has to respect the basic rule. However, when I reminded him of this when he got home, he yelled LOUDLY at me so I just told him I wouldn't be speaking with him for the rest of the night because I can't handle it when a person addresses me this way.

I can so relate to that attitude of wanting to do what HE wants to do. This is a tough one and the "sitting down and talking thing" may work for some, but doesn't do that much for us when the moment inevitably arrives when he wants to do something that we don't agree with.

What I'm trying to do now is not WORRY so much. He is his own person and he will have to be the one who deals with the consequences of his actions. I processed this with my friend whose 15 year old ds is doing similar stuff who talked with a friend/mentor & her basic advice was to back off and trust the good things about your kid.

I've also found that when my kid does something obnoxious (like the car thing above), he & I process best when we've both had time (usually the next day) to calm down.

Oh, and another thought (I know this is somewhat rambling. . .)- we live in a liberal community where many kids have cars they can use whenever they want and can come & go as they please. I think that sometimes kids who have rules rebel because they set the standard against these kids with no rules (not bad kids, just no rules). My son thinks he should have no curfew because he is 17 1/2 because none of his friends do. We usually require him to be home by 1 or 2 (earlier if he has the car), but last week he came in at 12:40 (on time), but I think he left again and borrowed a bike (there's a strange bike in our garage) and came in whenever. I asked him about this and he claimed that he brought the bike home for a friend and that it had been there since the afternoon before and that he had NOT left after coming in at 12:40. I said okay as I really can't disprove him, but I do know for sure that he has left after curfew on other occasions. I'm not willing to stay up all night guarding my house, but I don't feel our rules are unreasonable. On the other hand, I'm not willing to just let him come and go as he pleases.

If you've made it this far, thanks. I just never ever thought parenting a teenager would be so HARD!!!!!!
post #23 of 35
Thread Starter 
the stories im reading here resonate so much with me.
what is with teh yelling? i do think its a boy thing (they have such a harder time expressing their emotions).
im going to MAKE him take this class at the end of the month..i know he wont be happy about it and will yell but im waiting until its almost starting before telling him so i can reduce my "torture" time (thats what i call his nagging to do somethng when he cant or nagging to not have to do something).
i think alot of kids around here have no rules, but im just not comfortable with that. and i dont believe what he tells me anyway, b/c ive talked to a few moms and things aren't the way my son portrays them sometimes.
im trying to take it one day at a time, but lately there have been too many times where i just say "go away..or go to your room..i cant talk to you". i never thought i would say that to one of my kids, but i really cant take being screamed at, being told i was crazy...i lost it...i was being ridiculous, kwim???
post #24 of 35
I DO know what you mean. I'm going to try to make myself clear and not engage with him repeatedly for my own health, happiness, and sanity.

Hang in there & know you're not alone.
post #25 of 35
I posted about this book earlier, but it's so great I have to mention it again. I recommend everyone with a teen read the book How To Talk So Teens Will Listen & Listen So Teens Will Talk. The authors show how you can be firm without alienating your teen. I found it very helpful.
post #26 of 35
Wow, I just cannot fathom a child not having rules. I've heard of that before, but it just wouldn't work in our family. We have basic rules that do not change often, and if they do, we discuss it in detail w/our children. So far, so good w/my teen. We have different circumstances w/her, though. She is my stepdd, although we do not use that term. I am her mom. She has a biomom who was never taught how to be a mom. When my dd was 13 and went to visit her mom over the weekend, she came home to tell me that she tried to talk to her biomom about a science project worry. Her biomom actually told her that she shouldn't be worried about that stuff, and should be concerned w/makeup and boys and sex. Yes, sex. My dd is 17.5, and makes straight As and just was accepted into a wonderful (and free!) 5 wk program at a nearby college this summer. It is math and science based. We have never had the problems of her going out and not returning, staying out too late, drinking, drugs, or any of that stuff. I'm not saying that we may not experience it w/our other kids, though! my dd has OFTEN thanked us for staying on her butt about chores, school, and other responsibilities. She sees other kids her age that are doing very destructive things, and she knows they are headed down a dangerous path. We do occasionally have issues w/her not doing her chores or not doing them all the way. When that happens we ask her how we are to trust her judgement away from home if she cannot complete the basic responsibilities she has here. Not completing her chores, or not doing them correctly/or in a timely manner result in loss of privliges and/or more chores. We know that she may not like it at the time, but she knows why we do things the way we do. We have a very open and honest relationship, and she comes to us w/her problems and we discuss them and try to help her find reasonable solutions.

I truly hope you can find some answers to your son's behavioral issues. I would be firm, firm, firm, and not stand for any disrespect. Maybe you should lock the door if he doesn't want to come home on time? That is not fair to your family if he doesn't respect the rules. I also really like the idea of making him pay rent in exchange for being treated more like an adult. G/L, Mama!
post #27 of 35
Thread Starter 
I recommend everyone with a teen read the book How To Talk So Teens Will Listen & Listen So Teens Will Talk. The authors show how you can be firm without alienating your teen. I found it very helpful.
i have read this book and think it is a really good book. it just isnt working. ive taken parenting classes and read several other books (get out of my life, but first will you take me and x to the mall...now i know why tigers eat their young...the chore wars...thats all i can remember right now).

We do occasionally have issues w/her not doing her chores or not doing them all the way. When that happens we ask her how we are to trust her judgement away from home if she cannot complete the basic responsibilities she has here. Not completing her chores, or not doing them correctly/or in a timely manner result in loss of privliges and/or more chores.
this sounds like a good idea to tell him. very articulate with what i have been TRYING to say. probably wont make a difference the first few hundred times i say it, but maybe it will after that.

thanks mamas...for posting yoru experiences..it helps me to calm down and realize im not alone.

i cant wait till this class starts..i really hope he doesn't put up much resistence to going to it, although i dont have too much confidence of that.

yesterday he yelled at me, told me i was crazy and ridiculous, and then asked to go somewhere after school today. i said NO! well he's been out of school for 2 hours and is not home. im just not sure what to do. put the baby in the car and go get him with him kicking and screaming (remember, 6'2 kid..not like i can drag him home), or wait for him to get home and take more things away. i cant take his clothes away and soon that will be all he has left.

did anyone see the news about a woman who chained her dd to her? they were caught when the mom got pulled over for speeding or some other traffic violation and they were chained together. i would NOT do that and do NOT think its the solution, but i can kind of see whats in her mind. the mom said the dd would run away if she wasn't restrained. thats so sad, isnt it??? i have tried so hard to provide for ds1 and give him whatever he has wanted, but to also teach him responsibility, etc. and now b/c he can't be physically restrained (he's always saying, "Im 6'2..there is nothign you can do), then i have no control. and if i ground him or take things away, im making his life boring. and there is so much that he throws up to me if i try to have a conversation..its never ONLY about his behavior and how its unacceptable..he wants to bring up his brothers, mistakes made in the past, etc. etc.

thanks again for sharing your stories..i really don't know what to do. i don't want him to go live with his dad...that woudl kill me, but i have NO control over him (obviously from 2 weeks ago and now again today).
post #28 of 35
I have a question for the OP:

Are you and your son's dad and stepdad all on the same page? Does he treat them with the same disrespect?

You are dealing with some really heartbreaking issues. My husband and I were foster parents to a teenage girl. It was different as we didn't have the life long relationship with her as we will with our sons. BUT, it was so hard when she was disrespectful and lied. And on some level, he knows boundaries are your way of showing you love him.
post #29 of 35
I was going to ask about the dad, too. If I have trouble, I have Dad back me up, but he lives here, so that is probably alot easier for me. I really feel for you and your situation and sure hope you find some answers that work for you. BTW, you mentioned that you cannot take his clothes away. Why not? I mean, sure you shouldn't take ALL of them away, but who says you have to provide more than the basics? And one episode of Malcolm in the Middle really stuck w/me and I am saving it for the future, lol. The mom took away her kid's pillows. You can also take the door off his room, take away all but one pair of shoes (let him keep the one pair he likes the least), and anything else that may be important to him. Just til he learns that the rules are important to YOU, yk? I see nothing wrong w/making him earn these things back, considering the disrespectful way he treats you. Also, you don't have to buy his fav. snack foods, etc....I know this is pretty drastic, but so is his behaviour. You may not be able to drag a big boy like that home, but you CAN make him understand that this is really important to you, the one who provides for him, loves him, watches out for his well-being, and all that good stuff that a responsible adult w/a child has to do.
post #30 of 35
Thread Starter 
I was going to ask about the dad, too. If I have trouble, I have Dad back me up, but he lives here, so that is probably alot easier for me.
every one is on the same page. stepdad is a lot less emotional than i am about it, which is why ds1 goes to him for help. dad is in Florida and we are in NH. dad has always been more of a "friend" than a parent...but this time he is actually on my side.

ds1 has been told he will have to go live with dad if he doesn't start behaving at home, but G-d, that would be so hard for me not to have my kid with me, yk?

i am hoping the class at the end of the month (how to control your emotions, etc.) will be helpful..but im also gearing up to hear the screaming and yellign that is going to come from his learning he has to take it.

and as far as today goes, he is really good at manipulating his stepdad and called him at work to ask if he could go home with a friend's mom b/c he had to stay after school for Spanish help. ok, lets see if i can explain this. I am HOME with his baby brother, but i didn't get a phone call. He told his stepdad that he couldnt get in touch with me (if i see he has called, i call him back, so whether he could get in touch with me that minute may be true, but he didnt call after school again). So, of course his sd said he could stay and go home with the mom. the thing is that 1. he was told to come home (i woudl of course have made an exception to the school thing and picked him up there); and 2. he went to a friends house that is miles in the other direction of school. never mind he wasnt supposed to go there anyway.

so, another sit down (he HATES those) tonight when his stepdad picks him up b/c im not gonig to get him. I am really at a point right now where i need his stepdad home when i talk to him. I literally say "help me" to his stepdad when im talking to my ds1.

jeez...and this isnt a kid who is into drugs, alcohol or smoking!! i can't imagine dealing with any of those issues, but that is what i am trying to avoid, kwim???

and im exhausted!!! not from teh babe, but from the teen!!!
post #31 of 35
I am having similar problems with my teen. Ya know, I used to think I knew alot more about parenting kids as they got older until I had one get older!!! I absolutely think kids need boundaries. I will not let my teen make my whole house miserable or set a poor example for the younger kids. It's amazing what my 3 year old can pick up from her. If she breaks one of the rules then she loses a privilege. For her these include: cell phone privileges, having to walk to/from school, getting her own ride to play practices or having to miss it, no tv, no computer, no computer games, no friends on the weekends, no phone calls, no money. I also reward good behavior like helping me with the baby or other kids, doing all her chores, etc. I give her money to buy clothes, go to the movies, drive her to school, rent movies to watch, have friends over, etc.

I have decided that I am not going to get constantly stressed out and angry over all the poor choices she makes. She is going to have to learn that there are consequences for poor behavior and if you treat someone like crap, you will not get the things you want from them! I told her that if one of my friends talked to me the way she had been, they would no longer be my friends and I wouldn't want to spend time with them, so if she wanted to be around the family and me, she would have to be more respectful.

Oh, and I banned TV's, phones, computer games, etc. from all bedrooms and make sure that she can't retreat to her bedroom for the weekend!

Good luck. Not even sure if any of this helps you or not. I have found having a teen is much harder than having a baby or toddler!!! Teens can be very "uncute" sometimes. But it sounds like overall your kid is a good kid, just going through a rough patch. you'll make it!
post #32 of 35
Ok, normally I'm pretty laid back. But drastic times call for drastic measures.

If you knew where he was I would have sent DH to go get him. And if he refused to come home with DH I would have reported him as a runaway. I'm a VERY reasonable person, but I do NOT put up with dangerous behavior. He would have come home to find a matress on the floor in his bedroom with bedding on it, and a box of the very basic clothing he needed, nothing else. I wouldn't have even left the posters on the walls. However, I would have exhausted all other means first, and it sounds like you have. It doens't matter how grown up he feels, you are still legally responsible for every little screw up. If he gets arrested for being out late and causing a disturbance, it's you that has to pay the fine and court fees etc. Since he's avoiding talking to you and calling stepdad instead, maybe step dad should just always say from now one "Ask your mother."

post #33 of 35
Thread Starter 
the ironic thing is that at dinner tonight, he made a comment to the effect that "he's just a kid...he shouldn't have as many responsiblities around the house as i do". huh?

this of course was in reference to the fact that i don't want to have to mop the floor after he has dropped cake and icing on it.
post #34 of 35
Hi Rach!
I'm sorry you are going through this right now with your teen boy.

I thought I would make a few suggestions, even though my relationship with my teen is.. well.. I wouldn't say strained because we're very close, but difficult because she annoys me so much. I know I annoy her too.

It is my belief that teenagers need their parents just as much as they did when they were babes, if not more in some ways. I would NOT take his door off (when I was a teen, my friend's mom did that to her and it did nothing but further distance their relationship!!). It really sounds like your son is angry with you, for whatever reason, and probably for reasons he will either not admit to, or he is not aware of. You just had a baby (news to you, eh?) and that could be a big part of it.

Do you two ever get any time to be together without pressure or stress? I would ask him to do something with you. Hound him if you have to, to do stuff with you. Let him know you need him, even if it's help fixing something or making an art project, anything you can think of. I would also have him go out with you, to spend time together. I feel this is extremely important for the sake of your relationship. You have to take the baby with you of course, but otherwise, just you, him, and the babe. Maybe out to dinner, go shopping, hike leisurely down a trail, whatever it is that you two can stand doing together. I would talk to him about life casually and not pressure him to "fix" the relationship and the problems you're having with each other while you are doing things together. At first he may be very resistant to the idea, but I promise you it will make a difference.

In regards to that class, or whatever it is, I would tell him about it and how important it is to you that you guys learn to get along together again, and that YOU need it.

Does he have a cell phone? You can call him during the day just to shoot the $h*t. You can tell him you're ok with him going out after school, but please call you and let you know where he'll be. If he doesn't have a cell, maybe take him to get one, and let him know the rules for using it.

I'm usually pretty good at perceiving what's going on in a kid's head, and I really think he's angry with you. I do think you should try some GD techniques with him, and I've found that some of the same techniques you use with a toddler works with older chidren and adults too.

I really hope I haven't offended you by my suggestions, and I don't know what you have and haven't tried with him. Keep us updated will you? I'm really interested in what's happening with this.
post #35 of 35
Thread Starter 
yes, he's angry...probably about the fact that we have a new babe...im not working right now (so that cuts into his consumerism), his dad and i have been divorced since he was 2...G-d only knows what else he's angry about.
he's angry that his list of chores include taking out the garbage, brining laundry from the basement upstairs (thats the way we go in and out of the house, so he passes it 2-3 times per day), emptying the dishwasher (hasnt done that in ages), keeping his room free of food and trash (doesnt do that either), putting his clothes away and putting his dirty laundry in the laundry area (again, that takes an act of Congress to get done), cleaning the litter boxes (does it, but poorly) and some yard work that takes weeks to be done (i dread summer b/c its his job to mow the lawn and it goes at least 2 weeks past due each time...i have always loved mowing the lawn and would rather just do it myself than hear about it from him).
he does have a cell phone. thats another issue. he's had one for years b/c i worked in Boston and needed to get in touch with him. now, a few years later, he feels like it is HIS and not something that i can actually take away. He talks on it whenever he wants, etc.
I try to do things with him and spend time with him. Every Tues. dh goes to see dss and ds1 and i are alone with the baby. sometimes its nice..we have dinner together, etc. but sometimes he wont come down to dinner when its ready, or he explodes about a chore, etc.
I would NEVER take the door off his room, for two reasons. 1. that woudl have made me suicidal as a teenager. I really really needed privacy and i know he does too. 2. i dont want to have to look at his room. his door is the one that is at the very top of the stairs, and if i had to look into his room each time i came upstairs i would go crazy!!!
i just started a book entitled "Parenting Your OUt of Control Teenager". WIll let you guys know what I think of it.
for now, things are the same. Last night was difficult but aftewards, he came and told me he was sorry and gave me a kiss. I just don't know.....
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