My teenager is a good kid but disrespectful; he cusses a lot and there’s no way I can stop him. If I try to take something away, it makes him more mad. He yells at me if I try to talk to him. He’s not mature for his age, at 16. How can I get him to have good behaviour?
- Concerned Mom
“A good kid” is the ultimate designer label every parent of a teen seeks. That doesn’t mean that it’s easy to take the glitches - in this case, the cussing.
As with many aspects of child-rearing, parents have to decide where to draw the line. Your job is not to have him like every household rule, but to help him learn the manners you insist on in your home. You can explain that a no-cussing order is intended for him to learn self-restraint, to get along better outside the home. If he has an allowance, you can charge him for every swear word and lower his “income.”
However, if his immaturity is worrying you, it’s probably worrying him too and he may be stressed by social pressures at school.
Talk to his teachers and guidance counsellor to see if there’s a problem that’s making him lash out at home through swearing. If so, help him and worry about the cussing later, though it may already have diminished.
My boyfriend of three years had a previous six-year relationship, including living together.
Since we’ve been together, the ex has twice expressed wanting to be with him again. This makes me uncomfortable with him hanging out with her. I’ve never met her, and he doesn’t want us to meet. He understands my concerns and decided to break contact.
But his family still maintains a friendship with her and her parents. His mother talks about the girl and her family in front of me. His mother also told him that he should keep in touch with his ex.
Shouldn’t his family also break contact? I want to forget the seriousness of his past relationship, but they constantly remind me of it.
The contact that’s needed here is between your boyfriend and his parents: He needs to tell them clearly and firmly that his relationship with you is serious and he doesn’t want it affected by their contact with his ex. He can’t stop them from being pleasant to people they once befriended, but neither you nor he want to hear about it.
He can go further, too, in asking for their support of him, by their not pursuing further friendship with these people and by not discussing him or his life, should they call.
If he loves you, the ex is not a problem. But if he can’t speak up to his parents on your behalf, that could become a problem.
I'm the new mother of a son, and found myself in a disappointing and unenchanted marriage since giving birth. My husband of 12 years recently described us as two people living under the same roof, sharing some bills, and caring for a baby we both love.
We've been working on fixing our marriage, but in the meantime I've found myself having fantasies about another man.
He’s completely unattainable, as he’d be violating his professional code of ethics if anything were to happen between us, nor do I have the desire to pursue him at this point.
I'm also well aware of the "grass looking greener on the other side." I’m not afraid of being single, but I'm terrified of being a single mother.
How do you lose the fantasy in order to concentrate solely on dealing with marital issues?
- Lost in Fantasy
A new baby should be “enchanting” you.
Marriage is meant to be a haven of love and support, not a La-La land of escape from reality.
Stop daydreaming, and focus. You both need to recognize that, after 12 years, you’re each undergoing major changes in routines, responsibilities and emotions; plus there are your post-childbirth hormonal changes (if you feel depressed, see your doctor… or a new one if the current one is the fantasy).
This is a transition period in which you communicate your mutual needs, compromise on how to share the many new chores, and consciously set aside time for intimacy.
• Recommended Reading: And Baby Makes Three, the Six-Step Plan for Preserving Marital Intimacy and Rekindling Romance After Baby Arrives, by John Gottman and Julie Schwartz Gottman.
Tip of the day:
Teenagers’ angry behaviour is sometimes a covert cry for help.