Help! Coping with a teengage DS I've lost my sense of perspective.

(21 Posts)
stopiwannagetoff Wed 20-Nov-13 11:29:33

DS, 13 is all over the place mood-wise. He's smart but rushes through his homework which mostly he says he has already done at school, is obsessed with Minecraft and swears heartily via skype when on it. I think he does deals with his lunchcard to get cash for sweets. He shouts a lot and does irritating big-brother stuff yet tells us he loves us everyday. I dunno, we seem to be The Waltons one moment, spiky and shouting the rest of the time.

I knew that hormones would kick in but thought there'd be other things like more free time for me for instance. I now feel totally lost as a parent and go through bouts of shouting.

My big question is, will it all come alright in the end (As the Idle Parent book suggests) or do I need to get draconian or I'll end up with a nice but very bad boy roaming the streets come 15?

I might add that I wasn't exactly an angel growing up but always knew where to draw the line. Perhaps I've answered my own question...

AnythingNotEverything Wed 20-Nov-13 11:37:34

I have a 13yo DS too. I think what you describe is completely normal. I don't know how it'll turn out though!

I'm pretty relaxed and leave DS to take responsibility for his stuff. I think helicopter parenting is generally a bad thing for teenagers, but parents know how far they can trust their own children.

The stuff you mention isn't that serious to me. I'd be asking about lunch and reminding him of the importance of a healthy diet (my DS is sporty so this is an easy win for us), and I'd be keen to remind him that shouting and general grumpiness towards others won't be tolerated. Like I say, he sounds normal to me!

ButThereAgain Wed 20-Nov-13 11:42:29

He sounds lovely, and he sounds normal! But that isn't to say that your worries and frustration are wrong or inappropriate. Just keep heart through it all that he and you are fundamentally fine and all will be well.

Personally I think that by 13 it is getting too late to stand over them too closely when it comes to homework. You can remind, you can model appropriate attitudes to work, but beyond that you pretty much have to start to let go.

Minecraft and lunch money are a bit different, I think. You should feel fine about negotiating limits on Minecraft, and although swearing should be his call , you can remind him about keeping things appropriate to the audience he is speaking to and always being kind and sensitive in online convo (his attitude to people he talks to is more important than his words?).

Lunch money is for lunch. Tell him he is pinching from you if he spends it on sweets! If he wants sweets he can take in a bit of his own money?

I have a 12 yo DS. He sounds exactly the same.

stopiwannagetoff Wed 20-Nov-13 11:51:51

Blimey - you are all so reassuring. Thanks. This is my first post.
God it's lonely this parenting lark. And like loads of women I squeeze my work around kids and dh doesn't get back from work until late. 3.30 until (increasingly later bedtime) is hell for me these days. I just stand in the kitchen waiting to react to the over timer or the ds or dd fighting or for a real treat the mother-in-law calling to have a conversation about public transport or her health. no wonder that bottle of wine calls so sweetly come 7.30... ooh sorry, rant over.

AndYouCanDance Wed 20-Nov-13 11:58:53

7.30? Pm? That is very restrained grin.

Also, I would love to hear my 13-year-old say 'I love you'.

I would keep an eye on the Lunchcard thing though.

ButThereAgain Wed 20-Nov-13 12:01:18

It's hard, isn't it stopiwannagetoff. I find parenting teenagers much much harder than parenting little babies, and yet when you have a baby everyone understands that its all new and hard and you need suppot -- but when you are facing the much scarier worries of teen parenting you are pretty much on your own and in the dark.

shimmeringinthesun Wed 20-Nov-13 12:06:15

He's beginning to flex his independent muscles isn't he, and re the swearing he may be trying to 'look cool'. It's all just small stuff really, not worth getting too uptight about.

My boy was a delight to be with for most of the time but oh did he have his moments, which I can now look back at with bittersweet memories, and think 'should I have handled it a different way'? I don't know, and never will. I do know I wasn't a perfect parent, but who is?

As you say, his hormones are kicking in, so he may be as confused as heck. So looking back with that wonderful gift of hindsight, just be there fore him, make sure he knows the boundaries, and tell him you love him!

shimmeringinthesun Wed 20-Nov-13 12:08:48

As for the phone, monitor it. Only answer the calls you WANT to. Just because a bell rings doesn't mean you have to jump to its attention.

stopiwannagetoff Wed 20-Nov-13 12:10:41

we don't eat until 9.30 so I'd be plastered if I had a glass earlier. wink
It's quite something to hear ds call someone a F@$king retard on skype and then in front of same mates say 'love you' as i say goodbye to him.

Main concern really - which interestingly I left out of post and realised when i commented elsewhere - is that he bites his arm when really angry which I think is self harm. His expectations are unrealistic and thinks he should be able to learn anything new at the click of his fingers. He's also smart and self aware and can convince any teaching or health professional that he's taking steps to sort it.
My gut is I need a good young male therapist for ds to talk to but another part of me doesn't want ds to keep thinking he's got a problem. and yet I know he / we has/ have.

yep, normal.

My ds1 used to eat nothing but junk food at school.
Thankfully he is very much into football and trains 4 times a week, and part of training is lessons on how to eat properly. He didnt listen to me telling him that but as soon as his coach tells him, he listens grin

stopiwannagetoff Wed 20-Nov-13 12:25:29

all so reassuring. I want to bottle all of this advice. it might be better for me than the vino. thanks all.

shimmeringinthesun Wed 20-Nov-13 12:32:45

I wouldn't be too worried about the swearing - as I said he's probably trying to be 'cool', but using the 'R' word is offensive, and not using that or any other of that type of word would be one of the boundaries in the house.Though if you're not comfortable with the swearing then that would be on the boundary list too....it's your home.
What he says outside the house though is difficult to monitor, so I would focus on the home to begin with, and hope he thinks it through to how it sounds to outsiders.

The biting of his arm would concern me, but as I have no experience of how to deal with that I can't comment, except to say that I agree your thought of finding him someone to talk to may help.

thanks for you. Is it possible at all for you to find a bit of time just for yourself during those evening hours? Even if it's just going for a walk, reading a book, doing a hobby? I know it may seem an impossibility, but once your DCs get used to your 'mum time' , and respect it, it then gives you that little oasis of calm to look forward to.

stopiwannagetoff Wed 20-Nov-13 12:32:58

when you say won't be tolerated. what do you do beyond asking them not to? what kind of sanctions do you use and how much?
I switch off the internet when he swears online (after one warning) which then creates an angry DS on the loose and DD - 9 and tough as you would be with a bruv like hers - asking if she can go on the computer. And then the whole game plays out again the next day...

Honestly I'm turning into a nutter - have just bought myself some skates so I can go around the block a few times when dh gets home.
Thank goodness it's dark as the neighbours already think we are bonkers - between catching me talking soothingly to the rabbit and then shouting like a loony at children.

NCISaddict Wed 20-Nov-13 12:38:07

I'm past that stage now, youngest is 17 but I had few rules but they were absolutes.

I spoke to the schools and said that I would be reminding about HW but that was it and I was happy for them to get into trouble if they didn't do it but I would appreciate an email if it was regular.

Language- I told them I realised that they would swear with friends but I expected them not to in my hearing and in the hearing of people who might be upset or offended by it. That avoided Granny being horrified by random fucks etc.

I expected to know where they were and to receive a text if they were going to be late.
They had increasing amounts of freedom but matched by increasing responsibility.
The rest of the rules were encompassed in our house mantra ' treat other people as you would like to be treated yourself'.
And yes I shouted quite a bit for a while and drowned my sorrows a lot.

It's lovely now when my bearded scruffy 17 and 20 year olds give me a hug and tell me they love me, and friended me on FB so I can't be too bad!

shimmeringinthesun Wed 20-Nov-13 13:07:31

I was a single parent of one, so I'm not up on the sibling rivalry stuff, but>... he has to see that it's HIS behaviour that gets HIS internet time switched off.
If his sister then wants to go on it, and has behaved fine, then she should be able to, regardless of it having been switched off earlier due to HIS behaviour. He needs to learn and understand this.

His Strops are probably him thinking that if he shouts loud enough and long enough, he'll wear you down and get his own way. Don't let him. Repeat your boundaries, and stick to them.

Yes, it is hard...... put some headphones on and play your music just loud enough so that you can't hear him. The skates sound a fab idea......I used to get on my m'bike and go for a blast, but to be honest, it was a rare day that I had to.

Kleinzeit Wed 20-Nov-13 17:50:11

Well I’m not an expert but biting his own arm during a temper doesn’t sound like self harming. It probably just means he has trouble managing frustration. I wouldn’t worry unless he’s badly drawing blood, or if he’s hurting himself when he isn’t in a temper. Otherwise it’s like a three year old banging their head on the floor in a tantrum!

Sorry no experience with the sibling stuff. I find that a small swearbox penalty (5p off the pocket money per rude word spoken!) works better for self-restraint than a big thing like turning off the wifi all evening. And it’s a good idea to find penalties for him that don’t affect the rest of the family. Though to be honest I might not even bother to penalise him anyway for most of the things he’s doing.

Wishing you brew until 7.30 and wine later on!

I don't think you or he has a problem that you need a therapist for. Certainly not from what you've posted here. Like Klein says, the biting sounds like your DS's equivalent of mine slamming doors and stropping off when asked to do something entirely unreasonable like pick his uniform off the floor. I shout about the door slamming, but don't attempt to stop the strop and 9 times out of 10 he's back within 10 minutes having calmed himself down and is sweetness and light again.

Pick your battles applies a lot to this age group, that and not being drawn in to an argument. I've learnt to not do that mostly. Well, sometimes. I'm getting better. grin

flow4 Thu 21-Nov-13 05:06:20

At this age, I think it's useful to distinguish between behaviour you don't like and bad behaviour that needs sanctioning. There is generally a lot of unlikeable behaviour, but it is often best either ignored or just vocally disapproved of, rather than punished.

Swearing online for instance. You can be absolutely certain that his peers are doing it too, and it's undesirable rather than 'wrong' - something he needs to learn the social rules and limits for. So while it's perfectly reasonable for you to say things like "I don't want to hear such horrible language!" or "Make sure you don't swear in front of your sister", I think it's less reasonable to be sanctioning it, especially not so heavily. If you think about it, it is likely that most of his online friends will be swearing seven times each sentence and not being banned from the internet for a week - so it's not surprising he's angry. Personally, so long as he's not swearing at you or other members of the family, I would leave the people he is swearing at to react if they are offended!

I'd also say remember to show love and approval. I think at this age, when they no longer our sweet little babies, and we're worried they might turn into monsters, it is very easy to find that all we are voicing is dislike, disapproval and anger. If we're not careful, we can unintentionally give them the message that we don't like or love them any more - and kids who feel unloved are more likely to feel and/or act anxious or angry. This is age, more than any other I think, when you need to 'focus on the positives'. smile

chocoluvva Fri 22-Nov-13 15:21:20

I completely agree with flow4.

Tell him you don't like hearing him swear in front of you and as you're in your own home you're entitled to it being a swear-free zone. Provided you don't swear much yourself you deserve to have that respected.

Try to listen to him when he's in the mood to be communicative without automatically explaining things to him. My 14YO DS began to cry tears of anger and frustration recently when we were thinking of ideas for a personal essay he had to write for English. He started on about the injustices he has to bear - being pressured into supposedly voluntary school activities, his perception that the word of adults is always accepted before the word of teenagers and the extremely annoying fact of having to wear a blazer at all times in school. Up until recently I'd have jollied him along with eg the blazer issue pointing out the benefits of school uniform, but now I vaguely sympathise and remind him that this stage in his life won't last for ever so that he knows I value his opinions.

Does your DS do much in the way of physical activity stop? I know it's old fashioned, but I'm sure it helps with their mood.

louby44 Fri 22-Nov-13 20:01:57

I have a DS14 (on the 10th Dec) and a DS10.

DS14 is just like your DS, infact we could be writing about the same child. Homework is done but bare minimum with a "chill mum I'm doing it", obsessed with Minecraft too, he's given a packed lunch every day except Fri when he takes £3. I'm convinced he eats crap and supplements his packed lunch with his own money. He swears when he thinks we can't hear him, but all of this I tolerate.

Our problem is, he is bloody awful to his brother - horrible, bordering on bullying which results in xbox being removed for 24 hours. I'm so worried that his pretend playfighting/beating up of his brother will escalate into something more.

His hormones are raging and we've found porn on his tablet - of which his dad has spoken to him at length.

I agree, a 3 year old is much easier so wish I had realised that 10 years ago then.

He too hugs me and tells me he loves me smile

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