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Stress/anxiety and teen twins

(5 Posts)
beelights Sun 02-Dec-12 16:58:26


I know this one is as old as the hills, but I could really do with some sage and sound advice from anyone who has already been there/done that with teens.

I am a single parent of nearly-15 yo twins. They are great kids with the usual caveats. My son has a diagnosis of mild asperger's and he likes to spend a lot of time in his room reading/X-boxing. He doesn't have an after school social life, but he does have an active school life and see his cousins a lot. We also do lots of extended-family holidays. He is kind and very thoughtful and doing OK at school. He doesn't talk a lot but we chat and laugh at the cats together. I have a lovely partner who is here at weekends who is kind to them and helps them out with things like redecorating their rooms. Anyway, my daughter is another kettle of fish. She is also doing lots at school, stays after for clubs and is doing OK with grades. She is strong-willed and is emotionally very bright - she sees through bullshit. She is fair and kind to others. Also very interested in make-up, stinky perfumes and 'stuff'. She has just started volunteering at an animal sanctuary for her Duke of Edinburgh. But, she is a real procrastinator and is running the risk of blowing her grades if she doesn't start to focus. And... she is exhausting me. Every single aspect of her life at home is about pushing the limits. And she gives me the 'look' or stares over my shoulder if I say something she isn't into. She does ask permission for sleepovers, times to get back, meeting friends etc. But will just push and push when I have set a limit. She will push limits about almost anything (extra food for snacks especially for her, more money for things, extra sleepovers). She also says that she has no homework which in her terms means she has some due in 2 weeks and will do in the night before...I feel like I am a pretty 'tough' mum and on her case quite a lot, but equally she has started to be really selfish and self-centred and sometimes quite hurtful. I don't want to start getting shouty all the time. An example is that I agreed to let her have a friend for sleepover on Saturday night on the understanding that her Granny was on a rare visit to stay nearby and that we would be seeing her a lot so she would have to honour that. But she didn't turn up for the Sunday lunch (which was pretty informal) and only appeared for 10 minutes with the friend and gave the 'yeah what?' answers, and also, by way of casual announcement, told me she didn't want the rescue kitten she had asked for (and I had made arrangements to visit/homecheck etc). I was livid at the time but decided to let it sit before I really lost it. I told her she would be responsible for phoning the rescue centre and cancelling the homecheck. But it left me feeling stressed and like this is I am always 'on' and can never relax because I don't know from which direction the next challenge is going to come. I am getting anxious with this, combined with juggling bringing up the kids, trying to run my own business and getting the bills paid. I am also finding that I am getting more 'compulsive' about things like tidying and checking and over-concern over everyone's welfare. My partner has offered to have a chat, but I don't really see that as his job as we decided early on that he isn't a replacement dad. I do have lots of great things going on in my life - I keep bees and hens, make rugs, and have lots of interest but I wonder if in the long run it would pay for me to take back a bit more of my life and my interests and toughen up with my 'no's' and let her fall flat on her face on the academic side (I am sooo tired of the homework nagging) but I worry that she will go off the rails and don't want to see her stuff up her school chances.

Sorry, I know this is a bit of a mad rant, maybe I'm just letting off steam, but you know, even suggesting we get chips and go and see a film as a family gets met with a 'I don't want to and you can't make me'. I think I could do with some pointers from some old hands. Is this a situation out of hand or is it normal teens? Is she going to blow her school work and regret it. Is my son going to end up being a social recluse for ever? Or is it just time for a cup of tea and a nice quiet Poirot film by the fire? Thanks for listening to my crazy-woman impression....

goralka Sun 02-Dec-12 17:02:17

maybe the cup of tea and the film?
I have 14 year old boy/girl twins too, I just had to leave the house.....grin

bubby64 Sun 02-Dec-12 21:22:21

I have 12yr old boy/boy twins, one who is like your son, the other like your daughter, I have already found I am getting increasingly "naggy" with DS2, he answers back, makes fun of me and is generally a pain in the backside, he and my DH are always at loggerheads lately. He is also frequently making fun of his brother, and arguing and fighting with him on a regular basis. DS1 gets upset because he is being made the butt of DS2's jokes and has already recognised that his brother no longer cares about anyones wants/needs or feelings except his own. Also, DS2 is slacking with homework, although he does good work in school, and has had 2 detentions in the past fortnight for not handing in homework, if he gets a 3rd, he is in isolation for a day, but this doesn't seem to have sunk in, but I know if it happens he will be really upset and tearful. I have now decided to let it happen, as I'm sure it soon will, as it is doing my head in keeping going on at him when it doesnt seem to be taken on-board, TBH, its like waiting for the other shoe to drop. DH just wants to strangle him instead!

beelights Mon 03-Dec-12 17:02:53


Well, we ended up having a 'chat' and watching Blazing Saddles together...She's still pushing the limits today but I managed to get my head into a better place so I was less reactive. Like you, the only way I can see is to set some boundaries about things that really matter to me (mealtimes, homework before Facebook etc) and then just allow her to get on with it. My twins bicker all the time - they really know how to push each other's buttons so are expert at setting off arguments at meal times. My rule is that if they argue, one of them has to go and eat in the kitchen. I haven't yet enforced it lol. Failing all that I use the ultimate screech - the 'I'm fed up' howl that is so loud I lose my voice for a week.

goralka Mon 03-Dec-12 19:23:56

I know what you mean beelights, sometimes it seems like an endless squabble doesn't it?

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