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Help please I'm failing already 😫(13 Posts)
Eldest DS is 13 and normally polite and well behaved bar the normal, occasional hormonal mood swing now and then but we can usually talk through feelings together to understand what's going on with him.
Last night he got annoyed with his younger brother who has a habit of leaving toys on his bed DS2 is 10, they share space in DS1's room as it's bigger and contains DS2s wardrobe (they previously had bunk beds in this room together until about two years ago) they'd arranged this between themselves and had been getting along fine until now.
During the argument last night DS2 began mocking DS1 and generally being stupid and annoying resulting in DS1 shoving DS2, the rule in this house is everyone keeps their hands to themselves and comes to get either myself or or their dad (DS1 step dad) to sort it out if things are escalating.
I came upstairs and spoke to them both about their behaviour towards each other and reminded DS2 to tidy up after himself and DS to keep hands to himself.
They both went to bed, I then received a massive tirade of complaining text messages from DS1 who had clearly kept his phone upstairs against house rules.
I went up and told him to stop, removed phone and made it clear the discussion was over, he then came downstairs to carry on telling me how unfair I am for not being harder on DS2 and generally being rude and disrespectful to me in his manner and tone, I told him to stop and go to bed or he'd lose console privledges after school today, he said 'so what I'll just watch DVDs in my room" so I told him he's now lost those too for his cheek and rudeness, next it was "so I'll just read then, I don't care." So now his books are out of his room too.
I'm not used to this sort of defiance, rudeness, cheekiness and disrespectful behaviour from him!
Honestly I don't know what the fuck I'm doing?!! How do I handle these new teen tantrums effectively, I'm following through with the consequences today (he's to stay in his room with nothing to do this evening) but I'm not sure how to handle these out bursts, he was like a dog with a bone last night and wouldn't hear that there's no excuse for hitting/shoving or getting physical and thinks he should be allowed to show his younger brother who's boss.
He's now clearly been telling tales about me today as his IPad is pinging with the texts his been sending/recieving from his phone at school to his Dad who is replying (backing me up thankfully) which has annoyed me even more now!
Advice and help please he's only been a teen for 3 weeks and I feel like I'm fucking it up already. 😩
It's really blimmin difficult and I'm afraid it only gets worse 🙈 Mine's 14 going on 24 🙄
I think it's important to choose your battles (as there can be many with teens)
He will get more defiant etc but it's because they're trying to establish themselves etc.
I do think it's important to have rules and boundaries but learning to compromise can go along way and let them feel heard, respected and their thoughts and feelings valued x just don't let them dictate.
You're doing a great job x just try to remember this is a well documented difficult time that as parents we all knew was coming, but it is also wonderful to see them grow and become mini adults 😊
I call mine Kevin and even played him a few sketches on the laptop 😁
They want more freedom, money, less rules, they're selfish BUT it won't last forever x so just remember that they pull away, behave badly etc but they come back x
and we've all been there!
I've found humour helps A LOT. Sometimes if I didn't laugh I'd cry 🙈
You'll be fine I'm sure 😊 we all have the same struggles x they don't come with a manual, but getting support and advice on here or from other sources will keep you going 👍🏼
Keep up the good work 🙌🏼 Xx
Thanks for your kind words, I feel like I'm just making it up as I go along to be honest, it was just escalating further and further last night as he was refusing to back down and go to bed and I felt like I didn't want to back down and show weakness I suppose and that he could dictate to me how things should be, it was a bit shocking to be honest he was so defiant and bloody rude. Not like him at all.
He due back from school in the next 20 mins so we'll see if he has anything to say for himself, he can't seem to see that he's being punished for his behaviour towards me and is insisting that I'm punishing for standing up to his brother. It's like banging my head against a brick wall 🤦🏻♀️
I have three older kids, no answers, but just a few thoughts-
I feel like you probably overreacted a bit, especially when you took his books from his room. Taking away the phone would be a reasonable consequence for the rude texts. Perhaps just say: "You have to go to bed now, and you are losing your phone for a day because of the rude texts". Then refuse to engage and just keep saying "bed".
The violence and bossiness is more complicated, and I think can only be talked about when everyone is calm; I am not sure that punishments ever help with this sort of issue. It is more a situation where he needs to be separated from his brother until he calms down enough to see how violence makes everyone feel. He also needs to be aware of how serious the consequences can be as he gets older and stronger. I had a serious discussion with my oldest son when he was this age and pointed out that he could easily do something which he would regret for the rest of his life. I kind of shocked him into thinking about how scary and dangerous physical aggression is when it comes from a boy who is as big as a man.
In general, I think you should do what you can to avoid the kind of power struggle situation which developed. I would avoid: "I told him to stop and go to bed or he'd lose console privledges after school today", because teens will see something like this as a challenge and will feel like they are losing face at that point if they back down and say: "I am really sorry Mum; I was rude and unpleasant, and I feel bad. Maybe I was unreasonable because I get cross with my brother's childishness and sometimes I wish I had more privacy." Of course ultimately, you want to get him to the point where he can say something along those lines, but it takes years...
In theory, my goal is to get my kids to tell me how they feel- (perhaps annoyed at a brother, frustrated at the perceived injustice)- and to get them to understand how their behaviour makes me feel. I hope that once they feel really listened-to they can slowly become less unreasonable. Also, in theory, they will feel that I understand their feelings and we are working together towards a common goal of making everyone happy, considerate, and independent. It is impossible to do this in the middle of a quarrel.
Have you read "How to Talk so Kids will listen and Listen so Kids will Talk"? It is one of the few parenting books which I thought was quite helpful. There is a teen version by the same authors which might be even better, but I haven't read it, so not sure.
Sorry I have rambled on a bit and repeated myself, but am too lazy to edit or clarify, maybe because I don't have a clear answer.
1) Pick your battles wisely. Some rules are fair enough to have when kids are very young .. but need to be reviewed as they get older. They are growing up, trying to find their place in the world while going through huge physical changes. What's important to you may not be important to them as they grow into adults.
2) De escalation. When someone is angry there is no point in trying to change their behaviour in that moment. The outcome you want is for the situation to be resolved with both parties feeling heard ... this will only happen after the event. You need to sit down with him today and listen to how it made him feel having his brother wind him up - then you can suggest ways he could manage this or even better point out ways he has managed this in the past (thus reminding him that he is capable - with the use of stratergies he already possesses to manage this for himself if this happens again).
3. Don't let him make you up the anti just because he is (he said this so you do that). Have a consequence and stick to it - so what of he reads a book?
The thing with teenagers is they they feel a little out of control ..and are looking from the support of their lived ones to feel safe .. but they need to push these boundaries..and take risks .
Oh and try and remember this isn't because he doesn't love you or respect you .. it's not personal so try to remain neutral in your responses.
To control this is more about your reactions than his behaviour in the first place.
It's really difficult, I know ! But don't beat yourself up about it and remember .. you can always apologise to him if you think you could have handled anything better / differently.
Hmm. My dc are the same age as yours. I know my dd1 struggles a lot with dd2's behaviour sometimes. Dd2 knows how to wind her up and dd1 is very unsure how to deal with it in an acceptable manner and it often comes out in some quite waspish comments (maybe girls are more likely to lash out verbally than boys? Dunno)
I don't disagree with how you handled it but wonder if you could maybe give to thought to how to mange their relationship and give ds1 some privacy/space?
I agree with a pp who said as they get older it's harder to apply black and white rules, you have to have a bit more flexibility.
Just typed out individual replies and lost them! Frustrating 😤
Thank you all for your advice, I agree with a lot of it and I'm finding it really helpful. I also agree I overreacted and allowed him to goad me quite a bit which I'll be mindful of from now on.
We had a chat when he got in and I was clear about why he was having consequences from last nights behaviour, I acknowledged that he was very annoyed and upset about his brothers behaviour and said we need to think of better ways of dealing with that other than getting physical with him, I suggested that DS2 should ask first to play in DS1's room from now on (and will have to accept 'no' on occasion) and will be reminded to tidy up, he seemed happy with that for now.
Will be having further discussion with DS2 about his winding up behaviour.
Thanks again all, feel like I'm walking through a mind field at the moment I'll look up that book too.
Try reading the book "get out of my room, but take me and Alex to town first". It's quite a good read with some useful bits which helped me see things from their view point a bit more. Teenagers are weird and it's hard for everyone at this age!!!!
I thinks it's difficult and also a bit of a shock when a normally compliant child suddenly becomes a teen and more defiant. I certainly have never felt so lost as a parent since my DC reached this age. I've just accepted that a different approach is needed and that we are both learning how to adjust.
This poem really sums it up
Hi Mad, it's do difficult - we think everythings going well then it all seems to go a bit wrong! I agree with INeed's points re picking battles and escalation.
I would also add - have you asked if something else is happening - maybe he is under pressure at school? friendship issues?
I also think it's really important for teens to have their own space. My DD spends lots of time in her room - chatting to friends, listening to music etc - it's her own private space. If he shares a room perhaps he feels he can't get away from everything?
Anyway sounds like you're doing a great job, just keep communication open is the key I think (hope!).
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