HELP!!! 15yr old pushing boundaries&butto
ns (long LONG, sorry!)
Oh my GOD I'm glad I've found you - phew...
My 15yr old son (my DS"! New but learning lingo) is pushing me to point I do not want to reach. Hard to break it down to a nice small post but I'll stick to headlines and do best!
He is a great kid. Phenomenally bright (not my biased opinion btw but fact!), quick minded, articulate, v v funny. I love him dearly (as I do all 3 DSs!). Not so great is his...
...sense of entitlement (arrrghhhh), arrogance, lack of appreciation for what he has, pretty abusive behaviour at times, boundary trampling, vile mocking of others less fortunate... Latter incs towards his 9yr old bro who does not have his physique or metabolism (DS2 is seriously ripped and can eat ANY amount of shit but still be in amazing shape) and who he mocks RELENTLESSLY re his weight - seemingly without care for the consequences on DS3 self-esteem, or of undermining efforts helping address weight issues but WITHOUT creating more issues.
Am a single mum with no - literally no - support in terms of helping with DS2's behaviour. He has decided to not see my Ex (who was 'Daddy' from age 1) and his 'real' Dad hasnt even contacted him for months. I am acutely aware that even though he has some choice with seeing my Ex or not, the loss of having any kind of Dad figure must be excruciating on so many levels. My divorce (still ongoing, separated 3 yrs) is complex as are the issues involved around the children (WAY more complex than can or should detail here but headline is it's been horrendous for me as a Ma & a missus, but for my children the issues involved are not those that most people will ever have gone thru).
Summary of that lot is he has huge loss and no support in the Dad dept and whilst all of his inevitable teen issues PLUS the issues of that loss/abandonment/anger/etc etc are playing out, I in turn have no backup AT ALL in terms of being able to share the responsiblity or even just have a break from it. Is a brutal equation. I have been ferocious in my efforts to keep Dad/DS relationship going (not least as I know it's crucail, but also because I don't EVER want DS to turn around when older and think I didn't do all I could as his Mum).
So, he has reason to be seriously pissed, but. BUT. What he (or I or his bros) may have suffered, or whatever the effects of those on current behaviours (he claims it's none, but in the way he treats younger bro, I def see some learnt behaviour), none of that changes what behavious is ok and what is NOT okay. All was much better over summer hols, but has deteriorated MASSIVLEY in past week, e.g. when I refused to let him back in car as had been abusive beyond description, he sent me a text that started "F#CKING PATHETIC BITCH". Even his best mate (who was in car) was appalled.
I have learnt some detachment skills and am acutely aware of the need to avoid being 'reeled in', but easier said than done. Ditto with walking away. Last night I asked him to leave the room, he was being abusive, cocky, just nasty, and DETERMINED he would force me back into a conv I had left. He also uses (very adeptly - like I said he is verrreeee clever!) some selective manipulation in there... if I effectively withdraw, he will then assert - sometimes politely, sometimes not so politely - that "you're only doing that as you CAN'T answer x/y/z", or "you know you're wrong, THAT'S why you won't answer" etc etc. Would point out this is AFTER I have already answered, or on occasion NOT answered but been very clear why I am not doing so.
So, detachment often thwarted and to the extreme too. Last night, he did refuse to leave room (me and DS3 were suffering and atmosphere just vile, hence telling him to), so eventually I went for pragmatism rather than being 'right' (right would have been staying where we were!). I told him would be a consequence for his not doing as told, but that right now, me and DS3 would move rooms. He then followed us in there, again refused to go and - very literally - blocked the door with foot. DS3 is now befuddled by this (& can 'copy' behaviour from DS2) and is just not ok. He then repeated with yet another room (house is big enough for us all to have space, so that wasnt why).
At some point, I removed his PC from room (yes, AFTER saying there would be a consequence so I really am already doing best to stay consistent here...) and at some point he did give up and returned to his cave bedroom. Has a fab ensuite bedroom, PS3, Apple Mac, mobile etc etc. Couldn't claim lack of space/privacy/activity etc.
So, right here right now. I am at wits end. There is nowhere else he can go live or stay, and I am wholly alone w dealing w him. This too I suspect he is very very aware of. My plan is to actually write some really basic boundaries and make it clear they are the rules, and if he can't follow them then he can't be here. Basic boundaries for me are:
- No behaving in an intimidating or abusive way (leaning over me loudly insisting that I WILL answer him; using any kind of physical force w bro or me)
- Bit more respect, or an understanding that if there ISN'T respect in place, then he can bog off (yeah, mature I know but am LIVID here!) and do own cooking/washing etc.
- NEVER: refusing to leave room when clearly instructed; following me into other rooms when I have clearly articulated why am leaving this one. Bottom line on this one is never mind his being intimidating, there are times (and thank you you lovely posters who have helped me see am not alone here!) I could cheerfully punch him myself, and clearly I DO NOT WANT TO BE PUSHED TO PLACE WHERE I REALLY DO SNAP. Did that once and - of course - regretted it second I did it, not remotely okay behavior
- Consequences: there are and will be consequnces to behaviour, and not okay to diss or ignore those. Last night I removed his PC and to my horror, this morning could see he went into MY room and (obv) thru my stuff to retrieve it. Nothing in that ok.
-Chores: bit embarrassed about this tbh. Suspect I may have inadvertantly fuelled the sense of entitlement here, as all he has to do is the dishwasher and rubbish (& those he claims I 'have' to remind him to do, and if don't then it's not his fault if not done!). Am very clearly going to link chores to allowance from now on (£40pm, £20 of which goes straight on Blackberry).
*So, after THAT lot, can you please help with any advice or any build on the clear boundaries I am going to reiterate or ANYTHING??* Don't think (even with mad length!) I have begun to convey the horror or how 'trapped' I feel when he is in my face, or how ANGRY I get when he screams at me about my 'shit life' or how F#CKED OFF & RESENTFUL I'm starting to feel at being the only parent who seems to really care for/about him, yet am also the only parent who gets talked to like a piece of shit - grrrrr.
I love him, I care for him, I can hate how he behaves whilst trying to recognise that behaviour is not him.... but... I can't take much more. Have 9yr old to watch out for, have myself to try and take care of (have huge health issues w stress and migraines), and can't face a repeat of a massive cycle of this. Am doing all I can from my side (altho he would disagree), but if have any ideas for how I can do more/better then please shout those too!
With hugs and a big TY for just being here (as I don't feel so alone now found this), look forward to hearing from you... Before my sense of humour disappers completely; I ask him to pack his bags; lose will to live; all of the above!
PS Nope btw (in anticipation of this fine but currently useless idea), is refusing point blank to go to counselling (but I am going to take us if this carries on - can't see a choice
Gosh sounds awful for you all. I am guessing he had learned to be intimidating and manipulative and would think he is playing out his anger at the situation in the only way he knows how.
Sorry I have no advice. DS1 is 13 and had a crappy time with his 'dad' etc and tbh am expecting trouble with him, in whatever form it takes, as he gets further into puberty.
Quick question tho, how old is DS1 I don't think you said in your op? Is he someone who could guide DS2?
Hopefully someone more helpful than me will come along soon. Just didn't want you to think no one was interested.
Thank you, thats really sweet of you
DS1 is 3 years older but away at Uni - also wouldnt want him to pull him in as he too has only recently re-found feet. My experience with him was WAY different btw (am just mentioning in the context of your DS1!) - he was a SUPER 'good' kid and then all the nightmares hit at once (is fine now but was tough going for while, albeit in diff way to DS2). Gotta say, much as life is tricky at mo with DS2, I do slightly prefer the it's playing out and what you see is what you get type teen anger. DS1 was PERFECT and then a wallop of stuff all at once for a few months - suspect this is (lol) easier and a bit safer.
Big ty for mail, ironically DS2 - who was in bed when I posted the above - has been an absolute angel today, lovely and affectionate, uber nice to DS3 etc. Will enjoy while lasts
Hang in there and get yourself some counselling even if he won't go, just so that you have some more support.
My DS behaved very like yours when he was living at home, I didn't really fix it. Some of his behaviour was drug-induced which didn't make things easier.
What helped here was being very clear about what was acceptable behaviour. Over and over and over again we said what we would allow, he would stomp about but things did improve.
Thank you, think you are right in terms of needing more support - will pursue
No drugs here thank goodness (altho not so sure about DS1 at Uni as doubt he'll get thru Uni without ever dabbling) but do know DS2 not. Is one of the things I am hyper vigilent about and haven't ever seen anything in behaviour or physical signs to even hint at it. Hoping that remains the case as clearly that would not help.
Sorry to hear about your sit'n, thank you for the guidance.
Sure, the thing with getting the support NOW is that if you need it in the future then you are not asking for it in a state of irrational emotional response to crisis.
My DS appears to be a model citizen lately and although it's not ideal that he is not at home and school he seems to have lost his confrontational anger. They DO grow up and learn to love themselves!
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