How to deal with a teen that will not take responsibility for anything?!(14 Posts)
DS1 is 13 and in year 8, He has always shunned any kind of responsibility big or small (age appropriate of course)
Today it's blown up again and the whole family has suffered because DS will not get himself up and out the house, if he ends up late though it's everyone else's fault.
He's getting negative behaviour marks at school for disrupting the class, this is always the teachers fault.
The world is against him, he gets picked on, it's not his fault etc etc etc.
I am at my wits end with him and although I'll get flamed for it I really shouted at him this morning to bloody well start sorting himself out!
As not to drip feed he has a chronic health condition that require a lot of daily treatments and hospial stays are numerous but again any decline in his health (due to his persistent refusal to comply with treatments) are not his fault.
Any advice? At the moment I am very tempted to remove any support on my part and just provide the basics and let him fail, as in not getting him up for school, not babystepping him painfully through the morning routine. EVERYTHING is a slow and painfully frustrating chore, meal times I have to literally take him through each step of every daily process.
Do you have punishments for him? It sounds like a typical young teen though! It’s the hormones... Ive had a lot of chats with teacher relatives about this and consensus is that at this age, often they don’t give 2 hoots it care about consequences (as mum/dad will clear up their mess anyway).
You just need to be mega organised and build in extra time necessary to get anywhere on time. Don’t yell or get cross - he won’t listen anyway and it won’t do your blood pressure any good.
I’m just walking into work it will pop back...
Mobile phone /games consoles are your bargaining tool. My ds also has a medical condition and we have threatened to disconnect the bloody thing when he won't listen /manage his symptoms properly. But you need to be prepared to carry out the threat.
I don't have teenagers yet OP (not looking forward either) so I don't know how much help I can be, but I didn't want to read and run. It does sound as though the negative behaviour is having an impact on the rest of you in quite a way. Personally I think my style of parenting would be similar to what you suggested, if I had tried doing it nicely or other methods and gotten no where, if I knew that my child had full capacity then I would also stop intervening beyond bare minimum as sometimes they have to start counting on themselves.
Good luck to you all
Apparently teenagers literally can’t foresee consequences, so it’s not necesarily that he’s ignoring them. A great book is Teenagers Translated.
If he can get to school on his own then it is easy.
Wake him up at the appropriate time and leave the house!
I have taken away screens before for a longtime and he doesn't care.
The only time he's ever cared about his health is when he's ended up really unwell in hospital and then he's full of remorse but then goes straight back to not caring as soon as he's discharged.
He was told this morning until I see a huge improvement in all areas of life (spurred by him not me) he won't have access to the Xbox or anything. He shrugged.
Has he been assessed for anything. I mean is it definitely laziness? Lots of conditions dyslexia, ADHD, ASD, dyspraxia etc have executive functioning issues as part of the condition. Is that worth exploring?
No he hasn't despite me questioning it in the past.
I'm not sure it is laziness, he just can't seem to accept and acknowledge his part in anything.
He is the only child I know that can cross a room in plain sight, shove his brother across it and then outright deny that he's done anything wrong,
That's his constant reply 'I haven't done anything wrong!' 😡
In the same situation here except that for the most part DS is really good at school - it's just at home he drives us nuts!
He has had two negative remarks home since starting the school in August - one for messing about in the line for PE at the end of the day, and the second one was yesterday for talking during class when he had been repeatedly told to be quiet. This was not his fault of course as he was talking about his work and that apparently made it ok. It must have been pretty bad though for the teacher to send home a note about it - he is the English teacher's pride and joy and she never normally has a bad word to say about him.
He also deleted messages off his phone yesterday which he is expressly forbidden from doing. I randomly spot check his phone and noticed instantly they were gone because this friend had been texting all of the day before so the name should have been near the top of the list of messages. Of course it was a total accident - not his fault, he can't be blamed for it and miraculously he can't remember what the messages said.
He is slow in the mornings but definitely getting better however I have to remind him about PE kits, Home Ec boxes, Guitar etc every bloody week.
If he's late in the morning it's not his fault - if he's late home (it's a 25min walk that regularly takes him 45!) then it's some nonsense excuse and not his fault/responsibility - if he doesn't do well in an assessment at school (he's top of the top set in an underachieving school - he has zero excuse for not doing well, even with minimal work) it's the teacher's fault somehow etc etc etc.
It's never his friends' fault either of course - his loyalty to them is unwavering!
I know it's normal, but my goodness is it frustrating. We just try and be consistent that if he wants to be treated as a responsible teen with the luxuries and privileges that go along with that then he has to BE a responsible teen. So at the minute he has no phone and he won't have it for the rest of this week as a result of deleting messages. He is also required to do some additional English work at home to make up for the work he clearly wasn't focused on in class yesterday when he was chatting. (I should say that he got no punishment at school for that other than the note home so he isn't being punished twice.) The result of this is that he has to give up some free time this week to study so will be losing screen time until it is done.
I really hope this improves because he does my head in with it all!
If you’ve had concerns in the past what did they centre on? Just this behaviour of not taking responsibility? Any other questionable differences you see between him and his peers?
I mean if not taking responsibility is his only issue then it is unlikely there is something else at play and you can use conventional behaviour modification consequences to try to change and manage the behaviour. If however there are other red flags you may need to find out what is wrong before taking a more holistic approach if there is something else at play.
The behavioural aspect of his immediate jump to lying about things, it's his automatic 'go too' wen challenged on something, even though we've always had a policy that lying will double a sanction when it comes to poor behaviour.
That and the fact that DS can't be still, he has in the past sobbed because he's been sled to stop jittering around a room but he says he physically cannot stop moving, even when he's asleep he's moving. I've raised it as a concern before but have always been told it's a manifestation of the stress and anxiety about his health, it's the biggest thing that gets him in trouble at school though, he constantly paces any room he's in and his concentration is zero.
He has a psychologist and a huge team of various medical people around him.
It's the outright refusal to consider that he might be in the wrong that gets to me. If he was upfront and said 'yeah I did this, I made a mistake.' I'd find it easier than the persistent cry of 'everyone is against me.'
Hmmm there are some red flags in what you have written. If he does have some condition that makes it impossible to sit still then him getting punished for something that is literally impossible for him to do is going to give anybody a persecution complex which your son definitely sounds like he has. I really think there is more to do here OP.
I have 2 kids with SN. I felt like such an arse once I realised I had been chastising them in the past for things they literally couldn’t have been expected to do. Plenty of behaviour tactics were suggested on MN at the time but they were inappropriate with the SN. Look into it. The more you know the better you are equipped to deal with the challenges you are facing. So for example if you can improve his executive functioning then he won’t be constantly getting blamed for things and he might lose the persecution complex. If he literally physically needs to move then others can be told that and they will stop constantly correcting him and he will lose the persecution complex and all the while when he actually does some thing wrong in the face of much, much less criticism you might be able to work with him on taking responsibility for his actual actions he has control of if you see what I mean.
Highly reccomend you get one or more of the books by Faber and Mazlish: their first one was How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk, then they wrote How to Talk to Teens Will Listen and Listen So Teens Will Talk. They both cover the same techniques, but the second one focuses more on teen issues.
It sounds like your son needs outside help as well, but the communication techniques Faber and Mazlish suggest will help improve your relationship with him and help get everyone on the same side. It won't be easy, but they really do work. They completely changed the way I thought about how to communicate with my son.
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