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Teen son with bad attitude! Advice please!

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scrummyyummy | 12:30 Thu 26th Apr 2012 | Family & Relationships
16 Answers
My 13 year old used to be such a sweet boy but in the past couple of years, he has become someone I don't really like anymore. I understand it's that difficult year and his hormones aren't helping but he has the most awful attitude with me and even worse with hubby! He's happy at school and has lots of friends but most of the problem is with his attitude to doing homework or revision. He is so lazy and has to be nagged to do any homework. He doesn't tell us if he has tests because he doesn't want to have to revise. This has meant his marks are getting worse. He has the ability but he just doesn't want to do the work. He does do his homework in the end because he doesn't want to get into trouble at school but he will put in the minimum of effort to just get by and this reflects on his grades. He'll also leave his homework to the last minute so everything is rushed if I'm not on his case. I feel so drained nagging him to do his work and I'm tempted to just ignore it and stop telling him. However, I know for sure he will be even worse and his grades will be even worse than it's becoming and he would fall behind and won't be able to catch up. I feel he is throwing his chances away. He is lucky to be in a good school but he can't see that. He always has to have the last word, is stubborn as hell but so am I so we end up arguing all the time. I don't push him at all, I just want to make sure he is at least doing what he should be doing.

He gets so angry easily and doesn't like any feedback or constructive criticisms from me. I would never have yelled at my parents like he does with us! I have tried taking away privileges but it just makes him worse as he thinks he's done nothing wrong. It's a typical 'I'm right, I know it all' teenage syndrome and it drives me mad!

Should I give up on him and just let him choose to revise/do homework properly or not and see him go more and more downhill or should I carry on making sure he does his work, even though it's probably giving me high blood pressure with all the yelling! I feel I care too much to let him just waste his life away. There's a hope in me that one day he will thank me for not giving up on him and maybe, just maybe, he will grow up to be that loving boy again.


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can't really offer much advice to you here, but fear i have it all to come in a few years time. One thing to remember is that its likely hormones, and therefore likely to be a phase that will pass. Try sitting him down for a chat - perhaps even apologise that you hadn't really registerd that he's now turning into an adult, and that you'll make a bigger effort in future to treat him as an adult instead of a child (not that you've done wrong, but may make him reflect on things). tell him that you'l happily treat him like an adult, and allow him to make his own choices about when he does homework etc, on the condition that he remembers he's still a young adult and needs to live by your rules, and that you don't expect to see his grades going lower now that he's making decisions for himself. if you hear from the school that homework not being done, and tests not studied for, you'l have to go back to treating him like a child. respect is a two way thing - if he can prove and show you that he can respect you and your hubby then that wil serve to increase the respect you both have for him, and the responsibility you'll allow him to have for his own actions. sorry about the typos in this - i haven't got my glasses on btw xx good luck - hope he calms down soon x
sit him down and ask him - what does he want from his life... His studying NOW and qualifications will impact on how his future pans out.
Does he want to get a good grade and a good job.. or just 'make do'...
If he is so clever - and he is right all the time.. why are his grades getting worse...
Then ask him why he feels the need to shout at you when you havent shouted at hime.
What is his punishment from the school for not doing homework??? Maybe leave him to his own homework management for a week or two and let him suffer the consequences.. Hopefully the school will issue him a detention and he will realise his actions have consequences!
is he answers back with 'I'm happy to just make do'.... then look up some typical wages he could expect to get in a low paid 'make-do' job... and drive him round a really grotty part of town to show him where he could live!!!
He needs a flipping kick up the bum!!!!
Having said that - I this is ABSOLUTELY typical teen behaviour!!!!
In my experience, boys 'go under a cloud' twice; once around 13 years of age and then again (sorry, but need to warn you!) around 18-19 yrs. But they DO emerge.............
I think Nini is so right and the advice is very sound. Try explaining that, although you don't really understand, you can sympathise and this is something you can work through together as parents and son. I'm sure he will appreciate your constancy and fairness and eventually be grateful for it! Don't give up, try not to shout (too much) but stick to your guns and he WILL be grateful eventually when he achieves his potential (and will be proud of it).
Maybe you could arrange a family fun-type activity one weekend/school holiday that would really challenge him mentally and physically? That way he might view you as parents that still can enjoy his company as well as nag!
All good wishes - and remember, it will end one day................
You coule be talking about my own son, the story is identical
teenagers in the house are a joy, aren't they?!
Err, no lol
I believe some tribes send there young boys off until they have matured. They are then allowed to join the tribe again. Should have done that with my boys!!
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Thank you for all your advice and suggestions. Just to add, he does actually do his homework because he would hate to get into trouble at school but the problem is he drags his feet about doing it and if it wasn't for me on his case, the homework wouldn't be done until bedtime. He just would leave everything to the last minute if I let him but that's where more stress would come in.

We do have leisure time as a family so I don't think that's an issue. It's very hard not to shout because he has selective deafness and I could ask him to do something 10 times and he would just reply with, 'I'm coming', 'hang on a minute', etc, and procrastinate until voices are raised. It's almost like unless we shout, he won't take it seriously and pushes his luck all the time. I would love to do calm parenting and calm reasoning but I've tried it and it just doesn't work with him. I think it's down to his character to be honest but now he's hit his teens, he's got the attitude to go with it. He's great with other people and would never dream of being rude to authority, it's just with his family. I suppose if I had to choose, I am glad he is well-behaved at school and out of the house and respects authority but he's obviously saving all his bad attitude for us! Harry Enfield's Kevin comes to mind!!

Ten: I would love to send him to some worse off country like Africa so he can see and appreciate how lucky he is and how grateful he should be. If only there were brat camps in the UK like they have in the States! A couple of weeks away would do the trick!!
I again repeat, you could be talking about my son, word for word.Feel free to swap email addresses to discuss further
My eldest son was exactly the same at his age. I always had to nag to get homework done but he would do it eventually like your son. However when he got to 16 and his last year at school he wouldn't do it at all and didn't even turn up for two GCSE exams I worried like you what would become of him. However when he left school last summer he completely changed found himself a pretty good job (better job than friends and relations who have been to college and uni) and gets up every morning to go to work no problem! What I'm trying to say is yes keep trying with him but if he doesn't achieve all you hope he will at school its not the end of the world.
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smow: You know where I'm coming from! Let's hope we come out of it all sane!!
jkelly: thanks for the reassurance. I'm glad your son has turned out just fine. There's still hope for me and smow!!
Tough it out for a few years - teenagers are clinically insane, but time is the cure.

The other thing you could have done is to have girls instead - they go insane a bit later than boys, I think?
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Venator: I have a slightly older girl too and although she has her moments, she is so much easier! She respects me more and although there is backchat, she knows when to stop but my son just wants the last word all the time, even if I know he's wrong! I hope time is the answer and he will mature into someone nicer! I never had any real problems with him when he was little so looks like he's having his turn now!
This is my son too!
He's almost 16 and has been like this since 13. There is nothing that I haven't said to him, including (with reference to future prospects, jobs etc) " I don't want you to look back in a few years and say "I wish someone would've told me" because I'm telling you now!"
I'm hoping that one day the light will go on.
He may have to begin to under achieve for a certain amount of time but surely, one day it must!
Oh,, I am reading your messages and I feel totally undedtand how you feel, I hope you find the best way to deal with him ,

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