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really struggling to like ds at the moment ...

(8 Posts)
generalhaig Tue 23-Aug-11 00:42:51

Over the last few months I feel that ds and I have been heading into a negative spiral and things have come to a head this holiday. When he turned 13 last year he was so easy and pleasant (much easier than he'd been when he was 10) that I was lulled into a false sense of security.

But this year, basically since around the time he turned 14, he's been frankly difficult to 'like', although I love him dearly. He's been coasting at school and although he's very bright he's not done half as well as he should have done. He's refusing to go to bed at a reasonable time, with the result that he's tired most of the day at school. He's very aggressive verbally with me and his siblings (swears at me, insults me, bullies his younger brother), breaks things deliberately when he's in a bad mood (which he then has to pay for). He used to be so sparky and enthusiastic about things and now his attitude is couldn't-care-less. He spends virtually every waking moment hunched over his phone sending endless texts to his friends, but rarely sees them face to face because he can't be bothered to make arrangements and has managed to fall out with one of his best friends this holiday. Getting him to do anything around the house involves endless badgering from me and increasing levels of bad temper from him. He has a massive sense of entitlement but isn't appreciative of all he has and all we do for him. The only hold I have over him is negative - removing his phone or xbox, but that's purely punitive after the fact and does nothing to change his behaviour.

I know things could be much worse (he's not a criminal, he's not drinking (yet), smoking or taking drugs ) but when I read threads like the 'nice teens' one I feel so upset that he's not like that. I miss my son - every now and then I get a glimpse of the 'real' boy and it's bittersweet because it's so rare at the moment. His siblings miss him too. I frequently tell him I love him (in a non-embarrassing way of course!) and would love to spend more time with him but he's not interested.

How can I get our relationship back on track? Or is it a lost cause and do I just have to sit out the next few years and hope he emerges from the other side? It's making me thoroughly depressed and I'm not sure how many more months of this I can take sad

Witco Tue 23-Aug-11 10:24:26

This sounds awfully familiar! My DS is now 19 and we have struggled through the teenage years since he was about 15. He is not pleasant to be around - not abusive, just a pain the a*se! He was a bright, fun little boy but has lost all interest in the things he used to enjoy. We struggled to get him to stay at school and he just about got through his A levels. He has a place to study Graphic Design at college now but he probably won't go in. He has developed quite a weed habit which exacerbates this behaviour and regularly lies and stays out very late. I can't give you any pearls of wisdom but can offer a hug of support!

imnotadaughter Thu 25-Aug-11 20:32:04

I know this it´s normal, hard to believe but true. Nearly all boys get this at about that age, they think in their subconscious or consciously that they´re now grownup boys and they don`t want to do anything in the household or for anyone else or start turning into a bully (in the worst case). It is known that the teenage years of a child (boy and girl) are the hardest and worst, they are right in the middle of puberty and maybe you might remember that these years were also not the easiest for you either. My DD1 is now 14 turning 15 soon and she also had this she was lazy and protested each time i asked her to do something, i can remember that she always used to want to help me to cook or fold the wash, but i knew when she turned like is now that it was normal because i had seen the same thing at my siblings when i was younger. She does sometimes want to go out with dd2 and that´s the time when i see the same cute little girl she used to be. My 13 year old ds1 is also just getting out of his cute little boy phase which is sad but he´ll grow out of it and your son will as well, just don´t put him under pressure in school (or at home) but don`t let him get of that easy either that`s the best way you can help him get through this phase. Good luck!

pickgo Sun 28-Aug-11 10:30:17

I'd focus on the swearing at you/insulting you and really come down like a ton of bricks on that. Insist on a basic level of respect.

If you really get nowhere with that, is removing him to a gp/uncle/aunt/trusted friend an option? I did that with my DS at 14. Told his gp what he'd been saying in front of him and really made him squirm. It was only for a night but it made it clear I wasn't going to tolerate that level of disrespect in my house and I think it shocked him and he's never descended back to that level since.

I think you need to really come down hard on that now before he gets out of your control. And before younger sibs ape him.

RE the housework, DS has a list of weekly chores= pocket money. He hasn't had pocket money for 6 mths now cos he hasn't yet done them all in a week with no reminding. Just some, or with reminders. God I'm hard!

Solobird Sun 04-Sep-11 23:31:49

I'm new to mumsnet and linked up because I have a nasty teeenge DS... he's never been very nice though and has undermined me as a mum all his life. He's my second DS, the elder had the usual teenage issues but is nearly 20 now and has come out the other side all shiny and new and is off to Uni in 2 weeks. The horrid DS is aggressive, disrespectful and deeply unkind when he can be, to my DD and me. My DD is nearly 15 and lovely (with the odd bout of stubborness). I love him and care for him but don't like him being in the house because he creates a bad atmosphere and makes everyone cross. I find it so hard to parent him with patience because he is so 'difficult' and always has been. Out of the home he puts all my careful training and love into practice and is charming, considerate and generous. He is also good looking and very talented/bright and knows it. Here is my problem...I am wracked with guilt about his behaviour/character to the point of distraction and cannot see my way clear to blaming anyone but myself for the toad he is turning out to be. Is this guilt normal?

Generalhaig.... normal normal normal! I KNOW that's not much comfort right now, but honestly he is likely to come out the other side eventually...smile
I have 4 teens.. now 19,18,17 and 14 and the 18 year old was VILE from 13-16..REALLY vile, nasty piece of work, violent tempers, stealing from us, hardly ever spoke, every request became a reason for him to kick off..

Now he's 18 and has magically become human again! He is learning to drive, looking for a full time job (works p/t) and actually talks to us!! I honestly thought ,when he was 16, that we would had to ask him to leave by now,..it was so horrible but the hormones are settling and I have my little boy back againsmile

Sit tight.. sit firm! (don't give him an easy ride in the hope he will be more pleasant to you.. he won't) have small but definitely expectations of his behaviour...write a list of rules. make sure he knows them and stick to them.. eg swearing at you = phone gone for the day..whatever works.

You nice child IS still in there... you just have to ride the hormonal stormsmile

Theas18 Mon 05-Sep-11 08:48:50

Pretty normal I agree. Set some boundaries with him that are agreed and realistic eg that he doesn't swear/bully siblings and that respect is mutual.

Look at what "hurts" in terms of sanctions- mobile use, Xbox etc and use them- there will be a huge kickback but if you persist in a strong, level, no shouting adult way you will win through. See it as the equivalent of any behaviour modifying strategy for a toddler- persist long enough and you'll win.

Who pays for his beloved phone anyway........sniggers like mutley!

BTW re bedtimes I'd turn the home internet off at say 11pm and think about setting a lock on the TV if needed. If it doesn't improve then the phone lives with you over night too...... ad watch the SIM swapping game that some kids pull (have a 2nd phone and hand you a SIMless one to look after).

generalhaig Mon 05-Sep-11 11:38:11

thanks everyone ... yes I know it's normal <sigh> that doesn't mean I have to like it though!

he's back to school tomorrow <phew> so we'll get some structure back

phone has to be handed to me when he goes upstairs and I've told him that from tonight the router will be off from 10 (no more latenight mumsnetting for me but hey, it's for a higher cause) and he'll also have to hand over his ipod.

we're struggling with 'respect' at the moment - I completely lost it with him at the weekend and dh had to step in as at that point I was screaming like a banshee blush

calm, confident and assertive is the way to go ....

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