Teenagers

Danielle - posted on 02/03/2013 ( 7 moms have responded )

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Yes this post will end up as a question but just bear with me. I am at my wits end. I just don't have an answer anymore. I have two teenage sons and 4 other children 10 and under (3 yrs. my youngest), I never thought babies were a trial, or toddlers, or any young age at that matter but when my two oldest children hit middle school everything changed for me and I just don't know how to deal anymore. What they do: Say horrible things to me every single day, hit each other including the smaller kids, punch holes in my walls, argue, back talk, no help around the house and much much more. What I do or have done: Taken everything away one at a time or all at a time, grounded to room, put in the corner, EVERYTHING. I have read all the books, researched everywhere I can and now I am just to the point where I have given up. If I punish them they just say I don't have to do what you tell me, If I put them in the corner they punch holes in my wall, destroy my things and here lately threaten to kill me while I sleep. I don't know where we took the wrong turn at but I am to the point now where I can't even function anymore. If I get really harsh I feel guilty like spanking or going to bed without dinner which I have done just a couple of times and it didn't work. I look at them and despise them and the way they make me feel. I have horrible thoughts like I just want to give them away. It is causing problems with my other kids and my marriage. I am on the verge of divorce because I just want to crawl in a hole and disappear just to show them what life would be like without me and for my own sanity. Sometimes I feel like I just should have them carted off but then I calm down and never take that kind of action. ANYONE have any Ideas on what I should do? I just don't know how much more of it I can take.

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Rebecca - posted on 02/05/2013

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Dear Danielle. YES! There are solutions. Although teens will always be teens. And since yours are boys, this is the age where they start rebelling against Mom to show they don't need her anymore (but of course they do). It seems your boys have some serious issues that need to be addressed. First suggestion: have them evaluated for ADHD. ADHD isn't just about being fidgety. It's primary symptom is a lack of impulse control. Male teens are wired to go out and dominate the world. Since they can't do that, you are their easiest target. Second suggestion: your husband should not be allowing this. Where is he? As the alpha male in the house, he is the one who should be keeping the boys in line, as well as setting the right example. If he's not...that's something you should give serious thought to in your marriage. How dare he let anyone, including his sons, treat you with such disrespect. He needs to lay down the law that NO ONE will treat his wife so poorly. Third suggestion: check out a book titled Transforming the Difficult Child, The Nurtured Heart Approach by Howard Glasser. It is an entirely different approach to getting the behavior you want from your child. Please give it a try. You shouldn't have to live with this nightmare. Fourth suggestion: Seek out a good therapist that works with a lot of children with issues. Be careful though, therapists run the gamut from outstanding to actually doing more harm than good. If someone encourages you to do more of what you have been doing, that hasn't worked, don't waste your time and money on them. Find someone with new, practical ideas. Don't be afraid to switch therapist until you find one that is actually helpful. I find an amazing therapist through CHADD meetings. CHADD is the organization for ADHD support. From the lack of impulse control your kids are showing, I have to wonder if that may be a big part of the problem. You, and your family, really really need professional support. You sound like you and your family are at a crisis point. If no one else will go, go by yourself. You'll be surprised how much helpful advice you can get. I wish you the best. I have an ADHD boy, now 13, and he could have easily slipped into oppositional disorder if we had not followed the above suggestions. Like your 13 year old, he responded very negatively to punishment. Any punishment resulted in his behavior quickly getting worse, also with an "I don't care" attitude. It was horrible. This was where the book's plan came in to play. It is similar to some other plans, but stands out for how the techniques are applied. And the great thing is, you don't need the kids cooperation to put it into practice. It really can transform a kid. If you can put none of the other suggestions into practice, at least try the book. It could be a life saver. Good luck, and know you are not alone, you are not a bad parent, and you can deal with this successfully. Be strong, believe in yourself, and don't panic. Just take the steps you need to take. And get support for yourself.

Crystal - posted on 02/05/2013

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I agree with Jodi. If there are Behavioral Health Crisis councelors where you live, they may be able to help as well. You mention you are married, so where is your husband's support through all of this. I am not sure what happened in their lives when they started middle school, but something is definitely going on. You cannot blame yourself for something that is not in your control. When it is a an unsafe level, such that it is now, drastic actions have to be taken. You have to make it clear the rules of the house, which it sounds like you have, and stick to them. One thing is certain, if they are acting like this the things you have taken away from them should stay away from them. Get rid of them completely. Give them the essentials of what they need to survive and let them know if they want anything else they have to earn it. This includes coming out of there room for anything other than working, eating and school. They should only have enough clothes that they need for a week or two (and have to wash them themselves), the pillows, blankets and hygene items they need. If they want to eat, it will be a meal times only, take away their doors even. No phones, no t.v., nothing. I know you cannot control their behavior but you can control how you let it affect your actions. Instead of the putting them in the corner, you could make them sit up on the couch or at the table. Their behavior is very tramatizing for your little ones as well. Where I live, there are different group homes that you can arrange for your child to stay at if they have become violent or abusive towards you and other family members. This type of arrangement may be what is best until the root of their behavior is found.

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Danielle - posted on 02/05/2013

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@Beth although I feel like that sometimes, that is not something that I am ever willing to do. I love my children more than life itself no matter how awful they are being right now. I had them by choice and I don't as a mother see giving them to someone else to raise an option. No one told me it was going to be easy being a mother and no mother is exempt from facing trials with her children. Whatever the cause of this behavior one way or another whether it is something I am doing wrong or there is some underlying problem with them that I am not seeing, or aware of I believe in my family and that is something that will never change. If they end up treating my like crap til they have moved on into adulthood then I will deal. But I would never even consider that an option for any of my children.

Danielle - posted on 02/05/2013

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@Jodi, Crystal, and Rebecca thanks for the advice, I am definitely going to give that book a try but I also realize that I am going to have to get some outside help. My husband is playing an active role in this situation facing the same attitudes and actions I am. I just tend to reach out where he doesn't but like me he just doesn't have the answers anymore than I do. We both have taken a step back in this situation to really look at it and try to figure out our next move but the boys know that we are united. My husbands fuse has grown short in the last few months and I prefer he take a step back then engage with them to much because it infuriates him and I would rather not have an all out war dealing with what I am dealing with already. He has talked to them til he is blue in the face "man to man" to try to make them understand that they just cannot continue with this behavior but the effects never last longer than a couple of hours. Thank you all very much for the advice and encouragement. I know that we will get over this hurdle and come out the other end a stronger family.

Beth - posted on 02/05/2013

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Wow, it does sound like they are too far gone. It might be time to put them in the care of the state and move on. You need to live your life too. They may finally mature as they grow into adults and you could always reconnect with them then.

Danielle - posted on 02/05/2013

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I do appreciate the advice, I also started thinking that there was something else going on that i was not aware of when this started. When the behavior changes went from normal teenager to what it is now I dug into their lives always having to know the whens, wheres, whats etc....They were allowed no freedom without me knowing about it and it started to become a rare occasion that I would even let them do anything outside of school. My oldest gets excellent grades I get no complaints from his teachers, they tell me he is a joy to have in class so I am not sure what switch is flipped when he comes in from school or is at home on the weekends. I have tried to talk to him about it and all I keep getting is the same things about how he doesn't have what he wants and it he doesn't like it. (certain clothes, going out all the time which I don't allow but twice monthly, tablets, smartphones etc...) As for my 13 year old it has been a battle with home and school, he is the most violent, and he has a very I don't care attitude about everything including to his teachers, I have had meetings after meetings but nothing is being accomplished. Even the teachers have tried what they can. He is failing in school and is very angry. What is funny is he doesn't care about what the other does. His main complaint is chores and work, homework, anything that involves him having responsibility and when he faces consequences he gets violent. It almost seems now that they have teamed together and secretly said if we both act this way we will win in the end.

Jodi - posted on 02/04/2013

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It sounds to me that this situation is now so far gone that the usual things are not going to bring it back to a manageable state. Your children clearly have issues that are beyond those of a normal teenager. In fact, as a high school teacher, I would hazard to say that this is beyond what MOST teenagers would be doing.

I think it is time for you to consult a professional. You need to seek some counselling, and they need to be involved in some counselling too. I am not sure where you live, so I couldn't necessarily recommend resources, however, you could start with making an appointment to see the school counsellor and reach out there. The school counsellors aren't only there for the students and school issues, but for parents and the student's entire pastoral care. He/she will know all of the local resources available to help you and will be able to guide you in the right direction. You really can't solve this on your own now, it needs outside help.

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