Tips/help with dealing with a hormonal/stroppy teenager........ HELP!(18 Posts)
He seems to be getting worse and worse and he's not quite 13 yet! Started secondary school last yr and boy has he become hard work.
He's always been quite challenging, but my usual tactics are failing.
He flies off the handle really quickly, shouts at us, he told me to shut up the other day after slamming a stair gate open so hard he cracked the wall. He consantly argues with his younger brother. It really is making for a miserable house right now
Can we maybe share stories and advise? I'm pregnant too and this obviously isn't helping matters because I'm losing my patience quicker!
I hate to say it, but 12 - 14 is the worst stage. They go all grunty and grumpy, laugh at really stupid things and smell. The next stage is the family choking on Lynx.
All you can do really is leave him to fester on his own for a year or two, and be nice when he emerges. Don't go picking fights you can't win, don't go into his bedroom unless it's an actual health hazard (to anyone other than him, most boys this age have cast-iron constitutions) and do be prepared to negotiate. He is growing up, and you need to loosen the leash a bit, without allowing him to go utterly daft. It's a fine line, but it helps if you listen carefully to what he's proposing (later curfew, whatever) rather than giving a flat no. Ask him how he'd deal with situations that might arise, and listen to the answer. You might be pleasantly surprised! And if you do have to say "no", have good reasons for your answer.
A further thought (or two); do try to trust him, but when he makes mistakes (as he will) and does stunningly stupid things, try not to scream and shout. When talking to him about his misdemeanors, use the word "disappointed" - it carries the connotation that you expect better from him. It gives him something to aim for, iyswim - and, as my 18yr old said recently, "You used to say you were disappointed to make us feel guilty...", well, "guilty" can be a useful emotion in a young lad.
And bear in mind that this is a weird time for him too - the brain is still developing (and in a different order from the way that female brains develop) and sometimes they genuinely can't do stuff; a 16 year old boy is incapable of recognising fear on someone's face, for example, and is likely to interpret it as aggression. And yes, they do need to fester in bed all weekend...
Thank you again. I need to work on me I think, I do feel in a very negative rut with him. Almost like I'm anticipating every interaction with him to end up in confrontation, because that's how it feels.
He always seems to know best. Talks in a tone that suggests he thinks we're stupid.
BUT, when he does cock up, he admits it. EG yesterday he came in from walking the dog (one of his chores which is done infrequently) and said he's trusted him and let him off the lead. I told him not to because the dog can't be trusted because he runs away. SO, tonight he's walking the dog again and decides to let him off the lead anyway, inevitably the dog runs off. DS1 managed to find him eventually, he came in and said 'never again' which obviously meant I won't let him off again. DH told him that he was to go to bed straight away with no tv because he'd disobeyed two things he'd just been told not to do, 1) don't let dog poo on front garden and 2) don't let him off the lead. As he walked away he announced that this punishment was completely unfair. Bearing in mind not long ago the dog escaped late at night and we couldn't find him until the next morning.
He frequently shouts, 'it's not fair' or 'I didn't do anything'
HOW do you make you peace with this sort of thing when it's happening time and time and time again. I feel SO frustrated.
I need some sort of mantra to say to myself in times of frustration!!
The mantra is, "This too will pass". Works in all sorts of situations.
He's the oldest, I'm assuming, and you have a new one on the way, as well as another son in the middle? He'll be feeling a bit threatened by the baby, who will be all tiny and cute and gorgeous just at the time he's got uncontrollable testosterone (hence the aggression) and limbs suddenly growing in all sorts of odd directions. He literally won't "know" where he ends and the rest of the world begins, because he'll grow faster than his brain can accommodate his new dimensions. Not to mention what's going on in his underpants, and the weird way that'll make him feel.
TBH, I do think being sent to bed with no TV is a bit unfair at that age, it's a punishment really more suitable for a younger child. He's old enough to learn from his mistakes and a chat about what went wrong is more use; he did bring the dog back. But I know that dads tend to get overly-authoritarian when their sons are at that age, partly because they worry about the stupid things they did at that age, and partly because it's the natural order of things that young, adult males leave or are driven off from the family group to make their own way in life. (Have a look at chimpanzee behaviour in the wild - "teenagers" form large groups of age-peers, hang out in the trees and gang-rape available females when they're not off raiding the troup next door. Puts your teenager in a better light, eh?)
So when he's complaining that "It's not fair", ask him what would be fair. In this case, he let the dog poo on the lawn, so he ought to clean it up.
Mind you, I say all of this from the relative calm of two grown sons and a Mirena coil (so no hormonal fluctuations for me), it's going to be a lot harder for you, especially as you're pregnant and will of course have all the stress of being exhausted etc one your lo is here.
Best of luck.
I would be inclined to agree with OldLady about the dog incident. He made a mistake, he came in admitting he'd made a mistake, which is quite a mature thing to do, at this stage I think it was misguided to punish him like a much younger child. It pushes him back into young child behaviour, just at a time when he was having glimpses of something else. As adults, we all make mistakes, but learn from them. Sounds like he is ready for more of that.
Very good advice from oldlady
It is very hard when it is all going on though, especially if you are pregnant. Trying to keep a united front with your DH helps as well, but I also agree the being sent to bed for the dog misdemenour is a bit harsh too. Somehow, even though it makes you (or your DH) feel better, getting furious and punishing teens severely seems to make them worse, not better. Having said that, they do need (and secretly want)'boundaries'so do try to set those.
This advice also comes from someone on last teen so is able to see it from a different perspective.
I think we seem to be worrying that if we don't punish him he will think he can get away with murder and get worse. Maybe you're all right and a more lenient tactic would be better.
This morning was no better. Lots of answering back and arguing with DS2.
In our defence, last night he was 'only' sent to bed 15 mins or so early and it was a symptom of having put up with a catalogue of things during the day with him. It's always good to see it from other people's view points.
How do you 'see' your child as more grown up when they are acting more like a 2 yr old?? He is desperately trying to 'be' older, but it's coming out the wrong way most of the time. Help!!
This really is making for a miserable atmosphere in the house
OK I will try and be less harsh with the punishments, endeavour to ignore the back chat (is that right?) and arguing. I'm trying to work out what should be just left and ignored and what really shouldn't.
oldlady interesting you say 12 - 14 to be the worst age i would say IME that these are quite mild years compared to 15, 16, and 17
Am inclined to agree with kentmumtj (sorry).
But they don't HAVE to be truly vile. Mine had their 'moments' but weren't hideous all the time.....
I completely agree with Old Lady. I think we came down too hard on DS1 when he was about 12 and we're paying the price now! DH asserted his authority as described by Old Lady with lots of shouting and laying the law down when I think a more construtive approach would have produced better results. Ho hum.
don't agree that sending him to be a few minutes early was too harsh when he'd twice disobeyed you. However it doesn't encourage him to be open with you in future.
Maybe try to discuss with him what he would see as an appropriate respponse to misbehaviour?
My favourite bit of advice came from another mumsnetter - don't sweat the small stuff ....followed by ....in the long run it's all small stuff. Think really hard about what is non negotiable for you.
kentmumtj, I think the way you handle 12 - 14 has a great influence on how they are at 15, 16, 17. Mine were fairly human by 16, and are now lovely young men of whom I am inordinately proud.
but i do think that teenagers can be a law unto themselves sometimes, and this can be regardless of how they are handled.
I belive boundaries need to be consisitent as do consequences and the key is talking to them all the time.
However on saying this teenagers can be heavily influenced by their peers and even if you maintian the consistent boundaries/consequences etc it can still be extremley challenging/emotionally draining for the parents.
i belive in this world there are males, females and teenagers
You may have a point there kentmumtj. It's lovely when they turn back into human beings though.
and my delightful dd 17 is quite er hormanal this morning so i have had a pretty awful morning but ho hum such is life
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