My 17 year old son and I have a strained, almost broken relationship. He has a very negative personality. He is rude and disrespectful to me, although he expects me to do and buy things for him. He thinks I yell at him all the time (sometimes I do) but mostly I'm just telling him to do a chore or using a stern tone when he does something wrong. Lately I have been yelling because of his rudeness; he doesn't call me names and he doesn't get into trouble or do drugs (although he has admitted to trying marijuana). We have tried counselling and medications many times, but nothing has helped. My problem with getting angry at him stems from the fact that his negativity, tone, word choice, manerisms are all identical to his father, who I divorced. I try to remember he's my son not his father, but sometimes it's very hard. Living with his dad is not an option; dad will not allow it. We have no family nearby and he has no close friends. I know I still need to discipline him (I take away privileges to no effect), and I will, but I need to try to control my anger. And I miss my son terrbly; we used to be close. Can I repair our relationship?
It might be a good idea for you both to get in to some counseling.
I know it's hard but you will have to keep your cool if you want to teach him to not yell at you, then you don't yell at him. Be firm though. Don't allow the disrespect, talking back or rudeness. Call on it immediately and tell him he is not to talk to you like that. You're his mother and deserve respect. Tell him you will treat him with respect and he needs to treat you the same. When he gets disrespectful then take away a privilege and explain why you did it. Again, remain calm but firm. Make a point of giving him your full attention when he is being calm and respectful and show appreciation to him when he's doing well.
If you want him to be more positive try to model that for him and make sure you give him plenty of praise for the good things you notice him do, whether it's good grades, picking up or being kind to someone. Let him know you noticed and appreciate it.
Teen years are difficult, there's no doubt, and teens often feel already feel self conscious and unsure of themselves so a lot of this could be just normal teen behavior.
One thing you need to remember, he's NOT your ex husband. He's his own person. I hope you don't make remarks like that to him. You need to see his own uniqueness and specialness about him and even point it out to him. If he's a good artist, tell him how much you admire his work. If he's good in sports, tell him he has a natural ability that you admire. Just make sure it's sincere compliments. Kids pick up on fakeness or pretending real fast.
I know there are things about him you can compliment him on. Start thinking about all the positive things you like and appreciate about him and let him know, more than once. The more he hears good things about him from you the more he will believe them for himself and start acting more positive himself. It won't happen overnight, probably, but with time, patience and lots of love he should respond positively. Make sure you keep the communication lines open. That means being willing to listen to him with your full attention and showing him you value his opinion and thoughts, as well as you doing the talking. If you really try all these things I think you will see him respond more and more in a positive way towards you.
Remember, he may be 17 but he still needs his mom even if he would never admit it! I wish you both well. Take care.
Robin, I too am going through a similar situation with my 16 yr old son. We have been in counseling (me, my husband and son). It sounds like enmeshment between the two of you. This is an unhealthy bond between mother and son. My son also isolated himself with very few friends. He saw himself as my protector and almost emotionally like a husband or boyfriend would. I was mortified when I realized this. They become distracted and often do poorly in school and few friends. The anger comes from their inability to handle the pressure and guilt that have for their own needs. The best thing to do is to practice the art of indifference, be strong, do not let your son see you cry - that only makes it worse. Get a hobby, pull away and allow him to begin to develop his sense of self. His self esteem will improve, he will develop his own instincts. Let him fail at things. This is how he will learn. I know its hard but do it now so he can become a man and know it is okay to break away from mom and become a man.
I did not post the question I searched it because I am having a lot of conflict with my teen age son and I have been at a loss on how to get back to a good place with my first born son. It is truly heart breaking when your baby boy who used to adore you now treats you like enemy # 1. It is very hard not to find yourself down at their level with the yelling and ugliness. I greatly appreciate your very valuable advice. Gave me lots of perspective.Thank you.
I wish I could respect my mum but every time I'm home there's a switch that turns on and I'm disrespectful, I lie and I do bad things I want something to control it my mum is at that point when she doesn't want to even see my face anymore because of all the bad stuff I have done if you can help me be honest and respectful and always helpful please reply back I don't want it to be like this for ever I love my mum I just can't express it that way and even though she is my step mum I want to treat her right like all her hard work has payed off and I don't want to be like this kid I am now anymore it's wrong grr soon I will be kicked out and never to return and not well because I feel sorry for what my mum has put up with I wish I was never like this
It seems like you want to show your mum how much you love and appreciate her even though you have a hard time being respectful and loving towards her at home. Is that right? It sounds like you might be feeling some fear and guilt- guilt in how you have treated her in the past and fear that if you reach out to her she might not "want to even see your face." It is never too late to fix or repair a relationship, even if it seems like it is impossible. If you are willing, I invite you to write just what you wrote in your post and some more if you would like in the form of a letter to your mum. You can hand it to her or leave it somewhere she will definitely see it- leave a little note on the front of it- "Hi Mum, I wrote this for you. Love, Your Name"
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