Mom Needs Help With Teenage Son

Dear Sara,

I am a divorced Mom with a fifteen-year-old son. We fight about almost everything. He seems so angry and moody. He stays in his room most of the time and when he comes out he answers me with only a word or two. He spends his time with games and music and sometimes homework. He doesn’t have friends over but apparently keeps in contact online. I am totally stressed out between my job and the constant tension between us. Is there a way to get along with my son again?
-Ella




Dear Ella,

It is not unusual for teens to be moody or angry. You didn’t say what exactly you and your son are at odds about but I would assume that you have rules that he doesn’t want to follow. He is being passive aggressive by not speaking to you and is trying to punish you by his lack of interaction. He may feel that this is the only way that he can try to manipulate you. to get his way. There may be ways that you can compromise with him but if not just know that he will change into a caring son when he gets older. Focus on taking care of yourself and do things that you can enjoy.
-Sara

Comments

  1. Michael W Wager, Ph.D. says:

    Excellent advise to Ella. Teenageitis is very often a passing phase in the teen’s development. If this issue does not begin to resolve in a year or two, consider discussing with his physician a referral to a licensed adolescent counselor.

  2. Sounds like your kid is the same as millions of other teens today. Your only hope of turning things around is conversation with him and finding out where his thoughts are at.

  3. Robin Hubbard says:

    You do sound stressed out. Take care of yourself first. Make time to relax and make sure your needs are met. Then, come up with a few standard questions or responses to remove some of the hold he has on you. For instance, if you fight about him cleaning up his room, let him live in the filth and that all of his stuff must go there or you will take it away from the common areas. When he loses enough stuff, he will start bargaining with you to get it back. If you nag him to take baths or do his laundry, let him live with the consequences. He is certainly old enough to be doing that for himself as well as getting his own meals. If there are things he is doing that will do real and permanent damage to him, like running around with a gang or driving too fast, you can restrict those things or remove the games and phone and all. And, see if there are ways to restrict his access to Wifi or other things to help you keep him in line. Lastly, keep telling him over and over with that you are available to help him if he wants it. You can remind him of good times or fun things. Maybe even find things you both can do together instead of constant conflict. Be willing to change how you communicate and give him some space.

  4. Sounds like this kid has an ungratefulness and/or an anger problem. Beware if you don’t confront him now, but confront in love and gentleness (that does not mean being a doormat)
    Tell him you want things between you to change. Remind him you love him! The relationship may not change overnight, but if he sees you taking a genuine interest in him, it will soften him. Find out what is bothering him. Time and attention from parents is so necessary! Both of you should set aside some time to go to eat or for ice cream at a neutral place where you can hang out for a few hours. Always start from a place of respect and love, not nitpicking or controlling, etc
    Oh, and pray! Pray for him and your relationship!

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