Have you ever noticed that teenage boys can be rude, disrespectful and even cruel at times?
They don’t always understand how their words and actions affect other people. Other times they simply don’t care, or at least they act as if they don’t care.
This can really hurt your heart. Your sweet little boy has changed. He is not nearly as expressive with his love and affection as he used to be.
It’s understandable that you might feel pretty pissed off. After all, you have made so many sacrifices and worked hard to give your son a good life. A thank you every once in a while would be nice, but you can live without it.
What really hurts is the disrespect and the emotional cutoff. Sometimes when you are not furious, it actually makes you want to cry.
At this point, you have a couple of choices.
1. Take it personal and become reactive
You can let the hurt sink into your heart. You can act out your pain and punish him in direct or indirect ways. You can question whether he ever really loved you and feel as if your relationship is broken. Family relationships are nothing if not personal, right? But, there is another option.
2. Don’t take it so personal and gain some perspective
There is no doubt that hurtful words coming from someone you love dearly will always sting. Whether they are totally undeserved or 100% true. You don’t get to choose how your teenager treats you, but you do get to choose how you react to him and his words.
You can recognize that he is going through a period of life that is full of confusion and overwhelming emotions. He does not really mean many of the things he says. He is immature and still developing emotional and relationship skills. He is a work in progress.
He needs to know that his words hurt you and that you won’t tolerate this kind of treatment in your family. From anyone.
For some practical suggestions on this topic check out my post on What To Do When Your Son Calls You Names.
What you can do is manage your emotions and your reactions to the way your son treats you. If you work hard on this you can prevent further damage to your relationship. You can also teach him that it is possible to be kind and loving even when you are hurt and angry.
He desperately needs you to model these skills for him. He is watching and listening. He needs you to show him the way to be an emotionally healthy adult.
Every fight is an opportunity. Every conflict is a chance to teach.
What will you teach your son today?
For more support and strategies check out my parenting resource.