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15-Year-Old Teen Son Has Become a Brat!

By May 7, 2010

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A mom on the forum asks for advice: "My sweet, endearing 15 year old son has become a mouthy, know it all, brat! I have noticed the change since baseball season has started. Last night his teacher called expressing the same concerns. His school work is slipping and he is mouthing off in class. We both think it is the friends he is hanging around and he is trying to fit in, My question is how do you tell him you think he needs to find new friends without making things worse? FYI....He has a low self esteem issue and has always worried about his weight, so I need to tread lightly, I think?"

Denise's thoughts: I agree with NYDad, free time should be curtailed until he can bring his grades back up. I would also check in with his teachers via email weekly.

I'm not sure I would tread too lightly, but be honest and talk with him saying things like, "I understand that having your friends are important to you and because it is important to you, it is important to me. I love you. But in our family, we do not believe in the use of drugs and we strive to do well in our endeavors(school). I'm expecting for you to hold up your end of things. What do you think?" and then listen.

Asking our community of parents: How would you handle this teen's new attitude? Please share your thoughts, advice and experiences in the comments area.

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May 7, 2010 at 9:15 am
(1) James Johnson says:

A parent must use all leverage available to them, while they have it. In this case, friends and his freedom is what the child wants. 1st there need to be a family meeting; this way when changes takes place, intentions will be clear. During the meeting explain expectations, goals and what is going on to threaten those goals. Everyone needs to be held accountable. Then a system needs to be put in place that holds the son accountable for his time, grades and actions. In turn, the child can earn things that he wants. There are too many systems to name in this short article. Then, there need to be a follow-up meeting to evaluate the effectiveness of the strategies from the prior meeting. If needed, this is where adjustments can be made. The important thing is to work together. When the problem is solved you have just taught your child; how to trouble shoot, develop strategies and methods to address important issues.

May 7, 2010 at 3:26 pm
(2) Filiagape says:

Without making the kid want to vomit, I always have found that letting the kid know that you actually understand some of what is going on with him. Did you ever go through a period of time similar to this when you were a teen? What were the outcomes, problems? With 20+ years of maturation and hindsight how do you now recognize the problems/mistakes related to your actions? Kids always think that parents just don’t get it, don’t know, or don’t remember what it is like to be a teen or think things have changed so much, we have no idea. If you can let him know you do get it, he might be more willing to listen. Of course, curtailing freedoms if things don’t change is always an option. Privileges are earned, and that will be true for the rest of his life. He might as well learn that now when the penalty is missing the “party of the year” rather than losing his job.

May 8, 2010 at 10:27 pm
(3) michelle says:

Many teens have attitude it is natural, but if you think this attitude is coming from peer pressure, drugs or anything unhealthy then you should lay down the law. If you believe this is because of peer pressure then make them understand that family is more important than friends, allow them to understand what exactly is bothering you.And put them on a leash, do not allow them to walk out of your home whenever they want to remind them that this is your house and your rules, as well as always know where they are, who they are with, and why they are there. If you think that drugs is influencing this type of behaviour then get help, do not just stand there and allow the drugs to ruin their life contact a counsellor do whatever you can do to get them away from drugs even if it is smoking pot because pot will lead to other things that will cause bodily/ mentally harm towards your child. If it helps share self experiences with your child. Always be a good/ healthy rolemodel for your child. Good Luck. i hope this helps.

May 9, 2010 at 9:57 am
(4) YesIMtheMOM says:

Perhaps not enough sleep and the fact he is now hanging around upperclassmen. Foul language and bullying seems to be the norm towards freshmen, so speak with him in terms of, we’re noticing your attitude is not so positive lately. If you don’t tell us, then we can’t help you solve the problem. Good luck. Our son had to leave his lacrosse team because of bullying and the coach refused to stop it. It had done wonders for his grades, but it also shed light on the fact that perhaps, the sports team wasn’t so much a team any more. Good thing we as parent can make a change now, not when grades really count, like the soph. year.

May 10, 2010 at 12:03 am
(5) Lori P says:

My 14 year old son turned into a monster last year. Bad grades, snotty attitude, defiant, deceptive, obnoxious.

Over the summer between 7th and 8th grade my husband and I took away all privileges (tv, computer, cell, ipod, free time with friends) and gave them back as earned by good behavior. We called it “good attitude, good effort.” He got a big dose of shock and awe. At the end of the summer he attended a camp that he selected across country. The camp had a leadership component (unknown to all of us). He came back a new kid. This year has been awesome. He’s had one small incident, but all in all we keep re-assuring him that we trust his good judgment (but reminding him we are paying close attention). At the moment, it seems to be working very well.

May 12, 2010 at 9:36 pm
(6) ali gui says:

Hi, I am a psychologist as well as a counselor here in the Philippines, and I have clients who are sweet and wonderful kids until they reach the age of between 13 to 15 years, then they became bratty and causes big trouble for their parents,
I found out the issue of the attachment disorder to be very helpful in analyzing issues regarding this matter, you might want to check it out.
Thank you and Blessings.

May 16, 2010 at 10:02 am
(7) schwanbeck says:

Thanks for all your comments you will never know how much it has helped me, we have a long road ahead of us but I will never give up I know there is a sweet boy under all that anger.

November 16, 2010 at 11:16 pm
(8) julie123 says:

Your 15 year old son is in the stage of searching for his own identity. This is a period that is scary for your son as well as you, the parent, and in this stage of identity searching, your son has become very self absorb and his primary concern has become himself, making him come across to you as being bratting. Your son is identity hopping, and is trying new things with his friends and trying to see where he belongs as an individual. Unfortunately this stage of development lasts until the age of 18. As a parent you have to be an authoritarian parent, and by this, I mean set firm limits, be restrictive encouraging efforts, explain when you say NO and dont allow few verbal exchange when differences occur. Just be very involved in his life and try to guide him through this period of his life. The teenage years.

February 17, 2011 at 12:47 pm
(9) deanne says:

I’m was a 15 year old that all of a sudden changed that year. I went from straight A’s my whole life to dropping some classes and C’s and a D. My parents who normaly were strict and on top of my school stuff were suddenly preoccupied with their divorce and then dating. I had freedom and in one year dropped out of cheerleading, drill team therefore my groups of friends changed and feeling rebellious I choose the party crowd. Started smoking drinking, doing drugs, having sex…school was no longer a priority and my grades and my attitude were the only outward signs.

February 17, 2011 at 1:04 pm
(10) deanne says:

Cont: many of my friends in the party crowd now have amazing careers and families looking back these were the ones with the involved parents that annoyed us and were strict. Stacy had an 11pm curfew all through highschool and graduated at 17 and now is a Dr. While hanging and parting with us. She didn’t skip class and she went home when we stayed out all night. Her parents stayed on top of her.

June 10, 2011 at 8:50 am
(11) vannar says:

I am experiencing this same thing with my 16 year old daughter. Reading all these comments really helped me. We can’t give up!

March 27, 2012 at 8:31 pm
(12) Serenity says:

I wouldn’t let him out of the house, his friends can come over, but he isn’t going out.

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