my 14 year olds sassy mouth is about to push me over the edge!

Genna - posted on 12/12/2008 ( 14 moms have responded )

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My son really is a good kid,He comes home when He's supposed to ,no sneaking out,no drinking,drugs,etc....But the back talking is intolerable,and especially since his 2 younger sisters are learning his bad habit too.Any ideas?Talking to him about that is like talking to a brick wall.

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Julie - posted on 12/13/2008

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I have dealt with this and found success. I hope this will help you...



It's my opinion that a "sassy mouth" is a challenge/cry for attention from a teenager - he already knows it's wrong to be impudent with you. Verbal disrespect from my teenagers shows me there is something deeper going on. I find myself having to look past the "sass" and needing to "dig" into what is hurting them, making them angry, frustrating them, worrying them....(you get the picture), etc.... But if sass has become a habit, it definitely needs to be "broken".



What I've done when one of my four (aged 17, 17, 16, and 14 - 2 boys, 2 girls) get nasty with me, is:

1. Let them know that it's not okay to disrespect me, and it won't be tolerated. (I've set up an appropriate discipline in advance that they know will happen when they do it...)

2. At the same time, let them know that "this isn't like you - you're usually such a respectful, kind person, so something must be wrong....I'd like to listen if you'd like to talk about what's bothering you"...(could be a big issue, could be small)

3. Make the time to sit with them alone and just listen and empathize.. (not a time for advice or lectures, unless they ask.) Starbucks or CoffeeBean is a GREAT opportunity for them to feel valued and listened to...but alone in a bedroom, or wherever works too...

4. Ask them if they have a solution for whatever is going on, and if not, do they want some imput from me? (Watch the shock on your kid's face!) :-)

5. Clarify again, that sass is something that children do when they don't remember to take the time to communicate how they are feeling or what they are thinking...help him remember that if he's feeling cross and wants to sass - that's his clue that he needs to tell you how he's feeling. (My boys had a more difficult time with this than my girls...)



I'm not sure if this applies, or if it will help, but it's my "2 cents"...best wishes on great communication and expressed emotions between you and your son....

Katrina - posted on 01/05/2009

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Apparently this is normal. My grandmother would laugh every time I told her how great my son is and say "wait until he's 15."

Sons need to separate from mom at several stages. This is a really hard one...one of the final breaks. Later (I hear it's a couple of years) he will be sweet again. The following have helped me...

(1) Think of his hostile behavior as a pending tantrum, and your reactions as buttons he's pushing (he didn't put them there, but dude, they are fun to push). If it gets really bad it's time for one or both of you to take a time out. Degrading or manipulative language like "you are acting like a 2-year old" or "how can you say that to me...I'm your mother" won't work. Try be calm and clear about what you won't tolerate, and let the rest of it go.

(2) If you haven't read that Mars/Venus book, read it and think of his shutting down from that perspective. You want answers now, he wants to go to his cave. Let him or you'll really start losing him. If you have one, stand back and let the resident alpha male engage; they speak the same language. If there are certain answers you need before allowing certain things, let him know that, and wait for him to come back w/them.

A recent example of that last - my son was invited to his first co-ed party (not a sleepover, but still). He clammed up when asked for details. After several botched attempts and skirmishes we boiled it down...give us these 1-2 pieces of info, and we'll call the parents beforehand for the rest. otherwise your choices are (a) can't go or (b) have your parents walk into party with you and talk to her parents in front of your friends (both are equivalent to death from teenage perspective). we got the info and he retained his dignity and independence. *Important* when you talk to the parents you should not be grilling them either. introduce yourself, ask if they need anything for the party, and the details you need will naturally come out. I know this b/c I (barely) reigned in my natural instinct to grill, and instead listened to my husband do it correctly.

Good luck!

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Mashelle - posted on 01/08/2009

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Well i guess i am a lucky mom. My son is 13 yrs old and he has never backed talked me before. He's a very respectful and nice young man well mannered i might add. He knows better than to direspect me and any other adult. I was raised to respect my elders and i instill the same in my son. Let your son know that he's being disrepctful and you won't tolerate it. If he keeps doing it ground him take away something he likes doing the most. Perhaps there may be a deeper issue but he needs to find a way to address it with you that isn't disrespectful. Hang in there but be strong and firm on what you tell him you won't put up with.

[deleted account]

Well, the one thing I can say is evidently we're not alone in the world of sassy. Now if someone would just give us all that chapter of the kid instruction booklet we'd be in good shape!

Caryn - posted on 01/05/2009

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My son just turned 13 this past November. He is also a wonderful kid. Everyone always tells me how well mannered he is, which as a parent that makes me feel good knowing he acts great around other people. Why dont they act that way at home? He is the oldest of 3 and I kind of think that may be the problem. He also has a stepfather who is the biological father of the younger two. That may also have a bearing on his attitude. The weird thing with my son is that he will disrespect me and yell at me and his little brother. He never ever acts that way with his step father. I am also at a loss on how to correct this. I am up for any suggestions that you guys may have. JULIE, I read your comment and might have to try it out.

Jennifer - posted on 01/05/2009

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my son is 13 and he is the youngest in his class. This school year has been really trying for us. He has been caught cursing around his little brother, looking at or attempting to look at porn on the internet, smart mouthing me. I believe that he is trying to fit in with the other boys. I have talked with him and can tell he feels remorseful. duing the past 2 weeks he has been out of school and his attitude has not been anywhere near what it was while school was in. I can not attribute all of the attitude to school related, I can just say that it has improved.

Tamsin - posted on 01/05/2009

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What Sabina (above) said, is true. It feels very much like assault to be treated like that and spoken to so badly. My 12 yr old is doing the same and I have gone through 3 different lots of counselling trying to find something that works over the past year and a half. I am at my wit's end and can completely relate. I think I'm just going to have to continue to try to find some counselling that will help and be 100% consistent in not tolerating it. I end up getting over it the next day and then do whatever it might be that he wants at the time. From now on I will have to say, until you show me more respect I won't be doing a single thing you ask. And STICK to it. Fingers crossed, I hope it works. Maybe counselling is what you guys need also. Good luck and all the very best to all of you.

Jackie - posted on 01/04/2009

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I have a 17 year old daughter and a 14 year old son. My daughter is terrible when it comes to the back talk.... her grades are good... she participates in family stuff when i push it... and to tell you the truth... i can not even say it is the back talk that is the problem... it is the tone... the rolling of the eyes...

I think it is a lack of .... repect:? i say that as a question because i really am not sure... what the problem is...

I am trying to figure out where the problem started... and I really dont know. I have always been very strict. and I dont think I let things slide...

but i am finding I really pick my battles now... and let things slide alot.. now... because other wise we would be battling all the time.

I know I have not helped you... my only advise I can give is... dont give up... dont give in.. and stay on top of the sassy mouth. Dont give an inch... I know I dont feel like I gave an inch and I am where I am... which is where I dont like being... but at least I can say it is not because I gave in... I just should have done more... not sure what more I could have given..

anyways.. I know I am talking in circles now... and I will be watchign this thread... to see... what I SHOULD have done.

good luck

[deleted account]

I have the same issue with my 12 year old son and I think Julie is right when she said it's something deeper. My son is a great kid. All A's, teachers love him, he is very caring and is sooo funny. When he is with his close friends that live on our street he is awesome. The second he gets around boys from his school his confidence is shattered and he becomes extremely shy. He recently told me that every night he prays that the next day at school he'll know what to say but then he gets there and goes silent. It's on those days that his sassy mouth with me drives me crazy. I've done everything from conversations about each person being like a part of the body and we each were created to be the best "me" we can be. I am a VP at a company and can manage a "deal" with a CEO with strategy. But when my son is sassy and then breaks down in tears because he's left out....I just don't know what to do. So, I'm going to take Julie's advice and see what happens.

Sabina - posted on 12/29/2008

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That's beyond a mouth and that is actually an assault. Tolerating your child physically assaulting you is not ok. I would seek therapy and also the police if necessary.

Charity - posted on 12/29/2008

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grtea question I have the same problem with my 15 year old daughter. She snuck out of the house once when she was 11.5 and the OPP brought her home at 2:30am. She has been good since then( moving to the country helped) but its her mouth and she now gets her 'weapons' (her finger nails) out and marks up my arms. I now have scares on both my arms. Her mouth is so bad and drives me insane. She needs to understand that I'm her mom not her friends and she needs to respect her elders . And Jenny I've done the silent thing to her and thats what she wants. Doesn't work here.

Jenny - posted on 12/29/2008

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Then don't talk to him. My son was the same.....good kid, no drugs, alcohol or smoking, sticking to curfew but the mouth was intolerable. Finally one day I stopped responding to him. When curiosity got the better of him and he asked....politely what was wrong, I simply told him that I would no longer tolerate his speaking to me that way. I might be mom but I am a real person with feeling and it hurts when he speaks to me that way. I don't speak to him that way and I don;t deserve to be spoke to that way. From now on when he speaks to me in a tone I don't like, I simply say go to your room and come back when your tone is better, maybe I'll talk to you. Still have to say it sometimes but has become far less frequent. Hope it helps.

Linda - posted on 12/16/2008

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I have a 15 year old daughter that is the same way one minute an angle the next she is the devil and i wonder where she went

Sabina - posted on 12/13/2008

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I read the book..."Get out of my life, but first can you take me and Cheryl to the mall"....it offers a great deal of insight into the teenage mind and is an easy read.

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