Teen being disrespectful - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 26 Old 04-15-2012, 09:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My teenager has braces. At first, we tried letting him control his intake of pop (they aren't supposed to have it, or if they do it is in very limited quantities) that didn't work - he was drinking it every day. Then we tried the once a week, but somehow that got away from us. He went to the dentist and has a cavity and they told him that he has plaque on his teeth from pop. I told him, one night when he wouldn't brush his teeth, that until he could show me that for three days straight he could brush his teeth twice a day and wear his bands that he wasn't having pop. He hasn't been able to do it yet, and that was over a week ago. The dentist told him he needs to be brushing at night, and he didn't last night. The other day he asked for pop. I made him promise that for the next three days he followed through with brushing his teeth twice a day, and that if he didn't he would have to go six days. He promised me that he would, but then didn't brush his teeth last night, despite me reminding him. He's 16 years old! He wants to be treated like such, but he can't even brush his dang teeth! My husband told him that until he can start following through with it, he is being withheld from his monthly clothing budget ($50) and piano lessons ($30 a week) as we pay $150 for his braces every month. I also am going to have to pay $60 for his cavity. 

 

He complains that I treat him more like a mother than a friend, we have a very strong relationship and talk about everything, and we really do have a friendship. However, a friendship goes two ways, and he is so rude and disrespectful to me. He gets a clothing budget every month, but always asks for more things. Yesterday I explained to him when he asked for a $30 necklace that I had $60 after gas and groceries to get me through the next 2 weeks, After that he asked me for a shirt, then proactiv, then got mad at me for always saying no. I pointed out to him every time that I didn't have the money, it's like he expects it to come out of thin air! He has a job, he can buy things on his own - even though he doesn't get a lot of hours. I also just spent $90 in hockey equipment for him, with more expenses to come. We just got back from a 10 day vacation, he has college class tuition coming up, we have some medical bills. 

 

I'm so burned out.

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#2 of 26 Old 04-15-2012, 10:18 AM
 
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Hugs to you, the situation sounds really frustrating.

 

About the pop: while I won't say you should back down on how much he can have or the tooth brushing, but add that he must swish with water after he has pop. I've also heard that pop is acidic, so it's better to rinse with water than to brush right away--the acid can make brushing wear the tooth enamel down. (But I'm not a dentist, so ask yours if that is true.) I remember having braces and going to the drinking fountain at school to swish with water after lunch to get rid of bits and pieces that got caught in the braces.

 

I think a lot of the rest is typical for teens. I went to a talk about "secrets of the teenage brain" which explained the science behind typical teenage behavior. The "thinking" part of the brain develops last (not until humans are in their 20s), which explains a lot! I don't use that as an excuse for my ds13, but it sure helps me put his behavior in perspective so I don't take it so personally. I just try to be consistent. If I say, you need to save your allowance for that, I won't be buying it. If I say no, complaining will not change my mind. (But I might change my mind if we have a respectful, well-thought-out polite conversation about the matter.)

 

Hang in there!

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#3 of 26 Old 04-15-2012, 10:47 AM
 
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i know you cant really control what he consumes at school other than making sure he doesnt have money to buy soda but you dont have to buy it for your house.  Soda is something we almost never buy so the kids dont get to drink it.  we pretty much just have milk and water here. 


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#4 of 26 Old 04-15-2012, 01:09 PM
 
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How about not buying pop? He's clearly shown that he can't handle regulating it right now. It's OK to simply not have it. There's no nutritional benefit to pop, and so it would be a good move for the whole family. I'd phrase it something like "It's pretty clear that pop is a source of conflict. I'd rather not deal with it, so I'm not buying pop anymore. It's not good for any of us." Now, that won't stop him from buying his own pop with his own money, but I suspect he'll be less than thrilled at that prospect.

 

Is he drinking caffeinated pop? It's possible, he's used to drinking caffeinated pop every day that he's going through caffeine withdrawl. It would make the craving for pop much higher and might explain his inability to go more than a couple of days without it. It takes about a week to get over caffeine withdrawal.

 

Personally, I'd make HIM pay the $60 for the cavity. If he has to pay his own dental bills, he might become much more careful about his teeth.
 

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Originally Posted by krisnic View Post
He complains that I treat him more like a mother than a friend, we have a very strong relationship and talk about everything, and we really do have a friendship. However, a friendship goes two ways, and he is so rude and disrespectful to me. He gets a clothing budget every month, but always asks for more things. Yesterday I explained to him when he asked for a $30 necklace that I had $60 after gas and groceries to get me through the next 2 weeks, After that he asked me for a shirt, then proactiv, then got mad at me for always saying no. I pointed out to him every time that I didn't have the money, it's like he expects it to come out of thin air! He has a job, he can buy things on his own - even though he doesn't get a lot of hours. I also just spent $90 in hockey equipment for him, with more expenses to come. We just got back from a 10 day vacation, he has college class tuition coming up, we have some medical bills.

 

And it's bad that you're treating him like a mother? I'd take that as a compliment. You can have a strong relationship and set boundaries too. He's at an age where he's testing boundaries. It sounds like you're afraid of being seen as 'mean'. You can be firm and kind. Really. But it will mean that you're more of a mother. He needs you to set those boundaries. That's how he's going to learn.

 

His thinking right now is short term. He's probably thinking "she's got gas, we've got groceries, and she's got $60 left!" Impulse control isn't real high among teens this age. He probably doesn't think about the long term consequences of spending money on a shirt when you've only got $30 for that week. I'd also stop giving him more things after he's spent his clothing budget. He's not too young to learn to live within a budget. Explain, but don't discuss. "I'm sorry, we don't have the money right now. We have to pay the medical bills, your tuition and your hockey equipment." The next time he asks, say "That'd be a great thing for you to buy with your money from your job." "But I don't have enough money!" "Well, I'm sure after you work a few more hours you will."

 


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#5 of 26 Old 04-15-2012, 02:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We rarely have pop in this house. Right now we do because I got a great deal with coupons, but I otherwise don't have it. The problem lies in when we go out to dinner. We do this 1-2 times a week and then he starts in on the asking, and consequent nagging, while we are there. 

 

As far as talking to him, that is the way I have always wanted it to go. I try to wait until he is calm and then we talk it out. If I have punished him, then I normally take it away if I think he's had a change of heart. But it seems to just leave the next day. He's good and kind after the conversation and then has completely forgotten about it the next day.

 

His new thing today is that when he says he will do things, such as brush his teeth, he's not promising it, he's just saying he'll do it, so I can't get mad if he doesn't do it.

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#6 of 26 Old 04-15-2012, 04:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by krisnic View Post

 

He complains that I treat him more like a mother than a friend



That's good, because you are his mother, not his friend.

 

Please forgive my bluntness...I'm about to drop a word that probably is very rarely uttered by the MDC sort, but...your son seems totally spoiled. 

 

I don't buy soda.  It's bad for my kids.  It hurts their bodies.  I simply do not keep it in the house.  On rare occasions when we are out, they have one glass.  I tend to make flavored herbal teas with stevia.  That is what they grew up knowing and that is what they expect to find in my kitchen.  I have made home-brewed LF soda in the past, and they loved it, but it's too time-consuming for me right now, so it's tea or water.  EOW, they probably drown in soda at exdh's.  I can't control that, so I don't sweat it.  My ds1 is almost 18 and if he earns money doing odd jobs, he certainly doesn't need my permission to spend his earnings on soda.  Ds2 is much younger and gets almost no soda.  They haven't suffered heart failure yet.  :)

 

Both of my kids are in braces right now.  I haven't made my famous kettle corn in over a year.  I very seldom buy them HFS candy as I have in the past.  I floss ds2's teeth for him bc he does a poor job of it himself.  I don't ask my children's permission to make these choices, bc I am the head of our family.  I'm not their friend.  We laugh, and joke, and talk all kinds of smack during video game play, but the line in the sand is clear.  I am MOM.  Children need guidance.  They thrive under it.  Not iron-fisted tyranny, but loving and gentle teaching.  What they don't need is a parent who is wishy-washy and makes rules but doesn't enforce them.

 

At 16, your son is probably too old to be nagged about brushing and flossing.  If I were in your shoes, I would immediately stop buying soda (and all other sugary bad-for-you crap as well!), stop reminding to brush and floss, and leave him no option but to pay for his own dental care starting NOW.  Fifty bucks a month for clothes?!  That's crazy, especially considering he has a job. 

 

This may the most unpopular post I've ever made here, but I'm cool with that.  Best wishes to you, OP!

 


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#7 of 26 Old 04-15-2012, 04:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by krisnic View Post

We rarely have pop in this house. Right now we do because I got a great deal with coupons, but I otherwise don't have it. The problem lies in when we go out to dinner. We do this 1-2 times a week and then he starts in on the asking, and consequent nagging, while we are there. 

 

As far as talking to him, that is the way I have always wanted it to go. I try to wait until he is calm and then we talk it out. If I have punished him, then I normally take it away if I think he's had a change of heart. But it seems to just leave the next day. He's good and kind after the conversation and then has completely forgotten about it the next day.

 

His new thing today is that when he says he will do things, such as brush his teeth, he's not promising it, he's just saying he'll do it, so I can't get mad if he doesn't do it.



I had typed my first post and then got side-tracked before sending it.  Just did so now, and I see you have replied. 

 

Again, the boy seems to be a bit spoiled.  Stop taking him out to eat.  If you are paying for the meal, and you don't want him to have soda, that's your decision.  So either stop the eating out, or go without him.  Why should you keep creating a situation where you have to listen to a SIXTEEN year old whine and nag?  For goodness sakes, he's not a toddler!

 

And if you give him a punishment, don't take it away bc you think he's contrite.  He's manipulating you, mama.  If you say no soda for three days, then it's no soda for three days.  Don't cave halfway through day two just bc he says he's sorry and has learned his lesson.  The last line of your post is such blatant manipulation, I don't know how you can't see it!  My ex used to say "Promises can be broken but a man is only as good as his word".  So when he cheated on my, ho told me he had only promised to be faithful, not given his word.  Semantics...if you, as the parents, gives a direction, and the child doesn't follow through, you have every right to be mad.  Not yelling-and-screaming mad, but certainly it's-time-to-give-a-logical-consequence-that-I-actually-follow-through-with mad.

 


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#8 of 26 Old 04-15-2012, 05:04 PM
 
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My son is also 16 and wears braces.  Prior to getting the braces, we made it very clear this was a big commitment for everyone involved--health wise and financially.  He agreed to the commitment & effort of extra good dental care, and we agreed to pay for it.  Occasionally there are times when I need to remind him of this, but it has worked pretty well.  

 

My son does not get an allowance or extras handed to him.  $$ is tight, and he is expected to help out around the house quite a bit, make do with not always the best/most desired clothes, sports equipment and do things like pack a lunch and drinks when going to away games, etc...  It goes with out saying that he is respectful and polite and follows basic rules/responsibilites. Every once in a while there are grumbles (we're all human!), but that's just the way it goes and he gets over it. As his parents, we don't feel the need to be his friends...that's a different relationship than parent-child.  The way we relate in that relationship changes as he matures (increasing give/take, more freedoms, more responsibilities and rights, etc...), but it is decidedly different than friendship.  That can come when he is an adult and we can relate adult-adult.

 

Sorry you are struggling.   I have to say it's better to set limits and and nip the attitudes and behaviors now.  I don't think they will serve him well as an adult.  I have always tried to take the long view of raising kids... Will my parenting decisions NOW, someday help shape an adult I would like to know and interact with??  

 

Good luck.

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#9 of 26 Old 04-15-2012, 10:40 PM
 
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im cheap so when we eat out we only get water anyway. Drink can easily add up to over $5


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#10 of 26 Old 04-16-2012, 05:33 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharlla View Post

im cheap so when we eat out we only get water anyway. Drink can easily add up to over $5



LOL!  Who eats out?!?  Not the adults in our family--rarely, if ever....that's why my son gets stuck packing a lunch when his team has away games.  We just can't prioritize $10 up to several times a week for fast food--let alone the unhealthy aspect.  For Christmas and birthdays, my parents tend to give my son gift certificates for the favorite teen hangouts in town (pizza joints, sub shop, etc..) and movie theater.

 

Sports equipment is used and/or saved up for, and 'extras' like team sweatshirts/tee shirts are considered just that--extras.  It is up to him if he wants to use some of his money or find a way to work (above and beyond the usual) to earn some money from us.  It is teaching him that he can't have everything--nor is every single 'extra' needed.

 

I'm not an ogre, mind you, and do give him some cash when warranted (and available), but really it is minimal. He works in the summer, and is expected to use that $$ for many things (including saving for college, gas $$ when allowed to drive, etc...).  By this time of  the year, his summer funds are running pretty low and he has to budget particularly carefully and pick and choose what he is spending on.  I think this is the kind of decision making and prioritizing skills that will serve him well for life.

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#11 of 26 Old 04-16-2012, 09:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, so guide me here. I AM a new mom - we adopted him just recently and have had him for 1.5 years.

 

Today, his teeth hurt him. I tell him I will leave work early to get him and asked him if a milkshake would make his teeth less painful. He said yes. I pick him up, give him ibuprofen. He then asks if we are going to Steak and Shake for a milkshake. I said no, Steak and Shake is in the opposite direction. McDonalds is on the way and cheaper. He says: "McDonalds shake?" In what took to be a whiny tone. I asked if he would rather not have one, and he said no, McDonalds is fine and he appreciates it.

 

Then, down the street, he asks if we can stop and get face paint before we go to his gf's soccer game tonight (it's family fun night and we are going to dinner and the game). I asked him if he had money. He said a few dollars. He asked me if I could help him out if he needed more. I said no. He asked why. I said because I didn't want to spend my money on that. He said I didn't need to be rude about it. I asked how I was being rude. He said I had a tone. I said I didn't feel I did, how should I have said it? He said nevermind.

 

2 minutes later - he asks if I will wear the facepaint with him at the game. After talking about what we would put on, he stops and says - nevermind, I'm not sharing with you, you were mean, you wouldn't help me. He said he, his dad (my dh) and Rob (gf's dad) will wear it. I said, neither of them are helping you pay for it. He said dad might. I said, Rob isn't. He said he likes Rob. I said, oh that's great, so you don't like me then?

 

After this I was mad. I told him we were going straight home without a milkshake. Then he said: "If I asked to use the car to buy the facepaint, that would probably be a no right?" I told him that I was actually reconsidering even going to the game because we are the ones paying to go. Why do I want to pay and be nice when he is acting like he is?

 

He flew off the handle, cussing and swearing about how he can't deal with me, I cause all sorts of problems, etc.

 

After he rages, he apologizes and says he shouldn't have done that. He then said that he was joking about the facepaint and that I am too emotional and take him seriously (this typically happens after he gets in trouble for saying something he shouldn't or that is rude).

 

He said he would never want to hurt me, so why would he intentionally say something that would upset me? I'm just too emotional according to him. I need to know that he would never hurt me.

 

He said that he will change when I change. That he acts the way that he does because I act the way that I do. However, let it be known that 2 months ago I upped my anti-depressant and have never felt happier, I just get mad when he is so rude and disrespectful. He said that because I am not happy, he is not happy and that is why he acts this way. I asked him if he noticed a difference in me since my medication changed, he said no. My husband, myself, my parents, etc. can notice a big difference. 

 

What do I do now? He wants me to let him go to the game tonight - me paying and him reimbursing when he gets his check. Opinions?

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#12 of 26 Old 04-16-2012, 11:03 AM
 
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Tonight: Yes, I'd go with him unless he's done something that warrants staying home. Being rude isn't big enough in my book. In addition, he needs to learn that there is forgiveness and you can get over being mad. It's family fun night. Go have fun.
 

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Then, down the street, he asks if we can stop and get face paint before we go to his gf's soccer game tonight (it's family fun night and we are going to dinner and the game). I asked him if he had money. He said a few dollars. He asked me if I could help him out if he needed more. I said no. He asked why. I said because I didn't want to spend my money on that. He said I didn't need to be rude about it. I asked how I was being rude. He said I had a tone. I said I didn't feel I did, how should I have said it? He said nevermind.

 

2 minutes later - he asks if I will wear the facepaint with him at the game. After talking about what we would put on, he stops and says - nevermind, I'm not sharing with you, you were mean, you wouldn't help me. He said he, his dad (my dh) and Rob (gf's dad) will wear it. I said, neither of them are helping you pay for it. He said dad might. I said, Rob isn't. He said he likes Rob. I said, oh that's great, so you don't like me then?

 

OK, some of this makes sense now.

 

First of all, I'm going to shout "THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU". Really, it's not. It's about him. It's about him being 16. It's about him having been in whatever situations he's been in for 14.5 (or however many) years before he came to you. If he was adopted that means that his previous situations weren't healthy, most likely. Am I right? My read on this now is that he needs to know that you will (a) love him unconditionally and (b) that you will set appropriate boundaries for him. (That's probably a new experience to him.) Add to that teenage hormones and teenage brain and you're going to have a rough year or two.

 

I would strongly strongly suggest you post over in the Adoptive and Foster Parenting board. The fact that he's only been in your family for 1.5 years makes this a very different parenting situation. I'd also REALLY suggest that you get two books: How to Talk So Your Children Will Listen (by Faber & Mazlish) -- it'll give you tools for deescalating this kind of situation and for teaching him how to "fight fair". Your relationship isn't going to be conflict free (no relationship is), but it can be fair. The second book is: Love and Logic for Teens. I don't like the Love and Logic stuff for young kids, but I think it works pretty well for older kids, especially ones who don't have a good sense of boundaries and consequences.

 

And FWIW, this is how the conversation would have gone in our house:

Child: "I'm not sharing with you, you were mean and you wouldn't help me."

Me: "That's a rude thing to say. It sounds like you're mad. If you're mad, tell me you're mad."

Child: "Dad and Rob will wear it."

Me: "That will be nice if you have enough money to buy it for them."

Child: "Dad might give it to me."

Me: "That's between you and Dad."

 

STOP. Don't ask him if he doesn't like you. Don't engage in the argument with him. This isn't about whether he likes you. It's about him being mad because you won't give him money. Yeah, it's rude and somewhat childish. But I suspect his emotional development probably isn't where it should be. THAT is what needs the heavy work. Is he in counseling? Are you? Parenting an adopted teen is tricky. I'd need some expert advice.

 

 

 


 

 

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#13 of 26 Old 04-16-2012, 01:03 PM
 
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I agree with everything LynnS6 said about the conversation.

 

But, I would also back it up and ask you WHY you were taking him out of school for hurting teeth? It's one thing to take him some ibuprofen or some tylenol (whatever his orthodontist said for him to take) and send him back to class. It's another to have him leave his responsibilities (school) in order to go a) get something else that will hurt his teeth (sugary milk shake) b) go to the store to get something he wants (face paint) and c) later go to his girlfriend's game tonight.

 

I had braces as a teen, and never ONCE missed school because my teeth hurt.

 

If his teeth are hurting, and he wants something cold, then he can suck on ice chips, or put an ice pack on his jaw. You might as well have asked him if an ice cold pop would have helped his teeth feel better.

 

As a side note, I would say you need to remember CONSISTENCY -- If you say something you mean it. You don't "take away" punishments after you give them. Maybe one of the reasons that he feels he can say something like "you take me too seriously" is because you are showing him that when YOU say something it isn't to be taken seriously -- like your punishments.


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#14 of 26 Old 04-16-2012, 06:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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He's homeschooled, so he's out of school at 11:22. He does electives for half a day and I pick him up during lunch, which is at noon. So he didn't leave school early, I just got him from lunch early.

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#15 of 26 Old 04-17-2012, 12:27 AM
 
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Sorry it's been so challenging. :-(

 

My children are not adopted (10 and 13), but I was ill for about 2 years so my children became used to my being unable to follow through on what I requested/required of them. We had to, well, basically start from scratch in some ways, parenting-wise, and at the time there was a lot of angst and 'this isn't fair' and 'you're mean' at the time, because from what I've seen, children set their expectations by what's happened in their lives. Less than that or different than that, they view as unfair or 'mean.' No logic in it, just what they are used to.

 

And sometimes, that's part of the problem, because especially when they are getting older, we may be inclined to discuss things with them when it's really not something that discussion is going to solve, you know? If your son's reactions were coming from a reasonable, logical place, you could discuss it with him. But it's not. While I really believe it's important to engage our kids in setting boundries and house rules, especially at this age, at the same time, getting his agreement is not necessary for what needs to be done, nor is his approval. Which is important, because you're really not likely to get it.

 

As an example of what my own kids have in the area of money, they don't get an allowance at all. They don't get a clothes budget, nothing. I do take them out sometimes for fun things, buy them clothes, , etc... but I do it on a specific budget. If they want special clothing, different places to go out to, that cost more, then they can earn the money for it by helping me with extra chores around the house that are more than the usual. When I have a garden project, they can help me out and earn some money. They can help clean out the garage, paint a room, do some extra chores of MINE so I have a chance to do something else. In any case, they have to earn it if they want anything special above the norm.

 

My daughter wants to go to a special dance that is held once a month, but it is over an hour away. So we worked out how much extra gas would be needed for that, how much it would cost, and she's doing extra chores this week to earn money to get there. She's 13, not 16, but even at this age she's fully capable of working out cause and effect and doing the work to get what she wants.

 

I don't has many problems with the rudeness issue, but for one family I know that has more of that issue, they make very black and white rules on the subject. X behavior is required, whether that's tone of voice, vocabulary, whatever. This is something everyone in the family follows when speaking and dealing with each other. And if that behavior is not followed, then the consequences are Y. They might not be the same for every family member, in fact, they usually weren't. For the family I knew, the consequences for the kids were that special activities were not on the menu. They didn't make it unreasonable; their kids can still express anger, frustration, etc...  But they can maintain a certain level of politeness while doing so, just like they would like to be treated, you know?

 

I'll be honest, ANY changes you make that are going to require your son to be more polite, get his way less often, and require any kind of work - there is going to be resistance, and he's likely going to be angry. Doesn't mean that you're not doing the right thing, however.

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Okay, so guide me here. I AM a new mom

He said he likes Rob. I said, oh that's great, so you don't like me then?

 

There are several places where you could tweak your parenting and things go better with your son, but this is HUGE. Your son saying he likes another person hasn't got anything to do with whether or not he likes you. Nothing. You were totally out of line here, and the message you sent your son was a very isolating one. Him saying he likes another person is NOT a reason to not follow through on something you said you would do for him, like a soccer game.

 

Also, he isn't supposed to like you all the time. If he does, it most likely means you aren't doing your job as a mother right. Being a mom isn't about being liked. It's about doing what is best for a kid. I wonder if the "wanting to be liked" thing is part of your other problems with him.
 

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We rarely have pop in this house. Right now we do because I got a great deal with coupons, but I otherwise don't have it. The problem lies in when we go out to dinner. We do this 1-2 times a week and then he starts in on the asking, and consequent nagging, while we are there. 

 


 

If you don't want to have pop in your house, then don't bring it into your house. Even if it's free. Throw the soda out or take it to a food pantry but get it out of your house. Your behavior is part of the problem. If eating out is a problem, then don't eat out. The only person you really control is YOU. So be different and it changes the whole equation. 

 

(Another option on eating out is to say "no pop" one time and then just not discuss it again. When he brings it up, just look at him, pause, and then change the subject. You don't have to discuss everything to death. He already knows why. )

 

Also, I have 2 kids in orthodontia, and I would never leave work early for mouth pain or offer a milk shake. We've made arrangements to have Ibuprofen at school with the school nurse and the kids are allowed to have it whenever they want (check into your school's rules -- this requires extra paper work). I practice active listening and am very sympathetic to pain, but it isn't my job to fix it. And for a kid with brushing/cavity issues, milkshakes don't make much more sense than soda.

 

 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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i know you cant really control what he consumes at school other than making sure he doesnt have money to buy soda but you dont have to buy it for your house.  Soda is something we almost never buy so the kids dont get to drink it.  we pretty much just have milk and water here. 



Yeah...we hardly ever have pop here either.  I might buy it for dd if her friends are coming over.  But in her house, pop is a treat like candy and cookies.  We also don't buy a lot of juice..fruit is much better.

 

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im cheap so when we eat out we only get water anyway. Drink can easily add up to over $5



Yeah us too...sometimes dd gets milk but it's water for me.

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#19 of 26 Old 04-17-2012, 02:27 PM
 
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OP, everything makes much more sense now that I understand a bit more about your ds.  I don't know how he came to be with you, but I think it's awesome that you adopted an older child.  He's lucky to have you and your dh.  But...wow, what a dysfunctional situation you have going on there!  May I gently suggest that if your family is not already in counseling, that you seek it out immediately?  Your son is very emotionally manipulative.  I hate to say it, but the personality disorder light keeps blinking in my brain.  I also encourage you to check out options for parenting classes.  I took several when my now 17yo ds was a preschooler and they were very helpful. 


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#20 of 26 Old 04-17-2012, 08:31 PM
 
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Your son is very emotionally manipulative.  I hate to say it, but the personality disorder light keeps blinking in my brain.


I don't get that at all. I think he sounds immature. A lot of kids his age are, and he's got reasons. Plus, I think the mom could improve on setting boundaries and expectations. It all seems like stuff that can improve with time and practice.

 

Some of the problems are parenting things that those of us who started with younger kids have figured out -- like don't have pop in the house, and don't offer milkshakes to make things better.

 

And it seems possible that the son either missed a lot of basic instruction and consistency along the way so he needs more now, or may be he acts up a bit to have experiences with his (like pushing her to her edge to see if she still loves him) because he needs to have those experiences. I think that ALL kids push buttons to check out where we lose it and how act at our edge, but for most of us, they got it out of the way a bit younger.

 

I think the mom getting clearer in her own head about what her job as a mother is and isn't will help.  We all might differ on this a little, but I'll throw out some ideas:

 

Its is not my job to be my kids' friend, or to solve their problems, or to make them happy.

 

It is my job to meet all their basic needs in life (food, shelter, education) and teach them what they need to know to be functional adults

 

It is my job to love them unconditional, esp. when they aren't acting the least bit lovable.

 

It is my job to see the best version of themself inside, even  when they aren't sure it exist, and to pave the way for them to blossom. But it isn't my job to do it for them. I'm here to help them find their own strength and power.

 

It is my job to be as consistent as possible, except when backtracking because I've made a mistake and I'm owning it.

 

It is my job to provide a solid launch pad into their own life. To be stable and grounding, but to let them go.

 

(your thoughts may vary - but clear getting clear on what your job is can help you figure out situations -- you know what you are aiming for)

 

 

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but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#21 of 26 Old 04-18-2012, 02:01 PM
 
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Linda, what a beautiful list of parenting goals!  I love it, it made me a bit misty.  :)

 

I have lots of family members with mental illness and sometimes I forget what "normal" looks like.  Of course it's more than likely that the OPs son just needs more time to mature due to his rough start in life.  I still think counseling/parenting classes would be a fab idea.


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#22 of 26 Old 04-18-2012, 07:52 PM
 
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I still think counseling/parenting classes would be a fab idea.


Thank you. peace.gif

 

I think parenting classes are a good idea to. And I'm always a fan of counseling. Counseling has helped me a lot with tough spots in parenting. Parenting books can help too. My all time favorite parenting book is:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Liberated-Parents-Children-Happier-Family/dp/0380711346

 

It's by the same people who wrote how to talk so child will listen, siblings without rivalry, etc. It's lesser known than their other books, but I find it meatier.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#23 of 26 Old 04-29-2012, 12:27 AM
 
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He complains that I treat him more like a mother than a friend

You're not supposed to be his friend.  I'm sure you are fun and interested in what he's doing, but you are his mother not his friend.  He hopefully has many, many friends - but only one mother.  And I promise you he needs both!  All friends and no mother is no gift to him. 

 

 

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How about not buying pop? He's clearly shown that he can't handle regulating it right now. It's OK to simply not have it.

 

Yep, even free with coupons isn't worth it.  I like the idea of giving it away - or even throwing it away.

 

 

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I said, oh that's great, so you don't like me then?

 

He flew off the handle, cussing and swearing about how he can't deal with me, I cause all sorts of problems, etc.

 

I need to know that he would never hurt me.

 

I have an almost 16 year old (and two more turning 12 and 9 soon).  Let me tell you, they don't like us LOTS of the time (actually not lots but it sometimes feels that way) and absolutely will hurt our feelings many times in the course of parenting.  We are trying to raise them to be respectful, resilient, independent adults - it is a lot of work!  Given the choice, they'd usually rather listen to music and go out to eat with their friends.  Homework, chores, things they've agreed or asked to commit to (like pre-paid lessons or a team sport), family time, visiting elderly relatives, volunteering - we teach/coach/remind/hold them to their responsibilities when they need a little help doing so.  It can cause friction!  But if we don't, if we are their friend instead of their parent, then we are not doing our job as the parent.  It is an often times thankless job.  We are not appreciated and are often nagged and disliked.  It is part of the job description.

 

And the cussing - in my family - would be something I'd call him out on.  You can tell me your opinions/feelings without cussing.  You can be mad; sometimes I'm mad too.  But tell me respectfully.  (Respectfully is a bit of a relative term... but I draw the line at cursing.)

 

 

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Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

 

And FWIW, this is how the conversation would have gone in our house:

Child: "I'm not sharing with you, you were mean and you wouldn't help me."

Me: "That's a rude thing to say. It sounds like you're mad. If you're mad, tell me you're mad."

Child: "Dad and Rob will wear it."

Me: "That will be nice if you have enough money to buy it for them."

Child: "Dad might give it to me."

Me: "That's between you and Dad."

 

STOP. Don't ask him if he doesn't like you. Don't engage in the argument with him. This isn't about whether he likes you. It's about him being mad because you won't give him money. Yeah, it's rude and somewhat childish. But I suspect his emotional development probably isn't where it should be. THAT is what needs the heavy work. Is he in counseling? Are you? Parenting an adopted teen is tricky. I'd need some expert advice.

 

 

 


 

 

Brilliant!  I agree 100%!

 

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#24 of 26 Old 04-29-2012, 10:15 AM
 
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Okay, so guide me here. I AM a new mom - we adopted him just recently and have had him for 1.5 years.

 

Ah, so that explains a lot.  Here's what I'm noticing just based on your description of the exchanges you've had--your son is a highly proficient manipulator.  I know nothing about his background or circumstances, but I'm going to assume that his life up to now has been relatively unstable in some way, and he has had to develop a sophisticated set of strategies to get his needs met, and to control as much of his environment and circumstances as feasible.  You see this a lot when you are working with adolescents in foster care or kids who have really unstable home environments).

 

I said no.

He asked why. (Questions your authority, normal for a teenager, although in this case its more a strategy to continue the conversation than a genuine question because he deep down he already knows the answer)

I said because I didn't want to spend my money on that. (Reasonable response to a question)

He said I didn't need to be rude about it. (Since he doesn't get what he wants, he's using emotional blackmail--you're the one who's being rude, not me)

I asked how I was being rude. (Big mistake, never give them a chance to continue this line of conversation, the only thing it does is give them permission to undermine your authority by calling your decisions into question.  Better to say something that will "end" this line of discussion.)

He said I had a tone. (so now he's an expert on paralinguistinc phenomenon?  how fascinating)

I said I didn't feel I did, how should I have said it? (Never invite a teenager to correct your behavior!!!  Bad idea!  It gives them license to say or do anything because you've just basically given them all the power to direct the course of the conversation)

He said nevermind.

 

Nevermind, I'm not sharing with you, you were mean, you wouldn't help me. (I hear this a hundred times a week from students who don't want to do something they were asked to do.  Yes, as a parent, you will do things that are mean, and by not "helping him" what he means is that you wouldn't let him do something he wanted to do.  This is not bad, this is you doing your job)

I said, neither of them are helping you pay for it.  (Here he has tried to invoke other parties--the classic so-and-so is doing it, so why can't it?)

He said dad might. (Here he is suggesting that he can go around you and get Rob to do what he wants)

I said, Rob isn't.

He said he likes Rob.  (His thinking is revealed here:  If you give in and do what I want, I'll like you, and I know you are very concerned about whether or not I like you)

I said, oh that's great, so you don't like me then?  (Again, you're letting him know that it's very important that he "like" you, and that he should plan on using this as leverage to get what he wants in the future.)

Why do I want to pay and be nice when he is acting like he is?  (The answer is obvious--you don't.  That of course would be crazy) 

He flew off the handle, cussing and swearing about how he can't deal with me, I cause all sorts of problems, etc.  (Of course, he didn't get what he wants, so he's going to put on a good show for you.  Might as well pop some popcorn and send in the Oscar nominations for best dramatic performance.)

After he rages, he apologizes and says he shouldn't have done that. (This is the repair phase, where he realizes he wasn't going to get any returns for his dramatic performance)

He then said that he was joking about the facepaint and that I am too emotional and take him seriously (this typically happens after he gets in trouble for saying something he shouldn't or that is rude).  (In other words, he's putting it back on you--you cause me to be this way...in other words, he isn't apologizing, he's blaming his behavior on you in hopes that in the future you'll spare him the need to come up with elaborate debates and just give in and give him what he wants.     He said he would never want to hurt me, so why would he intentionally say something that would upset me? I'm just too emotional according to him. I need to know that he would never hurt me.

He said that he will change when I change. That he acts the way that he does because I act the way that I do.  (This is classic abuser talk.  If you recast all the characters with paid actors, you already have a script for an after school special...)

I just get mad when he is so rude and disrespectful.  (As you should!  But what's probably happening is that he's pushing your buttons because he's gotten good at figuring out what they are.)

He said that because I am not happy, he is not happy and that is why he acts this way.   (again, not taking responsibility and pushing it back on you.  You can thank him for his "concern" about your happiness, but how he acts is more of a reflection on him, it's not about you...)

 

These conversations remind me of a new student I currently have (who I'm guessing based on the week we've spent together so far) is either ODD (oppositional defiance disordered), or has a personality disorder.  Regardless of the reasons for his behavior, he has succeeded in alienating himself from nearly everyone in the class (because of the rude things he says), and has been trying to use a lot of these same moves on me (to see if any of them will work), but with no results.  I'm assuming that he will either up the ante by being more defiant/rude or he will settle down eventually and see that he's not getting anywhere by being this way.  We'll see.  If he decides he needs to up the ante, he'll probably get himself kicked out of school, and then I'll never have a chance to try to help him.  Either way, he doesn't get to run my class, or control my behavior.  The main reason I'm telling you about him is that you can use a lot of the same moves I use in the classroom at home.

 

Scenario 1:

 

You ask your son to do something.  He refuses.  He then says something rude/inappropriate/emotionally manipulative in response hoping that you'll back down and he can get what he wants.

 

Non-compliance Strategy 1:  I'm asking you to ____ now.  (Repeat once if needed, but give them a minute or two and some space to choose to get with it.  They usually will.  If they cooperate, thank them for cooperating).  (If the problem continues) Since you are unable to ____, the consequence is going to be ___.  Do you understand?

 

Non-compliance with rude response:  Strategy 2:  You don't need to be rude.  I'm asking you to ____ now.  (Repeat once if needed).  (If the problem continues) Since you are unable to ____, the consequence is going to be ___.  Do you understand?

 

Non-compliance with rude/inappropriate response:  Strategy 3:  This conversation is over.  Since you being rude to me, I can't talk to you now.  Since you didn't ___, the consequence is going to be ___.  (end the conversation.  If he's still talking back, just reiterate "We're done now" or "we'll talk later" and walk away if need be.

 

Whatever you do, stick to whatever consequences you have in place for non-compliance, and enforce them with the dispassionate inevitability of Mt. Everest.

 

Scenario 2:

 

Your son asks you for something you aren't planning on giving to him.  You say no.  He then argues/whines/wheedles/cajoles, etc.

 

Strategy 1:  I'm sorry you wanted ___, but I can't do that.

 

If the whining continues...  Strategy 2:  If you want ___, you will need to ____first.  (if it's something he needs to earn or provide for himself, this is where you remind him of the procedures of how to do that.)

 

If the whining continues....Strategy 3:  (If he's still bugging you about what he wants).  I've told you that I'm not going to __.  I'm not changing my mind.  This conversation is over.

 

If the whining still continues:  "We're done." and walk away.

 

Whatever you do, do NOT give in to the demands at a later time if you said no, unless your standards have been fully satisfied first.  If you back down later, this will only create further incentive to escalate the behavior on future occasions.

 

All of this probably sounds highly scripted, but it works VERY WELL, even with really tough kids.  The secret is that you leave out all of your emotional energy at the time, and become like a mountain--unmovable.  Instead of getting sucked into the argument and allowing it to escalate further, you stick to stating what you expect.  It removes all incentives for the kid to keep arguing because there's nowhere to go.  They only get what they want if you get what you want.  All the crying, screaming, arguing, name-calling, wheel-spinning etc, will not work.  They can dig themselves into as deep of a hole as they want, but they will not get what they want until you get what you want.  Once you get what you want, then the stand off is over.  As soon as they've recovered feel free to reiterate that we all say and do dumb things sometimes, but you still love them, care about their success/happiness/etc.  In cases where ugly things were said, you can follow up by reiterating that you don't appreciate rudeness, and that it's more effective to get what you want by asking for it in a civilized manner, and realizing that sometimes you can't get what you want, etc.

 

Hope this helps.  These kinds of kids can be really hard to work with day in and day out, much less live with all the time.  By they time they're teens, they've had years of practice of meeting their emotional needs through negative attention-seeking behaviors, and manipulative drama.  It's a hard cycle to break.  I don't know if they can even be cured of it, but at least you can train them not to use those moves on YOU.     Best of luck!

 

 

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#25 of 26 Old 05-05-2012, 05:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sageowl - your reply was amazing! It helped so much and made me smile.

 

I do want to say - I should have spelled out our situation better in the very first post. As far as the mother/friend thing. I was his mentor for 3 years before I was his mom. We did a lot together, talked, saw movies, went skateboarding. We were friends. I was his friend longer than I was his mother. And honestly - I know people feel I shouldn't be both, but for the most part it does work. He listens to my suggestions much better than I ever listened to my parents. His behavior and grades and social ability have increased tremendously. We are able to talk on a different level than other parents/children. It's just finding that medium that actually works.

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#26 of 26 Old 03-26-2013, 04:57 PM
 
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LOVED the post.  Especially about being mothers not friends.  I tell my almost 16-year-old son regularly that my job is not to be his friend, but to be the grown-up in the room.  One huge problem I see with a lot of parents today is that they are too busy trying to be their kids' pals instead of their parents.  Be the adult folks,that's all I can say.  (my picture by the way, is of my son with me a few years back...that's why he doesn't look 16 there)
 

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