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How do I discipline my 12-old-son who disrespects me daily?

My husband works 2nd shift Monday through Friday (2 p.m.-1 a.m.) and doesn't see the kids till Saturday. We have 4 children, ages 17, 15, 12, and 3. Our son has always been difficult but recently has become a strain on our marriage and our home life with the rest of our children. There is no peace. He irritates everyone and picks at the 3 year old constantly. He tells me to shut up, says how horrible a mother I am, etc. He is the only boy. I could take everything away from him and he wouldn't care. There just is nothing that he enjoys that much that would bother him (and he's got it all!) So what do I do? I am so frustrated! At school he does well and although he does get disrespectful to his dad at times it is not near as bad as it is with me!

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Asked by CountryDaisy at 9:53 PM on Nov. 8, 2010 in Tweens (9-12)

Level 1 (3 Credits)
Answers (7)
  • Sounds like he may be acting out since he isn't getting male bonding time. I think you need to have a conference with the three of you to determine why he thinks it's okay to disrespect you, explain why it isn't okay and develop realistic/ appropriate consequences together. I found with my son taking things away for discipline didn't work. I had to encourage good behavior. Small rewards (he's a chocolate fiend) worked for daily accomplishments and for bigger things I learned I had to buy (let him see it) something (like a game he wanted) and when 1/2 or more was done he could read the information out of the package. When it was all good - he got the game.
    Good luck.

    Answer by tortkey at 10:08 PM on Nov. 8, 2010

  • He needs to be reminded that it is totally unacceptable for him to treat you that way or the younger ones either. You must nip this in the asap along with your dh. Set some ground rules and stick to them, don't give in. Another thing he maybe looking for is structure/routine and reassurance. GL.

    Answer by QandA at 10:13 PM on Nov. 8, 2010

  • He sounds like he is pushing boundaries since your dh isn't around to inforce the rules. If taking things away doesn't work try something new. I had a list of "yucky chores" my children had to do when they were out of line. Everything from cleaning the refrigerator to writing reports. There were times I had the cleanes basement in the neighborhood. If he won't do the chores for you, have your husband re-enforce them on the weekends. Let him do them twice. Also, make sure you reward good behavior too. Ice cream, new games or cash may work. Have him do a report on why it is wrong to disrespect his mom. Make sure you all sit down and work out what is punishable behavior, then be consistent. Do not let him get away with even one infraction.

    Answer by CorrinaWithrow at 10:30 PM on Nov. 8, 2010

  • Make him clean the bathroom with a toothbrush everytime he disrespects you.

    Answer by sassygoddess at 10:50 AM on Nov. 9, 2010

  • Have you tried washing his mouth out with soap? Give him a nice least until he's bigger than you.

    Answer by BluDog at 1:09 AM on Nov. 10, 2010

  • Teachers reward good behavior. Would it work in your family? If the 17 and 15 year old get to do something really great like go to a concert because they treated you with respect for a month, do you think it would eventually sink in to your 12 year old?

    Answer by GoodyBrook at 1:26 AM on Nov. 10, 2010

  • Hi daisy I to have a terrible out of control 12 year old son. He swears at me backtalks calls. Keep terrible. Names and he even gotten physical he is verbally and emotionally abusive to me on a daily basis. I also have a 13 year old daughter who is horrible too. The stress it puts on the family is unreal his stepfather is so good to him and he is so horrible to him I am so ashamed of how he treats everyone involved the family and like you're. Son he doesn't act up in school. Please feel free to email me if you like.When I read you're post it was like reading about my life.Andrea my email is

    Answer by darrinsgirl at 8:04 PM on Apr. 19, 2012

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