My 13 yr old disrespects his stepmom

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by NarcolepticInsomniac, Aug 17, 2012.

  1. My son is 13 as of April this year and he is developing a seriously bad attitude, mostly against his stepmom.He will argue with her over the smallest thing, lie to her face, disrespect her in front of others and alone, he's been caught stealing at school, he told my wife he was going to one friends house then never did, he went to another instead without permission causing her to have to look for him and leave our four yr old at a sitter, she called when she found out where he was and told him get his butt home and he acted like the phone was cutting out and couldn't hear her and decided not to come home, he refuses to do anything she asks unless she finally gets frustrated and screams at him but then when that happens he acts like she is abusive and hates him. She does not hit him though I understand the temptation. He won't accept any punishment she attempts to give. When I am home he is not like this to me but to her it's bad and not an exaggeration. I wish I could be there but I work a lot and unfortunately the burden is on her. I've tried grounding, removing things he loves like games, iPad, early bed, extra chores,timeout and even a spanking but nothing seems to help. I will accept any advice on how to help change the situation.

    Thank You
  2. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Hi - and welcome to our little world! I'm glad you found us... But sincerely sorry you had to.

    How long have you been married to your wife? And... Do you have custody, or does your ex? This can make a HUGE difference... I'm a stepmom to 3, and until recently Onyxx was pretty darned disrespectful... To everyone.

    And, on that note too, how long has the behavior been going on? Was it gradual, or like a light switch? Does he have any diagnoses at all?

    OK, that's a lot of questions to start, but sometimes it's not discipline that's needed, but a LOT of love - or therapy, or other stuff.

    by the way - tell your wife - from someone who IS there - screaming at him won't work, either... As if she didn't know... But it puts him in control. The calmer she is, the better... (I scream, too, sometimes... I'm not perfect...)
  3. Well okay I guess it would have helped so here we go. We have had full complete, legal and physical custody since he was six. (His biological mother lives in the area but seldom has anything to do with him except once every few months she will want to pretend to be a mother for a day.) He was diagnosed not long after with ADD,ADHD he is on Aderal 20 mg once in the morning. He has always had a bit of an attitude but before this it wasn't that bad and he showed her respect and did as he was told for the most part. Okay I hope this helps in the exclamation of things, I just want to stop this before it's too late.
  4. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    Have you ever sat down and calmly ask him why he "doesn't like" his stepmother anymore? If he says he doesn't know, mention the things you've 'noticed'. Avoid saying things like "she said" kind of thing. Listen to him. Don't poo poo what he says, ask for clarification if you don't understand what he's saying, validate his feelings even if you don't agree with them, and see if there's a way you and he can make things better. This conversation needs to be a heart to heart. Let him talk and listen to what he has to say.

    There could be a reason or it could just be puberty. You won't know unless you ask him and avoid the blame game.
  5. chloedancer

    chloedancer New Member

    Is it possible that his mother said something to him? 13 is a tough tough age, for kids and parents.
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    If I were going to guess - remember I'm just another parent - I'd say there are two things at work...
    1) Puberty. That - alone - is a huge trigger for many young males. Add a few other issues - latent or otherwise - and it is worse. So, I can see where it could "suddenly get worse" in the last year or so.

    2) attachment disorders. If you've only had full custody since age 6... what was his life like before that? Especially the first three years? There's a whole spectrum of attachment issues, depending on what things were like in the early years. There's some good info on this site if you search for "insecure attachment".
  7. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    Does he spend time with his biomom? Does he spend time alone with biomom? I have gone thru silimar behaviors with my difficult child. We adopted her and little sis when they were 5 and 7 after their bio parents rights were terminated. Since we were grandparents, I thought it would be easy as we had a great relationship. THings would go well for a while, then all of a sudden difficult child's attitude with take a big dive. I am not a professional, but I truly think she struggles with "letting me be the parent" as if she was "forgetting or not loving" her biomom. To bond with me would be like forgetting her "real" mom. At least that is my take on it. Biomom has been in the picture off and on. She never was left alone with them, well, maybe for a few minutes if I had to go to the rest room or answer the phone. I heard from easy child later that biomom was promising the girls she was going to get them back. For many years I think difficult child believed her. Luckily, she has been out of state for almost two years. difficult child still has some problems, but I think a lot if puberty and typical teen stuff, with a little ADD thrown in. Since easy child is my bio grandchild, and technically she is step grandchild, she feels she doesn't fit in. Bio mom doesn't know who bio dad is (narrowed it down to a guy in a town in our state) I think the "I don't know who I am" routine is part of our difficult child's problem. It is so tough... tougher than I ever thought it would be... as I love her as much as any grandmother would love a grandchild. But now I am the mom, and I have to play bad cop most of the time. I would suggest you take over the bad cop routine, and deal with the punishments. He is 13, and while instant consequences are good, I think you could wait until you got home. And at 13, if he is late, I'd let stepmom ignore it and let you go hunting for him. KSM
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I think there is more going on than just age. This may not be a popular opinion, but I feel there is a lot of truth to it.

    My husband was the stepparent and my kids refusesd to respect his authority because to them he wasn't their parent and they just were going to let him know, over and over, that they were still hurting that Mom and Dad weren't together. I talked to my husband and we decided that he'd step back and that me and my ex would do the parenting. It worked like magic.

    Kids of all ages are traumatized by divorce and many do not accept stepparents either right away or until they are grown up. They may be perfectly nice people with good intentions, but many kids still are angry at them for daring to try to replace the parent. Face it, the k ids didn't pick the step...WE did.

    Now that the kids are grown up they like my husband, but even though I didn't introduce them to my husband for three years after the divorce, my kids were still not ready to accept a "new" parent at the time. Now they often say, "T. is nicer than Dad!" But it took us many years. Many people (not pointing fingers) think our kids will or MUST accept the stepparent just because we bring them home and tell them to. It's not that simple. Also, maybe your wife is not handling your son in the best way. Family counseling would probably really help.

    Good luck :)
  9. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    My experience was the same as MidwestMom's. on the other hand it has been seven years and I gather this is a new problem. It could be a whole bunch of things. His medication is not effective (happens often with puberty) or wears off after school and then he's in a self oriented ADHD cycle. Is he getting along well at school or has that gone downhill too? Are any of his friends new (or also demonstrating changing personalitiy) where he may be copying behavior or experimenting with alcohol or drugs? I've raised eight teens and all but one of the boys had difficulty transitioning from little boy to young's challenging. DDD
  10. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    MWM has a good perspective on this!!!

    Now - I am a stepparent, but I had to literally "step in". It's not that husband won't - he couldn't, then didn't know, and, well... Yeah. But my situation is completely different.

    Now what DDD mentioned... About experimenting with drugs... Take it seriously. Onyxx did. It was UGLY.
  11. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome NarcolepticInsomniac, I'm glad you found us. You've received some good advice and thoughts from other parents, it's helpful to hear different points of view. When we're right there in the thick of it, it's often not so easy to see the forest for the trees.

    I am raising my 16 year old granddaughter because her father is deceased and her mother is mentally unstable. When she hit 13 all hell broke loose and she began using me as the target for her anger. She was defiant and acted a lot like you say your son does. I got her into therapy. I took parenting classes. I read books. It was very difficult. But, with time and effort, it did change.

    Being a teen in the best of circumstances is a complicated time wrought with raging hormones and intense social predicaments they have to wade through. When you add abandonment by the bio mom, a Dad who "works a lot,"and ADHD I believe that would be a recipe for an angry boy who acts out.

    I don't have a set of answers for you, however, I would read what the others have said and feel your way through it, take what feels right and go in that direction. In my opinion, he needs an avenue of expression, (therapy, healthy real conversations with you about what his needs and feelings are, teen groups) lots of understanding and love, compassion for the loss of his mom and time to spend with you, perhaps alone time, where you guys just do guy stuff and have it be count-on-able for him, a set time he knows is his with you). My first sense was that he's hurting mixed in with teenage boy bravado and their well developed sense of being self focused and he's lashing out at a convenient target. Your wife is likely in need of some real support too, it's a lot to deal with on her own.

    Hang in there Dad, it's a lot to deal with, but he deserves all the support you can offer him, and so do you.