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Son Begs for Takeout Every Night, Refuses My Cooking

(50 Posts)
jamiemars Tue 10-Jun-14 00:13:06

I'm a single mom to two kids, an 8 and 17 year old, on the weekdays. My husband is temporarily away during weekdays for work (til August). My 17 year old is generally angry and barely speaks to me. Most weeknights he calls when I get out of work and asks me to bring home takeout. I usually do it once or twice a week, but I try to cook as much as possible. I am exhausted otherwise. I have a second job as an online instructor for a college, so I have no free time. Tonight I told him NO, because I have to pick up my daughter by 5:45, and I am not driving twenty minutes to get him a burrito when I am close to home when I pick my daughter up. I usually end up hanging up on him because he is relentless.
Well I got home and made him a delicious dinner (leftover grilled steak that my husband had cooked the night before, roasted fresh whole brussell sprouts, shoepeg corn, and brown rice. He refused the plate. So I gave it to my daughter (I had planned to give her something else for dinner but didn't).
My daughter ate most of it, which was great.
So then my son poured himself some salsa and went looking for the chips, which my husband had taken with him to work this morning. So he just left the salsa on the counter. I told him to pour it back in the salsa jar, but he refused. So I had to do it, because it would go bad otherwise.
People may say I am an enabler, but I am at my wit's end. Every little thing is a STRUGGLE. A power struggle. I jsut don't know what to do anymore.
Now I just saw him look in the freezer and cabinets and he didn't find anything. But he will not ask me to make him anything. He is scrounging around for something to eat. But he won't ask for my help.
He would rather starve than eat a nice meal I set in front of him.
Also, he barely says a word to me. He mumbles all the time. I am so sick of it. What do I do? He is so stubborn ... he will cut off his nose to spite his face.

Boudica1990 Tue 10-Jun-14 00:18:22

Let him starve then. He is 17 not 7, time to learn the hard way not to bite the hand that feeds you.

Also the mumbling thing just refuse to speak to him till he begins to behave like a mature young adult, because that's what he will be in a few months, a young adult.

The sooner he realises his behaviour gets him nowhere the sooner he will change his attitude.

JeanSeberg Tue 10-Jun-14 00:24:30

Does he do this at weekends when his dad's there too?

jamiemars Tue 10-Jun-14 02:12:01

Hi, No, the bad behavior is mostly directed toward me. When dad's home, he tends to behave. But still he can display that stubborn type of behavior around my husband. My husband is not immune to it. I get the full brunt of it, though.
I ended up heating up a frozen pizza for him around 8:30. Ridiculous.
I am sure he would have really enjoyed that steak dinner.
I wonder why he hates me so much? I try to talk to him all the time. I try all sorts of different ways to communicate with him, be understanding, connect with him, etc. It is so frustrating.

jamiemars Tue 10-Jun-14 02:14:11

Thanks, Boudica. True, I suppose he won't starve to death. He might willingly lose a few pounds off his already skinny frame just to spite me. But he won't starve.
I fear that I have been a bad parent by the way he is acting. Every day is a constant battle. I wish we just had a normal, nice relationship.
Is it uncommon for teenage boys to treat their mothers poorly? Probably not.

cutefluffybunnes Tue 10-Jun-14 02:16:48

You heated up a pizza for 17-year-old? Why didn't he do this himself? If he rudely refused what you'd made him, then let him sort himself out - he's old enough to cook for himself if he doesn't like what's on offer.

Flexibilityiskey Tue 10-Jun-14 06:29:43

I think you need to disengage. He is very nearly an adult. If he wants takeaway he can get a job, and pay for it himself. If he doesn't like what you are cooking, he can find himself an alternative. I think you need to back right off and leave him to come to you when he is ready to start acting his age. Time to get tough!

Littlefish Tue 10-Jun-14 06:34:24

Plan your meals for the week each Sunday night with your ds and dd so they have some input and display the plan in a prominent place. If your ds doesn't want to eat it, then he can make himself a sandwich. DO NOT make him alternative meals when he kicks off. Heating up a pizza for him at 8.30 at night is ridiculous. All it has taught him is that if he is rude and relentless you will give in and give him what he wants.

MaryWestmacott Tue 10-Jun-14 07:09:32

Agree with little fish, do a meal plan, stick it on the fridge, schedule in a takeout one night a week at most, clear that you will provide what is on the list for that night, he can eat it or make something else, being clear he can't use the ingredients planned for other meals that week, or the coat of replacing them will come out of whatever allowance he has.

He's 17, most 17 year olds are hideous creatures who treat their parents like staff, the good news is most snap out of it.

500smiles Tue 10-Jun-14 08:50:43

What flex said ^^

Don't pussy foot around him, he is nearly an adult, he can buy his own burritos.

SoonToBeSix Tue 10-Jun-14 10:17:15

I think your ds is rude but sprouts and brown rice for a teenager? I think there needs to be compromise have you asked him what he likes to eat?

sonlypuppyfat Tue 10-Jun-14 10:24:39

That's what I thought SoonToBeSix but I didn't like to say, wouldn't leftover steak be a bit dry? Op let him get on with it he will get bored of showing off when he gets hungry.

Xcountry Tue 10-Jun-14 10:41:59

At 17 he should be making his own frickin dinner. I was married and had a house to run by then.

sonlypuppyfat Tue 10-Jun-14 11:08:09

Are you not in England? Do you mean crisps not chips, and I've not heard of that corn.

mumeeee Tue 10-Jun-14 15:58:28

I agree with other posters. You shouldn't be heating up a pizza or cooking alternative meals for your DS at 17 he should do this himself. However brown rice and brussel sprouts doesn't sound like something teenagers would enjoy. A meal plan sounds like a good idea.

Travelledtheworld Tue 10-Jun-14 19:37:00

Suspect you are in the USA ?
Teach him how to cook on the grill ( BBQ ). Thats a sort of manly rite of passage. So he can cook his own steak/ burger/ hot dogs whatever.... But honest if he doesn't want to eat what you cook leave him to starve, which he won't !

Chocaholicmonster Tue 10-Jun-14 20:18:17

He is seventeen years old. He's living under YOUR roof. If he doesn't like the way things are done tell him to move out & get his own place or at least start paying for his own takeaways. Some of this behaviour I'm sure will be typical teenage behaviour but he also sounds like an ungrateful, disrespectful person. Stop bowing to his demands for an 'easy life' because it doesn't sound like it's making anything easier for you in the long run.

MarmiteMania Tue 10-Jun-14 22:01:24

Have similar with ds14 who is now refusing everything not a pizza/burger. Short of forcing broccoli down his throat I am at a loss. It's easy to say 'let him get on with it' but when you want the best for them it's not that easy. Some 17 year olds are still so immature. It's his general behaviour to you though that seems worse than anything else.

BuzzLightbulb Wed 11-Jun-14 11:23:56

My parents had two rules.

Eat what you're given.
Clear your plate.

There were times when one of us would kick up a fuss and stand our ground but in general we learned that sometimes food does taste nicer than you think and it was just politeness to eat what someone else had spent time and effort preparing for you.

I'd cook him nothing for a day or two, maybe then he'll ask what's for dinner and eat it without a moan. But the softer approach of the meal plan is an option if you can plan that far ahead.

Or... can you make some of this take out food he likes? Assuming it's not just crap in a bun? Mexican stuff is easy, Indian and Thai even if only out of a jar is good enough to eat.

Perhaps just getting him to sit down and eat with you might re-engage him with family life.

Although at that age I had no time for my parents either, there was something that triggered that and maybe wit your OH working away that's what's causing this?

Chocotrekkie Wed 11-Jun-14 11:33:16

If you are working and running about after younger child he should be the one cooking the dinner for all of you.

Sit him down and tell him - not ask tell.

Dinner will be at 6:30 tonight. It will be steak, rice and sprouts. If you don't like it then it is your responsibility to make yourself something else.
There is stuff in the freezer but do not use xx - that's for tomorrow's dinner.

If you want a take away that's fine - you can use your money to buy whatever you want. No money - oh well steak it is.

He will not starve himself and if you are worried about his nutrition get some vitamin tablets for him.

EwanHoozami Wed 11-Jun-14 11:37:00

Tell him he's welcome to treat the family to a take away paid for with his allowance.

Dayshiftdoris Wed 11-Jun-14 11:37:50

Sorry can I just say that you are not a single mum because your husband works away.

overthemill Wed 11-Jun-14 11:40:27

I assumed OP is in USA because of chips and burrito ref too but the sweet corn is a typo I think.

I would tell him that if he is unhappy with the food you buy and prepare he is to take over shopping,cooking,prep, washing up for 2 weeks. You can help him menu plan and give him a budget. Takeaway food isn't nutritious long term and us expensive. It should be an occasional treat!

My now 18 year old taught himself to cook and meal planned and budgeted when I was diagnosed with cancer and having hideous treatments. He is so proud of himself (as are we) and he now has an important art if skills for university and life.

No matter what else you do, do not wait on him hand and foot

TheFairyCaravan Wed 11-Jun-14 11:46:55

My two teens don't get a choice. They eat our meal or go hungry. They do eat sprouts and brown rice, too (but not usually in the same meal).

I would tell him dinner is at X time, it is X, if you don't want it tell me now, but you will be the one making a sandwich or heating up a pizza etc.

Betrayedbutsurvived Wed 11-Jun-14 11:58:29

Sounds like a typical teenager to me. Like everyone else says, if he refuses what you offer for his dinner then leave him to it, do not make him anything else, and ignore any door slamming. A few times of having to make himself something later on will soon sort him out.

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