Need Advice for 13 yr old boy - FamilyEducation
Need Advice for 13 yr old boy
08/23/2007 at 16:39 PM

I am a single parent of a 13 yr old boy that I feel the way I raised him is why he makes the decisions he makes now. The reason I feel like this is because most of his life he was spoiled and I never raised him with morals and principals since I was too busy babying him. Now in order to get him to help with any chores he gives me a major attitude and talks back to me with disrespect. He has a therapist he goes to but aside from that, I know I need to do my part to fix this. I am also very worried that it is too late to right the wrongs. Aside from laziness he thirsts to use the computer. If allowed he would stay online for 14 hrs. I have him on time limits but if I turn my back he would sneak on if I don't remove the mouse or keyboard. He also sneaks around my room when I am not around and he has never been off limits to my things so he could very easily just ask. Another problem is he seems unable to make friends. He doesn't go out to play and even when my friends bring children over he does not know how to socialize. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I love my son dearly and want him to grow up into the successful man I know he can be.

Why don't you just take the computer away.Staying on it that long is absurd. My Dad and brother are either watching t.v or are on the computer themselves. I hate it! Sometimes I wish we didn't have it so we could do things together as a family. Is he interested in sports? Maybe, join a Y.M.C.A. When I did my life changed for the better. I exercise there (which gives me more energy and I feel better about myself) and have met a lot of people there. They also have things which include his age. Or maybe find one that has a pool.


As for the computer I have taken it away many times and when I do he sticks to the TV then when I take the TV away he will sit in his room reading magazines. When I ask him if he wants to come out with me when I go places he says No unless of course I insists upon it and then he sits in the car and says nothing. Last yr the school tried helping me by making him the ball guy for the HS basketball team. He would leave from school and just walk around the neighborhood. As for the YMCA the closest one is at least 30 minutes away and their is no way I would be able to take him there and back on a regular basis. This starting school yr we have discussed him joining some clubs or sports. He said he was interested and seemed genuine but my son tends to say what he thinks the other person wants to hear instead of stating what he actually wants. 



I do not have a 13 yr old, by my brother in law is 16, and is currently in rehab for alcohol and drug abuse. 

13 is a tough age for both boys and girls.  It is their struggle to be grown.  He is just trying to "be a man" and all the rules kind of cramp his style.

As for all the computer time...that is a bit weird, but I would keep monitoring what he is doing and try to do more things TOGETHER.  Stuff he likes:  Bike riding, fishing, swimming, shopping, whatever.  Hang out with him away from the house.  Encourage his friends to come over and have other activities for them to engage in.

From my personal experience, it is the "quiet/loner" ones that need the most care/watching. My brother in law was experimenting at a very early age with alcohol and stuff, so playing 14 hrs a day on a computer isn't the worst thing that he could be doing.

The fact that you care enough to WANT to do something is motivating.  Most parents don't care and don't want to "fight" the issue.  It's worth it though...don't give up on him.


Good Luck!




Yep, you messed up a bit! But, it is not too late. The first step on any problem solving journey is to admit the problem and try to understand it. Looks like you are taking that step… great!


You are correct that the decisions he makes are his problem. I support the action/consequence concept of child development. In a nut shell, you learn from your actions because there are consequences. If there are no consequences for doing wrong, wrong doing will proliferate. Of course, the social isolation and the manifestation of having spoiled him may be intertwined, but, separate problems.


One thing I do know with 100% certainty is if you want to change your situation, you must first change yourself. If you have allowed him to become dependent on you, consider that you have been teaching him that is the way thing are supposed to be. “What you allow, you teach!” Keep the therapist for him and go yourself. But you should affect a change in yourself at home too. You must adopt the attitude of a parent, rather than a friend or a champion.


Rather than detail a bunch of behaviors and expected results, for you, I believe you should educate yourself about some techniques for raising children. Please don’t take that wrong. I am sure you are a loving mother, but, you did say you thought his current behaviors were the result of the way you raised him. The best book I have found is one by Cline and Fay, “Parenting with Love and Logic” It addresses a lot and should give you a great foundation. Check at the Library first, then on Amazon or Ebay, and as a last resort your local book store. You can make a difference in a short time in your behaviors as they respond to your son’s behaviors. You may want to read the book alone, if he sees it and is bright, he may simply play along. I hope you can affect a change in both of your lives.


You said he was not social either. After he changes his behaviors, you may see a change in his social relations too. I wish you the best of luck.


DaMoKi Bob


Thank you all very much for the advice and pointers I am getting that book immediately.