Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
I completely lost it with DN and don't know where to go from here.(44 Posts)
Nearly 3 years ago we took in a 12 year old from DP's family who needed a home (had been brought up by his gran, DP's mum) and things have been up and down but mostly we have made great progress. But as he gets more 'teenage' he is being viler and ruder to me, sneers at what I do for him (a LOT) and just blithely says sorry when he clearly does not mean it. This evening over something quite minor I took him to task and got a load of attitude back and completely flipped out. Shouted at him and took away his computer. He said awful things and I did too, told him to go back and live with his granny if he could not respect us. Told DP who is fannying around saying 'he didn't hear' what was said, so can't comment. I feel so angry and like I can't do this for another 3 years. There is also an issue of the way he speaks and behaves in front of our DS (3).
Spooky, DP only has me! I always tease him he will have to hire a dog to attend his funeral. He doesn't really need other people very much.
It's not as bad now that DN has made friends, and they are really nice kids who do lots of interesting things. DN has an interesting mind. I think in the past year or so he has been depressed. He just wanted to play his computer games all the time and eat chocolate. He had a loose group of mates and often they let him down which made me feel so sad. But now he always wants to be doing something, a new type of painting, reading a new author or watching a film. THe other day I went storming down to his room to give him a right telling off about something and he was sitting up in bed with his guinea pigs on his lap watching Citizen Kane on his computer. I couldn't be bothered to tell him off.
DP is just not good at this. He is good in other ways. And we gave DN a home, or he could easily have ended up in care. What I mean is, he's not doing a great job, but he is doing it, and many men would not have done it.
While there is breath in my body I will make sure he gets a good start.
Gosh DP is missing out as much as DN imo. How sad for both!
Remiind DP that DN will be a man soon enough and that DP might enjoy a mate to go to things with
can't imagine he has many to go with at present
Thanks for your post spooky. That would be brilliant. Sadly Dp won't do it. He doesn't care enough.
Could DP and DN share a hobby, it would only need to be one night a week for DP to give up or for him to have to make conversation with DN in, mind you with men it can often be nods and grunts rather than conversation. Rowing, archery, or just take him to football or rugby training and stand on the line. As long as DP doesn't look resentful or grumpy it might build bonds.
Thanks Donkeys. If i had it my way, we would share all the parenting, sadly however, DP just can't be bothered - I'm hoping the therapist we're seeing tomorrow will help.
We just had a call from DN's maths teacher to say he has made particularly good progress and is working very hard, so that's pretty good news
Sorry for the essay anyway it sounds like you have the measure of DN. I guess after being brought up with his granny he will have been used to doing things a certain way and it's hard to unlearn attitudes, (not taking anything away from her I hasten to add they obviously have a very loving relationship which is wonderful).
I would urge your DP to share the guidance part of parenting, I wonder if he sees backing you up as somehow "ganging up on" DN? It's not fair on you and won't get any easier as your DS gets bigger, the more
wilful challenging a toddler gets the greater the need for both parents to show a united front, too.
Have you tried having family meetings? You dp and dn? I hope dp starts to realise you need help and does so?
It's good to hear positive strides though. Keep posting there's so many wise people on here who've gone through it as you know.
Thanks very much to everyone.
donkeys wise words indeed. It is a fine line. All the areas you point out are true here - particularly the resistance to change. The thing I struggle with most is that his granny has instilled in him that if he doesn't feel like he wants to do something, best not to do it. We have such long stand-offs because he doesn't to do something new and I keep telling him he can. I feel sure this way his self-esteem will grow. Usually it's something small like returning something to a shop or a phone call, but we are building up to joining clubs or doing more sports.
nedelamer no-one knows that better than me! It also frightens me that I could never leave with DS because it wouldn't be fair on DN as he would almost certainly be sent back to granny. I don't want to leave as our relationship outside of this sticking point is happy. DP is defensive and says he wants to but doesn't know how to. I'm hoping our appointment with the family therapist will help (I have already told him during a phone call that he may find DP is the real source of the problem not DN).
Thanks again everyone. We had a nice dinner last night and in the interests of harmony I even overlooked the fact that DN had eaten three chocolate mousses
That's a start
as I've said since the beginning your DP needs to grow up and realise that this is his problem, this is his nephew and if he doesn't, at some point you are going to have had enough of being expected to do every single damn thing and you are going to leave with DS - is that what he wants? If not, he needs to step up NOW.
Pleased that your news is so good. And I think you have obviously made great strides with this boy - apologising is never easy, so credit to him for admitting his behaviour was out of line. Have a good evening.
That is such good news OP, nice to return to a happy atmosphere.
It's tricky if your DP doesn't want to pile in and contribute, that way you can end up feeling like the spoilsport bad guy laying down the law.
Fwiw even if you are scrupulously fair about time, attention and money spent equally between your DS and DN, regardless of the age gap, many a teen will recall in minute detail any perceived slight or injustice. When I clashed horns with my teens it was difficult to pinpoint in hindsight when things kicked off but often contributing factors were, in no particular order:
Resistance to change
Hunger (from arrival after school/sport training particularly)
Loss of face (being pulled up for amnesia, loss of uniform/scholastic items
Regulation of homework + revision vs access to computer (games or Facebook, the horror, the horror).
Anyway you are doing so well, good luck treading a line between calling DN out on what is unacceptable (swearing, inappropriate behaviour around younger child etc) and tolerating what is bearable. Everyone says it's important to be consistent but you learn to judge when not to be rigidly inflexible. Joys of parenting!
Good news. I got home this evening and told him I was so disappointed he used such unkind, unpleasant terms. That he could shout and rant and cry, but not use the words he did. He looked very shamefaced and said he was genuinely, really truly sorry. I said I thought he could achieve great things and I hoped he knew that and would not let himself down again.
Boundary clearly drawn
Feel so much happier now
Okay to the stay at Granny's as long as it won't do more harm than good.
If it has just been a couple of weeks, it could be a temporary thing. So do reiterate your rules, and then need for respect for people in general.
The change could be: hormones, a new friend, a new teacher, or some event.
That doesn't excuse his need for basic politeness.
You could ask him if he would speak like that to a housemate or even employer. Or ask him to think about how it makes you feel.
BTW in all this you are teaching him invaluable life skills, as well as getting good practice for later.
You are doing fine. It is not on to have someone showing such open disrespect to you by laughing and pointing. Yes, he is a teenager, yes he is immature, but I wouldn't let my teens behave like that towards me and you are not in the wrong for refusing to tolerate it. Absolutely agree with you that speaking to people in a civil manner is a crucial lesson to learn in life. A break sounds like a good idea. I teach teens (as well as having 4 of my own) and one of the things I emphasise is that my ground rules and my expectations DO NOT CHANGE. It is never ok to swear at me or be rude to my face just because you are having a bad day or don't like being told off. Keep doing what you have been- sounds like you are making good progress, but don't lower your expectations at all.
I have a lovely friend who has taken me aside several times over the past few months and said 'you can't do this with no support and it's wrong you are being asked to do so'. I know she is right.
He has clear boundaries but he will keep breaking them! Usually we resolve it with a discussion, and he apologises. Recently he has been great, then just a week or so ago he started to get very arrogant. I am dreading dealing with him today.
I don't really understand what happened yesterday which is a sure sign I was at fault in some way. I swear I was a gentle sort that never got angry till I got a teenager.
I expect today I will apologise for shouting, explain I am not perfect but reiterate that his behaviour was awful and he loses his computer for 48 hours (this will kill him as he has just bought a new game). I am remembering now that he was pointing and laughing at me as I was angrily taking the cable from the back of his computer and the wires were all tangled, telling me I looked an idiot and didn't know anything and he knew much more than me. It's not on.
Actually, having read that back maybe I will ask him to stay with granny for a few days (he has Friday off school). I think perhaps we need a break from each other.
I too remember your story from the beginning, I take my hat of to you.
My eldest went for the easy option and moved out to live with her Dad -argh!!!
You need to get your dh on board, would setting some house rules be something - family meeting, all suggestions listened to.
Also consequences for rudeness/bad language, same rules for both ds and dn (although different consequences etc). Priviledges earned for acceptable behaviour and those lost.
OMG though your DH needs to get his arse in gear!!
Okay you need to impress (not sure how) that DP needs to step in if you are sworn at, surely he would say something if it was a stranger at a party? If it is said under the breath, then I would try to develop a thick skin to ignore it. However if said in front of your son, then it is never on, but sometimes even then it might be better to leave it 10 minutes for you and DN to calm down.
Teenage boys do at times tend to go through a period of being or trying to be disrespectful to women. Your DP needs to show his respect, and you need to discuss the issue with DN, when he is calm.
It might be useful to go over the basic ground rules of your house again with him.
Do you ever discuss what happens at Granny's when he is there?
However the big thing with teens is to not sweat the little stuff, but also be very clear about boundaries. If the issues come after a visit to Granny's it might be useful to explicitly discuss the different boundaries there and with you, people do have different values and it doesn't make any right or wrong necessarily, just think about the debates about shoes off or on.
My other top tip is to apologise when you get it wrong, but similarily expect him to apologise afterwards too.
With the blanket, I would have made him wash it himself. My DS knows that one of the privileges he could have withdrawn is me doing his washing.
You have done so well so far.
sowornout thanks for your post. You are right that this is not a situation of unconditional love. I am very fond of DN and I'm sure he knows I am on his side and I'm fairly confident that what he feels about this situation will be based on everything that happens at home rather than the events and words of any one evening. There has been a change in his behaviour though, he has stopped saying please and thank you and generally strutting around like god's gift. Here echobitch is right, that we all go through a phase of thinking we are it and everyone else should listen up.
I had to be the 'mother' of a teen very suddenly, the same year I became a mother (although I am an older mother) and it turns out I am quite a strict one - I don't want to be spoken to horribly by anyone and I don't want DS to hear anyone speak to his mother like that. DN has done very well in many different ways - he is completely and utterly unrecognisable - but he is still very rude if he doesn't get his own way. While I appreciate this is 'normal teenage behaviour' - I personally am not going to take it. I think it's important in life to be able to button it when you have to.
At the moment it is a bit like being stuck in a loveless relationship you're not allowed to leave.
This evening when I told him off, for something that actually quite turned my stomach (piss-soaked guinea pig blankets left in the laundry room for me with all the clean stuff) he was completely dismissive and looked at me like I was an idiot while he said sorry then shut the door in my face, saying of eff off while I was talking.
I have high standards and I want him to know I think he can live up to them (not like granny who just goes easy on the poor little orphan boy) and I think this is important for his self-esteem.
nedelamer thanks, it's really good to know someone remembers my story from the beginning - MN has seen me through A LOT.
DP seems a lost cause on this front though although the meeting with the therapist was organised by me (of course, who else!) mainly to have a forum to voice my feelings on this front. We'll see if that gets through to him. I'm not sure if I'm taking out my resentment towards him on DN, I will have to navel gaze a bit on that score.
I must also say that he very much does know we agreed to take him in. It is definitely his choice to live here with us and I'm not sure trying to be his mother is necessarily the right road to go down.
Anyway, up at this hour fretting about the whole thing and DS has taken to waking at 5.30 these days.
I can remember being a selfish little moo though not as bad as the nasty little git described above. I knew I was being a selfish little moo but my 'needs' as a fifteen year old wanting her own way far outweighed the well being of the rest of the family or my DM in my opinion at that time.
So, as I said, I can remember doing it, but wanted what I wanted, but knew deep down that I was being selfish and unfair to my DM so I don't agree with the 'love conquers all' brigade who think you should take all that teenagers throw at you and smile on. I think they know what they are up to, though perhaps cannot always control it, and so pushing adults to their tipping point means they get some unpleasant responses.
Though I am not talking about severely damaged, abused teens.
Life and experience teach you how to be.
We all think/thought we were the dogs bollocks when we were young and only life teaches us we're all the same in the end.
Oh,to be young again......only if i can keep the wisdom of experience.
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.