Clashing with my 17year old son all the time its making me ill.

Home Online forum Gingerbread Forum Clashing with my 17year old son all the time its making me ill.

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  • #63555 Report


    Hello, I have just signed up to Gingerbread after hoping I might find someone who has had the same issues as me. I have two children 22&17, I have been divorced for 10 years. My 22 year old is at uni in her final year and has had counselling for Anxiety the last few years. My son who will be 18 in March is angry at the world.

    My ex husband has never been a hands on parent – his focus in life is on money and has an attitude of Im better than everyone else. He bullied me and bullies his children but mainly our son. I asked for a divorce after being together for 20 years. I had enough of being spoken to like I was a piece of dirt, I didn’t want my children to continue living with a racist homophobic etc etc. The following 10 years have been hell, my daughter is very quiet but has blossomed into a beautiful young woman, she has her anxiety but she does have help. That’s not to say I haven’t had a tough time in the past as our relationship broke down for a few years but we got through and our very close now, she still sees her dad.

    My son was only 7 when we divorced, I feel so guilty at not realising  that he was more affected than I imagined. My son doesn’t see his dad at all by his choice, for years I made both of them go and tried so hard to encourage a relationship but I think that has made him resentful towards me, but that’s what the court said and my ex would use anything to send a solicitors letter to bully me.

    Fast forward to 2020 and covid, my son lost interest in school and stopped doing his  homework etc, I felt I became friends with the teachers as we were on the phone all the time. My son had anger counselling school. I know how angry he is as I can see it in him. In the end my son didn’t sit his GCSE thanks to covid and sadly got terrible grades as a result of the whole situation. He went on to start his A Level at the same school but was asked to leave back in July after not completing work. At the same time as this I sold our family home to move in with my new partner in the countryside (we lived in London) the plan didn’t go exactly to plan as I was buying another property where both my children would stay in London so they weren’t dragged away from all they know , thus meaning my son is down in the country which he hates (my daughter is renting while at uni) I am in the middle of a purchase that hopefully will go through in the next few weeks.

    Apologies for the back story. I just don’t know what to do with my son, we clash all the time, I know I have spoilt  him with letting him away with bad behaviour and spoilt him with clothes and trainers and tech when I had money.

    I spend all my time feeling guilty for who their father is and what a terrible choice I made. I feel guilty that I am not a good parent. The list could go on and on. I am terrified that he will get into trouble. I don’t know who his friends are or what he is up too.  I am having counselling now as I started having panic attacks. I left my job in May to take a year off to try and sort myself out because of stress (I worked in a hospital) I know I can’t fix everything but any help would be fantastic.

    #63557 Report


    Hello Agrippina,

    I can feel the pain you are in. First of all, let me tell you, no matter, if single, divorced or happily married, all sorts of parents find themselves in situations like yours. That might reduce some of the guilt you are feeling. I know quite a few parents who have to watch their offspring go down a path they, very much fear, will do them no good. I know a couple, both doctors, who are facing exactly the same problem as you are, and are similar overwhelmed.

    There is no solution, as to switch a lever. We humans are extremely complicated, and history is full of examples of how things can work out. In a good or bad way. Chance is a bigger part of life, than many of us would like to admit.

    Having said this, I would always take my chances. Try what might and not give up. But the first step was to face the fear. Try to find out, what the underlying issue is and face it. I spoke to my son about my feelings, tried to find out what was driving him. He despised me. My weakness, my inconsistencies, my failures, the fact that I wasn’t perfect. Who was I to judge him,  when I was such a miserable waste of space. No wonder with a mother like his. So I showed him compassion. I showed him my fears and how I managed them. I showed him where my consistencies are, where my successes, how I value things and why I fail, when I fail. Of course, I was lucky because he was 15 when I started. He had spent almost six months in his room, basically retreating from the outside world. And I showed him a way, to challenge me. Be better than me, work hard and beat me. Become a better man than me. I hope he can forgive himself, when he finds out, he is just as miserable as his dad. But that will be another day.

    I was 15 when I left home. Didn’t finish school, drifted for years, owned a pub with 19, women, alcohol, drugs, prison, you name it. One day I started evening school, made it through A-levels, finished Uni at the age of 33, started a carrier in IT and finance, became head of IT and finance in a hospital trust with six hospitals and about 2500 beds when I was 44.

    Work hard and trust yourself and your son.

    #63578 Report


    Hi Agrippina1791, Please look out for a private message from me with an idea for support. best wishes, Helen

    #63586 Report



    I know how you feel. I have a 16 year old girl is now in the REBELLIOUS stage. Always shouting and screaming and crying. I have shared custody of her with her mother(we have been divorced since 2009) and supposed to stay with me 2 weeks then her mother 2 weeks (we only live 500 yards away from each other) but the last year its been with me as her mother is not the “hands on loving kind” either. Yet her mother is a midwife 😀

    Last night she(my daughter) went ballistic cause she wanted to dye her hair but when I reminded her of the promise she made to me about letting her hair grow back to its natural brown color and length she started screaming. This is only an hour after she got back from spending the weekend at her bf’s parents house. The screaming went on for an hour and she even screamed at my oldest daughter who is 25 and special needs. Then she threw her new iPhone I bought her (on my contract) for college luckily it didnt break. She insisting I treat her like crap(sh@t was the word she used) and never get her anything and never let her do anything blah blah blah ….you know I am the bad parent. I reminded her she can always go stay at her mother’s and she got even madder cause she doesn’t like her mother cause she never does anything with our daughter or does things with the rest of the family but not include our daughter..example 2 weeks ago took her other daughter by marriage after me to Liverpool to see family but refused to take our daughter. Sadly often reminds her she is an American as well(she is dual citizen)..

    Good luck with it. If you find the magic cure let me know too. I only want my kids to be happy.


    • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by GingerbreadHelen. Reason: Removed formatting code
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