I have been a single mother to my 15 year old son since he was 2 years old. His father has never been in the picture and I have worked hard to get us the home and life we have today. But my son is so disrespectful to me now, I hardly even recognize him. I know teenagers go through a stage but he is failing two classes, cursing at teachers and getting in constant trouble. I feel like I’ve lost him, how can I get him back? How can I make him realize my sacrifices for him and that this is not how I raised him to act?

Dear Mary,

Somehow, somewhere, in some way something between the two of you has changed and that is normal. I would bet money on he is as upset about his behavior as you are. He may be afraid, confused or both. He may be jealous of a relationship a friend of his has with his Dad while his father is nowhere to be found. All these foreign feelings could be a result of his 15 yrs old hormones racing through his body and mind and he doesn’t know how to handle those feelings. Maybe as a young man he is embarrassed to talk to you about what is going on inside his head and his body so he may need an older male to speak to. It is possible something occurred recently in his life and he doesn’t know how to handle it or he just feels out of control. Quite frankly, children today have so many more influences and hurdles to jump while growing up because literally, the world IS at their fingertips.
Mary, have you tried to sit him down and talk to him? Specifically, sit down with him and ask him why he is acting out? Not yell, not scream, not accuse, just talk. Be supportive by pointing out that you know he has a lot going on, inside and out, and listen to how he is feeling? Ask him if there is something that he needs to tell you or someone? Explain that you are not mad, you are very worried because this is not him.
I sincerely hope your father or your brother lives close enough to help, both of you. Maybe they could take him away for a day or a weekend or just spend time with him. it would be wonderful if they could show support to him, talk to him and find out what is troubling him. Let him know they understand how he feels, man to man. Tell him they are there for him and will help him navigate the tidal waves of feelings he is experiencing. However, if you have no father or brother that is close and can help, maybe you could try talk to a male family friend and ask them to help him with this huge hormonal hurdle. And my last suggestion is to speak to his school counselor or a trained therapist and ask for guidance.
Mary, nothing either of you has done has caused this rift, I truly believe it is growing pains.
Think about it growing up was hard before the age of information overload, now it just must be torture.
Believe me, I know this is hard on you, however, I believe his behavior is hard on him as well because he loves you and doesn’t want to disappoint or upset you, so finding him help, will help you both.

Good Luck & Huge Muther Hugs,

One Tough Muther

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