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Q&A about living with teenagers: Post questions to Suzanne Franks, author of 'Get Out Of My Life' - ANSWERS BACK

(77 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 12-Jan-15 10:08:43

We’re running a Q&A this week with Suzanne Franks, co-author of the appropriately titled Get Out Of My Life But First Take Me and Alex Into Town.

The book was first published in 2008 and has since become the most recommended book for parents of teenagers. The new updated edition features advice on social media, online threads as well as looking at all the difficult issues of bringing up teenagers; school, sex, drugs and more. Get Out of My Life uses true-to-life situations to illustrate important points which give parents the vital information they need to understand, love and survive today’s teens.

Post your questions to Suzanne this week, before 10am Monday 19 January and we’ll upload her answers to your questions on January 26.

More about the authors:
Suzanne Franks was a BBC TV producer for many years and is now an academic, author and journalist. She has written many books including, Having None of It: Women, Men and the Future of Work. She lives in London and has three children, one of whom is still a teenager.

Tony Wolf, Ph.D., is a practising clinical psychologist who has worked with children and adolescents for over thirty years. He lives in Suffield, Connecticut.

This Q&A is sponsored by Profile Books

mothermirth Tue 13-Jan-15 19:21:55

Hi Suzanne,

Love 'Get out of my life…'

Please can you give me some tactics to help me deal with a very bright 14-year-old who does no homework and is addicted to computer games? It would be grand if you could promise me that he will grow out of gaming and do some homework before his GCSEs smile

BTW, he sometimes quotes 'Get out of my life…' at me. Should I worry? grin

AuntieStella Tue 13-Jan-15 22:14:56

I think I could have written mothermirth's question too!

And also, what is the best way of encouraging a mid-teen to see things as messier and more nuanced in RL than the (fairly predictable) world of the computer game? Sometimes I think he'll be an amazing lawyer, but all he's concerned about being right, not being persuasive. And tips into a very domineering manner. I really don't want that to become a settled habit.

mazza1974 Tue 13-Jan-15 23:19:07

I have a very shy 17 year old boy who enjoys football but finds it hard to start conversation with team mates
He is good looking and sporty always immaculate dressed normally head to toe designer clothes has only few friends none best friends doing four a levels and works part time in dept store I worry he finds it hard to make friends he always looks sad and unhappy

I have tried talking and he knows he had only few friends and he comes across miserable but how do I help him to change ?

Heyho111 Wed 14-Jan-15 06:31:42

My daughter 19 yrs old has always put boyfriends first. She gives them all her time and as a result has only a few girl friends. She seems to need to be in a relationship.
Is there anything I can do to encourage her to have a social life alongside her boyfriend or do I just need to accept that is how she is.
Thanks for your help.

DurhamDurham Wed 14-Jan-15 08:09:58

17 year old daughter has done really well so far at sixth form, she. Only has a few months to go.
In December we had contact from the school to say she had missed a few lessons, we had a chat to her about it and she agreed that she would stick in when she went back after Christmas.
This hasn't happened, she leaves the house late on a morning, to get to school on the bus she needs to leave the house at the same time as me but I'd often still getting dressed at this point. I offer to take her but she is meeting friends on the bus.

I emailed school to ask them to contact me if she doesn't arrive for a lesson which they have agreed to do.

I'm not sure how to tackle my daughter. My husband either says nothing or goes over the top threatening lots of unreasonable punishments which he never carries through.
I need her to know how important it is that she sticks in and does the best she can with her A levels. Last night she told me she 'didn't care about school, or her exams'. Until recently she wanted to go to Uni to do a nursing degree but she isn't even sure of that anymore.

So I suppose my question is, how can I keep her motivated and support her without alienating her?

Thank you so much for any insight you can offer smile

Wonc Wed 14-Jan-15 08:24:37

Hi Suzanne.
Swearing. Do we ignore? Especially as I have been known to hypocritically swear from time to time.

gazzalw Wed 14-Jan-15 09:58:24

How do we get our DS (14) to be more extrovert and not spend entire days sitting at his computer?

And do you think tiredness pays a part in teenage strops too?

Waitingandhoping2015 Wed 14-Jan-15 10:32:01

My 15 year old son has just had his GCSE mocks and looks set for some good results. However I feel I have to nag him all the time to get on with his homework and revision etc. I don't want to let go and just let him get on with it himself for fear of him doing badly! Getting him to work to a timetable seems impossible, though he did relent and vaguely follow one over the Xmas holidays.Do I keep up the nagging and pushing? Do I dangle carrots more rather than the (fairly gentle) stick?

Travelledtheworld Wed 14-Jan-15 13:20:15

I also have an introverted 14 year old son who will not socialise, rarely leaves the house, reluctantly speaks to me and his older sister, no interest in his appearance and spends hours and hours playing online games.

He is clever and works hard at school but I am worried he is not developing his social skills. Will he grow out of this ?

His father doesn't live with us and he only sees him occasionally, so also struggling for a positive role model in life and somone to do blokey things with....

muffinmonster Wed 14-Jan-15 13:57:51

What travelledtheworld said! (Except for the absent father.)

Onthedoorstep Wed 14-Jan-15 14:39:53

Here's a practical question - I've been trying to find a copy of the latest edition of this book for a few weeks but it's out of stock everywhere. Please can you provide a link to where I can buy the book? Thank you!

FannyFanakapan Wed 14-Jan-15 14:54:58

My husband works away. During the week, my 15yo DS is a typical bolshy but manageable teen.

When DH is home, he is rude, arrogant, aggressive, defiant.

Its like I have an alpha male situation going on. DH is at his wits end, as every weekend is fraught with conflict. They do a manly sport together every week, and have shared interests in football and other sports. But inbetween, there are running battles, often involving younger preteen DS2.

How do I stop the hormone fuelled aggression?

Onthedoorstep Wed 14-Jan-15 15:03:42

How do you encourage teens to look after themselves/self-regulate? My DSD will happily play on her phone for 20 hours a day, not eat and drink, and sleep in the afternoon. Then she wonders why she is depressed...

How do you make them see that this sort of stuff is bad for their wellbeing? She just thinks we are nagging.

bigTillyMint Wed 14-Jan-15 15:12:24

My DS(14, going on 16) is terrible about getting up and out of the house on time for school. It is even worse on the mornings after evening footy training.

I am the one at home in the morning and he should leave at the same time as me. I get very stressed when he is not up and ready at the right time, so I am currently letting his alarm go off and then going in and turning his light on at the time I think he needs to get up and then leaving him to it.

Have you any words of wisdom for me?

smileyforest Wed 14-Jan-15 16:42:26

16y Ds...smoking weed_how do I get him to understand the problems that may arise by doing it...I mean long term...most teens appear to be doing it seems to be the 'norm'...I can shout, withhold pocket money etc etc...makes no difference...just concerned about the damage...

Bestintentions13 Wed 14-Jan-15 19:04:21

Is she ready for university?
DD, 17, is really worrying me. She can't wait to go away next year, but skates by with half-hearted work, is disorganised and unrealistic about how much time/energy it takes to do something well. She doesn't seem to understand that living away from home and doing school work is no picnic.
She is clever enough to get in somewhere, but I don't want her to go away and fail. Any ideas?

MagersfonteinLugg Thu 15-Jan-15 00:00:11

All of the above previous postsconfused

Vuppers123 Thu 15-Jan-15 04:56:28

I want to move house - for many reasons some practical - closer to work, and some emotional - start again after a split, get away from wrong crowd my sons been mixing with and getting into big trouble at school, taking drugs and poor behaviour. It's not a huge distance and will be able to stay in touch with friends and come back every fortnight to be with Dad but it's another county and will mean a new school. Son has dyspraxia and problems with communications and doesn't like change. Our relationship has not been great Sice teens kicked in and he seems to really hate me. Older son will stay behind to finish A levels and go to uni this year. I've found a house, offer accepted, school place available. Now need to bite the bullet and tell the children so I can put house on market but I'm struggling to find the courage.

gazzalw Thu 15-Jan-15 14:27:42

Another thought....DS goes to a very academic school and has struggled with making his mark thus far (Yr 9 now). How do you get a 14 year old to see that if they put effort in they can do well at things when they're not self-confident and perhaps don't think they can ever achieve what they see their peers succeeding in?

For example he's been told he's good at drama and has a good singing voice (well we've been telling him that since he was little and his music teacher agrees) but he won't have it. I think these are areas that he could really thrive in if he put his mind to it but he won't!


vivat Thu 15-Jan-15 16:50:27

I have another very bright 14hr DS, doing (reasonably) well at school but he is a total wind-up merchant and keeps getting into trouble at school. Was suspended last term for getting into a fight and has had numerous detentions. He can be such a lovely child but seems to have this urge to wind every one up all the time. It drives the teachers (and us, and his sisters) completely batty. His explanation for the detentions - teacher doesn't like me, I'm singled out etc etc. How do I get him to understand that getting on with people is a much better policy long term.

juliedoris68 Thu 15-Jan-15 17:06:15

I have 3 post teen children and could have written all of the above myself at some point over the last ten+ years whist screAming and mainline vodka - I now have 1 awful teenager left who fits all the above criteria but am reassured by by 3 beautiful, well balance, successful post teens who somehow appeared chrysalis like at around 19 - be patien, they will come back to you, and it will allow wortwhile!!

HappyMummySal Thu 15-Jan-15 17:07:28

My nearly 13 yr old dd thinks we're too strict. This is a daily rant from her about everything; from what time she should go to bed, how long she spends on her i pod/phone, doing chores to earn pocket money etc. Basically anything she is asked to do or not to do is a row. She would like to be allowed to do what she likes, when she likes with an endless amount of money for social activities. Finds 'no' very difficult to deal with. We are firm but fair and have a 9 yr old dd also. she feels that her sister gets away with more and isn't told off enough despite explaining that they are being treated fairly according to their age differences. Am I being too strict?

HappyMummySal Thu 15-Jan-15 17:14:59

I am worried that having constant battles I am pushing her away and what I really want is a positive relationship with my bright dd.any ideas?

CatCushion Thu 15-Jan-15 17:31:14

How do you get them to join in and spend time as a family, from days out and holidays to small talk or deeper conversations?

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