13 yo son has attitude problems and is selfish....

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-20-2001
13 yo son has attitude problems and is selfish....
7
Thu, 11-22-2012 - 11:16am

It's Thanksgiving morning. Mom is working hard in kitchen. Dad is working.... Son comes down early lays on couch with headphones in ears. I asked him "nicely" could you please feed the dogs. His reply "its not my turn". The kids take turns in evening. I usually do the morning. So I answered "I know but I can't the dogs need to eat'. He says "Ok next time I won't go downstairs so early!" then goes up to his room and doesn't come down again till lunch time.

How do I handle this. I'm so mad I feel like screaming. 

Thanks,

Rainbow

"Life is not waiting for the storm to pass, but learning to dance in the rain!"

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-08-2006

I think the only cure to this problem is to wait five or ten years...most 13 year olds are pretty selfcentered....you might talk to him about it in a quiet moment using the classic 'when you did x,it made me feel y'.  A good way to talk with boys ( and men) are when you are sitting by side (as opposed to facing each other) like when you are riding in the car with them.   

Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
Honestly, my reply would be that next time he wants something done, you are too busy and don't have time for it. Yes, its part of the teen attitude, but part of our job as parents is teaching them, either in subtle, or not so subtle ways, what direction they should go in. And if he's too busy to help you, especially feed the dogs, living breathing animals, then you are really too busy working and providing a roof over his head, to help him out at all.
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Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
Tue, 11-27-2012 - 10:00am

Huh, apparently IV ate my post.  Honestly, next time he asks for a favor, I would tell him you don't have time or don't feel like it, just as he didn't feel like helping you out by feeding the dogs.  Yes, he's a teenager and has an attitude, but sometimes you need to subtly, or not so subtle, remind them that its a family and you work together to accomplish goals, and dogs, living breathing animals, are part of the family also.  reminding them that you work to keep a roof over their head and food in their mouths, and if they can't exert a little extra energy to help you, you don't really need to exert extra energy to help them out either.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997

This is the sort of thing I just will not put up with.  Tracy's reply was much more polite than mine would have been.  My kids have had it drummed into their heads from a very early age that we are a family and therefore everyone has to contribute to the family.

Definitely around age 12, they started giving me lip about it, and I started having to remind them of all that everyone ELSE is doing around them.  I certainly have to do it more with 12yo DS now, but as the baby of the family, he always feels entitled, so we've been doing this for a long time.

In the case you described, I would probably have said, "I'm too busy getting ready to feed you, so you have to feed the dogs.  Don't feed the dogs, don't expect to be getting your next meal either."  And staying in his room until lunchtime?  Not a chance.  On Thanksgiving day, I had DS running up and down stairs fetching things because (a) my knees are bad and (b) if I did all that running, I'd have no energy for everything else.  When he complained (which of course eventually he did), I reminded him that his 20yo brother spent the day before chopping herbs and vegetables for Dad and doing three loads of laundry for Mom, that Mom & Dad got up at 6am to start getting the house and dinner ready for 18 people, and that I would be spending all day Friday cleaning up after all the overnight guests.

Kids this age *are* selfish.  The teen years are about looking inward at yourself.  However, parents do NOT have to put up with it.  And if they do, their reward will be more of it.  I do not believe that "all teenagers are like this" is a valid excuse for bad behavior.

The good news is they will outgrow it IF you don't permit it to flourish.  Believe me, 20yo DS was as naturally selfish as his little brother when he was the same age.  However, selfish teens will not automatically become unselfish adults. They really need to be managed.

Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
Tue, 11-27-2012 - 5:16pm

mahopac wrote:
<p>Tracy's reply was much more polite than mine would have been. </p>

LOL!  My first post that IV ate was much closer to yours, I've had plenty of attitude from the 17 year old lately that I have never had to deal with in the past, so this subject is near and dear to my heart.  But I do try to be a little softer with my delivery to strangers, there isn't any left on the boards, I don't want to scare anyone off. Wink

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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Tue, 11-27-2012 - 5:52pm

Good point, Tracy!  Today was the first day I was able to get into iVillage and move about as I used to.  Hopefully new people will start coming, and the old-timers will be back.

Doesn't change my thinking, though - I'm like Sabr with a softer touch. ;)  But I'll share something super-sweet with you from my 12yo DS:

He asked 17yo DD, "What would you wish for if you could have only one wish?"

DD: "I don't know.  What about you?  And you can't say 'I wish for more wishes.'"

DS:  "I would wish that I could stay with my family forever."

Awwwwww!

Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
Wed, 11-28-2012 - 10:28am

that is extremely sweet! 

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