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Cracking under DS 14's constant criticism

(54 Posts)
howtocope Wed 01-Feb-17 23:08:27

How do you handle criticism from your teen? It seems DS can't speak to me without telling me what I'm doing wrong. Tonight it was that I should've had a full time job (I'm a SAHM) and he would be more confident and independent. Yet he complains whenever he has to get his own breakfast or do anything around the house.

I've tried just blowing it off but it wears me down. Ended up getting upset and in tears tonight which DS says means I'm weak and makes it impossible for him to respect me. Honestly! He can be such a little shit but ignoring it seems to just make him amp it up until he gets a reaction, getting angry is exhausting and does no good, feeling upset draws more criticism. Help!

fuzzywuzzy Wed 01-Feb-17 23:09:36

You make your 14year old breakfast?

ImperialBlether Wed 01-Feb-17 23:10:00

It's a sign he's feeling really crap about himself, isn't it? He's bullying you to make you cry, so that for a moment he feels better. Then he will feel worse; that's the way it is.

Do you have another adult there with you? It's very stressful dealing with teenagers who are feeling so mixed up.

TheCakes Wed 01-Feb-17 23:13:46

I'm going to sound really harsh now, but I'd ground him till he learned some respect. I won't stand for bullying in my house and I've had to take a hard line at times.
They need to know it's not OK for the sake of our family and their future relationships.

ImperialBlether Wed 01-Feb-17 23:15:39

Trouble with grounding a 14 year old is they're at home moaning their bloody heads off all the time - I felt it was more a punishment for me than them.

howtocope Wed 01-Feb-17 23:17:19

Imperial, I wondered about that. Any advice on how to help him? We've discussed talking it over with someone but he refused. He saw a counselor a few years ago and says it's useless. His girlfriend is from a very different background (single mum, five kids, mum working so the kids have to be independent) and I wonder if DS is feeling guilty about his own homelife.

Yes, I make breakfast most mornings. As a SAHM I feel like it's part of the job.

booellesmum Wed 01-Feb-17 23:19:47

Ground him in his room.
Tell him if he thinks working is so important he can get a job to earn his own pocket money.
Tell him if he doesn't appreciate what you do you may as well not do it. Stop washing for him and cooking for him.
Be brave and stick to it.

howtocope Wed 01-Feb-17 23:20:32

I took his phone away for rudeness this morning which started the argument tonight when he wanted it back before the 24 hours was up. Agree that punishments can be a pain in the ass at this age.

My husband is here but he finds the behaviour just as difficult as I do.

ImperialBlether Wed 01-Feb-17 23:21:02

Are you still with his dad? What does he have to say about it?

fuzzywuzzy Wed 01-Feb-17 23:25:42

He's 14 he can get his own breakfast.

I'd be grounding him/docking pocket money/taking away screen time. Whatever, for being rude.

And he'd be doing things for himself more. Sham doesn't mean skivvy.

fuzzywuzzy Wed 01-Feb-17 23:26:07

SAHM not sham

Bensyster Thu 02-Feb-17 07:28:34

I'm a SAHM and I think we differ enormously on what we think the role entails. I'm not here to be a servant. It's more effort to get the dcs to contribute than it is to do it myself! Making a contribution to the running of the household is a good thing - and the reward is the feeling that you have contributed not that you get your pocket money.
This blame thing that often crops up, needs to be addressed. Ds is very fond of attempting to shove the blame for any screw up onto anyone else. But I refuse to enable this poor behaviour.....taking responsibility for your actions is an essential part of growing up.
Do not get into an argument, it just creates unnecessary unpleasantness - there are no winners, just more upset and angry words exchanged. I think quite often we get into a bit of a habit of shouting and anger with our teens and we don't know how to press the reset button.
We usually do a love bombing session when we feel we are getting stuck on a downward path of behaviour it's amazing how much it improves cooperation but another idea to break the is to try a day of what imagining the neighbours have moved into the house for the day and you have to watch your p's and q's every time you speak. It's bloody hard, the idea is to try it for a day, maybe once a week to begin with - write down how many times you fail to keep your cool and see if you can improve but when your relationship is breaking down putting it back on the right track does wonders.

TheCakes Thu 02-Feb-17 07:45:15

I agree with Bens about contributing to the household. I really think he needs bringing into line, because the way he treats you is the way he will go on to treat future partners.
Sounds like he's testing the boundaries. They need to be firm. Sit down with him, set out exactly what is and isn't acceptable, write it down if you need to, and what the privileges and consequences will be. Then stick to them.
Sounds to me like he needs to learn his place, and there is no reason you can't give him all the love and support he needs with firm boundaries and consequences in place.
Tough love time. It's for his good as much as yours. flowers

Veterinari Thu 02-Feb-17 07:52:39

You're a SAHM, not a servant - your job is to raise him to be a self sufficient adult contributing to society, not to do everything for him. He doesn't respect you or the work that you do. I think you need to redefine your boundaries, get him involved in contributing to the running of the household and stop infantilising him.

Love bombing and reinforcement of good behaviour is important but if you set yourself up as a skivvy, that's how he'll treat you (and his future partners) At 14 he'll be pushing boundaries and whilst it might seem odd to you the chances are that he envies his girlfriend's independence and life skills and this is leading to resentment of you.

Doyouthinktheysaurus Thu 02-Feb-17 07:56:55

your ds sounds fairly vile in his attitude toward you.

I get some of this from ds1(14) and he definitely targets me rather than dh, I am closer to ds1 and I think that's why.

I think it's stress and hormones. Not an excuse, I hate it but I can see with my ds that when deadlines are looming and the homework piles up, his attitude gets worse. I try to ignore as much as I can, I have pulled him up on it a few times and reminded him that if anyone else talked to me like he did, I would boot them out. Actually that has made him stop and think and he does apologize. Although to be fair, I am aware I am probably getting off quite lightly with ds1, his attitude can be horrid but I think your situation sounds a lot worsethanks

I can only echo what others have said, stop doing things for him! And keep in mind, if you were working, that would be what he was criticizing! It's tough being a teenager, there is a lot of pressure on them.

Skooba Thu 02-Feb-17 07:57:19

I read somewhere that DSs have to make a break from their relationship with their DMs in their teens.
They have to do this in order to become independent men. Can't remember it all but that was the gist and true enough I found my DS whom I'd been very close to as DH worked away alot, became grumpy and distant with me then, and to be honest I think he still struggles a bit now 10 years on. I think he felt protective of me, wiht DH being away, so it made it harder to distance.

If you can see it just as him maturing and not take it personally it would be less upsetting, as that is probably what it is.

BakeOffBiscuits Thu 02-Feb-17 08:08:15

As others have said you.and your DH should be trying to bring up a kind, respectful and independent person. Sorry, but aren't doing that st the moment!

TBH I don't think it's the making his breakfast that's the issue. I used to make my dds breakfasts right up until they left school, but they had porridge or poached eggs/bacon. However if they had spoken to me like your ds is speaking to you, I wouldn't have made it!
Mine did do things for themselves- their own washing, clearing up after tea and doing the dishwasher, cleaning and hoovering their rooms. (When they had deadlines and exams, I did do it for them)

You need to get him to do things in the house and to speak to you with respect, if he doesn't your goodwill goes and he does all his own stuff.

IrenetheQuaint Thu 02-Feb-17 08:10:33

Tell him he's right that confidence and independence are great qualities, and that means things like being able to feed yourself and keep your living space tidy.

gazingatthestars Thu 02-Feb-17 08:13:44

Does your oh treat you with love and respect or has ds picked up that he can criticise you from his father?
You need to set firm boundaries and if he says something that upsets you make him have consequences - don't minimise it by saying oh well maybe it's cos of his girlfriend or maybe I should have gone to work..
do work on his independence too - at his age he should be making his own breakfast and doing a share of the chores round the house.

user1485706893 Thu 02-Feb-17 08:18:31

My mum was a sahm and she stopped making me breakfast when I was 10 (well before then it was hit and miss but she used to get up at least) after 10 she didn't even get up in the morning. She had a difficult baby though, 10 years younger than me so if he actually slept she had to sleep.
Anyway now my brother is 21 and he's a spoilt little tosser (I love him dearly but he is) he bullies my mum, mostly to do with food. Gets in rages because there's nothing he likes etc. It's my mums fault though because even now she moans about it and never does anything to change it (guilt for one thing and another)
Point is nip it in the bud before it's a grown ass man doing it to you. He might have problems like OP have said so try to figure them out etc but needs more responsibility, making his own breakfast is a good start. I was cooking family meals at 13.

NowtAbout Thu 02-Feb-17 08:20:26

Stop with the breakfast! Jesus he will be useless and not respect you. My kids are currently downstairs making their pack lunches and they are still in primary school. Important life skills.
He will only start respecting you if you realises how hard you work for him. I went out with a lad at university who is mum was like this couldnt even make pasta at the at if 19. It didn't last long. It was quite embarrassing for him howin adequate he was at Looking after himself.

As for the rudeness tell him. Very calmly explain he is being very rude needs to stop.

picklemepopcorn Thu 02-Feb-17 08:23:11

Smile, pat his head and say how pleased you are that he is growing up and wants to take on a more adult role.

Give him a laundry basket and tell him he is now responsible for his own washing.

Stop making his breakfast. What is he having? If you want him to have a protein breakfast show him how to do microwave eggs and leave ready cooked sausages in the fridge for him to warm up.

Detach a bit emotionally and remember you are the grown up, he only has as much power as you give him. Build up your personal reserves, give yourself a good talking to, and fight back.

One last thing, has he learned how to speak to you from your DH?

EchidnasPhone Thu 02-Feb-17 08:27:50

I stopped making the breakfast for them at 5. They are capable of pouring cereal into a bowl & the milk. They were allowed to make toast from 6 years old. These are life skills. That is my job as a mother whether I'm a sahm mum or not. The lack of respect really needs to be tackled. Can you get a trusted relative to talk to him? I'd perhaps limit interactions with him when he is being rude. Send him to his room or outside. Take away his electronics. Set up a points system/reward chart something visual to see what his actions are doing. His words hurt just as much & he needs to know that just because you love him you won't allow him to treat you like this.

Rumtopf Thu 02-Feb-17 08:33:54

How does your husband speak to you?

I agree with picking battles and he's probably finding things tough at school at the moment so is taking it out on you. But that's not ok. He wouldn't dare speak to a teacher in that way, so why is it ok to do so with you?

I would be removing privileges (phone, lifts to places, people over etc), making him do his own laundry and make his own breakfast for starters! As soon as he starts criticising and being disrespectful I'd hold my hand up in a "stop right there" manner, ask him if he meant to be so rude/unkind/disrespectful and go from there. If he persists, remind him of the sanctions and walk away. He may realise with you pointing it out that he doesn't mean to come across in that way (we are working on this with dd14 at the moment - I don't want to spoken to like one of her mates, it's making a difference and I don't even have to ask the question now, a "look" and she gets the gist).

Bensyster Thu 02-Feb-17 08:40:07

Where has your ds learned that feelings, tears and emotions are a sign of weakness? On the contrary being aware of your own and other's feelings is a sign of good emotional intelligence - an essential characteristic for success in life not just in personal relationships but also in his career. He sounds to me like he is being mentored by an entirely unsuitable individual - who does he look up to?

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