Online Parent Support Chat

7.2.10

My son and I never seemed to get along very well...

My name is Judy, and I'm writing because I have a 17 year old son who I have has issues with for a very long time. My son and I never seemed to get along very well. We seemed to "butt heads" literally from day one. I have two other children, one older than he, and one younger. I don't have ANY behavior issues, other than the usual "testing the boundaries" with them.

Things became much worse when he reached 7th grade. Their father and I got divorced and he started becoming even more defiant with me. He started getting failing grades in school (previously a 97 average third in his class). He gave me lots of attitude about doing chores, he started picking on his brother and sister more than he did before. He said he wanted to move in with his dad, but his dad wasn't living in our school district, and it wasn't a very good school district, so we (his father and I) talked him out of it. He was going to stay with his dad for the summer that year, and that spring his dad was killed at work. He was a lineman and was electrocuted on the job. This might sound horrible, but the night his dad died, he ran to me and held on to me so tight and cried and cried and just kept saying "I love you, mom, I love you mom" over and over and over again. I never wanted to let him go...he never did anything like that before...and I will never forget how the night they lost their dad was the night my son loved me.

Things were okay for a while, I know he was so afraid of losing me that he actually started pitching in with chores and such without giving any attitude. That was almost 2 years ago. He is now 17, as I said, and he is back to "hating" me. His language is so foul when he's home. He plays a lot of video games, and this is a huge source of foul mouth outbreaks with yelling. He broke two LCD tvs by throwing video game remotes at them. One was his brother's. When he broke his own, he took his brother's. I told him he absolutely could NOT have his brother's tv, but my younger son said "Please, mom, just let him have it because if you don't he'll beat me up when you're not around." Wow. I have no clue how to handle this kid anymore. We are all living in a sort of fear that he's going to "lose it" one day and do who knows what. I am afraid to take things away from him, like his anger-inducing video games, for fear that he'll get so angry he'll just start smashing things around the house.

I've made all the excuses you talked about, but they're not working. I've taken things away, I've grounded him...never worked. He's a GOOD kid, he doesn't do drugs, he even stopped hanging with some of his friends because all they want to do is get high and he doesn't want to. The friends he has are good kids. He isn't defiant of his curfew, he is very very cordial to his aunts and uncles and other adults, has a great sense of humor, in fact when I talked to my late ex husbands family and my family about these issues they had a hard time believing that I was having problems with him. When he is home and playing video games, the monster comes out. Or when I put expectations on him, such as cleaning up after himself, or doing basic chores, or if I show ANY signs of losing my patience with him he will get very nasty with me. Now I find myself getting resentful of the fact that I have to watch my temper all the time with him, yet he sits in his room yelling obscenities at the tv video games. Sometimes I feel like I just want to scream at him and make him stop acting like this!! Trust me I know full well it won't work. I don't know what to do.

Like I said, this has been an ongoing issue between me and my son for a very long time. I knew I should have done something about it a long long time ago, these issues began probably when he was 6 or 7. But they were so seemingly minor then, little did I know they would grow into what they are now. I want very much to be close with him like I am with my other two...I just don't know how to do it. It just came so naturally with the other two!

My Out-of-Control Teen

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