Difference between 13yo and 15yo??

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by klmno, Feb 19, 2010.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    My son left home two weeks after turning 14yo so I still see him as having a 13yo's level of maturity at that time. He's coming home at 15yo. I hate to say it, but at least incarceration has kept him from being having opportunity to have sex, start drugs/drinking, and he hasn't joined a gang. His grades are good and he seems more responsible.

    But for those who have raised boys thru their teen years or have seen them growing up first-hand, how much maturity normally takes place between 13 and 15yo? At what age is their enough maturity that we should see them really thinking about their future after high school and realizing that the choices they make today have impact on the next few years, not just the next few weeks or months?

    I'm thinking difficult child's tendency to complain about me being certain ways but refusing to listen or discuss it in any depth other then "oh mom, your just that way" is probably typical teen???

    I'm really afraid that he'll come home, make those quick easy friends that are into bad stuff and delve into drugs or something. Fortunately, he knows he'll have drug tests at any given time for at least 6 mos. But there are ways to get high that won't show up on drug tests and I think he's heard about a couple already. I'm also worried that his "auro" will reflect a boy who's been incarcerated or in trouble and he'll end up with kids who haven't been in trouble not wanting to be friends with him so here he will go into another new school with a bad reputation and label on him.
  2. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    No real answers, but sending support. Wiz was all over the board maturity wise, so I have no idea. All any of us knew is he made friends with a girl (not a girlfriend) and she disliked many of his bullying and rude ways. So he changed because she would simply not be around him if she learned he was misbehaving. Thank God for A.
  3. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    difficult child 1 was very immature til the military "growed'em up". He was a good 2 years behind what I'd consider "average" thru the teen years.

    easy child 1, I'd say, was average, and he was well aware by 15 that he had a future. Didn't always put that as a priority, but he at least had the awareness.
  4. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    There will definately be a difference. But boys do mature later, and difficult child boys later still. However, with age comes the desire to do more. He'll want more free time to be with friends, etc.

    That's why it's so important all that work you've been doing to lay down the home rules before he's released. You'll want to walk that fine line between keeping tabs on his whereabouts and activities and making him feel that he's being given some freedom as a result of the good choices he makes. Not to be a naysayer, but it will be challenging I think. Going in "eyes wide open" will be your best bet!

  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thanks, Ladies! LDM, I've been thinking that since difficult child will be on house arrest the first 30 days, we will use that time to discuss what things will be like specifically after he comes off house arrest. We have started to discuss things in general- as far as him writing me his concerns and me writing him mine and my willingness to give him another chance, but priviledges being given gradually not 100% the minute house arrest is over. And the overall determination of things will be based on me seeing him make good choices for himself. I expect we will continue with this and get a little more in depth with it, but the specifics about what nights he can visit friends or time to be home will not be outlined until he's here. For one thing, we don't know yet what time the PO will set his curfew and what the school schedule will be like.

    One of the previous problems has been that the PO dictates so many of the rules, that difficult child sees only the PO as an authority figure, and not me anymore. I want to make sure that I don't lay out speicifics that get thrown out the window after we learn the specific requirements of the PO.

    Does this sound like a reasonable but practical approach?

    There is one area where I'm unsure how I should approach it so maybe someone here has some ideas you can throw out. difficult child wants consistency in what he's allowed and not allowed to do and that is understandable. However, in previous times it got to a point where I could see that "itch" on him at certain times and just knew he was headed for trouble if I let him out of my sight, and sure enough it normally turned out that way if I let him go anywhere, even for 20 mins. There fore he didn't always get a set rule of being allowed to go out with friends from 2:00 to 4:00 on Sats, for example. Now sometimes I kept him home because he had just started a new medication and since he'd started that brush fire a couple of weeks after having prozac doubled and getting basicly kicked out of school, I wanted to make sure I started new medications on Fridays and watch him thru the weekend for any agitation or adverse reaction, mental or physical. He's not on medications now so that part goes away, at least for now. BUt the part about when you as a parent can tell if they go anywhere that day, they are headed for trouble, what do you do? Do you revoke a typical priviledge or let them go anyway and just tell yourself that it's his choice and responsibility if he does something rash or stupid or digs himself in deeper?

    At 13yo and on medications, I think I was right to make him stay home sometimes- he did rage over it, but he didn't set anymore brush fires. At 15yo and not on medications but being on parole and knowing if he breaks the first law he goes straight back to incarceration, I'm not so sure.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2010
  6. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    OMG, I just spewed wine all over my keyboard!!!! :rofl: "Thinking about future after HS" and realize "choices have an impact".... Good golly, I'm on my third 15-year-old boy and I'm still waiting. OK, to be fair, I'm not sure if Boo was thinking about this kind of stuff at 15 (he's nonverbal), but I do know for sure that he gave an award-winning performance of typical teen attitude within his abilities. And he loved girls. ;)

    You'd think my current 15-year-old boy would have gotten it by now, with my daily nagging about grades and responsibility and choices and *limiting* choices by blowing off English projects and nag and nag and nag... but nothing's connecting yet and he's my alleged easy child!

    My daughter at 11? She has it all planned out - college, career, etc.

    Seriously though, I think there's just such a wide range of "normal" and "mature". I've sat here and pondered this a bit, klmno, and I have to say that your son might have a better grasp than most of these concepts. He's already been there done that, you know? And he's been exposed to things that a lot of 15-year-olds haven't. That could actually work in his favor if he remembers that he doesn't ever want to go through that again.

    I think definitely you need to find out what the PO's rules are going to be - will you get those before he gets home? And then your house rules, of course.

    It really does sound like you and difficult child are putting in the work to make this a successful reunion. You're not going to be able to plan for everything so some flexibility is going to be needed, but with the big stuff covered, hopefully there won't be any surprises. Of course, he is 15, a difficult child, 15, and ... 15. ;) They're goofy creatures at this age so probably be prepared for a few minor bumps.

    You're doing a great job of trying to cover all the bases. I really hope it pays off for you guys in a super smooth transition.
  7. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Maybe I should see if they can keep him another 3 years, slsh. Or at least get GAL and CPS to put in writing that they won't come after me if I use duct tape to keep difficult child out of trouble.

    (JK :) )
  8. maril

    maril New Member

    I would think so.

    I had heard over the years about how boys are usually less mature than girls of the same age. That has been more or less true with difficult child.

    I can't specifically remember what happened between 13-15 years of age but can say the process of maturing has been very slow and painful for difficult child throughout his teens. He's 18 and I am just now beginning to see glimpses of maturity.

    LDM says, "Going in "eyes wide open" will be your best bet!" and think that is a wise suggestion. :D
  9. maril

    maril New Member

    That is a good point.
  10. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    in regards to you being seen as an authority figure, perhaps you and po can somehow plan to present a united front - your laws and his laws are the same.

    But the bottom line here is that you are going to have to step away and let him take some resposibility. You can't be planning his every minute and watching over his shouder at all times. He is going to need the freedom to make some choices himself. That's the reality of life. And that's also the scariest thing to allow him to do.

  11. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Im with Sue here. 15 year old boys actually thinking past the end of the week? LOL.

    I have often said Jamie decided he wanted to be in the military from the age of 8 so he had that plan and it kept him on a path but during his teens, he did become a bit brain dead. Oh, he did keep to his plan and kept himself out of trouble but he couldnt have told you what he was going to do in school the next semester if his life depended on it. He just went with the flow. We even caught him skipping school a time or three!

    We just wont talk about Cory during those times...lol.
  12. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    OMG, I just spewed wine all over my keyboard!!!! :rofl: "Thinking about future after HS" and realize "choices have an impact"....

    I'm with-Sue and Janet, but at almost 11 a.m., I'm only into spewing tea and chocolate, LOL!
    I didn't want to burst your bubble, but the "normal" boys I've seen are a handful, so a difficult child is ... well, let's just say, we should all lower our expectations. :)
  13. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    That's what I would like- I back up what the PO says and the PO backs up what I say, and some things are just the same, like curfew. But I haven't been able to get him to commit to anything so far except that difficult child will have a mentor and be on house arrest and have someone stopping by at unexpected times. difficult child knows of course that I won't condone breaking a rule from a PO, we just don't know what time the curfew will be, how long it lasts before changing to a later time, or any other thing else. I have told this PO that I need his backup but trying to micro-manage how I run the household doesn't help difficult child stay out of trouble or the last PO's efforts would have worked. He says he understands, but we just have to see how that really plays out.

    The PO's here have a lot of leeway in choosing how they want things and I'm still trying to figure out how different, if at all, parole will be from probation. A probation officer has authority over the child and the parent. I think a parole officer puts more responsibility on the juvenile but can still put orders on the parent. I bring that up because it reflects in the relationship between the parties involved. So, until I know for sure if this PO is going to be more like difficult child's first probation officer (who did want the two of us discussing things and putting up a unified front), or the second (who'd tell difficult child I was too strict, then tell me over the phone to watch his every move or else I'd be breaking her order if he did anything wrong), or something in between, I've just been telling difficult child we have to wait to see.

    I do expect difficult child to make more choices on his own at 15yo. It's just hard to gage exactly how much more and which ones when there is a year long gap between when he left and is coming back and since he's been living in a locked facility. For instance, if a child leaves home at 10 and comes back at 11, of course there will be differences but how do you know exactly which areas are strengths now and which still need more guidance until the child is back. (That's why I started this thread- to get some idea of how much freedom and responsibility is appropriate for a difficult child this age. He's obviously due more than a 13yo, but he's still not 18yo, so it's somewhere in between but where should that line be?) In Department of Juvenile Justice, they are watched and told what to do 24/7 so I am thinking this 30 day house arrest is probably a good thing so difficult child doesn't go completely wild upon release. He'll be happy to take a shower when he wants the first few weeks! LOL!
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2010
  14. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think I still have a post in the archives here about house rules for a teen this age coming home from wherever. It actually became quite comical in the end because our beloved Pico and Blondie posted on it with their good, no nonsense advice.

    You wont know its my post though because it says guest but when you open it up, my kids are listed there with the ages. LONG AGO! lol.

    It is a good starting point.
  15. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    That 2nd PO sounded awful. Bah, humbug.

    A united front is important. Are diff people checking up on difficult child? And the parole officer is their supervisor? Hmm.

    Your note gives me some ideas ... just put it in bite-sized chunks, regarding what you do on any given day. For example ...
    He doesn't get to take a shower at 3 a.m. (He's going to say that's obvious, but things like that make it easy on him and give him a chuckle.)
    He must do his own laundry on specified days, and keep it in a specified location.
    He must help with-the dishes.
    He may use the TV if it doesn't conflict with-your use (unless you have 2 TVs).
    He must do his schoolwork (I don't know how that is being managed, if he goes outside to school?)
    You can decide whether he gets a cell ph or whether he has to earn it somehow.
    No phonecalls after 10 p.m. (or whatever you decide. In our household, even the adults do that, so we know that at midnight, for example, it's a scary phone call!)

    I would try to keep everything light, and if he balks, just smile and stand firm.

    I agree, it is going to be hard to keep authority, but remind him that it's your house and your rules. You don't expect him to like them, you just expect him to follow them.

    And also, expect him to break some rules. He's still a kid, he's still a difficult child. Hopefully, this is how he learns. Plan out your response for when he does break a rule, so it's just like you're in play, following a script.

    Maybe plan out some surprise rewards, too, but nothing too flamboyant; after all, as you said, his life has been monitored 24/7.
  16. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Janet- how can I find that thread? That's what I'd love to get input on. I know it might need to be tweekd, specific to our own difficult child's strengths and weaknesses and battles, but I really need a starting point. His therapist seems to think he should be treated like a room mate with all freedom like an 18yo and I'm not going that far, especially right off the batt.
  17. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

  18. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This thread is so fun for me to look back at the archive post. I have it up in another window to re-read. Gosh I was green back then!
  19. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Never mind - Janet beat me to it. :rofl:

    Gosh, Janet - that really is a golden oldie!!
  20. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thanks, Terry- you are giving me some ideas. The first you mentioned about no shower at 3:00 am and then chuckling is about as far as we've gotten so far. LOL! Then a couple of months ago when he therapist said she didn't think he needed any guideline or restriction about going to bed a certain time, even on school nights, I said no. I told difficult child there would be a "lights-out" time established for school nights. Of course they haven't seen this as an issue in a Department of Juvenile Justice facility. But where I used to tell difficult child I wanted him to have homework done prior to dinner time when he was younger, that would be too much for a kid in high school, I think, and I won't put that on him. But I stand fast on my rule that if he refused to go to school that day but wasn't sick, he does not get to socialize with friends that evening, in or out of the house. I don't care how old he is. LOL!

    His therapist is clueless- I can just see my butt being hauled into court for difficult child being truant (they can take the parent to court for that here) and GAL saying I didn't tell difficult child he had to go to bed or punish him for over-sleeping or give him repercussions for refusing to go to school. on the other hand, they (GAL and PO) need to get a clue that I can put all those things into place and my son still refuse to go to school and then it is HIS responsibility.