This mom is tired of being treated like something nasty stuck to the bottom of a shoe
I am SOOOO sick and tired of being looked at and spoken to like my kid has stepped in dog poop. This from my mama's boy who cried being left at preschool, slept in my room whenever I let him, wrote me sweet notes about being the best mommy in the world etc.
I have bent over backwards all this boy's life (starting with excruciating natural childbirth). I read to him, took him to zoos, puppet shows, then summer camps, volunteered in his school, went on all the field trips. This of course meant my life and career was on hold. So it's all a little much to face the daily scorn and contempt that my son dishes out.
I know I should not complain because I am really blessed, with a bright, healthy, good kid without a lot of problems...no drinking, drugs, gangs, does well in school, has nice friends....but right now I am so angry. I would love to get us into counseling and tried all the suggestions in Dr. B's book but to no avail.
It also doesn't help that we seem to have nothing in common any more. We like different movies, books, music, the whole nine yards so trying to have family time is a real challenge (though of course we eat meals together).
Is it normal for them to act this nasty and disdainful? Does it ever improve?!
I hear you Mom!
I know exactly what you're talking about. I remember vividly the days when my husband would say, "We've GOT to get this kid out of our bed." Up til maybe 8 yrs old he'd come snuggle in the middle of the night. I have a hard time not getting stuck in grief for the sweet little boy I lost. Boy did I get that part in the book.
Working in the mental health field I've told so many friends & clients; your child acting out on you is kind of a compliment. You're the safest person in his life. Your child knows you love him unconditionally that's why you're getting this confrontations. And then it happened to me. SUCKS in a word.
The struggle I'm in now is with school starting. My son detests it so much he get's more angry & hostile towards me with it starting. And yes, others tell me he's a good kid, polite, etc. He's healthy. He mostly comes home by curfew. He's mostly honest. And yet I still remember the day 2-3 years ago when he began to look at me with disgust. My breathing bothered him. My eating, the way I put lip balm on, wiggling my toes....The only thing saving me is trying to think about how horribly hard, uncomfortable, painful it must be to live in his skin and be so distraught, angry, etc on a daily basis. I try (sometimes unsuccessfully) to watch and not ride the emotional rollercoaster with him. Sometimes however, my skin is too thin or I make the mistake to be vulnerable around him. Sad but I feel like I have to have thick skin with him or I just get too hurt. And he's 15 so I'm afraid we have years of this ahead. Some days are worse some are better. I try to remember the good ones and remember he's got it in him.
It's amazing to me how Jekyll and Hyde this kid can be....so delightful and funny one day and the next just hideous. He had me in tears this weekend and yet all week long he's been great. It does not help that mothers hit perimenopause around the same time that their offspring reach puberty. Too many hormones!!
Seriously though, we have had a decent week. I credit school. I am lucky in that my kid is in a good school. He is challenged academically, gets to hang out with friends and by the time he comes home he just wants to eat and chill out, whereas over much of the summer he was directing a whole heap of excess negative energy my way. I try to keep a sense of humor, that and have a few friends I can call when I start thinking really evil thoughts about this mainly nice child.
This is the wonderful part of this forum, letting us know that its not just us. Our son 15 has had a mixed life, I am a step dad and he and his mom were on their own for a few years. His father does not have too much interaction aside from summers most of which he spend at his grandparents anyway. He is so lost and seems to not feel like he has his own identity. He is so protective over his "privacy" he get so upset when when are in his room for what ever reason. His mom and I don't grab the CSI kit and take it apart but we will look as we are putting clothes away nothing really intricate. The defiance bristles when these topics come up. He contends that we do not show him respect so why should he do as we ask. We have given up on him keeping it nice as the fights grew tiresome, but he contends that he does not allow us to create or enforce rules. The scary part is, there is some truth to that. We do need his cooperation to have rules. We have tried the quid pro quo but he will turn everything back on us and even flat out said that he will not do anything that does not directly benefit him. He maintains that we must show him respect before he will return it, trouble is no one can figure out what his definition of respect is probably not even him. He does not see why we have the right to go into his room at all. I do understand the privacy thing but as he once told me there is no such thing as absolute power or control I submitted that there is no such thing as 100% privacy, that under the right circumstances even in the US 100% is not a guarantee. He was to be an equal, I get it, but he will not come close to a compromise or understand that he is not an adult and as parents we have responsibilities that allow us some control over certain aspects of his life. I know that must be daunting, but everyone has a boss or leader etc, how can we help him understand that we simply cannot set him free at 15, yet still allow him to be him. We get comments like"what makes you think you know more about things than me" I try to tell him that I don't know more about everything than him but on some topics my 38 years two combat tours marriage births all have given me experiences that lend me to understand things differently, he simply does not get the experience issue and contends we have no right to go into his room ever. Sorry for the dissertation but needed to get this off my chest, thanks.
I worry that someone told you that your son should be impressed by your life experiences and willingly give you control over his life. The fact is that at 15 he is supposed to be pushing you guys (parents) away and standing on his own. This is how he will learn to make good decisions one day. The more you fight this nose to nose, the worse it will get. He likely needs to be given more autonomy at this point, and you need to stand down your authority a tad. If you don't suspect your son is into anything life threatening, then you'd be wise to give him things such as his room privacy. Be sure to link his level of autonomy with his level of responsibility ("If your grades and life decisions are good, we'll continue to give you more freedom; if they falter, we'll pull in the line for a bit until you get it. You're a wonderful young man and we know in the end you'll do great.")
If you want to truly stun him, start by apologizing for being too intrusive, and tell him you'll try to do a better job. Then just walk away. You might be amazed at the results.
Dr. Mike Bradley