19 answers

Almost 14 Yr Old Son Does Not Listen and Is Very Lazy at Home

My son will be 14 in April. He is basically a good kid.Very respectful in school and has always done very well in school. This past year when I tell him to do his homework, a simple chore, or just make sure his shoes and clothes are put away he says Ok . when it is not done I tell him again and that I want it started right away.Hsays Ok then I see that he doesnt do anything and after I start sreaming at him he starts doing what I asked and then tells me that all I do is sream and that he was going to do it.Yesterday a friend was driving him to school My husband and I left for work about 5 minutes earlier.I always tell him towait near the door all ready with his keys but this time I didnt say anything ,so I find out this morning that he was watching TV and didnt hear the beeping and so he made the group late.He apologized but the issue is responsibility. In the morning he cant find shoes or even his winter coat.The yelling is making me and my husband very stressed.I thought there might be someone who has raised a teenage boy who can offer advice

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I want to thank everyone who responded.I asked my husband to read the responses and I even told my son about the responses.So he is understanding that we are all going to change our ways.I have already started to use some of your great advice.Thanks!!!

Featured Answers

Welcome to hormone city !! I have 2 teenage boys along with a 6yr old girl and 1 1/2 hr old boy. He is testing his limits with you now, kinda like the terrible two's, but more in the "I'm an adult and can decide when I want to do , not when mom wants me to do it" I started giving my son the choice, like, you have until such and such a time that I am trusting you will do it. You decide when between now and then. After that, it is , ok, I'm gonna get upset and take something away and not give you the choice of time if you can't be responsible. Somedays it works wonders, others, not soo well. All depends on their moods too.

Good luck !!

Although I have not raised a teenage(except maybe helping with my sis), we were all teenagers before. Why are yelling? Stop the yelling! Ask him why he forgot to do such n such, maybe he did truly forget. Write it down..."you may not leave/watch tv/whatever till you do the following. Then he can not say he forgot, cause it was written down. Unplug the TV in the morning before you leave. TV should be on in the morning it is just a distraction that is not needed. Isntead he can do the morning dishes, wipe down the counters, take trash out, read a book.

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At 14 he's going through the frustrating but very necessary process of "separating" from his parents. He's frustrated because he doesn't have any control over his life, you're frustrated because you once had, but now feel less, control over his life.

Do you remember being 14? I do; fortunately, my father had a good sense of humor (he would often tell me, with a smile, "I hope I make it through your adolescence!"). At this age, anything anyone tells you to do, you'll resist just to assert your independence (LOL)!

Whenever my daughter starts a behavior that I think will become a power struggle, I engage her in the solution. When she was texting her friends at 2 in the morning, we discussed use of e-devices (cellphone, Ipod, laptop), and I asked her what would be a reasonable time to "unplug" at night, and she said, "10:30", which I thought was more than reasonable on a weekend (I was going to give her midnight). Then I asked what would be a reaonable consequence (avoiding that awful word, "Punishment") for an infraction, and we agreed to no texting for a day (OMG, as the kids say, an hour would have just about killed her).

When parents tell a kid to do something, it's THEIR rule for THEIR life (as the kid sees it).

So, he needs to be able to engage, with you, in controlling of some aspects of his life. If what he suggests isn't reasonable, then calmly (and a calm conversation will make both of you feel like adults) come to a consensus on an agreement: a schedule, and consequences if it's not followed. Realize that his ideas will be different from your own, and that's OK, he's a different person from you. Also realize that it will take awhile for both of you to adjust to this new reality and that we're all works-in-progress.

My ex used to yell at me if I didn't do housework on his schedule (BTW, I worked full-time, he was an at-home dad), but I did it on my schedule--Mine wasn't his, and that frustrated him. He always gave me the message that I was messy. Well, now that I have my own apartment, I keep it neat and clean--on my schedule.

When my daughter's with me, I never use his phrases like, "Am I the only one who can clean around here?" and "This place is a mess!" Her room isn't as neat as I'd like it, but that's OK, it's somewhere between "everything in it's place" and "bomb blast aftermath". I had to decide just what level of untidiness I could live with, and what was the trade-off for having a good relationship with my daughter, and feeling that I was helping her to find her own personal sense of ownership and tidiness for her room. Best of luck.

2 moms found this helpful

First of all you are entering the most delicate time in a boy's (or girl's) life. It is full of so many changes for them. They are dealing with a bunch of emotions (and hormones) Bless their hearts.

I agree with the others - stop yelling -- as a FORMER "yeller" myself (that came from a long line of yellers).... I have grown a long way between evolving as a parent into an Early Childhood Educator. I am a grandmother now and wouldn't dream of yelling at my precious little granddaughter :)
In my business the only yelling that I do is when we are doing an group activity that calls for it... ;)Catching them being "good" & consequences are the most effective ways of guiding behavior. Of course modeling is at the top of the list. There are many good books on this subject but my recent recommendations are

The Everything Guide to Raising Adolescent Boys
By: Rebecca Rutledge, Bruce Rodgers - you can find this and other good books at http://www.focusonthefamily.org
Another source of help is Dr. Becky Baily's Loving Guidance website. Here is a link for using Conscious Discipline at home. http://www.beckybailey.com/cd_implement.cfm?home=0
God Bless
M.

1 mom found this helpful

Welcome to hormone city !! I have 2 teenage boys along with a 6yr old girl and 1 1/2 hr old boy. He is testing his limits with you now, kinda like the terrible two's, but more in the "I'm an adult and can decide when I want to do , not when mom wants me to do it" I started giving my son the choice, like, you have until such and such a time that I am trusting you will do it. You decide when between now and then. After that, it is , ok, I'm gonna get upset and take something away and not give you the choice of time if you can't be responsible. Somedays it works wonders, others, not soo well. All depends on their moods too.

Good luck !!

Although I have not raised a teenage(except maybe helping with my sis), we were all teenagers before. Why are yelling? Stop the yelling! Ask him why he forgot to do such n such, maybe he did truly forget. Write it down..."you may not leave/watch tv/whatever till you do the following. Then he can not say he forgot, cause it was written down. Unplug the TV in the morning before you leave. TV should be on in the morning it is just a distraction that is not needed. Isntead he can do the morning dishes, wipe down the counters, take trash out, read a book.

Hi there,

No, I don't have a teen, but I taught high schoolers for 10 years. From conversations we had (I taught English and due to the types of stories we read, many times family relationships came up), teenagers don't like getting yelled at. Actually, I don't think anyone does. And it's even stressing you out.

Sounds like your son and you need to sit down and talk. You need to be straight up with him and tell him how you feel. Use "I" statements such as: "I feel ______________ when you choose not to _____________." Try to stay away from being accusatory or blaming which I understand is hard to do when you know he is choosing to be irresponsible. That will only make him tune you out. Sure, he'll look at you, but inside he will just shut off.

Be honest with him. Tell him that you don't like yelling at him. Explain why. How does it make you feel? Your husband? Why have you been doing it? Is it because you don't know of another way of getting through? If so, explain that to him. If it's another reason (ie, how your parents communicated their displeasure with your choices), then tell him that. Explain to him that you don't want to do that anymore. Ask him for suggestions in terms of how you can better communicate with him. Is he the type that needs 20 minutes to unwind after he gets home from school before he is asked to do certain things? Does he need downtime for himself? If so, outline those times so that you can respect his need to be alone and not have to do chores or whatever it is you want him to do. Keep in mind that on a given school day, he has sat through five or so forty to fifty minute classes of someone telling him what to do. He has had to sit there an obey; you have the chance to establish a relationship with him built on mutual understanding of one another's needs. You need him to do x, y and z, and he needs ____________ from you.

Also, make consequences. Kids need consequences -- they've admitted exactly that to me when I taught. If there is not a consequence for choosing not to do what is asked of them, why would they do it in the first place? Consequences don't have to be so severe where your kid is grounded for a week in his room. Rather, perhaps you suspend a privilege. Take away something important to him. But before you do that, you need to set the parameters. Let him know what's at stake BEFORE you simply enforce the consequence. Imagine taking a class at school and the teacher tells you that you will be penalized for submitting a late paper. Well, let's say you interpret this to mean you'll lose 10 points when your teacher really meant that you will get a big fat zero on it. Imagine your chagrin when the teacher gives you that consequence but failed to explain it to you upfront. Do that with your son when you are having your talk.

Hope this is helpful. More than likely he knows he is being a nudge. You're a great parent because you care and recognize that what you are doing isn't working. Now sit down and let him know this and figure out a way to make it work.

Good luck!

T. :)

Having lived through raising three teenagers, I can tell you what you already know, but if you are like me, need to be reminded of. This is a developmental stage that is scary, but it too will pass. And how he treats you is really not personal. It is developmental.
Now, screaming only hurts your throat and aggravates you. How do you develop strategies that will work with your son? Well, it is trial and error. The best that worked for me were having calm family meetings, both parents present, where we explored alternatives for solving the problem.
For example, you state the problem. I don't like having to scream at you when I see that you do not do [what is needed to be done.] or respond to my reminders. How can we avoid that? You also give him a chance to vent on what he is unhappy about in your parenting. If he won't pitch in at home, then you have a discussion about how you cannot do your work and all of the housework, and that it is the job of everyone who lives there. You can talk about a fair way of dividing things up and even letting people do what they find is more enjoyable and less objectionable.
I remember a discussion with my daughter about getting her homework done. She tried to tell me that C's were okay. I said they were for some kids but not for her because she was capable of doing better. I asked her if she had a vision of what college she wanted to go to. She said she wanted to go with intelligent and interesting people. So I said, if that was her goal, she could not get C's. After further discussion about how she did not want me bugging her about homework, I made a deal with her that I would refrain from bugging her for a month, if she would agree to get her homework done, before messing around. She did it, and I got to stop bugging her.
Maybe your son will have difference kinds of solutions. But he needs to own the solution, or he won't do it. So, treat him like the adult he hopes to be, and involve him in the process. If you and your husband are both part of the process, he will have unified parents and he won't have one to play off against the other.
That does not mean you won't get frustrated and want to scream your head off, but it might lessen the occurrences, and it will teach him better lessons. Good luck.

Hello L.,

I have raised a son who is now 21 and I have a stepson-to-be and he is 14. So, I've been there and know EXACTLY how you feel.

For one. You MUST stop yelling at him. Yelling is an extremely ineffective method and is simply a release of your own frustrations, and is not teaching him how to control his own anger and frustration. In addition to that, the yelling is TEACHING him that he doesn't actually have to listen to you until you yell. So, you are perpetuating the very behavior you want to stop. And the last reason to stop yelling is that it isn't a behavior you would do to another adult that you worked with, for example, or a fellow parent. Therefore, it isn't appropriate to yell at him either. As he moves closer and closer to adulthood, he needs to be treated more and more as an adult with adult consequences for his behavior.

Developmentally and emotionally, your son is moving toward manhood. When he is a man, he is going to need to provide for his family and be a decision-maker and be self-sufficient, etc. In order to accomplish those things, he needs to pull away from you, as his mother, emotionally. What woman wants to marry a momma's boy? What man wants to be percieved as a momma's boy? Your son has to learn how to honor and respect you as his mother without appearing weak and wimpy to his friends, and he doesn't know how to do that yet (it is the same with his teachers and his father). All he is feeling is the innate NEED to not listen, to not obey, to not comply with what he is being told, etc. Your opportunity is NOW to teach him how to balance his need to act like a grown man and to respect the authority that is still over him.

So, just go through your mind and decide what the real world consequences are to doing some of the things you mentioned. If he was living in his own apartment right now, or going to college, or going to work, what would happen if he didn't complete an assignment, or clean up after himself, or be late to work?

I remember one time when my son was 14 he complained about his math homework. He said, "I'm not going to do this assignment, it's stupid." and instead of trying to talk him into it or explain why he needed to do his homework or whatever, I simply shrugged my shoulders and said, "Ok, then don't do it." and he said, very surprised, "I HAVE to do it or I'll get in trouble!" and I said, "Then get in trouble." He just didn't know what to do. I had called his bluff, and and he wasn't prepared. I remember him turning around and walking up the stairs and saying under his breath, "I'm going to do my math."

Another time, he complained about how a teacher just wasn't teaching something right, etc, and I listened to him and simply said, "I understand how frustrating it is to have a teacher who isn't helping you to understand, however, it isn't the teacher's grade that will end up on your transcript, it is yours. So, YOU need to figure out how YOU are going to learn this material. Do you need a tutor? Do you need to get a friend in your class to help you?" and the conversatin continued until he had several options available for him to take responsibility for his own learning and then he had the power to decide how he was going to proceed to help himself.

When it comes to school, you just might need to let him get in trouble for not doing his homework, or whatever, because in college there will be no mother or father to remind him. He will need to do it on his own. In fact, of my 4 children, two who are graduated from high school and two how are currently in high school, I hardly ever remind them to do their homework. It is their responsibility, and if they don't do it, then they will suffer the consequences on their own. Period.

About the carpool, I'd instruct the carpool people NOT to wait on him more than 5 minutes. If he doesn't get his ride, what would an adult have to do? Well, one solution is to call a cab. Taxi's cost money and you can't always rely on their timliness. My good friend who is a single mom did this to her son. She instructed him that if he ever missed the bus or his carpool, then he was to call a taxi to take himself to school and he needed to pay for it himself. It took exactly ONE TIME for this to happen, and he never missed his bus or carpool again.

Chores. Now that is another matter. No person comes to you as an adult and tells you when to do your laundry or clean up your kitchen, and if they did, you'd probably be insulted. Remember that. When you tell a young adult to do something "now", it is insulting and they will resist. So, let him know in advance when you want the job done by, and if it isn't completed, what the consequences will be. For one, I don't require that they clean their rooms. That is for them to determine. Just learn to close the door if it bothers you.

Let's say you want your son to put his shoes in his room and you are fixing dinner. Say, "I want you to put your shoes in your room before dinner." Simple and sweet. You also need to figure out what is the consequence of him not doing that. Be creative. One option is to put them in a box in the attic (or some other remote place) and he won't be able to have them back until he earns them back by doing some kind of chore (like cleaning out the car, for example). If he loses some things because he didn't listen to directions the first time, and then he had to earn them back, he'll soon figure out that listening the first time will save him quite a lot of trouble.

I taught my kids from birth to listen to me the FIRST time when I am speaking in a normal voice. I do not and I will not yell at them. If I have to repeat myself or I feel myself getting angry, I will simply say to them, "I do not feel like you are listening to me and that is making me angry." or I will say, "If I have to repeat myself again, there will be a consequence." (I will say that about the 2nd time or so) I try to make it as close to a real life consequence as possible, or something that directly correlates to the issue. I've taken away the cell phone when they have talked back, explaining, "If you cannot use your mouth correctly, you don't need to use your mouth." I've made them work to repay debts. I've let them wear dirty clothes if they forgot to do their own laundry. The list goes on and on.

I hope some of these suggestions help. My kids are wonderful people and are a joy to be around and they are very loving and I wouldn't have traded being their mom for anything in the world!

My final word is: parenting changes in teenager land. If you try to treat your teen as you did when they were younger, you WILL get resistence, either overtly or covertly. They deserve more respect than that. They need to be taught to deserve the freedom that is gained in adulthood balanced with the responsibility required by adulthood. The more you treat them in this way, the more they will respond with the maturity you are working toward.

All the Best,
L.

Welcome to the world of teenagers! I'm on my second. My oldest is 21. My current is 13. I swear, once puberty sets in they go blonde on me, lol. There's lots of hormones surging and their brains really do act differently. Forgetfulness is huge. Lack of interest goes on the rise. Testing the waters is a biggy. They're in a totally different stage and closer to manhood and need to be prepared as such. Have a sit down and let him know the new rules that will be in place. You will ask for something to be done, and remind once. If it's still not done, then a punishment will be handed out. You decide, but it must be something that will be a wake up call. You will be called unfair and all that good stuff, but you must break the cycle now before it gets worse down the road, and trust me, things will get worse, lol. Driving privileges come into play, dating, all that good stuff so lay the ground rules now. He'll think it's ridiculous that you ground him from the TV for a few days over not picking up his shoes. You simply agree and tell him yes, you're right! It is ridiculous that you would choose being grounded from the TV for 3 days rather than just pick up your shoes and put them away. He needs to understand that these are choices he's making. He is part of the family and the family is a team. You can also use the analogy of the family being a wheel and when a spoke breaks the wheel starts to falter. Stay firm and calm and let him know ahead of time what the consequences are so there's no surprises and he can make the right choices.

K. B
mom to 5 including triplets

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