Anyone got through the teenage years and lived to tell the tale??(13 Posts)
So.....I have a 13 DS (only child) full of anxiety (mostly about going to school) who is currently seeing CAMHS. He was a 'normal' loving boy until approx last July when seemingly overnight I lost him to the land of being a teenager. Never has the Kevin and Perry 13th birthday scene been more true!
I also have a very controlling ex who DS has literally run off to live with. Between them they both hate me and no doubt have wonderful 'lads' time together!!! The ex does an 16 mile round trip twice each day taking DS to school and collecting him again as my DS does not want to be here/with me. I won't go into the ex details, needless to say he controls everything concerning DS who thinks dad is wonderful.
DS has been with me over Easter (because dad was away) for the first time since a disastrous Christmas together . I thought all was well (although I constantly feel as though I am treading on egg shells) but he has today gone to
the dark side his dad's, yet again after DS text him asking him to come and get him. At least he was here for nearly a week!! The ex spends LOTS of money on him, top end of everything, brand new lap top recently for no reason other than the old one was too slow. I can never compete with all that. But yes I admit DS is VERY spoilt!
I am at a loss as to what to do and I truly feel there is nothing more I can do. My partner and I invest our time (quite rightly) and money in trying to make him happy. This last week alone, a day out to a gaming festival (which cost £100 and we took/paid for his friend), £50 spending money, Badminton, pizza, chinese take away, money for bloody FIFA points. We have the odd time when we all laugh together too!! Shocking!
But once again today I am told by DS that I apparently hate him, I don't like him, I don't listen to him, I lie to him and I'm always shouting at him. (I don't) Today through tears he told me he hates me.
I have been very calm through all of this and reassured him that I love him, I don't hate him, I never could, I will always be here for him no matter what, if he has to tell me he hates, me then so be it etc etc.
I have to admit it is stressful him being here as we never know what mood to expect. We have come to blows each night over him being online till late. Hats off to those of you that are happy to have their teens online till when they want, I respect your decision, but I enforce a wifi off (during the holidays) at 10:30pm rule (which ends up being nearer 11pm, then he faffs around and doesn't get into bed until nearer 11:30, even then I'm pretty sure he's messaging again.) Of course he tells me all his friends are allowed up till gone 11pm and dad lets him online till midnight. But I DON'T CARE!! My house, my rules.
He hasn't wanted to go anywhere with us this week and as such my partner and I have been under house arrest since Good Friday (with the exception of the Gaming thing and badminton) He point blankly refuses to go anywhere and if I do manage to get him out he is such hard work and miserable he ruins it for us. I try to do all the things he says he does with his wonderful father but he's not interested as it's 'different' doing it with me. (going into town....ok with dad, never with me)
Last night I turned the wifi off at 11:15 pm. I do wonder if that's what bought today on??
I have cried and cried and cried over the last few months and been very depressed. Reading some of the problems on here I feel almost lucky that this is 'all I have to deal with' but, I do feel I have lost my son. I have grieved for the loss of my wonderful little boy and I am coming to terms with that, as he turns into a young adult. But this constant hatred, when I can't see what I have done wrong is devastating. We've had many heart on heart conversations during which he speaks in riddles and we get no where. He then tells me I don't listen (mostly because I don't really understand what he is saying!!)
DS is a grade A liar (like his dad) of late too which doesn't help. I've given up trying to defend myself in the huge emails I get from the ex telling me what I have done wrong each time. I realised I cared too much about defending myself to the ex. Now I DON'T CARE! God only knows what DS is saying to CAMHS!!
There are many other things that have happened in these few months but this is essentially how it is. For now I feel I need to reclaim my life and stop being so desperate to please DS. All of this effects my relationship with my partner (of 12 years) who loves my son and has been very supportive. Even he feels we can do no more. I will always reassure my son that I will be here for him!
But....Is this now just a waiting game?
Will my son ever come back to me?
Am I right to put all this to the side, as best I can and get on with my life?
Thank you to anyone who replies. x
Teenagers do eventually appreciate the strict parent. I would continue to tell him you love him and your door is open to him. Message him little messages each day as if he was in boarding school. But stop wasting energy on him. Don't engage with all the drama. Talk to him about your own life. Find one or two phrases to use when he ups the pressure like lm sorry you feel that way or lm sure you will work it out. Don't feel you have to spend loads of money on him. Also pick your battles and let every day be a new day. So if he rants and raves wake up next morning and start again. He is playing ye off against another so don't engage. Also don't keep the same script going. Shock him sometimes by getting mad and saying knock it off right now.thats enough and walk away.
Its tough as he has gone to his dad but any teen would choose that as they ultimately only think of themselves right now.
Could you get some counselling for yourself?
It sounds very hard and upsetting for you.
I'm no expert but it sounds like you're doing the right thing.....keeping communication open, don't get drawn into arguments, repeat to him that you love him. Not sure what else you could do.
I do think they go through a stage and then mature and hopefully come back.
I guess the fact that he has his dad to go to complicates things for you. Otherwise he'd have no choice than to stay with you/at home.
Dd has just turned 15yo and hates Dh (her dad). Won't talk to him, yells him she hates him when she does, refuses to call him dad and calls him by his first name and is rude to him a lot. Friends with older dds tell me their dds have been the same. I calmly pull her up when she's rude, point out she doesn't hate him, that he is good to her, etc. But I guess I'm also waiting for the storm to pass.
to be honest, i'd relax a bit on the wifi off thing during holidays, they honestly do struggle to sleep at that age and it is the holidays. School week then you are not unreasonable to insist.
And teenagers don't want to go out with their parents unless it is something they desperately want to do. That is totally normal.
The answer is that you won't get your little boy back as he is no longer a little boy. You have a burgeoning adult on your hands in a boy's body. You need to enjoy who he is now, not what he was. Teenagers are by their nature selfish beings but you as the adult need to let him know that you like him and like spending time with him. liking him will be more important at the moment to him than loving him. It's an easier concept for him to process.
I'd try chilling out with him a bit more and trying to be a bit less controlling about stuff that in the long term doesn't matter such as an extra half hour on wifi during the holidays. Does he still have friends nearby? does he invite them round when he is at yours? Friends can be a big draw to them at that age.
It can't be easy when he has a convenient bolt hole to go to whenever he feels like it and he isn't getting his way, it doesn't seem as if your ex is willing to work and support your relationship with your son so you'll just have to maintain it as best you can until he is old enough to realise that he is missing out.
Thank you for your advice, it seems to go in more when I see it written down for some reason. . I have a friend who allows her teen on the internet until he wants (and not supprisingly, no bedtime conflict) and others who enforce the turn it off at ......?......rule.
I have looked into some counselling for me to hopefully relieve myself of my never ending mothers guilt!!
I never realised the teenage change could be quite so dramatic!!! It doesn't help having a controlling, money orientated git of an ex to contend with though!
Once again it's gin o'clock!
Thank you so much!
Following this thread.
I have a 15 yr old girl with anxiety not as bad at the moment. But we have eating issues with her.
She was looking at a website called pro Anna which totally should be banned. It's scary what's on the internet now! We have blocked this now.
We are in process of seeing cahms.
I come accross a good book recommended on mums net called how to talk so teens wil listen and listen so teens will talk.
So far it's a good book! Eye opening! 😊
I think you are doing the right thing OP. Letting DS control everything is mirroring the abusive behaviour of his dad. Your DS needs to know you love him unconditionally and will always be there for him, but he is a child and you are the adult. Don't engage, don't buy into it. Just reassure, love and stick to your boundaries. Boundaries are really important.
My rules are gaming ends at 10. I want my boys (14 and 13) to have a bit if time without screens before bed to help their brains switch off.
So sorry to read what you're going through at the moment, it's awful to have your child tell you they hate you. But, because we're much older we know it's not true!
My own son (now 20) was, i'm not ashamed to say, a right git around 13-15. I've always been relaxed on wifi issue because he did well in school but he had a horrible habit of siding with the husband over every single issue. He was also a grade A liar and was constantly locked up in his bedroom researching whatever his latest projects were.
It must be even harder when your son's father spoils him so much (from what you say), I think the important thing is maybe to relax a little but not give in otherwise there is just no discipline there. But like others have said, he's growing up and it's not going to be the same anymore. This doesn't mean he's going to act like this forever but you may have to welcome some changes.
Good luck OP
Thank you Fleur1975 and everyone else for your support. I have recognised I need to relax a little, so it was good to read it. It must be true if you have gathered that from my post. It was tense having him home over Easter, my little lad disappeared last July/August and I now have this teenager I don't know and rarely see. He must have felt tension too!!! He went to the ex last Wed and not heard from him since with the exception of a text asking if he could buy an app! Regardless, I will continue to message him once every day or so (don't want to piss him off by being too OTT) without being gushy so he knows I'm here for him. He does reply sometimes, but not often.
I have to embrace the changes and keep some discipline as you say.....just wish/hope I get the chance!
A thousand thankyous xxxxx
Hopefully if you keep building the relationship he'll be more keen to see you more often - it's tough
Why don't you invite him over or out for tea or something - maybe neutral ground just for an hour or two? better a meeting at mcdonalds or for a pizza for a wee while than nothing at all.
It's extremely unfair and generally shit of your ex to go in to competition with you to be the 'cooler' parent. Your child must sense what is going on, that you are both vying to win him, and such childish (I refer to your Ex, you are just doing your best I know) and feel like there is no strong adult leadership in his life. They don't want to be in charge.
God know what your ex is saying to him to rev him up in this pointless game.
All I can say is, 13 for us was by far the worst year, the most hideous combination of wanting to be grown up but just not being anywhere near it, and each subsequent year brings a little more maturity and the opportunity for conversations that will leave their mark on him and make him think a bit. Even now in your conversations allow silence, try to elicit his thoughts with a neutral tack (read how to talk to teenagers so they listen and listen so they talk, will take you five minutes to assimilate the technique).
I agree with PP that meeting up for a coffee or whatever is a good idea. Most importantly, look after yourself.
Thank you. I'm getting so much support from your posts.
Onemagnum, I messaged after reading your post to suggest we did something this afternoon when I finished work, he had a valid reason to not make it, at least he replied. So I suggested Sunday, the reply was a straight "no"
It always hurts as this has happened before a few times (Mother's Day!!) but at least I am trying and leaving the doors for communication open. I messaged today too to say have a good time tonight, no reply.
Mamager, I did buy this book when I was so very desperate (and Get out of my life) both of which I ended up not looking at, such was my despair during the day and desperation to try to switch off from it all at night (when I could sit down to read) I have dug them out and they are both beside me now.
It's good to know (sort of, poor you!) 13 was the worst year. My ds can be very sensible and mature which makes me talk to him in a more adult way at times but there is SO much immaturity there, I need to realise the half child is still very much there.
I definitely need to shut the hell up too (allow silence as you say) I'm very guilty of flogging a dead horse because I feel my point isn't getting across.
Off to do my revision/reading!!
Thank you so much. Xxx
I agree with Junebirthdaygirl.
Stop spending so much money on him. Nobody will win the spending competition your ex has set up. You will lose if you seem to be trying to keep up with dad, or trying to impress DS, and that is how you are going to look to DS, no matter what your intentions are.
Don't try alternative dates when he turns down an opportunity to have time with you. Make him think he gets one bite of the cherry.
You will come across as needy and 'cap in hand' to him the more you try to establish contact and get him to engage, and getting involved in the spending merry go round will only make him contemptuous of you.
If he tells you he hates you, etc., tell him you are sorry he feels that way, not in a miffed or annoyed tone, just matter of factly. Don't try to get him to open up, or explain, and don't say 'but I gave you my last Rolo!' Just let it drop there into thin air.
That is what boundaries are like, in action. Boundaries are the invisible wall you build around yourself and make other people respect. Boundaries are about power. You do not seem to have established good boundaries when it comes to your son. (Boundaries are not rules).
You can and should be in contact with his school, getting information on his progress, how he is getting along with peers and teachers. Elbow your way in there.
Wrt rules, without solid boundaries rules will only become a battleground. I really recommend you get some counseling where you could be taught to re-establish good boundaries.
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