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Ugh...my 17 year old son needs to grow up I think
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Ugh...my 17 year old son needs to grow up I think

Does anyone else have this problem?  My son is smart but when he gets a bad grade on a test or forgets to hand in homework, it is always somebody else's fault.  He doesn't take responsibility for anything.  He almost never says thank you, at least at home, and is disrepectful to me.  Not in the cussing me out kind of way but when I want to talk to him it is always "WHAT?" or "I KNOW MOM" or "OKAY MOM"  He accuses me of repeating things but if I don't, nothing will ever get done.  He thinks that if he says something, it is automatically going to happen.  Last summer it was "I'm going to have a summer job."  He didn't have one because saying it doesn't make it so!  Sometimes I wonder how much empathy he has in him if any.  Anyway, I am finding this very frustrating.  Another instance is I gave him my old car...been saving it for him for years.  The keyless entry didn't work so I bought a new batter and said "look, I fixed this for you."  His response "I don't really like those but I'll use it since it works."  WTH!!!!!
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1699033_tn?1405352675
Does anybody have any advice for me regarding my son?  Is this just typical teenage rebellion that will go away with time.  I'm getting ready to send him off to college and pay for it.  HELP!
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No advice, but in the same boat, sigh....my 17 year old son is  a solid A student but does everything last minute.
Disrupts our whole family by sleeping after school, then up til the wee hours of the night..
Tried to convince him not to sleep after school, no luck...

He will not even consider getting a job..should be headed to Unversity next year but wants another year of high school...sigh...and he has 4 months to get 40 hours...of volunteer service..

On top of this I have a diagnosed clinically depressed 13 year old..
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1699033_tn?1405352675
Thank you for commenting.  I'm sure that they have their own "agenda" at this age.  Nothing has changed since my post from way back in the beginning of November.  He has gotten into several colleges and is in the process of picking one.  I just hope when he gets there that it is "game on" rather than "game off" and somewhere along the line maturity kicks in.  

I'm sorry to hear about your 13 year old.  Clinical depression is tough.  My brother-in-law has it and my sister struggles very much.  I hope that your son responds well to treatment.  

My other son has ADHD.  Doesn't get any better grades than my 17 year old.  

I guess we just do the best we can and the chips fall where they may.  

Take care.  

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Hi,  I attended this parenting class and it had a good deal in it about dealing with teens.  The class was based on the book "Love and Logic" by Charles Fey and Jim Fey.  They are father and son psychologists and really have a terrific approach.  You can get the book at the library or a book store or they have a web site.  Our whole school system actually has adopted this approach and the point is to have natural consequences be the teacher.  You observe and 'let things happen'.  

Doesn't work?  Maybe doesn't have a car to use because he can't afford gas.  "SO sorry, wish you'd gotten that job son."  You don't gloat but act (whether it kills you or not) empathetic.  They have to go somewhere?  Well, that takes some of MY time and gas so it will  cost you.  What's in your wallet?  Nothing, okay -----  do these chores for me and then I'll drive you.  No chores?  Okay, then I'm so sorry, you'll have to miss -whatever it is-.  

That is the type of thing it goes through.  It also points out that NOW is when it is okay for your child to fail at things.  The consequences are much less than they will be in the 'real' world.  Now, failing a class would hurt----  whew, that would be hard for me as a parent to not step in.  they go through that kind of thing in the program i went through.  (by the way, it is a national program with seminars and small group classes).  

I don't know if this helps but do look into the book and see if you think it is helpful.  They might have one for specifically teen agers as well.  Peace
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Thank you...I will look for the book.
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JGF,  I'm coming to the end of my parenting influence - I have a 22 yo,  a 21 yo,  and 17 yo son.  They have not "tried" at stuff that matters all their lives.  Or anyway,  stuff that matters to me.  They can put forth a whale of an effort when it's stuff that matters to them.  Through their lives,  I've witnessed the effort they go through to get a cell phone back to a friend,  dam up a creek with huge boulders to form a pool,  create a skateboard ramp,  draw the Seinfeld stars in charicature,  I could go on and on with the impressive projects they've done when it matters not one whit to anyone but themselves.  Not even willing to take the MINIMAL amount of effort to enter an already complete (and fabulous) piece of art into a school art contest.  I don't know what's up with that.  As each one approached college age,  effort toward things that matter surfaced and as the older ones take flight,  they are doing more to achieve concrete things and they are succeeding at things where they receive a grade,  or the notice of a professor,  etc.  

I went to lunch with friends the other day and we were discussing mid term grades of their middle schoolers,  and one mom said her son got a B in band.  A B???? She said.  REALLLY??? She told him all he had to DO was show up with his instrument,  act pleasant and turn in his practice records for 100 grade.   She told him that was ABSOLUTELY unacceptable,  and that he had to bring home an A final grade for the term.  The other moms were all nodding their heads and helping to suggest consequences.  

This is really long,  sorry.

I sat there quietly realizing that my 3 son were all musically quite talented,  in band or orchestra,  and it never would have occurred to me to be upset at a B in band.  In fact I would have been fine with it.  A light bulb went off in my head that I had caused - or contributed to - my sons lacadasical attitudes.  

So the moms conversation went on about kids struggling with math and when teacher hours are for tutoring,  algebra is really a struggle they're trying to help out,  etc.,  these aren't tiger moms,  these are loving supportive realistic moms.

So.  Did you ever do that?  Did you ever demand As in classes where basically you just have to show up?
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That is an interesting question rockrose.  I've got younger children and my hope is that they become self motivated to excel.  My son went to first grade not wanting to read.  I pushed him a bit over the summer and he went the other way----  started refusing to do it.  He started school and his teacher had made little book bins for each student with the level on the front for where they read at.  My son took one look at that and was on his OWN mission.  He's got an ego it seems and he was going to be one of the best readers in the class.  He turned into just that out of his own desire.  I really just let him go because my 'technique' over the summer had backfired on me.  But when HE decided to do it, he hit the ball out of the park.  

I think we have to find a balance of having high expectations for our kids while encouraging them to figure out their own motivation for doing well.  

Ha, I guess it helps to have kids with big egos.  

But it is interesting to figure out the right path to take and probably each child is unique.  I respect you and always love to hear how you have handled your own boys.  
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13167_tn?1327197724
Interesting,  Specialmom.  I have a dear friend who has 3 kids who have varying degrees of Sensory Integration Disorder,  and it's been a real education watching her great mothering skills,  and her great kids.  What you said in this last post resonated with me.

A long time ago,  my friend's Mom said that her oldest son should be learning skills like opening the door for ladies,  offering to help carry groceries,  etc.,  and my friend said he couldn't imagine getting him to do that cheerfully if he was tired.  So I said she ABSOLUTELY could get that behavior from him,  ABSOLUTELY,  with a boot camp like regimen but at what cost?  As it was,  writing was extremely difficult for him,  loud noises were difficult for him,  bright lights,  etc,  and yet he was truly trying (and succeeding!) to do well in school,  and his behavior in school was never a problem.  He's now succeeding at Berkeley,  I think in part due to the fact that he was a soft cushion for him and didn't make demands on him that would just absolutely overload him and he would have shut down.

So I think what you say is true.  Each child is different,  and you have to meet them where they are.   And they are not all in the same place.

I will also say,  your posts bring back to me the fascinating conversations about brains,  and coping,  she and I used to have about her children,  and my children as well.  
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Thanks for the comments.  I have had my children in private school their whole lives so I will confess to saying "I'm not getting my monies worth" more than a few times.  

When my oldest son was getting C's...C average of about 2.75 right now, I asked that he try to get all B's.  I never once asked for A's..just B's becuase I thought I would be asking for the moon if I said A's.  I offered him $50.00 if he got all B's.   I told him that if he turned in all of his homework and didn't get any zeros, his grade would be better.  When he was in jeopardy of failing an honors Geo/Trig class, he did seek out extra help from the teacher one-on-one but he didn't like the teacher, said he can't teach and that he wasn't learning anything in the classroom.  By the end of that year all I was asking was that he pass and not have to go to summer school....he got a D.   I feel like I have been a broken record for 4 years.  Frankly he is sick of me.  I cannot tell you how many times he got in the car, told me he got an F on a test and then I proceeded to cry all the way home.  That is where the lack of empathy comes in.  I don't think he even cared I was upset enough to cry.  I told him time and again that I wanted all the doors of possiblity to be open for him and that each bad grade he got closed another door.  My husband got involved because I couldn't take looking on the parent portal anymore...too much anxiety.  

So in short, I do feel like I pushed him to do better.  I tried the demanding thing with the I'm not getting my monies worth and I expect you to get A's and B's.  I would tell him he was smart but lazy.  Evidence of that is he is in AP calculus and passing with a B.  The other classes, religion, etc. are C average classes.  If he doesn't care about it...he doesn't put any effort into it.  I guess like the art projects you were talking about.  The ability is there but they have to want to do it.  

My other son...maybe I favor him more.  I don't know.  He does have ADHD and I don't get on him as much but I do tell him he is smart but does a lot of dumb things.  This son cares a bit more I think.  He is a people pleaser.  However, even being that he didn't get better than my other son and is around a 2.75 GPA.  But that is with him doing it on his own.  Up through 8th grade we looked at everything.  Once 9th grade started we said "enough."  We haven't looked at anything since.  So in actuality, I'm quite proud of that 2.75 GPA right now.  I do expect more and I have said as much.  

Did your children do well in college?  I'm scared to death I'm sending this "I don't care, lazy, feeling like he is entitled" child off to college.  He does not listen to anything I have to say.  He did get into 5 of the 6 colleges he applied to (all private and small) and all gave him money (probably because he plays tennis) so I guess I can't complain too much.  There really is a college for everybody but I sincerely hope he gets his act together by next fall.  
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973741_tn?1342346373
Hm.  Rockrose is a wealth of knowledge and will post back to you I am sure.  I just wanted to comment on what I had said earlier------  which is that children are human and have to find their own motivation.  Your son doesn't care because the consequences you have presented him don't resonate.  

You could take this approach-----  welcome to the real world.  I'd not buy  him new clothes, not give him money,not let him use the car, nothing.  I mean----  if we don't 'work' we can't do those things, right?  His job is school.  And school's job is to prepare him for the real world.  I wouldn't make it as a punishment----  just a simple new way of life.  

We have a house that we rent to college students (ugh).  Over the years, my husband and I agree that the kids that do the best, are the most responsible, and 'get jobs quickly' out of school (we know this because our house is usually their last stop before the real world as seniors and we are asked to provide references)----  are the ones that pay for school on their own.  They care---------  it is their money or their scholorship.  The ones who have mom and dad helping with everything act like children and take advantage of everything.  Not all kids who have their parents paying for college are like this but all of our problem tenants did have moms/dads paying everything.  Our tenants that work and pay their own way always pay on time because they would die to pay an extra late fee.  They "get" it.  

The other thing you could do is to have a family sit down and tell him that you are backing off.  This is HIS life.  He can succeed or not, his choice.  He can not take school seriously and not get his first pick of colleges.  He can go to college and get caught up in the "life" and flunk out.  He can be super successful at either which is what you obviously prefer.  BUT the choice is his.  However, he must think of what he'll do if he does go down the path of having issues getting into college or flunks out of college.  That you will not be supporting him.  This is his life to make it as he chooses.  And then just let him go.  Because until he finds it within himself, it will always be a battle without the results you are looking for.  He has to get it for  himself.

That is just my thoughts and might not be very useful.  

But I can totally relate to the pain and frustration of these parenting issues.  We want and hope for so much for our kids.  They can have the world and it hurts to see them throw it away.  

Hopefully, he'll get "it" soon.
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973741_tn?1342346373
Rockrose, Ha.  Anytime you want to talk about the dynamics of young brains, I'm game!  Love that subject!  

I do think that some kids that have challenges of some sort will rise to the occasion out of 'proving' that they are good enough.  I'm sure that would be subconsious.  

Anyway, it is interesting!  

I constantly try to find the right balance.  I try to provide what my kids need to learn while being laid back and fun about it!  Ha.  
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13167_tn?1327197724
JGF,  your style of parenting and mine sound very very similar.  I checked "Home Access" which is our online gradesheet, obsessively.  I'd check attendance, and grades daily.  I begged and pleaded and reasoned myself blue in the face to try to get the kids to care,  and the fact is,  they didn't.  The moms I'm talking about who demand better put the screws to the kids who won't try.  It's pretty typical for parents I know to take away cell phones,  computers,  going out on weekends,  cars,  from kids who are doing poorly in a class.  I never did that.  I just became a nervous wreck begging them to do better.  

My oldest son did well in college,  my second son might flunk out.  He either makes As or Fs.  He's made the only 100 a long time prof ever gave out,  in a very difficult class,  but he has failed stuff like Speech or History by not showing up.  Or doing what's required for a "c" and accidentally falling short and ending up failing.  

I even had my college son's college password that got me into his email account and gradesheets.  He changed it this semester and told me to stop breathing down his neck.  Fair enough,  I'm stopping with him.  He can sink or swim,  something is telling me he's decided finally to at least attempt to swim.  Over Christmas my husband told him that he would owe us for the tuition and fees for every class in the future he doesn't pass - which has been at least one per semester.  Maybe that will sink in.

I do have warm close relationships with all my boys - and they're wonderful charming sweet guys,  and I hope their futures will hold successes.  My husband is harboring a fear that my middle son will flunk out of everything and be unemployable.  It still could happen,  actually.  Meanwhile,  you should SEE what he and his roommate have done to their house.  Fabulous zipline over the pool,  gorgeous paint job and very fun billiards room in what used to be the garage.  I could just slap him when I see stuff like that.

Anyway,  sorry to be so long again I was just kind of answering whether they did well in college.  Not so much for the middle one.

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973741_tn?1342346373
I would hate to ever give up a loving and warm relationship with my kids.  Kids at peace are important and that includes peace with us.  I just wish they could understand what life could be if they took it seriously-----  but in the end, well adjusted kids often end up being adults that do just fine.  
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973741_tn?1342346373
To clarify, what I mean by well adjusted kids is emotionally well adjusted kids that it sounds like your boys are Rockrose and as well as content in life.  They'll most likely be just fine in life.  

And I want to do the zip line across the pool!
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1699033_tn?1405352675
We have given consequences.  He is not allowed to play gaming during the week because of his grades.  I mean is is going to be 18 in 2 months.  Anyway, the car only gets enough gas to get to and from school.  If he uses it up before the alloted time, then he gets driven.  He NEVER leaves the house.  I can't take away plans with friends, meet-ups, etc because this kid doesn't leave the basement.  I doesn't care what I take away, there is always something else he can find to do.  Oh, and he is a joker.  He will walk up the stairs in front of me at a snails pace until I'm ready to throw him off the side.  Things like that....I drive him nuts but he drives me nuts too!  

I will definitely have the "you are on your own" conversation with him.  I hope to have him have a small loan so that he can have a bit of "ownership" for his actions.  My husband and I are a bit at odds with this.  But you are right, he is either going to go there and do reasonably well or flunk out.  I have mentioned that I will come and visit him at Taco Bell because that is probably the only job he will be able to get if he doesn't graduate college.  And that Camero he wants...not happening without a college degree.  I guess that is yet another thing that he says he is going to have and it is supposed to magically appear.  

Anyway, thank you both for listening to me rant!  This time next year, I will have a son who is either on top of the water, treading, or drowning.  God don't let it be drowning!  :)  
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JGF,  I think the best thing you can do for him is make him live in a dorm his first year.  Most colleges require it,  some don't,  but it's essential IMHO.  He needs to NOT be left alone his first year - it sounds like he could set up a gaming console and just  stay there.  He needs to be on campus,  in the thick of things,  with an RA (residence assistant,  an upperclass student employed by the university to kind of keep an eye on things in the dorm).  Find out who his RA is,  and get their email address,  and contact him early to make sure your son is doing well.    You can say something like,  please keep confidential that I've contacted you but my son has had a history of migraines and I would appreciate an update on how he's doing when I ask.  That sort of thing.  
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I agree and he will be living on campus and the Xbox, playstation, etc will NOT be going with him and neither is the car.  

It really does all go back to the fact that we, as parents, just want the very best for our kids.  We want them to be safe, happy, healthy, and successful.  I mean we are not going to be here forever.  My son is safe and he is healthy, now he just has to work on the happy (not looking at everything as a chore and finding the fun in living) and the successful.

Thanks again.  
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You made me smile!  I have one that just turned 18 a few weeks ago and OMG!  I so want him to grow up.  Now, I will say I have seen a change in him since he got a job a few months back.  I know he will be starting college in the Fall and I so hope he gets a grip.  Last night, I had washed his sheets and left them clean on his bed.  He had a fit that I didn't put them back on for him.  I started to start a dialog with him but I thought "Nope" not gonna do it.  I don't care if the sheets ever go on the bed.  His problem!  I do little right.hee hee...  One of these days maybe he will realize all the nice things I have done.  He jokes constantly!  He's never serious and it so gets on my nerves!  Maybe we should find a nice island trip for about 5 days and just go together!  LOL!  I really think this is an age thing.  He has given us no problems really.  I just wish he had more ambition.  I really do feel lucky compared to other parents I know.  Their kids cause nothing but trouble.  Should consider myself lucky but ug!  I just keep telling myself "everything is going to be okay!".LOL!  Hang in there!
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I do believe we have twins on our hands.  My son has never had a job.  I did make him apply to the Six Flags that is near our house so I really hope he gets a job there this summer before college.  

We can compare notes after they start college.  Who do you think will be drinking more...us or them?  LOL

Seriously though, I'm with you.  My son doesn't do bad things either and for that I am thankful!  

Take care.  
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I think our kids have a good foundation.  I think sometimes they pretend not to hear or recognize they do but they do.LOL!  I know it took me a while to get it together and I am sure my parents thought the same thing.  I do know he is ahead of the ballgame if I compare the 2 of us and I came out fine.  I keep telling myself this.LOL!  I have been told all they think about is themselves and it is normal and we should begin to see changes slowly until they are 23!  See, we still have hope!  Oh, it will definately be me drinking more since he doesn't break the rules-ever!  That's the thing about my son, he truly is a great kid.  He follows the rules and will not break them.  I kinda wish he had a little more fire in him-ya know what I mean?  But, he is who he is and things could be so much worse.  I keep hoping he will become passionate about his studies and career.  I think they both will!
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Hi,

Sorry if this has already been investigated but are you sure this son doesn't have ADHD with out the H? I noticed you already have a son with ADHD and its not uncommon for attentional disorders to run through all the kids but its not always obvious, they get missed. Kids with a (mild) learning difficulty, will often start to give up in their later years of schooling, and quite a few things you've said make me think its quite possible. I would hate to see you assume he's lazy, and put more pressure on him, if there's an LD behind it all. Worth getting him assessed if you haven't already.

Cheers............JJ
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You know, it really has never crossed my mind with my oldest son.  The teachers in elementary school never singled him out as not paying attention.  He actually got good grades in elementary/junior high.  Once high school came along, he had a hard time.  I think he had 16 zeros his first semester.  He came from a very small school (1 class per grade) into high school with a whole new set of rules.  

I can certainly ask him if he is having trouble paying attention.  But when I look at my two sons, I see a clear difference between the two.  My ADHD/dysgraphia  son used to put his clothes on backward, was always singled out for not paying attention, would raise his hand and ask a question that didn't pertain to what they were talking about, always interrupted, etc.  My oldest son never did these things.  Actually he is quite responsible.  I will ask though because it can't hurt.  Thanks for bringing it up.  
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Unfortunately my son I'm sure will be drinking if he can get his hands on alcohol.  He has mentioned that college and partying go hand-in-hand.  I make him read everything in the paper pertaining to teenages and drunk driving.  That is also the reason why I am not letting him take a car with him.  If he is going to do it, he will be walking I hope (not in a car with someone else who has been drinking).  I see my son breaking the rules, but I don't see him following people into a downward spiral.  He doesn't have the patience for stupidity and I think he would walk away from a bad situation.  I guess only time will tell for the both of us.  
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RockRose
Austin, TX