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15 yo ds1 thinks he can do whatever he pleases

1966 Views 34 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  aisraeltax
well...this is not much of a surprise, but my 15 yo finally came out and refused to listen to me. he's been bordering on the brink of it for a few months, but tonight he left the house to go see a movie and didn't come back (im not worried about his safety..i know where he is).

this kid is the love of my first hopes and joys...but right now i could kill him!

as far as what to do? im going to take his computer out of his room, take his xbox away and threaten his phone (will do that, so its not an empty threat).

i just cant believe he did this! i was such a rebel as a teen, so this does not surprise me in teh least (he does NOT know that), but i cant live with him treating me/our family this way.

counseling may be in order, but thus far he has downright refused (how to you drag a 6'2 15 yo to an appt.?).

any advice..more importantly, any "ive been there and it gets better"???
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I hate to be a pain, but can you give us more info about his typical behavior? What are his grades like, any change in friends, activities outside of school? When you are together, what is the time like? Up to this crazy teen time how do you typically parent?

Scary as it seems, your ds really can do whatever he pleases. You can only control what you do and how you will respond. I find that at this age I make requests and suggestions, and kiddos generally do what I hope that they will do. There are boundaries, but they are generally imposed by nature, the law, etc.

Absolutely it will get better. They really do grow up and go to college and get married and get jobs and have kids whom they love and care about.

Be kind to yourself, there are no right answers and be kind with him while he is growing and learning.
It all works out very very quickly.
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his grades are great, although he never studies. his friends are the same...have been for years...
he behaves like most teens around here (unfortunately) with most of his time spent on the computer or playing xbox, or with his friends. he's captain of his basketball team at school but other than that is a lazy kid. he does his chores 1/2 way if that and is always complaining...but never has sufficient $$$ kwim?
he just has it in his head that he shoudl be able to do whatever he wants to do. i know the hormones are going crazy with him, but this is unacceptable. I have to be able to tell him that he can not go out and have him not do that.
im at my wits end with communicating with him..ive read all teh books (too many too list) and taken parenting classes..none of that is helping right now.
i konw i need to be nonemotional when he gets home (he has still not come home...he's enjoying his weekend with his friends b/c he knows he's in deep when he comes back)...its just so hard sometimes.
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I teach middle school and I am surrouneded by those crazy children all day. And I know that one thing does NOT work is forcing him to stay in.
He does have to know his boundaries - what I have done in the classroom and what they have told me are two different things (I know everything about the kids which disturbs me most of the time)
The kids who's parents force them in, rebel harder however if you keep asking questions, make time for the two of you and do things together, he will eventually open up. My parents have always been open with me, I know more about them than I think most children wish to know. They have told me about their sex experiences, drugs, life and they've always been honest. So I've always been honest in return.
Perhaps you need to require him to be picked up at a certain time from a certain place? I know that when students stay late with me at school for set building (I'm the theater teacher and we build sets at night) the parents are either with their own kids, or the kids get picked up by their parents not friends, or the paretns that are there drive them home. In other words, they are with an adult the whole time. And I have recruited some of the bad kids to particcipate to get them from doing bad things with their time. It's been working great and the paretns appreciate it as well.


Either way, I'm sure he'll keep doing what he's doing just because he knows it bothers you.
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i can not accept doing nothing. his behavior is incredibly rude and entirely unacceptable. im not going to take the position that i can't ground him now or he will rebel. if thats the situation, then he CAN do anything he wants to do...and i just don't see that as an alternative in my house.
im sorry..we just need some guidelines here..he can't go out on school nights...he needs to follow some rules re: drinking, drugs, etc.
He may disobey me but he has to see there are consequences to that disobedience.
My oldest is 8, so I'm not in your shoes... yet. However, I feel your pain. Good luck. It has to get better.
im hoping so. i hope some wiser moms here have some advice.
At 15, it's really too late to strongarm a kid into obeying. You can let him know what you're willing to do, and problem-solve with him on getting everyone's needs met, but punishment just won't solve it, IMO. I think it's really important to try not to get into power struggles, because teens often make really bad decisions when they feel backed into a corner. You need to allow them a way to make a dignified retreat, rather than pushing the issue.

I'd start just by sitting down with him when he gets home, and letting him know that this is a serious issue, and why. Was it that you had plans later? Why did he need to come home right after the movie? Did he assume it was not a big deal to just hang out with friends afterwards, or was it a power issue? If you knew where he was, why was this a problem?

Anyway, I'd set down your concerns and your needs, and ask for his input. For example, I ask that my daughter always have her phone with her, so that I can contact her, and that she lets me know if she's going somewhere new (like from the movie theatre to a friend's house) and how she plans to get there. We both put plans on the calendar, so we don't get our signals crossed. Once you both are talking, you can come up with a plan detailing each of your responsibilities to the other...

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this was more than the fact that he didnt come home. it was a matter of him not being able to go out at all b/c of his behavior. i still feel like i should be able to enforce "ground rules" even if he is 15.
he did some things that were irresponsbile and in bad judgment (nothing totally serious...but stuff that could get serious if left unchecked). so he was told he could not go anywhere.
in his world, he should be able to do anything he wants without any restriction. even i cant do i dont see why i should let me 15 yo do it and not worry about it.
some examples of what he did prior to being told he couldnt go out (there were a few) are: 1. he had matches in a "fort" he's building in the middle of our woods. i dont trust him/his friends not to burn the woods down and he was explicitly told not to have fire out there. 2. he ran electricity to the fort without asking permission. 3. he took a very good TV out to the fort - the fort has no top...the TV is a $300 TV...get the drift here? also, there was a DVD player, old sofa and several DVDs out there. not good judgment 3. using profanity when addressing me.
im all for communication but his refusal to cooperate with the family and with me esp. is unacceptable. his refusal to follow rules and take "no" for an answer is somethign our family cant live with.
when your teens dont obey the rules, do you just let it go? do you just have a talk and then its over? what if they consistently disobey the rules?
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Originally Posted by aisraeltax
when your teens dont obey the rules, do you just let it go? do you just have a talk and then its over? what if they consistently disobey the rules?
I think we're working form a completely different paradigm... we don't have rules, although we have some basic underlying values that we both live by. We focus on solving problems in ways that meet everyone's needs, rather than obeying rules.

I think using poor judgement is pretty common with teens... sometimes I can't figure out how my daughter could possibly have thought that something was a good idea.It helps me to remember that bad judgement is typical, so what I need to focus on is building in safeguards and approaching problems from a solution-oriented perspective, rather than in a confrontational way.

I love that my daughter has her cell phone, and I've told her repeatedly that she should call any time she's unsure about an idea, and that I won't freak out and I will try to help. I want her to see me as an ally...

If she dragged a TV out to her fort, I might approach her with something like, "I noticed that you moved the TV out to your fort. I'm worried that the TV will get damaged out there by the rain, because your fort has no top." Then I might suggest alternatives, like getting a smaller TV for $10 at a thrift store. With the electricity being run out there, I'd do pretty much the same thing - share my concerns and suggest a solution (maybe a heavy-duty extension cord). I'd also ask that check with me before bringing any more things out there that aren't just his... and if he sees you as someone who will help him try to get what he wants, he will check with you. If not, maybe you'll need to poke your head into the fort every so often and ask him while he's out there - I do this with my daughter's room, which is like a magnet for stuff.

Basically, kids who are feeling resentful towards you won't try to work with you, and kids who feel like you're trying to help them get the things that they want will. Of course no one gets everything they want, and I know my daughter understands that... but it's natural to try to arrange your world in ways that fit you.

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I totally see what you are saying re: ground rules that we all have to live with...I have to pay my taxes in the next couple of weeks.

With teens, it is time for them to feel like they have some of the control. What if you had a sit down with him and tried to create a set of rules for the family that everyone is happy and comfortable with. In our home, check in times are 3, 6, 9 and 12. That doesn't mean that they have to come home, they just need to check in. At this point in their lives and certainly when they start driving, I really can't tell them where to go or what to do. But, drinking and driving, for example, is unacceptable. If there is drinking going on at a party they want to go to, then the car doesn't leave our driveway. I won't forbid the party, but I will keep the car keys. Hopefully they will not choose to be drinking underage anyway...but I can't make that decision for them.

If you work together on creating groundrules, then your teen is more likely to follow them, because he feels some control in his own life.

Regarding the fort - I agree with pp, have a sit down and come up with some solutions to what you see as the problem. Maybe your guy truly doesn't understand what the issues are. Purchasing his own TV (battery operated so that no electricity is needed) could be a good option. If the household tv is borrowed, perhaps it could be rented to your teen which would ensure that if it become ruined due to weather, you would then have money to purchase a new one.

I am a little bit confused.
It sounds like you have a really good kid- good grades and basketball indicate that he handles responsibility well. Same friends for years - probably you know them well. So, why is he gone for the whole weekend?

Could you just go get him and explain that you have been worrying and that you miss him? Maybe you could welcome him with lots of love and empathy and then really talk to him about what is going on. IMO this is a great opportunity to have a fresh start because he will be assuming that you are going to lay the hammer to him, but instead you will show him that you understand where he is coming from...

You could even apologize to him because although you have been a teenager, but you have never been the parent of a teenager. You are learning too, and you hope he can understand that and forgive you if you come on too strong at times.

When he uses profanity with you - just tell him that you expect to be treated with the same respect you give him and you will be happy to talk with him when he treats you with that respect. Then walk away.

All items taken to the fort the belong to the family - he needs to find ways to earn money for those items. If necessary you can sell his xbox, etc. to pay for those items. Hopefully he will choose to either pay for them or bring them back on his own.

Good luck during this time. It really does sound like he is a good kid.
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we've had a sit down and ive tried to involve him in rule making. i took a parenting class last year and we had a contract that he agreed to when we sat down, but he cant for the life of himself go by.

none of the books i have read have helped me deal with the attitude that he feels like he should be able to do whatever he wants and i shouldnt ask questions.

another example is his freaking out when i require phone numbers and to be able to talk to other parents about his spending the night, etc. In HIS mind, he's already an adult.
could go the other route. I wouldn't personally so I don't think you should take the following advice.

If he wants his freedoms. Find a way to give them to him within reason.

IE: If he wants to go out without you checking up on him, tell him it is time he chipped in on rent. Time to get a job and pay a % of the bills. And then he will be treated like an adult when he has the responsibilities of an adult.

If he wants to drive when he turns 16, he will pay for his own insurance. If he wants gas, he will pay for it, if he wants a car, that is his problem. He is an adult, and he will need to buy one himself.

You can modify that any way you see, but if he wants to be treated like an adult in the question of his authority on being able to do what he wants, then he should learn the other side of being an adult, which is having the responsibility to do what you are supposed to do.

Oh, and throw in there 'if you fail at these things, your rights and privilages can and will be removed, I can take your car, your toys, your liscence. Oh and that thing called drivers ed? Since you are an adult, you wouldnt want to take that at the high school.... you would really rather take that at a private school out of your own pocket'

things like that. but then again, I haven't parented a teenager, I have only been a teenager. but in my experiance if they want to be treated like an adult there is no way to make them go back to being a child, part of development probably and not everyone goes through the rebelious stage the same. But take it full board and treat them like an adult 100%, unless they mess up.

just an opinion, feel free to chop it up as you need.
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i have actually offered this to him, but as soon as the issue of his putting up any funds to "act like an adult" come up, he immediately says "but im a kid, and your my mom and your supposed to provide that for me".
it a delimma...on the one hand, he wants to be an adult..on the other, i have all these responsibilities toward him (giving him rides, allowing sleepovers to unlimited # of kids, providing $$, etc.).

I called the program where i took the parenting class (it was Active Parenting of Teens and i thought it was really good), and htey have a class about learnign how to control your emotions. I can't remember the name, but its essentially a class teaching teens how to use their emotions to empower them to regain control, learn to negotiate, etc. Unfortuantely, the class doesnt start until the end of April, which is unfortunate. but he WILL be in that class.

I have removed his computer and xbox from his room. His xbox is hidden but his computer is in teh family room (where it should have been in the first place). He is allowed to use the computer for a few minutes a day, but not like he did. He still has his cellphone. He has to come home alone every day after school right now (there is usually NO day that he is either not at some friend's house or has a friend over).
These are big deals for him. They are big deals for me too. I don't like denying him things but i also can't sit back while he goes down the road toward destruction. Allowing him to walk out of hte house on Friday night and he not coming home until Sunday (he spoke with his dad and step dad so i know where he was and he was safe), but that is just something i cant allow him to think is "OK".
anyone kwim??
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Hey Rach - You and I are in a similar situation family structure-wise. I have a newborn, a 14 yr old (girl) and remarried.
I also have a 14 yr old boy, but he is severely physically handicapped, although he asserts he is becoming a man and will try to throw people out of his room or take off in his wheelchair while telling people off, like his aid at school.

I've been havng a lot of issues with my DD too, though they are slowly working themselves out - for now. I posted in the gentle discipline forum hoping for some help.
i was wondering whether to do GD or the teen section, but it seems alot of ppl in GD have younger kiddos.
he's home and being nice b/c he wants to go somewhere this weekend. at least i have that. it breaks my heart when i have to withhold something from him. i just wish he could get control of his feelings to want to do whatever he wants all the time. he has this attitude that since he's 6'2 and mistaken for an adult all the time that he shoudl be one.
I just bought the new Faber and Mazlish book titled How To Talk So Teens Will Listen & Listen So Teens Will Talk. I have only skimmed it so far, but I found their other books very helpful, and this one seems to follow in their usual straightforward, easy style. lots of helpful advice for opening up communication about difficult subjects.
Wow-- are we living parallel lives?
My 15 year old daughter is going through a major rebellion! Verbally disrespectful - calling me a b***h, saying I have c**k breath, etc. Pushing every button she can think of.

Grades? Straight A's.

Friends? Same ones most of her life.

We've gone back to basics and it has really helped. We reviewed house rules. We talked about responsibilty and privledges. And then made some changes here and there.


All chores and homework to be done right after school. (there are only two chores, bedroom and dishes or folding laundry- those rotate on a monthly basis)

Only 30 minutes of computer time per day unless there is homework to be done on it.

Only 30 minutes of phone time per day.

No name calling. No backtalking and no talk like listed above.

She can go out two nights a week with friends. She can also go to youth group if she chooses.

Extra nights out may be possible but require asking at least 24 hours prior to going out. (mainly because we have a large family and people going here and there all the time.

One hour of free time each night. Go for a walk, watch a movie, etc.

Once we were clear on these things, it improved so much. Especially after she knew she would be able to go out those two nights unless there was something drastic to change things.

Teens can be dang frustrating! But I remember feeling so lost... Too old for a lot of things, not old enough for others. Just kind of stuck in limbo. Add in hormones, life, etc.. And you having a melting pot of turmoil.

Good luck!

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janis B, what happens if she doesnt follow the rules? getting him to agree on stuff is one thing (had that before)...the follow through is the hard part and im at a loss. there is also a thread in GD under panthera that i vent a little mroe about the situation.
and he did say f&*k you last friday which is somethign i just cant tolerate.
If she does not follow through with her end then she would lose her privledges. Not all at once but one by one.

So far, she has been following the rules very well. She loves being able to go do things with friends and get out of the house so she does not want to lose that. She is very social - the phone and being with friends is very important to her.

I also reward positive behavior. I make sure I say thank you for anything she does to help and for getting her chores done right away. If I am out and see a little nail polish, eye shadow, toe socks or some silly thing she would like, I pick it up for her. I make sure to tell her why I am appreciative of what she is doing.

One thing that helped when our oldest ds, now 21, was a teen was to get a notebook we could write to each other in. He hated talking about poblems or issues. But writing did not bother him. So we would write back and forth about things. Major issues required face to face, but the little things we could hash out in our spiral folder.

Hope this helps a bit..

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