Parents of 13yr old looking for advice

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Casual scribe

Parents of 13yr old looking for advice

We have a 13yr old son with difficult teenage behaviour, that we are finding increasingly difficult to deal with. If he doesn't get his own way he will swear at my husband, myself & our other children. He goes out of his way to make life for everybody difficult, he has no respect for our house or belongings. It has got to the point his siblings do not want to spend time with him because as soon as something doesn't go his way, he will lash out either swearing at them or doing something to upset them. I have told them to have ignore his awful behaviour but it seems to be getting out of hand, & to the point that nobody wants to spend time with him because it always ends the same way. He seems to be able to get past his behaviour relatively quickly & can't understand why everyone else is so upset with him. Any advice would me much appreciated!


Re: Parents of 13yr old looking for advice

Hi @Maxnochar4612 welcome to the forum and thanks for sharing your situation with us. It sounds like it has been pretty tough for you and your family to deal with. Ignoring aggressive behaviour is really hard and not a long-term solution. I'm glad you're here and hopefully other members will also pitch in - lots of parents here have/are going through the same situation as you. I guess the good thing is that your son is able to get through his angry phase relatively quickly but then he doesn't understand why it was upsetting for others. It sounds like for him, that's just how he is. How long has he been acting this way? Did something change gradually over time? I'm wondering if there's something going on with him (at school, friends etc).



You might want to consider the ReachOut Parents Coaching. It's free, online and run by professionals from The Benevolent Society. TBS have been running this face to face for years and it's resulted in a great number of parents feeling more connected to their teenager. ReachOut have partnered with them so it can be offerred to parents Australia wide. If you click here you can check it out and see what you think. 


Hope to hear more from you and others on this post. Hang in there!

Casual scribe

Re: Parents of 13yr old looking for advice

Thank you for your response! We have talked to him about school & friendship groups & he assures us there is nothing going on in these areas. His behaviour started about 12 months ago. He has also been diagnosed with Tics, I don't know if this has anything to do with the situation? It can be anything that sets off an angry outburst like not having his school jumper washed, or being told he's not allowed to have something he wants?

Re: Parents of 13yr old looking for advice

@Maxnochar4612 I don't know if being diagnosed with Tics could have something to do with this. Have you spoken to his GP about this? Maybe they have an opinion. 

If your son is insisting there is nothing unusual happening with him at school and friends then I guess you'll have to take his word for it. The important thing would be to keep the communication lines open so if something does happen or if he wants to talk about an existing matter, then he would feel comfortable doing so. 


His behaviour could be simply part of going through adolescence. Other factors like not enough sleep, exercise, virtual distractions, school pressure etc could be contributing to this. I think if his behaviour gets worse or harder for you to handle, then talking to a GP would be beneficial? Also, check out the Coaching link in my earlier post and see if it's worth having a look Smiley Happy

Prolific scribe

Re: Parents of 13yr old looking for advice

Hi @Maxnochar4612 So sorry to hear this is happening to you and your family ! I have a 13 year old son who can be belligerent and stubborn . This is a huge growth time in their lives and the testosterone surges can see them become aggressive and difficult . It's hard to deal with and even harder to live with ! 

With out knowing a lot about your family dynamic , some suggestions of things to explore if you haven't already : 

1 . You said this started about 12 months ago , what did this change coincide with ?  Perhaps when he is in a good mood , explore this with him . To facilitate this  spend more time with just him , particularly father/ son one on one , doing some activity , shooting hoops , playing soccer at the park .  It may take many one on ones . 

2. Start to talk with him about how he thinks his behaviour affects the individuals in the family . What can he see will be the outcome of his reactions and encourage him to understand that the only person you can change is you , and that if you want to  get what you want then he needs to get smart and strategic about how he approaches others . 

Tell him that by acting in positive ways in interactions with others he is will find that he can become more empowered. 

3. Ask him how he could better approach others in the family . What are choices of language that would be respectful and get good results ? Help him with this if he gets stuck . Teen boys particularly have difficulty with language use and expression . Make suggestions but don't insist . 

4. When he is given a firm NO , what does he think would be the best way to handle that ? How could he see the decision differently and learn to accept it ? Asking questions for HIM to solve his interpersonal conflict style , makes him stop and think more about his impact on others and how he can empower himself without being dominating . 

6 . Praise him, praise him, praise him !! Even when he does the smallest thing right . Catch him doing good and tell him how proud you are of him . 

7 . Reflect on your parenting style . What are you modelling for him ? Is there something you are doing that is adding to his interaction style ? Could you change your behaviours and language style with him to get better outcomes . Has he learnt from someone that swearing and being aggressive gets results ? 

8. This will take time consistency and patience . So keep at it ! 

9. If he continues to get worse despite your strategic input then a psychologist would be the next port of call . His behaviour has to stop as it is affecting the family dynamic too much and it is unfair on the other siblings to just wait and hope he " grows out of it " . 

Best of luck ! 😊


Parent Peer Supporter

Re: Parents of 13yr old looking for advice

Hi @Maxnochar4612, it sounds like your family is really struggling with your son's behaviour. Anger is so confronting and we start walking around on eggshells to try and avoid blow ups. From experience, I know it's an exhausting way to live, and not sustainable. 


I have no experience or knowledge about the effects of tics, so I have no helpful input to give there unfortunately. However one thing did jump out at me when reading your post.


My daughter used to be the same, in the way that she would swear and lash out, then be able to get over it quite quicky at times, then become outraged if I didn't get over it quite so fast, or if I tried to talk to her about how it affected me. I learned that she reacted like that because she was very aware it wasn't okay, and she was already beating herself up about it. Bringing it to her attention was too much for her to cope with, and as emotion regulation is part of my daughter's mental illness on top of being a usual teenage stage in their development, she reacted again with the same rage to my disappointment. To not have me drop it like she had, meant she couldn't drop it from her mind and move on, which she wanted to do. I remember how dumbfounded it used to leave me! They haven't actually gotten over it, they've just pushed it down deep into the bucket of reasons as to why they're not worthy. 


Sadly though, they learn very quickly what gets them what they want, and it can be a double edged sword for them. My daughter learned that her anger could manipulate me in to keeping quiet, however it's very confusing for them because they actually really need us to put in place and maintain healthy boundaries. When they push too hard and we back down, deep inside they're actually really freaking out because we've wavered with our boundaries and left them floundering in a big open ocean. 


@motherbear gives great tips on how to deal with his behaviour and communicate with him. I just thought I'd give a possible explanation as to why he's able to seemingly get over it quickly and cannot deal with disappointment and things not going his way. The behaviour he's displaying mirrors his feelings about himself. 


I'm sure I've made very mistake possible, with the best intentions, so everything I've said comes from the wish to share with compassion, and no judgement whatsoever! I've had the benefit of face to face coaching with The Benevolent Society and have also done the parent coaching ReachOut is running in conjuction with them, and highly recommend it. The coach will help you with whatever it is you'd like help with, so it's very personal to your situation and you learn tools that you can use immediately. It's done online and over the phone, and can be utilised for just one session of around 90 minutes, or the whole 4 sessions, each subsequent session taking 60 minutes.


Best of luck, and keep us updated. 

Prolific scribe

Re: Parents of 13yr old looking for advice

Taking away the normal teen behaviour and speaking medically a few Q's for you.


How long ago was he diagnosed?

By whom?

What tests were done? Or was it by described behaviour?

Was it diagnosed as Simple or Complex?

Is it provisional - less then a year?


Did you understand the complexities - how long it will last, what causes it? Family Hx?

Was medication discussed or how to deal with it?


I guess these are just the basics but as a guide have a look at this site


Sometimes medico's scare us but don't think we need any extra information.


What I can tell you medically is Tics is a neurological condition. If you wanted to follow a different approach you could ask for a referral to a neuro specialist - ask your GP what he thinks.


With management and understanding of the excess behaviours you can then discuss with your GP - mention everything even if you already have. 


Education can make a huge difference as to approaching a medical condition and helping the whole family to decipher his behaviour and the things that REALLY set him off. It can save your insanity to something more within coping levels.


I have a child whom I have had to call the police the behaviour is aggressive, your family does not have to put up with it. Many parents do it so do not feel like you are the only one.


Think of us as your personal village - sharing is caring and by reaching out you are being a fantastic mum. Don't forget it!!



Community Manager

Re: Parents of 13yr old looking for advice

Hey there @Maxnochar4612 - how have things been going? Do let us know how things have been the last few days....
Parent Peer Supporter

Re: Parents of 13yr old looking for advice

Some great questions from @Lily17 and things to look at if you haven't done so already @Maxnochar4612.


As Lily17 said, if behaviour escalates and becomes unsafe, the best option is to call police. I'm another parent who has had to do that on many occasions. I just wanted to assure you that what Lily17 said is true, you wouldn't be the only parent who has had to do that, and we are here if you need to talk about it. Knowing it was my only option, I still found it confronting, but they need to learn that dealing with their emotions with aggression is not an acceptable way.  

Super contributor

Re: Parents of 13yr old looking for advice

Hi @Faob_1 I have moved your message to its own thread so you can get some direct responses. I hope that's ok. Ngaio-RO