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teaspoon

DS 15 selectively choosing not to respond to sms or calls

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teaspoon

So, my otherwise reasonably behaved 15 yo son has a steadily worsening habit of not responding or answering my messages or calls.

Some context, I don't contact him every day (or even every week!) by phone.  But when I do, I expect him to answer / respond.  After all, I always respond to him in a timely way. If something important came up, he has my work phone number, private number and work landline. 

Today I was home (day off) and had some uncomfortable cramps - I texted for him to get some milk on the way home from school. He had used the last of the milk this morning and I wanted a cup of tea. 

My  3pm sms was ignored, my 4 pm follow up question mark ignored and, at 5pm, didn't pick up my call. Finally  after 5 he smsed to say 'alright'  but I didn't see him til after 7pm. No apology, no explanation. 

Now, I purchased the phone and pay for the plan and have told him I feel disappointed and resentful when he selectively ignores me.  Also, we are the only two in this household and have been for over a decade... what if I'd needed something more important?  I've been clear about my expectations  but it's not reaching him -  and I certainly don't model that kind of dismissive communication style.

What would you do?

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Expelliarmus

We've told DS16 (who bought and pays for his own phone) that we don't care how many notifications he's had that pushes our occasional message down the list, he is to look for and answer us or he will not be allowed out on the weekend/have his gym membership cancelled. So far it has worked.

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kerilyntaryn

Tell him, its essential to return/answer your messages,  set the expectations of the time frame to respond and tell him why its so important

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CallMeFeral

When you say no explanation, what does he say when you ask him about it?

When you say you've been clear about your expectations, what expectations have you specifically communicated?

Just trying to get some context. The dismissive style can be a response to something in your communication rather than modeled on it. Or it could just be a teenager being an a*se...

 

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BusbyWilkes
Posted (edited)

Oh teaspoon. No answers, but I feel your hurt! 
 

Ours makes enough money in their part time job that they buy their own things - phone/clothes/gym etc. So those incentives don’t work. 
 

 

Edited by BusbyWilkes

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Sancti-claws

There are two parts to this.

One is he is a teenage boy and he is flexing his "ignore parents" muscle - they do this and if you find the magic formula to cure this, you would be rather rich.

On the other hand, you require him to perform certain things to ensure that the household stays afloat - and so he needs the wisdom to react when required in that realm.

How is your (as in both of your) communication with each other.  Could you have a discussion with him on where he is still allowed to be akin to his peers, who may have different levels of expected responsibility, and where he is expected to be responsible and respectful?

(and yes, if you find the magic formula for that too, there may be money made!)

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IamzFeralz

Send him back out for the milk upon arrival at home so that he curses himself for not checking his messages beforehand and saving time by getting the milk on the way.

Look for natural ways to inconvenience him for not checking his messages or returning your calls.  Just make sure it doesn’t look like a punishment.

 

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born.a.girl

I'm impressed he actually finished off the milk, rather than leave a thin film on the bottom and put it back in the fridge, maintaining he didn't 'finish it off'.  We only have one, and she never finished off the milk, but what was left was no use for anything.

I agree with pps about a discussion on the thought load.  I know he's young and the dynamics in your household will be different from other family groups.

Does he give you any explanation as to why he doesn't respond to your texts?

 

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JomoMum

Hmm. I agree somewhat with the “thoughtload” conversation. 
But, he is also still a young teenager. I know my best friend in high school had to do a lot of stuff for her parents and younger brother (different scenario, the parents were alcoholics), but there was resentment there for not being allowed to be a kid. I know your family dynamic is different, just a thought. 
Did he let you know in the morning that the milk had run out?
I guess the milk issue is separate to the not replying issue. 
If we paid for our sons phone and plan, which we dont plan on doing because I’m a grinch, we would expect reasonably immediate replies or there would be limitations on internet access or phone use at all. 

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tothebeach

I have a 15 year old boy.   I do the same thing to them as they do to me when they want something.   Spam them with messages.   Continually - till they answer.    Kids have continual messages and notifications.   Literally hundreds an hour so they don’t see it, they forget, they don’t want to deal with it etc.  

I’d have more of an issue with not knowing when he was going to be home and him staying out till 7pm tbh.  

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Mrs Claus

Mine both have their phones on silent so don’t always see texts immediately. Or don’t realise they need to respond.

can you get milk on way home....think ‘I need to get milk’....don’t think ‘respond to something I’m going to do’ (assuming he actually did get milk)

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Rainbowbear
20 minutes ago, Mrs Claus said:

Mine both have their phones on silent so don’t always see texts immediately. Or don’t realise they need to respond.

can you get milk on way home....think ‘I need to get milk’....don’t think ‘respond to something I’m going to do’ (assuming he actually did get milk)

This is me too, so I would ask him to send an acknowledgement even and "ok" or thumbs up

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Waterloo
40 minutes ago, Mrs Claus said:

Mine both have their phones on silent so don’t always see texts immediately. Or don’t realise they need to respond.

can you get milk on way home....think ‘I need to get milk’....don’t think ‘respond to something I’m going to do’ (assuming he actually did get milk)

I think this too.  Maybe reword to “Let me know if you can pick up some milk before 5pm” or something.  
I was a teen in the 80s - once we were out of the house there was no contacting us easily. Maybe it’s harder in some ways for today’s teens to always be contactable. 
But otherwise what you’re already doing sounds pretty spot on. 

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Lees75

If DS16 didn’t respond, I would activate the “ lost phone” noise, as this works when on silent. (You would need to be on the same Apple ID or family Apple ID for this to work). 

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FeralZombieMum
1 hour ago, Mrs Claus said:

 Or don’t realise they need to respond.

can you get milk on way home....think ‘I need to get milk’....don’t think ‘respond to something I’m going to do’ (assuming he actually did get milk)

Could be this.

 

I remember my DH being like this with me and others - it took a lot of work to drum into him that he needed to acknowledge people - that they couldn't read his mind that he will do what has been requested.

 

I am having to drum that into my kids now.  A few months ago, my DD saw on her work group chat that they needed someone to fill in a shift asap. She responded that she could. When we were leaving, I asked her if it was confirmed, and she replied back to me with some attitude - typical teenage response that I didn't know anything because of my age, and that her response was adequete. We drive into town, she goes into work, then came out a few minutes later, looking sheepishly. They'd found someone else as they were also calling around in addition to the group chat post. It was a big lesson for her in life - mainly mum isn't an idiot. ;)

 

 

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FeralZombieMum

Oh, I didn't say what I would do.

 

With one DD (she was 15/16) - she went on a sleepover after school, and was going to catch a bus to her friend's house. We didn't have contact details of where she was staying. After work I sent her a text to see if she'd arrived safe. No response. About an hour later, DH mentioned he'd sent her a text a few hours earlier, and she hadn't responded to that - kids normally respond to DH. So over the next hour I sent her a few more texts, and tried to call her phone. No response. I got another DD to become FB with someone else, and she asked them if they knew the contact details for the person DD was staying with. He called the friend up and DD was laughing in the background. She was a bit embarrassed. I had to explain to her later about how worried we were.

 

With another DD - she wasn't responding to my texts or calls. It was dark and I was concerned she wasn't home then. I then sent a text saying I was pretty worried that she wasn't responding, so I was going to call the police. She called me back asap.

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lizzzard
12 hours ago, CallMeFeral said:

When you say no explanation, what does he say when you ask him about it?

When you say you've been clear about your expectations, what expectations have you specifically communicated?

Just trying to get some context. The dismissive style can be a response to something in your communication rather than modeled on it. Or it could just be a teenager being an a*se...

 

This is a really important thing to answer before any 'problem solving' can start 😉

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EsmeLennox

Wait, did you know where he was between the school day ending and 7pm? If not, that would totally not fly with me and my 15 year old would be going nowhere in a hurry.

The non-response thing is rude and evasive, I reckon. That would also not be ok here. There are times when kids genuinely don’t see messages. If I’ve sent something important and don’t get a reply I follow up with an actual call. It’s so embarrassing to have your mother calling you, that it’s easier to just answer the damn text! 

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seayork2002

Before mobiles i was only expected to call my mum when i was running late or staying over.

Ds has a mobile and i only expect him to use it for that

If i have to send a 'meet me at the shops' or very important things I need a reply then I expect i reply but other than that no i hate being contactable all the time myself so I don't expect it of ds

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teaspoon

Thanks everyone. I slept in late today and DS woke me with a cup of tea (ha) and an 'I'm sorry and it t won't happen again' note.  

I know we have to talk about it  properly and come to agreement. I feel I've made some mistakes by allowing too much autonomy. I don't know. The cramps are back.

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Ellie bean

You sound like a great mum teaspoon. I don’t have teens but I can ask my kids a question when I’m right in front of them and they already don’t answer, I’m dreading them having phones! 
hope the cramps are gone soon 

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