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Talking of bad-tempered teenage boys ...

(8 Posts)
ruggermum Mon 04-Aug-08 08:48:59

DS is nearly 14. He has always been strong willed and likes to think of himself as macho and one of the boys. However, underneath this façade, he is a sensitive and insecure soul. He can be articulate when he feels like it but, unfortunately, he can also be totally inarticulate when he feels like it: he will simply blank me, even when I ask him a direct question. I have told him that it is very rude but it doesn't bother him. The more I say anything, the more he clams up. I think that he is playing a game of control.

How do I stop him doing this? I am tempted to do the same to him next time he asks me for something but DH says that is childish.

SugarBird Mon 04-Aug-08 14:01:17

You could be talking about my DS2 here so I feel your pain!

It's an incredibly difficult phase but as we're getting glimmers of light at the end of the tunnel (DS2 is 14 and a half now) I'm starting to hope that it is just a phase and that he hasn't just morphed into some sort of hellish monosyllabic creature for all time...

The way that works best for us is to treat it like toddler behaviour and ignore, ignore, ignore. Speak to him pleasantly and if no response, then try not to react. Hard I know, and I find it really upsetting when DS does this, but if I nag him (very, very tempting!) it just makes things worse. I do tell him that this behaviour is hurtful and rude but try to do it calmly.

Good luck! I think lots of boys are sensitive and insecure and there's lots of pressure on them from friends, media etc to act macho and inarticulate. Personally I don't think mirroring the blanking back to them works as then it's hard to tell them you disapprove of said behaviour...

ruggermum Mon 04-Aug-08 15:01:59

Thanks, SB.
I have told him that the behaviour is rude and hurtful but he doesn't seem to care - in fact, I could swear that I can hear him thinking "bullseye!" I hear what you are saying about keeping the moral high ground and not mirroring back at him but it is so tempting. He only seems to speak to me when it suits him because he wants me to do something for him; if I didn't respond then he might get the message that he is making his own life awkward if he doesn't do a bit of give-and-take.

bagsforlife Mon 04-Aug-08 15:17:09

Yes I should ignore as well, as you say he is thinking 'bullseye' when he gets the required reaction from you. I find just walking away into another room rather than reacting to the 'winding up' works, at least til I have calmed down and then they are probably off doing something else. Also when he is occasionally in reasonable mood, then speak to him about the rudeness. It appears to be no use arguing back at the time, gets you nowhere. Teens get very defensive when you have pointed out their unreasonable behaviour and are unable to back down without losing face!

lilolilmanchester Mon 04-Aug-08 15:22:25

completely second SugarBird. Think of them like toddlers (minus sticker charts!) Ignore bad behaviour (FAR easier said than done, and clearly if it involves drugs/alchohol etc you have to take a stance but pick your battles) but also do try to remember to thank him for good things he does. TBH your DS sounds like mine a year or so ago, you'll come out the other side!!

SugarBird Mon 04-Aug-08 15:24:05

I know what you mean - and my DS has reduced me to tears of frustration with this attitude. It's so hurtful. I think that like toddlers they push boundaries to see what will happen and also they are so wrapped up in themselves at this age that they don't consider how their behaviour makes us feel sad

I've been very tempted to blank DS2 as well - and DP has done this with both our teenage DC - but didn't work for us (think my DC have my stubborn gene blush). If it might work for yours, it's worth a go! Maybe as you say he'll realise that give-and-take works both ways.

Anyway, you're not alone - there are thousands of teenage boys blanking their parents as we type if that's any consolation. Hopfully he'll start to appreciate you again soon smile

BabieWabbit Mon 04-Aug-08 15:32:29

I'm sorry to hear your Ds is like this, It must be a hard time for both of you
I was just like that a year or so ago. Are there any things outside of your home that could be bothering him?
Just try talking to him abiout it but also focus on the good things that could come out of it, like you two being closer when he feels able to communicate more.
Hope things brighten up for you both.

Moski Sat 09-Aug-08 16:46:30

I am brand new to Mumsnet, but have already learned a lot on this grumpy, mean teenager issue. I found Mumsnet in the middle of the night after desperately typing into Google "HELP, I hate my teenager!" Not only have the posts help to make me feel like I'm not alone, the "Mums" were all talking about a book called Get Out of My Life (but first could you take me and Cheryl to the Mall?) by Anthony Lake. I bought the book first thing in the morning and it was a revelation. It won't help you make your teenager any less of a jerk, it just helps you understand why your teenager is a jerk and why that's normal. The book certainly helps me to take it all less personally (I have two teenage boys). Anyway, all of you on Mumsnet make me wish I lived in a civilized country like the UK. I live in the US.

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