Annie's Mailbox: My mother always yells at me

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Dear Annie: I am a 15-year-old boy and an only child. I get good grades, and my social life is somewhat fair. I have no drama except for one thing - my mom.

Mom is 40 years old and has a full-time job. But she can't speak to me in a soft tone. Every time she talks to me, she yells. No one can tell her that she needs help - she gets angry. She cooks, but rarely cleans. I do most of the chores in the house. She is stingy when it comes to money and won't even give her spare change to charity. She rarely listens to me unless I say something about my dad. My parents had some trouble not long ago and contemplated divorce, but they now are back together. But she still is mad at him for cheating on her.

I've suggested we go to counseling, but she refuses. Every day I try to put up with her, and I know my dad does, too. Is it too much to ask that she be more polite and friendly? It hurts me to know I can't make her happy. I can't take it anymore. I want her to understand and listen to me more often.

- Misunderstood Boy in Guam

Dear Misunderstood: It sounds as if your mother has been going through some rough times and she is angry and frustrated. You are right that counseling would be good, but you can't force her to go. You, however, should talk to someone who can help you deal with this situation better. Does your school have a counselor? If not, do you have a favorite teacher or relative who might be able to offer useful advice and a shoulder to lean on? You seem like a terrific and caring son. Please try to give your mother a hug once in a while and tell her you love her. She needs to hear it.

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