I'm SO angry at my 14yr old!!! *Updated* - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 22 Old 03-11-2013, 05:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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OMG! He hit his sister over the back of the head with a 2x4! On purpose! Because she was insisting he do his fair share of the yard work they were supposed to be doing together! When they came inside over it, he tried to play it like she was victimizing HIM! "I don't understand why she's making such a fuss. I didn't hit her that hard." and "She refused to do the other half of the yard." (like that would be an acceptable excuse, even if she hadn't already clean up the first half while he stood around and made snide comments.) I don't know what the heck has gotten into him! OK, I do, but I still don't get it. He's always been this incredibly sweet, helpful, honest kid...and the last couple years, he has these moments that come out of NOWHERE and does the most insane things. Nothing like this, though! I get that he's having trouble dealing with his surging hormones, but how can the sweet, gentle boy even have the urge to hit his little sister upside the head with a 2x4 in the first place?!?!?!

 

When he started the attitude like it was all her fault, I completely blew my top! I basically cussed him out and told him to go outside and not come back in until the yard work was done and the garage was clean. Dd has a nice egg growing out of the back of her head, but no bleeding and no signs of concussion. Still, he's lucky that dh and I have always been so devoted to non-violent parenting that my blowing my top is just foul language. I'm SO ANGRY at him right now. I am usually all logic and discussion and talking things out, but omg I can't even begin to imagine how to do that with him over this issue. 


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#2 of 22 Old 03-11-2013, 06:21 PM
 
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I am so so sorry.  I have absolutely no advice because I am right there with you with my 16 year old.  My 14 year old isn't quite there yet but my 19 year old (girl) is out the other side (thankfully!).  I too have some really clean spaces.  One day a couple months ago I was so mad that I sent him in the bathroom to sit on the toilet because it's the only place in our small house that he would have to sit and stew.  He came out 30 minutes later and he had painted his toenails ;-); so at least he was productive!

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#3 of 22 Old 03-11-2013, 07:10 PM
 
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My 15yo sister clonked me (13yo) over the head with a power head of the vacuum cleaner-- it freakin' hurt!!  But I realize that she didn't thwack it over my head-- she just had absolutely no clue how the heaviness of it would amplify her motion. 

 

So, in a sense, I believe your son (as far as your account goes) that he "didn't hit her that hard".  You don't have to "hit that hard" to do serious damage.  Being angry doesn't help clarify his perception of how much power he put into that swing.  

 

But my post seems almost beside the point.  I don't blame you for going ballistic-- it's what I probably would have done, too, right or not.  Sorry I have no advice for you, either!


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#4 of 22 Old 03-11-2013, 07:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the empathy, guys. I've had a chance to cool off some. Dh happened to text me on his break, something like "so, how's your night going?" and I told him what happened. He was so upset his boss wanted to know what was up. When he told him, he told dh to come home and just consider it a long break. He could return once everything was dealt with here. He has an awesome boss. 

 

So, we sat down and discussed it. We considered asking the police to send someone just to scare ds and make him realize how serious this is. He's a little over 5'8" and very muscular and athletic. Dd is 5'1" and built like a twig. He weighs literally double what she does. We decided there was a real risk of them either pressing charges against ds or calling CPS, because of the potential harm he could have caused. It got us to thinking though. I looked it up and what he did would be Assault IV and a first offense carries 10 days in jail and between 6 months to 2 years probation. So, we decided to give him the family version of that. 

 

10 Days "Jail" (or until he's written a 1 page letter of apology)

Only allowed out of his room for;

 Chores

 To discuss school work with Mom

 Church / Seminary

 Bathroom

 Scheduled food breaks (otherwise, he'll abuse this to no end)

Must call leaders for all his activities and explain why he can't attend for the next 10 days.

NO music each day until;

 House is clean

 One exam is completed (This is pretty hefty, as he currently completes 2 - 3 per week)

NO computer

NO phone

NO DS

NO other electronics (except MP3 player if earned daily)

NOT worthy to pass the sacrament at church (and he must meet with our Bishop before Sunday to explain why)

 

6 Months "Probation" (coincidentally, his 15th birthday will be his first day of freedom)

Scheduled activities ONLY

NO friends over

NO media above PG, TV-PG, E-10 rating

NO violent play of any kind

Computer blocking program will be set to allow educational and religious programs and web sites only

NO screens daily until;

 House is clean

 One exam is complete

DS is allowed on road trips ONLY

Phone is to be kept in airplane mode when in the presence of (or same building as) any family member

NOT worthy to pass the sacrament at church if any of these rules have been violated in the last week


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#5 of 22 Old 03-11-2013, 08:10 PM
 
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It makes sense that you're angry with your son.  I'm sure I would be too!  But it seems like the "jail" is far too harsh.  Now I don't have teenagers, so take what I say with a grain of salt.  But 14 is not THAT old yet.  What he did would be assault with jail time for a grownup.  He's really not a grownup at all.  Obviously, he should have the impulse control to not do something like that, but teenagers do stupid things without thinking about it.  I know I did. 

 

I worry that locking him in his room like that for 10 days and then not fully forgiving him for another 6 months would permenantly damage your relationship with him.  He would probably carry resentment for his entire life.  At this point, he knows how bad it was to do this.  His initial reaction blaming her, may have been due to the shock that he actually hurt his sister so badly when he didn't mean to.  Maybe you should ask him what he thinks he should do in reparation, rather than laying this heavy burden on him yourself.   

 

I'm so sorry this happened in your family. 

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#6 of 22 Old 03-11-2013, 08:28 PM
 
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ITA with Dovey. I think what you have outlined is way, way too harsh. I get why you are so upset, but your reaction c ould make it much worse.
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#7 of 22 Old 03-11-2013, 09:08 PM
 
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I truly have been (almost) where you are in the last couple weeks - he just passed his MJ test for the first time in 6 weeks.  Who knew you could buy tham at Dollar Tree?!  But I too, think the 6 month probation is harsh.  I totally get that you want to nip it in the bud, I really do.  But I think the 10 days and the embarassment of the whole thing is a lot.  I would ask you to sleep on it AND ask his sister what her thoughts are.

 

And let him know what you found out as far as the charges go.  Because at 14, he "could" be charged as an adult in most states.

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#8 of 22 Old 03-11-2013, 09:16 PM
 
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He behaves like a teen. And yes, you have a right to be mad. He is very lucky you did no ground him from everything for weeks. It is OK to see parents mad sometime and this is a perfect occasion.

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#9 of 22 Old 03-11-2013, 09:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I appreciate all the input. I agree that not forgiving him would be horrible, absolutely! I didn't mean to imply everyone was going to be angrily glaring at him the whole time or something. In our family, consequences aren't connected to love and forgiveness. When he signed up for a text subscription that cost us a bunch of money without thinking, he lost his texting for a month...but we didn't wait a month to forgive him - or give him his texting back ahead of time because we loved him, either. 

 

I absolutely stand by these consequences. Nowhere did I list "won't be loved or forgiven by Mom and Dad". There is nothing written between the lines. Dh gave ds a big bear hug and reminded ds he still loves him, before he went back to work. If the neighbors had happened to see and called the cops, he wouldn't get to chose his own reperations. If they were feeling generous maybe he'd get a warming and it would be left in my hands. If another 14yr old had done this to my daughter, I certainly would have pressed charges. Dd has the right to be protected from such treatment and neither of them should be learning that its more acceptable for a family member to assault someone than for anyone else. 10 days in jail (often house arrest for those under 16) and 6 months probation IS the typical legal consequence for a juvenile who gets caught doing what he did. It's 10 days in jail minimum (up to 1 year) and 2 years probation for an adult or a juvenile with a record of violence. 

 

We discussed all this with DS, and wrote out the consequences clearly for everyone's reference. He's used to being raised with logical and appropriate consequences like this. Expecting him to decide on and make some kind of restitution himself would just be cruel. It's not possible to make restitution for assault. With something this serious, he simply needs to take it so seriously that it will feel like an inappropriately large reaction in the future. When we discussed the potential consequences, and showed him the family version we had decided on - he was surprised. We talked about the potential and actual damage to his sister and  - he was surprised. He gets that it's "wrong" but is struggling with the idea that it's actually a big deal to hit anyone, let alone someone so much smaller than himself with a 2x4...and with the idea that her being his sister doesn't somehow makes it less of a big deal. If I'm choosing his sense of morality over the quality of my relationship with him, so be it. That's where my priorities lay.

 

We also discussed all this with DD. She needs us to model that this kind of treatment is absolutely unacceptable and deserving of a severe response. She needs to feel that reporting this kind of thing to an authority figure is appropriate and expect it to be taken seriously. We didn't ask what she thinks his punishment should be or what she thought about the punishment. We talked to her about how she felt about what happened and let her know that what he did was totally unacceptable...and her feeling angry at him was perfectly acceptable and that she should forgive him when she feels ready to forgive him. If that's right now, fine. If it takes a while, fine. That's something no one else has the right to decide for her or pressure her about, but that we do still expect her to treat him with basic respect even if she's mad at him. She was very upset at first. Honestly, once she saw how seriously we were taking things, her anger melted away and she was ok with him. She's seems to have let the issue go, and even made enough of a snack to share with him (like she normally does) this evening. This is how authorities are supposed to make victims of violence feel. Like they can safely move on with their lives. 


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#10 of 22 Old 03-11-2013, 09:29 PM
 
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she put he does not have to do jail time if he writes a apology so those tasks would be his choice. I think your punishment totally fits the crime. She is lucky its just  a goose egg. Especially the back of the head being such a vulnerable part of the brain. Totally unacceptable.

 

I am sorry but even if he resents you until he has his own kids he will understand then. He could have seriously hurt her or worse.

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#11 of 22 Old 03-11-2013, 11:17 PM
 
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I love the "jail at home" idea!  It's really just good old fashioned grounding, isn't it.  I might feel like for my kids, 6 mos of probation wouldn't be the best choice and might be more of an investment than I was willing to make, but if you think it fits your son's personality, go for it!  And since you seem to be a religous family, maybe have him research what happened when Cain hit his sibling over the head?

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#12 of 22 Old 03-12-2013, 05:41 AM
 
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I think you handled it great.  Honestly, he's lucky a neighbor didn't see it and call the cops.  "Home jail" is best case scenario here!  

 

I would also talk to your daughter about how no one, not even her brother, has the right to hurt her. (It sounds like you covered this somewhat.)  Your son needs to know that if that's how he's treating his sister, that's how she will expected to be treated from other men in her life.  Would if be ok with him if a boyfriend hit her?   

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#13 of 22 Old 03-12-2013, 07:58 PM
 
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I think that it is good to come down hard on violence, especially since he really isn't seeing it as a problem even after talking.  I don't think that the part about sacraments is one I would go with though unless you have already talked to your religious leader and they say it is good to be cut off from God for breaking rules like these.  I am not sure what religion you are, but our parish priest wasn't a believer in ever cutting yourself off from God, especially for little reasons.  I would worry that punishing a child by interfering with religious expression would make spiritual development something to turn against since it is something that can be used against you so easily, especially if they resent being punished or the length of the punishment in the first place.  I think that with restrictions that last this long you definitely have the chance of punishing him by using rejection backfiring into resentment.  Religion is so often something that is encouraged on us a kids and teens so a long period of strict restrictions and using religion to punish seems like a bad combination when you add into it a teenagers tendency towards pushing away what is forced on them, especially when they feel resentment.

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#14 of 22 Old 03-12-2013, 08:07 PM
 
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I think that it is good to come down hard on violence, especially since he really isn't seeing it as a problem even after talking.  I don't think that the part about sacraments is one I would go with though unless you have already talked to your religious leader and they say it is good to be cut off from God for breaking rules like these.  I am not sure what religion you are, but our parish priest wasn't a believer in ever cutting yourself off from God, especially for little reasons.  I would worry that punishing a child by interfering with religious expression would make spiritual development something to turn against since it is something that can be used against you so easily, especially if they resent being punished or the length of the punishment in the first place.  I think that with restrictions that last this long you definitely have the chance of punishing him by using rejection backfiring into resentment.  Religion is so often something that is encouraged on us a kids and teens so a long period of strict restrictions and using religion to punish seems like a bad combination when you add into it a teenagers tendency towards pushing away what is forced on them, especially when they feel resentment.

 

In the LDS church "passing the sacrament" and "partaking of the sacrament" are two different things.  He will still be taking the sacrament, but he won't have the honor of passing it to others of the congregation.


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#15 of 22 Old 03-12-2013, 08:15 PM
 
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Does he have issues with impulse control or anger management, other than this incident? If not, I see where this punishment can serve to remind him not to behave like that in the future. But if this is an ongoing problem, I think anger management skills (a class, therapy, whatever learning situation) might be an important aspect of solving this problem, and avoiding future recurrences. Just punishing, without teaching the lacking skills, might not really solve the root problem.
 


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#16 of 22 Old 03-12-2013, 08:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think you misread. He isn't being allowed to SERVE sacrament. His actions violated the behavioral standards expected of those serving sacrament. That doesn't cut him off from God in any religion. That doesn't effect his ability to TAKE sacrament along with everyone else. 

 

As I mentioned in earlier posts, no he isn't inclined to this kind of behavior. The issue at hand is drilling into his mind that this is a big deal so it doesn't happen again and we don't end up having to jump through all kinds of hoops to undue 

 

The bit about Able and Cain is too funny. =D

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#17 of 22 Old 03-18-2013, 07:57 PM
 
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I think researching head injuries and going over the information with him could be helpful. He needs to deeply understand what is at stake why he can never do such a thing again. If he caused permanent damage to another human being, it would alter the entire course of his life as well as the other persons.
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#18 of 22 Old 03-18-2013, 08:33 PM
 
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I don't think it is too harsh. He is allowed some MP3 time. He needs to learn that hitting someone over the head with an object is not OK. It could have been a lot worse.

 

In the area I live, law enforcement loves to punish juveniles as adults, so I would be hesitant to call the police in a case like this too. I like the idea of doing a "home-jail" instead.

 

I never had a sibling close in age, so I was really depressed and worried about my kids fighting all the time. I did ask a counselor about it when they were a bit younger, and she said it was pretty typical for it to get physical at their age (they were a boy aged 8 and girl aged 4 at the time). They still fight day and night. My son is 10 now. Someone told me it got better around age 11. I hope that is the case for us too!

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#19 of 22 Old 03-18-2013, 09:05 PM
 
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Btw, I think keeping him from seeing friends for 6 months is a bad idea, especially if his friends are basically good kids. It could lead to depression and other, serious problems.

Friendship and social connections are very important for kids this age, and 6 months is way, way too long.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#20 of 22 Old 03-19-2013, 04:16 AM
 
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The issue of not having friends visit for six months depends on if he has other opportunities to see those friends. If he is seeing them in other places, then the six months of no visits by friends might be alright.

OP, I think you handled it well.

Maybe his dad or some adult male your son respects can talk with him about what he did while they are working on something else. I read that males think better if they are physically doing something. He needs to realize that he could have done serious harm. With so much hitting on tv and video games, it can be easy to think there is no damage possible, when that is not true.
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#21 of 22 Old 03-19-2013, 02:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The no friends over bit is really minor, actually. We don't live in a densely populated area where that kind of thing is common. He still has his scheduled activities. That means church youth group, Boy Scouts, Archery Club, Welding Club, Leatherworking Club, Cooking Club....over the summer he has trips to visit his cousins, Boy Scout Camp, Not Back to School Camp, church summer camp, and a variety of special outings with all the organizations he's part of. We live in a very rural and isolated agricultural community. Kids don't just "hang out" much because they don't make the half hour trek from their farm to town or another farm unless they have a good reason. 4H or church is the major source of social contact for most kids around here. Summers are spent alone in the woods surrounding the farms, when all the chores are done. Lots of hunting, fishing, picking berries, and bonding with their horses or dogs. ;)

 

Those are some good tips and advice. Thanks.

 

The bishop ended up deciding that he shouldn't serve sacrament for a couple weeks, actually. One Sunday more than we had planned. He offered us (privately) to allow Crash to do community service for a reduced probation though. We have given him the choice between service and grounding for things like staying out after curfew before, and the bishop had helped match us up with folks that needed a handyman or snow shoveled or something. The bishop just left town for a couple weeks so we are discussing it and will let him know what we decide when he gets back.


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#22 of 22 Old 03-19-2013, 03:21 PM
 
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That sounds awesome -- juveniles where I live are usually required to perform community service for offensives such as this that go through the court system. 
 


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