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Q and A with Charlie Taylor, author of 'Divas and Doorslammers - The Guide to better behaved teenagers'

(69 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 13-Sep-10 16:36:38

Untidy? monosyllabic? endless arguments; communication by grunt; Seismic sulking; Lives ruled by FOMO (fear of missing out). Sound like your teenager?

Behavioural expert Charlie Taylor is joining us this week to answer your questions on unruly teenagers. His book Divas and Doorslammers is a practical handbook which is full of simple, effective techniques for improving your teenager's behaviour.

Charlie Taylor has been a behavioural specialist for over 10 years. He has taught every age group, from nursery to 16-year-olds, working in tough inner city primary and comprehensive schools. He is currently the head teacher of a special school for children with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties in West London. He also works as a freelance behaviour consultant, coaching teachers in behaviour management techniques, and holds regular workshops for parents. He lives in London and is married with 3 immaculately behaved children.

Send your questions to Charlie on this thread by the end of the day next Monday 20th September and we'll be posting his answers by the end of the week.

maryz Tue 14-Sep-10 19:50:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

musicposy Wed 15-Sep-10 00:09:12

I'd like to know how to handle this situation.

My eldest, who is 14, despite being quite difficult when she was little, seems to be generally sailing through the teenage years with only the odd strop. We have a very close bond and get on well together.

My youngest, 11, has up until now been the easiest child to raise you could imagine. But recently, she's stroppy and difficult. Virtually everything I ask her to do is met with "what ya gonna do about it if I don't?" It doesn't matter how reasonable the request.It's not just with me, either. For example, she was told recently to take her feet off of the seat at the theatre. She knows she shouldn't have had her feet there in the first place. But she just said to the lady "why should I?" It's like she has to challenge everything.

I worry that I am getting closer to my eldest because she is easier. I don't want the bond with my youngest to slip away. But spending more time with my youngest just seems to give her more opportunity to be stroppy with me.

How would you handle this?

claricebeansmum Wed 15-Sep-10 11:06:53

How do you ask them to do things without sounding like a naggy fishwife? Obviously asking once does not work and then what...ask again and my head is bitten off.

Also, facing responsibility for your actions/inactions. It is not my fault you leave your bus money at home. It is not the teacher's fault you did not have the right books. Why is it never ever ever ever a teenagers fault when things go wrong? (when it quite clearly is!)

mollyroger Wed 15-Sep-10 13:49:34

''Also, facing responsibility for your actions/inactions. It is not my fault you leave your bus money at home. It is not the teacher's fault you did not have the right books. Why is it never ever ever ever a teenagers fault when things go wrong? (when it quite clearly is!)'' oh yes, any hep with this one PLEASE!

Also, is it 'normal' for kids to start fibbing and exaggerating massively at around 12/13? He has to embellish EVERYTHING or put a spin on stuff to the point where I just don't know when (if) to believe a thing he says.

febel Wed 15-Sep-10 14:45:42

You and me both.....

madmn52 Wed 15-Sep-10 21:33:14

My question is how common is it for all these traits - and I have read whole thread - to spill over into early to mid twenties. Without wishing to move the light at end of tunnel away from parents hanging on in there till the morn of their beloved teenagers twentieth birthday - this is all like reading about my 22 yr old s/son.
He is becoming more of a shitbag teenager if anything and certainly not shed any of the above traits. Been his s/mum for 6yrs.

Very interesting in the OP statement about 'teenagers' lives ruled 'by fear of missing out'. I honestly had never thought of that as a young person/teenage thing just thought it was one of his traits of plain nosiness or even his way of trying to split us up!! For example if we are curled up on settee looking at laptop or just talking quietly he will come in and shout from kitchen -'What/Who you on about ?? or 'What you looking at?' or 'Is that xyz ?' Find it really intrusive. Worst scenario please for ETA of normal adult ss.

pathfinder Wed 15-Sep-10 21:38:29

Dear Charlie,
I've got 3 teenage sons and I got divorced 2 years ago. I've struggled to establish a relationship as their divorced mother as they only stay with me at weekends. My eldest seems to be burying much of his emotions, energy & time in his online WOW games and MSNing pals. His school work has plumeted. His dad doesn't seem worried & doesn't communicate with me.
I do have some ideas - a friend recently suggested I draw up a contract with my sons for when they stay with me. That'd help me keep my house tidy and raise the topics of what we all consider acceptable and what not.
My eldest can get angry and agressive when I try to set bedtime of internet rules but I know I need to do them - somehow - but how? He is far taller and stronger and angrier and louder than I am. Shouting isn't the answer.
Also for long term help - Can you suggest me any resources -published or online- where I can chat with other divorcees and get some peer support? MANY THANKS

thesecondcoming Thu 16-Sep-10 01:04:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bigTillyMint Thu 16-Sep-10 09:07:20

I know this is on the teenagers thread, but....

How do you desl with a hormonal (budding teenager) new Y7 who is struggling at home to manage the demands of secondary school?

Wanting more independence and self-management, whilst still needing alot of adult support with homework, etc.

What do you do about "teenage" tantrums and rudeness in tone of voice as well as what is said?

nottirednow Thu 16-Sep-10 09:25:06

Message withdrawn

basildonbond Thu 16-Sep-10 12:05:56

how do you make them do things when they refuse? i.e. homework, getting to bed at reasonable time etc?

how to respond to "leave me alone" whenever asked to do anything simple?

what can you use as an incentive when withdrawal of privileges/pocket money is met with a shrug?

Suda Thu 16-Sep-10 12:39:15

Dear Charlie. How do you deal/cope with all this teenage/young adult stuff (I agree its not an exact science that ends the minute they hit twenty !) - when they are not your own ? Thing is its bad enough when theyre your own and you always have that safety net of still loving them however horrid they are. When they arent yours you havent got that 'luxury' of loving them unconditionally {unless been in their lives since very young maybe) so it compounds the bad bits really. Sorry - Am I making sense - if so how do you deal with this and keep a 'lioness with cub' over-defensive natural parent at bay too ? In short in our house it goes something like this:

bad behaviour by stepson = complaint or sanctions by me = leaping to defense of stepson by natural parent/dad = smugness and redoubled bad behaviour by stepson = stronger complaints/sanctions by me = accusation by dad of vendetta against/dislike of stepson = resentment by me against stepson = self prophesying vicious circle = Arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh by me.

Regards Frazzled Stepmum

maryz Thu 16-Sep-10 13:16:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LoveMyGirls Thu 16-Sep-10 13:40:47

My dd is only 11 but has had attitude for a few years now, I can mostly deal with it by saying firmly "I will not be spoken to in that tone" if asked to do something and she doesn't want to I say ok well don't ask me to do things for you either, then she realises how much I do for her and soon changes her tune but I can see these things getting trickier as she gets older.

My dd only started secondary school last week but already she doesn't want to wear the new coat she's got (nothing at all wrong with it) doesn't want ham on her sandwiches and is talking about becoming a veggie and is becoming obsessed with boys. What are you tips on how to deal with her changing quickly as she tries to fit in?

How should you deal with children getting more freedom?

How much should I tell her about sex, up to now I have answered questions as briefly as I can only answering the 1 question she has asked. My dd believes we have only ever had sex when trying to get pregnant but as she gets older surely at some point she will realise we still have sex so should I hide it from her? I want to ask these things before I make mistakes that are hard to back track from.


glitzy Thu 16-Sep-10 14:21:50

Suda... your house sounds soo much like mine its unbelievable.

How do you stop a teenager from shouting at you every time you speak?

Ds3, who is 13, has little or no empathy with others and has real difficulty controlling his temper at home - he has sworn at me, and the only effective sanction seems to be removal of his ipod. He can be so coldly nasty - and yet other times he is loving and cuddly.

Even the dog is scared of him - he says he hates her and wants nothing to do with her, and in the past, when he called her to go for a walk with him (after the stress of getting him to accept that it was his turn to walk her), she has run away and hidden under the desk.

I am looking into dyslexia as a possible cause for this defiant behaviour - can you suggest anything that might help? I am literally at the end of my tether - I suffer from depression, and feel like a total failure as a mother.

FunnysInTheGarden Thu 16-Sep-10 22:27:03

for a moment there I thought you meant Charles Taylor. I know MN is a bit on the edgy side, but a third world dictator? grin

BohoHobo Fri 17-Sep-10 08:29:10

Oh my if I start to ask, I may never stop! Trouble is, I know the answers to most things, its hard putting it into practise though!

Limara Fri 17-Sep-10 09:28:52

Hi, I'm currently reading this book

It explains what is going on in teenagers minds. I NEVER read books but I felt the need to try and change the atmosphere in my home. Some of it's actually working for me although DS (13) did ask me this morning, if he could be expelled from school after his tutor rang last night explaining he's put DS on report for constant lateness hmm

I'm going to follow this thread smile

Just to update - the school have tested ds3 for dyslexia (a basic test) and didn't find any dyslexic tendencies.

JeezyPeeps Fri 17-Sep-10 13:57:05

My son, 13 is becoming more and more withdrawn from 'normal' life, wanting to play on the pc and xbox 24/7, and is apparantly demonstrating having a 'bad attitude' at school.

He has always been very helpful, but is becoming less and less so. He is very stubborn about anything he doesn't want to do (both at home and school).

He has an older sister that has not struggled with school the way he has, and I think this affects how he feels.

What can I do to help him, and by doing so help me?

KatnKankles Sat 18-Sep-10 00:21:59

Firstly a similar question to the above. My son is 14 and generally a nice lad. He spends a LOT of time on the computer and doesn't socialise with his friends outside of school unless they come to our house which happens about once a week.
I'd rather he were here than hanging around the streets but any efforts I make to try and get him into sports/hobbies outside of the computer seem to fall on deaf ears.
He has glowing school reports and seems to have plenty of friends. Is he 'normal'?

Question 2, My daughetr is 12 and has recently become incredibly clingy and teary. She cries pretty much every day and sometimes rings me from school to say she misses me. She often says she doesn't know why she's crying. It got to the point where she was supposed to go away for a weekend with her Dad and she had to let them down because she couldn't bear to be away from me. She follows me around constantly and I have to give her cuddles ALL the time. I don't really mind but I have a 4 month old baby plus a 6 year old to take care of too. I just hug her when she sobs, often I don't even ask questions because I know all she wants is a hug until she calms down.
Am I doing the right thing? I reassured her it's hormones, she hasn't started her period yet but she has boobs and hairs so don't think she'll be long.
It might sound like a trivial problem but she has always been so independent and outgoing, it's quite upsetting for her to feel this way.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 20-Sep-10 12:21:59

Many thanks for all your questions. We've sent them over to Charlie and will be linking to the transcribed Q and A from this thread by the end of the week.

TeenageWildlife Mon 20-Sep-10 13:19:24

Oh I hope I'm not too late - one more, how to motivate a 16 year old boy to give a damn about his school work? He has no idea what he wants to do or even what he likes. Rest of the time fairly normal in terms of previously chatty now grunting etc.

mollyroger Mon 20-Sep-10 20:00:46

Have succombed to the book, having read a little around Charlie Taylor. it arrived today and although there is magic wand, I already feel vastly reassured by some of the case studies and have found myself nodding a lot in empathic agreement!

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