Speaking of Laying Down the Rails - does anyone have experience with getting kids of this age 15ish to buy into the idea and join the family in working on these things? I so wish I had known how to do this when my first kids were little! I have a fifteen yo son and would like to have hime join with me and the younger ones on this...contemplating...
Just want to say I've been there!! My heart aches for you. Things have gotten much better largely b/c of Dad helping w/ accountability and respect as suggested and encouraging me to get out of the way (as in not allow him to be relying on me for what to do next, etc. make/allow him to be in charge/know what and when to do and Dad hold him accountable). Boys are tough for we Moms to handle when Dad isn't present all the time. They need Dad's hand - heavily sometimes!
One other thing I'm confident made a BIG difference is this:
Are you familiar with the book/seminar "Love and Respect"? The context is marriage...and I thinkg we are relatively familiar with the concept here probably, but the earth-shaker for me was that I need to apply this with my son. Just realizing that he is becoming a man...struggling to become a good one, boys in this range are volatile, and the quiet voice of respect - Mom respecting and appreciating, praising his efforts to be responsible (if you can just catch one and draw your attention to it!!). I'm just sure this was the saving grace for me. Truly help sent from heaven when I despararately needed it. A wonderful book(s) to read with your younger one (and the older one may just want to listen in) along this line is Little Britches and the sequel "Man of the Family". We had been reading these books about this time and they gave me the practical application of the conceept...the how to. If you haven't read them, I can't recommend them too highly. They did this mother's heart a world of good in showing me how to help my son and be what he needed me to be so he could respect me also. Which was/is a question I've asked myself repeatedly too - am I not worhty of their respect? Why can't they respect me? Anyway, I do think it's a two-way street (with no excuses being made for boys not treating their mothers with honor) in the sense that we can either make it easier or more difficult by our own actions/reactions.
Be of good courage...