Parenting Tips Logo
Inspired Parenting Advice Banner

16 Year Old Teenager And Frustrated Mom

In the last 2 1/2 years my son and I made a big geographical move, and on account of schooling, his dad and I switched parenting roles, and dad is now the school parent and I am the summer and holidays parent.

My son and I have always had a great relationship, and that is still the case in the big picture, however there has been an argument, confrontation almost every day since he has been here. His dad (ex husband for many yrs) and I get on very well in terms with our son, but we take different roads to get there.

I can't completely say, but I think that the reason my son and I get along so well is that we talk. I am clear with him about expectations - chores, behavior - and as he has gotten older I include him in these kinds of things, etc, etc. I love and respect him and think he is a great kid! We have a similar sense of humor and our home, our relationship has always had lots of laughs in our house!

But since he has been here, it seems that the things that we have always had issue about are glaring! Being lazy (tho I never use that word), talking back or giving me a look, or an ornery tone... so disrespectful, it shocks me and I get
mad and yell!

The scenario: he sleeps and keeps his stuff in a space off of the living room. In the past he has had his own room when with me but not at the moment. He has the living room too, and that we lived together for so long, we know how to find our own space. I am also aware that at his age, he needs this space.

There are challenges with the fact that this is his second summer here, and he doesn't really know anybody. He has a summer job that isn’t underway yet but this week will pick up. Gymnastics 2 nights a week. So, he spends his days on the computer (Facebook with friends, and outside swimming, training for his sport, or studying (he is a great student, cares about it allot!) So, he does whatever he wants all day.

Ok, 1st problem but I think it's solved: He is staying up really late at night and then sleeps till 2pm if I don't wake him. The nature of my job is that I am in and out all day, so I do see him. I have asked of him that he keep his area neat, and thought he hangs out in the living room, to please keep it basically straightened out and put stuff away.

I am trying to be fair, and also realize this is my problem while he is happy as a lark! It really bothers me as for me it seems so unhealthy and represents this lazy thing! But I am also sensitive to the fact that he is on summer vacation, etc.

But there are days where I wake up at 430am for work and there he is on the computer! No! Then he will be in bed till 2pm, etc. He is not always up that late. On gymnastics nights he is in bed soon after.

I was really grappling with this, and finally I told him he has to be in bed by 2am. On nights when he has to work the next day he does go to bed at a decent hr on his own, and as I said this is going to be frequent starting this week.

When I came to this decision I sort of went on about how I know he is on vacation, and that I am definitely not objective about the sleep wake thing (just pushes my buttons and represents pure slacker to me), about how it is unhealthy...and also that he is like a roommate now and we have to respect each other.

I wouldn't choose to live with someone who’s got the TV or whatever blaring till the wee hrs etc. I told him 2am tops, and that on non wk days, 11 -12 pm unless there is something we/he are doing in the morning earlier.

2nd issue) Doing things the easiest and laziest way possible! Have you ever seen someone pick up something from the floor with their toes and pass it to their hand? I see what his dad goes through when he has him wash the dinner dishes, and when he finishes, there is still the dirty water the sink with the sponge floating, crumbs on the counter, etc. I have addressed this in the past as well as now that this means neaten up the kitchen too! So it is better.

If I leave for work and give him a couple things to do for the day - and I don’t give him a time limit - he is 16 and I think he can figure it out - and I come home at 4pm for instance, and he outside or online - and usually only up for a couple of hours, and has not done the thing! Also his bed isn’t made and his stuff is just lying around, dishes in the sink, and there he is with a bowl of cereal on the computer! I might add that this is simple stuff; make sure your stuff is away and vacuum the living room.

I have solved this to a degree as well, in that since he leaves it till the last painful second, it needs to be the first thing he does before anything else. I just worry that is going to be this rude slacker man!!

I feel furious! Sometimes I keep it in, but sometimes I tell him to do it right then, and if I get a look, or a disrespectful tone, I find myself just about going off the hook! This kid has got it made! And not only that, I love him to death, and have just bought him the backpack he wanted for school, have the fridge filled with all of the food he likes, try to think of stuff to do with him, yet give him his 16 yr old freedom - and he is giving me a hard time? Are you kidding?

It is Sunday morning. I slept until 8.30 and then caught up on email and am writing this opus! It is 12:20pm, and yes, he is still sleeping. Writing this has been cathartic, and I have come up with some of my own answers already.

I need to think about exactly what I want out of this and nail it to the point. No lectures, screaming – just firmly with less is more. But I really need to be clear before I speak to him I think. I think I am being too nice. I think that maybe he should have a night or two where he cooks dinner, etc. I do not want to spend the entire summer working on this.

Any insight or advice for me would be greatly – and gratefully appreciated!

Comments for 16 Year Old Teenager And Frustrated Mom

Click here to add your own comments

Teenager and Mom Roommates?
by: Annie Desantis


I'm glad writing it down was cathartic for you, and you clarified some answers for yourself. Writing is often a great way to get something out of our heads, and down where we can do something about it.

Clearly you love your son very much, and it does sound like you have a pretty normal Mom - Son relationship!

Living with a teenager can definitely be a bit challenging. They swing between seeming so mature and adult like and then almost like a petulant two year old!

The first thing I'll comment on, is you said you have told him you are now living like roommates and should respect each other. Of course respecting anyone you live with is essential.

But I have to point out, you are not living as
roommates. A roommate would have the right to keep whatever hours he wants, have his own space, that could be as messy as he chooses, but of
course share jointly in keeping shared spaces reasonably tidy.

You are still in the role of being the parent - I'm not saying that is right or wrong, but if you have the role of being the care giver, and it is your house and you expect him to comply with your standards, then it is not a roommate situation.

It is very hard, even with adult children to let go of the role of being a parent. We tend to worry about them, want to help them, want to organize them, and we always think we know best!

On one hand you are expecting him to take responsibility like an adult or roommate, but if you are the one giving the orders, then automatically you are keeping him in a child role.

You mentioned the possibility of him cooking, it may well be he will be a better cook, than at cleaning up!

Something I did when my kids became teenagers, is we sat down and made a list of all the things that needed doing on a daily or weekly basis. Then they chose what they wanted to do. We ended up each cooking two nights a week, and the other two would clean up. We tried all sorts of things to get chores done, when it stopped working we would come up with a new way. The key here, is WE would come up with the new way, not me.

Of course when kids live at home in your house you have executive control over the running of the household. But they are more likely to take some responsibility if they don't feel they are being told what to do all the time.

Teenagers always want to push back against something, and the more controlling we are, the more they will rebel.

Part Two Follows . . . .

Teenager's Sleep Habits
by: Annie Desantis

Part Two . . . .

Your son actually sounds to me like a really great kid. I think you have to ask yourself is it really worth getting so angry about these things. When we do stuff for or with our kids, it needs to be unconditional, just because it gave you
pleasure to buy him something he really wanted. Not because you expected something in return, like chores done.

Now I am not saying you do not have the right to have a clean kitchen and he absolutely needs to contribute. But it will work much better if the energy comes from him and you are not becoming the nag.

It sounds like you probably have these irritations going round and round in your head, and as you come home from work you are in the mindset that he won't have done what you asked, the house will be a mess, and then suddenly you
have all this destructive energy getting in the way of your love for him.

I am going to suggest you spend some time before coming home writing a list of all the things you love and appreciate about him. And remind yourself over and over as you are coming into the house and consciously make a point of saying something loving or appreciative of him when you see him! I will guarantee you, the energy and situation will shift.

Now the other thing I wanted to mention, is his sleeping. He is not being lazy. He is sleeping holiday hours, but a teenager needs to sleep approximately 12 hours and most teens are chronically sleep deprived.

The way their hormones rampage around tends to effect their sleeping, and they are far more likely to be night owls for a few years, and find it hard to get going for a couple of hours after they wake up. Unfortunately our society more often runs where they have to get up in the morning so most kids are very short of sleep. It is actually quite important that during vacation time he gets to sleep according to his own body

Very hard for you when your time schedules are very different, and of course, with him in the communal space there needs to be decisions about noise etc.

Is there any way you can come up with a creative way of managing the space - maybe hire a caravan or something? We had a time where my husband's boys lived with us for a short period of time and I ended up moving us out of the bedroom and into the dining room so his night owl activities didn't intrude on us. Other times we have turned the living room into a bedroom and the bedroom into the living room, as it simply suited how the household ran. In summer one year we screened off one end of a veranda as an extra bedroom.

Be creative about how you use your space, you might be surprised. It may even be a project he would like to take on!

Part Three Follows . . .

Teenagers And Computers
by: Annie Desantis

Part Three . . .

Now about the computer issue, considering he is not living near his friends, his computer contact with them is really important. One of the biggest development ages with teenagers, is relationships. It is really important he is able to maintain, build, learn about relationships even if it is at 2am! Kids relate differently to adults, and texts and Facebook are actually great ways of interacting. Hopefully once he is working he may meet some local kids and he will build friendships where you live. But in the meantime his Facebook interactions are really important.

He sounds like a really well rounded teen, great at studying, sports, getting a job, and having a good relationship with his parents. Keep those lines of communication open, as you say, the fact that you can talk and have fun together is the reason you are close.

Now the other thing I am going to suggest, is make sure you are looking after you. If you are feeling resentful and frustrated, then you need to have ways of letting off steam or getting nurtured so you are feeling happy to come home. If your well-being and happiness is dependent on your teenager getting the dishes done, then something is out of whack. Teenagers simply don't view the world like we do, and they have a completely different time space.

You can guarantee he will have plenty of challenges for you yet!

Make yourself a list of things you can do for those times when you are feeling angry and resentful. It is more important to find a way of getting yourself feeling good, than it is forcing him to clean up. It is better to discuss chores etc when you are not angry and frustrated. No wonder he is pulling faces at you!

If you feel yourself starting to get wound up, take a walk, soak in the bath, put some nice music on, go and write out the frustrations and then burn it to let it go. Try not to put so much energy into all those irritating things your son does. It is making it bigger, you are feeling awful, and I am sure he is feeling resentful too!

You have to be creative with teenagers, the way you related when he was younger may not be so applicable now. And often as teenagers start to assert their own ways, parents get more controlling to try to keep them complying.

Instead focus on the strengths you already have in the relationship, talking. Instead of lecturing, let him talk, spend twice as much time listening as you do talking! Show him you respect him and he has valuable things to say. Trust that
he has just as many resources as you about solving household problems.

And also, have no doubts about what kind of young man he will be, he is already awesome, and you have to trust and know the values you have both
taught him over the years will be a part of him.

He will be a very successful and well rounded man, I am sure of it.

Focus on your loving energy for him, and clear the frustrations, you have done a great job with him!

All the best,
Annie Desantis

More Parenting Help With Teenagers
by: Annie Desantis

Hi again,

We have other pages with parenting advice for parents of teenagers here and I forgot to check if you had found them.

There may be other tips that you could find helpful.

Negotiation with Teenagers

Teenage years can be a delight and a challenge for many parents. Here's some ideas on handling some of those tricky times!

Teenage Behavior

There is a Parent Coaching Audio on this page that answers questions from readers about communicating with teenagers. You can listen to it from the page.

All the best,
Annie Desantis

Click here to add your own comments

Do you have a question or want to send a submission to Annie? Simply click here to return to Parenting Questions About Teenagers.

Problem Solving 4 Kids
Only $12.99

Problem Solving 4 Kids E-book

Learn my 7 Step Problem Solving 4 Kids Process
A step by step guide to teach your kids to be solution orientated.


  • Tips
  • Updates
  • Your Stories
  • Competitions
  • Questions Answered

My Subscribers Get Freebies!

Let me know how I can support you to be an Awesome Parent!

Featured Sponsor

Click N Kids would have to be one of my subscribers most popular programs, and from what they say, it is mostly because the kids have fun while they are learning. In fact they don't even realize they are learning! Click N kids are using the Looney Tune Characters now in their phonics program, which of course kids just love.


Home Page

Free Newsletter


Resources 4 Parents

Ask Annie
Parenting Questions

Tools 4 Parents


Parenting Tips


Child Education

Child Development

Parenting Styles

Activities For Kids

Art Activities 4 Kids

Best Educational Toys

Annie Desantis

Who is Annie D?

Parenting Coach


Terms & Conditions
Privacy & Cookies

Legal Stuff

[?] Subscribe To This Site

follow us in feedly
Add to My Yahoo!
Add to My MSN
Subscribe with Bloglines

Free Parenting Games
One of the best Parenting Tips we can offer is:

Free Family Games

Our Parenting Games Series are designed to support you to be an Inspirational Parent.

Featured Sponsor

Best Educational Toys and Games

Hearthsong brings magic into childhood with their stunning range of amazing toys, games, and activities. I've found things here I've not seen anywhere else. They even have a gift registry, which is a great idea for Christmas or birthdays.

Hearthsong are very generously offering my readers a 10% discount off orders over $50. Use coupon code: LNK10HS

Please note the 10% discount is not available on the deal of the week items - these already have HUGE discounts.

Free Book
Allowance Secrets
I was honoured to be included as one of the experts in this helpful book. Some great advice and ideas for teaching children about money.

Super Skills 4 Kids Home Study Course

Return to top | Home | General Enquiries | Ask Annie Parenting Questions
Free Parenting Newsletter | Free Parenting Games | Contests
Super Skills 4 Kids | EFT 4 Kids Program | Affiliate Program

      Copyright © 2008 - 2014 Inspired Parenting      Template Design