Tuesday 12 October 2010

Time to redress the balance

So your 3 year old has started weeing herself after you thought they were potty trained.

Should you take your baby to bed with you?

My 3 year and old has started nursery I'm feeling lost without them.

I have a picky child that won't eat anything I cook for them.

Go on twitter and read peoples blogs and these are questions there every single day. Accompanied by hundreds of answers, suggestions and words of support, from parents in the same situation, parents that 'come out' the other side unscathed and from grandparents, professionals and others.

Well now it's time to redress the balance. I've offered support, information, advice and posted hundreds of links and now I need something back please.

I have a 15 year old son who is taller and stronger than me. When he was little and didn't want to eat his tea/go to school/hid his wet trousers/wouldn't sleep at night. I followed all the advice, I read the books, I asked for help and it was possible to implement the suggestions.

There wasn't twitter or facebook. I went to playgroups and spoke to other mums. I picked up the telephone and asked my parents or took him to the Doctors. It outside his bedroom door listening to him cry, I put him in bed with me, I did a star chart and rewards for potty training...I could go on, you all know the drill.

So what now?

He won't go to sea cadets any more, he refuses to take part in family activities, won't do his homework, tidy his room, help around the house....he just wants to do his own thing all the time and I'm expected to pay for it.

So what was the point in spending his formative years making him go to school, encouraging him to eat his veg, getting him to tidy his toys away?

It seems it was all a waste of time...I spent his formative years encouraging independence, feeling like a bad mother if I didn't follow the latest parenting techniques, suggested by playgroups, grandparents and government...and all for what?

A child now, and I hasten to add he is still a child, who does his own thing, when he wants and how he wants, locked in a world of social networking sites and computer games. I face pressure from school because he's answering back in class, not doing his coursework, refusing to co-operate around the house and generally thinking he's in charge.

Yes I can take the lap top from him, I can tell him if he doesn't eat what I cook he can go without, he can live in a pig sty and not have clean clothes if he doesn't bring them down for wash.

But, either way I'm at fault, his behaviour outside the home is due to bad parenting? well, that's how the media view it...but I did everything according to what/how I was told to do it...and if I had my time again...I'd bloody well ignore it, after all no-one is advising me how to sort it all out now...are they?


  1. We will all be asking the same questions in 10 years time, that is a absolute guarantee.

    I am dreading the teenage years. I remember my younger brother going through this phase (he is 15 years younger than me) and it was really tough for my Mum. I think in this instance the advance of technology is a bad thing for teenage boys, they get so into their x-boxes or PS3's that they block out the outside world.

    The only thing I can suggest is to do more family stuff outside of the home, but as you say he is refusing to go to sea-cadets. Maybe if he has to complete his homework in view of you at the table say, before he's allowed his laptop (unless he's using it for the homework).

    The only sure thing is that is a phase, he will grow out of it and you will come out of it the other side. Just a question of when?

    And, his behaviour doesn't sound like bad parenting to me, just teenage hormones.

  2. I know what I should be doing and how to do it, but when a 15 year old who is bigger and stronger than me says NO.....how the bloody hell do I inforce it......that's the real issue.

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  4. I remember all this very well indeed, but my solution was very drastic indeed and not one that you would be able to do. (I finally got so cheesed off with it that I packed her off to her fathers to finish and catch up with her schooling, she did her A levels and is now a fresher at Carmarthen, she has also now forgiven me and understands why I did it!)

    I would take all his "toys" away from him until he bucks up his ideas, he is going to have an almighty strop and your hubby MUST support you and back you up in this, otherwise there is no point.

    He can have them back gradually when he starts being polite and doing his work.

    Of course though, you know all this, what you need is for hubby to buck his ideas up and support you in the discipline of the child.


  5. Poor you. I have no words to offer other than
    hang in there. I was a stroppy teen but I think I
    turned out OK...

    My Mum was my arch nemesis back the, but
    she's one of my best friends now & I love her. Keep loving him (but you don't have to like him
    all the time).

  6. I am not a parent so please forgive me for perhaps making a stupid comment but it's coming from the heart. No you are not a bad parent. Actually you prepared him to be an independent young guy and offered the world. Perhaps the world is still to big and he says NO because it's too much?
    What comes to my mind I would try is;
    1. Discuss and set new boundaries (like the star chart) and make his world a little smaller without him noticing.
    2. bribe him, something like if you keep your end of the bargain we will...

    I went through this phase (like many) and at one point my parents were fed up with my behavior. They dropped me in the car and took me to the worst neighborhood in Rotterdam full. It was full of prostitutes, drunks, you know what I mean. They said if you don't want to learn and make something of yourself etc. this is where you probably will end up. That was an eye opener.

    Goodluck! xo

  7. If a 15 year old who is bigger and stronger than you says NO, I dont know what you can do, once you have talked reasonably, taken all his toys away and refused to do anything or give him money, what is he still says No? I honetly dont know what you can do, I would tell his "know all" teachers though, that if, when they go through it with their children, perhaps they could let you know how they coped with it.

    You are NOT a bad parent, in the short time that I have known you, you strike me as a very caring person and a good mother.

  8. To Julia Ball
    We do have the option of sending him to live with his dad. His dad doesn't have these issues with him as he isn't expected to do anything when he goes to visit. However, when we've had problems in the past and Dan has been aggressive his Dad has driven a 100 mile trip to support me and help calm him down.

  9. For what it's worth, I think what you should do is what you are doing. Love him, support him, set the boundaries but don't worry if you have to let them go. Don't beat yourself up and don't beat him up either. He probably feels as wretched as you do and like morning sickness it does, usually, get better. If he screws up his education now, he'll just have to do it later. I honestly don't think these things are in your hands, they're in his. Keep an eye on the long view. He'll probably be a lovely adult and all this will be a bad dream. Good luck, you aren't alone.

  10. The response I received from @emmersimms she wrote on twitter

    'I know how you feel, teen dd with attitude that makes me cry. Only thing that works is removal of right to phone and Sims game even then I have to prepare for hours of hystrionics and picking on her sister. She's also not going on trip with school now but know this prob won't help everyone, roll on when she gets through this bloody 'phase' x'

  11. Please note the word HYSTRIONICS (in the last comment)..THAT IS THE ISSUE. There are other children in the house, a husband and my work and study.

    I take games consules away, I dock pocket money...but name me one child? any child that accepts that?

  12. you have my sympathies.

    As a single mum with an 12 year old boy i dread the day this may happen as i have absolutely no back up to reply on, and once he becomes taller and stronger than me i just hope that my parenting has been effective enough, although as you stated this is not always enough.

    I wish i could offer advice but all i can do is pass on the very best of luck.

  13. thank you Jo, seems to me that everything is geared around raising your child till the age of approx 11-13 then you're left on your own just to get on with it and critisied for not doing it right...The only support available for me is medication to haelp me cope with it all...duh! I am coping I just don't like it and would appreciate the same level of help I had when he was samll.

  14. Listen hun he is normal!! What you're describing is normal teenage behaviour - You have done nothing wrong and trust me all that hard work you put in when he was little will pay dividends once his normal teenage hormonal rebellion is over. Just hang in there.One day he'll apologise for putting you through this (I did) xxx

  15. Emma
    Thank you I need to hear that..I just want to know what happened to all the support we get when they're younger and why we get blamed for it all now. x x x

  16. I was a stroppy teen. I remember my Mum trying her best with me and in the end she said to me that she wouldn't bother anymore with the nagging etc. and she sat down and cried!. I felt so bad and it made me realise that she was saying and doing the thing she was because she loved and cared about me and wanted a future for me.

    It is easy for me to say talk to him and explain but like me at that age he won't listen and probably won't care much, but I promise you seeing your parent cry with frustration at you really hits home.

  17. oh man - you have my son's twin! I could have written this word for word, he does exactly the same.

    Like you I have no clue how to handle it

    I wrote about this on my own blog just a few days ago