Teenage DS is a nightmare and I wish he would just go away

(11 Posts)
josla Sun 07-Jul-13 08:37:11

I do not know how I can carry on - my DS is 18 now and has been rude and abusive for 5 years now. Me and my hubby (step-dad to DS) have 2 DDd aged 5 and 2 and I am sure DS has low self esteem and feels replaced. I have tried to give him so much love and time but I just can't keep going on being belittled and berated by him. If he were my husband I would have left a long time ago. I am so happy with the rest of my life - but DS comes into the room and I wait for the nasty comment. I took him out for dinner last night with my parents and sister so that there were lots of adults to entertain the little ones (as he complains constantly about the girls) but he was negative about everything to me (even things I didn't decide on, my sister even said at one point 'that was me, not your mum') but he just kept on and on... I think I might have raised a man who will abuse his wife in future because I think he actually gets a kick out of standing just behind me and going on and on until I feel ill. He doesn't do this when DH is around he normally just goes in his room. He moved out a couple of months ago as I couldn't stand it but he's had to come back as no job so can't afford rent. What can I do or say to make this better?

Tell him to buck up his attitude or get out, job or no job

CaptainSweatPants Sun 07-Jul-13 08:50:50

Tell him to pack it in or he can leave

flow4 Sun 07-Jul-13 09:32:52

Oh josia, that's such a horrible situation to be in, I really feel for you. I have been in a similar situation myself, and also had the thought that I would have left him, if he'd been my partner rather than my son. sad

The trouble is, he won't just go away. And he is now of an age where you can't control his behaviour, he has to control himself.

You have a problem because he isn't controlling himself. That might be because he doesn't recognise his bad behaviour, or it might be because he doesn't want to make the effort. You may be able to have some influence, for instance by challenging bad behaviour and telling him when he is being rude, disrespectful, selfish, aggressive, etc. Or you can try to motivate him to make the effort (bribery, threats, etc.) But you can't make him do anything - he has to do that himself.

However, you can control and change your own behaviour and reactions. If you do an advanced search and look through past discussions, you'll find me and many others giving very similar advice:

- Detach, detach, detach! A lot of what they say feels very personal, but it isn't. Some teens just seem to go thru a phase if being foul as part of distancing themselves from you and convincing themselves they can manage without you. hmm If you realise this, and create a bit of emotional distance yourself, it really seems to help.

- You really only have two options: kick him out or hang on in there. If you don't want to kick him out, you have to hang on in there. If you can't hang on, you'll have to kick him out. Both options are incredibly hard, it seems to me, but it helps if you work out your 'bottom line' - the things you absolutely cannot tolerate - the point at which you will throw him out, if these things happen or don't stop. Once you know your bottom line, you can be clearer with him. You can say, and mean, something like "From now on, I will not put up with X. If you do X, I will do Y. If you do X again, you will have to leave". I found it gave me a lot of strength to work this out... And stick to what I said!

- Don't tolerate violence or threats of violence. You don't say he is violent, but if he is, tell him you will call 999 if he hurts or threatens anyone again. Then do it. People here can give you more advice and opinions if you are in this situation - just say.

- Do pleasant, fun things for yourself. Be kind to yourself. Look after yourself. It isn't a luxury, it's a survival essential! You will cope much better if you have good things to sort of 'balance out' the bad. And you give your DS (and yourself!) a clear message that you believe you are worth respecting and treating well. smile

Good luck... And do hang around here for support... You're not alone, and it definitely helps to know it, and to get ideas from others who have, or have had, similar experiences.

Great post flow. My dc are small yet, but I couldn't read this and run. I hope you are able to take on some of the things flow suggests and that things improve OP.

Janek Sun 07-Jul-13 09:49:50

I agree, flow's advice seems spot on. Good luck.

josla Sun 07-Jul-13 11:07:51

Thanks flow4, and others, that is great advice. I find it a bit hard to do fun things with the girls at the moment as I am worried all the time what DS is up to. We went away for a weeks holiday last year and he took our car without permission ( no insurance, provisional licence) and crashed it and wrote it off. Amazingly he walked away with only a hand injury and was fine. But we had to pay for a new car, pay the damage to the telegraph pole (£1800 to BT), £650 to the persons garden the car wrecked... Our insurance would not cover him, obviously, and we couldn't claim unless we reported him for theft. We wanted to avoid him having a criminal record, so with us paying the money ourselves he only got a youth referral order (he was 17) and that has no permanent record. He pays £50 a month back to me. He gets £100 ish a month wage for PT job. But then last month we went away with the girls for 3 days and he had a party. I told him in clear terms that he needed to build trust, but he did it anyway. I came back to 3 bin bags full of bottles outside and some little bits of damage to the house. When I confront him he lied, got angry, insisted he had a right to have a party...that's when he had to move out. I couldn't take it anymore. But now we have a family holiday booked, for 2.5 weeks, he was coming (France, camping) but now he had to come home early to work as he says he can't get all the time off. So I can't trust him to stay here...

flow4 Sun 07-Jul-13 11:55:04

No, you can't, obviously. You will need to lock him out so he can't get in, or not go away. I didn't go away for a couple of years, for the same reason.

It sounds to me like this is a 'bottom line' issue. I had terrible trouble identifying mine - it kept slipping lower and lower - so I'd say 'no' to something, but then discover there was nothing I could do when he did it anyway. You need to find the 'no's you really, really mean - and be clear in your head that he's had more than enough chances.

In some ways, that's 'getting tough'. In other ways, it's not, because you have to then ignore a load if stuff you dislike, but which falls short of your 'bottom line'.

Sorry, I think I'm waffling now! It's sunny and my brain is on holiday! I'll stop now... I hope at least some of it makes sense. smile

specialsubject Sun 07-Jul-13 13:58:03

He is a criminal, you just helped him avoid getting a record. He clearly learnt nothing and could have killed somebody. You should have reported him.

throw him out.

josla Sun 07-Jul-13 14:29:54

It does really make sense flow4. We didn't go away for about 3 years, or only with him... Anyway I know you're right. Tough day yesterday but not bad today. Doesn't help that DH works weekends, I feel like a single parent most of the time...

josla Sun 07-Jul-13 14:33:55

Flow4, I've just re-read all you've said again, and thank you for such clear, sage advice. He is right at the line and though it will be very unpleasant I need to tell him enough is enough. I paid his rent when he moved out for a couple of weeks but I am not prepared to keep bailing him out. Thanks again flow4.

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