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15 yr old son point blank refusing to come on family holiday day before we leave

(126 Posts)
mulranno Fri 23-Aug-13 23:14:08

what do we do?....force him into the car at gun point?....he says because it is the last week of the holidays and all his mates are back from their breaks and loads of parties that he doesn't want to miss

secretscwirrels Sat 24-Aug-13 10:32:21

Flow4 Perfectly put.
This reminds me a bit of the This is My Child campaign on MN.
Many people on MN with small children say they have learned not to judge a child's behaviour at face value or other parents methods based on their own children.
It's very easy to see badly behaved toddlers and be smug about your own. Teenagers are the same.
After many years of reading on here the dreadful difficulties teenagers can bring and the heroic perseverance of some of their parents I know I am very lucky with my two well behaved and compliant teens and I also know that their behaviour is not a just product of my parenting it's the way they are made.
mulranno I'd listen to Flow.

SESthebrave Sat 24-Aug-13 10:34:56

I would also go with "fine, I can't leave you on your own so we'll all stay and you're grounded."
I would have a conversation about the fact that if he'd got concerns, he should have voiced them weeks ago.

I would definitely not leave a 15yo home alone. Not even for one night.

So tough and I've still got the teenage years to deal with!

LIZS Sat 24-Aug-13 10:35:43

Agree with flow , motivation is key not argument. Maybe he gets to choose some activities or can have independent days. I'd be very wary about leaving a 15yo home to party. Presumably he agreed to come initially so should follow through the commitment. If he agrees to come another time could he bring a mate along ?

mumeeee Sat 24-Aug-13 10:39:40

You just tell him he's coming with you and it's not negotiable. He can see his mates next week.

flow4 Sat 24-Aug-13 10:40:16

The flaw in that plan, BeQuick, is that if you can't make your teen get into a car, you can't enforce grounding either.

lborolass Sat 24-Aug-13 10:46:59

Excellent post flow4.

mumeeee - exactly how do you propose someone makes a 15 year get in a car and stay in that car all the way to France (assuming they are driving)? How are they going to manage stops, ferry, just keeping him in the car safely and what do you suggest they do with him when they get there?

It's just not that easy as tell him he's going, it really isn't.

cantdoalgebra Sat 24-Aug-13 10:55:07

You are right, you cannot force him into the car, if it has got to that, and your holiday is probably ruined. However, if he is being unreasonable, so can you. Get out of car, make flask of tea/coffee/drink of choice, remove any remaining food from fridge, turn off electricity, remove and hide any equipment necessary for operation of any device necessary for connecting to the internet. (if he turns power back on). Phone bank, cancel any payments to son, hide purse, sit down, read book, drink tea/coffee/drink of choice, make vow to never, ever, ever take son on holiday again, open car door and front door and leave open, wait.....

flow4 Sat 24-Aug-13 11:02:24

Nope, sadly you can't do that either cantdo. That teaches him that unreasonable behaviour is actually OK if you're not getting your own way. You will probably then find that you come home from work one day to find yourself locked out, or your own laptop or wine or something else hidden. And he'll say to you "Well, you did it..."

Cloudkitten Sat 24-Aug-13 11:04:15

Flow some excellent points there. I would say is what we all don't know here is if the horse has already bolted in terms of DS's past assertions of authority (if any), as such, if OP is looking at damage limitation, or still has power to lever damage avoidance altogether.

You have assumed it's damage limitation that is OP's option left, in which case your suggestions are great.

I have assumed there is still a horse in the stable for the door to be bolted smile in which case I wouldn't react in a damage limitation kind of manner.

However, it is extremely concerning, if the 15yo can trump everything, every discussion, everything they don't feel like doing/don't want to do with "you can't physically make me". None of us here know the OP's DS or how he is or what battles have already been fought/lost/won but if this is the first real, big challenge then the OP has a big decision to make in terms of direction of authority. Only she can know if her DS is mature enough to be trusted at 15, or if she should hold out for longer - until he's older, on a matter more sensibly raised, with time for proper negotiations and arrangements to be made.

I do understand that in some personalities it's unavoidable that this will happen - I am not smug about behaviour - I am well aware that what other children are exhibiting in bad behaviour today, mine can well be doing tomorrow. I have two sons, one compliant natured; one, umm strong willed. If I let either of them get a sense of their own power that all they have to do is (ultimately) say "you can't make me (physically) " then it's dangerous territory. It is terrible to think that the psychological relationship had been lost to such a point that there is no armoury left in words/threats/loss of priviledges/assertion of authority from the parents that will do as you are saying would be ideal, ie, them getting in the car of their own will.

cantdoalgebra Sat 24-Aug-13 11:15:04

flow you are forgetting that you are the adult. Parents teach their children to behave by showing them the consequences of actions. These consequences can be the threat of removing the toy of a small, misbehaving child, for example, and then if the behaviour continues, the toy is removed. To the child, this must seem very unreasonable - does this therefore teach them to be unreasonable back? The point is that the adult being "unreasonable" comes after the child has crossed the boundaries. The level at which you pitch it depends on how serious the situation is.

TheYoniWayIsUp Sat 24-Aug-13 11:16:02

Looking at this from the other angle... I had a similar tantrum at 15 (although not so last minute) and my mum allowed me not to go. She then didn't organise a family holiday that included me ever again. sad

I wish she'd have insisted, explained to me that I was a valuable member of the family and they'd miss me if I wasn't there. It's important to remember that reasons for non-compliance can be complicated.

OP, if I were you, I'd show my sympathy for the fact that he has to miss the parties, and perhaps offer a 'sweetner'- could you allow him to have a small party at your house in October half term? Not because you're giving in but because you understand that it's hard to be a teen, dragged in all directions.

I'd also consider allowing him to 'save face' with his mates if necessary- he may be having the piss ripped out of him because he's missing Dave's party due to his mum dragging him to a boring old Haven park! (Or whatever!) Try to include something that sounds awesome, as well as actually being fun, like a trip to a fab theme park or waterpark.

I don't usually advise bribery or giving in, btw, I'm rather strict normally, but I remember what it's like to be a teenager and it's fucking hard.

specialsubject Sat 24-Aug-13 11:20:44

this entitled child is hardly the subject of abuse, he just has to do something he doesn't really enjoy. Tough.

he goes, and he is advised that if he doesn't behave reasonably throughout then it is six months without the stuff he enjoys. He is advised that if he had said something a lot earlier, then arrangements could have been made, but whining at the last minute DOES NOT WORK.

is there a last minute PGL or similar you can book him on to? That is the only possible alternative for him. Give him that choice.

he cannot be left at home, you'll come back to a house stripped of all valuables and ankle-deep in vomit because he will get his mates round.

Chl0e Sat 24-Aug-13 11:37:42

Maybe he's insecure, and worried that he needs to nurture these friendships a bit so that when he gets to school he hasn't been sidelined over the summer. yes if they were real friends they'd wait for him blah blah blah but it can be nerve wracking as adults to face a bunch of peers.

OP, can he stay with your sister who also has a 15 year old? do they live near?

god knows how you make your kids do what they don't want to do.......

DioneTheDiabolist Sat 24-Aug-13 11:42:16

This thtead has made me feel sad for the parents of teens and teens themselves. So much judgement.[hmm

mumeeee Sat 24-Aug-13 11:54:49

I know it's not easy to get him to get in the car, I was really thinking that if the OP said it was non negotiable and refused to discuss or get into any arguments with him then perhaps he would just come. That's what would have happened with our DDs. But I can see that would be difficult if he really refused to get in the car. OP can you talk to him and explain it's a bit to late to object and also explain his mates have been on holiday as they haven't been around earlier in the holiday. If he still refuses you tell him that you are all going to stay at home but he'll have to pay for the lost holiday. Before anyone says I'm too strict. We did discuss holidays with our DDs and they did have freedom to do things on thier own they didn't always have to come with us when we were on holiday.

mulranno Sat 24-Aug-13 11:59:54

OP here -- there is absolutely no way that there was ever an option of him being left home alone.

One option is that he stays with his grandmother (no keys or access to our house) or my sister has offered to stay at ours with her children to supervise (we live near her inlaws so this suits her well - she often stays when we are away).

And the parties - which has seemed to rattle a few - are all small private social get togethers at the homes of families we know with parents present. We live in a rural area with no evening transport - so we have evening curfews of 8pm which he respects and we arrange lift shares from parties at 11 with other parents.

To date he has always respected our boundaries - we talk openly about drink and drugs (his grandfather died an alcoholic, he saw this and we talk about possible family risks of addiction). I have not seen him drunk (but have dealt with a friend of his who was on a pick up) and we offer him a small lager at family gatherings.

He is head strong, stubborn and feisty - but we know that when we take the time to work things through he does comply eventually. I know that I can get him into the car if I NEED to - the consequences are always phone removal or escalated to phone account closure - but do I WANT to?

I am cross that he has sprung this on us at the last minute - very disappointed that he doesnt want to spend time with us (but it is to a dull place where we go all the time) - and am torn between wanting to to square up to him and frog march him to France - or find a sensible, safe solution that works for all.

He is sensible and very sociable and I really respect him for that - so this is where as I have said at the start -- should I pick my battles?

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Sat 24-Aug-13 12:14:22


If you had posted that at the beginning, your replies might have been a bit different, but it's hard when you are cross! smile

Without having been there, I really don't know.

IF he was shouting, refusing to go and generally stropping instead of asking nicely & talking to you, he would be coming. I would think it more important to remind him that I deserve respect and that acting like that is not going to get him anywhere - that HE will ONLY be listened to when he acts like an adult and not like a stropping child.

I would also tell him that you want to spend time with him, that you have been looking forward to it and that it's important to you to have a family holiday and as he is part of the family he needs to be there. Tell him that if he doesn't want to come next year you will make other arrangements for him, but that having this 'last' family holiday is very important to you and that's that.

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Sat 24-Aug-13 12:15:56

I know it's not always the case (as illustrated above) but the vast majority of the time, when kids this age are made to partake in family events, despite their huffing and puffing, they do enjoy it and they do look back in years to come and are grateful for being made to do it.

gamerchick Sat 24-Aug-13 12:22:09

Don't you have room to take a mate as a compromise?

bigTillyMint Sat 24-Aug-13 12:25:00

It doesn't sound like he is an unreasonable teen, more that the holiday sounds boring (to him) and clashes with catching up with friends. I guess these parties have only just been planned? I think I would have felt the same in his shoes. I worry that if you frogmarch him to France, he will be very miserable, grumpy, stroppy, etc, and ergo, so will you and the rest of the family.

Could he come for part of the holiday, or would it be too difficult to send him back home on his own?

If he is having a reasoned discussion with you (though why so lateangry) then I think you could come to some compromise with him about him staying at home with his grandparents/aunt.

yellowballoons Sat 24-Aug-13 12:32:28

I would need to know how your relationship is with him in general before deciding which way to play it.
And also how he behaves in general before deciding which way to play it.

yellowballoons Sat 24-Aug-13 12:33:51

oops, sorry, didnt see your latest post.
Will have a read.

Cloudkitten Sat 24-Aug-13 12:43:18

NOW you tell us, OP! grin

JenaiMorris Sat 24-Aug-13 12:46:54

I have an almost 13yo and cannot imagine physically being able to force him to do anything against his will if he was that determined. A 3yo, yes. But 13? Ha!

Tilly and Cl0 (and indeed flow) - good posts.

Of course he's being thoroughly unreasonable but that's part and parcel sometimes. The buggers.

valiumredhead Sat 24-Aug-13 12:49:36

You can't physically force a child that age to do something but you shouldn't need to.

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