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Avatar universal

At wits end with 16 year old son

Where do I start, my 16 y/o son has taken control of our lives bit by bit and now it's so extreme I don't know where to start.  I've always done most of the parenting but since a year ago my husband is at home more often and also he's not afraid to tell our son to "cop on" if he's having a hissy fit or being disrespectful.  This has now lead to our son totalling hating his dad, wishing him dead etc. and not afraid to tell him so.  He's our only child and we've always treated him so well, he wants for nothing.  He's also highly intelligent, a super student at school & in exams.  Sometimes I'd rather he was stupid, he might be happier.  He over analyses everything in his life, from what to eat/wear to planning his homework.  He feels guilty when playing his consoles and needs constant reassurance that what he's doing is ok or that it's ok to have fun.  I don't know where it all went wrong. He's basically very unhappy in himself and he's taking it out on us.  He just totally ruined our first ever trip to New York.  Because he was so abusive to his dad on the trip and his dad had a quite day which led to me being miserable, he now totally blames his dad for ruining the trip.  He accepts absolutely no responsibility for anything that happens in his life.  He will start a fight and then blame us for delaying his homework/ruining his evening etc..  He is very intolerant to anything that doesn't suit him.  He likes total silence for doing his study.  However my husband is a little hard of hearing due to his job and also likes to watch tv in the evenings/at night.  There are no doors in our sitting room (it just opens onto the hall and kitchen).  In a effort to keep some silence and allow my husband to hear the tv, we recently put in a door between the sitting room & the hall.  This has caused serious rows.  My son has nearly put his fist through the door at this stage.  Just because it's the one thing his father wants, it's the one thing he doesn't want.  We had agreed that once he got his homework under control (because he has a problem with motivating himself to do it) we said the door could come down again.  While his father was away the other day, my son coerced an agreement from me that the door could come down this weekend if the week went well.  I don't want the door to come down, I actually like it.  I'm also worn to a thread mentally from being walked all over and basically being treated like s**t verbally on a daily basis.  It's "his way or no way" in our house all the time.  How we're not divorced by now I'll never know. We love our son to bits but he's making life so difficult. Help please!  Would you put down your foot & keep the door up as a start to taking back control?  I feel so walked on and undermined and I'm just not functioning properly anymore.  And I really think there ought to be boundaries set ie. we as parents deserve our time too.  It's nearly 2 years he has left in school and he thinks it's ok for us to tip-toe around while he studies until then.  Help! and sorry for the ramble.  I know I sound (and feel!) like a crazy person!
7 Responses
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13167 tn?1327194124
Minnie,  I'm having a difficult time  picturing what you're talking about.  Your husband had a quiet day in New York which led to you being miserable and now he blames his dad for ruining the trip.  Are you saying your husband was basically giving everyone the silent treatment?  Otherwise why would you be miserable if he was just having a quiet day?

You describe a child who is driven by his desire to study,  and then later say when he gets his homework under control the door may come down but he has a hard time motivating himself to study.  

I'm just not getting a clear picture here at all of the behaviors you are talking about.

And I would guess your son is the "canary in the cave" in your house - that the family dynamics are very "off" and your son is showing the stress by being difficult.
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Avatar universal
I know it all sounds a bit crazy, but our son had told our husband he wished he was dead, and that he was under no obligation to like or love him.  This wasn't the first time, and we were so far away and supposed to be having a good time but our son is so verbally vicious sometimes, that it just brings us down.  Yes, he's driven to do well academically but since he returned to school in September after Transition Year (a gap year of sorts) he just spends more time talking about the homework than actually doing it.  He gets stressed all the time.  Over absolutely anything.  Including enjoying himself when he has some "downtime".  The stress and anxiety seems to be taking him over and he won't make a decision by himself.  I know he needs help but he won't talk to anybody outside of the home - his attitude is that while he has me to talk to then everything will be ok.  I'm just not qualified to deal with his anxieties and emotionally I'm stretched.  He constantly plays on my emotions and then will turn around and accuse me of not meeting his support or emotional needs.  It all sounds crazy I know but he basically talks everything to death and talks that good out of anything he does.  He feels he has nothing to look forward to although I constantly try to encourage him to find the positives in his days.  But he always has a negative answer.  The door was meant to serve dual purposes - let my poor husband have the tv at a volume he can hear it and  allow our son to have peace & quiet to do his study.  He's used to getting his own way I suppose and just because his father wants to watch tv for an hour in the evening (and because he hates him at the moment) he wants the door down.  I don't know, it sounds mad.  I always prided myself in being a good mother and being very open with our son but it seems to have backfired on me.  I want the door to stay up but I really am dreading the repercussions if it doesn't come down.  I'll be verbally accosted for who knows how long.  He already blames us for every fight we've had in the home although he's the one who picks fights and while it's good not to react to him, he pushes our buttons until we eventually correct him.  Vicious circle we can't seem to get out of.  I think he just needs to realise that we are in fact the adults in the equation and that sometimes he has to abide by our rules.
Helpful - 0
11369760 tn?1449504372
Somehow, you need to get your son into professional counseling where his issues can be addressed.  With his academic talents, he has a great potential, however he will fail if his anger, etc. cannot be managed.  At this point, he is wrecking the family along with his own well-being.  You are the parents that should be setting boundaries and rules.  The home should be mostly stress-free and filled with love, ideally.  Your son's behavior is out of control.  Now, a current issue hinges on the door, but later it will be something else, and then something else.  Whether you go through a family physician or directly to a counselor, you need outside help with your son.    
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Avatar universal
I know you're right but he needs to acknowledge himself that he needs outside help.  In the meantime I want to leave the door up, hang tough for a few days (if I don't crack up during this!) and assert myself.  Will I do more damage than good by taking back control of one thing?
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11369760 tn?1449504372
You and your husband need to be on the same page, in agreement as to how to deal with your son.  It's not a time for each parent to do his/her own thing.  Your comment, " . . . he needs to acknowledge himself that he needs outside help", is troubling since you are leaving it up to your son whether or not he gets proper help for his behavior.  Is there someone else that you could refer to for advice, such as a school counselor, church leader, etc.?
Helpful - 0
16363061 tn?1447297306
Your world might feel like the walls are caving in but hang tough. Try to read about other parents situations dealing with moody teens. It'll make this problem in your world feel a little more approachable. Stay strong... A job might give him some direction.. he needs a reality check. There are son's out there (like myself) that would do anything to have a father-role-model. You said your son is being verbally abusive and at times says he hates his Dad to him? Don't ever let him say that to you, say you DO NOT want to hear him say it again or there will be consequences.

Your son needs a slap in the face of some gratitude... I don't know what it's exactly like in your home in your son's shoes. Being verbally disrespectful cannot be tolerated. It will have a snowball effect.

Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
I had some issues with my son doing similar things a few months ago and it was becoming so stressful as a single parent I felt cold and isolated in my home by a 12 year old bully!  I consulted friends... one of whom was a social worker and came up with a plan.  Because I was beginning to be physically threatened as well I needed to act quickly.   I drew up a Rules of the House document and put up 'expectaitons of behaviour' as well as the right for anyone who enters my house to feel safe at all times.  There were rewards for good behavior constant and within the rules and 'outcomes' of bad behavior  with a last resort list at the end.  I changed my shifts to accommodate a sleep over every other week and stuck to the plan.   My Son kicked out to begin with especially as I banned over 18 x box games that he had brought into the house like Grand theft auto which together with a couple of other games were affecting his emotional well being as well as him becoming more aggressive.  I came up against strong opposition to begin with but when my son could see that he could have rewards and I stuck with the rules myself and gave him more fun time etc.,  his behaviour became better.   They are still children in some ways even at 16 and still look for boundaries.  If your son keeps hitting out it is because the boundaries are too weak.  He will push and push until he hits resolve within both of you that his behavior isnt acceptable.  What is his currency?  Yes he may need professional help but there are things you can do as well.  If he likes to play on games then limit them.  If his behavior is good then reward him with a system he understands.  If he behavior is not good then use your agreed method of consequences.  He will not be happy you have taken control and may be very angry but you can refer to the house rules that you can agree and sign together and have put up in the house.  He needs to know you love him and for you to enjoy spending time with him but listening to constant talk from him that may not be positive may also be making things worse.  Take him to the Dr and explain what is going on... if he wont go then go on your own and tell your Dr.  Reach out for help locally.  Your son needs to know that you are not afraid to talk about the way he is treating you and that his behavior is not acceptable.  We teach people how to treat us and your son will only get worse if you dont stand up to him and in the best way possible.  
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13167 tn?1327194124
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