Author Topic: Out of my league parenting teens  (Read 4630 times)

Abitlost

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Out of my league parenting teens
« on: June 22, 2016, 04:29:40 PM »
Let me preface this by saying my kids are generally great. They are brilliant, top of their class, driven, never in trouble at school, not into partying or anything like that, trustworthy to be left alone, etc. I know I am fortunate in all those regards. Everyone thinks they are so wonderful, well-spoken, helpful and responsible.

But this teen thing is by far the least fun part of parenting. They have copped attitudes, find me irrational, irrelevant, and basically go out of their way to refuse to do what I ask of them. Add to that I am constantly being invalidated by the internet and the two of them team up against me. Everything I ask of them is met with a gruff moan. I'm over it.

We're not talking horrible things here, but here is an example: DS1 belched rather loudly after dinner. I told him to say "excuse me". He refused. He stated that burping is a natural bodily function and he refuses to be embarrassed by it or apologize for it. I explain that in our society when someone burps they excuse themselves. This escalated after several iterations. A few nights later, DS2 farted at the table and refused to excuse himself, coping the attitude DS1 exhibited previously.

Another example: I have issues with the microwave and don't use it for much other than popcorn and sanitizing sponges. Recently they decided to cook a meal in the microwave (not reheating it, rather cooking in the microwave). I tell them to do it on the stove. They come up with links and YouTube videos about how there is nothing wrong with microwaves. Same thing with cell phones, they present me links about the safety of cell phones (don't go there guys, my husband died of brain cancer...don't go there...), vitamins, why you shouldn't shower more than once a week, why you shouldn't use shampoo, why you shouldn't use sunscreen...the list goes on and on. It's something every day. OMG I am exhausted.

Then there are house rules, like eating in the kitchen, keeping rooms reasonable, dishes in the dishwasher, fold and put away their laundry, etc. I don't have a ton of rules and don't ask a whole lot of them, but they seem to go out of their way in their refusal to comply.

The worst thing about it all is their disrespect of me. I can't take it. I feel like I have failed completely in raising them to succeed socially. We used to be so close, and now I'm seen as their adversary. I don't know how to parent them anymore.

daysofelijah

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Re: Out of my league parenting teens
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2016, 05:27:12 PM »
I don't have advice, but I am feeling the same things. The arguing and disrespect are so frustrating and hurtful from my oldest ds and now my second ds is starting to join in when he was always my "good" kid.

I have in the last year started to be more assertive and firm about punishments and rewards and it's helped some, but not a whole lot. And in some ways it's worse because they balk at me trying to be more firm about rules when in the past I've been pretty lenient, mostly because I was just in survival mode for a couple years there.

I'm definitely not enjoying the teen years beginning, and it's embarrassing to say but part of me looks forward to them growing up and moving out. Nobody shoot me I know parents aren't supposed to feel that way, but...
Amy, mom to four (14,13,9,5)

fairlanegirl

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Re: Out of my league parenting teens
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2016, 04:52:41 AM »
No advice I'm afraid, my two are only 11 and 7, and enough attitude already... But a fellow solo mum friend gave me a fridge magnet with one of those Norman Rockwell-style pictures and the text "Be a bad parent, they'll move out sooner!" which gives me a laugh sometimes when I need it. Another friend whose oldest is now in jail i'm afraid and who has been hard work his whole life confided, "I couldn't wait for him to grow up."  So rest assured, having those thoughts is far from unusual.

Trying

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Re: Out of my league parenting teens
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2016, 05:11:51 AM »
No advice, just solidarity.  The constant debating and their need to be right gets exhausting.  Just like the terrible twos (which really weren't so terrible looking back) this too shall pass. My youngest is 12 and I would like to freeze him in time before he takes a turn for the dark side of teenager hood. 

Vent away, I am all too familiar with feeling like a failure some days. 
You will forever be my always.

Mrskro

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Re: Out of my league parenting teens
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2016, 07:26:18 AM »
I don't have any advice either, but if you figure it out please let me know.   I have two, 16 yr old girl and 13 yr old boy. 

I'm counting the days until they can go off to university. 

I absolutely hate that everyone else can't get over what "great, kind, polite" kids I have.   I've wondered if there's magic on my door that takes all those qualities away from them at home. 

Youtube is not my friend and both of mine should really be the heads of their school's debate teams. 

Is it wrong that I'm glad you posted and I'm not the only one who feels this way?

BrokenHeart2

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Re: Out of my league parenting teens
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2016, 11:49:24 AM »
DH and I used to joke that God made little kids adorable and cute.  He made teens the way they are so you can't wait til they move out.  Hahaha
Seriously, I'm sorry you are having such difficulties with the teens.  Especially having to deal with them alone without your spouses with you. 
Hugs
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Abitlost

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Re: Out of my league parenting teens
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2016, 04:04:57 PM »
I don't know if it makes me feel better or worse that everyone is in the same boat and no one has any advice....

trying2breathe

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Re: Out of my league parenting teens
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2016, 04:36:04 PM »
I relate to much of your post - my teens, 17 and 19, are good kids and for the most part have given me relatively little trouble.    Household responsibilities like doing chores are many times ignored, and if I protest they give me 100 reasons why what I ask of them is unreasonable.   I feel like there are times when all that I do is nag, and I can't stand that about myself.  The burp/fart debate is familiar, no apologies here either when that happens.   

The standards for my house and kids have changed - for example my 19 y/o DS rarely gets a haircut and has now decided that washing his hair isn't "healthy"  :o  and he now sports a greasy mass of hair that to me is beyond embarrassing.   Whatever I say about it is ignored, debated and argued about and the end result is that he still has greasy dirty hair.  I would love to put him over my shoulder and drag him into the shower, but he's 19 y/o ...... and well, not only would that be really difficult but just weird.   

So no advice here either - just solidarity in knowing that others with teens are dealing with the same kind of behavior! 
« Last Edit: June 23, 2016, 04:37:38 PM by trying2breathe »
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Trying

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Re: Out of my league parenting teens
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2016, 07:03:07 PM »
What is it with the long greasy hair thing? My 17 and 19 year old both have longer hair and went from short cropped hair and showering twice a day to not always washing the hair daily! I keep telling myself it's not full body tattoos and piercings, hair is temporary.
You will forever be my always.

klim

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Re: Out of my league parenting teens
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2016, 06:48:47 AM »
My sons (18 and 20) are not obedient.....but we negotiate....i pick my battles.

For example I would like them to keep their rooms neat...was a constant battle. Wasn't worth it. The compromise,they have to do their laundry and keep their mess out of the shared rooms.
 
The good thing is that although there rooms are messy , I still have a good report with them.

As far as hair goes my son rocks long hair!  I'm jealous of his thick mane ;D
Not greasy though ...yuk!

Portside

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Re: Out of my league parenting teens
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2016, 08:45:45 AM »

. . . . for example my 19 y/o DS rarely gets a haircut and has now decided that washing his hair isn't "healthy"  :o  and he now sports a greasy mass of hair that to me is beyond embarrassing.
   

Don't worry - all that is needed to reintroduce him to shampoo is for one eyelash batting young woman to say how nasty his hair is.

Boys are funny that way.

Mike 
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Tatianakm

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Re: Out of my league parenting teens
« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2016, 11:06:21 PM »

. . . . for example my 19 y/o DS rarely gets a haircut and has now decided that washing his hair isn't "healthy"  :o  and he now sports a greasy mass of hair that to me is beyond embarrassing.
   

Don't worry - all that is needed to reintroduce him to shampoo is for one eyelash batting young woman to say how nasty his hair is.

I was just going to say that! Funny! All this messy hair image will change in a heartbeat when there is that cute girl they would want to impress appears on their radar. Boys are funny!

« Last Edit: June 24, 2016, 11:09:13 PM by Tatianakm »
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trying2breathe

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Re: Out of my league parenting teens
« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2016, 07:18:09 PM »
.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2016, 07:19:50 PM by trying2breathe »
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trying2breathe

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Re: Out of my league parenting teens
« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2016, 07:19:13 PM »
"Don't worry - all that is needed to reintroduce him to shampoo is for one eyelash batting young woman to say how nasty his hair is." 
 
Portside ^^
 
And I'm hoping that this eyelash batting young lady comes along really really soon!!

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RobFTC

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Re: Out of my league parenting teens
« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2016, 09:14:54 AM »
Abitlost, sorry for your trials, I have teens :-)  I have had some level of success with taming some bad behaviours.  I try to pick my battles carefully, try to pay the most attention to my own behaviour and reactions, and try to make sure they own the results of their choices.  There's a Love and Logic thread I need to go update where I was trying to get folks together to brainstorm some of this stuff.

Attitude is sometimes a good way for kids to get a reaction, so I try to not react negatively to it - though that doesn't mean a snotty approach gets them anywhere.  I have sometimes said, "Do you want to try that again with a better tone of voice so that I will listen?"  I have also refused to do some of my normal things and imposed consequences for bad choices.  The calmer I can be, the more effective that can be.  Doesn't always work, but even my can-I-just-move-out-now daughter regularly says "Dad, would you be willing to..."

On the bodily functions thing, you could set them up to eat in the kitchen or remove yourself there, if either seems like it would make a point.  Making clear that you want polite behaviour without lectures or emotional reactions is hard, but think of it as not giving them more jet fuel.  Letting mealtime come and go without action, and saying "Oh, I was worried someone would fart or belch, and was trying to figure out what to do about it - we'll eat together soon" might be worth considering.

That last is an example of how you might demonstrate that you value yourself and will only keep the Mom gravy train rolling smoothly when they also value you.  Do these things seem true: they treat others with respect and are good kids outside the home, and save their worst behaviour for home?  If so, they are utterly normal!  They probably will respect others out in the world, but they do still need to be coached into how they treat people closest to them and in the place they feel most secure.  You can encourage this by withdrawing anything they normally get from you if you feel they are not treating you well, and that may be the best thing you can do for them!  If they do get by treating you badly, they could do that with their future partners, too.

This stuff is NOT for the faint of heart, that's for sure.  I think a lot of teen behaviour is about finding and testing the boundaries, and if the boundaries are set as clearly and calmly as possible, it helps them out.  It's sometimes hard to find the right approach, but man, when this stuff works it can take your breath away!

Take care,
Rob T
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