We are really struggling with DS1 (nearly16)(18 Posts)
He argues if we tell him to shower - and if he can get away with it he won't have one. The longest we let him go was 4 days, and he stank, and it was at my mums house. My mum didn't help by saying he didn't have to have a shower every day - well no but if he washed himself instead but he doesn't. Even saying "actually DS1 you smell" makes no difference to him
When he does have a shower he won't wash his hair.
He has no motivation at school, no idea what he wants to do when he leave sschool, no inclination to revise for GCSE in the summer, doesn't want to go to 6th form college, turned down 2 chances of weekend work.
Would wear the same clothes - pants and socks too - all week and longer if we let him
We have to say "have you cleaned your teeeth/wahsed our face/put deodorant on" all the time, DH has even stood over him whilst he cleans his teeth, He needs braces but the orthodontist won't fit them becasue he won't clean his teeth properly
He won't do anything, admiteddly where we live there is no one his age and no clubs for his age, but he won't go and play snooker or football in teh gym, won't go out with us for the day only comes downstairs to eat.
Is this perfectly normal behaviour for 16 year old boys? I worry that he is going to turn out lazy, selfish and unmotivated like my youngest brother
Totally normal. Teenage boys are gross.
Tbh, I don't think much will change until a girl he fancies won't look twice at him because he stinks.
Keep nagging him though - and refusing to let him leave the house until he is clean.
I wouldn't say it was totally normal - most of the teens I know including my 14 year-old ds are quite concerned about looking acceptable so even if they can't be arsed to bath/shower they wouldn't want greasy hair and would cover themselves in Lynx to mask body odour.
Has been like this a long time or is it recent? He must feel quite isolated if there's no one at all his age locally.
I wouldn't say it's normal either - my 14YO DD showers every day and uses deodorant more than once a day.
Reading your op again - it is odd that when he does shower he won't wash his hair. Something doesn't sound right, how much have you been able to talk to him?
It's a good thing that he now has to stay in education or training for another couple of years. If he really doesn't want to do A levels is there some other area of interest he has that you would accept?
Some of what you've noted it pretty normal though - not wanting to go out with parents and spending most of the time in his room = perfectly normal.
Seems odd my DN has at least one shower a day, morning and evening normally, spends a good 15 minutes on his hair and loves his aftershave. We keep winding him up about girls he fancies but he says he is doing it for him.
I wouldn't say it was normal either and I have 3 teenage boys. 2 of them have needed to be nagged at various stages but not to the extent of the OP's ds. Do you think he could be depressed?
I would say that is a wee bit worrying to be honest. Has he been like this for a while? What does he say when you broach the subject?
I have two teenage boys. They have both yo-yo-ed between showering (and spraying!) obsessively and not showering at all for days on end. I think both are quite normal tbh.
What is also quite normal is for teenagers to make a special point of doing exactly whatever their parents most want them not to do. If he is aware you care particularly about showering, it is perfectly possible he is therefore avoiding it. If he knows you're worrying about him being "lazy, selfish and unmotivated", then this could lead to him being more lazy, selfish and unmotivated.
It feels like this is deliberate provocation - and sometimes it definitely is - but I also actually think sometimes they're not aware of what they're doing, and sometimes they can't stop themselves. My own theory is that becoming independent and breaking away from parents is a really strong instinct, or 'biological imperative', for some young people... So that even if their upbringing and social conditioning have taught them the 'right' things to do, suddenly their brains are screaming 'REBEL, REBEL, you must do your OWN thing!!' at them, and for some of them often, and most of them sometimes, that urge wins.
I reckon it would be worthwhile to feign indifference: pretend you don't much care whether he washes or not, and see if he then starts! Give it a few weeks, and if it works, you can then apply the same theory to other situations and behaviours you find frustrating. If it doesn't work, then you can think again... Good luck!
Thanks everyone for advice.
It never occured to me that he might be a bit depressed. Also he ahs never actually tlaked to DH or myself about anything. For example when he did sex education at school, he never mentioned it, talked about it, asked questions etc. DS2 did.
If we ask if anything bothering him he says no, he never gives an opinion, and if we say we are going somewhere - cinema, out for day etc he doesn't want to come.
The only thing recently he has got animated about is the fact I told him he can go to sta with his granny when he finished his exams, as he has asked if he can do so
I just despair of him, I know most teenagers spend hours in their rooms on computer/phone games console etc but I actually feel like we have lost touch with him a bit
Sounds as though he has a nice relationship with his Gran - she defends him even when he's unwashed and smelly and he is really keen to go and stay there even though he shows little interest in anything else. I find that very endearing.
This being the case maybe you can communicate with him better through her - see if she can get him to open up about his problems, if he feels depressed, what he wants to do long-term etc.
winterkills - he does have a good relationship with her, he's the first grandchild.
However I sometimes feel that she undermines me in front of him, which isn't agood thing. For example she won't encourage him to shower, or wash his hair or wear deodorant. He tells her we bully hima dn she agrees!
It's a shame that there's tension but I maintain that it's a positive for him to have that relationship - not all first grandchildren maintain that bond with grandparents once they become teens.
I think he needs to talk to someone, try to open up about why he feels so apathetic and cut off - would he accept it if you arranged for him to see a counsellor?
Was he different when he was younger? Do you think he finds it hard having a more sociable younger brother?
I agree with Winterkills. Take the pressure off him and keep the lines of communication open.
winterkills he was always a really sociable wee boy, and always smiling and cheery. Now he just seems moody and everything is an effort. Even his school work is suffering.
I wasn't pushed to dow ell as a child at school, and I don't want to be too pusht to DS1 in regards to school either, but I also want him to get some exams and qualifications under his belt
He likes sport, and DH often offers to take him to play snooker but he won't go, sometimes DH takes them to play football in teh gym - he moans about that.
I think you need to follow your parental instincts on this one. A lot of what you describe can be attributable to normal teenage boy stuff. Do you feel something is wrong ?
IME teen boys round here are quite conscious of how they look and the not showering is not something I think is normal. Spending time in his room is not necessarily something to worry about in itself, it is quite usual at this age. My DS16 also won't do a thing with a family member - we have tried to think of something but he just doesn't want to spend time with us.
I would maybe be worried at the lack of motivation at school together with lack of washing etc- I can't get my DS interested in anything but he does study and he goes out with mates at night.
It is so hard when they don't talk isn't it ?
The relationship with granny sounds good for him , I would encourage this ! I would love mine to want to do that !
If he was sociable and happy as a young boy then I think there is hope that he will come through this phase eventually although I wouldn't rule out that he is a bit depressed as well. Teen years can be a real upheaval and maelstrom for some, others seem to sail through fairly easily and there's no way of predicting how any particular child will be affected.
I completely understand about your wanting to 'push' him academically, I feel the same about my ds and for the same reason you gave, but if he is interpreting this as 'bullying' then it could well be counter-productive.
He still likes sport? Is there any other sport/exercise he can get involved in without your dh? As claybury says it is perfectly normal at his age not to want to play sport with his father even if your other son is quite different. Anything physical would be healthy and get him out of his room, maybe introduce him to some new people which could be a positive thing.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.