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Some effective ideas for coping with grumpy, disrespectful, deceitful teen boys.(Aka, tricky, but normal teens.)



Q: ” Does this sound familiar? I have 3 kids. My youngest son is 13 years old. He is truly driving us crazy. He is lying, deceiving, soooo angry and simply doesn’t take responsibility for any of his actions. He gets angry at us for punishing him and then just rebels further. He keeps a mental record of everything I have ever said to him that could be hurtful (yes, I said some awful things in the moment and have apologised). He tells me he hates coming home and hates me. I realise it is “normal” but it is so hurtful. We have arranged for him to see a psychologist but he just lies to her too. I’m taking anxiety control meds at the moment just to try and relax and avoid a confrontation with him. It turns severely ugly. Please tell me that this too shall pass.”

A:  ” A thought. Have you sat down with him, alone, and calmly asked him what’s going on? Not in a confrontational way, but in a concerned way? Sometimes things just become a spiral into anger, fighting, resentment and grudges, we forget (both mom and child) that we really are on the same side. Perhaps suggest that because you love him so much, you really want an opportunity to work with him in figuring out how the two of you can fix what’s wrong between each other. Be the first one to suggest that you hate the horrible things you say in the heat of the moment. Try not to react but ask what you can work on to help rebuild your friendship. Explain to him that just as much as he adjusts to growing up, so too must we as parents adjust to our children entering new phases and we don’t always get it right. Suggest that you really want to have a good relationship with him and together you’re confident it can be achieved if you work as a team.”

” Here’s a small titbit that worked for me once. I had been going through an issue with my daughter and because I couldn’t get what was actually going on, out of her decided to turn to the mothers of her friends. They, in turn subtly discussed it with their daughters and I was offered a reason for the behaviors she was carrying out at home.”

” Encourage him to play team sports and train with the team regularly and compete with other kids from other schools / teams this allows boys to grow and find themselves amongst others. Be supportive but not pushy allow him to make decisions because even the so called wrong ones make them think and question themselves and he will eventually find himself. They need their space to develop into who they want to be. Just guide and walk with him eventually he will ask for your help and advice. It’s never easy but it is doable.”

” He’s obviously not feeling good about who he is and that is playing out. Does he want to change schools? Is he struggling academically? Does he have good friendships? As teenagers, friendships and acceptance in peer groups is critical to their self esteem and validation. Academically if they are having challenges they feel equally frustrated and defeated by the unforgiving school system. If either of things are compromised then you will have a very unhappy and angry child. Just keep going with the love.”

” Behaviour = communication. He is only 13 and clearly lacking the skills …and support to communicate what is distressing him. Of course punishment is not going to work. I always ask, how would you do something that someone else wants you you to do by making you feel bad? Children are the product of their environment. Before sending children to therapy it is much more efficient for the parents to get the necessary support to evaluate the current environment they are in and explore how it can be adjusted. When this can be done, it’s amazing how things will fall into place…”

” Reading “Love in the time of contempt” by Joanne Fedler helped me understand some of the issues teenagers go through. What resonated with me was her ABC intention – Always Be Connected. It is easy to act angry and hurt – and yes, childish when your child is rude, revolting and unappreciative. But she recommends you always stay connected. I have interpreted it as when my son is difficult to still do something nice, be loving or caring for him and just ask the question: “why are you so mean to me?” “What have I done that you think it is ok to talk to me like this”. Not going into discussion – just leaving it there. Things are not over yet, but they are improving. And everytime he does give me a “normal” answer or thanks me … I treasure it. I have to believe that this will also pass.”

” He is going through hell! He needs to know you love him even though you don’t like or accept his behaviour. Use your higher EQ to help him. Be kind to yourself and manage your own emotions. I found EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) helped me a lot.”

” I am not saying in your situation that this is the case, but…… from similar experiences I have found that some parents overreact, scream and shout and make such a drama when the child has overstepped the line. It becomes a dreadful circle of lying, screaming and accusing. Perhaps try a different calm and rational approach?”

” When people lie it is often because the fear the response of the other person. Punishing behaviour instead of finding out why the behaviour is there is also not going to give you a kind, caring and connected child. Find “7 habits for highly effective people” by Steven Covey if you are a reader. That book changed my life. …”

” Love him first. Accept him as he is. Be kind, caring, considerate and don’t stop no matter how badly he behaves. De-escalate any conflict by focusing on how much you truly love him and care for him and trust him and believe in him and that he knows what is right and he will find his way back to his own essence. Loving a child is a thousand daily acts. Do you think he feels loved? From your description it doesn’t sound like it. Don’t say what you think is right. Don’t say what you think he has done wrong. Punish less, hold more. Love him through this. He is trying to figure out who he is and where he fits in the world. Make sure he knows and feels like he fits with you, in your arms and in your family. It is a phase, give it time and just love him.

” There still need to be boundaries. Regardless of hormones…”

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