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always arguing

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always arguing

Almost everyday, I have a significant struggle with my 12 year old son. He will not listen to me as I ask him to wake up. I begin by easily trying coax him out of bed with it increasing with my voice raising then eventually ends up with us screaming at each other. I am so tired. I know he wants to have some sense of control and I am trying to allow him that but in the mornings, we have school or church where there is a schedule. I am really struggling. I have even tried to provide him with choice with consequences...always screaming. I  know its a phase but this is very upsetting. Just needed to share this because I am about to break.  Thanks!


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Re: always arguing

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HI @zbapmom , 


I have to say, I don't think I have ever related so strongly to a post here before. 


I am also a parent, my oldest child is 12 - and so much of what you are describing resonates really deeply with me! It's a wonderful age in so many ways, but oh my goodness, it can be SO challenging as a parent at times as well. 


What I'm hearing from your post is that you're currently in a bit of a cycle of conflict, that seems to centre around you wanting him to do something, and him not listening- have I got that right? It sounds like you're someone who doesn't usually yell, but finds themselves turning into 'that' screaming, yelling parent sometimes. 


I hear you. 


12 year olds are in bodies that are changing SO rapidly, brains that are adjusting to a new cocktail of hormones that are changing literally every single day, and frontal lobes that haven't finished wiring up yet. In fact, we now know that our brains don't finish developing until we are 25 years old. And the stuff that's affected is the things that as parents can be maddening - the ability to look at consequences, the ability to plan out tasks for the day, controlling impulse and emotions, and general higher level rational thought. 


I also hear you that some mornings, we don't have a choice - we have to get out the door to work/church/other commitments- so it is entirely reasonable to have some boundaries and clear consequences. 


I'm wondering if you've been able to chat to your son when you're both calm, for example when you're driving with him somewhere in the car, or hanging out in one of those rare good moods? When we're in the middle of a fight, our brains can go into flight/fight/freeze mode and it's super hard to have a rational conversation! But it can be easier once tempers have eased... if you like, I also have some articles here that might be helpful in having those chats as well as some really practical strategies that we know can be useful:


Help your teen stick to a routine during COVID-19

Family conflict and teenagers

Make conflict constructive



The last thing I wanted to add - is it sounds like you truly are doing a great job, it is SO hard sometimes. I have found self care as a parent crucial to both maintaining my own sanity, and allowing myself to regulate my own emotions. A wise friend (who's also a psychologist) reminded me that as parents, we can't regulate our kids' emotions for them. But we can learn to regulate our own, and it's also important to be gentle with ourselves. Some days, parenting is the hardest job I've ever done in my life, and that's OK. The fact that you're posting here shows you're a wonderful parent. 


Do you have much support for yourself - close friends, family, a counsellor? Sometimes just having someone to lean on when it's all a bit hard is HUGE, and you can always come here to chat about what's happening. You are definitely not alone in feeling this way @zbapmom  and we're glad you found our forums Heart 


It looks like you're not in Australia, is that right? I'm happy to have a little look around at supports that may be available/ helpful in your area, if you'd like that.