advice please on how to assert authority on teenage lads!!(14 Posts)
This is my first post and I would be so glad of any advice!
My two boys are 13 & 14 and are suddenly a whole head taller than me already. They are also changing so much, which I know is normal, but is hard to cope with sometimes. They are really good kids generally, but messy and unwilling to leave the house at weekends, etc, preferring to be staring at screens. Any authority I try to assert seems to fall flat. They don't listen to me and I am worried, because my parenting methods always worked before and I don't know how I am going wrong now. My eldest always needs to have the final word and it is driving me insane.
I have just read this back and I sound like I am complaining about nothing I guess what I am saying is: is it normal for them to hate me a bit now? It breaks my heart.
What were your parenting methods?
I think it's normal to reject you. I doubt they actually hate you. It's part of growing up, asserting their own individuality away from their parents.
You also need to change and put more responsibility over their own lives on them and start letting them make their own decisions.
As the mother of three boys, I know exactly what you mean. Yes, they sound perfectly normal, and no, they don't hate you.
Mine are older (my youngest has just turned 17) but close in age like yours, and I experienced the same thing as you are going through now. They all went through a stage at around 13 or 14 where they were quite difficult & challenging at times. The good news is that eventually, by around 17 or so, they turned into nice young men who actually didn't mind spending time with their parents and weren't embarrassed to be seen with us, believe it or not. They don't hate you at all, they are just doing what teenagers have to do as they grow up, and of course, they know exactly which buttons to press because they know you so well.
I hope you don't mind if I pass on a few tips of what helped me get through the teenage years. Feel free to ignore!
I never bothered too much about the mess, just picked my battles and concentrated on what was really important to me. I didn't care about the state of their bedrooms, but made it clear I expected them to bring any mugs or plates to the kitchen every day, and empty their bins and change their bedlinen once a week.
It was hard to get them away from screens
it still is and even harder to get them to go out of the house. I think a lot of them socialise that way these days. The ground rule in this house is no screens until homework is done, and on a school night they have to be off well before bed time. I found negotiating with them on decisions so they felt involved helped quite a lot.
DS2 was a nightmare for wanting the last word & I had to learn to bite my tongue and ignore. Very difficult for me! Just pretend you haven't heard and don't react. DH caught me in the middle of a huge argument with DS2 once & just said to me 'who is the adult here?' which made me think about how I was handling situations.
My DH is very wise and has a great way of getting teenage boys to do jobs without too many complaints. Ask them once, tell them precisely what you want them to do and when you want it to be done by, then leave them to it and don't mention it again until the deadline has passed. If it hasn't been done by then, remind them. It means they don't feel 'nagged' and they are more likely to comply. I've also found writing a list of jobs, leaving it to them to decide between themselves who is doing what and letting them get on with it works well. First to the list gets the 'nicer' jobs. A bit of financial incentive always goes down well, too
Drama - thank you for that really good advice, I will try to take it on board. I think partly I am having trouble letting them grow away from me, and the fact they are not as interested in 'family stuff' anymore I am glad you mentioned about being embarrassed to be seen with me! They are exactly like that! ... Looking forward to that phase being over with.
LWeji - what you say about changing is true, I still tell them to brush their teeth for Godsake, which surely is wrong at age 14, I can certainly see that. I shall have a trial run of all those tips this weekend. Thank you.
Drama, that is really good advice. I too try really hard to ignore and be the adult. But it is hard!
Bluebird, yes, you need to step back a bit - reminding them to brush their teeth for example They don't want to spend as much time with us as they used to - you have to come to agreements on new ground rules and routines as they grow up, don't you?!
Yes Tilly, you are right...big learning curve for me at the moment. I appreciate these comments/advice, makes me feel more positive. I do look back on the babyhood years quite often, which is doing me no favours - I miss my little boys, where did they go?! But I am going to try hard to step back a bit :-s
Bluebird it is really hard to let them grow up and away from you, isn't it?
Those early teenage years are so hard, when they are transforming from your little boys to grown men. DS1 has just turned 21 and DS2 is nearly 20, and DH and I have a great relationship with them amazingly enough after the stormy teenage years. It's different to the relationship we had when they were children, but we are still very close and they seem to enjoy spending time with us which they certainly didn't when they were 14. At that age they didn't like doing family things, but now they are young adults they will voluntarily join in as long as there isn't anything more exciting going on. So there is hope!
My 17 year old is my 'baby' and I'm finding it harder to let him grow up than the other two. I can't quite believe that by this time next year I'll be the parent of three adults
Really good advice Drama
I'm just approaching the teenage years with ds1 so am keenly reading for advice! One question - no screen time till homework done is what I've always done BUT secondary requires lots of homework to be done via a couple of online sites and I'm finding that causing problems with ds opening 2 screens so he's watching/playing whilst doing homework.... I can't switch Internet access off as he needs it for the homework sites - any thoughts anyone?
Yes that is the problem - once on the Internet they can open up as many other tabs as they want. I don't know how parents who say they control their teens screen time know that their teens are only doing homework.
We are hoping the DC will learn to self - monitor and get their homework done too. They are not perfect - DD ends up taking much longer because she gets distracted and DS does the bare minimum, but they have to learn some responsibility for themselves.
We've agreed with DS3 that when he gets home from school he can relax for a bit in front of the TV & have something to eat, then get on with his homework. He's agreed not to go near the computer until all the homework is done. I'm out at work until around 6 pm so in theory he should have it finished by the time I get home.
His school is obviously very behind the times as they don't require use of the internet for homework, so I don't have any personal experience of monitoring that. I'd probably insist that homework was done on the computer downstairs so that I could keep a discreet eye on it, rather than on a laptop in the bedroom.
DS uses the PL downstairs and TV only really puts music on while he works. He does all his social media on his phone
I have two teenagers and took the 'I am in charge and you will do what I say' route when they first starting to challenge me. Four years later and I regret that approach. All it did was give them more reason to flex their muscles. It is a lot easier to be calm and in control and relatively friendly. In the end you probably get the same results but you might retain your sanity.
I really would recommend reading two books - 'Stay out of my life but first take me and Alex to the mall' and 'The Amazing Teenage Brain Revealed'. I should be on commision for recommending these books but they have helped me enormously. Don't wait until they are 16 and 18 like I did.
I have two teenage boys.
When they were very small I avoided all confrontation and discipline. A very good friend spoke to me and said that in the long term it's easier to start young. I'm glad to say that I took her advice and things improved dramatically.
I have never had to discipline/sanction them for years now.
DramaAlpaca Spot on with your tips.
I think MN is way too obsessed with limiting screen time.
OP you miss the things you used to do with them. Find new ones
even if they bore the pants off you. Mine love bowling, go karting, cinema, meals out, going to the gym. All stuff I can do with them.
I've a 15 yr old ds and 14 yr old dd. Both are taller than me (not too surprising as dh is 6'5") but neither have radically changed IMO, although they have both grown up in the last few years. On the down side ds has got less interested in doing stuff with us and much more focused on his online friends. Oh and they are both horribly messy!
We have a chore board which works well - giving tasks to ds with no notice has always gone down very badly. Their rooms are generally their affairs until they get really gross, and they both do acknowledge that we are right to tell them to do a clear up at that point (girl mess IME is much nastier than boy mess). Bed time rules get followed without too much grief.
ds is an argumentative bugger in general. We tend to ignore the grumbling and last word stuff mostly, although dh blows up about it every now and then. We also have a safe word for when things get out of hand (me and ds mostly)
We don't limit screen time (would be a bit hypocritical!) but we are lucky in that school do online marking so we can see their grades on a day to day basis, so it's easy to keep track of plus they are both motivated to succeed (and they don't get much homework, so it's not too overwhelming)
ds and I also do taekwondo together twice a week so we have that time together (and get to kick each other too - probably helps!). dh and dd follow various anime series, so that's their thing.
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