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LawNinvest, Parent
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 20012
Experience:  Mother of two. I am an experienced mother and caregiver and former family law attorney
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How to discipline a 13 year old son for hitting his mother?

Resolved Question:

How do I discipline my 13 year old son for hitting me, his mother?

Submitted: 11 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Ryan replied 11 years ago.

Could you explain your situation a little more?

What led to him hitting you?

Is the father around?

Are you having other problems with him?
Thank you again for trusting us with your problem. Please reply as soon as possible so that we can finish answering your question.

Customer: replied 11 years ago.

Thank you for your interest. My son and I were on a trip to Yosemite and on the 1st day we had scheduled a white water trip. I had, prior to leaving, printed out a large number of papers with directions and information about the park. My son was looking for some information for me while I was driving to our outing and then he just let them go. The papers were sliding all on the floor where he kept stepping on them and were flying around the car into my face and to the windows. I asked him to gather them together and place them on the back seat under a heavy object. He refused and said he didn't want to. I couldn't drive so I pulled into a park and had him get out so I could pick up the papers. Then I told him he needed to think about his actions and I would be back to get him. I drove a short way away and stopped so I could see him. After 2 or 3 minutes I drove to him and asked if he was ready to talk about it. He launched himself through the window and was hitting me and yelling awful things like how he hated me. I tried to get him off me and he jumped on the roof to reach me in my window. I freaked out because I left his father for abuse. I finally calmed us both down & we continued our vacation for 2 more days in which he acted better than he had to me in years. I have grounded him and he has written 2 essays on respect and has to do one on abuse. I only have him 1 weekend a month and spring break and summer. He lives in TX and I live in NV. His father was no help as he made excuses and told my son we were both at fault. I WILL NOT let my son abuse women like his father. What do I do to impress him with the wrongness of his actions. He is a foot taller and weighs 40 lbs. More than me.

Expert:  LawNinvest replied 11 years ago.

If you want to make a big impression on your teen, you can call your local police department and have them talk to your son while he is standing inside a jail cell. The police can tell him what can result in abusing woman. He will definitely get the point with this harsh illustration. You as mom also have the right to tell him that next time he lays a hand on you, you will call the police on him, because this is unacceptable behavior, no ifs or buts about it.

Good luck.

LawNinvest, Parent
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 20012
Experience: Mother of two. I am an experienced mother and caregiver and former family law attorney
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Expert:  Ryan replied 11 years ago.


I can see your problem. Dad probably isn't going to be a big help no matter the situation since he too has a problem with abuse. And since you don't have custody of your son and live in another state, it's hard for you to be the positive role model that he needs right now on a consistent basis. At least you have him now during the summer, during which you can lay down the law.

Does your son know about his father's abusive nature? Is that where he is getting it from? Is your ex now with someone else and maybe your son saw abuse happen? Or does he remember when your ex hit you?

I think the grounding and essays were fantastic ideas, and you have the right idea. I suggest two things moving forward:

  1. If you haven't done so, apologize to your son. In all honesty you probably shouldn't have left him at the side of the road in a strange place. He is still a child despite his growing physical size. I am not justifying in any way him hitting you. In the future drive in silence with him if you must. But don't leave him because it sends the wrong message. Children who go between households such as your son often have abandonment issues as it is, and he doesn't need that to be fueled. I'm sure it was an awful/scary feeling being left there, even if you could still see him. Again, that does not justify violence, nothing does. But you are the adult and since your son is showing some anger/violence problems it's going to be up to you to always remain cool headed and calm in front of him.
  2. I don't think it's necessary to call the police this time. If he was being nicer to you than he has in years he's showing signs of feeling really bad about it. That's good. I would tell him that IF it ever happens again you are promising to him that you will call the police and he will be put in jail. That would be a really powerful message coming from his mom. Reinforce that you love him and will always love him no matter what, but there is a zero tolerance for abuse no matter who does it. Tell him you know he learned his lesson so you won't have to follow through on your promise, but you expect him to grow up into a man. Men do not hit women. I would reinforce over and over that you love him, but this is not negotiable.

I'm very sorry to hear that this happened. Another suggestion that he might be up for is signing him up for martial arts. You may be thinking, "Why in the heck would I teach him how to punch?" If you find him a good dojo they will teach him so much respect and discipline that you'll be amazed at him. He'll like being in great shape and he'll also learn a lot about what it means to be a responsible adult. Just a thought. If you go with this, explain to the Sensei (teacher) that he's showing violent signs and that's why you are there. The Sensei will be sure to cater what he teaches your son because of that.

Please let me know if there's anything else you want to talk about what happened.