Raising Boys

As you know, Matt and I have two boys. One of them still thinks the sun rises and sets over me…the other? He thinks I’m the crap on the bottom of his shoe.

Ok, maybe in his heart he doesn’t think that. But that’s how he acts most of the time. And it’s making me nuts. Absolutely nuts.

He is constantly pushing my buttons. I’m not allowed to show him affection anymore. Even inside my house. It’s not like I’m trying to kiss him in front of the school bus or anything. I barely get a mumbled “I love you too” anymore. I’m the meanest Mom in the world, he hates me and, frankly, I can’t take it anymore. He even called me “lazy” yesterday b/c I wouldn’t jump on the trampoline AFTER I JUMPED ON THE TRAMPOLINE, PLAYED FOOTBALL/SOCCER/BASEBALL/BOCCE BALL FOR 2 HOURS!! I almost lost it.

Enter my Child Whisperer.

It’s my husband.

He is so good. I’m trying so desperately to get him to guest post on here once a week because he is so good with discipline and parenting and being a good husband but he’s resisting. He’s right every damn time I come to him with a discipline issue I’m having.
(Except for Olivia…we have no power over her when it comes to discipline!!)

So I called him today after Gabe was disrespectful and rude before getting on the bus (over wearing a damn coat) because I just feel lost with this lately. I told Matt about him calling me lazy yesterday and some other things that he’s been doing that are driving me crazy. I told him that I yelled yesterday about the “lazy” and this morning about the coat.

He said that’s the wrong thing to do. (Disclaimer: I’m an Aries and NO ONE tells me what NOT to do…except Matt. It doesn’t bother me at all when he gives me advice. Ever.) He said Gabe is looking for a reaction. That he has learned that words like “lazy” and “I hate you” and such get me wound up and upset. And that’s what he’s looking for. This makes no sense to me, but I realize it’s true. So Matt and I are coming up with consequences when he does these things. It will be a simple “You are not allowed to talk to me that way. Time out.” We’ve decided not to take things away because, sadly, my kids have so many things/interests, that doesn’t work. So we’ve decided to try a regular, old Time Out. Hopefully that will work.

But I’m still sad about it.

I’m sad that he’s acting like this. I’m sad that he’s disrespecting me. I’m sad he doesn’t let me kiss and hug him anymore. I don’t understand it. I don’t like it. But I’m going to learn to deal with it because I’m not going to let my boys grow up thinking I’m crap.

Thank goodness I have my very own Child Whisperer, right?

Those of you that have pre-teen/teenage boys, what do you experience? How do you handle it? I’d love to hear some thoughts.

It’s a good thing he’s cute. And I love him to pieces.


17 responses to “Raising Boys

  1. Aw hon this is so hard huh?? I have a son who is almost 12 and I am having the same issues. Being disrespctful. He is so lazy, his room is a sty, he fights me when I ask him to shower, don’t even get me started on his clothes. I am considering making him help with chores as he has no appreciation for anything!!! I asked him to help me unload the dishwasher a couple of days ago because I am sick and he was outraged!! “I didn’t even put any of that in there ” um surely that is more reason to help empty it! No? Also where did he learn that it was ok not to help others? I am failing somewhere!

    For the most part I am trying to let him learn natural consequence. Example- if he won’t wear an appropriate coat then that’s fine, but he will soon learn that he is cold. If he spends all of his money on rubbish as soon as he gets it, then he will have none to spend when we go out for the day.

    Some things are non negotiable though like safety and hygeine.

    Being a mum is so hard, I am trying not to make the same mistakes with my 4 year old, but I am sure I will screw up in some other great ways for her!!

    For the most part he is a great kid , oh but some days he drives me crazy xx

    sending hugs, you sound like you are doing a great job xxx

  2. Funny – I’ve been trying to get my husband to write a post a week too. He is also resisting. 🙂

    I think above all you (and Matt) are right on about the disrespect. There’s a difference between speaking your mind and speaking your mind in a way that hurts someone else. That’s a lesson he’ll need throughout life.

    I’m glad you have Matt to bounce stuff off of. Goes to show what a good team you both make!

  3. Oh boy.
    Caleb does this too. I couldn’t hug him either and that drove me nuts. Thankfully he is over that now.
    I think that now you have come to understand why he is doing these things, and how you are going to handle it will help a ton! I have found that with Caleb, he will push my buttons more when I am frazzled and not really aware of how I am reacting. If I respond in a calm way, like you are planning on doing, he responds better. Also, don’t let anything slide, keep on top of it and make him follow through. If I start to let little things slide, he will get worse.
    I think this is a normal stage for them to go through and I have seen Caleb go through it a few times, but it always gets better. Good luck and let us know how this goes!!

  4. Damn, he is cute. Little turd.

    Your husband is right; your son is looking for a reaction. It’s best you don’t give it to him in the form of anger/attention.

    But. I would like to suggest something. Sometimes there’s this thing called Daddy Power. No matter how much you do, or how much you “run the show,” Daddies are big and authoritative and for hundreds and hundreds of years have been “the bottom-line enforcer.” I think maybe Matt should (after the next incident) have a conversation with your son–a stern conversation. Because it’s not okay to call your mom lazy or tell her that you hate her. EVER. And I think Daddy should let him know that and let him know exactly what will happen to him if he does it again. Not you. Matt.

    United front, and all that stuff. Because if your son knows that Daddy has your back, that neither one of you will allow him to treat you like that, it will be all that more powerful a message.

    xoxo. I dread the day I hear it from one of my girls. I seriously think I will throttle them.

  5. I can so feel your pain. My Nolan has been giving me lots of issues as well. 8 year old boys are TOUGH! I have no advice for you because I too am at my wits end and at a total loss!

  6. WOW….I had a similar conversation with Jon about our oldest. He is almost 8 and for some reason his attitiude has really thrown me for a loop. I was expecting this when he was 12-13…not 7/8. We are trying to come up with the best way to “deal” with him. He won’t talk to me…he just mumbles or even worse, ignores me completely. I’ve realized the only way I communicate with him is by yelling and that is NOT the type of Mom I want to be. Luckily, my youngest is out of his whiny stage and has suddenly become very helpful and polite in every way possible. Last night we made a really big deal about Ty’s attitude and how eager he was to help in the yard. I did a big “presentation” at dinner. “Daddy, I would like to present to you the most helpful boy of the day….Tyler! Because he was such a big help outside he will get to pick out a special toy the next time we go shopping.” Now, I am not a big fan of rewarding behavior that is expected (chores), but in this case I think it hit home, that Ty will get to pick something out and JP will not. He was kind of bummed about it and I explained that if he startes helping without attitude or a zillion reasons why he should do it “later”…maybe he will get a reward as well.

    I guess that was my way of taking the attention off of JP’s bad behavior and putting it on Ty’s good behavior. I’ll let you know if it works. But I feel your frustration. I am hoping this is a short lived 2nd grade phase! Good luck.

  7. While I’m not a parenting expert by any stretch my mom did impart some words of wisdom on me at some point in the past that stuck. She told me that I really should understand that the boy acts like this because he is secure in our love and our family. He is growing and learning and testing the boundries and of course you’ll teach him that this is a line he can’t cross but isn’t it great that he is secure enough to test.

    That said I so feel your pain. We are getting a lot of sass right now. I got sassed one night and made him clean toliets as his reward. I decided I wasn’t going to give him the out of sitting around pouting so he earned toliets. I find it also goes hand and hand with how busy we are. If he isn’t getting enough time at home or is overly tired we get terrible behavior. Maybe NOvember will help this too. ??

  8. Hey lady, I think Kitchen Witch is onto something there. He needs to be told by dad under no certain terms that he can’t disrespect you, and that heavy consequences follow suit if he does. Gabe knows you are a softy and that it will bother you, maybe another tactic is to not let him know it bothers you and let Matt say this is just not acceptable. “You may not speak to your mother this way, or any of our family members.”

    I’d be curious to see how he does with that and to see maybe why he’s doing it in the first place…it could be to be ornery, but why is he pushing ‘your’ buttons specifically? Hmmm, will have to ponder this

  9. This did make my eyes water and is one of my biggest fears! I remind Drew weekly/daily that because I am his mom and do nice things for him he has to kiss and hug me for the rest of his life whenever I want him to. He is so good about it and I live for that special bond daily.
    On the otherhand, he is no where near respectful enough to me! Lately I feel like I have to begin counting until he wants to listen and then as he moves he screams, “Meanie!”
    Hopefully soon enough yours will get beyond this point and remember that you are awesome and it is actually kinda cute to kiss and hug your mom?!?

  10. Even though I’m not there yet, I hope you’ll heed this advice. Try to remember that this is a phase. As he comes to know himself, he also tries to test the limits of his world and the people around him. It will not last forever. Just try to tell yourself that. In the meantime, keep listening to your husband. He’s got it right! LOL!

  11. Well, I have no advice in the boy area, but I am thinking that maybe it’s not a gender thing, but an age thing? My 9YO is the same way, and unfortunately, I DO give her the reaction. Can you please send Matt over here to coach me?

    Seriously, though, I have seen that the quieter I am when she acts up, the more effective I am. However, it’s so hard!!!

  12. I’m with Kitch – it’s all about the united front. Matt is certainly going to stand up for you and perhaps now’s the time for HIM to do it.
    I can’t even begin to imagine how much this sucks. My boys are not embarrassed by me…. yet… I know that my day is coming. For now I’m taking in all the snuggles and hugs and boys climbing in the window sill to wave goodbye to me when I leave for work. My days are numbered. And when my time is up I’ll call you for a glass of wine and an understanding ear!

  13. Oh dear! My son just turned seven and I am starting to see hints of this. I am allowed to give hugs and I can kiss his head but he will no longer kiss me. He still tells me that he loves me but his behavior and language has gotten a little salty. I think that your husband is right but it is so hard to not react when they hurt our hearts like that. Stay strong, Momma. You are NOT alone. Obviously, you have your hubby, but don’t forget that you also have us!

  14. I don’t have teens, so take this with a grain of salt. I recently attended a communications seminar given by a clinical psychologist. She said, with regards to teens, that basically you have to hang on and eventually (possibly years later, sorry to say!) it WILL get better. She said in the meantime, you have to work really hard to not damage the relationship, so while you definitely have to give consequences, you should do it really calmly. I know it sounds next to impossible (I don’t know if I could manage it) but if you are calm and don’t yell or call names or criticize, your relationship will be good, even when they are acting like brats.

    BTW, when she says no criticizing, she said you can complain, but stay away from character attacks. Saying things like, “You never clean up after yourself” or “You are always so disrespectful” should be avoided. Instead, phrase it about yourself like, “It really hurts my feelings when you say things like that,” etc. And still give consequences.

    This totally sucks and I can see why you would be hurt. I am soooo not looking forward to my 7yo becoming a teen!

  15. This is a tough one. I have to agree with Kitch. I am a major proponent of you have to respect/listen to both mom and dad. However, I do believe that boys especially need to have a healthy little fear of their father. Not a fear that they’d do anything physical to them, of course. Matt can lay down the law that in no uncertain terms is it ok to talk to your mother that way. We also have a list of house rules that we came up with (very short, only 7 items). It’s posted in a visible place in our home. One of those is to be respectful. The kids know that these things on the list is some of what we expect around our house and in our family. We can always refer back to the rules. It sounds silly or ridiculous, but actually helps when you have a set list of expectations. Hang in there. I’m sure it’s a phase. And remember the motto of all time-this too shall pass. 🙂

  16. Pingback: Bad Boy !!! | Elastamom's Excerpts

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