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Teen Boys, DH and total chaos

(17 Posts)
Minzy Sat 13-Oct-12 05:24:18

Hi, I live in South Africa. I have two teen sons - aged 16 & 14. I just don't know what to do anymore, they are nice boys and are generally well liked at school (the elder one more so then the younger), but at home they are total slobs with chips on their shoulders (grrrr). They also constantly fighting with their Dad, if its not one - its the other. I love my DH but will admit he is hard to live with and demands immediate obedience and is King of this castle. My DS's have now become quite rebellious and don't want to help around the house, look after pets (granted most are DH's) and keep wanting to win the lotto so they can run away (seemingly prepared to take me with?!). DH loves his boys and makes sure they have what he didn't as a kid but is super over-protective - and the kids feel its unfair. I try and keep the peace, and try to help them see it from the others point of view but am losing hope. I am bi-polar and conflict is a trigger, I find I am just hiding more and more. My home is a ware zone and a total mess. I am chaotic, and everything is just everywhere. I don't know what to do anymore, or even where to start to make my family love each other, or to make our flat nice to live in again. Help (sob)

needsomesunshine Sat 13-Oct-12 05:37:19

If it makes you feel any better op I have 5 ds. Everyone has to help out but in turn they have their own spaces ( even if it just means dividing a room). I also get them out as much as possible. They do lots of after school activities, sports,music. I also make sure I spend time with them even if it is just one if them coming to the shops or helping me cook. It is hard when you are expected to do everything.

Minzy Sat 13-Oct-12 06:09:28

Thanks smile

mathanxiety Sat 13-Oct-12 06:18:57

You need professional help in the form of family therapy.

Your DH needs to get over himself or the boys will be lost to him and you will end up in a heap. The family is not working for anyone right now and everyone is suffering, even the H though he will probably not admit it.

SecretSquirrels Sat 13-Oct-12 14:42:37

I also have two boys of 14 and 16. At this age their father is a huge role model and it sounds to me as though they are copying his attitude.
How are they when it's one to one with you? I have the best conversations with my son when we are out in the car one on one. Could you talk to them sometime when you are out of the house about how you feel about their behaviour?
Does their father do anything with them individually? Take them to sport or activities? If not would he try?

Minzy Sat 13-Oct-12 20:06:16

Hi - they both chat and talk to me - even if there are certain things that they do feel is "womens" work but generally are ok. I try very hard to chat about feelings and stuff. Its just sad to know that they are unhappy, its not their fault. I made my choice and make the best of it smile. I feel conflicted, in the middle and helpless - I just want them all to be happy. I guess H does go with them places, but more and more he is just wanting to stay in the flat, and he has deleloped many rules - like bedtimes fot all of us at 8pm. Strange, he won't let us go anywhere alone and is always stressing about safety. Its drives us all crazy especially the boys who can't even go to youth, or friends, or even the pool with their pals (or even cousins) as it is too dangerous.

brighterfuture Sat 13-Oct-12 20:21:34

I have 2 ds who once they hit teens started to clash with dh.

Their posturing reminds me of when there's more than one cockeral in the hen house. It drives me to despair too, I hate conflict , it churns my stomach . I have to avoid being piggy in the middle as I think dh goes too far and my kids know all about divide and rule and how to manipulate a situation. Dh expects my support though I don't always agree with him which puts me in an impossible situation.

Trying to keep the peace is a non starter, I think it just gives them a witness which kind of incites them to go further.I have learned with time to see that its a boy thing. I now remove myself from the vicinity, go outside for a walk, leave the room etc. as soon as they start up and leave them to it. I used to stay out of fear that they would do each other harm but that's never happened since I started removing myself. I think its natures way for teen boys to be in conflict with their dad sometimes but its not something we as mums have to witness.

Since I decided to stop getting involved in their wars My Dh has started classes in non violent communication which has helped enormously as they now listen to each others needs more and judge each other less.

I don't know if there's much you can do to stop the boys disputes with their dad but you can empower yourself by trusting that they can sort it out between themselves. You don't have to be the peacekeeper , look after yourself when they kick off , go out and treat yourself to something nice and don't go home till its blown over !

Minzy Sat 13-Oct-12 20:27:23

I think this must be the wisest thing I have heard in a long while. Thanks, and their fighting does remind me of roosters funnily smile - thanks, you guyz are great. Thanks for listening to my long story.

achillea Sat 13-Oct-12 20:35:10

My only concern here is that you say he doesn't let you go out and makes you go to bed at 8pm along with the boys. You do realise that nobody can tell you what time to go to bed any more?

Minzy Sat 13-Oct-12 20:46:52

It just causes fights - so its generally easier to just go to sleep, like now wait till he is asleep. (If he wakes I get in trouble but he says its cause he is looking after me ?)

achillea Sat 13-Oct-12 21:04:36

So he wants you to go to bed earlier because he goes early and he thinks you should go with him and he doesn't want to be woken up?

Mine usually wants to be the last to bed because he locks up etc (looking after me). But he would never insist I went to bed at the same time.

How does he control where and when you go out?

brighterfuture Sat 13-Oct-12 22:58:05

jeez ...Minzy I didn't see your post about how controlling your dh is. I think expecting everyone to be in bed by 8 is pretty extreme.

Sounds like he's really afraid and feels that if he controls everyone he can keep it all safe for you. If you are all in bed then you are safe and maybe that's the only way he can relax and let go a bit of his own stress. No wonder your teens are kicking off.

I think your Dh needs help and support so that he can gain a bit of trust in the rest of you so he can ease off on needing to call the shots so much.

Maybe you can help him see how very important it is for our kids to know that we trust them. The more we trust them the more they will trust themselves to make good , safe judgements. They are growing up and on their way to becoming independent adults, he's gonna have to let go a bit or they will force him in ways that could put them more at risk than if he could just ease off a bit.

mathanxiety Sat 13-Oct-12 23:08:22

Your H sounds nuts, frankly.

Please tell your doctor what you have told us here. 8 pm bedtime for all is barmy, and not allowing the boys a social life out of some sort of fear for safety.

Your H needs to be seen by a doctor. He is not well -- it sounds as if he has a major anxiety problem (at the least) and has lost his grip on reality.

You need to get your act together and start advocating for everyone even though you seem so beaten down by it all.

This whole thing goes beyond teenage boy vs. father conflict. Don't put your head in the sand.

achillea Sat 13-Oct-12 23:11:46

OP, come back with a namechange if you're worried, we will find you smile

Minzy Sun 14-Oct-12 04:48:32


flow4 Mon 15-Oct-12 09:54:53

Minzy, I think sometimes when you're in the midst of things, it's hard to tell what's normal and what isn't... And when you're outside of a family, it's hard to tell what compromises are OK, and what just aren't...

From out here where I'm standing, the boys arguing with their dad sounds normal. Nasty and stressful, but normal. I think brighterfuture is absolutely right about roosters! I also think that many teenagers (mine included) have an unconscious drive to make things horrible at home so that they can make the emotional break they need to leave home. After all, if everything was always lovely, they'd never leave, would they?! hmm

On the other hand, your husband's rules about bedtime and going out do not sound normal. To me, they sound desperately over-protective, and a sign that he is really fearful. But I noticed that you said you live in South Africa, and I don't know enough about life there to be sure whether your situation is actually dangerous enough to warrant these 'precautions'... Do you know of other families where the father insists everyone goes to bed at 8pm and doesn't let anyone go out without him? If you do know other people who live like this, maybe it is a necessary compromise - but then you will have to expect a difficult few years, because your teenagers are almost certain to rebel, I'd say...

If you don't know other people who live like this, then that is a sure sign that your husband's behaviour is not normal. A man who behaved like this in the UK would probably be seen as having mental health problems. Does your husband have any known MH issues? Whether or not he has a formal diagnosis, if his behaviour is as unusual in SA as it would be in the UK, it sounds like he needs support.

Meanwhile, would it help you to try to understand why he behaves like this..? Does he have any reason to be so fearful? Has anything really bad happened to your family? Or to him in his past/childhood? Does he worry more because you have bi-polar disorder? I have a friend who is bi-polar, and she says many people find it much, much easier to 'deal with' her when she's down rather than up, and that she has been in relationships where people try to 'keep her down' because they are afraid of her mania. I wonder if this rings true for your husband?

Whatever the reasons, I'd say you need to look after yourself. Brighter suggests going out when there's conflict, and I agree, if that's possible - or at least withdrawing at the time, and making sure you do lots of nice things to help you relax generally smile If you think you are safe to go out, I think you should - meet up with friends, go swimming, have a massage, go to an evening class, or do whatever will make you feel good.

I also think counselling for you might help - you have a lot on your plate: you feel stressed because you are in a very stressful situation - one that is abnormally stressful I'd say - not because you aren't coping with things you should be able to cope with. Anyone would struggle, in your situation. (Just saying that in case you need to hear it!) You need to protect yourself and try to make sure you don't become ill from trying to balance it all and (like you say) "make everyone love each other". Remember the only person you can make do anything is yourself smile Look after yourself now smile

Minzy Mon 15-Oct-12 17:16:37


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