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I know this is normal teenage behaviour, but how to deal with it on a day to day basis?(15 Posts)
Selfish, rude, unhelpful, uncaring (my father is extremely ill at the moment, and ds has never asked once how he is), lazy, unmotivated, etc etc. All classic teenage behaviour I know - and I'm pretty sure he's decent underneath and will turn out to be a normal adult!! However, it's unpleasant to live with - how do you deal with this behaviour on a day to day basis? It's draining. I've spoken to him about it calmly, but I can practically see it going in one ear and out the other. Surely he needs to know that this is not the way to be?
Can't really help but for my DS 15 was a terrible age. As you say , they can appear uncaring, are rude and unhelpful. You just need to hang in there. Dare I say I think at 16 1/2 things are slightly better. I found no reasoning could make him 'nicer', he seemed incapable of empathy towards me, but as you say they eaten ( hopefully) decent underneath. As a parent you get the worst of it ....even though you do everyone for them.
I don't think you can do anything about selfish and uncaring, but I don't think you should stand for rude and unhelpful.
I insist on helpfulness in return for a monthly allowance, and perks are removed for rudeness (giving lifts and so on).
DS was rude to me this morning (because I said it wasn't convenient for his friends to hang out here this evening) so when he phoned me at lunchtime and asked me to make an appointment at the dentist for him, I text him the number and told him to do it himself. I've found that the constant reinforcement, in little ways, without the need for argument and drama, does eventually lead to them making a connection between their attitude and your willingness to do stuff for them.
He is probably secretly concerned about your father but doesn't want to ask how he is in case you tell him something he doesn't want to hear.
Give him time - he's a teenager, they are supposed to be awful.
They can often be as self-absorbed as toddlers at that age, but you are less inclined to put up with it because they've managed to be civilised for a while in-between!
I'd focus on the outward signs of decent behaviour - tell him off, or withdraw privileges, for rudeness, failure to do chores, etc. Make sure he knows what he is expected to do and by when, then expect it to happen. Don't nag and remind, but carry through with threats if it doesn't get done.
Don't let the uncaring attitude get you down too much - they just aren't good at thinking about others, empathy is a bit of a closed book to many, no matter how decent you think they are at heart. It will come back in time.
Thank you all - it's helpful to hear!
Some of my friends and friends of friends have been saying over the last year or so how their sons are growing into incredible young men and they're so proud of them …. I just think, really? Mine's feckin' horrible!!
Do remember that when other people talk about their children they do sometimes have a tendency to gloss over things and just tell you how their wonderful offspring is doing double Greek and Latin, taking exams 2 years early, been scouted for International sports and/or Oxbridge and plays 4 instruments in 5 orchestras. They rarely tell you how awful they are
Hang in there. Choose your battles very carefully. Beware of interpreting the "uncaring" behaviour. He really might not give a fig about his sick grandad but actually it's more likely IMHO that he's got know idea what his feelings/brain are doing about this..... it's actually sometimes a perverse defence mechanism "if I don't care if he dies then he probably wont die and if he dies it wont hurt me" sort of chain?
I guess people do gloss over all the horrible stuff, but I find that really hard to do. I couldn't say things like "what an incredible young man he's turning out to be' without going really red and sweaty. I would feel such a fraud. Always amazes me when people do this and walk away serenely!
I do try to remember what being a teenager is like and the rest of the world and the world's problems not really affecting me. I have to keep reminding myself that he won't think like an adult. I do find his behaviour difficult to manage day by day. It makes me feel sad.
Fernie is right - people do have the tendency to say how wonderful their own children are when you are at a 'tearing-your-hair-out' stage, which ime always makes me feel ten times worse.
A know a lady who was a mum from my DD's old school who I keep bumping into in Asda and every single time I get a progress report - she has an offer from Cambridge, she is doing gold DofE, she is on for all A*, she is in charge of the yearbook, she is house captain.....I could go on. I should add that the mum runs around after her all day long - she also tells me this in great detail and this is further evidence for her of her DD's success, even though she is 18! Behind closed doors this girl probably runs her poor mum ragged and yet she falls into the 'what an incredible young woman she is evolving into' category.
Teenagers are very selfish and it is very hard at times. When my DD17 tests me, I tend to withdraw being so available for lifts and 'picking stuff up' when I am at the shops etc. I have found that having a huge row doesn't achieve much.
I am sorry about your father - everything must seem worse when you have him to worry about too.
Monikar is right - you have enough on your plate with your father. Don't stress about your DS. He sounds normal and he will turn out okay.
I am with you all the way. My son is 15 and so self-centred. I survive by trying not taking it personally and staying calm and a bit detached from him when he is being particularly awful. When you are hearing about everyone else's wonderful children it is hard not to think "what have I done wrong?" and feel responsible, but that way lies madness. I try to think long term and trust that if we have done the best we can, he will eventually emerge from the long dark tunnel of adolescence as a civilised human being. Hang on in there, I am sure it will get better in time. Hope everything is OK with your dad.
Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.
Very kind messages, thank you (apart from the deleted one - never had that on one of my threads before! wonder what it was…).
Yes, detachment is probably the way to do, I do sometimes get drawn in and go a bit mad while he sits back and enjoys the scene he's set!
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