Working through The Total Transformation: One Mom Tries to Deal with Her Son’s Disrespect and Backtalk

Posted February 13, 2009 by

My 13 year old son with ADHD is as big as I am and when he refuses to comply, I often lose my temper. That’s when my son’s ability to manipulate goes into high gear. As soon as I lose it, he dramatically flinches. My guilt meter shoots off the chart. Pretty soon, consequences for his behavior are forgotten. It’s an unhealthy cycle that does nothing to help my son learn problem solving skills.

My gut reaction is to get defensive when I perceive disrespect through disobedience. Sometimes that results in overreaction, screaming, and finally remorse. I know I need to take a “time out” when I feel my buttons being pushed, but I worry the time lapse dilutes my ability to assign effective consequences. My attention-deficit son usually forgets the event five minutes after it happens. When I come back with consequences, he acts shocked and confused about what he did wrong.

I really enjoyed reading Carole Banks’ blog concerning respect recently, as this issue has become a hot button for our family. I constantly find myself telling my son that he needs to respect me and his grandmother and his teachers. Banks makes a good point when she says, “It takes more than asking for a feeling to fix the problem.” The Total Transformation Program tells us to ignore attitude and focus on behavior, but it’s hard for me to separate them. I emotionally equate respect with obedience and even a little fear, because that’s how I grew up. Eager to please, I rarely said no to my parents. In contrast, my son thrives on saying no.

As I worked on the action steps in Lesson 3 of the Total Transformation Program, I struggled to come up with the list of consequences for bad behavior. A few rewards could be turned around into negatives like less game time or no cell phone. Other rewards were things like going to friends’ houses, renting movies, iTunes purchases, or eating out. He doesn’t appear very impressed when those types of things are withheld, however.

Many times the consequences only result in more bad behavior, because he refuses to comply. Honestly, I’m afraid I may run out of consequences. I was only partly joking with his father (my ex-husband) when I suggested I might put a lock on the outside of my son’s bedroom door to enforce the “go to your room” consequence. Dad wasn’t amused.

Here’s the unfortunate pattern: My son comes home from school and goes straight to his room. My elderly mother toddles along behind, picking up the pencils, notebooks, socks and shoes left in his wake. He knows I want him to pick up after himself. But grandma’s tidying mode is permanently on auto pilot. I’ve tried closing his door and letting the mess pile up, but grandma can’t take it. (Retraining my son is challenging, but changing an 80-year-old’s view of how to run her own household is unthinkable.)

Still, he ignores his good fortune and prefers to argue. My son rudely tells grandma to stop bothering him. He ignores even the most benign questions about his day. He refuses to do homework or he says he doesn’t have any. We can’t tell by looking at his cluttered notebook. He either refuses to take out to garbage or says he’ll do it later and never does. Posting a chore list on his door and taking away his allowance made no impact. After almost a year, he doesn’t seem to miss his weekly $5.

Grandma complains about his tendency to lounge around the house in his underwear. He won’t turn the TV volume down and refuses to help grandma find the channel with her favorite evening news show. He’d rather lecture us about spoiling the dog, putting the TV in the “wrong” place, and feeding him “crappy” meals. On and on it goes, until he tells grandma to “shut up” because she’s crazy/stupid/senile. Grandma threatens to hit him with the flyswatter or call the police. He gets my laptop, since his computer was confiscated already. I tell him to put it away. He says no. I wrestle the laptop out of his arms while dodging kicking feet and swinging elbows.

In the meantime, grandma toddles out with the trash and I can barely remember what started it all. He will not go to his room, so he lounges on the sofa in his boxers. Which actions get which consequences and in what order? I’m a little afraid. What will I do the next time he says no?

I’m at square one with setting limits. Taking these first steps has been tough for me. My son has stopped cursing as much, which helps my morale. I don’t know if my home will ever achieve a culture of accountability. I do know, however, I want to earn my son’s respect. To do that calls for establishing parental authority, learning to coach and stay consistent. It means becoming a person who won’t take no for an answer.


Lola Howle is a Parent Blogger for EP.

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  1. coyote50 (Edit) Report

    As the parent of an ADD/ODD/depressed/anxious and angry, now 21 year old son, I just want to tell the other parents to stick to your guns. And remember that you have the right to a decent life. We had counseling for our son from a young age, he was in many programs, both residential and out-patient. He refused and refuses to take medication, which helped him. He continues to make bad choices and get in trouble – which I think could change if he would take medication so he could think straight. If the child is under 18 and you are afraid of the child and are being threatened, call the police. Be prepared that the police may not help however, or that if they do, you may not like what happens next. But remember that YOU have a right to a decent life too and that you are not doing your child any favors if you let him or her destroy property or threaten you. If that behavior goes on outside of the house and especially after the age of 18, the consequences for the child will be REALLY bad. So try to nip it in the bud when the kid is under 18. And remember, you may or may not be able to fix this. All you can do is your best. These children have brain dysfunction and need total structure, which our society does not provide for until they are totally out of control. Our insurance covered one year of residential treatment, which saved my sanity, and helped him to get through the year when he was most out of control. But you need a diagnosis from a psychiatrist. If the child is over 18, tell them that if they do certain things they will have to leave, and enforce it. Don’t back down. As James Lehmann always said, there’s no excuse for abuse!

  2. WorkingKatyMom (Edit) Report

    My 16 year old has been headed down the wrong rode for about 2 years now. My fault, I have been too ‘busy’ and too tired to step up because I did not want the ‘fight’. I apologized to him for ‘checking out’ and now am committed to being a parent. He is NOT thrilled and has stepped up the difficult attitude to attempt to discourage me. There are somethings that I am doing that are making headway so I thought I would share.
    I found a list of rules on a boot camp type website and took the ones I agreed with: No cussing, no damage, you must respect authority etc. I went over the list with him in 2 groups. First there are cardinal rules (the basics) and if ANY of those are broken there is one consequence. It is very consistent. The second group of rules are called general rules. Those are things like: no sagging, no earrings, no cussing etc. There is another consequence if any of those are broken. I then posted this in the kitchen. We did good for 2 days and then he broke the respect rule over and over. First at school and then with me. I CALMLY brought out the list. Asked him if he remembered what we went over 2 days ago. Then I took his TV out of his room. He can earn it back by the weekend IF he does not break any more cardinal rules. (Setting a timeline is important or they loose hope). I think the most valuable part of what happened was I stayed CALM. I kept to the rule book and did not get ‘personal’ with him. I did not get into a battle. We do that as parents, we ask ‘what are you doing to me? Why are you hurting me like this?’ and that is making it personal. I am simply wanting to adjust his attitude and behavior. Emotional blackmail does not produce lasting and favorable results. I hope this helps.

  3. yomom (Edit) Report

    My son is turning 18 in 1 month, the father and I never got along, in the way to educate him, the father never gave him any restrictions and I was completly opposite,he doesnot want to live with does,he is doing bad thinks amost to go to jail, yesterday he leave the house, I just read about this course do you have any idea what to do? if the course will help me

  4. Natalie (Edit) Report

    Things I have done that got through the entitled techno brain.

    I am logging in a little late on this thread. I do have several suggestions that have worked. What I found is that the follow up and being consistant is exhausting for me with my two children ages 17 and 19. So, after trying to remove their privledges for one hour, two days or one week, I told them that they could expect that their would be a consequence for disobeying me and that I would decide when it was convienant for me to follow through on that consequence, but when I did, it would make up for all of the problems that they caused me since the last act of disrespect and rebellion. For starters, everytime I have been spoken to disrespectfully I remove the modem from the house. They are never told when it will be returned, it is just when I recover from the emotional assault that they have launched (usually 48-72 hours after the first act of remorse for MY FEELINGS). I once had a 90 day disconnect done for the internet. Midnight raid on the cell phone battery is always fun and i have removed bedroom doors before. Our cell phone contract is due to be renewed next month. My plan is to let the contract lapse and see what shakes out of that deal. I usually plan these manuvers when I will be unavailable for them to be abusive toward me for at least 24 hours. I think they are detoxing from “Call of Duty”, but I am no expert. I guess the point it, ideally we should be consistant with no internet until the homework is done, but they just lie and say they don’t have any or they do it, poorly, so instead of feeling helpless until the “blow-up” happens, I have found that consequences still work if I am clear about what they have done and I tell them the consequence is coming and I will decide when and for how long and they are not on the need to know list about this information.
    If I had it to do over, I would not allow this technology in my home…period. Who knows, they might see the sun this year. Anyhow, I think they really do not know what I will do next, but whatever it is, I sure feel no guilt about it what-so-ever. If they acted this way toward anyone eles they would probably get themselves shot. I do blame myself though because when they were young I indulged them in movies and video games and all sorts of other leisure forms of activities. In retrospect, I should have forgone the eletronic baby sitter and taught them the shear joy of hard work and a job well done. Best to All, Natalie

  5. velyndar (Edit) Report

    I am so grateful for the stories I’ve read this evening. I have a 19 year old son and a 20 year old daughter. I have a lot of issues with the disrespect from my son. He talks back, don’t do things when I tell him too, He is lazy. Sits at home all day while I’m at work. I tell him to look for a job. He say ok, but I know he didn’t do any looking. I want he to be something great out of life, but he has to want it too. We argue a lot, I sometimes have to leave my house to get a break away. I’m usually yelling and screaming at the top of my voice and he still don’t do better. I threatens him and say I’m going to put you out and he says back oh well. I don’t want to see my son on the streets, but I need him to be motivated to to do something with his life. My son has ADHD, and it has been a struggle at times raising him with out the help of his father. Trouble in schood, disrespecting teachers or any adult. He don’t want me to tell him anything. I’m asking God to help me with this situation now that he’s 19 years old. I don’ want to go through life not getting the proper help for him. As for my daughter she is a fulltime college student. Doing well in school, but can be talkative at times too. But she is not as bad as my son. She do feel bad at the end of the day and will come back and say I’m sorry. I have to tell my son to apoligize to me. Thanks for you stories.

  6. Sherrirbgr (Edit) Report

    1) There is something they love dearly. Watch them. It is most likely their cellphone, if they have one. They are NEVER without it. As soon as the disrespect/backtalk starts, say “You are being disrespectful to me, and I will not have it. Give me ____.” Keep it until they show remorse (usually within the hour when input deprivation hits).

    2) Stick to it. No matter how much they howl. No matter how much your head hurts. If they act out, add time/days. The most effective thing we have ever done with my stepson is to turn his phone off. You can do it by calling customer support. It might cost some $ (usually under $20) and sometimes they will waive it if you’ve been a customer for long. We cust my stepson’s phone off when he was acting out and wouldn’t stop when warned. His behavior came to a screeching halt when that phone died.

    3)Don’t be afraid to call the police. You can always not charge them, but at least your child knows you are not going to put up with being pushed around and/or emotionally abused. YOU ARE THE ADULT. Like someone said on this site, you’re the ALPHA. Be it.

    4) If you’re divorced, give him back to his Dad. If you need the child support, get an extra job. It’s cheaper than having a stroke from dealing with him. If it’s a girl, give her back to her Dad. Usually Dad will not put up with the behavior very long, and Dads are usually stricter. It may be they come back much more docile or it may be Dad’s turn to deal with this for a few years. In any case, when they visit, stick to your guns: No bad behavior or back they go.

    We’re still living through this, but it gets better. Now we’re working on consequences for bad grades. OY! Will have to go read up on that.

  7. mcat1600 (Edit) Report

    I found this site because I have just told my 18 year old he has to leave home due to his aggression towards me and his brother and sister. I have to follow through now as there are no consequences left and he doesnt care about anything I say. I come from a violent family and found it incredibly difficult not to be aggressive when I didnt get the behaviour I wanted from my children. I was not always successful and now that I am grieving for my son, who has now got one month until he has to move, I feel as though it is all my fault. But I cannot tolerate the unhappiness he creates every day of our lives and its not fair on the other two, who do not have the same temperament. I gave my 18 year old every chance to change, and explained how we all felt, talked to him about his behaviour and told him that I thought he needed help. I told him I thought he was in a pattern that would not change until he learnt some alternative ways to deal with his frustration, which is set off by the tiniest things. I told him that I also made mistakes in parenting but that it was no excuse for him to continue his behaviour toward us. He acknowledged his poor behaviour but justified it by saying that he can control it but choses not to. He says it is only us that he lets loose on and seems to think that makes it ok. I am now going to lose a son to go and live with his only option – his father who molested my daughter and is a very poor role model. But I just cant take this anymore and to top it off he is close to ruining my new relationship (I was divorced 15 years ago and have been with my new partner for 18 months so it is not like I just jumped into it with disregard for my family) I dont think its fair that he ruin my relationship and my other kids’ relationship with my partner. They really like him and look up to him, wheras my eldest just tells me what an idiot he is. I gave my son the option of counselling but he refused and I told him that if he wouldnt go to counselling that was the deal breaker and he would have to leave. I know he is going to be unhappy and frightened and it is killing me but what else can I do? Now my partner and kids know I have issued the final notice and are relieved but I feel nothing but pain and regret. I would do anything to take back my decision and keep m son at home but know that would harm the rest of my family even more.

  8. Vivienne (Edit) Report

    Seems like my story…and my son keeps pushing limits, consequences that I give seem not to matter to him. Natural consequences work for a time. I keep hearing that at 17 0r 18 he may thank me…ha, I am not sure he will be with me – I suspect he may try running away for a good spell. I work at trying to build myself up each day, one day is not like the next. Each day he has some level of disrespect except when he wants something. He will apologize now sometimes, and hug me – usually after the “big blow” I certainly don’t want any hugging. I ask why did I deserve this, I am not an “angry” mean type person. I try to be consistent and also to be a bit nicer to myself – keep thinking that I couldv’e done something better…or, did I do toooooo much for him? He can be overbearing some time and I must watch out for myself and prepare, each day has it’s challenges. I want him to be safe and heal.

  9. Jackleen (Edit) Report

    I have a 15 year old daughter who is undiagnosed ODD. For the past five years she had been disrespectful and defiant toward me as well as throwing those full blown temper fit’s. I’ve had her in counseling, which was helping but then her father- whom I’m divorced from since she was 2, stopped paying the counselor because he didn’t like what she had to say. She thought my daughter should be evaluated by a psyciatrist for a proper diagnosis. By not paying her it was his way of controlling the situation as he does not respect or support my quest to get my daughter straightened out. Infact he makes matters worse by setting no boundries or rules when she is at his house with him- which is every other week from Wednesday afternoon through Sunday. Recently he was out of state on vacation for nearly a month and so she was not able to have him rescue her when I said no about anything. It was a long and tough time with her but we had made quite a bit of progress and she was starting to respond in a better manner even though she still complained and made it difficult. The day he got back she pushed his buttons, he rescued her- completely disregarding anything I tried to share with him about our progress, and it’s been back to the exact same place as before.
    Does ANYONE out there have ANY advice for THIS???
    She has learned this bad behavior actually from her father, which makes it impossible???
    I’m at a complete loss as to what to do or what help to seek next. I’m not giving in to this.
    He has also told her there is nothing wrong with her and that she is not going to be evaluated. He actually stood in the way at her high school when I asked that she be screened for ADD. The public school system where I live say’s that they can’t screen her without BOTH of us in agreement! Anyone familiar with Narcissism? That is what I am dealing with on the other side of helping my daughter.
    I am open for any suggestions.

  10. caringmum (Edit) Report

    It is so good to read about others in same situation..I have similar problems with my 13 year old son and I also have a 16 year old daughter and an 11 year old son who are very obedient and do their chores…I am a single mum and I do feel that not having an older male prescence(one grandfather is dead and the other is uncles nearby)is very important middle son threatens me if he doesnt get his own way and hits me..I have called the police several times and we are in contact with psychologist…he wont go to school either… he was beaten up by some schoolboys six months ago and has been aggressive to me and younger brother since then. ..he sees his dad every other weekend but wont go since his dad said he is getting married to his the girl he lives with there are many issues. I think the lack of extended family makes it hard for these boys…but it is still no excuse and I wont tolerate it much longer …I love my son but have told him I will have the social services put him in a homeif he continues with this behaviour…i do not get enough support from his father so I have to be tough or we will think its ok to hit women and it is not fair on my other children who have to put up with a very difficult family life…I suppose it is not suprising though when we live in a selfish violent world that some children will reflect this in their behaviouor…there is love and goodness but it rarely gets rewarded and children see this it is a constant struggle to teach them to do what is right..but we mustnt give up and sometimes tough discipline is neccessary..It hurts me though because I love my son! Thanks to everone for sharing their stories!

  11. Carole Banks, Parental Support Line Advisor (Edit) Report

    Hi Lola:
    I just wanted to make a few remarks that I hope will be helpful. First of all, it can be discouraging to feel like you might be ‘stuck on square one’. Look at it this way—square one is the beginning of making changes and there is no time limit on how long a beginning takes. Try not to get too discouraged.
    Here are a few ideas related to your blog post:

    Always make a comment when your son is rude—but ignore attitude.

    When he is rude or abusive James recommends saying, “It not okay to speak to me that way. I don’t like it.” Disconnect as soon as you state a limit or rule.You can simply disconnect here, turn around and walk away, or require a cool down/time out from your son. If you think a cool down is needed, you might say, “You need to go to your room for 20 minutes and calm yourself down.” When your son is rude to his grandmother, it would important for your mother also to respond with, “It’s not okay to speak to me that way.” When he ignores questions about his day, let it go. Have evening meals together and let whatever conversation happen naturally there. Use the time to visit and enjoy each other and not discuss concerns.

    Stating a rule or goal is not a criticism. “What are you supposed to be doing?” “Go do it.” But it is a criticism when you ask, “Why can’t you get your homework done?” I hear from many parents that they feel disrespected when their child does not obey them, but it’s really not about you. It’s simply that they don’t want to do what you have asked them to do, but rather do what they feel like doing at the moment. When you feel disrespected because of disobedience, disconnect and take a break. The reason James talks about the disconnect being important is because we have feelings too. Parents are human beings too. We may be feeling anger ourselves, feeling disrespected. Disconnecting will save you here. It will prevent this exchange from becoming a tug of war where you pile on consequences, trying to make you child do what he is supposed to do. It is not necessary to make your child comply right then and there. It creates a power struggle. If your son chooses not to meet the goals for the day, he loses a privilege that evening. Don’t worry at all about the time lapse between behavior and talking about the behavior, and discussing and implementing a consequence. In fact you want to have these discussions after the fact, when everyone is calm. (This discussion is referred to as the ‘Alternative Response Process’ in Lesson 6).

    Use a consequence you can enforce.
    Password protect your laptop so if he takes it, he can’t turn it on. If he refuses to give you back your computer, tries to bully or intimidate you or your mother in anyway, you should consider calling the police. You also might also ask his father to talk to him about this. I really liked the comments by Booshlar. He makes a very good statement about the importance of the role of older males in challenging the behavior choices of younger males. It would be appropriate for your son’s father to talk to him about his abusive remarks and behavior toward you and your mother.

    Pick one behavior to change
    Besides always commenting on abusive language, pick only one behavior to start with. I enjoyed your description of your mother on ‘autopilot pick-up duty’. But I would not start there. Empower your mother to stop doing that at anytime she wants to. If he’s doing poorly in school, you might start there by setting up a system where he has a specific study time during the afternoon. Just be concerned about the ‘time’ he spends studying and not his homework at this point. If he spends time studying, he gets his privileges that night; such as TV, computer time, etc. Changing only one behavior also is changing your relationship with him. You are setting limits on his behavior. If he chooses not to comply, you are implementing a consequence. There is a lot happening in just that one behavior change. Good luck, and hang in there!

  12. lolahowle (Edit) Report

    To TIREDGRANDMA: My mom and I may have to pack our bags and come with you! We were just talking today about my son ending up in jail by the time he’s 18 if we don’t make some progress. Your grandson reflects exactly what I’m afraid of. I am sorry you are going through this and know exactly what you mean when you feel so exhausted by the ongoing conflict. My son was such a good boy too, until he hit 4th grade and suddenly he didn’t like any of the teachers, they were mean, he didn’t follow rules or do homework, etc. Now, in 7th grade, his disdain for teachers and most adults is worse. He equates any criticism with others being “MEAN.” (that’s the PG rated word for what he says.) I applaud your strength for sticking with him, even when he abuses you for the love you are showing him. I hope things get better before you finally have to give him up to the system. At least he’ll know you are there for him.

  13. Sharon (Edit) Report

    I have a 15 yr old daughter who has the tears and the temper together. When I ask her to do something I tell her it needs to be done in what I decide is a reasonable amount of time. IF it isn’t done,an electronic is taken. She has a hissy fit with yelling and stomping through the house. It never lasts past a few hrs or so because we don’t focus on it.My husband and I try to continue what we were doing, even though it’s sometimes very difficult. It leaves such friction in our home but we’re getting better at ignoring it. Soon she comes down to join us in a family show, etc. I have to remember that she is somewhere between wanting to grow up and afraid to grow up.I remember feeling that way myself 40 yrs ago. I just know that it’s our job as parents to “get them through it” and the love and respect will come to us when they “get it”. I feel so beaten up sometimes, but I know that boundaries are so important at this time in their life. I hate that she needs to learn some things the hard way, but some of us are just made that way and we made it through!

  14. TIREDGRANDMA (Edit) Report

    I am so glad to find out I am not the only one w/ these problems of raising an ADHD/ODD child. My grandson is
    15, and reminds me of this all the time until I expect
    some chores to be done. Most of the time he reminds me
    that the woman is suppose to do those things. I raise
    him by myself and it is just unbareable sometimes. I
    have to just leave my own home to get away from him and
    his terrible rudeness and disrespect. Sometimes I just
    don’t think I can handle it anymore. I am in the pro-
    cess of putting him back on probation. I told him this
    way I will have some back up. He absolutely tells me
    what he is or isn’t going to do. He is so much bigger
    than I am. He can trow some of the most scary temper
    fits till it scars me. I have busted doors, dents in
    my icebox, broken blades on ceiling fans, fists holes
    in his bedroom, busted furniture, etc. I won’t have
    anything left by the time he is 18. The way he is
    sneaking out at night, getting arrested, leaving home
    when ever he wants, and disrespecting me so bad in not
    minding or doing anything I ask, it won’t take long
    before the Juevinile system takes control and sends him
    away to a place where he will get some help. I have had
    him since he was about 3yrs. old. He was such a good
    little boy. Then when he got in school, all hell broke
    out and it has gotten worse every year. When Lola was
    telling about her son, I thought she was talking about
    my grandson. I have had many counselors for him. I
    have had him in 1 in-house boys home, and 1 Christian
    boarding academy. He cons me into getting him out, then gets worse than before when he comes home. Now he is
    getting in trouble with the law, only has low scums for friends, and is going against every grain of morales
    I have tried to teach him. I too love my grandson, but
    I don’t like to even be around him most of the time.
    So it makes it hard to deal with him. I run out of things
    to have for consequences. He just says that’s ok I’ll
    just have to sneek out when I get bored. But when he
    gets ungrounded, he doesn’t get any better. I am at my
    wits end. Sometimes I just want to pack my bag and leave
    the country. Anyone out there want to go with me!!

  15. gourmetgal (Edit) Report

    Wow, when I first read this blog, I thought it was talking about the problems that I have been having with my 15 yr old son, who has PDD (Pervasive Development Disorder – High Functioning Autism).Disregarding the specific details, I realized there are a lot mmore angry teens out there treating their parents so horribly in a way that would have resulted in some of us not being able to sit down for a while. I didn’t use the F word in front of my mother (in anger) until I was 46 yrs old. Kids today say it every other sentence. I have gotten much tougher since doing the Total Transformation Program and have had some success but you have to be strong as a parent because if you find the thing to take away that causes the most pain, YOU will be in some pain too because they will be angrier than hornets that you could do such a thing to them. I have found after about 3 days, they want to “negoitiate” and will comply because they want it back SO BAD. So find that one thing. Ours is TV. Last time it started at 3 days and ended up with 6, adding a day on with each subsequent acting out. Consistency and Determination are KEY. Good Luck Everyone.

  16. Booshlar (Edit) Report


    Where are all the fathers in this? My son has just returned from six years in the army and him and my wife got into an argument over chores, like keeping his room clean. It escalated into shouting and he cussed at his mother, my wife. She told him that cussing would not be tolerated, and he shouted back, I am an adult I will cuss if I want to! That is when I got involved, and went to his room and told him he will not cuss at my wife. I reminded him that was his mother, you do not disrespect your mother. Then I went on to tell him that he can either clean his room now, or move out and find another place to live, then he can live in all the filth he wanted to 24/7. He knew that I wouldn’t hesitate moving him out, based on years of saying what I mean, and meaning what I say. I support his mother and he knows it. I also have made a point to remind him over the years that the woman he calls mom is my wife and I will not tolerate any man disrespecting her. I don’t know how single parents do it, but my prayers are with you.

  17. Anne Carlu (Edit) Report

    I too am facing the same problems with my 14 year old grandson. He is a great kid to talk to and is very smart but has no interest is school. He does not focus well and is very lazy. He has not been taught to do any chores at home or made to pick up his own clothes. You must tell him to do everything and it is very discouraging for me. Your article and comments have been very helpful as I am just beginning to get involved in this young man’s schooling. Thank you.
    Anne Carlu

  18. Tunnel Travel (Edit) Report

    My son is VERY much the same as or heading down the same path as what Lola Howle has described her son to be…and he just turned 8 last week!!!

    Reading this story and everyone’s comments has encouraged me to keep doing what I’m doing. I’ve had to re-establish my parental authority and it’s NOT EASY! But it can be done. Challenges continue to present themselves but lessen as the days go by.

    Thank you for all the advice posted on here…very helpful.

  19. tania (Edit) Report

    In response to the first comment. You must never tell a child it is your home. Your child will feel as if he has nowhere safe to turn to. Yes you can say it is my home as well as yours and I would like things to run more smoothly. Ask him what he thinks is a proper punishment for his behavior, kids can come up with many good ones us parents haven’t even thought of.(My son did) I have three boys and yes it can be difficult but stick to your guns and you will see the light at the end of your dark tunnel. It can be a challenge for parents. There is no perfect manual, so do you best and your son will appreciate it in the end. You might not hear thanks mom now but I can assure you later maybe at 17 or 18 you will. I know I did.

  20. lolahowle (Edit) Report

    Thanks for the comments. You are completely correct. I know I’ve been lazy in making my son accountable and he certainly does take EVERYTHING for granted now. Mistakes really do come back to haunt us. It makes it so much harder now to enforce rules and demand respectful behavior. But I’m not giving up or giving in, because I know he needs to learn these basics to be successful in life. It sure will ease my life as well! Change is uncomfortable, but worth it.

  21. freegemini (Edit) Report

    i’m am sorry you have to endure this behavior. it is very hard to get started. at one point i would hate to come home from work knowing it was going to be the same issues everyday, but it does get better. it is going to be some hard work on your part. sometimes it will seem like its easier just to give in but then you will be back in the same cycle….its always consistency that has a pay off. I know you can do it. just keep listening to the program and use it! it will work and both of you will benefit. tell grandma to hang in there too!

  22. GreatAunt (Edit) Report

    I am sorry that you have allowed such disrespect into
    your home. The first thing that you need to do is to
    sit down with your son and explain that today is a new
    day and that you are not going to take it anymore, that this is your house and home,and there are certain things that you will NOT accept. Give him a list, put everything on it, that way everything is clear. Do not be afraid of him, which you are, and why???? He is a 13 year old,
    spoiled rotten brat, and he has gotten away with too
    many things for far too long. Let him be mad at you, it
    is your home, so what? Claim it back! Start now! You
    need to make everything chrystal clear with him, and as
    far as taking away for his behaviors, there are also the
    things that he will earn for his behaviors. Start at
    scratch and be very clear, “when your homework is done,
    you will be allowed to watch 30 mins of TV, or play a
    video game, etc.” The school can keep you informed of
    what homework he has for each day, you just need to be
    active enough to do the extra work and stick to your
    word. Stop being lazy with this child, if he requires a
    bit more work on your part, then do it. He needs to know
    that someone cares enough about him to make him be
    respectful and a better person. Take over all aspects
    of his life from the time he wakes up. He will do this and and this before school, add in chores, make an active
    effort in being there for him and having his list ready,
    for everything that he does, he will earn a privilege
    that you have been letting him have for free. Also,STOP
    letting him be rude, if he is, call him on it and then
    walk away. Do not engage him in an argument, just say
    NO, I don’t take that anymore (and walk away). That is a
    a place to start.



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