I cannot cope with my teenagers(7 Posts)
Hi everyone. This is the first time I have been on Mumsnet and I am hoping someone will be able to offer me some hope. My older child was expelled from school for poor behaviour and although he did go on to attend college and do one year of sports training (which he passed) he has not worked since (for 14 months). He spends his benefits on the first day he has them and can be very aggressive when drunk.
My younger teenager is very bright but has got behind in school after having an illness last year which resulted in her missing half of the year. She also has some psychological issues dating back to an issue in her childhood for which she has received counselling. She has got in with people who have no aspirations for the future and who last year started a fight involving another girl which resulted in all of them getting into trouble with the courts. She often refuses to go to school and is becoming more and more nasty with me on a daily basis. She claims that she is ill but I know that sometimes she is not. I have tried everything from financial encouragement to threats and removing all privileges but still nothing changes. She just calls me names and says she hates me and still refuses to go in. The school simply blame me and tell me they will take me to court if her attendance does not improve.
Although I am still married to their dad, he works away from Sunday night to Friday as a driver and I am left to cope with everything - including parents' evenings, non-attendance at school, getting my son to Workfare and the JobCentre on my own, despite working full-time in a job which I do not like but which I need to pay the bills.
I feel a complete failure as a mum and am fed up of getting abuse from everyone and being expected to sort out everything and deal with everyone's problems.
I have found myself detesting my own children and just wanting to move out and live on my own. I do not know what else to try - while some of my friends have had the odd problem with their teenagers, none of them have experienced anything like this and I do not know where to turn. At least all of their children have done sufficiently well at school to go on to jobs or further education. I despair of what the future holds for mine. I really feel like a failure.
Does anyone have any advice at all to offer?
If your son is old enough to get benefits he's old enough to get himself to workfare and the job centre, and old enough to take the consequences if he doesn't.
Leave him to it.
re. your daughter I am less sure what to advise. I don't know how old she is. But you need zero tolerance of all her crap. If she's rude leave the room. No conversation. No money. Don't bother cooking for her or cleaning up after her. Withdraw your services.
It may not help, but she's being vile anyway and it looks as if she takes you entirely for granted.
When did the poor behaviour start? do you see any triggers btw?
Poor you, it sounds like you're propping the whole family up. I definitely recommend joining MaryZ's support thread for parents of troubled teens. Many of us are going through similar problems and it sounds like you need some non judgemental support.
Your DD is obviously struggling since missing so much school, not just academically , but it maybe that her friendship group moved on in her absence, leaving her lonely and isolated and vulnerable to getting mixed up with a less than ideal group. It must be hard dealing with her school refusal when you have to get to work, but it may be that she is anxious about school, catching up from missing half a year is a big ask.
As farasyourson is concerned, it mightbe time to step back and let him get on with it, if he doesn't get to the job centre, it's his problem. And though its hard to do, call the police if he is aggressive to you or DD, make it clear that you will not tolerate aggressive behaviour.
Firstly, a huge hug for you, you seem to be holding everyone up. Regarding your S, I agree with others that he should be taking the bus and also it is is responsibility to get to the job centre.
Regarding your D, it sounds like there is a lot going on with her school refusal. Does she have any friends at school? Will the school give her extra help to catch up? Would it be possible to have a meeting with the school, yourself and your D to try to find a way forward?
Just a question about your DH, what happens at the weekend? is he able to be involved with your children?
I would not stand all the abuse either. It will take time to change their behaviour, but stay calm, tell them you are not prepared to be sworn at, shouted at, whatever. But you will listen when they speak to you in reasonable manner. Then walk away. Stick to your guns x. You sound a lovely caring mum, teenagers are tough, but it does get better x.
Col, you are not failing; you are doing your best when too much is expected of you.
I second what Bright says: come and join us on this thread where you will find lots of other parents struggling with similar problems, and no-one who tells you that you are somehow 'doing it wrong'.
When I was at my lowest point with my 'challenging' DS, I realised that essentially there are only two choices: throw them out or hang on in there. There are no 'fixes' you can do: you can no longer control them; they have to control themselves.
If you are going to hang on in there, you need to:
- Recognise that you can't change their behaviour, but you can change your own responses to it.
- Try to detach yourself emotionally as much as possible. This can be very hard, but you will burn out if you don't. Maryz calls it "treating them like they are annoying lodgers".
- Identify your bottom line, and stick to it. My own was no violence, no stealing, and sticking to agreements. Yours may be slightly different, but the point is, you need to work out what you absolutely cannot tolerate, and don't try to tolerate things you really can't stand.
- This includes calling 999 if either of your DCs are violent. You have a right to be and feel safe in your own home.
- Look after yourself - do nice things that make you happy. It's not a luxury; it's a survival essential.
- Get some support- as much as possible, from wherever you can get it. If you haven't done so already, go to your GP and ask for some counselling. It is not a sign of weakness or failure: it is a sign of wisdom to know that one exhausted, over-stretched, used and sometimes abused woman cannot hold it all together for three other people as well as herself.
There is a lot of other good advice on this thread: www.mumsnet.com/Talk/teenagers/1598441-MaryZs-support-thread-for-parents-of-troubled-teenagers . (See, I think it's so useful I'm promoting it twice!)
Most people's experience seems to be that it does get better, but it can take until they are in their twenties.
How old are they? It may be that you have already done enough, and it is time for you to leave, or throw one or both of them out. If they are over 18, you really do not have to keep living like this. You are entitled to some happiness.
Stay in touch. Mumsnet can really help in dark times, if you find people who have been through the same things themselves.
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