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16 Year old Son

(129 Posts)
Unsupported1966 Mon 01-Dec-14 12:13:19

Hi All

Been struggling for a number of years with my son and have gone for counselling with him to see if we could make our home a happier place.

I guess I am the horrible dad who gives out the punishments and my wife simply tells me I am making things worst, she says this in front of my son so my son see's we have a weak link straight away and enjoys the fact my wife does not support my actions.

I guess right now I am wondering what I should do, and I so miss the "father son bond" that we use to have

Guess I should say what the problems are .....
My son is now 16 and everyday "we do battle"
my son calls my wife names something which she has got so use to she doesn t even seem to notice! He calls me a "knob" and says "I hope you get run over" or "I hope you die in a car crash" - to be honest yes it hurts but I can live with the name calling but over the last 6 months it's has become more violent and I have been punched by him on two occasions, he tells me I am a control freak, and I guess the only punishment I am able to do is turn his beloved Internet off, so I can see I am trying to control him but cannot see any other way to bring some kind of discipline into our house

He like many 16 year old boys plays Xbox, over the last few years he has become more and more addicted to it and spends hours and hours on games, most of them are the shooting games and of course we can hear him shouting at his tv screen and he comes down stair and I guess is still in the "angry gamer mood" and any small thing we might say to him we get a load of abuse shouted at us, and so I turn the Internet off, he then gets more and more angry and it all kicks off

The easiest thing for me to do is just turn a blind eye to his behaviour and just get on with my life but he has no life outside his "xbox friends" - they call them "clans" and he has never met any of these people so it is difficult to call them friends, this weekend he spent all weekend on his xbox, other than coming down for meals which on every occasion ended up with us arguing at the table

So am I a control freak by knocking the Internet off, I do wonder if I just shouldn t take the Xbox completely out of the house and see what happens after that, to be honest any advice would be grateful as I know I am not the only one who is having trouble with the Xbox

My son is 16 years old, not a child anymore and I miss him

LadySybilLikesCake Mon 01-Dec-14 12:25:39

Oh dear sad

You need to pull him off the X Box. It sounds like an addiction to me and by letting him get on with it, you're really not helping. There's some info here I wouldn't remove it, cold turkey can be really tough. I'd get him out of the house and away from it, little by little and build it up. Can you have some father and son time, go cart racing or something and make it a regular thing? Would he be prepared to take up a hobby with you? Something, anything, just to get him out of the house and socialising with physical people, not people on the web. You do need to find a way to limit screen time and this would help. I do think you need advice from people who know about this though, so the may be able to help more.

Your wife and you need a united front. He shouldn't be calling her or you names or being offensive, you both need to pull him up on this rather then letting him get away with it. 16 is still a child, he's still learning about himself and the world so he needs as much support and guidance as a 5 year old.

ChillySundays Mon 01-Dec-14 13:43:37

I agree with LadySybil that the xbox should not be taken away completely. Why shouldn't he have some down time and use that time as he wishes. So there will have to be a way of limiting the time spent. My DS (16) spends a fair bit of time on it but he is playing against his friends who he went to school with. He is at a different college to the rest of his group so it's their way of keeping in touch. If they came round the house they would still play on the xbox but I would end up feeding them. And yes he does shout at the tv

How are is grades? If they are suffering all the more reason to be getting him off it.

Is he looking at getting a part time job? This would get him out of the house for a bit. Would he get involved in helping you - my DS will quite happily help wash the cars, do some gardening, help decorate.

I would never dream of disagreeing with my DH in front of the DC. If I thought he was being unreasonable I would be telling him in private. Violence is not acceptable and if this is not stopped it may well get worse as you start laying down some rules. There is sometimes name calling in this house but never in anger - 'knob' is used when someone has done something really stupid not because I have said no to something.

If you can afford it then pay to go out and do something. Sometimes all I do is go out to the garden centre for cake with them, other times it may be a more expensive trip out. Just depends.

Hopefully there will some more advice from others later in the day.

ChillySundays Mon 01-Dec-14 13:46:16

Just realised that I missed the counselling bit. What has the counsellor said? I am presuming that things have got worse not better?

Moniker1 Mon 01-Dec-14 13:50:15

Sounds like you are doing the best you can. Stick it out if you can. What does the school say. He could be almost over the worst of teenage behavior at 16.

Unsupported1966 Mon 01-Dec-14 13:55:02

Thank you to you both for useful replies, I agree it would good if we could have something we could do together, will get my thinking head on, think we will have a family talk and see if he is willing to limit the Xbox and thus we can then have some family time.

I would be happier if he was talking to his real life friends on the Xbox but they have all stopped calling round for him as I guess they got tired with him just telling them he wasn t going to come out. The people he chats to are just names and I really haven t a clue ages etc.

He did have two paperounds last year but gradually got bored of working and my wife and I ended up doing them, we had to go to the newsagent in the end and finish them as he wouldn t leave his Xbox.

Once again thank you for your replies, it has given me something to think about already

Unsupported1966 Mon 01-Dec-14 13:59:34

Oh by the way, just been to his parents evening last week he is in sixth form and met his teachers......all said he was doing just about enough, but certainly not what they would class as his best efforts. We never see him do any homework but he tells us he does it in free time he has at school.

TheHoneyBadger Mon 01-Dec-14 14:01:22

i think maybe a focus on relationship rather than discipline might help.

how about a straightforward conversation the two of you - out of the house somewhere else and lay it on the line - re: you are my son, i love you, i've loved you for 16years and always will BUT i can't cope with my home being a war zone and being called a knob in my own home - that is NOT going to happen so what do we do because seriously mate i am NOT going to live and pay bills in a house where i am treated like shit by you.

my son is 7 and we already do a version of this when he is out of line where i reach my limit and say, 'i am not willing to live like this, home needs to be nice and good for me as well as you and it isn't if you're being rude and horrible and i won't live like that - should i have to live like that?'. clearly easier with a 7yo in some ways but in other ways easier to have a man to 16yo boy chat - swear if needs be, be human, have a beer, whatever - something that makes him sit up and see you as a person rather than just dad.

maybe put it to him as a question - re: if you were a grown man, working hard, paying the rent/mortgage, feeding, clothing and protecting your son and he thought he call you a knob and treat you and his mum like shit and speak to you like dirt what would you do? seriously what would you do?

time for a 'man to man' (quotations because i do with my son and i'm a woman without a man in the house).

TheHoneyBadger Mon 01-Dec-14 14:02:31

ps - take him somewhere grown up for the conversation - a pub, a restaurant whatever. let him be surrounded by other adult males in an environment that strongly divides people into grown ups and little kids iyswim so he feels the requirement to choose which he is.

TheHoneyBadger Mon 01-Dec-14 14:03:23

oh and for god's sake don't do his paperounds for him!!!

TheHoneyBadger Mon 01-Dec-14 14:07:04

and i'd spell out that he's not going to be living there for that much longer and let him realise that you and your wife have a marriage and a life that will continue after he has gone. it's a grow up thing really isn't it? a realisation that yes we love you and we're here for you but no you're not the centre universe my love and we are not obligated to be treated like dirt by you and you are taking the piss and behaving childishly and hideously. lay it on about how you hope you'll still have a good relationship with him after he's left home, when he's dealing with his own home and family etc.

i think you need to try and connect with and encourage the man he's going to be now rather than the kids he's acting like.

Unsupported1966 Mon 01-Dec-14 14:21:09

Hi chillysundays

Yes went to couselling, first of all he went by himself for four weeks, had a chat with a lady and had biscuits to eat. He came back each time and told me the lady said it was my fault and I should not turn off the Internet

I then went with him and she advised me that the turning off the Internet was the problem, -( now to be honest she was completely right, all our disagreements were caused by me turning the Internet off and thus he wasn t able to play with his online mates) it was the thing that was causing the arguments, she said why didn t I get rid of the reason we were arguing and not switch the Internet off at all (normally the Internet goes off at 11.00 o clock at night) I was concerned about him staying up and playing Xbox through the night and basically making the situation worst but she said that his own body would tell him when he was tired so let him set his own bed/gaming time

So I said I would try it, my son was very happy with the outcome, for the next few days i did what I said I would do, my wife got up the second night of "the experiment" at 3 in the morning and my son was still up playing on the Xbox, I emailed the lady and she said to Continue with not touching the Internet, after about 4 days we went through one of our worst weeks with my son, swearing, he was very angry obviously he was so tired so I went back to the couselling and said it had made things worst, after that she saw my son a few more times but after that my son stopped going.

So we are back to the knocking the Internet off at 11 (weekdays) I did try giving him later Internet at weekends ( 2 o clock) but all he did was stay on the Xbox longer and of course he was tired so the arguement got worst

Isn t it funny when you start writing things down you feel better and it is great to know your not the only "failing parent".

Any advice great fully received

Unsupported1966 Mon 01-Dec-14 14:28:55

Thank you thehoneybadger,

Great advice about talking to him in a grown up environment, thank you for taking the time and replying.

"Encourage the man he is going to be not the kid he is acting like now"

spot on !

dingit Mon 01-Dec-14 14:37:38

Oh god. I am not enjoying reading this. I have a 13 year old who is exactly the same. He quit scouts. He tried cadets. His mates don't call, because he only likes his xbox. It's only going to get worse, I try and limit his time, but still feel I am letting him down. hmm And posting this hadn't really helped you, sorry.

TheHoneyBadger Mon 01-Dec-14 14:49:12

so deal with it now dingit because yes it does get worse. my next door neighbour has a now 19yo son who does a supposedly full time but nothing like what we mean by the term in common parlance fe course and spends all night every night on the xbox screaming and shouting and keeping people awake. he is arrogant and rude to adults and never does anything with friends, his only girlfriend thus far was an online one from another country and he still lives like a kid who even when he has 10wks off from college doesn't dream of looking for work.

but don't abdicate responsiblity onto 'it's the xbox'. liking gaming and screens and being disrespectful and inconsiderate are two different things. tackle the real problem rather than blame it on an activity imo.

dingit Mon 01-Dec-14 15:03:23

So how much time would you allow on it?

Unsupported1966 Mon 01-Dec-14 16:03:46

Hi dingit,

Well at least your seeing there is a problem,and seeing it at an earlier time than me, my son was bad a few years ago but I can t say he was violent ( like he has become now) and I think he still had real life friends, it seemed when he went into year 11 he just stayed in his room and the friends just stop calling round. I love technology, I guess it was me that brought the Xbox into our home and now I am paying the price

LadySybilLikesCake Mon 01-Dec-14 16:57:01

It's not your fault. My son has an x box and it's rarely used, it's down to choice. Could you erm fiddle with his TV so he can only use his x box in the living room? It does help to cut down screen time, especially if there's interesting things on the TV too.

dingit Mon 01-Dec-14 16:58:10

I don't think you can blame yourself, most of DS s friends have the confounded things too.
It's much easier just to let him be, but I'm not doing him any favours. As he is only 13, we try and go out as a family to various activities, and once he's doing them he enjoys himself. Could you take up a hobby together? What do you do? My dh sometimes takes ds to golf, but again, he's not that interested. At home he quite likes cooking, so I am nurturing that. He never picks up a book.
What does your ds want to do as a career? We met a lovely lad on holiday who loved gaming, did a degree in programming, and had just got his first job with King, ( the candy crush people), so maybe something could come from that?

LadySybilLikesCake Mon 01-Dec-14 17:16:43

It's really tough to distract them. When I was a kid (showing my age here) we'd be out all the time playing. There's far too many cars now and children are kept inside a lot and X Box/internet is used to occupy their time. I know my son uses his laptop too much and it can be addictive and it's really easy to lose track of time. I work from home so when I'm not working I try to take him out or watch a movie. It's really easy to let them get on with things though, then come 10pm and you're trying to get them off to bed it's a battle. You're really not to blame though, he's got stuck in a cycle and he needs help breaking it.

dingit Mon 01-Dec-14 18:03:29

He's very much like me as a kid, I wasn't very confident and quite liked my own company, but in prehistoric times, I only had books and music. He's much more confident over the internet!
We've had chat about it, and he's going to do 'fitness Friday' after school, as he doesn't do much else. On Saturday we are at a family gathering, and once Homework is done on Sunday he can have some x box time.

ChillySundays Mon 01-Dec-14 22:19:08

I would be very concerned about his college work. This needs to be addressed but in a way that is not going to start him off again. If he doesn't improve it could affect what he does in the future. Is it the xbox causing the problem or part of it is that he not enjoying the course. After a Y11 where my DS did very little but managed a decent-ish handful of GSCEs (could have done a lot better) he is now doing a BTEC in a subject he is absolutely loving and there have been no problems with assignments and the grades have been way better than I thought

All sorts going on at their age.

NeitherHereOrThere Tue 02-Dec-14 10:57:35

He needs activities to replace the time he spends on the x- box - you can't just take it away and expect he to be able to fill his time with other things without support from you.

I made a deal with my DC that they are allowed screen time as long as they continued with their sports/activities/pt jobs and are working hard at school. It does means that we spend a lot of time taxiing them around and standing on muddy pitches but we would not have it any other way.

We also spend time together by going on day trips e,g trips to cities are really popular with teens.

Unsupported1966 Tue 02-Dec-14 12:10:13

I certainly think the Xbox is the problem, as I have said he plays the Xbox, shouts at the screen, swearing at the other players and then we call him down for dinner/tea and he is still in the "gaming world" and thinks it is ok to swear at us or be disrespectful to us.

I am going to get some activities sorted, he is a very good guitarist and songwriter and I am also very interested in recording music so I am aiming to have some father/son time and see if we can work together on something

We had a row again on Sunday night and I have taken his Xbox away, we are now at stalemate as he says he won't do anything I say until he gets it back, I have told him he will not get it back until I see a marked improvement in his behaviour to his mother and me.

So although we are at stalemate my son hasn't got his Xbox and the house is more peaceful as he isn t shouting/swearing at the screen,he has shut himself away in his room and last night watched a movie and even played his guitar, I guess he was doing anything other than having to come down and speak to me.

the question now is should I give him the Xbox back knowing that this will result in a return of bad behaviour. If he is addicted to Xbox, and I think a lot of kids are ,
should I feed his addiction? Is it correct to just take it away "cold turkey"

Once again thank you for everyone who has commented , I guess this is why this is so popular it is great to have such a wide range of advice which you can read and think about and decide the best way forward.

I guess all dads know there will be conflict between father and son during the teenage years I just hope I don t do so much damage to our relationship that we never recover.

NeitherHereOrThere Tue 02-Dec-14 12:28:57

I think you need to help him wean himself off the x box - I would give it more time without the x box to break the habit. Don't give in too soon or you will be back at square one.

Then when he is allowed back on his x box, I would negotiate an agreement containing terms and conditions for you both to sign, explaining that you all have to right to live in a peaceful home and be treated with mutual respect etc.

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