Ask an expert
Question

16 Jan 2006

Mother & Son
CS, it's me and my son again!

We've had a hard time over the holidays. He's 14, moody, defiant, irresponsible and angry. This isn't just hormonal, and he isn't using any drugs.

He told me that his friends can't stand me (yet they're always visiting, they're always friendly, his best friend even said to him at dinner the other night, if I spoke to my mom like that I won't have any teeth left). He says that his friends call me a monster. Two of his friends mothers asked what's going on, he is telling their sons horrible stories about the way I treat him, yet the person they know (me) doesn't correlate with these stories.

This weekend, they visited their dad and my daughter told me last night that he told his dad a blatant lie about me. Dad likes to hear and tell bad stories about me, remember? I believe my son does this to please his audience (dad and his wife). My daughter apparently got so cross, saying that's not true and dad, you shouldn't allow him to talk about mom that way. When she called her brother a liar, dad got upset with her and told her to mind her own business.

He went out yesterday afternoon, said he'll be back at 5. No call, no sms, he strolls in at 6 with a look of thunder on his face. I said, son, you're late, I was worried, you should sms or call me when you're running late. I got a dirty look and that was it.

We extended his bedtime, and twenty minutes after bedtime last night, his cellphone was still beeping with incoming sms'es. I took his phone and said you can have it back in the morning, you must sleep now (he can't get up in the morning). He started shouting at me, he even cried. For the month of January so far, he's spent R330 on airtime. Remember I exchanged his old cellphone for one without internet access, because he visited porn sites? He now has a new phone which his friend gave him, and I understand it has internet access.

Our relationship has hit rock bottom in the last couple of months. When we had a heart-to-heart talk a week ago, he agreed that we can see a psychologist together, to help us work through this difficult period.

I know how heartbroken I am, but I'm sure he must feel much worse than me. He acts like a victim, and can't see that his punishment (i.e. confiscating his cellphone or grounding him for 3 days) is a direct result of his unacceptable behaviour. He blames everyone else for the wrongs in his life, but never sees his own mistakes.

I'm at a point where I feel like giving up. He must carry on and I won't punish, teach and guide anymore. I've done the punishment bit (confiscating cellphone, grounding), I've done the heart-to-heart bit (sitting him down in a loving, calm manner, explaining why he needs to learn to stick by rules, which he then understands, but tomorrow it's all forgotten again). I honestly don't know what to do anymore. And I am very very worried about him. I dreamt last night that he attacked and killed my husband and I with the machette knife his dad bought him for Christmas.

I have regular complaints from the school about his behaviour, not doing homework, not listening in class (he got 10 detentions last year, remember?). This is a boy who got 80% on his reports, and 69% at the end of last year. And now he has a girlfriend which is making matters even worse.

With all the negative, there are still times that he is an absolutely happy, friendly and loving boy.

My last hope is pinned on the psychologist whom we'll be seeing next week, unless he changes his mind again about going.

Is this normal? My daughter is older than him, and we've never had this kind of problem.

Please say a prayer for my son's wellbeing.

Thanks for reading my posting, I feel somewhat better for writing it down.
Answer 469 views
Expert
CyberShrink
cybershrink

01 Jan 0001

Hi Buzz,
he sounds like a normal rebellious 14 year old, and but then rather a lot more. Check out the new BBC series on DSTV, Teen Angels, in which a pair of good psychologists work with parents to deal with nightmare teenagers --- youd find it awfully helpful. And it's dramatic both how appalling the kids are to start with, and how rapidly it can all be brought back under control, with a sensibel plan and consistency in applying it,.
It sounds as though he may be manipulating and playing up to his dad, who is acting very irresponsibly to encourage this and not to help control it. How would he respond if you talked to him and asked him to help deal with his son's misconduct ?
What is his friend doing, giving away expensive cell-phone ? That was profoundly undermining to you and totally unnecessary. And how does a 14-year-old get R 330 a month to spend on bad habits ? And a dad who buys him a machete ?
Shouldn't he see a child / adolescent psychologist ? Don't let him change his mind about seeing the psychologist with you next week --- you parent, he kid.
And if you seek helpful books, check prices online at Exclusivebooks and on Kalahari.net which has a 20 % off all books sale during this month.


The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.
Voting Booth
Have you entered our Health of the Nation survey?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes
33% - 9379 votes
No
67% - 19424 votes
Vote