Dealing with a dramatic teen telling risky lies

posted 5 months ago in Parenting
Post # 16
Member
4884 posts
Honey bee

My dad would have told me to plan ahead and bring my own food. There’s nothing wrong with that. Plus at the time we likely couldn’t have afforded to eat out 4x a week.  I was a 10 minute walk from home though…so 30 40 mins is a bit much. But I had to save up to buy my first car. So there’s that. 

Post # 17
Member
4864 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I feel like letting him experience the natural consequences of his choices is what I would do. He knows how money works. He has the choice to bring a lunch. If he chooses to talk smack about you when you are already generously supplying him with a phone etc, I would be less generous if he’s so unappreciative. 

Post # 18
Member
1891 posts
Buzzing bee

lifeisbeeutiful :  haha you clearly didn’t read it fine, but decided to double down on your innacurate reading of OP’s post. He doesn’t need to buy food, he has plenty he can bring with him from home that is free for his lunch time. He is choosing not to. Period. 

 

Post # 19
Member
4691 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2017

somathemagical :  ok. I don’t care what you think about my comments tbh. Everyone has an opinion and although you may not like mine I am not going to say I agree with everyone when I don’t 🤷 snap or rude? Maybe. But I don’t think so. Sometimes the truth hurts and people don’t want anyone to see something in a way that criticizes their way of running their life.

I don’t think this is about a lying teenager, or one that is irresponsible or trying to make you look bad. This is not a teenager problem, it’s a family problem. His behavior could just be a cry out for help, wanting your attention. His “forgetting” to pack a lunch, calling you to bring him food could just signal that he does need more from you. With other kids and a fiance it’s understandable that you could already be feeling pulled pretty thin but he’s a teenager and these years are extra tough. Be careful not to make him to be the only bad guy here. GL. 

Post # 20
Member
2823 posts
Sugar bee

mel2 :   My parents never paid for me to buy lunch when I was a teenager, let alone send me takeout or BRING me money. It’s absolutely reasonable to expect a 16yo with a job to either pack a lunch from home or buy lunch with his own money. 

And I wouldn’t worry about him telling his friends that because: 
A) My friends would have laughed at me if I complained that I had to have my mom bring me lunch to work on a regular basis. I doubt his friends feel that sorry for him.

B) Most teenagers are sulky and hyperbolic like that. Grownups are really unlikely to take him at his word if they saw the messages.

C) Even if they did take him at his word, not sending takeout or money to his work is not abuse.  Not even close. Walking home past 11pm might not be safe depending where you live, but since that’s not what’s actually happenning it would be very easy to clear up. 

Post # 21
Member
539 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

I’m not a parent, but I am a high school teacher. The amount of 15/16 year olds who blow their money on going off campus to eat out every day is astounding. By the time they are 17/18, they go out once a week, but mostly go home to eat because they realize that the food at home is free and eating out is expensive. I think it’s a maturity/freedom thing. As he matures and becomes more comfortable with his “financial freedom” he will hopefully outgrow this and realize the importance of the “free food” at home.  In regards to exaggerating things with his friends, I would also not get too worried. The stories I have heard from kids of what their parents “make them do” is absurd. Only a couple of questions tears the story apart. “Ugh, my mom just took away my phone with no reason and is making me walk home without it, she doesn’t even care if I’m safe” translates to “my phone got taken away because I was being irresponsible and she wants me to call her from a school phone when I leave and I am walking with a bunch of my friends to my house that is 5 minutes away and I have to call when I get home” Kids exaggerate especially with their friends to impress others. A big problem we have to deal with is kids exaggerating the stress they are under just to “impress” It is sadly a big game among teenagers to compare “who has it worst”. Everything falls under the umbrella, who has the worst/strictest parents, who has the most “unfair” teacher, who has the most homework, who has the most tests, who has to work the most hours. Keep working with the therapist and hopefully he grows right out of this

Post # 22
Member
1504 posts
Bumble bee

lifeisbeeutiful :  i agree with you. But per usual, the hive will focus on your unpopular opinion and critique that rather than offering more insight for the OP.

OP, I have a cousin who has similar tendencies as your son. He exaggerates. Says his dad is starving him when really he means dad won’t by the junk food he wants. Cousin wouldn’t eat and was an unhealthy weight and short for his age. Tbh…the tough love approach my uncle uses did not and has not worked with him. He is now in his 20s and is dealing with depression (amongst other issues). 

Perhaps a period of more hands-on, motherly guidance (showing him how to pack a healthy, filling lunch properly, taking him grocery shopping, etc) from you all would help him feel more tended to? It sounds backwards, but maybe that’s what he needs to get over the slump.

Post # 23
Member
1123 posts
Bumble bee

Ahhh… the joy of the teenage years. Yes, at 16 you can chuck a cold piece of pizza, a couple of granola bars and an apple in a bag for your lunch in all of 1 minute. He is choosing not to. This choice means he has no lunch. It is in no way your fault. He’s 16 not 6.

I’d remind him the night before he can decide whether to make it that evening and shove it in the fridge to just grab the next morning or get up a couple of minutes earlier to prepare it (most teens, in my experience, will opt to stay in bed in the morning for as long as possible).

He’s a big boy and it’s not “mummy’s job” anymore to make him a lunch. It will be a learning curve but he does need to become more independent as he ages so he’s prepared for the world. His future flatmates sure aren’t going to make lunches for him.

 

Post # 24
Member
126 posts
Blushing bee

lifeisbeeutiful :  being a lazy brat is a cry out for help? lol give me a break.. THIS is why kids these days grow up into useless adults.

From OPs post.. their parenting is completely great and normal.. actually not surrendering to every want and need of a teenager is exactly how they learn to grow up and that the world isnt going hand over shit to them.. because thats reality.

Kids that are babied by their parents every minute of their life are the one who seriously struggle as adults.

OP, he will learn his lesson. a 3.5 hour lunch break means even with a walk that takes about 1-1.5 hour tops rounds trip he has an entire hour to eat lunch at home, watch a show, relax do whatever.

He is not telling risky lies hes being a typical teenager, just keep doing what your doing

Post # 25
Member
2823 posts
Sugar bee

chocolateplease :  Even though I think the kid is being immature for his age, I definitely don’t disagree with this. Tough love doesn’t have to be the answer – there’s no need to be mean and condescending to him about it – just don’t cave to his unreasonable requests. You can very kindly remind him that packing a lunch is his responsibility, but that you’re happy to support him in this.

Asking him what kinds of things he might like for his lunch from the grocery store (within reason), and reminding him to pack a lunch the night before are great solutions. 

Post # 26
Member
823 posts
Busy bee

mel2 :  There is a balance between preparing them for adulthood that lies somewhere in the middle of tough love and helicopter parenting. Frankly I think you’re veering too much into the tough love end of things, the world is tough enough as it is. 

I wouldn’t leave him without food over a long split shift, even if it was his own doing. If he’s already worked the first half of his shift by one and then is working the second half at 5- then we’re talking about going from early morning to late evening without food, possibly at a physical job. This could drop his blood sugar or a host of other physical risks like being light headed on the job (teens are already over-represented in workplace accidents). I doubt you’d do this to your fiance if he were stranded and I doubt you’d appreciate your fiance having a ‘tough shit’ attitude toward you if you were stranded. Tough love here is treating a teen tougher than most grown adults would be treated. 

Also gotta agree with slomotion :  on the long walk each way, depending too on the area you live in. Not to mention, the kid is already working a split shift. To expect him to walk 80 minutes between the shifts is rather much. Exercise is good for everyone- adults and kids, I just  think an 80 minute walk bookended by two work shifts is more than you’d expect from an adult. 

Not that this means I’d be okay with this. I’d send him the money so he didn’t go hungry- but we’d be having a talk the next day (or if you’re in family counselling, it could be brought up at the next session) about responsibility and, as one Bee suggested, teaching him life skills like packing lunches, preparing basic meals, budgeting tools etc. I know you’ve already given him a warning, I just think your consequences are too harsh. 

He’s holding down a job, he’s putting part of his pay cheque into savings – OP says he’s only spending the portion that’s ‘spending money’, he’s just going through it too quickly- he doesn’t sound like a bad kid. And who cares if he complains to his friends? 

It’s our job as parents to try and prepare our kids for adulthood and independence, I just think this can be better accomplished through guidance and teaching rather than old school punitive methods.  

Post # 27
Member
4691 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2017

supertrooper0101 :  how is he a lazy brat? He’s going to school AND working after school. Hardly lazy. This is the problem with some families today- instead of trying to understand the child, trying to emphatize, we are calling them names and putting them down and then wondering why they’re acting out. 

Post # 28
Member
2543 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

I don’t think you have unreasonable expectations, but I do think he is showing you that he’s not there yet, and I think you should build your approach around that. I don’t know how long he’s been working, but if he is only 16 then it probably hasn’t been long. He isn’t just going to be financially responsible overnight. It’s going to take time and practice just like anything else he’s had to learn to do and he is going to need his parents to have his back. I think it’s a sign of trust that he turns to you to bail him out of a situation like not having money or food- so obviously you’ve been parenting right all along but maybe it’s harder to see him struggling to learn now because “ugh he’s 16 he should know this by now”.

I would start by taking the emotion out of it and not lecture and not show how annoyed you are. Tell him you see him struggling to make it paycheck to paycheck and ask him if he has any ideas for what he could change. If he gets paid biweekly, offer to hold on to half of his spending money (still spending money that he can spend as he chooses but making sure he still has some spending money for the second week) and let him pick what food you stock for packed lunches. If he doesn’t have money and didn’t pack a lunch, cut him some slack every now and then because most likely he knows he screwed up. Then work up to you not having to hold half of his spending money. Obviously you don’t have to do exactly this but the idea is to be supportive and remember that he really does need you to help him through this learning process.

Post # 29
Member
2151 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

chocolateplease :  I do agree with the suggestion that OP could help him pack his lunch that this guidance is more suitable for development from teen to adult! But say for instance that the therapy they are already in and a few times of mom helping him pack lunches has not helped. What now? OP is supposed to drop what she’s doing to bail out the son who she pays everything else for in lieu of watching her daughter’s soccer game? 

As a teacher of this age group, they are self-aware and also self-absorbed. They know how to game the system. There is nearly 0% chance that OPs son walked out the door forgetting to pack his lunch, he just didnt want to do it. He was hoping to get a free meal from mom. Thats manipulative behavior that just can’t be tolerated.

Post # 30
Member
231 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

since we are sharing stories about how tough love can lead to bad results like depression..

I have the other side of the story where my 38 yo male cousin was/is coddled by his mom. They let him do whatever. Paid for everything. Still Serves him food like he’s a toddler. He also still has depression and lives at home. Never been married. Guess the coddling/doing everything for your child doesn’t always necessarily work to make a happy, well-adjusted productive member of society either.

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