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Can you relate to the slippery slope of power struggles?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I know the importance of not getting involved in power struggles. I don't have to be reminded of the way getting involved in power struggles is damaging. And yet, lately, I am finding myself getting involved. I'm usually pretty good at staying out. But lately I can't seem to help myself. DS (15) will say something that just grates on my nerves, and I'll just dive right in.

Example conversation from this morning (believe me, I realize all my many mistakes here):

I get the keys to unlock the garage (locked for foster care licensing reasons) where our washer and dryer is. "Let's do your laundry." (doing laundry is critical to keep the house sanitary and smell-free with DS for a few reasons...if my child was another child, I probably wouldn't pick this battle)

"I'm not doing laundry."

"You know you have to do laundry. You're just being silly."

"No, I'm being serious. I'm not doing laundry."

"I think you're just feeling mad because of what I had to talk to you about a few minutes ago" (I had to talk to him about not respecting the dog's space when she clearly wanted it).

"You're assuming."

"Maybe. But how am I supposed to know what's going on with you if all you say is you're just not going to do your laundry."

"You can't make me."

"No. But I can punish you for not doing it."

"I'm not doing any f***ing laundry." (please note that DS is very tired right now because of staying up way too late last night due to being in a play, which I think is a large part of why he was being such a jerk)

"Watch your mouth! You're going to be losing some serious priveleges here!"

Okay, I am so much better than this. I do have parenting resources and tools. For whatever reason I am just too tired or impatient or whatever to use them. I also find power struggles to be a slippery slope. If I get engaged in one, I usually find myself getting engaged in more and more for weeks. Anyone else? Not really looking for advice here so much as commiseration.

Oh, and is this a safe place to say that my son was being a total jerk~? I mean really, talking to me the way he did. Urgh!

post #2 of 8
It's certainly safe to call him a jerk when I'm around! LOL. I could introduce him to the 15 yo 'total jerk' who lives in my house. I only laugh because if I didn't I would cry!

Since it's clear that you know more effective ways of parenting, I won't offer any advice. Just sympathy. I'm right there with you and way too often I hear myself going down the same power struggle road you are describing. I hate it, but I'm trying to be nicer to myself about the times when I blow it. It helps me to remember that I'm not the only person responsible for my relationship with my teenager. He's nearly grown and he contributes to our relationship too, dang it!

Picture me banging my head against the wall.
post #3 of 8
Right there with both of you guys! What is it about fifteen year old males? Urrrgghh.

I usually try to avoid power struggles as well. But, my kid knows just what buttons to push. It can be so frustrating. Especially since when I lose it, he will give me that "look" and say "really effective parenting, Mom!"

A very good freind of mine raised three kids, who are now in their 30's. She told me that the most important thing to remember about teenagers is not to take anything personally. But its so hard not to hook in.

I find it easier to deal with my 4 yo's full-on temper tantrums (I walk away from them, except a while ago I posted about locking myself in the bathroom to get away, and he jimmied the lock with a fork!). Its the subtle mental games that my oldest plays that really get under my skin, then I get reactive.

So, Sierra, did he do any f**king laundry?

Personally, I think you did quite well. You should be a fly on the wall here some time.....

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the support mamas. My computer is acting very strange and shutting down about every five minutes, so I didn't have a chance to respond earlier. It was nice to have some commiseration. SnuggleMom, I actually ended up telling my son just that-- that he is responsible for our relationship too-- over the weekend. In fact, I told him that I just simply can not tolerate being abused by him, and that includes the emotional abuse of name-calling (after he started shouting from his room a series of names while angry at me).

dlb, LOL, he did finally do his f'ing laundry :. Actually, what he did was go back to bed and sleep off his attitude and then woke up and got all apologetic (probably so I would take him to his damn play!). Then he had time to get one stinkin' load in before he had to leave for his play, so the next day he took over the washing machine which meant that SO and I (who have far fewer clothes than DS does-- probably enough to wear a fresh outfit everyday for about 3 or 4 days before needing to do laundry) had no clean clothes today! Grrrrr....but I guess at least the house wasn't foul smelling then.

Oh yeah, and those subtle mind-games, man they really just push my buttons. I get so tired of them I could spit! Not to mention the "really effective parenting, Mom!" comments, which my DS also just loves to use. Suddenly I relate all too well to my mother's curse, "I hope you have children just like you!"
post #5 of 8
Hi again Sierra-

here is a conversation I had with ds 1 last week.

Me: "Listen to the birds chirp in the garden!"

Him: "Yeah, I know, anoying as hell, isn't it?"

grrrr! What is it about teenage boys and their negative attitudes?

Hang in there,

post #6 of 8

power struggles

LOL , sooooooo im not the only one living with sons with attitude.
my 14 year and 11 year old going on 18 exhibit the same behavoir .
as my 14 cory fav word these days is "meh" an all purpose word he made up to cover almost any question or request.

hang in there its all worth it in the end
post #7 of 8
Originally posted by Sierra
My computer is acting very strange and shutting down about every five minutes, so I didn't have a chance to respond earlier.
Oh no, Sierra! It sounds like you've got the worm!
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
dlb, oh that stuff just kills me:. The other one that really gets me is when DS is in a bad mood and decides to bring down the whole house. Here's an example:

Me: "Would you like to watch a movie?" (meaning watch one together...we don't have a tv, but there is a DVD player on my computer)

Him: "No" (with that tone of voice, like, duh, I should have known)

And when he's really being a jerk, if in response I ask about doing something else together, he might tell me to just leave him alone in a nice rude voice : :.

I swear, you all must think he's a charmer by now.

7spirits, yeah, my son also has a couple made up words he uses to respond to different things, but luckily he usually does it when he's joking around with me. What he did do that really got me upset the other day, though, was turn up his headphones in an effort to ignore me when he knew I was talking to him. I had to hold myself back from ripping the things off of him.

SnuggleMom, I can't figure out what's going on. I tried selectively restoring my computer to an earlier date, and I shut it down and brought it back up several times, and I haven't had the problem for a little bit now. But, then yesterday my screen was scrolling randomly up and down without me even touching the mouse. This is a problem I had a few months ago that also seemed to correct itself. Anyway, I wrote to Compaq tech support, and the technician wrote back that I must have a virus. I scanned my system for a virus, and nothing came up. I'm so confused

Anyway, thanks gals for your stories! That feels much better...to hear how similar my struggles are to others with kids my kid's age (despite my DS's severe developmental delays).


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