My Parenting Fun Continues…

My fourteen-year-old son recently texted me while on a school trip with his classmates and asked me to stop texting him. He’d been gone for two days and I’d texted him a handful of times asking those probing questions that parents ask like, “Where are you now?” When I asked him why I should stop texting him, he answered that I was annoying him.

When he got home, his father and I took his phone away and I told him he’d get it back when he learned to treat me with respect. Oh, and I was done doing all the annoying things I do for him every day.

He now wakes up with an alarm instead of me rubbing his back. He makes his own breakfast (I do still slip a Power Bar into his book bag or else the kid would starve). I’ve stopped annoying him by doing his laundry. We had a lesson with both the washer and dryer that included many eye rolls and frustrated huffs of impatience. He even asked when he was getting his phone back and when he could stop doing laundry (his first load was still in the wash).

Needless to say, he still doesn’t have his phone and he’s still doing his laundry.

Never would I have treated my parents with the kind of disrespect that he treats me. My husband would never have been so bold with his parents, and he’s pretty darn bold. Somewhere along the line, our son has lost complete respect for us. My friends say it’s because he’s a teenager and he’ll grow out of it. Unfortunately for him, I’m not patient enough to wait until he grows out of it. As a matter of fact, he can do his laundry from now until he leaves for college if his attitude doesn’t improve.

The thing I don’t understand is that I don’t expect him to lavish me with praise for preparing his food, doing his laundry, and being at his beck and call 24/7. I never have. I’m simply trying to raise a self-sufficient, happy citizen who will contribute to society. If he does a few years of laundry along the way, his future wife can thank me with grandchildren I intend to spoil rotten and then return to his parents. Should he be scared that I’m already plotting revenge? Yes, he absolutely should.

So as Thanksgiving comes to an end and the kids head back to school with visions of Christmas break on their minds, I’m wondering what the rest of you who have raised teenagers recommend. Should I lighten up because he’s a teenager or give my wayward son more chores?

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About Christy Hayes

A wife, a mother and a writer of romantic women's fiction. I love dogs, exercise and cable news.

Posted on November 28, 2011, in Blog Posts and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. I hope I’m not the friend who said he’ll grow out of it… I honestly believe that there’s a difference between disrespect and the pulling away from the mothering we do when they reach the age of fourteen or so–especially our boys, who have tolerated it for so long. Outright disrespect should be met with the kind of wake-up measures you’re doling out. They should understand how comfortable we make their lives. I support your tough love.

  2. Christy, we took Everything (pictures on the walls, knick knacks, matching sherts and cozy comforter) out of Our son’s room but the bed. He had 1 set if clothes so he HAD to wash every day and there was no TV or games or after school pleasantry, such as computer gaming ir wii He could read a book– one of the ones he brought home from school.

    We wanted to make the point that everything he had was because we put it there and not because he deserved it but because we loved him and wanted him to have it. But, people think I am mean and a little crazy.

    Good luck with this. I am glad your husband is on the same page with you. In the long run that combined front will be the most important, I think.

  3. Don’t give in! Yes, it’s all part of the teenage demeanor, but he needs to learn not to take you for granted. My kids have each gone through this phase, but not without consequences. Fortunately, it was short lived. At times, it does feel the lesson is harder on the parents, but stick to it!

    • The second time around should be easier. My daughter is watching and she’s smart enough to keep her mouth shut most of the time! She doesn’t have a phone yet so once she finally gets one, she’ll do whatever it takes not to lose it.

  4. Oh my goodness, Christy, this is exactly what we’re going through with our son who is 17! And it is SO difficult not to throw up your hands and give up. But you can’t. You’re trying to teach him to treat his parents with respect and just “standing by” wouldn’t do that for you.
    We have decided to do the counseling route as well and have 2 sessions under our belt.
    Good luck with that. I can feel ya’.
    Patti

    • Thanks for your well wishes, Patty and I’m sending them right back at you. There’s a reason they call this parenting thing the hardest job in the world! Our kids will find their way because we love them and underneath all their nastiness they know that or we would throw our hands in the air and give up.

  5. Oh my goodness … I’m so glad to be past this stage. I look at it now and shake my head at the power struggles and craziness. Our youngest son had already been thru this stage by the time our oldest son started into it. What can I say but that the younger one sought his freedom before the oldest even thought he needed to be free.

    You and your children will survive, Christy. There is no “one size fits all” in this struggle for the upper hand. And basically, I think that’s the bottom line here. As the parent, you deserve their respect. But as the child fighting his way toward adulthood, all they’re looking for is proof that you respect them as an equal and it seems like the only way for them to gain this respect is to push back and act disrespectful. Or spoiled. That aspect in their character definitely comes out during this stage.

    As one who has been to h*ll and back and survived, the only advice I have is to breathe deep and remember that this stage will pass, just like the other childhood stages passed. (remember those terrible 2’s?!) Someday your son will grow into an adult you actually like again and then you’ll look back at his teens and think … wow, is this really the same kid? I sure raised him right.

    And that’s the cycle of life. 🙂

  6. Wonderful advice, Sheila. I think I’ll print your words out and look at them every day! This too shall pass, this too shall pass…

    I love what you said about how they are fighting for our respect. So true!

  7. Oh my dear Christy, there isn’t much I could add that hasn’t been said … except: I went through those horrible years, my loving son who had cuddled with me watching Nija movies became a stranger, my sweet little girl became a beast. Yes, of course they grow out of it and YES YES you are doing the right thing … but let me tell you and your husband the best part. Not only do they grow out of it … they have little darlings of their own who one day turn. My grandchildren are in high school and my son was convinced that he had dodged the bullet he once shot at me. NOT. The mother’s curse works. He has one like him and I WILL live long enough to see her go through menopause. How sweet it is to sit back and take it all in with a snicker and a grin 🙂

  8. I knew it, Florance! Finally, two things to look forward to–the coming out of it phase and the revenge phase. Here’s to a long life for us both!

  9. Oooooh yeah. I’m there now, too. My daughter is 16. She has always been way too much like me…a little sarcastically inclined. While funny in a good setting, it’s not cute when it comes at me with teenage toxic waste.

    She can be funny and sweet and so loving when all is good, but tell her “no” and I get the evil eyes and the storming and huffing and nasty tones of voice. I did something similar to you on our last go around. We have battles over grades all the time, and I’m always “on her”. She got all snarky in my face and told me that there was no point to her keeping up with things since MOMMY already does.

    Oh honey. I told her to watch what she wished for, because “Mommy” was done. I stopped being on her about homework, where she had to be, laundry…

    Well, she just came home with a report card with two failing grades. Yay. So…now as a result of Mommy not nagging her about her schoolwork, she has no phone, computer, and can’t get her drivers license. That last one’s killing her, but I said no license/no keys till she’s passing. she tried to work that one with “Then you’ll just have to keep bringing me everywhere.”

    Me: “No sweetpea, you now have nowhere to go but school, and I’ve done that for nearly 12 years now so it’s no difference to me.”

    Keep at it, Christy. After high school he will get better. My 21 year old son is better now. Kind of. At least he isn’t home anymore for me to know otherwise. 🙂

    • That’s a long time to wait, Sharla, but I’m glad I’m not the only one suffering. This battle of the will is hard. He doesn’t realize he gets his stubbornness from the one person he’s fighting against! And I’ve been at this a lot longer than him! Thanks for the encouragement!

  10. Love that Christy!! I have no advice for as I’m right where you are but I do know that when I’m fed up I find great satisfaction in dumping 8 loads of laundry on the floor and making the boys do all of it from start to finish. Your kids are wonderful!! but I say, heck yea….crack the whip on that teen!!

  11. LOVEit! Yes, it’s hard to raise responsible and respectful children but we MUST. My son promises to be a hand-full when he reaches his teen years, but I’ve already started preparing. He’s only nine but couple years back, he showed disrespect to my efforts on his behalf so I said, “fine.”

    He’s been doing his laundry ever since, puts his dishes away, prepares his own breakfast, lunch and sometimes dinner–depending on his mood. And the boy has NO chance for DS gadgets, because from what I can tell, they are WAY too violent. Like I need more of that tendency from a young man in my household?

    No thank you! 🙂 Keep up the good work, Christy!

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