When this mom is just DONE with her teenage son, she asks Reddit:
I (45F) have set some boundaries with my son (16). We’ve always been so close but he’s become a typical teenager lately. He’s withdrawn, brooding, only spending time with his girlfriend, easily annoyed with us parents, secretive, doesn’t want to talk about anything, etc.
He hasn’t really done anything wrong other than being impossible to talk to without attitude, leaving a mess everywhere, not doing homework, etc after being asked repeatedly. Admittedly, we’ve never had set rules and we’ve always just asked him to pick up and help out, etc and we wouldn’t have problems.
I try to remember he’s just a kid and he’s just doing normal teenage stuff but sometimes i just lose my temper and tell him he’s being ungrateful, it hurts, etc. He general reaction is to tell me I’m reactive and mean and not talk for days.
For instance, this weekend, while he was getting ready for work, I told him I’d made him a keychain for when he starts driving. He says he doesn’t need it since he can’t drive until he’s 16 and a half. I say right, but I’ve just started to put it together, he interrupts me and says “No I won’t need it” My husband interjects and tells him to stop being so rude to his mother. He says “lets go mom, I don’t want to be here anymore”. I lost my temper. I told him that I don’t either, that I’m just trying to have conversations with him and he treats me like a hemorrhoid and I’m tired of it.
So I’ve decided to set some ground rules and they are up for discussion when he wants to treat the family better. Most of the rules are things like laundry, room, bathroom must be cleaned up. Kitchen’s closed after 8, no cooking after that time. (Edited to add - he is forgetful and has left the stove on. He can have food, just not the stove)
Homework is a requirement. If it’s not done you lose phone, Xbox, and access to the gym (edited to add - home gym that has machines and heavy weight, this is for safety. He can work out in his room) But I’m not sure on this one and where I may be TA: the rule is cleaning- I said that if room, laundry, and bathroom are not clean by every Sunday night then I will do it myself and charge $25 an hour cleaning fee.
Also that I’d no longer pick him up from school and take him to work. That he could ride the bus home and I’ll take him then. He asked why and I said that you can’t treat me like crap and ask me to go out of my way for you.
This made him call my sister and ask if she would manage his bank account because he’s afraid I’ll steal his money (I never have, i give him so much). He also said he’d like to be emancipated. He isn’t speaking to me and I’m so hurt. I’ve once again told him he’s ungrateful and entitled.
Was that too harsh? AITA for my words and the $25 cleaning fee? (PS I’v set up therapy/counseling for him that starts in a couple of weeks, still looking for one for me). AITA?
NTA. The only things that I maybe raise a brow at are denying access to cooking past 8 and the gym. Food and exercise are things I personally would never incorporate into a punishment.
But I think you're spot on with therapy. It sounds like something deeper is going on if he's worried about you taking his money and wanting to be emancipated. Being surly over a keychain that he doesn't necessarily want, sure its typical teenager shenanigans, as is a lot of other stuff, but the aforementioned goes above and beyond.
Softly, YTA. Look, a lot of your rules make a lot of sense. He has to do his homework—great rule. He needs to clean up after himself—also great. But it also seems like you're imposing these rules not for his own well–being because you are pissed that he's attempting (poorly, I might add) to separate himself from you.
Complaining that he's ungrateful? What kind of [nonsense] argument is that? Talking about a keychain you're making for him? Most kids got over arts and crafts when they entered middle school.
I think you and/or your husband need to have a heart–to–heart with your 16 year old. You need to apologize where you've overstepped or reacted poorly. (Yes, you really need to do this.) You also need to articulate clearly what the expectations are. (Clean your space.
Homework done before he sees his girlfriend.) And have (or have your husband or an uncle have) conversations with your son about birth control so you don't wind up a grandmother before your time. Good luck. I am absolutely rooting for you and your family.
NTA. Teenagers need boundaries. But I think that the 'kitchen is closed at 8' rule sounds arbitrary and unnecessary. Surely a 16 year old knows how to safely make a snack if they're hungry?
That aside, I think you're taking his attitude a bit too personal. If he doesn't want the keychain you made him, just let it go. Maybe put it on his dresser so that he can use it if he changes his mind. At 16, I'm not sure I would want to have used a keychain my mom made for me either.