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Problematic teenagers? (sorry long...)

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Hi, I'm asking this question for my Mum really. She's lived with my stepbrother (15) for nearly 10 years now since his Mum died. She's always been there for him and my stepsister and has done everything she can to treat them as her own, just as their Dad has done for me and my sister.
My brother has always been a handful, just very careless, forgetful and just generally a boy! (no offence to the men out there reading this...) she's always battled with him to do anything. He makes a half hearted attempt at everything and has recently been getting letters sent home from school about his work. He is very clever but its like he has an objection to doing anything he's asked. He'll do things like burning plastic in his room and let us all run around the house for half an hour making sure the house isnt burning down before admitting it was him that produced the burning smell. He used to leave items of clothing at school constantly, which I know is probably just a teenage boy thing but it cost my mum a fortune in new clothes.
He won't admit when he's done something wrong, instead he'll lie and lie about it until eventually he gets found out and is in 10 times more trouble than he would have been if he just admitted what he had done in the first place.
He takes your belongings without consent and breaks them because he is too careless to look after them, then lies about having had whatever it is.
I could go on like this forever but I won't. My Mum and stepdad have tried everything, they've even spoken to the school on several occasions to see if there is anything going on which could be upsetting him.
I know it is upsetting losing a parent, but he was very very young and has almost always had 2 parents.
Anyway my Mum is beginning to lose it with him. He has no respect for her at all.
At the moment my stepdad is on a skiing holiday so my Mum is there alone with him and my stepsister. Every year when he goes away my brother seems to get worse.
Last night he was writing an essay for school and my sister checked it over for him. The subject was something along the lines of 'Is it acceptable to smack your kids...' basically he had written that he was smacked throughout his childhood and given examples of when he was smacked. There was never an occasion when he was smacked as a child and so this really upset my Mum. She told him to change it because it was not ok to give an essay to his school with lies like that in it. My stepdad is also devastated that he's said this because he's always been a no smacking parent.
My brother hit the roof, tore up his essay and basically swore blue murder at my Mum and told her he wasn't coming home tonight.
She is very upset and more or less at the end of her patience.
I thought my brother might benefit from going to something like Camp America where he would have a purpose and responsibility but since he's only 15 thats not possible. They result to grounding him at the moment but it doesn't work, although he stays in it just means he is there more to cause arguements and havoc.
I've tried talking to him but nothing happens. I think he has a lot going on inside, I don't know what it is but something has to be done. My Mum is upset almost everytime I speak to her and I can't have that.
Does anyone have any advice on how to deal with him? Or have you experienced anything like this?
When reading my examples of his behaviour it might not seem to big a deal but when you are faced with 2 or 3 of these things a day it wears you down.
post #2 of 28
Lauren, I'm so sorry your family is going through this! I can imagine that it's terribly difficult!

Your brother is 15 and from what I noticed when I was that age, there were many people like that (in both my school and the boys' school) One of my best friends was almost identical to how you say your brother is! (He's now doing excellently, though!)

I wish I could offer some advice on what to do, but I just don't know! It does sound like he's attention seeking, which could be a route to the problems he's experiencing.

I hope someone will come along and offer some help to you and your Mum!
post #3 of 28
Thread Starter 
I know what you mean about attention seeking, we thought that a long time ago and so my they both spent a lot of time trying to do things with him, take him places and show him that he was important but he would always spoil the day.
I forgot to add that he does get upset when he's shouted at, he's not immune to it. He cries his eyes out as soon as he's been found out which makes me think there is something major going on inside. But he asks for it, he really does so I don't know why he sets himself up like that.
A few weeks ago he lost his back door key and instead of telling someone and saying can I get another one cut, he was going to school and leaving his bedroom window unlocked so that he could climb in after school. My mum lives in a bungalow so anybody could have got into the house but he didn't think about this. He also didn't think about how this looks to the neighbours...
post #4 of 28
Just a thought, do you - as a family - sit down and talk about his mother? Remember her for good and bad?

It sounds like there might be something linked to her death that has manifested and he doesn't know how to deal with it

Maybe speaking about how he feels about his mother might help! I know it could be a difficult one, but would it be possible to get him to talk to someone? Is he close to any other relatives? (outside the family unit) He might find it easier to talk to someone disconnected from the situation? A councellor, maybe?
post #5 of 28
Oh I'm so sorry that you have to go through this...

It sounds very much like this is a cry for help more than anything else. Sure, teenage boys are really very much like this, but he seems to be more so than others. Bear in mind that at this age, kids have more hormones than they know how to deal with as well and that's going to be exacerbating matters. His mothers death is going to be a big issue for him and it's probably only recently come to a point at which he's ready to try and deal with it. As a kid, it's difficult to understand when someone isn't coming back: obviously he lost his mother at an age too young for him to understand and that could have manifested in a twisted "abandonment" complex. Some teenagers get very angry - I certainly was an angry teenager, and I caused my parents no end of grief. The number of times I reduced my own mother to tears is utterly inconceivable now that I look back on it, and it's something that shames me.

I would strongly advise finding outside help from a counsellor, they'll know how best to deal with him and help him through whatever it is that's troubling him and it would also give your mum that much needed relief.

I really hope for everyone's sakes that this is something that can be overcome with the right help.

Give your mum our love sweetie, she and your stepfather are doing a fantastic job - their best is all that anyone could ask of them and consideing they both had children from previous relationships, the family is obviously thriving! I've seen step-families that never really "gel" together like yours seems to have done. You've got to give them a lot of respect and admiration for what they've achieved.
post #6 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sar
Just a thought, do you - as a family - sit down and talk about his mother? Remember her for good and bad?

It sounds like there might be something linked to her death that has manifested and he doesn't know how to deal with it

Maybe speaking about how he feels about his mother might help! I know it could be a difficult one, but would it be possible to get him to talk to someone? Is he close to any other relatives? (outside the family unit) He might find it easier to talk to someone disconnected from the situation? A councellor, maybe?
We did try a lot to talk about their Mum. But they never brought it up themselves. My Mum lost both her parents by the time she was 11 and was adopted by her Aunt and never allowed to speak about her parents so she tries to encourage them at all times to remember her but she never gets anything back. I always found it strange when I lived with them.
He's not very close to other relatives so I think a counsellor is the way to go but its just suggesting that to him because he will probably come out with some ridiculous about everyone hating him.
post #7 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LilleKat
Oh I'm so sorry that you have to go through this...

It sounds very much like this is a cry for help more than anything else. Sure, teenage boys are really very much like this, but he seems to be more so than others. Bear in mind that at this age, kids have more hormones than they know how to deal with as well and that's going to be exacerbating matters. His mothers death is going to be a big issue for him and it's probably only recently come to a point at which he's ready to try and deal with it. As a kid, it's difficult to understand when someone isn't coming back: obviously he lost his mother at an age too young for him to understand and that could have manifested in a twisted "abandonment" complex. Some teenagers get very angry - I certainly was an angry teenager, and I caused my parents no end of grief. The number of times I reduced my own mother to tears is utterly inconceivable now that I look back on it, and it's something that shames me.

I would strongly advise finding outside help from a counsellor, they'll know how best to deal with him and help him through whatever it is that's troubling him and it would also give your mum that much needed relief.

I really hope for everyone's sakes that this is something that can be overcome with the right help.

Give your mum our love sweetie, she and your stepfather are doing a fantastic job - their best is all that anyone could ask of them and consideing they both had children from previous relationships, the family is obviously thriving! I've seen step-families that never really "gel" together like yours seems to have done. You've got to give them a lot of respect and admiration for what they've achieved.
I know what you mean about his feelings about his Mum just coming to the surface now but he has been like this for years, probably since he was about 10. Its only recently that he's got nasty with it.
My other stepfamily didnt work out (dads side) so I know the heartache that goes with not getting on but he is lucky! Its almost like a real family.
He doesn't know what he's got, I feel like shaking him sometimes I really do!
Im definately going to think about contacting a counsellor, I just need to think carefully about how I approach it...
post #8 of 28
that's a normal teenager response. When things don't go the way they want, everyone hates them. I've been there!! I don't know how everyone else here was as a teen, but I was definitely bad!

I would try and sit down with him first and tell him you're worried about him and how he's making your mum feel. If you just let him know that people care about him and want to see him happier, perhaps he'd come around? I suppose all you can really do to start with is reassure him that everyone loves him and they just want to see him in a better place in his life instead of this angry mess he's suffering. If you tell him that the rest of the family are suffering as a result of this, he's going to feel worse, if you let him know that you know HE's suffering and you want to help, maybe he'll be a little more willing to try and get out of it. Tell him you'd like him to talk to someone even if it is only once and see if he feels better after it.... he might surprise you.

I don't think I can offer any better suggestion than that, but I can offer a hug at least
post #9 of 28
Have you ever thought about sending him to a psychologist?
Or try to get those Nanny things like on tv?
post #10 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by fwan
Or try to get those Nanny things like on tv?
I don't think sitting him on the 'naughty chair' would work so well with a 15 year old!
post #11 of 28
Thread Starter 
Haha if only..!
post #12 of 28
muahaha neither will taking away his toys!
post #13 of 28
its not about the naughty chair, infact i was watching last week, the german version of course and they had a 13 year old teenager who was smoking, drinking, stealing, and abusing her parents... i mean like slapping her mother.. pulling her hair ect.

How about your brothers friends? what are they like? is he hanging around someone who is bad influence?
post #14 of 28
Thread Starter 
His friends seem ok, I don't really know any of them because I haven't lived at my Mums for 2 years and they are never there when I go round but my Mum doesn't seem to have any concerns about any of them they seem like nice people.
I just text my Mum saying I think he should see a counsellor and she says that he does not think it's anger, he thinks everyone provokes him by saying he's done something wrong.
So I think basically what he wants is to never be questionned and to be able to do as he pleases....
I told her she is the parent and whether he thinks he's right is irrelevant. Her life is being ruled by a 15 year old and it has to stop.
He told my Mum to **** off this morning and that really upsets me.
post #15 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pombina
So I think basically what he wants is to never be questionned and to be able to do as he pleases....
I told her she is the parent and whether he thinks he's right is irrelevant. Her life is being ruled by a 15 year old and it has to stop.
He told my Mum to **** off this morning and that really upsets me.
telling your mother to **** off IS anger. Period. It may not be knock-down-drag-out screaming rage, but it is anger. Your mom and stepdad need to sit down and work out some sort of guidelines for boundaries in the house. One of the things with the Nanny shows is that structure is key. Give him chores, and use some sort of reward system. If he has a room full of gadgets, like a video game system and/or tv [or has easy access to them], do a warning system. 1st time he refuses, talk to him, and tell him that these tasks are HIS responsibility, and if he doesn't do them, he gets XX items taken away for one week. If he refuses again, take them away. It has to be something he puts value on, or it won't work. Just grounding worked when we didn't have tons of distractions at home, like we do now.

As for the anger and dealing with his mother's death: He needs counseling. If he gets angry about it, maybe the family should go to a session as well as him having a solo session. That way, he's not singled out as the problem... It will help get everyone talking. At least the two parents (your mom and stepdad) and him... I sought out counseling as a teenager, because of my own situation. It wasn't much, but it helped.

I still have both my parents, though don't know for how much longer. But i lost my most loving grandmother at 6 and I was devastated. It's hard at such a young age to fully understand what is happening. all of a sudden this wonderful person in your life is gone and they're not coming back. And usually no one explains to you why, at least not in a way you can grasp. Is there a photo album or a box of slides of happy times with her? If so, gather the family around and share the memories. It'll show how much she was loved, as well as give him some memories of her. I have very few of my grandmother. I see pictures of her now and wonder what she was like when she was healthy. i only remember her bedridden. But one thing I do remember from back then was that she was a kind and loving woman who always had time for her youngest grandbaby.

Just a few ideas...
Amanda
post #16 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RubSluts'Mommy
telling your mother to **** off IS anger. Period. It may not be knock-down-drag-out screaming rage, but it is anger. Your mom and stepdad need to sit down and work out some sort of guidelines for boundaries in the house. One of the things with the Nanny shows is that structure is key. Give him chores, and use some sort of reward system. If he has a room full of gadgets, like a video game system and/or tv [or has easy access to them], do a warning system. 1st time he refuses, talk to him, and tell him that these tasks are HIS responsibility, and if he doesn't do them, he gets XX items taken away for one week. If he refuses again, take them away. It has to be something he puts value on, or it won't work. Just grounding worked when we didn't have tons of distractions at home, like we do now.

As for the anger and dealing with his mother's death: He needs counseling. If he gets angry about it, maybe the family should go to a session as well as him having a solo session. That way, he's not singled out as the problem... It will help get everyone talking. At least the two parents (your mom and stepdad) and him... I sought out counseling as a teenager, because of my own situation. It wasn't much, but it helped.

I still have both my parents, though don't know for how much longer. But i lost my most loving grandmother at 6 and I was devastated. It's hard at such a young age to fully understand what is happening. all of a sudden this wonderful person in your life is gone and they're not coming back. And usually no one explains to you why, at least not in a way you can grasp. Is there a photo album or a box of slides of happy times with her? If so, gather the family around and share the memories. It'll show how much she was loved, as well as give him some memories of her. I have very few of my grandmother. I see pictures of her now and wonder what she was like when she was healthy. i only remember her bedridden. But one thing I do remember from back then was that she was a kind and loving woman who always had time for her youngest grandbaby.

Just a few ideas...
Amanda
First of all I'm sorry about your grandmother its awful losing someone who means so much to you.
All your ideas are great, and unfortunately have been tried and tested. He was given warnings recently and then told no TV in his bedroom, so he just waited until everyone was asleep to watch it. So my Mum took the plug off the cable, so he stole my big sisters portable DVD player and watched dvds and shoved it down the side of his bed everynight when he went to sleep, this caused the screen to crack. So he just put it back in its box and put it back where he had found it.
He'll usually find a way, and even if he can't and even if he has to sit in his room with nothing to do, it still doesn't work.
He does have chores to do, like my Mum will ask him to wash the dishes and all he does is dip them in the water and then put them away so that when my Mum gets things out they are filthy. Its just constant deviance.
I do think its a good idea they all go to a counsellor together but I just have this vision of him making out he's severely hard done to and his Dad getting upset about it.
I suppose they would all just have to bite the bullit and be grown up about it.
post #17 of 28
Part of this behavior sounds like most 15 year old boys - rebellious, irresponsible, stubborn...and then he cries. I am certianly no expert, but it sounds like he is in a shell and the longer he stays that way, the harder the shell will become. I think counseling is the only way to go.

BTW, he may not get angry at the idea. After my parents divorce I would have loved counseling. I really wanted someone not in the family to talk to, but no one offered it to me.
post #18 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pombina
I told her she is the parent and whether he thinks he's right is irrelevant. Her life is being ruled by a 15 year old and it has to stop.
That's how I view it too. A woman I knew with a teen son was having similar problems. It wasn't helping him to grow up into a man at all.
post #19 of 28
I can totally feel for her, as my oldest daughter was much the same growing up. Not a bad person, no drugs, no physically abusing people...but just naughty and disagreeable. Impossible to get her to do anything helpful. And she was always very sneaky, as you said, damaging other peoples things without thinking about the consequences.

For now, I would advise your Mom to schedule for her to see a family therapist...this is an issue that will take everyone to correct. If she (and your step dad) see someone, then your brother can go to the next appt. Also, why is all the pressure falling on your Mom? Is his Dad involved a lot, too? I know my dd never looked to her step Dad as a parent, and resented his correcting her more than when I did it. Most correction needs to come from his Dad!

I'll post more ideas later...busy at work...it does get better!
post #20 of 28
Thread Starter 
His Dad does play a big part in his life its just that my Mum is there most of the time and so feels the stress more. He has a business which he puts a lot of hours into and sometimes doesn't come in until late at night and my Mum doesn't want him to come home everynight to story after story about what his son has done, although most nights he could cut the atmosphere with a knife so he knows something has gone on.
He is at breaking point at the moment which is why its a good thing he's gone on holiday but when he calls my Mum she's upset (she does try to hide it) and so when he gets home he's going to be angry.
On another note, despite his threats of not coming home last night, my big sister called him and told him if he didn't come home she would knock on every single one of his friends doors until she found him and it would be very embarrassing for him so he better just come home.
He then told her he knew he had to apologise for his behaviour. He does this everytime. I just wish he would learn not to do the things he has to constantly apologise for in the first place.
post #21 of 28
Well that's got to be a positive thing if he recognises that his behaviour is not right. Perhaps he's not all as bad as I've sort of pictured him. There does seem to be a lot inside him that he doesn't seem to be able to control or vent constructively, and then from the looks of things, he feels guilty after he has finally blown. I wonder if it would be a good thing for the entire family to sit down together if possible and see if there's some system you can ALL take part in to help him overcome it? That way he can get to see that you all really care about making things right and that you're all willing to help support him through it.... I think that would be a bit of a confidence booster for him there as well. The bad behaviour and then the apologies will be knocking him down all the time. He does need help, and I think this might just be his way of asking for it.... it's screwed up, yes, but at least it's there.
post #22 of 28
Certainly every 15 year old male adolescent is expected to be struggling between being a boy that`s in the process of becoming a man....but this amount of ANGER and LYING and even stealing (if he`s taking things from others without asking) seems extreme to me. I`d certainly get some counseling for him. Something is either going on, or has gone on, in his life that is affecting him.
I think that often parents are reluctant to get professional help because they are afraid that it is going to end up pointing out that maybe they are not the best parents.....In the first place NONE OF US ARE PERFECT PARENTS, and in the second place, things can happen to our kids when they are away from us that we do not know about (and often they won`t tell, because they feel ashamed, when most of the time those issues are not their fault at all...they just don`t know it!) And thirdly, and most importantly....if he`s needing some help and you can`t figure out what the problem is....it is time to pull out all the stops and find a way to get him the help he needs. This sort of thing is not going to get better or go away on it`s own....and will probably just get much worse if he is left alone to try to deal with it. The way he is dealing with it at present is not working for him or anyone else around him....but it`s the only way he knows to ask for help.
Linda
Linda
post #23 of 28
Thread Starter 
I just spoke to my Mum who says that despite him saying last night he knew he needed to apologise, he didn't actually do it. He had ample opportunity as my Mum was in on her own, so he can't feel too bad about it.
So this morning she went to the kitchen when she got up and he was sitting eating breakfast. She asked him if he had let the puppy out for the toilet and he said 'if you want him to go out, you get up'. So thats just his attitude all over. She then said you are the first up so please let him out to the toilet, its not fair on him otherwise. He then started saying he didn't care and how was she going to make him do anything...
Then my stepsister walked in and asked what was going on, so my Mum told her what had been said and he started saying my Mum was a liar and he hadn't said that any of that.
He then told my step sister where to go, in a very nasty way and told them he wanted to move out because they were all liars.
I don't know what to do. One minute he has you feeling sorry for him because he has issues, the next he's just nasty.
The arguement got so heated this morning that my Mum had to lock herself in her bedroom because she is so indimidated by him.
post #24 of 28
Teenagers are tough. I was a hard teenager, a lot like your brother it sounds like. Everyone's suggestions of counceling is right on. If you are having a hard time getting him to go, i suggest this little "trick" that we used on my sister. My mom said to her "Will you please come with me, to help support me", and it worked, and now she is going on her own. She had to realize it wasn't about placing blame.

Just remind her to be patient. Actual reality doesn't mean a whole lot to teenagers, only their percieved reality, because that is all that they live in. You have to bring yourself to that reality if you want to reach them.

Good luck, and tell your mum to keep her chin up, they outgrow it eventually.

-Jade
post #25 of 28
I actually don't see anything that abnormal. I mean people deal with the growing up process in different ways... My brother was much the same, and though I hate to admit it, I had a lot of faults as well. It doesn't mean they are out of control or dangerous.. I thought it was going to be like he beats your mother or uses drugs or tried to stab his teacher or something, now those are warning signs. But everyone you said seems in the standard range for 15 yr old boys, and yes it is tiring but take heart that it doesn't last forever, and eventually he'll grow up, we all do.
post #26 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by annabelle33
I actually don't see anything that abnormal. I mean people deal with the growing up process in different ways... My brother was much the same, and though I hate to admit it, I had a lot of faults as well. It doesn't mean they are out of control or dangerous.. I thought it was going to be like he beats your mother or uses drugs or tried to stab his teacher or something, now those are warning signs. But everyone you said seems in the standard range for 15 yr old boys, and yes it is tiring but take heart that it doesn't last forever, and eventually he'll grow up, we all do.
Just because he doesn't beat my mother doesn't mean his behaviour should be ignored. He is causing emotional trauma in my Mums house. I didn't say it wasn't the behaviour of a normal 15 year old boy, I was just asking for help on how to handle it.
post #27 of 28
One thing that may help your Mom is to try to remember not to expect what he isn't going to do. So to have him say he will apologize is very different from him doing it. If he has never apologized before, he isn't likely to start now.

The more she can take the emotions out of it and just look at the facts, the better it will be for all. If getting him to think of others is nearly impossible, expecting him to care for a puppy doesn't make sense. Just because many other kids would be thrilled just to have a puppy doesn't mean he will help care for it.

Coming to grips that my dd Jess was not who I wanted her to be was a big part in accepting that she is different. And remembering that she has always been difficult helped, too. She is very pleasant when things go her way, but gets ugly when told "No", or to do some chore. So she did less chores than my son has to do at the same age, but what she did, she got praised for. Sometimes these cranky disagreeable kids are so accustomed to being in trouble, that it doesn't seem to matter to them any more! But it does, they just don't let you see it.

For punishments, you have to be so creative. Make the punishment brief, and be sure it can be enforced. Getting away with stealing someone elses things because you are grounded from yours is not a very good reinforcement! Wen my dd was home, we actually put a lock on our bedroom door, so she couldn't go into the master bedroom if we were gone, and watch TV, etc. She just didn't have much self contol, and we had to work around that! She had stolen money from the little kids piggy banks, so we put them in our room out of her reach.

If your Mom and Dad start with a good therapist, and they get him to go along, they will get lots of useful advice!
post #28 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by annabelle33
to be like he beats your mother or uses drugs or tried to stab his teacher or something, now those are warning signs.
We don't know he is not using drugs. While the behaviors you mentioned are certianly more serious, I think his behaviors should be addressed to prevent them from getting worse.
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