I feel so much distance between me and my kids (14 and 15 years old)

Suzie - posted on 12/27/2013 ( 3 moms have responded )

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I know it is all about adolescence and I am aware of all the effects but it is so painful to not be seen or heard by one's own kids! I just feel powerless to see my kids refuse every single thing I tell them. Some advice from Moms who have come through this will be great.
Thank you

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Jodi - posted on 12/27/2013

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There comes a point at which they are simply taking advantage of you - that is when it is time to pull back and say "hey, hang on a minute here, this is NOT ok!" Sure, you have a duty to provide for and raise your children, but they don't have the right to take advantage of that. You are their mother, not their doormat. Respect is a two way street, and they are not giving it, so.....time to teach them a little lesson in respectful behaviour. There is a fine line between duty and privilege. Is it really a duty when they are old enough and quite capable of cooking, cleaning, washing clothes, etc, for themselves? No, they are privileged to have you doing these things for them because they are actually capable of doing it themselves if it came to it.

I will never forget the one time my son decided to really push back on his chores. I sat him down and explained to him that if he decided to really go there and argue with me over it, then who was going to organise his dinner tonight, who was going to pack his lunch for school tomorrow, who was going to wash his clothes, who was going to take him to training, because we can all play at being selfish? He really listened and realised that his small contribution was nothing compared to what he received in return for that. And yes, he recognised his behaviour was selfish when it was presented to him like that.

So basically, he was given a warning of what the consequences would be. I've never actually had to follow through. But I would if I had to. And more importantly, he knows I would. I never, ever, spell out a consequence and not follow through.

Suzie - posted on 12/27/2013

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Thank you so much for your reply Jodi!
I always believed that providing for my kids is a duty not a privilege. That's why I don't use it as a means to get them to respect me. But the way you put it convinced me and I am going to give it a serious thought.
Thank you again

Jodi - posted on 12/27/2013

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Actually, it isn't about adolescence. Adolescence is not an excuse for disrespect. My son is 16, and if he treated me like that and refused everything I told him, he'd be grounded for a year and I sure as heck wouldn't be providing for him or feeding him, etc! Kids need consequences. Your job is to teach them that this is not acceptable behaviour, so put some consequences in place. As an example, my son NEVER complains about doing chores because the one time he did, I stopped doing anything for him and made him do it all himself for a while (and that included me not taking him to his football training). He realised how much I do, and that his contribution to the household is an important part of how we function together. If my son openly defied me, I wouldn't hesitate to ground him. No friends over, no going out with friends, no phone, no game machines. Not a particularly pleasant thing for a teenager.

The reason I am happy to spend money on running my son to his sports, and supporting him on the state representative teams (which is very costly), and so on, is BECAUSE he is respectful, helpful and understands his role in this family. He knows that I won't hesitate to remove every privilege he has if he dared to treat me with the disrespect your kids are treating you and he wouldn't risk that.

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