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DSS - should I be feeling like this???(11 Posts)
Just looking for a bit of support and advice really, probably just someone saying they're in the same position would help!
Long story short me and my DS (2yo) from previous relationship moved in with DH a year ago, DSS (15yo) was already living with him full time as he had problems with his mum, she was unable to cope with him and he was removed from her house after social services were involved. So he's had a tricky childhood and hasn't seen or spoke to him mum in just under a year.
He has ADHD which does come with a lot of behavioral problems but I don't want to use that to label him as most the time I think he is probably just a normal teenager. Most of the time we get on and he's really good with DS which is fantastic but he's also very rude, disrespectful, bad in school, and shows no manners or remorse for any of his actions. I find him so tiring to be around and most of the time just end up feeling constantly annoyed by him, which I'm aware is a horrible thing to say! I try my hardest to be a good step mum for him, and put pressure on myself to try and fill the void of his mum but I just don't seem to be doing very well at it
I don't want to write a whole list of things he does wrong but it would be useful if people could tell what their teenagers are like......I'm just having a tough time with it all at the minute and I guess I had no idea what living with a 15 yo full time would be like!
In one word? A pain! I am tired of my DS on his Xbox all the time. His room is a mess! I have to remind him non stop to bring his clothes down to be washed. He is self-centered and unappreciative. He is extremely moody and unmotivated.
Talking to other mums and most importantly to my two friends who are teachers in a secondary school, he is totally normal! Thankfully, also have a few friends of older kids, who are now successful at Uni and/or work, who send lovely messages to them, flowers on their birthdays, checking they are ok, engaging in conversation and suddenly motivated with their career/study, who used to be as bad if not worse than my DS. They keep telling me not to worry, that I'm raising him well, that he is a lovely lad and that I should be thankful he has never done anything worrying.
So I've taken their advice, pick my battles, try to focus on the positives so that I don't end up really disliking him and him hating me, enjoy the moments he is in a good mood and let him be when he isn't. and I keep my fingers cross... most of the time!
Oh wow! Thank you so much for taking the time to reply, that's so useful and good to know that he sounds very similar!
Thank goodness that hopefully it's a phase he will maybe grow out of. I'll try and bare that in mind when pulling my hair out about the Xbox and leaving dirty clothes and water bottles everywhere and just the general rudeness!
I definitely don't expect him to be perfect but it does put it in perspective that they are a pain and hard work! X
I should have added that it doesn't mean I don't pick him up on anything but I have changed the way I do it. It used to be more in a reprimanding tone of voice, ie. aggravating one that he inevitably responded in an aggressive/fed up way. Now I try to remain calm and upbeat, with a hint of humour, even when I ask him to do the same thing for the uptenth time.
Re. the Xbox, I don't have a go, telling him that he is wasting his time, that's a pity that he can't find any interest in anything else blah blah blah (that's what he hears!) but try to make conversation by saying that he spends a lot of time on it, and that clearly it must be very addictive. Then I say that we all do things that are very addictive (he could have responded that I am clearly addicted to this website!!), but that sometimes it's nice to take a break and realise that there are other things that can bring the same level of pleasure and that it's all about differentiating doing something that we assimilate as relaxing and only relying on it to make us feel good.
Not saying that it has the effect to get him to announce that he has decided to sell his Xbox on ebay, but I have noticed that he has organised doing a few more activities with his friends that involves speaking face to face and being physically active. I do remind him every week or so that he will have to find other things to do during the holidays as I will definitely have a go at him if he is on it from the moment I leave for work to the time I'm back and so encourage him to start already considering what he and his friends could do during the summer.
Sounds like a normal lad. I agree with swing... my mum always told me to pick your battles.
I do the same with dad, she's almost 13. Her room is a state, she never brings her clothes down and sometimes she can be downright unpleasant.
But she knows that the rule in our house is messy room = no friends over or going over other people's houses etc. So it's a good incentive for her and it's just a rule so if she doesn't do it, it doesn't happen etc. We don't make a big deal about it if she doesn't, it's how she learns.
If you find him tough, take a break and then I liked swing comments about the upbeat attitude it makes it less serious.
I'm sure you'll have it all to come with your ds one day.... By then you'll be a pro.
Ok, I'm not sure how unsettled his childhood was, but do have a look at attachment disorder / developmental trauma and therapeutic parenting. There are a few support groups on Facebook and a very useful book the a to z of therapeutic parenting.
Developmental trauma also often misdiagnosed as ADHD
I think it's a horrendously difficult age 15. I know mine were particularly impossible at that age.
I have to say it is fantastic that he gets on with your ds! Your dss does sound like he is challenging and it sounds like you are doing an amazing job. Hold on to the positives!
Laundry was often a sore point! I put a laundry basket in each teens room and said if they put their dirty clothes in it, I'd wash them. If they were left on the floor they're stay on the floor...I didn't ask them to keep rooms tidy all the time, but did expect a period clean. If it got too bad - I shut the door
Thanks everyone for the replies, I find it really helpful to hear other people's experiences of life with a teenager and it does sound like he's mostly a normal teenager just with the addition of adhd. But thank you for the comment re support groups and that's definitely something I'll look into now, anything to help deal me with the situation better!
What do your teenagers do for pocket money? Do they ever help with little jobs round the house or do they just get pocket money anyway? It's something we thought could help to keep his room tidy or just to generally help out or is this asking too much? At the minute he just gets money when he asks for it (if he's not being rude/badly behaved obvs)
I think for money teenagers should get a regular "allowance" and on top of that have to earn it via "jobs". If you can't afford an "allowance" then you should encourage him to get a part time job.
Things like tidying up his stuff should be done as part of "being part of the family".
I would recommend reading: www.amazon.co.uk/Get-Out-Life-bestselling-teenagers/dp/1846680875/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&keywords=me+and+alex&tag=mumsnetforum-21&ie=UTF8&qid=1528880619&sr=1-3
Also : www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_3_14?sprefix=how+to+talk+so%2Cstripbooks%2C131&crid=1YSBUJIUQ9Z17&tag=mumsnetforum-21&url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=how+to+talk+so+teens+will+listen+and+listen+so+teens+will+talk
I would also recommend a family meeting, to discuss: basic politeness, what he's going to do after school, basic tidiness (putting dirty crockery in the dishwasher etc.).
He may have ADHD and have had a bad background, but some solid grown up house rules could help.
Another technique you could try is to have a secret star chart - he's too old for them - and you set yourself a target (say 10) of times you notice good behaviour from him and praise him for it. So "Thanks for putting those water bottles in the kitchen." or "You are so good at calming your little brother." And you record when you have spotted and praised him - endeavouring very hard to reach your target, make them very easy things to spot and praise to start with "thanks for putting the water bottle on the table, could you take it through to the kitchen next time?"