Need help now?


Discussion forum for parents in Australia

Active scribe


I am posting a question here for one of my friends. She is the mother of a teenage boy, studying in grade 8. She is very much fed up of him as he doesn't obey her. He always does everything according to his own interest never minding anyone. Most of the time it has ended up in very big issues. All of us tried to convince him a lot and change his character, but it's of no use. Now he is seeing his mother as his enemy, not at all talking to her. We are really in a critical situation. Something has to be done immediately else we will lose our child as he is the only child of my friend.

Hope you will share your suggestions on this subject.

Super contributor

Re: Teenager

Message contains a hyperlink

Hey @Diannebrown


Grade 8 would make him about 13 or 14 years old, right? So it sounds like he's pushing the boundaries like so many teens do.

Sometimes they test the boundaries to make sure they're there, to feel safe. So consistency is the key. Your friend can try remaining constant in her responses no matter how she feels. For example, if running late on a day she's in a good mood get's a "oh well, you tried." Then on a day when she's upset, if the same behaviour is now met with anger and punishment, he's going to see the glitch and start testing her, looking for others. And I completely understand it's just being human, and I do it all the time, but if she can seperate the consequences from her feelings, he'll be less likely to need to test them.


Just an idea to consider for your friend.


You could also share this with her, some great tips on communication. And then this offers some suugestions on things she could try.


What do others think?

Super star contributor

Re: Teenager

Hi @Diannebrown, Ngaio has provided some useful information I'd recommend reading. 


ReachOut's online coaching course for parents is a great way of learning new tips and strategies in dealing with teens. It's such a difficult age, with the brain basically restructuring! 


I've had a very difficult teen and agree that patience and consistency are the key. Being human, it's normal to become frustrated with our kids, but that's ok too. My daughter learnt forgiveness and compassion by me showing the same. Picking your battles is also important or you feel like you are at war consistently!


Our job as parents changes as our kids get to their teen years which can be really hard. We need to step back a bit and allow them some safe decision making. Negotiation is a great skill to have during these years! The more your friend's son feels validated for his better behaviours, he will show them more often. 


Let us know how your friends gets on. There's lots of support here.



Active scribe

Re: Teenager

Hi. Just some thoughts on getting your friend's son talking. Advice to me (my son is now 17 & twin girls 14) was to not push conversation but create situations where they open up on their own. For boys this is often when they're physically occupied so I did things like getting him to help me stack firewood (we have a fireplace!) or walk the dog.

I got involved in his cricket, football and tennis (committee member, scoring, umpiring, etc) so we had small things in common and I could ask questions about things he cared about, and I knew he would know the answers to.

I often deliberately don't ask questions or seek any conversation with any of my kids until I can see they're relaxed and in the mood to talk. I knock on their bedroom door, whether the door is open or shut, and ask if I can come in, or if they've got a moment to talk so they feel like I'm respecting their space and time.

I will apologise if I reflect on a conversation or moment that I think I've handled badly and I try really hard not to overstate my opinion or concerns. I've found repetition or the "did you hear what I said" approach is often futile.

I've actually found the less I ask the more they tell me.

But I also have clear rules. I don't ask 3 times for them to come to table for dinner. Once is enough. I know they heard me and if they don't respond they miss out. I'm not a taxi service. If they want to go somewhere it needs to be prearranged, with consideration for my time. Friends are welcome but my kids will be expected to clean up if a mess is made (this may be more applicable to girls who like to bake!), e.g. put away the blow up mattress & sleeping bag or the tent if they decided to sleep outside.

I've often said I judge my kids not on how they speak to me but how they speak to others. Talk to his teachers, sports coaches, other adults in his life to get some further insight on his behaviour. Maybe he's struggling with something at school or socially, maybe he's just your average teen.

Hope some of that is useful.

Super contributor

Re: Teenager

Message contains a hyperlink

Welcome @mum2twins!!


Your reply is amazing!! So many great points in it. 

Your point about boys preferring to talk when they're physically occupied is an incredible insight. In youth work, pretty much the very first thing you learn is "sitting down in front of a young person, trying to hold eye contact and asking them to open up on an issue they have deep feelings about is pretty much as excruciating as it gets for a young person." And I've always used the same approach for my kids. A drive is the standard go-to, but so far it's my girls. My son isn't a teen yet. But I will definitely use your tip when as he gets older. Thank you!


I also really liked what you said about judging your kids on the respect they show for others. Often young people who feel secure in their relationship with their parents will 'practice' conflict with them. Although it's more common in pre-teens. That weird over-reacting is often them trying out conflict with someone who won't hurt them or end the relationship. Which is why they're so nice to their friends! Of course there are limits. But I agree that there's a lot of information in how your teenager interacts with other authority figures and then their peers.


Thank you again for your great post. If there's something going on for you that you'd like some feedback on jump over here and start a topic. Or, you could jump here and introduce yourself. We'd love to hear more from you. 


Welcome again!! And thank you so much for your suggestions. Robot Happy

Super star contributor

Re: Teenager

Hi @mum2twins,


I love your advice, it's spot on! 


I also love what you say about judging your kids on how they speak to others, not how they speak to you. How they speak to us isn't always a reflection on who they are as people. It's important to remember that.


Thank you so much for sharing. I look forward to reading your insights in future conversations.


Re: Teenager

Hi @Diannebrown how is your friend going with her son?

I would love to hear if your friend has made any changes or progress with the situation and if her son is engaging differently with her ?

Look forward to hearing from you again Smiley Happy

Moderator Hours

This forum is moderated from

09:00AM to 5:00PM Mon - Fri

We are not a counselling or crisis service and we can't guarantee you'll get a reply, so if you need to talk now

Click here for help

The current time is Sat, 5:54 AM
(Australian Eastern time)