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Having trouble with my teenage son

(28 Posts)
mrsmobbs Tue 06-Mar-12 19:20:03

Hi I am new to this, but desperate for some advise. I am 53 with a son who has just turned 13. He is really bright and attends an independant school where he is in the top 3 out of 117 pupils in his year. He is really eloquent which is where the problems begin. We are a normal family, live in a nice house and my husband has a good job, but I was brought up in a 1 parent family in a council house, so do not take what we have for granted, neither does my husband. T on the otherhand appears to vocally despise anyone from a council house, on benefits, foreign, any religion in fact anyone who he deems to be not to his liking. He is very vocal about all subjects on the news and can see no other point but his own, even though we desperately try to make him see that everyone has the right to there own opinions and to live how they like.

On top of this he is openly rude and hostile towards me, he is great with his dad, but he calls me the large one, as I am a bit overweight, he pushes me around - say's he is only playing, he orders me about and calls me his slave, again this is supposed to be a joke. It has now got so bad that I could leave him and could not care less if he died. What kind of mother does that make me, I have absolutely no feelings for him whatsover.

We have tried sending him to bed, confiscating things, banning him from going out, stoppoing friends coming round, saying we will remove him from his school, in fact everything but nothing works. I hate being left alone with him and going on holiday or out with him is hell, the last time we went out for a day I had been reading on the journey and nothing untoward had been said, but I go to get out of the car and he said "do you like looking like you do, aren't you embarrased - I am 5ft 4" and size 16 - 18 hardly gross. Needless to say it spoilt my day.

Tonight I gave a friend a lift who he does not thinks fits with his idea of the perfect world and he was openly rude, but just cannot see what he is doing wrong. Our neighbours are deaf and dumb and he take the mickey out of them even when he thinks they can't see. and doesn't care if they do.

Does anyone know where I can get some help, before I do something serious or just walk out.

Strawbezza Tue 06-Mar-12 20:00:37

The fact that you refer to "we" suggests that your husband agrees with you about his bad behaviour. Which is good.

You & husband need to have a firm talk with him about what behaviour isn't acceptable. With punishments/sanctions that he cares about. There must be some privileges or pocket money you can withdraw that he cares about - phone, computer, xbox, etc? Don't threaten with taking him out of school because he simply won't believe that. I don't believe it and I don't even know you smile

You should pull him up about rude comments too - do you say anything now? He probably has no idea how upset you are by them. Tell him. Turn it around and give a few examples of rude names he could be called.

He might be hugely intelligent, but he won't get far in life without good manners and consideration to others. He'd never get through a job interview.

flow4 Wed 07-Mar-12 08:09:19

Sounds horrible, mrsmobbs. He isn't the only rude arrogant teenage boy in the world, by a long shot. They all behave like this from time to time, and you can't always stop them, but you do need to give very very clear messages that it is unacceptable. I always say "It's not ok to talk to me like that" or something similar. And you need back-up, it seems to me. What does your husband do when your son is rude to you?

Sparklingblue Wed 07-Mar-12 08:18:14

I'm so sorry mrsmobbs. Don't let your son's personal comments get to you though. I'm sure (deep down) he doesn't mean them and would feel terrible if he knew how much they hurt or upset you. Unfortunately at this age, teenagers tend to be completely self-absorbed and think very little of the effect they're having on others (particularly those closest to them). He is still a very young teenager and is bound to mature, and become less difficult as he gets older. For a start, his friends at school will start to point out to him when he is being rude/obnoxious. If you and your husband are nice, caring people (and you sound like you are) the chances are that your son will end up like that too, with just a few hiccups along the way. I have a 14 year old who makes me feel like this sometimes too and I'm hoping I'm right about all the above smile

Amaretti Wed 07-Mar-12 08:25:16

They say that in life in general, you get the behaviour that you are prepared to tolerate (not the behaviour you want). I know teenagers can be awful but you need to insist that he treats you with respect. He is only in year 8, there must be worse to come. I would pull him up every time he is rude for a while and I would stop doing things for him - cooking, lifts, whatever - it won't kill him to make himself beans on toast or a sandwich until he earns that you won't put up with this shit. Practise a death stare combined with "Don't. you. dare. speak. to. Me. like. that"

mrsmobbs Wed 07-Mar-12 08:32:28

Hi I agree with your comments about being rude, manners to us as a family are the most important thing there is - to strangers and at school he is the most well behaved child imaginable and in public places extemely well mannered and polite, but when we get indoors he completely changes to this horrible opinionated and rude person, which is why it is so hard to understand, he knows how to behave, but on a lot of occasions makes the choice not to.

He is horrible to me in front of his dad but no one else ever really this behaviour, a lot of his comments to me are said when we are alone together, apart from the comment made in front on my friend yesterday, which was a first and obviously he feels our neighbours are fair game, but again only in the house, never to their face he makes out he would not care if they did - I think he would and this is all bravado - he knows how upsetting his comments are I make sure of that, but I think knowing that makes him do it all the more.

My husband and I try desperately to make him see that to succeed in life you need compassion and care for others - his answer to his is - you need to be arrogent to succeed, look at all the top businessmen. That's what watching the news does for you.

This makes it hard to get his grandparents for example to help as they do not want to accept it happens. Yes he does shout in frustration in front of them and does have strong views, they say it is good to have opinions !!!!!!

And yes you are right, we probably would not take him out of his school, but taking away things he loves has no effect, even sending him to bed at 6pm on a Saturday does not work, he just goes straight to sleep.

This morning I did something that makes me sad, but I hope is the way to sort things - I ignored him, did not engage in any conversation apart from the necessary things re breakfast etc. We drove to the station in silence, I dropped him off and drove off without looking back, will this work, who knows, but I just hope that he will appreciate the relationship we have and realise he needs and wants me around.

Will keep you posted.

flow4 Wed 07-Mar-12 08:43:36

You said "He is horrible to me in front of his dad"... How does his dad react, mrsmobbs?

GnomeDePlume Wed 07-Mar-12 08:49:38

mrsobbs you need to stop being frightened of your son. He is only 13, you are the grown up. In your shoes I would give him one warning on all his behaviour. List out what is acceptable behaviour and tell him this is not negotiable.

At the first breach (there will be one as I am afraid that right now your DS sounds like an obnoxious little sod) you go through your home and his room in particular and strip out every piece of luxury which your son enjoys:

- mobile phone - replace with a brick
- TV in his room
- xbox
- fancy clothes
- music
- money
- food treats (bread and skilly will do him no harm!)
- etc etc

Leave him with just the basics, school uniform, basic clothes, school books.

Tell him that this is what he has 'earnt' so far. This is all that an obnoxious little sod gets. He has to earn back the rest and this will take months.

He isnt that clever if he thinks his current attitude will get him far in life.

I have a 13 year old son and wouldnt put up with your son's behaviour.

AllPastYears Wed 07-Mar-12 08:50:56

Don't really know the answer but he sounds like he has a bit of a god complex!

I'd be going on strike for a start? You're his slave? angry Not any more. No lifts, no washing, no cooking, no pocket money, maybe even no food buying. Why the hell should you be doing anything for the ungrateful *$£#''!

GnomeDePlume Wed 07-Mar-12 09:00:45

Exactly AllPastYears!

Strength! MrsMobbs, to the barricades, they shall not pass!

You need a revolution in your home!

mrsmobbs Wed 07-Mar-12 09:11:07

Thanks for all your replies they have made me laugh, but today is a new beginning and the worm has turned. Last night I made tea and told him to collect it from the kitchen, today I ignored him on our journey to the station, tonight who knows we will see what happens, I might forget to pick him up LOL.

But one thing I do agree is that yes he is turning into an obnoxious little sod and I for one hope that before long someone takes him down a peg or two. God what an awful thing for a mum to say, but sadly I wonder if that's what it will take.

The hardest part is that both myself and husband are just normal, down to earth caring people, whose local school is the pits and as son is bright felt that the best choice was private education - there is a lot to be said for that environment and if I had my choice again would probably have moved to a different area with better local schools.

Slambang Wed 07-Mar-12 09:14:17

he sounds awful, Mrs Mobbs - sorry!

What struck me was your comments about having no feelings for him and your last post about withdrawing communication - to me it sounds as if there is something that needs working on between you and him. You say he is lovely and polite to other people and he doesn't do this to his dad, so isn't he behaving in the way that he knows is specifically going to wind you up? It's all for your benefit, to press your buttons. Why is he needing to do that?

I've got a ds the same age. Yes, they can all be obnoxious and unfeeling at times but I have no doubt there are other times when he lets his guard down and shows he cares. Can you maximise on those moments with some closeness and attention and then come down with the firm line when he behaves like a little Nazi? (sorry - but that's what he sounds like sad)

kingprawntikka Wed 07-Mar-12 09:14:57

How far is the station. My DD walks a mile to school every morning, as did her brother before he went to uni. If its less than two miles I stop the lifts altogether.Tell him you are joining a gym and won't have timegrin!

kingprawntikka Wed 07-Mar-12 09:19:45

I'd stop the lifts , not I - not quite awake yet!

GnomeDePlume Wed 07-Mar-12 09:21:14

Excellent MrsMobbs (vive l'empress!)

The next time he is obnoxious to you in the car (and remember you are now only giving lifts to and from station for school) stop the car and tell him to get out. The first time you do this he will probably not think and do it. He can then use Shanks' pony to finish the journey. If he is late then so be it.

mrsmobbs Wed 07-Mar-12 09:24:57

Yes there are times when he is really loving and caring to me, but the other times are so hurtful that it is hard to interact with him and I know it is just me that he has a problem with, even his dad has tried talking to him on his own about his behaviour towards me, then he changes for a day or two and then reverts back. What makes it all so sad is that I had a dreadful relationship with my mum, she left when I was 8, came back when I was 18 and then died whilst I was on holiday having just had an argument with her, so you see why I do not want things with my son to get out of hand.

I have thought about letting him go to station on own, but it is 2 miles away and he has a mile walk from station to school. Hubbie takes him most mornings it was just today I had to do it.

I am on my own with him for 3 days next week, so lets hope things change then - he is actually better on the odd occasion when hubbie is away as he knows he has no choice. I think he is jealous of not being centre of attention when the 3 of us are together

kingprawntikka Wed 07-Mar-12 09:32:26

Well three miles of walking on a morning wouldn't be nice for him, but then who said life should always be nice. We go walking as a family sometimes and will walk 6 miles or so , so he could do it. Obviously he wouldn't enjoy doing it, but then you don't enjoy being treated with zero respect. Three miles of walking probably an hour to an hour and a half( with a rest and sit down on the train) I think his lift should be earned. I think your husband should also refuse to drive him if he is disrespectful to you.

AllPastYears Wed 07-Mar-12 09:32:52

A 2 mile walk to the station? Excellent smile. All the better for making him appreciate you!

GnomeDePlume Wed 07-Mar-12 10:47:15

From now on stop tolerating attitude let alone behaviour. Around you he has to learn to mind his manners. If you see him being rude pull him up on it immediately. Especially if you see him being rude behind other people's backs. Stop protecting him from the consequences of his behaviour.

My DMiL had a good phrase: 'I love you but right now I really dont like you very much at all'

If you catch him being rude behind someone's back call him up on it sharply and immediately. DS! do not be rude to Mrs Smith! I am ashamed of you!

If Mrs Smith hears then all the better.

Your DS has got into a habit of ill-mannered, self-centred behaviour. It takes 3 weeks to break a habit if you go cold turkey. Spend the next 3 weeks on his case morning, noon and night and I am sure you will see major improvements. Pick him up on all the behaviours which you find offensive:

- derogatory comments about anyone
- insulting behaviour
- shouting over other people

As his behaviour improves then you will need to reinforce and model the good behaviour you want to see.

Be strong Mrsmobbs and remember that some hard lessons now will save him from having his lights punched out in the future.

Amaretti Wed 07-Mar-12 12:05:42

I too have a 13yo DS in the exactly same position in exactly the same type of school. I don't get any of this behaviour. Intelligence is no excuse for arrogance. Once your DS knows it will have consequences I'm sure the habit will be broken. It does just sound like nasty habitual behaviour and once he know you won't put up with it I honestly think it will abate.

Ignore the usual refrains - I hate you, You hate me, No one else's parents ...blah blah blah...

Maintain good humour -this too shall pass.

Have you read "Get out of my life but first take me and Alex into town"?

Strawbezza Wed 07-Mar-12 18:00:59

Some very good advice here mrsmobbs.

I would add - top business people aren't arrogant. Assertive and confident - yes. But added to that, they have an appreciation of others, an understanding of what makes people tick, and never forgetting that their most precious resource is their workforce - who, if they were sneered at and mocked, would soon vote with their feet. As would the general public who buy the end products. Remember Gerald Ratner's faux pas when he likened his own products to cheap tat?

Does your ds really think the likes of Alan Sugar and Richard Branson treat their mothers like dirt?

SecretSquirrels Wed 07-Mar-12 18:38:41

Is he getting these ideas from the other kids at his school?
I have come across this before, sometimes kids at private schools seem to have a superiority complex. One of the advantages of private education is the confidence and social skills they learn, but it can back fire as well.

Bletchley Wed 07-Mar-12 19:56:23

Sometimes teenagers anywhere have a superiority complex, it's not a private school thing!

mrsmobbs Thu 08-Mar-12 07:52:58

Since my first post things have calmed slightly, he accidently saw some of the messages last night and was really upset, which sadly is a good thing as it shows he does care about what he is doing, lets hope he was shocked enough to make a permanent change.

moggiek Mon 12-Mar-12 22:33:32

mrsmobbs - I speak as a 53 year old with a 33 year old son, and I speak from HUGE amounts of experience. I can't agree with others that as your son matures his behaviour will settle down. It won't. Unless its made abundantly clear to him that his behaviour will not be tolerated under any circumstances, it will grow arms and legs, and end up making both of your lives miserable for years to come. Oh, hindsight ......

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