Parenting --Teens/I can't cope with my son

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Question
My son is almost 13. I have been a single parent for 12.5 years, my son's father is not interested in him, pays nothing, has no involvment in my son's life, which has been the basis of many, many arguments and problems. I stopped trying to force a relationship a few months ago and so there isn't one. I'm saying this upfront as I know it is screaminly obvious that it plays a huge role in my son's behaviour. He is lazy, has no ambition or drive, has an attitude of entitlement and is demanding, ungrateful and hates me. He loses everything, takes things of mine that he wants without asking, is cheeky, disrespectful and doesn't appreciate anything that I do for him. I encourage and help my son to think about his future as he is quickly getting through school but has no idea what lessons he has, if there was homework, where his books are, etc. He doesn't apply himself in any way to anything other than his xbox. As a struggling parent I want him to be able to take care of himself and have a successful future. I am at the end of my rope. He has absolutely no sense of ownership in his life or sense of responsibility for his belongings or work or behaviour. I work in a job that I hate and do my best to provide him with the things his peers have but it's for nothing and I don't want to do it anymore. I am trying to make up for the lack of dad in his life but I can't. I am trying to do the very best I can do but all I hear is that I am the one who has done something wrong. I don't know what else to do. I have tried everything good parents are supposed to do and nothing changes. Ive talked, Ive listened, I've taken away his belongings, Ive shouted, Ive asked him what I can do, Ive laid down the law.. He doesnt give a monkeys and I want to crawl into a hole and stay there

Answer
Before I start with the answer I want to mention I've been to your city, I loved it, it was forty years ago but I have very found memories, I hope the castle is still there?  I saw the queen ride past back in 77....

I read your question a few times to make sure I understood what your going through and I want to let you know I believe you have done all you were supposed to do as a responsible and caring parent.

You mentioned that you've tried everything and I believe you have a right to your life, so this is what I suggest.

No more fighting, no more arguing, no more talking to your son.  He may want to yell at you ask you questions or demand things but your done with all that.  You will continue to supply him with his basic needs and you will do so with a smile but only his basic needs as required by law.  Make sure he has clothes to wear, not the kind he wants but the kind he needs to stay warm and dry. Food, again, healthy but not the junk he demands.

If you prepared food for him in the past continue to do so but on your schedule only and at the proper time, breakfast, a lunch and a dinner (tea)

This will be very difficult but your son's behaviors require you to take back your life, not his, yours, only when you have your life back will you be able to possibly regain his.

If you've denied yourself for him stop doing that and start living again.  Start dating, going out with the girls, going to the movies etc...It's OK to leave him at home and you go have fun.  

Remember do not talk to your son, do not yell at him, do not praise him, you are to have as little interaction as possible while still providing for his basic needs.

Only when he starts to show respect will you respond verbally and only with short positive response.  He needs to know that your not playing his game anymore.

the hope is that he will start to understand that his demands are useless, his tantrums are meaningless and powerless and your patients will hopefully pay off.  This is not a guarantee, when children get to this level of disruption its a very difficult road back.  But even if he cannot find his way back he will start to respect you for holding your head high and taking back your life.

Another option is a military school, but they cost money.  Perhaps another would be a firm uncle or grandfather, but these are only additional suggestions, they would not alter your need to take back your life.

Please let me know your progress, even if you completely disagree with my assessment and advise I would be interested in hearing back.

Good luck

Richard  

Parenting --Teens

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Richard Taylor

Expertise

I can answer questions regarding parenting and child rearing.

Experience

I am the father of Ten children and have been married for over 29 years. My wife and I have adopted two children and have successfully raised into adulthood four of our ten. We are Grandparents and have experience in that area as well.

Education/Credentials
I have a Masters in Special Education, with over 15 years in education and over 29 years as a successful parent.

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