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they have broken me and I don't know how to carry on

(66 Posts)
exasperatedemma Tue 15-Jan-13 17:17:34

I have two teens - DS 16 and DD 14, who have won. I don't have the strength to carry on. If I hadn't had a glass of wine last night, I would have got in the car and driven. anywhere, checked into a hotel, anything just to run away. At the moment, I still want to go. last night I just went for a walk around the block to calm down. didn't work. luckily my very supportive husband was at home. when I write this is sounds pathetic, but I can't cope with the daily conflict in our house. mostly over the tech - our simple rules are that no phones/ipods etc at mealtimes, or after 9.30pm or during homework. They never comply. this results in daily conflict, every day. We have tried doing zero tolerence, eg if phones etc aren't put down at certain time then they get confiscated for the following day. very hard to do in practice as first I have to get them off them and short of having a wrestling match, I can't get them. they hide them. they are obsessed and addicted. we row about it all the time. I can't see how to change it. last time we tried being firm, my daughter didn't come home and the police had to find her. I know this sounds like they have control over me, and they do. I just don't know how to get it back.

AnnieLobeseder Tue 15-Jan-13 17:22:50

Take them away. Permanently. Throw them in the bin. I feel your pain but you have got to be the stronger one or they will indeed have won. They have to know they can't get away with this kind of behaviour. hugs....

AnAirOfHope Tue 15-Jan-13 17:29:19

I agree put them in the bin and do not fund phones for them again.

You house your rule. You only have to make a stand on one thing for them to think twice about the other rules.

Good Luck

EmmaNess Tue 15-Jan-13 17:34:30

Stop paying the phone bills?

Cut off the £££ and if the internet is a problem, put a password on the wifi

HecatePropolos Tue 15-Jan-13 17:39:43

How do they pay for their phones?
Cut them off!
No pocket money.
Agree password protect wifi.
Hide the phone chargers!
You can take back control, honestly you can.
Don't be hard on yourself, teenagrrs are really challenging. Xx

WaynettaSlobsLover Tue 15-Jan-13 17:40:47

If it was me I would arrange a little get away and tell dh to tell them you have left and had enough. Go to hotel for a couple of nights and have no contact with them. This will scare them, trust me on that

CabbageLeaves Tue 15-Jan-13 17:44:37

Hmmm. I have a different view. At 16 my DD was able to organise her study herself. I never restricted the tech stuff although mealtimes were a no no because that's just polite.

What are your reasons for restrictions?
Meals? (Manners?)
Study? (Concentration?)
9:30? ????

I'd say reconsider and come to a compromise but make sure it's a compromise with boundaries. I.e. you can have tech during homework BUT ONLY if your grades and work comes first.

My DD used to have FB open throughout home working. She got about 5 Alevels 3 of which were A* (I should remember exactly but was a storming result whatever)

It's an individual thing obviously but I'd reconsider more objectively. Yes it's a power struggle. At 16 they need to have some autonomy however.

usualsuspect Tue 15-Jan-13 17:48:11

I agree with Cabbage leaves, you need to come to a compromise that suits all of you.

Laying down the law to a 16 year old doesn't always work.

Fairylea Tue 15-Jan-13 17:49:17

Hmm well I'm going to be brave and post against what I suspect the majority will say...

I think no iPods etc after 9.30pm is pretty strict for a 14 and 16 year old to be honest. Is this weekends too? Most of their friends are probably on them on facebook or whatever else chatting till 10.30 / 11 especially the 16 year old. I can understand why they are rebelling a bit. What is the reason you don't want them on them in the evenings, especially if they are doing their homework etc ?

I agree with your rule about meal times and homework - maybe you could sit down with them and agree to meet half way ? Ie you will allow them to go on them in the evenings as long as homework is done and they actually speak to you over dinner ?

legoballoon Tue 15-Jan-13 17:49:58

I'm afraid I'm with the hardliners.

Sit down and discuss your expectations with the whole family. It's not unreasonable to say that phones are off when the family are eating at the table together.

It's probably harder to monitor use of FB etc. during home study, but couldn't you just switch off the router for 3 hours per evening (or however long it takes) and ask for phones to be handed over the during that period - to be recharged, or in return for credit. (I'm assuming you're paying for the phones somehow).

Failing cooperation there - strike action.
Think of what you do for them, and stop doing it. Easier said than done, but I'm sure after a week without clean undies, fresh food, and a taxi service, they might just start to notice your existence.

I wouldn't pretend to run off though - it would sound like you had lost it, and when they discovered you were pretending, you'd lose all respect. Just stick together with your supportive husband.

Teenagers can be horrible, and often wonderful. Try to focus on whatever positives you can cling to during the worst times. Let us know how it goes.

usualsuspect Tue 15-Jan-13 17:51:14

I also think no phones, ipods after 9.30 for a 16 year old is too harsh.

pootlebug Tue 15-Jan-13 17:58:15

Have you read 'How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk'? The sort of approach recommended there would be sitting them down and saying something along the lines that there is a problem because there are always rows over phones. And ask them what they think about the whole situation.

Maybe they will just demand their phones 24 hours a day. But maybe, if you can put across your specific concerns and ask them to think of a compromise, you might make progress.... phones away at mealtimes, but kept until later at they go to bed rather than 9.30pm or whatever.

I think they are more likely to buy in to a new plan if they have some say in it, and can see there is significant compromise from both sides.

Mrscupcake23 Tue 15-Jan-13 17:58:27

Time to compromise without backing down all the way.

Fair point not at meal time that's just rude. But half nine? At sixteen I will be grateful my sixteen year old was in..

Those of those who said put them in the bin that's just childish. Pick your arguments with teenagers. Look at other threads and be grateful that's you only problem.

outtolunchagain Tue 15-Jan-13 18:02:27

Was all set to sympathise ,and i do ,to an extent but I do think your rules are a bit restrictive and rather inappropriate for their age .The 16 year old is old enough to get married FGS.

I think I would back off a bit ,it doesn't mean giving in but you are dealing with young adults here not primary age children.My ds at 16 would still be doing homework at 9.30pm so a bit of phone and Facebook is some downtime.At 16 they should be taking some responsibility for themselves ,he needs to understand that if he does no homework and just plays on computers he will get bad marks and not get good results which will impact on his life ,thats his responsibility .

The 14 year old obviously needs more guidelines but even so you have made the whole thing into a massive battleground,is she going to spontaneously combust if she facebooks at 10 pm.No she won't but she will be tired .Again ,her consequence.

Our rule with ds2 (15) is that tech stuff must be on landing at 10.30pm ,before that he self regulates on the understanding that if his marks are not good enough,he is rude etc the laptop will be taken away.This has happened !so he knows we are serious.

ds3 (11) has no stuff upstairs except an ipod nano on which he listens to audiobooks at bedtime.

I agree about mealtimes though

sheisold Tue 15-Jan-13 18:02:38

I'm with the hard liners too and you absolutely have my sympathy I've been thete

Badvoc Tue 15-Jan-13 18:02:42

Cut them off.
They are old enough to realise they are behaving like toddlers over a new toy.

usualsuspect Tue 15-Jan-13 18:11:08

You can't treat a 16 year old like a toddler though.

It won't work.

outtolunchagain Tue 15-Jan-13 18:11:10

By the way I am not sure how your daughter not giving you her phone is her controlling you ,it sounds more like you failing to control her ,and to be frank surely your role is to encourage her to understand about making the right choices in like not about controlling her .

However I speak as a mother of 2 teens and a tween and am so exasperated with the oldest at time that i could throttle him so i know how hard it is when you have backed yourself into a corner.But the thing is ,you can't control what they do but you can control your reaction to it .

AnnieLobeseder Tue 15-Jan-13 18:18:35

I can't agree with those saying they should just rearrange the rules to fit in around what the DC are already doing, ie, more hours with their tech. That is letting them win.

If the DC felt the rules were unfair, all they had to do was discuss it with their parents and present their case like adults, instead of rebelling and completely disregarding the rules.

OP, if your DC had asked to have a discussion about the hours they were allowed their tech, would you have listened to them openly?

Perhaps the answer lies somewhere in the middle - they can re-negotiate terms and hours, but if this doesn't work and the don't follow the new rules the tech is removed for good.

Badvoc Tue 15-Jan-13 18:19:46

I would treat them like toddlers is that is how they are behaving!
They need to learn that respect and compromise is a two way street.

usualsuspect Tue 15-Jan-13 18:21:39

It's not about winning. You don't have to fight with your teenagers just so you can win.

outtolunchagain Tue 15-Jan-13 18:24:49

But Badvoc in the long run what would that achieve and what would that teach them .

Rudeness etc should be punished but all this talk of winning and losing is very depressing . My relationship with my teens is not about winning and losing. It sounds to me as if relationships have broken down quite badly and the OP needs to decide what is important and in my house 'winning ' wouldn't be the most important factor.

specialsubject Tue 15-Jan-13 18:25:26

so if your daughter doesn't get her own way, she runs off and you have to get the police out? And they are so disobedient that they fight their own parents?

she deserves no respect and no treats until she learns to stop behaving like a two year old.

moisturiser Tue 15-Jan-13 18:29:46

Is this all you are exasperated and close to walking out over? I don't mean to dimish your feelings but really this is a manageable issue. There are far, far worse things to be dealing with (or perhaps you are and this is the straw that broke the camels back).

You need to sit them down and say that phones are not to be used at mealtimes, out of respect. I think that there could easily be a 'fair use policy' re homework, i.e they are allowed them if they are getting good marks and not spending more time on the phones than on the work simply because homework can be difficult and very dull even if you're really bright and chatting via text every half an hour can help you get through it. I'm sure I did that all through uni and got great marks. If their school work is suffering then they get the threat of having them taken off them during that time. Phones after 9.30 - let them have them! At this age if they're going on them too much and getting no sleep that is their responsibility. You taking them off them and making them go to bed early is not going to work if they are resentful. They're just going to stay up late sulking. Treat them like adults.

If they are being mardy so and sos and can't respect the above, I really don't see what's wrong with taking them off them altogether. But give them the chance to be adult and take responsibility for their own phone usage. How are they going to cope otherwise as adults/at uni or a job and they need to manage their time online/on the phone?

AnnieLobeseder Tue 15-Jan-13 18:43:01

I've slightly changed my mind. Take everything off them for a fairly lengthy period, eg a month. THEN re-negotiate with the clear message that any more disrespect and disregard for the rules will result in permanent removal. Otherwise they'll think that if they behave badly enough you will back down and let them have their way with no consequences whatsoever.

Those of you who say they need to be responsible for themselves and learn consequences are right. But if they just get more tech time out of behaving so badly they are learning that bad behaviour has positive consequences.

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