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Son Begs for Takeout Every Night, Refuses My Cooking

(50 Posts)
jamiemars Tue 10-Jun-14 00:13:06

I'm a single mom to two kids, an 8 and 17 year old, on the weekdays. My husband is temporarily away during weekdays for work (til August). My 17 year old is generally angry and barely speaks to me. Most weeknights he calls when I get out of work and asks me to bring home takeout. I usually do it once or twice a week, but I try to cook as much as possible. I am exhausted otherwise. I have a second job as an online instructor for a college, so I have no free time. Tonight I told him NO, because I have to pick up my daughter by 5:45, and I am not driving twenty minutes to get him a burrito when I am close to home when I pick my daughter up. I usually end up hanging up on him because he is relentless.
Well I got home and made him a delicious dinner (leftover grilled steak that my husband had cooked the night before, roasted fresh whole brussell sprouts, shoepeg corn, and brown rice. He refused the plate. So I gave it to my daughter (I had planned to give her something else for dinner but didn't).
My daughter ate most of it, which was great.
So then my son poured himself some salsa and went looking for the chips, which my husband had taken with him to work this morning. So he just left the salsa on the counter. I told him to pour it back in the salsa jar, but he refused. So I had to do it, because it would go bad otherwise.
People may say I am an enabler, but I am at my wit's end. Every little thing is a STRUGGLE. A power struggle. I jsut don't know what to do anymore.
Now I just saw him look in the freezer and cabinets and he didn't find anything. But he will not ask me to make him anything. He is scrounging around for something to eat. But he won't ask for my help.
He would rather starve than eat a nice meal I set in front of him.
Also, he barely says a word to me. He mumbles all the time. I am so sick of it. What do I do? He is so stubborn ... he will cut off his nose to spite his face.

madeofkent Wed 11-Jun-14 17:06:51

I bought mine some cookery books and gave him some cookery lessons. Unfortunately many teens do now live on takeaways because their parents work shifts, so your son will see it as cool because his friends do it. The amount of salt and sugar in them is very addictive so he will crave more. My DS is now a student who can cook cheaply, he is very proud of himself and scornful of his flatmates' pizza boxes. Out of the six of them, only two of them cook. He has far more money left at the end of the month, though. I know it's tiring, but don't give in. Tell him to get a part-time job and buy his own. My 19 year-old is coming home this weekend to cook a father's day meal for his dad. It took a while to get him there, and he used to sneak off at times and particularly when it came to clearing the table and washing-up, but I'm so pleased I did it.

If your son wants a pizza, give him two slices of toast, tell him to cover them with tomato puree, then add chopped mushrooms, peppers, ham whatever and top with slices of cheese and olives. Instant pizza. Or buy him some bases to keep in the freezer. There were definitely a fair few of DS's friends who seemed to live on pizza alone. It's a control thing as well, so don't give in because he will get worse, not better.

HeartsTrumpDiamonds Wed 11-Jun-14 17:11:26

No, shoepeg corn is a real thing.

HeartsTrumpDiamonds Wed 11-Jun-14 17:12:08

And I agree with the others, OP. If he can't be civil, just leave him to it. He won't starve.

Haffdonga Wed 11-Jun-14 17:19:06

I have a 17 year old and a rule:

If you don't like what you're given, then YOU pay for your own alternative.

I can't afford to pay for take outs or to pander to various food fads and whims, but I do provide a good home cooked meal (or ingredients thereof) every day. Don't like? Then buy your own meal with your own money. A 17 year old is perfectly old enough to have a saturday job and buy his own burritos.

Madlizzy Wed 11-Jun-14 18:00:23

I'd tell him to sod off with regard to the takeaway. If he wants it, he pays for it. If he doesn't want what's on offer at home, then tough. He's almost an adult who's acting like a 3 year old, and every time you give in to him, you validate the fact that if he's vile and whingey enough, he'll get what he wants.

Mrsjayy Wed 11-Jun-14 18:41:33

He doesnt hate you he is a selfish self absorbed boy, if he doesn't eat what you cook then he can fend for himself you are heating up pizza because you want him to like you be will continue to treat you this way if you pander to him, how woild you feel if he treated a girlfriend like this, bet you would be mortified he is near ly a grown man dont put up with it

MarmiteMania Wed 11-Jun-14 20:10:08

My dd 17 is also a nightmare with food. I tell her in the morning what I'm making for dinner and if she doesn't want it I just leave some Quorn schnitzels, soup, or she can make herself a baked potato. Not ideal but no argument.

lljkk Wed 11-Jun-14 20:18:47

Really have to go tough on this one, OP. Sympathies. The amount of whinging I get off my kids about food is outrageious.

specialsubject Wed 11-Jun-14 20:22:28

I had a guest last weekend that was behaving a little like this. She is four so it is rather more excusable.

and no, she didn't get takeaway.

jamiemars Wed 11-Jun-14 23:36:07

Thank you, everyone, for your support and helpful advice. I read every post tonight, and am appreciative you took time to respond. This forum is fantastic. The weekly menu - I might try.

It just doesn't get any better.

Tonight I came home around 6 and greeted my son. I asked how he was doing, told him I was preparing dinner, and gave him a few choices - hotdogs, hot corned beef sandwich, chicken broccoli alfredo (frozen bagged meal), seafood salad sandwich. That's all I could think of. He said no to everything. I then asked him what he wanted and he said (angrily), "Well I don't want THAT stuff!" I said, "Then what do you want?" He yelled, "Nothing!" Then he got angry and asked him what his problem was and why did he always have to speak to me that way. He always has a chip on his shoulder. I just can't stand it anymore.

So I just ate, and I fed my daughter, too. My son is still sitting at the computer playing a mindless video game.

He is going to the prom tomorrow and has to be at the school at 6 pm. I'd like to take pictures of him before he goes. That means I'd have to ask to leave work 15 minutes early. I'd gladly do that, but I fear I'd just get home and my son would yell at me for trying to take his picture, and then he'd take right off to school, refusing to have his picture taken. So why bother asking to leave work 15 minutes early?

I just give up. No matter what I do, what I try, my son is an angry, self-absorbed, righteous boy who doesn't do any chores around the house, doesn't think we have the right to "force" him to get a summer job, and who refuses to go anywhere with us (movies, dinner, etc.) on the weekends, despite our repeated efforts to involve him in activities.

I give up. I feel like I am a horrible mother. Look what I have created. I don't think this is gonna get better. I just don't know what to do. I hated my parents when I was a teenager, and I don't want my son to hate me, but it seems I am helpless against his rage.

HeeHiles Wed 11-Jun-14 23:52:37

I have to agree with all the others - disengage! Don't offer any dinner - if he wants something cook it or buy it or eat what I've cooked.

Don't bother inviting him on family outings - most teens don't want to be seen out with their parents so don't take it personally.

I would treat him like a lodger - hello and goodbye and very little else. Tell him if he doesn't like it - get his own place and buy his own food.

I think you need to play 'my house my rules' - you don't like it? There's the door and mean it and don't back down. He will kip at a friends for a while before he comes home with his tail between his legs!

You didn't create this - most teenage boys are surely and non communicative - he'll grow out of it.

jamiemars Thu 12-Jun-14 00:02:51

Thank you, HeeHiles. I really appreciate the supportive words. I feel horrible. He just got up from the computer and made himself some salsa and chips. I know he won't starve. But it is truly insulting that he continually refuses home cooked, hot meals that I make. I try to make healthy stuff, and things he will like. For example, he ate hotdogs recently, so I thought he liked those. After two times, he refused them. I bought high quality, "leaner" hotdogs, higher quality buns, sauerkraut, etc. I would serve it with baked beans or steamed broccoli. No, he refused it tonight. I give up. It seems he hates me so much he won't even touch the food I make.
The best thing for me to do is disengage, you are right.
It is a shame, because if we go out on the weekend, he just sits at the computer and plays video games while we are out enjoying the nice weather, seeing new things, having fun. It is his birthday tomorrow, so I am trying to plan something for us to all do on Saturday. But I fear he will just refuse to go anywhere with us. I don't know why he hates me so much. He is so incredibly insulting.

HeeHiles Thu 12-Jun-14 00:23:05

He doesn't hate you - My DB told my dad he hated him when he was about 17 - now they play golf and eat out together all the time. He'll come back to you, these are tricky years for teenagers, he feels angry due to hormones and wanting to be man but knows he needs you and that makes him angry - it's not you, just teens and their ways. Good luck and I'm sure you'll get a big loving hug from your son in a few years grin

jamiemars Thu 12-Jun-14 04:20:29

Thank you, HeeHiles. That made he feel better, hearing that. smile

Mrsjayy Thu 12-Jun-14 07:15:15

I know his dad Isvaway working but does he know the halfof what goes on, I think you should tell him, fwiw 17yr old girls are no better sometimes dd1 was a nightmare at 17,

HaveYouTriedARewardChart Thu 12-Jun-14 07:36:11

Luckily my dses are a long way from teenagerdom. So I don't know what I'm talking about.

But. This is not about food. This is because he is 17 and full of rage and taking it out on his mother. The more effort you go to to create healthy delicious food the more he will reject it. You need to make it a non issue.

Cook whatever you want for you and dd, and if he wants to join you he can. Please don't agonise over this any more and give him some space to make his own decisions.

But don't pay for, collect or cook for him any alternative meals!

starlight1234 Thu 12-Jun-14 07:46:42

You are not a single mom on a weekday..Your husband is away working.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Thu 12-Jun-14 08:00:37

You are still giving him the chance to say no. Cook what you want and tell him when dinner is ready and even if he's not hungry he should come and sit at the table not play video games. You need to firm up and learn to say no to him.

MaryWestmacott Thu 12-Jun-14 08:43:09

OP, if you do the meal plan for the week, put it up somewhere nice and obvious like on the fridge so he can see what the meals are going ot be. Ifyou do a weekly order, say you are planning the meals for the week and would he like to decide what you will cook one night.

After that, don't give him options, this is what you are cooking, eat it or go hungry. Don't feel you have to sort it for him.

For the prom, go home early and take his photo, can you get your DH to call to talk to him before hand?

(And no, she's not a single mum in the week, but effectively she has all the problems of being a single mum 5 days of the week, she's on her own, there's not a dad that's coming home, even later, and parenting falls just on her on her own.)

itsbetterthanabox Thu 12-Jun-14 09:47:12

Make food. Do make things everyone likes though ofc.
If he doesn't want it he needs to let you know in advance so you don't cook it and waste it!
If you all want takeaway one night then all have but not just for him! He can buy takeaway and have it delivered if he pays for it. Are you paying for it and picking it up? That is crazy! He shouldn't be treated nicer than your dd especially when he could be earning money and she can't.

madeofkent Thu 12-Jun-14 17:21:15

I suppose all mothers see the work we put into making food for our families as love in a physical form, but they don't see it as that at all, they just see it as an inconvenience or as you trying to control them by ordering their lives. He doesn't hate you by rejecting your cooking, he's a mixed up bag of hormones that doesn't know what he wants, like a toddler.

Keep healthy snacky stuff in the fridge and he will feed himself, he won't let himself starve, that's for sure.

My son came back from Uni at Easter and asked me to get in some crisps that he liked, saying he hadn't liked any of the ones I bought in at Christmas. I bought just one packet and he soon caved in and ate the ones in the cupboard. Today I asked if he wanted me to buy anything ready for his return tomorrow, and his reply was that he was fine with whatever I have. Nine months of having to cater for himself has made him a lot more grateful. Your son will grow out of it, don't worry.

My daughter was on Facebook today telling everyone what a wonderful teen she was. I butted in and said I could blackmail her with a few stories. We had a private conversation and it's pretty obvious that either she has a really short memory, or doesn't have a clue how much she used to upset me. She's wonderful now, so there's hope for you!

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Thu 12-Jun-14 17:29:51

I would also suggest that at 17 he should be making dinner once a week for the family.

AgentSchraeder Thu 12-Jun-14 19:05:34

He should be cooking for the family at least once a week at that age! You heated up a pizza? Doesn't he know how to turn the oven on? How will manage when he moves out if he's not been taught how to cook even basic meals? Also, demanding takeaways? If he wants them that badly then he can buy them himself, if he csmt afford it then he eats with the family. I'm not usually so harsh about teenagers on here but this is really ridiculous. If you feel you have a genuinely damaged relationship with him then maybe consider counselling? But either way don't let him treat you like this

AgentSchraeder Thu 12-Jun-14 19:10:19

Also, I think, for everyone's sake, you need to stop taking it personally. Food does not equal love, its just food. Do what I do with my toddler. Here is the food I made, if you want to eat it then do, if not then that's your choice. No alternative will be provided!

madeofkent Thu 12-Jun-14 20:38:15

I think it's down to that working mother guilt thing, isn't it. Whereas he is lucky to have the extra income coming into his family.

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