Parenting Teens (12-17) Community
1.17k Members
Avatar universal

Repairing Mother and Teenage Son Relationship

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?
7 Responses
203342 tn?1328740807
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.
Avatar universal
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.
Avatar universal
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.
Im going through that and its driving me to suicide my only child and idk what to do I tried everything he doesnt wanna be around me fix or restore anything he is 16 and lm 34
Cathy, I am reading your post. I have a similar situation only my 15 year is on drugs combined with everything you said. I am struggling so hard and no matter what I do my son runs away. Is there anything that changed for you? I know this is old and I am praying this reaches you somehow and you can give me some advice. Lots of love. Mom xm
Avatar universal
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
Avatar universal
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"
Avatar universal
I wish my mom could still have the hope in her to fix my relationship between me and my mom. I am a 14 year old boy currently in highschool and miss my mom deeply. My mom and I have been in many fights, 70% of the time it is my fault. But I wanted to help fix our relationship, I told her that I am not doing this on purpose and I am just stressed.   I do want to end the battles between me and her, and I do my best, but things like this just keep happening. My mom is not a bad person, shes just stressed about her job that she needs to do. I am the same about school too. I do get good grades, but sometimes I can't focus  at it due  to my relationship with my mom. I am living at my dads house and my mom said she might not ever see me again because of what we are doing to each other. She even said she does not want to be involved with me in anything. I just want this to stop. Anyone out there please anyone, give me tips of how to repair my relationship with my mom. Thank you. (btw if any of you people are wondering, I'm not gay, just depressed to fix this)
Avatar universal
Write her a letter. Let her know you love and miss her, that you need her in your life, and let her know how sorry you are.
She'll come around. She is hurting.
Encourage a meal and movie. Tell her ya'll could make a meal together, that you'll wash the dishes, and she can pick the movie, but make it one you rent. This leaves ya'll capable for conversation.
Humility goes a very long way.
Good luck!
Have an Answer?
Top Parenting Answerers
13167 tn?1327197724
Austin, TX
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Fearing autism, many parents aren't vaccinating their kids. Can doctors reverse this dangerous trend?
Learn which over-the-counter medicines are safe for you and your baby
Yummy eats that will keep your child healthy and happy
6 essential foods for new moms (and their newborns!)
What to expect in your growing baby
Learn which foods aren't safe to eat when you're eating for two.