Dealing with a dramatic teen telling risky lies

posted 5 months ago in Parenting
Post # 31
1215 posts
Bumble bee

lifeisbeeutiful :  chocolateplease :  My pediatrician told me that when my 18 MONTH old (who is 80+ percentile for weight, so very healthy) is throwing a tantrum at the table and refuses to eat, we should not attempt to force feed or fuss over her but rather leave her alone and she’ll eventually realize she is hungry and settle down to eat on her own.  OP is your son showing any signs of body dysmorphia or an unhealthy relationship with food? If that is a possibility, you probably want to pursue additional counseling for this issue. If not, I don’t see why an 18 month old can figure it out but you need to coddle a 16 year old. He knows what he needs to do, he has all the tools at his disposal; sounds like he is just being lazy or stubborn, neither of which are traits you want to encourage as he comes into young adulthood.

I’m certainly biased though, because at 16 I had moved to a different continent from my family for college, so the idea of my parents needing to remind me to pack lunch is ridiculous to me 🤷🏿‍♀️

Post # 32
130 posts
Blushing bee

lifeisbeeutiful :  oh wow.. working and going to school? so like.. majority of kids around the world? Lets give him a medal for doing the norm of society why dont we.

This is the other problem.. raising participation trophy kids who amount to not much later.. because evry single outburst was a cry for help and mommy and daddy thought that them doing a basic task is just out of this world.



Post # 33
4692 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2017

supertrooper0101 :  I don’t think the majority of 16y.olds go to school and work at the same time actually. Majority of people that I know or knew of went to school, had tutoring after school/high amount of emphasis was put on school performance/grades/after school clubs and teams so they would excel and be admitted to a great university. 

Teenagers are tough, it’s important not to coddle them so they doesn’t become 38y.olds in mom and dad’s basement, I get that, it’s common sense. But when a teen needs extensive therapy at 16 and things aren’t getting better it’s good to look at the whole family dynamic and not just blame the child and call them “lazy brats”. How is that helpful, again?


Post # 34
938 posts
Busy bee

lifeisbeeutiful :  What? Just about everyone I knew had school during the day and then a job at night and/or on the weekends. Some had clubs/sports, or even tutoring, but that wasn’t every day of the week. Maybe it’s a difference of socioeconomic class…

Post # 35
1505 posts
Bumble bee

smallbee :  agreed. I think something in the middle is right. My cousin’s mom walked out on them when he was a young child so he lacked a mommy figure for most of his life. My uncle believes in tough love (as do I when the time is right) but it hasn’t worked out well for them. 

somathemagical :  I wouldn’t say she should drop what she’s doing at a given moment, but perhaps adjusting their schedules to accommodate more family time together (to address any needs for attention) or one on one time with this child for the time being would be beneficial. I don’t think the answer is simple, unfortunately. 


Eta: Some bees seem to have some deep disdain at the thought of a 16 yr old needing some attention from his parents. I’m baffled that this is so controversial… certainly an adult parent who knows their own kid can tell the difference between malicious defiance and needing additional emotional support?

Post # 37
1241 posts
Bumble bee

I don’t have any advice, but commiserate. My son was this way from grade 11 on. I have no idea why, he would tell all kinds of stories to people, both real life people we know, and online, to gain sympathy . 

Often times, the lies were about our family. 

I did what I could to a dress it, he was loved and treated well! I even had mental health involved. He didn’t drink, or use drugs. 

I have only to add, he once told me it’s roleplay. I found that so bizarre. I explained that these things are damagjng, hurtful lies about real people, in real life. I think it is a way of fantastical reinvention. Disassociated. Nonsensical. 

Sorry to say, my sons mental health is still poor, now he is an adult and has purposefully estranged himself from his family, while living in his fantasies.  He is 26 now. 

I hope yours grows out of this. 


Post # 38
3203 posts
Sugar bee

lifeisbeeutiful :  how privileged of you. Most teens in this world work. 

Post # 39
4692 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2017

zl27 :  never said they didn’t.  just wanted to point out that OPs son isn’t a “lazy brat” when he goes to school and works after. He should be commended for it atleast.

Post # 40
97 posts
Worker bee

So… if OP helps him “pack” money for lunch but he forgets to take it… she has to further coddle him to make sure he eats?

There’s food at the house- take 5 mins to make a sandwich, throw some veggies/dip in there, a cupcake and maybe some chips if he feels. It’s not rocket science. 

Went to school and worked at the same time. Lived 30 mins away from town. Packed lunch and a supper when I worked after school. Took the bus in and then my mom would pick me up after she was done work  

Really- it’s not that hard

Post # 41
269 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

I have a teen, and him forgetting to pack a lunch and asking me for $ is not a call out for attention. My kid gets PLENTY of attention and love, trust me.

It’s irresponsibility or lack of caring when he forgets stuff. I’m all about him learning that actions have consequences and that mom isn’t going to rescue him in every situation. My kid gets a set allowance at 14 (almost 15), and he knows if he spends it, that’s it, not my problem. He can EARN more, or chose to save it week after week, up to him. 

If I’m in a generous mood, I’ll drop things off if he forgets things. But he should not expect me to be his personal Uber, as I have work and a life too. He was awful with his baseball uniform at the beginning of this year “forgetting” it. Gave him the benefit of the doubt, and his dad and I dropped it off a couple times, then we told him no, and that week he got benched for not being ready. Guess how many times he forgot after that?

Post # 42
259 posts
Helper bee

How long did he work that he had a 3.5 hour break? Does he usually eat junk when he asks for money to buy food at work? Maybe it’s a boredom thing; sometimes when I’m at work I look forward to going out to lunch because it breaks my day up and makes it seem less daunting. 

Post # 43
1043 posts
Bumble bee

I think you’re doing the right things, OP. You were very clear with him that you getting lunch to him in a pinch was going to be a one time thing. 

He can spend his pocket money however he pleases, but his parents are not the piggy bank. There is plenty of perfectly good food at home, and if he doesn’t want to pack a lunch, that is his personal decision. Life is full of consequences. Being hungry for a few hours is a minor one. 

If he were packing his lunch 9 times out of 10 and forgot it on the counter one day? Totally different story. You catch kids when they fall, and we are all human and make honest mistakes. Teenage laziness is a different animal, and they have to learn somehow. 

ETA: Him whining to his friends is typical teen angst. Let him get it all out, don’t worry too much about it. If it ever comes up, any other parent will understand your struggle. 

Post # 45
1081 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

How do you know his friends think you are neglectful? Did he tell you that? I would not believe it or worry about it.  

I agree with other posters that you should try to get him to work with you on improving his habits so he remembers to bring lunch/snacks with him, or rations his fun money better so it lasts throughout the week (maybe he brings a sandwich and chips and a veg each day, and buys a soda at work). I liked the suggestion of asking him what he’d like at the grocery store but would take it a step further – he should go shopping with you and see how you make decisions on what to purchase. I’m assuming you compare prices, get what’s on sale and a balance of health yoptions and treats. Then you can offer to remind him the night before work, or in the morning before he leaves, to bring his food with him. Or suggest he set an alarm on his phone. I would not take away his phone, especially if he’s a 40 minute walk from home. Give him positive reinforcement/praise when he remembers to bring his stuff.

Obviously we don’t know what’s going on with him that he’s in therapy – is his dad around (I’m assuming your fiance is not your son’s father)? Maybe he’s having some issues transitioning into greater independence? That’s neither here nor there, but you might have a chat with his therapist to mention this is going on, and then they can dig into whether there’s something deeper going on. It doesn’t sound to me like he’s missing out on attention/affection from you, but it’s worth investigating his feelings and his therapist supporting him with strategies to be more self-motivated.

I agree with you that learning to budget is an important skill and kids are notoriously bad at planning ahead/thinking about consequences. These are good lessons for him to learn, I just think this will take time and patience on your part.

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