Lack of respect and manipulation

Samantha - posted on 09/19/2015 ( 1 mom has responded )

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I am finding it really difficult as my son makes me feel powerless and chooses to ignore any thing I say - I feel really disrespected- it has been especially hard because his dad is away a lot with work and I'm left to deal with things- I have got to a point where I don't want to be left alone with him- this makes me feel sad because we used to have a great relationship 😖 I also have a younger son but thankfully he is a ray of sunshine

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Elizabeth - posted on 09/19/2015

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I am sorry you are going through this. To "some" extent, this is normal. It's the beginning of pulling away, figuring out life and growing independence.
What kind of parent were you in his early years? Did you establish a relationship of parent/child or friend/child? If you did not clearly establish from the onset that you are the authority figure and ensure your husband and yourself were on the same page, then he's trying to exist in a parent relationship where he didn't know consistency and that creates an environment of uncertainty. Teens need people in their lives not afraid to be the authority as they are now learning the world is not as they thought it was. They NEED that support system that says, "I am watching" even if they say I don't need you, they really do because their peers are teaching them they can be controlled through pressure and to be accepted, they have to accept peer pressure or be cast out. Teens DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO. They receive conflicting messages every minute of every day. People want to control them, want to rule them and don't care about them. Your parenting is the difference that helps them wade through the madness. Their brains are highly emotional with the largest development and deposits of hormones going on that they've EVER experienced. That's when they will push you away and pull you in at the same time. You have to be willing to take a deep-breath, put on your combat gear and head to the front-lines.
Were you consistent with expectations, responsibilities and consequences? I only say this because too many parents teach children they have all these rights but don't teach that the other side to that is obligations. You can't teach nothing but Yin without teaching Yang. Did you ever say, "You're grounded for 3 days" then let him off after a day for either good behaviour or because his whining wore you down so you gave in because it was easier for you? Any of those things shows our children you can be controlled and it also shows them things can change unexpectedly IN the home. The home is where things need to be consistent because it's their safety zone. They will do REALLY dumb things - you have to be willing to be quiet, pick them up and say, "when you're ready to talk, I'd really like to talk - not yell, but really talk because I know right now, life is not easy for you."
My son is 13 going on 14 now. I've stayed consistent in my expectations, dumped heaps of responsibility on him because you can't raise a grounded child without putting responsibility on their shoulders. That being said, it's hard, but WHEN they become teens is not the time to start expecting things like respect if you've not placed an expectation of respect on him for all things. The worst thing we can do for our children is to do FOR our children. From the MOMENT they enter the school system and they come home saying the teacher is mean, you have to teach them that they have to learn to deal with many people with many different personalities. Only when they are faced with abuse from another adult do we really need to step in. This applies to parents with children with special needs. Too often, parents spend so much time advocating for their children, they don't advocate TO their children the NEED to learn to work with people and not expect them to deal with their cognitive disability. People want to be friends with the person, not the disability. People teach their children people need to work with THEM, not everyone needs to work with everyone equally.
Sit down with your son when your husband gets home. TELL him you don't respect him because he doesn't respect you. Tell him you LOVE him and you will always love him, always want to hug him, always want to kiss him because even though he's not a baby anymore, he's YOUR baby in your heart, but you don't LIKE him and that's the reaction society is going to have with him. Place ALL responsibility for school, part-time job, dealing with other adults ON HIM. Once he learns it's not easy getting through life with no respect for other people, he'll respect you for all you have done for him advocating for him, standing up for him and loving him. Tell him if he's having a hard time with life, come to you because everyone else is going to feed him cliche salad - don't sweat the small stuff, be positive, turn that frown upside down - YOU know it's not what he needs and you're the only one who'll allow him to hurt he one he loves because you know he knows it's safe because you'll always love him unconditionally, but even YOU have self-esteem and it can be damaged like his. Then kiss him 1,000 times on his face and say, "Remember when I used to do this before you went to sleep?" He'll say, "Mommmmmm!" you'll see a small smile on his face and you can say, "Dude, I'm cool. I'm a cool Mom and I'll be over there making cookies." Works on my son every time.
One last thing... if you're rocking the "Hot Mom" look - lose it. Boys are protective of their Moms at a primitive level. No son wants to hear how his friends could "do" you because you're hot. A son will disrespect his mother every time. Too often, we Moms think about our own rights to dress and look how we want and we don't think about the effect this has on our children in their social environment.

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