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Question
Posted by: nicky | 2010/05/20

difficult teenager

I am a single mom of 3 kids aged 5, 11 and 15. My 15yr old son has become very disrespectful and difficult over the past year. He is quite bigger than the average 15yr old and has already explained to me that I can’ t force him to do anything like chores or homework because he is much bigger than me. I can’ t ground him or remove privileges as he either just ignores me or gives his sisters a hard time because he is in a bad mood. I leave home early and come home late so his sisters are alone with him quite often, so I am too scared to upset him cause I don’ t want the girls to suffer the consequences. Their father is around but I have carried most of the financial and physical responsibilities alone. His father doesn’ t even ask if he passes, or what he needs. His father is more of a friend than a dad. I am emotionally and physically exhausted, to a point where I want to ask his father to raise him further. My son isn’ t always bad and I love him, I feel like I’ m being a bad mother by giving up on him.
Please could you give some advice,,,, I don’ t know what’ s best right now. I feel bullied by my son, yet I know that his dad won’ t really take the responsibility of raising him seriously. I don’ t want my son to tell me in a few years time that I just gave up on him, and I don’ t want my girls to resent me cause right now all my time and energy is spent on my son and they need me as well. I have sat down with my son to find out if something is bothering him. I’ ve even taken an avid interest in Rugby and cricket so that I can support him in his sports…  by buying the correct gear, following correct nutritional diets, extra coaching etc. I’ ve tried my utmost to be as involved and as supportive as possible, I don’ t know what else to do… I feel he is manipulating me and our situation at home… but what if I’ m wrong and this is a cry for help and I take the easy way out by sending him to his dad. I’ m lost right now.
Thanks for taking the time to assist.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Sounds like part of the normal range of infuriating teenage behaviours. And, discovering his new strength, he concentrates on you not being able to FORCE him to do things, rather than on whether it is reasonable for him to do them. SOunds like a rather basic set of discipline problems, with an effectively absent father, and a kid taking advantage of having never been given a set of reasonable rules and consequences to help him learn the value of self-discipline.
His dad is sadly too busy trying to be his friend to bother to be a real dad - kids usually have plenty of friends, but need at least one dad. The kid does sound manipulative - most kids are instinctively so, given the chance. Maybe som sesions with a psychologist with an interest in adolescent problems would help you to set up a system in which he could learn discipline before it is too late to do so.
And one set of consequences for NOT behaving well should be loss of the sports gear, coaching, special diet, etc., if these are things he values.

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3
Our users say:
Posted by: Lboogie | 2010/05/20

My nephew is also 15 and has been diffucult to be around for the past year. He started smoking and who knows what else. He lived with us (My parents and sisters) all his life. He stays wih his father now (my brother) and he is still the same. I done everything you did with your son with my nephew but he still won''t listen. So many people say it''s a phase they go through, but honestly if your at your wits end , you can not justify their behaviour as just a phase. I know you love your son and you feel helpless now, but things will get better, I believe that for myself as well.

Reply to Lboogie
Posted by: Woman | 2010/05/20

Personally, I think it would be a great idea if he stayed with his dad! There is nothing wrong with that. Many teen boys stay with the father if the parents are separated. Maybe it would do your ex good as well.

Reply to Woman
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010/05/20

Sounds like part of the normal range of infuriating teenage behaviours. And, discovering his new strength, he concentrates on you not being able to FORCE him to do things, rather than on whether it is reasonable for him to do them. SOunds like a rather basic set of discipline problems, with an effectively absent father, and a kid taking advantage of having never been given a set of reasonable rules and consequences to help him learn the value of self-discipline.
His dad is sadly too busy trying to be his friend to bother to be a real dad - kids usually have plenty of friends, but need at least one dad. The kid does sound manipulative - most kids are instinctively so, given the chance. Maybe som sesions with a psychologist with an interest in adolescent problems would help you to set up a system in which he could learn discipline before it is too late to do so.
And one set of consequences for NOT behaving well should be loss of the sports gear, coaching, special diet, etc., if these are things he values.

Reply to cybershrink

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