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I completely lost it with DN and don't know where to go from here.(44 Posts)
Nearly 3 years ago we took in a 12 year old from DP's family who needed a home (had been brought up by his gran, DP's mum) and things have been up and down but mostly we have made great progress. But as he gets more 'teenage' he is being viler and ruder to me, sneers at what I do for him (a LOT) and just blithely says sorry when he clearly does not mean it. This evening over something quite minor I took him to task and got a load of attitude back and completely flipped out. Shouted at him and took away his computer. He said awful things and I did too, told him to go back and live with his granny if he could not respect us. Told DP who is fannying around saying 'he didn't hear' what was said, so can't comment. I feel so angry and like I can't do this for another 3 years. There is also an issue of the way he speaks and behaves in front of our DS (3).
Really feel for you. I think you and DP need to have a long talk together and agree on a united front. It was a big step to take in a 12 yo at a time when I see you also had a baby and I applaud you for that. Hang on to the fact that many parents go through this kind of teenage stuff with their own kids. And that DN must feel comfortable enough with you to be a shit, rather than on his best behaviour. However, it is not acceptable for you to have to put up with vile, rude behaviour from anyone in your own home, IMO. I think you and DP must lay out some clear ground rules to him about the manner in which he speaks to you (and also in front of DS) and make clear what the sanctions will be if he doesn't get his act together. (Not suggesting you throw him out - just that he will be grounded/lose Internet privileges/whatever you feel appropriate). You have every right to demand that someone is civil. Might be worth discussing with him the fact that you are getting to the end of your tether and that if things do not improve then the final step may include re-homing him elsewhere. Good luck!
Hi Ancient I remember you and your dn. First off I'd say don't beat yourself up too much about losing it with dn. From what you've said about dn before he's had a rocky ride and not much in the way of boundaries before he came to you. He's clearly testing you and your limits to the point of possible rejection. I'd say it's not going to do him any harm to see that his behaviour does have a profound effect on those around him and you do have limits. If you can bring yourself to do it, can you provide him with a positive role model of how to sort out a major barney with apologies and a heart to heart about what went wrong?
Are you accessing any support/ CAMHs or counselling to help him and you get through the rocky teen years ahead?
Will send you a PM as my situation would out me on here.
You are normal to have completely lost it!
Thanks sowornout we have an appt with an apparently very good therapist this week (just DP and me) ostensibly to talk about DN but really (as far as I'm concerned) to talk about our less than united approach. Which is and always has been that I do everything and have done everything, EVERYTHING.
I don't think I was fair on him this evening, but it was his sneeriness. He is at that age of thinking he knows everything and we are all idiots. Told me to fuck off and slammed his door, I pushed back in and took his computer cable which set him off crying. I have never ever mentioned to him that he is with us because we agree to it rather than because it is his right, but tonight I did. I don't know why because there have been far far FAR more trying times over the past three years. He
I think it sounds like you've actually come to the end of your tether with your DH rather than DN, and unfortunately your DN bore the brunt of it today.
Don't beat yourself up. Lots of teenagers go thru a phase of being totally unloveable little shits and test their parents/carers patience and boundaries to their limits.
I can totally sympathise with how frustrating it is when you and DH are on completely different pages when it comes to parenting. Hopefully your counselling/therapy will help resolve this, because from what you've written, that's what seems to be at the root of the problem.
I hope we can improve. DP is working very hard and struggles with emotional stuff at the best of times.
I just find the cockiness hard to take when we have changed everything about our lifestyle, moved house, to give him the best we can. And usually our relationship is good. But this week he has spent time with his granny and that always spells trouble. I have to find a way to talk to him tomorrow and explain the lack of respect I feel from him. He does not understand this, he feels that this is just what parents do. But I am not his parent.
But love, you've put yourself in a parental role, and you did it willingly, so he will treat you as his parent
HAPPILY! You get to asct like one too. Keep his computer for a fortnight and give him everything he doesn't like for dinner until he appreciates you and stops being a rude little fucker.
Colditz <supersizes mince order with sainsburys>
There is always this thing, that granny is his mum and he stays with us for convenience. He always says granny never does x always does y and it honestly never occurs to me to even comment. With her he didn't even go to school, and now he's thriving. But with the thriving comes this excess of confidence I suppose all teenagers struggle with. I know I did.
it could be that the threat of sending him back to granny/elsewhere becomes counterproductive. Not being with parents etc he most likely has security issues, he is testing you, if you 'fail' the test by saying you will kick him out that could lead to a worse spiral of behaviour (teenagers sometimes being about as rational as a toddler) - he will have nothing to lose, thinks you don't really want him there so behave worse and worse until it becomes untenable and you do kick him out.
Of course i don't know the situation or what will happen, just thinking of a worse case scenario, but what strikes me is that this boy needs security. And of course a good talking to and discipline etc, just not the threat of losing his home.
Honestly you/he need some help to cope with what is going on inside him that he is taking out on you.
Nowt wrong in cable confiscation.
Sounds like he could be testing you to check he is really loved and wanted?
Sneering, telling parents to fuck off and slamming doors is standard arsey teenage behaviour - it's not because he isn't your biological son.
Please don't threaten to send him away - if he's on his third family at the age of 15, he's had enough to deal with already. One element of horrible teenage behaviour is testing boundaries, and they need to know that even if you don't like them, you still love them. I would go and talk to him when you've both calmed down and say that, actually.
Might be worth reposting this in the Teenagers section?
He's not on his 3rd family really. Lost his parents as a baby. He was always with granny and his half-sister, then when the school refusing started, she couldn't cope but is still very much in his life.
I don't think I threatened to send him away - there was red mist. I think I said there were some rules in this house and he needed to observe them or he could go back to granny. Is that the same thing? I can't believe, after years of not saying it when things have been so much more fraught and I have coped.
So many people post that he is testing my love etc. I don't think he thinks I love him, nor would he claim to love me. He came to use as a hormonal teenager and all the problems we've dealt with have been of that sort. He loves his granny and talks to her every evening. I am just doing the donkey work. A very bad evening for me, quite honestly.
Sorry you've had such a bad evening. I understand that you feel that you are getting landed with all the shit jobs looking after a sneery, arsey teenager who isn't in the slightest bit grateful for it. I would agree with Holla that kids need to know that you love them, even if you don't like their behaviour.....but can I reassure you by saying that IMO it is ok for you not to love DN. You've had him from 12 - 15 (a pretty horrible age) and he is rude and unpleasant to you, although you are doing your best. I think it would be impossible for anyone to say, 'Oh but you HAVE to love him'. Why should you, quite frankly. (Sorry....perhaps you do, obviously I don't know for sure). I think it's ok to be less than perfect. You've been as accommodating as you can be over the past three years and if you are getting to the end of your tether, please don't beat yourself up. As you say, you are not his parent - you are someone who is caring for him as an alternative to foster care, perhaps, and the least he can do is to give you a little respect and civility. I would be extremely angry to be told to 'fuck off' by anyone in my own home - biological dcs or not. I don't think it will do him any harm to be told it is not his 'right' to live with you and proceed to treat you like shit. I hope that you and DP can get some practical help from the therapist this week. Have a large drink and a good night's sleep.
I feel sorry for both you and DN. And agree you could be taking out your frustration with dp on dn?
Your dn must be very confused at times? He's had a very rough start and even though he didn't know his parents will still miss them imo?
It's a credit to you that he's come on and I hope you can keep on supporting him as hard as it is. My ds1 is almost 15 and they can be difficult. Especially when they're bigger than you.
I also agree it's bad to be told to fuck off. So disrespectful. I hope he says sorry for this? Are you having any mediation with him?
Oh lovely, you have done so well, along a HARD HARD road with him (I can't believe it has been 3 years?! Where did that time go? You wont recognise this posting name, it's new - but I'm not).
I hope the counselling helps you present a united front.
Someone needs to get through to your
DP that he needs to step up and do some bloody parenting instead of leaving it all to you!! Grrr No matter what was said or done 'fuck off' is not something you need to tolerate from anyone, let alone a child.
If it makes you feel any better... my friend told her 9 year old to pack her bags and leave at the weekend!! <my friend is under a LOT of stress and her 8 year old is going through a very trying patch!! All made up again an hour later... but still!>
I agree with WhoNicked in that the issue seems to be with DH rather than DN.
You said yourself that you took DN to task over something "quite minor"which then escalated into this shouting match where sad things were said on both parts.
Then in your 2nd post you say that you feel that you weren't fair on him...
That he was reduced to tears over loss of his computer cable indicates that despite his attitude, he's just a kid.
I'd apologise to him after a good night's sleep all round.
Poor you ancient. Nasty little git.
I think the fact that kids deliberately push you as far as they do means they believe that you care for them, otherwise why would you put up with it.
The fact that DH was so weak-willed was possibly the final straw for you and why you lost your rag. But I don't see that as wrong. Surely teens are testing the boundaries when they wind you up like this, just to see how far they can go.
It would be good if you could have an honest talk with DN and point out that your poor little DS is hearing all this anger and upset and it can't be good for him, which surely he can empathise with even if he doesn't admit it or blames your for it. Also tell him that you have lost the will (and the patience to put up with his behaviour) because you do everything with little support, again sowing the seed though I doubt it will change much immediately.
Even if teens don't appear to listen or care about anyone else, if they are told some honest home truths, including that their carers have problems too, I think it at least sows a seed and they could come to consider others more, though doubt they would ever admit that something they were told or instructed to do ever influenced them.
I was brought up in a dysfunctional home with a heavy drinking father and believe me I (and siblings) picked up every nuance and angry glance between DPs and other adults. But we didn't dare mention it.
He doesn't sound like a nasty little git to me.
He sounds like a normal kid.
He doesn't know you 'agreed' to take him on.
He thinks you wanted him....warts and all.
Then you tell him to go back to his Granny?
He is 15,what do you want for him,you agreed to take him on?
Life and experience teach you how to be.
We all think/thought we were the dogs bollocks when we were young and only life teaches us we're all the same in the end.
Oh,to be young again......only if i can keep the wisdom of experience.
I can remember being a selfish little moo though not as bad as the nasty little git described above. I knew I was being a selfish little moo but my 'needs' as a fifteen year old wanting her own way far outweighed the well being of the rest of the family or my DM in my opinion at that time.
So, as I said, I can remember doing it, but wanted what I wanted, but knew deep down that I was being selfish and unfair to my DM so I don't agree with the 'love conquers all' brigade who think you should take all that teenagers throw at you and smile on. I think they know what they are up to, though perhaps cannot always control it, and so pushing adults to their tipping point means they get some unpleasant responses.
Though I am not talking about severely damaged, abused teens.
sowornout thanks for your post. You are right that this is not a situation of unconditional love. I am very fond of DN and I'm sure he knows I am on his side and I'm fairly confident that what he feels about this situation will be based on everything that happens at home rather than the events and words of any one evening. There has been a change in his behaviour though, he has stopped saying please and thank you and generally strutting around like god's gift. Here echobitch is right, that we all go through a phase of thinking we are it and everyone else should listen up.
I had to be the 'mother' of a teen very suddenly, the same year I became a mother (although I am an older mother) and it turns out I am quite a strict one - I don't want to be spoken to horribly by anyone and I don't want DS to hear anyone speak to his mother like that. DN has done very well in many different ways - he is completely and utterly unrecognisable - but he is still very rude if he doesn't get his own way. While I appreciate this is 'normal teenage behaviour' - I personally am not going to take it. I think it's important in life to be able to button it when you have to.
At the moment it is a bit like being stuck in a loveless relationship you're not allowed to leave.
This evening when I told him off, for something that actually quite turned my stomach (piss-soaked guinea pig blankets left in the laundry room for me with all the clean stuff) he was completely dismissive and looked at me like I was an idiot while he said sorry then shut the door in my face, saying of eff off while I was talking.
I have high standards and I want him to know I think he can live up to them (not like granny who just goes easy on the poor little orphan boy) and I think this is important for his self-esteem.
nedelamer thanks, it's really good to know someone remembers my story from the beginning - MN has seen me through A LOT.
DP seems a lost cause on this front though although the meeting with the therapist was organised by me (of course, who else!) mainly to have a forum to voice my feelings on this front. We'll see if that gets through to him. I'm not sure if I'm taking out my resentment towards him on DN, I will have to navel gaze a bit on that score.
I must also say that he very much does know we agreed to take him in. It is definitely his choice to live here with us and I'm not sure trying to be his mother is necessarily the right road to go down.
Anyway, up at this hour fretting about the whole thing and DS has taken to waking at 5.30 these days.
Okay you need to impress (not sure how) that DP needs to step in if you are sworn at, surely he would say something if it was a stranger at a party? If it is said under the breath, then I would try to develop a thick skin to ignore it. However if said in front of your son, then it is never on, but sometimes even then it might be better to leave it 10 minutes for you and DN to calm down.
Teenage boys do at times tend to go through a period of being or trying to be disrespectful to women. Your DP needs to show his respect, and you need to discuss the issue with DN, when he is calm.
It might be useful to go over the basic ground rules of your house again with him.
Do you ever discuss what happens at Granny's when he is there?
However the big thing with teens is to not sweat the little stuff, but also be very clear about boundaries. If the issues come after a visit to Granny's it might be useful to explicitly discuss the different boundaries there and with you, people do have different values and it doesn't make any right or wrong necessarily, just think about the debates about shoes off or on.
My other top tip is to apologise when you get it wrong, but similarily expect him to apologise afterwards too.
With the blanket, I would have made him wash it himself. My DS knows that one of the privileges he could have withdrawn is me doing his washing.
You have done so well so far.
I too remember your story from the beginning, I take my hat of to you.
My eldest went for the easy option and moved out to live with her Dad -argh!!!
You need to get your dh on board, would setting some house rules be something - family meeting, all suggestions listened to.
Also consequences for rudeness/bad language, same rules for both ds and dn (although different consequences etc). Priviledges earned for acceptable behaviour and those lost.
OMG though your DH needs to get his arse in gear!!
I have a lovely friend who has taken me aside several times over the past few months and said 'you can't do this with no support and it's wrong you are being asked to do so'. I know she is right.
He has clear boundaries but he will keep breaking them! Usually we resolve it with a discussion, and he apologises. Recently he has been great, then just a week or so ago he started to get very arrogant. I am dreading dealing with him today.
I don't really understand what happened yesterday which is a sure sign I was at fault in some way. I swear I was a gentle sort that never got angry till I got a teenager.
I expect today I will apologise for shouting, explain I am not perfect but reiterate that his behaviour was awful and he loses his computer for 48 hours (this will kill him as he has just bought a new game). I am remembering now that he was pointing and laughing at me as I was angrily taking the cable from the back of his computer and the wires were all tangled, telling me I looked an idiot and didn't know anything and he knew much more than me. It's not on.
Actually, having read that back maybe I will ask him to stay with granny for a few days (he has Friday off school). I think perhaps we need a break from each other.
You are doing fine. It is not on to have someone showing such open disrespect to you by laughing and pointing. Yes, he is a teenager, yes he is immature, but I wouldn't let my teens behave like that towards me and you are not in the wrong for refusing to tolerate it. Absolutely agree with you that speaking to people in a civil manner is a crucial lesson to learn in life. A break sounds like a good idea. I teach teens (as well as having 4 of my own) and one of the things I emphasise is that my ground rules and my expectations DO NOT CHANGE. It is never ok to swear at me or be rude to my face just because you are having a bad day or don't like being told off. Keep doing what you have been- sounds like you are making good progress, but don't lower your expectations at all.
Okay to the stay at Granny's as long as it won't do more harm than good.
If it has just been a couple of weeks, it could be a temporary thing. So do reiterate your rules, and then need for respect for people in general.
The change could be: hormones, a new friend, a new teacher, or some event.
That doesn't excuse his need for basic politeness.
You could ask him if he would speak like that to a housemate or even employer. Or ask him to think about how it makes you feel.
BTW in all this you are teaching him invaluable life skills, as well as getting good practice for later.
Good news. I got home this evening and told him I was so disappointed he used such unkind, unpleasant terms. That he could shout and rant and cry, but not use the words he did. He looked very shamefaced and said he was genuinely, really truly sorry. I said I thought he could achieve great things and I hoped he knew that and would not let himself down again.
Boundary clearly drawn
Feel so much happier now
What a fantastic update
You will get there
That is such good news OP, nice to return to a happy atmosphere.
It's tricky if your DP doesn't want to pile in and contribute, that way you can end up feeling like the spoilsport bad guy laying down the law.
Fwiw even if you are scrupulously fair about time, attention and money spent equally between your DS and DN, regardless of the age gap, many a teen will recall in minute detail any perceived slight or injustice. When I clashed horns with my teens it was difficult to pinpoint in hindsight when things kicked off but often contributing factors were, in no particular order:
Resistance to change
Hunger (from arrival after school/sport training particularly)
Loss of face (being pulled up for amnesia, loss of uniform/scholastic items
Regulation of homework + revision vs access to computer (games or Facebook, the horror, the horror).
Anyway you are doing so well, good luck treading a line between calling DN out on what is unacceptable (swearing, inappropriate behaviour around younger child etc) and tolerating what is bearable. Everyone says it's important to be consistent but you learn to judge when not to be rigidly inflexible. Joys of parenting!
Congratulations - you are doing a great job!
Pleased that your news is so good. And I think you have obviously made great strides with this boy - apologising is never easy, so credit to him for admitting his behaviour was out of line. Have a good evening.
That's a start
as I've said since the beginning your DP needs to grow up and realise that this is his problem, this is his nephew and if he doesn't, at some point you are going to have had enough of being expected to do every single damn thing and you are going to leave with DS - is that what he wants? If not, he needs to step up NOW.
Thanks very much to everyone.
donkeys wise words indeed. It is a fine line. All the areas you point out are true here - particularly the resistance to change. The thing I struggle with most is that his granny has instilled in him that if he doesn't feel like he wants to do something, best not to do it. We have such long stand-offs because he doesn't to do something new and I keep telling him he can. I feel sure this way his self-esteem will grow. Usually it's something small like returning something to a shop or a phone call, but we are building up to joining clubs or doing more sports.
nedelamer no-one knows that better than me! It also frightens me that I could never leave with DS because it wouldn't be fair on DN as he would almost certainly be sent back to granny. I don't want to leave as our relationship outside of this sticking point is happy. DP is defensive and says he wants to but doesn't know how to. I'm hoping our appointment with the family therapist will help (I have already told him during a phone call that he may find DP is the real source of the problem not DN).
Thanks again everyone. We had a nice dinner last night and in the interests of harmony I even overlooked the fact that DN had eaten three chocolate mousses
Have you tried having family meetings? You dp and dn? I hope dp starts to realise you need help and does so?
It's good to hear positive strides though. Keep posting there's so many wise people on here who've gone through it as you know.
Sorry for the essay anyway it sounds like you have the measure of DN. I guess after being brought up with his granny he will have been used to doing things a certain way and it's hard to unlearn attitudes, (not taking anything away from her I hasten to add they obviously have a very loving relationship which is wonderful).
I would urge your DP to share the guidance part of parenting, I wonder if he sees backing you up as somehow "ganging up on" DN? It's not fair on you and won't get any easier as your DS gets bigger, the more
wilful challenging a toddler gets the greater the need for both parents to show a united front, too.
Thanks Donkeys. If i had it my way, we would share all the parenting, sadly however, DP just can't be bothered - I'm hoping the therapist we're seeing tomorrow will help.
We just had a call from DN's maths teacher to say he has made particularly good progress and is working very hard, so that's pretty good news
Could DP and DN share a hobby, it would only need to be one night a week for DP to give up or for him to have to make conversation with DN in, mind you with men it can often be nods and grunts rather than conversation. Rowing, archery, or just take him to football or rugby training and stand on the line. As long as DP doesn't look resentful or grumpy it might build bonds.
Thanks for your post spooky. That would be brilliant. Sadly Dp won't do it. He doesn't care enough.
Gosh DP is missing out as much as DN imo. How sad for both!
Remiind DP that DN will be a man soon enough and that DP might enjoy a mate to go to things with
can't imagine he has many to go with at present
It's not as bad now that DN has made friends, and they are really nice kids who do lots of interesting things. DN has an interesting mind. I think in the past year or so he has been depressed. He just wanted to play his computer games all the time and eat chocolate. He had a loose group of mates and often they let him down which made me feel so sad. But now he always wants to be doing something, a new type of painting, reading a new author or watching a film. THe other day I went storming down to his room to give him a right telling off about something and he was sitting up in bed with his guinea pigs on his lap watching Citizen Kane on his computer. I couldn't be bothered to tell him off.
DP is just not good at this. He is good in other ways. And we gave DN a home, or he could easily have ended up in care. What I mean is, he's not doing a great job, but he is doing it, and many men would not have done it.
While there is breath in my body I will make sure he gets a good start.
Spooky, DP only has me! I always tease him he will have to hire a dog to attend his funeral. He doesn't really need other people very much.
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