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We have 13 year old triplets, 2 girls and a boy. My son has generally been a good kid at home and in school through the years. As he is progressing through puberty he has developed an attitude and a lack of respect for my wife and I and his 2 sisters, this is often very disruptive to day to day routines in the home. What I mean by this is talking back, arguing, not behaving properly...... He also has stopped communicating with us. so its difficult for us to help if we dont understand. How can we breakthrough to him ?


Annie Fox, M. Ed. Replied: A 13 year old boy with a mom and 2 sisters needs a strong male role model. In other words, he's watching you, Dad, and taking his cues from you as he learns what it means to be a man... that includes his figuring out, for himself, answers to these big questions: 1) How does a real man treat the women in his life? 2) How does a real man lead his family? 3) How does a real man express his feelings and communicate to friends, to his parents, to his wife and children? 4) How does a real man support the smooth running of the household? 5) How does a real man earn the respect of his family and the people in his community? To help your son become a man, I'd suggest you first think about your own answers and behavior in regards to these questions. Then, I'd suggest that you and your wife sit down together, just the two of you, and talk about your specific parenting goals for your children. Most parents, when asked "What do you want for your kids?" simply answer "We want them to be happy?" That's fine, but your job, as parents, is to raise fully function human beings. Happiness comes from self-respect and self-confidence and those are a direct result of personal competancies. In other words: by the time your three kids graduate from high school and move on to the next chapter of their lives, what life-skills and family values do you want them to take with them? Make a list. Prioritize it. And then ask yourselves: "What are we doing to teach and reinforce these skills and values every single day?" You are, above all else, teachers and role-models for your kids. If you've got clear objectives for them, then you need a clear plan of action in order to get them from point A to point B. When they were little and you wanted them to learn to dress themselves, you knew how to teach those skills. Same goes with whatever life-skills and values you deem worthy of their acquiring over the next 5 years. If you're not clear on your objectives, as parents, that makes it difficult to a) set a course b) correct behavior when it's off-course c) measure and acknowledge progress. So the first step is for you, as parents, to know where you're leading all 3 kids. Create a plan that you're both 100% behind. Then call a family meeting and let your kids know what the new policies are. Check out my Parent Forum for concrete tips. I hope this helps. In friendship, Annie
Posted On 2007-05-22 14:49:28
Lou Longo Replied: As I read this, my mind kept pounding TEENAGER, TEENAGER! 13 years old is the start of your teenage years and coincides with junior high in most cases, school dances and the start of maturity. It also begins a child's transition into adulthood and most teens always think they know everything about everything (I know I did). The unique aspect of your situation is your son's siblings. I have always heard and read about the unique bond amongst twins (in your case triplets) and my first reaction was to see if one of his siblings could try to get help and talk to him. Is there one of his sisters that could try to help here or would it make matters worse? His change in behavior and attitude is usually the result of something - cause and affect theory. I always look to the group of friends and do they behave this way to their siblings and/or parents. Is something going on at school or socially that is hard for him to deal with so he directs his anger or frustration towards his family? If not his other siblings, is there anybody else that your son relates to or looks up to that can reach out to him - an uncle, older cousin, coach, teacher, member of the church? It is critical that if you think there is someone, that they reach out to him in a non-threatening, non-accusatory manner. It also must be genuine as kids are much more in tune that we may suspect so approach is key. I have done this with my nephew and niece as well as countless high school and college kids because we have built relationships. I am also more direct, as it my style, but they know that. If I was to try to beat around the bush, they would see right through me and I would turn them away. For me, I either see the behavior or I reach out to them one day and ask them "What's up, I saw or I heard…, anything I can help with or you want to talk about?". Take it slow and give it time as there is almost always a cause and then work through it one day at a time. Good luck
Posted On 2007-05-20 12:07:02
Mark Viator Replied: While the beginning of adolescence can be difficult, it sounds like it is time to take some "action" with your son. First off, I would do some investigating into why he is acting out in this way. While it is very normal for an adolescent to seek some independence, causing disruptions, being disrespectful, and stopping communication is not the right way. Has he recently started hanging out with different friends? Are his grades suffering? Try to find out if there could be another cause, other than being a teenager, for his recent change. If you feel certain that your child is not engaging in any high risk behaviors, then I would recommend a few steps to help in regaining some ground in your relationship. First off, set up a time to sit down with him each day. Do not include anyone else, but just him and either you or your wife. Let him know that you feel it is important just to have this "one on one" time. Yes, he will tell you that this is stupid, but get him to try just for about 15 minutes a day for a week. During this time, he may not want to talk to you, but take some time to talk with him. Let him know that you were once 13 years old. Talk about some of the "tough" times you had growing up. Give it some time, and you will be suprised how he will begin to open up. With regards to the disrespectful behaviors, I would recommend also beginning some sort of behavior management plan that includes the lose of some privelieges for acting this way. Set up the ground rule that "disrespectfullness is not allowed in this home or towards anyone." Let him know, as well as his two sisters, that as long as everyone follows this rule, then all is well, but if anyone breaks this rule, then certain privelieges that really mean something to each of them will be taken away from the person breaking the rule. The sooner you address these behaviors the better. Remember, being 13 years old is tough. Let him know that you are there for him. While it is important to let our children have some "space" as they begin to grow up, we also need to remember that many times, they want and need us there. Good Luck.
Posted On 2007-05-20 09:12:24
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