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Dadofsons
Dadofsons asks:
Q:

I need tips on parenting two 17-year-old boys!

So, I have three sons (R.J., D., and T.) [names changed: question edited by Education.com Community Team member] and I am the only one raising them. Well, T. is 21 and is usually not home. But, R.J. and D. are twins and driving me crazy! They always fight with each other and mouth off to me and argue with each other and me. I just don't know what to do. They've been ditching school and getting in tons of trouble. Please, any tips?
In Topics: Discipline and behavior challenges, Fatherhood, Single parent families
> 60 days ago

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Expert

ShirleyCressDudley
Feb 23, 2013
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What the Expert Says:

Sounds like you are a single parent. It's tough to raise 3 boys on your own, but it can be done successfully.

Right now- the boys are running the house. It's time for you to regain control.

Create some house rules for everyone. Some rules apply to all- and some are based on age. Examples:
-Treat everyone in the house with respect and kindness (everyone)
-Fix one dinner, every week (everyone)
-Let parent know if you are not going to be present for dinner. (21 year old.)
-Attend school and stay up-to-date on homework.
-Keep your area clean

With the 21 year old, he should be setting an example for the others, and also taking on more and more responsibility.  The 21 year old should be contributing to the household in some manner. If you don't want to charge rent- then give him more responsibilities than the twins.

There should be enforceable consequences to not following the house rules (lost of transportation, phone, going out privileges.)

Your goal as a parent is to help raise them to be independent young men who will make good choices. Right now- they are not making good decisions, so you need help them by providing more structure and more guidance.

It will be a bit of an uphill battle, since things have gotten a little lax, but more structure and guidance from you is your way of showing love to them.

I wish you the very best.

Shirley Cress Dudley

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Additional Answers (3)

AnnetteCerione
AnnetteCeri... writes:
I know being a single parent is the hardest job in the world. Nevertheless, these boys are screaming for your time. 17 is a difficult age. You need to engage them in some type of family project that THEY can successfully complete with you as their mentor. Build something together. Start a business for them. Making money is a great  incentive for a kid to stick by your side. Especially since they want to prove they can be responsible.
 
What are your strengths? Do you have carpentry skills, or work well with stone, or concrete? Build a patio or a retaining wall in the yard. Start a garden. Find something that YOU like. If you like it you will see it through to the end. Even if they loose interest. The next project they might stick with you. Hopefully, they will follow through the first time.
 
Moreover, play their kind of music while working together, create atmosphere. Also, if they argue and one walks away tell them that you noticed how responsible and mature his actions were.
Reward them for it without them knowing. REPEAT: If they don't fight, and you can get some quality time out of them, reward them without them knowing. Maybe a campfire dinner. Something out of the ordinary. A fishing trip on a Sunday after a trip to a bait and tackle store. Out of blue, catch them off guard. Say, "Hope in the car were going for a drive". This is when you surprise them by taking them somewhere. Anywhere! The more you surprise them with your unexpected outings or activities, the more they will shut up and want to be around you. This is what all 17 year olds need but don't ask for. I don't even think they know that they seek this attention from their parents.
Start putting time aside for laughing and praise. It's really, really, hard to start if you don't do it. Yet, once you do, the boys will follow your lead. Also, if you don't show affection start! A pat on the shoulder is often like a hug.
Also, don't ask them to do your secrete project until you have planned it out. Then, smoothly work it into a conversation.  "I need your help because I can't do it by myself, followed by: " YOUR HELP iS GREATLY APPRECIATED ".
Tell them of your plan the weekend before and tell them no friends until your at least half way through. If friends show up put them to work too. Unfortunately, even at 17 their attention span is often limited, so don't push them to stay or they will resent you. Just keep making an effort and asking them to help. Hand me this hold that, can you do this, etc. Tell them up front your expectations and your plan for the project and work CALMLY together.
If you are having a hard time keeping up with the house work tell them to pick a day that they can give you one hour of their time to fold laundry, rake leaves, cook dinner, etc. This too can be quality time if you do it together.  Make dinner, homemade pizza or tacos is always fun. Clean up the yard, paint a room, do things that will make YOU feel better as well.  
Sometimes we just can't see the trees through the forest until we step aside. Our role as parents is to be there, always!!!
 
Remember what your boys need is your support, time, and respect. This is such a tough age. You only have one more year of family time with them before they will leave the nest for good, even if they remain at home you will NOT be their focus. Good luck!
> 60 days ago

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AnnetteCerione
AnnetteCeri... writes:
I know being a single parent is the hardest job in the world. Nevertheless, these boys are screaming for your time. 17 is a difficult age. You need to engage them in some type of family project that THEY can successfully complete with you as their mentor. Build something together. Start a business for them. Making money is a great  incentive for a kid to stick by your side. Especially since they want to prove they can be responsible.
 
What are your strengths? Do you have carpentry skills, or work well with stone, or concrete? Build a patio or a retaining wall in the yard. Start a garden. Find something that YOU like. If you like it you will see it through to the end. Even if they loose interest. The next project they might stick with you. Hopefully, they will follow through the first time.
 
Moreover, play their kind of music while working together, create atmosphere. Also, if they argue and one walks away tell them that you noticed how responsible and mature his actions were.
Reward them for it without them knowing. REPEAT: If they don't fight, and you can get some quality time out of them, reward them without them knowing. Maybe a campfire dinner. Something out of the ordinary. A fishing trip on a Sunday after a trip to a bait and tackle store. Out of blue, catch them off guard. Say, "Hope in the car were going for a drive". This is when you surprise them by taking them somewhere. Anywhere! The more you surprise them with your unexpected outings or activities, the more they will shut up and want to be around you. This is what all 17 year olds need but don't ask for. I don't even think they know that they seek this attention from their parents.
Start putting time aside for laughing and praise. It's really, really, hard to start if you don't do it. Yet, once you do, the boys will follow your lead. Also, if you don't show affection start! A pat on the shoulder is often like a hug.
Also, don't ask them to do your secrete project until you have planned it out. Then, smoothly work it into a conversation.  "I need your help because I can't do it by myself, followed by: " YOUR HELP iS GREATLY APPRECIATED ".
Tell them of your plan the weekend before and tell them no friends until your at least half way through. If friends show up put them to work too. Unfortunately, even at 17 their attention span is often limited, so don't push them to stay or they will resent you. Just keep making an effort and asking them to help. Hand me this hold that, can you do this, etc. Tell them up front your expectations and your plan for the project and work CALMLY together.
If you are having a hard time keeping up with the house work tell them to pick a day that they can give you one hour of their time to fold laundry, rake leaves, cook dinner, etc. This too can be quality time if you do it together.  Make dinner, homemade pizza or tacos is always fun. Clean up the yard, paint a room, do things that will make YOU feel better as well.  
Sometimes we just can't see the trees through the forest until we step aside. Our role as parents is to be there, always!!!
 
Remember what your boys need is your support, time, and respect. This is such a tough age. You only have one more year of family time with them before they will leave the nest for good, even if they remain at home you will NOT be their focus. Good luck!
> 60 days ago

Did you find this answer useful?
0
yes
0
no
AnnetteCerione
AnnetteCeri... writes:
I know being a single parent is the hardest job in the world. Nevertheless, these boys are screaming for your time. 17 is a difficult age. You need to engage them in some type of family project that THEY can successfully complete with you as their mentor. Build something together. Start a business for them. Making money is a great  incentive for a kid to stick by your side. Especially since they want to prove they can be responsible.
 
What are your strengths? Do you have carpentry skills, or work well with stone, or concrete? Build a patio or a retaining wall in the yard. Start a garden. Find something that YOU like. If you like it you will see it through to the end. Even if they loose interest. The next project they might stick with you. Hopefully, they will follow through the first time.
 
Moreover, play their kind of music while working together, create atmosphere. Also, if they argue and one walks away tell them that you noticed how responsible and mature his actions were.
Reward them for it without them knowing. REPEAT: If they don't fight, and you can get some quality time out of them, reward them without them knowing. Maybe a campfire dinner. Something out of the ordinary. A fishing trip on a Sunday after a trip to a bait and tackle store. Out of blue, catch them off guard. Say, "Hope in the car were going for a drive". This is when you surprise them by taking them somewhere. Anywhere! The more you surprise them with your unexpected outings or activities, the more they will shut up and want to be around you. This is what all 17 year olds need but don't ask for. I don't even think they know that they seek this attention from their parents.
Start putting time aside for laughing and praise. It's really, really, hard to start if you don't do it. Yet, once you do, the boys will follow your lead. Also, if you don't show affection start! A pat on the shoulder is often like a hug.
Also, don't ask them to do your secrete project until you have planned it out. Then, smoothly work it into a conversation.  "I need your help because I can't do it by myself, followed by: " YOUR HELP iS GREATLY APPRECIATED ".
Tell them of your plan the weekend before and tell them no friends until your at least half way through. If friends show up put them to work too. Unfortunately, even at 17 their attention span is often limited, so don't push them to stay or they will resent you. Just keep making an effort and asking them to help. Hand me this hold that, can you do this, etc. Tell them up front your expectations and your plan for the project and work CALMLY together.
If you are having a hard time keeping up with the house work tell them to pick a day that they can give you one hour of their time to fold laundry, rake leaves, cook dinner, etc. This too can be quality time if you do it together.  Make dinner, homemade pizza or tacos is always fun. Clean up the yard, paint a room, do things that will make YOU feel better as well.  
Sometimes we just can't see the trees through the forest until we step aside. Our role as parents is to be there, always!!!
 
Remember what your boys need is your support, time, and respect. This is such a tough age. You only have one more year of family time with them before they will leave the nest for good, even if they remain at home you will NOT be their focus. Good luck!
> 60 days ago

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