My 13 year old has developed complete disconcern for what I ask

by Jessica

I am a single mother of 2 boys, ages 13 and 7. My eldest and I have always been very close and he's a very good boy (not into drugs or alcohol or sex or violence etc.) but he is finding it difficult, it seems, to simply do as he's told (i.e. chores, tasks, homework) the first (or 2nd or 3rd) time I tell him, and often the delay is accompanied with "why" or "hold on" etc..

He seems to be going through the "I'm smarter than my mom, and know better than she, and don't really have to do what I don't feel like doing" phase all teens go through. We've had discussions, conversations; I've asked what I need to do in order for him to behave like he knows is right, and was raised to behave.

I've threatened, and restricted, and made lists and still I seem to be talking to an obstinate brick wall with little concern for what I say, think, or want. I am at the point where I'm considering ways to implement an at-home boot camp, and/or family contract for us, and coming up with appropriate and effective consequences in order to enforce expected behavior.

Any suggestions on ways to implement some sort of system where expectations and consequences are listed out systematically and clearly to correct this situation? Ideas for items to be included in a family contract? Any failure/success stories on these or other means tried to discipline teenage boys?

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Oct 31, 2010
Lazy Defiant 13 Year Old
by: Laura Ramirez

I understand what you're going through. I have two teens ages 14 and 17 and we have also struggled with these behaviors which included everything from "I'll do it later" in response to a simple chore request to picking and choosing which assignments to do in school.

Like your son, my boys are good kids. I don't have to worry about drugs or issues with girls. It's just attitude, lack of motivation and accountability. Fortunately, we've made big strides in the last year. Part of the problem is that when you have two boys, the younger one tends to adopt the behavior pattern of the older one which can make progress slow and underscores why it is important to act swiftly.

You have to understand that this change in teen behavior has to do with a number of things: brain development (specifically, neuronal pruning and the construction of the prefrontal cortex), hormonal fluctuations and the reemergence of your child's will. Your good kid is still in there beyond that lazy, defiant exterior.

Getting over this hump is a process and I've written about it extensively on my site, so I am not going to repeat it here. Since you are a single mother, it is essential for you to draw upon outside resources. I suggest that you read this Total Transformation review - an at-home behavioral change program or consider my parenting coaching service. Since I've been-there-done-that, I can guide you through the process.

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