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Struggling with my two 13yr olds-Help please!

(16 Posts)
troublewithteens Fri 04-Apr-14 01:42:31

We have two 13yr old DS's, and I am struggling with them both more than i ever have in the past. Since starting High School they have totally changed from the fairly nice, polite obedient boys we loved into 2 boys we are struggling to cope with.
DS1 was doing extremely well at school, but now teachers say he is "coasting", is very disorganised, despite a lot of help and advice from us and school, and is ignoring homework tasks, then getting upset and angry when teachers punish him, especially as he doesnt accept he is not putting any effort in to things, and is now even more upset as he has been put on a class by class report book, which tbh, isnt really helping his general stress levels, but his school and ourselves think this is the only way forward now.
DS2 is just very angry with us, the world and everyone in it- period! He is doing ok at school, in fact, from a very shaky start last year, he has been improving, but, again, has issues with doing homework, which the school are picking up on, and with his general relationships with his fellow students. Anything we ask him to do or any reminders from us are just countered with very angry outbursts, including verbal abuse and occasional physical outbursts as well, especially towards his twin.
I am now conscious I am starting to nag about things, especially the homework situation, with both of them. I have provided them with everything they need to get it done, the school are punishing them, and they still don't seem to take on board they have have to do it. And anything we ask them to do, from the smallest household chore to cleaning their teeth is met with the same attitude, I am trying to bite my tongue, and not stress over the small stuff, which is hard!
They no longer go to any of their previous sporting extracurricular clubs, although they do still go to a youth group they belong to, they are also tending to neglect their beloved pets, leaving their care and exercising to us unless really nagged. Both will spend all their time on their various gadgets if we allowed them to, so we try to limit screen time, especially as we are struggling to get that homework done, but the only way to do that is removal, as they won't limit this voluntarily, and this is causing extreme outbursts especially from DS2. It is also the only way of punishing them as stopping their allowance hasnt made any real impact. They snipe at each other all the time, and often end up having all out physical fights. This, along with their general horrible attitude, is really getting to me and DH, in fact, the relationship between DS2 and his dad especially is at breaking point as he is so rude to his father.
Any advice/support will be gratefully received.

beelights Fri 04-Apr-14 09:12:25


I am single-parent mum to teen twins (16 DS/DD). You have my sympathies. First of all, don't panic. It is horrible but normal. They are rearranging their identity in relation to you the parents and each other. The first throes of this is not pretty...I think it may be harder for twins as they have more work to do to establish individual identity. Try not to overreact or project worst-case scenarios for the future. You and DH need to hold a firm line on priorities (for me that was NO physical violence however minor, being civil, being safe, and some random tidiness things to create a baseline). I also set down a firm limit for screen time, ie, till 6pm each evening. There were major dramas at first, but eventually it became the norm. I also found having one treat night that they really looked forward to helped (eg Friday night fish and chips).

My two also gave up outside activities. I think this is also normal but with hindsight I would have tried a little harder to encourage them to get into something outside the house, whatever it was. As for school work, the naggy thing is very easy to fall into. It is a very fine balance between nagging and keeping structure. Nagging can affect your relationship with them and you want to keep talking to them and the communication channels open. I suggest the brilliant book 'Staying Connected to Your Teenager' by Riera. On the other hand, you need to keep a firm but gentle homework structure (set times, planner to sign off??) with some accountability, whilst leaving them to face the consequences of their (non) action. It is a hard balance which I am still trying to find...

I don't know your family situation, but what you are going through does sound very familiar. The good news is that it does pass, the bad news is that parents of twins (and especially combative twins I think) just have to gird their loins and decide how to handle it without panicking. It is a bit like developing a kind of warrior insouciance. When it is not serious but just gruelling, then you have to learn to laugh (to yourself!) at their awfulness. I would say that however hard it is, don't turn it into catastrophising (ha! you should see my threads here on MN!) and keep remembering that they are re-forming their identity, along with huge hormonal and psychological shifts and it is a messy process.

Good luck!

MrsJackAubrey Fri 04-Apr-14 16:44:31

I have DC and DS twins of 16 and agree with everything Beelights said smile

At about 13 they changed hugely in their behaviour to each other and to the world. For the last 6 months they've said they loathe each other, and showed disgust and contempt to each other at every opportunity. We kept them separate as much as possible, tried never to link them together (ie no "you are both... you two are driving me...) but to talk to them as v separate people. I found it v hard not to 'agree' with one who was moaning to me about the vileness of the other, because yes I too can see that X was unreasonable, stroppy, selfish, lazy and aggressive. So it was very enticing to have a bitch-fest with one, about the other. But don't do it!!!

Lo and behold - now they are talking again. It must be incredibly claustrophobic being a twin. Particularly same gender twins.

Do they have own rooms? Different classes at school? Different friends? I think these things are v important for twins.

I do believe things will get better for you. You sound like you're doing the right things. Sorry not much help but wanted to say something to you!

troublewithteens Sat 05-Apr-14 19:28:01

beelights and mrsjack, thank you for your replys, I'm glad they are "normal" in your eyesgrin
Yes, they have separate bedrooms, and they were seperated when they went up to High School, they are not only in different classes, but in different halves of the year. To be honest, a lot of our real problems started at this point. DS1 took to it like a duck to water, revelled in being more individual, (which surprised me, as I thought it would be his brother who would do that) he made new friends and really took off academically. DS2 struggled badly from the start, did some really stupid things to try and establish his own identity and getting in to a lot of problems.
They are id twins, and, although they look totally different to me (obviously!) the school have difficulties in telling them apart unless they are side by side, which doesn't help.
They are so, so competitive, always have been, and seem to either be hugging and giggling like little kids or fighting and annoying each other, there is no happy medium.
Did you find your twins were a bit immature compared to some of their peers, or is it just my two?

ThreeLannistersOneTargaryen Sat 05-Apr-14 19:34:34

One fourteen year old in this family is testing enough. I'm not relishing the thought of my nine year old twins reaching adolescence.

beelights Sun 06-Apr-14 15:48:08

My twins definitely so. Also went from being OK together to fighting like cat and dog as they hit their teens. I would say my two are behind their peers in terms of informal 'milestones' like being interested in boyfriends/girlfriends, socialising comfortably, being confident travelling on public transport confidently...

chicken53 Thu 10-Apr-14 20:19:59

Hello troubleswithteens and all, I have ID twin girls of 13 and am going through the same. From being ultra close and loving, they have turned to bitching about each other, arging over anything, and being an absolute nightmare.This started with the move to high school. Both want to keep their friends to themselves and dont want to share friends anymore (as they did at primary) Im a single mum and also finding it difficult to say the least!
I think as others have said its all about finding their own identity and place... doesnt make it any easier for those in the fall-out zone though!
There seems to be a lot of info out there for parents of baby or young twins... but little for those of us whose DC have morphed into monsters!
And I agree, mine are and always have been more immature compared to their peers.

troublewithteens Sat 12-Apr-14 01:02:47

Hi chicken - I think a mix of hormones and High School has a lot to answer for!
These Easter school holidays have been a nightmare, but it isnt entirely their fault. I started a new job last week, not good timing I know, but I was made redundant, so didn't really have a lot of choice. Unfortunately it has meant them being ontheir own quite a bit (with next door keeping a close eye) so it has not helped the bickering, mind you, they seem to also have had quite a few moments of cooperation, making lunch for each other etc. I am dreading Easter weekend, as, unfortunately, I am working the Friday Sunday and Monday on long days (shitty off duty!) S the boys will be spending a lot of time alone with their dad. I just hope that I don't come home to a war zone each evening.

troublewithteens Sat 12-Apr-14 01:08:35

Oh, and you are right - loads of advice for problems with younger twins, and also loads of books and advice about teens, little or no advice about teen twins. I have even asked the school for advice, and they have been pretty good, and have even done a CAF referral to see if they can get extra help.

Claybury Sat 12-Apr-14 16:03:56

You have my sympathies. Dealing with one 13-15 year old DS was awful. I can only imagine having the problem squared. The replies above are good ! Good luck and try to keep some perspective. X

chicken53 Mon 14-Apr-14 20:40:58

Hormones and high school... yup I think you hit the nail on the head Troubles. Not easy is it. I have two older DC, 19 and 24 and although it was rough going for a while, it was NOTHING like teen twins! But nothing is like bringing up twins is it? A totally different experience all the way.
It used to make me annoyed when my girls were babies/toddlers when other mums said to me " I know what you are going through.. I had my two close together" ACTUALLY NO!!! Two close together is nothing like having twins! I feel like its the same again now they are teens.
But we can do it! We did double sleepless nights, nappy changing,feeding,bathing,toddler tantrums, running off in separate directions in the supermarket lol... we can do this too!

Good luck this weekend, can`t be easy having to work over it and worry about your terrible two. Take each day as it comes (that`s what I do now) and make the most of the positive times they have together.
PS.. if you find any advice or books on teen twins, please send them my way!

louby44 Mon 14-Apr-14 21:22:10

Wow and I thought my DS14 & DS11 were bad!

You have my sympathies but at least we all seem to be going through the same things!

troublewithteens Thu 17-Apr-14 23:41:14

Chicken - every thing you said, from the comments about havin 2 close together to the supermarket nightmare are so familiar!
We also have the nightmare of bloody school trips, we have had 2 come up this year. One was for 2015 and £800 and the other for 2016 and (only!) £1200. My 2 were desperate to go on them, and the school said "oh, you can pay monthly", but for either trip it would have worked out at £100 a month, and we just haven't got that sort of spare cash! A lot of their friends are going on one or in some cases, both trips, and I feel so sad that my 2 can't go on either, and this has caused bad feeling as well.

Custardo Thu 17-Apr-14 23:43:19

my DTs are now 21.

If i could have a do over, i would ban the internet, its got a lot to answer for

MrsJackAubrey Sun 20-Apr-14 20:19:32

My dd is more mature than her twin brother always has been ahead a little. I assume it's a girl thing! His girlfriend is also her school friend which complicates matters when gf texts dd to say things (good OR bad!) about her brother! Vv competitive about school grades at the mo with pending gcses. I used to go mute with irritation when people said that stuff about having "2 under 3" and this being like having twins. They have hated sharing birthdays all their life poor devils. Also now they go to parties together I do get the lowdown on what the other one got up to which is convenient. I'm sad that we will have a real "all or nothing" when they both leave for uni - no gradual reintroduction to child free house just bam! Empty nest. I do wonder if I'm right thinking parenting twins is tougher than 2 separate kids but tbh I suspect just being a parent is fraught and tough

lucydaniels4658 Mon 21-Apr-14 13:30:19

My DD is 13 and just as you described angry ,rude and no intrest in school work at all ! She has been on report for a year! She has had issus with ex "friends" which has contributed to her anger ! But as bad as this sounds bribery is beginning to work she gets pocket money weekly and if shes not done her homework or been rude i deduct some initially she had nothing for weeks but there is a tiny improvement now taking her phone is another sure fire way of getting things done (after 2 hours of screaming how shit her life is and how nasty i am and the occasional call to childline!). Unfortunatley consequences make our lives MUCH harder initially but hang on in there!

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