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Question
Posted by: Yello | 2008/10/14

Teenage Problems

Hi Shrinkie,
I have not been on this forum for ages, how is everyone?
I have three teenagers, all boys, 18, 14 and 12. Mostly they are good kids, and I am a neurotic mother.

My 18 year old is writing matric at the moment and is studying now and then. He is very last minute kind of kid, always gets there if you push him, would rather go out with his mates (wouldnt we all) than hit the books or do schoolwork. I personally think the school system is daft and they overload the kids with far too much homework and projects. I certainly did not do the volumes of work that my kids do, and I was a diligent student! As far as I can see they have no plan and fall from the one topic to the next without connecting the dots at all. Anyway tackling the school system is a task for giants.

My second son is the focus of my woes. He says I am always comparing him to his brother (probably true... I try not to). He says I have more photo' s of my eldest on my phone.. (my eldest is such a poser) and my second one pulls faces .. go figure. The first day back at school this year he belted some other kid and got suspended for two days. He has never been in a fight before. He is a quiet introverted kid, until his friends are around then he is naughty, trying to impress. Anyway, we spoke to him about the fighting and he was suitably punished (no going out blah blah). Then not two weeks after that, they catch him and some of his friends sniffing benzine at school. They suspended him again, and asked that he attend another school next year. This is all rather a shock to me as I have not had any behaviour problems with him before. I was bloody naughty at school just managed not to get caught. We stole a bottle of ether out the science lab in Std 7 and sniffed it till we got a headache. Dumbasses. Anyway so I gave the kid a hiding and took away his phone. He is now getting increasingly stroppy, and I am not reacting the correct way. This morning I belted him with a brush after telling him a hundred times to stop teasing his younger brother (calling him names). I hate that I lost my temper, I hate that he is pushing and pushing all the time, and I wonder how I can handle him before it gets ugly. We are very close by the way, since he was born, he is the one that sits next to me at night and that I spend most of my time with as he simply demands it.

My eldest is an outgoing easygoing (here I go comparing them again!) and my youngest is a bit of a terrorist, naughty, attention seeking, sensitive. Each needs a different approach it is exhausting!

Any comments would be great.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Maybe reforming the education system is indeed a task for giants --- but first one would have to remove the pygmies in the Department ! As for second son, maybe seeing a child psychologist woul;d help to discover why this Sudden outbreak of misbehaviour --- where its a change rather than ordinary for the kid, I always wonder whether something else has happened to cause ths --- whether bullying, bad influences, or whatever. Comparing the kids is natural ; what bothers them is when you're as it were measuring them up against each other : "Your BROTHER wouldn;t do that !" rather than assessing how good they are at being themselves, instead of how well they imitate someone else.
Each seems to need a different approach, but they're all seeking attention, in their different ways, and of course you have only so much attention to spare. Have you tried giving any of them responsibilities for helping with each other ?

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