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My teenager has no respect

QUESTION: How do i get my 15 year old son to accept responsibility, and not blame everyone else but himself for the simplist of things, He seems to have not a lot of respect for his family but plenty of respect for his peers, He likes to put people down, and use his power in knowledge to advance himself, even though we see through him and let him know that, He continues to say We don’t know anything, and things are different from when when you were young, (i am 41) we are not that much older than you, things are not that different from when we were also at school, etc

Sounds like you have a fairly normal 15-16 year old boy! (Girls are the same – except that where boys get aggressive girls get hysterical). When boys of this age can’t deal with a situation or can’t win an argument with reason they will quickly seek alternate remedies. As you are seeing, they will either lay blame elsewhere, accuse those around of not understanding, or attempt to demolish a person’s argument by making them emotionally weak. The critical underlying factor here is that they are not thinking straight. As a friend of mine always says ‘you can never win an argument with a teenager because arguments require reason’.

The first thing to consider here is how much of a change this behaviour is compared to 3 or 4 years ago. If your son has historically been allowed a lot of freedom and a lot of time when he has been responsible for himself, it is not surprising that now when he feels like a man (and probably looks like a man) that he wants to take total control. In that case the way of dealing with the problem should be heavily oriented towards helping him discover mature ways of dealing with arguments and relationships.

Secondly, when these behaviours are handled carefully, without over-reaction, over time the boy matures and the attitudes mellow (and the appreciation for the important adults in his life grows). To quote Mark Twain (circa 1900) “When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished by how much he’d learned in seven years.”

Some key steps you might like to try while he is growing up are:

1) Insulate yourself from the emotion. It is very hard to do this because kids can be so hurtful, but the moment you respond in kind you will lose your credibility and the argument. If you want your son to speak to you in a calm and respectful way, refuse to speak to him until he does. Every time you engage in the argument in his way you give him another reason to believe that you are not rational. It is quite amazing how quickly teens see irrationality in their parents and how slowly they see it in themselves.

2) Tie consequences to behaviours. In the end it is not a matter of who is right and who is wrong, it is a matter of who is the parent. Work the consequences out with him when he is calm and be certain to apply exactly the agreed consequence whenever he has behaved in an inappropriate way. Again this is hard to do but you do not have to justify your argument to your son. In fact his logic is so clouded by his emotion that he will never see your logic..

3) Be reasonable. A great way to begin to gain the respect of our kids is to listen to the whole of what they are saying and wherever possible to compromise. Sometimes we are so frustrated by the way they speak to us and others that we become unreasonable ourselves and the whole cycle escalates.

4) Praise the good. This seems like such an obvious and simplistic thing, but it is amazing how consistent, honest affirmation can quickly turn situations around. Not all that is negative about your son’s behaviour right now is about rebellion or insolence. It is almost certain that in some of it he is sub-consciously asking you to acknowledge that he is becoming a man. Every admission that you make is one that he doesn’t have to earn so he will gradually become less obstinate more accepting. Most importantly he will become confident enough in himself to not blame others for his failings. All of this is very desirable because as you are seeing his current method of earning maturity is not very mature!

5) Build the relationship. In the end problems like these are ultimately only solved by the quality of the relationship between the parent and the child. He will not become like you (your values, manners and beliefs) because you are right, he will become like you because he likes you. Look for ways to spend time with him away from all the issues that raise conflict. It might be going to a take away restaurant, or a drive to the city, or even watching TV with him. Initially these moments will have to be chosen carefully, and probably won’t last long, but over time they will build into the foundation of a great relationship.

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My 15 year old daughter wants more freedom

QUESTION: My daughter is always getting upset when I do not let her go to a party or just let her go out and hang with mates. She always says that other kids in her class get to go out and have a good time but the problem is she says she will go and hurt herself ans she says the reason for her to do this is because she does not get enough freedom. She is only 15 and is my first teenager so what do I do to let her feel that she is getting more freedom?? Please help

Thanks for your question.

Independence and freedom are the most prized ambitions of teenagers, and in many ways they are an important and normal part of growing up. Problems arise though because the desire to be independent comes a long time before the maturity to cope with independence, especially in this age when there are so many dangers so readily available to our kids.

The key to success here is to make some small concessions, and then to stand firm on the new boundaries you have set. For instance give your daughter permission to go to parties but limit the number (say only per month), and the the time she has to be home. If she wants to hang out with her mates make it conditional on all of her homework and household chores being done, and that there is a definite time she has to be home.

At 15 it is important for her to feel some sense of control over her own life while at the same time knowing that she is accountable for her behaviours to you. It is the balance between these two developmental elements that enable teens to grow into capable adults safely.

By the way, even with these concessions you will still have arguments. Kids will always push the boundaries and will always have a reason as to why “this time should be different”. One of the hardest parts of parenting a teen is remaining strong, and calm when kids turn belligerent. When a teen realises that logical argument will no longer be effective she quickly resorts to emotional blackmail or bullying. The good news is that, in spite of the hysterics, so long as parents are genuinely allowing opportunities for kids to test their emerging independence, and that other factors in family life are promoting positive relationships, kids will fairly quickly and (begrudgingly) accept the boundaries.

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My step-daughter is impossible to live with

QUESTION: I am step father to my partner’s 15 year old girl. over a number of years this child has been very naughty (probably no diff to many other children) however now that she is 15 and year 10 (Just – put in a very poor effort last year she has developed a network of friends with which she is in constant contact on her mobile phone up to 2 and 3 am in the morning – we also give her access to the internet which she uses only for MSN and my space and during the time she is on the net she is also constantly still on the phone

– we were concerned that her schooling was suffering as a result of this contact etc. and placed a curfew of 10pm Sun – Thurs to hand her mobile so that she at least gets a reasonable nights sleep – every night this turns into stressful situations as she hates to be without her phone and lose contact with her friends – we think that maybe she feels insecure with her friends and has the fear that during the time she has no contact that she may lose them as a friend ( as a younger child when she played with neighbours in the court she would hold off coming inside to go to the toilet in fear that the friend she was playing with would go and play with someone else) when she doesn’t get her own way she threatens to leave home and live with one of her network friends and has in fact ran off twice and lived elsewhere for a week or so each time – she has not respect for her mother or myself – she cupboard doors etc. and tells us she will do what she likes when she likes and how she likes – to myself because I have not got that maternal bond – I feel quite threatened by her behaviour – very frustrated and life is not very pleasant in our home – I have only touched on a minor area of her behaviour – there are other issues such as drinking, smoking, wagging school, leaving home at midnight and coming back around 6.30anm in the morning, lies, stealing, always trying to con money and material things from us both – my question- at what age can we expect this childs behaviour to change ?????

Thanks for your question, you and your wife are certainly having a tough time.

Your statement that “over a number of years she has been very naughty” makes a response a little difficult. Often the behaviours you mentioned have their origins in an unsettled childhood and they way they were dealt with then will have a large impact on the approach you need to take now. Your daughter quite possibly needs some professional counselling.

In general terms though: Your step daughter’s behaviour, as you describe it, is typical for a 15 year old girl but it is at the very extreme end. Kids in their mid teens are primarily driven by two factors – the acceptance of their peers and the belief that they are adult and should be free to make their own decisions.

Most teens have the edgy part of those attitudes moderated by strength of the relationship they have with their parents and the experience of the clear structure they have grown up with. Some (as you are finding) are driven by their life experience, or genetic makeup, to ignore that moderation.

The good news is that when kids experience constant love and clear structure through their teens, regardless of how they accept it, they almost always grow into capable responsible and grateful adults. In fact they usually become really nice people.

Some steps you might try in the meantime:

Develop your relationship with her

From what you have described this will be hard, but it is not impossible. Don’t expect her to suddenly accept you into her life as her father, or even her friend – that will take a long time. Rather look for some small ways you can interact positively that are totally outside the conflict issues you have and quarantine these from any discipline.

Is there something you both like to do that you can do together? Is there something she likes to do that she may tolerate you doing with her? Or is there something she wants to do so badly she can only do it if you make it possible by doing it with her? Start small and build slowly – these types of things become the foundation not only of your relationship but also of your ability to shape her behaviour.

Don’t expect respect

This sounds odd, but respect is not what you are looking for. Respect implies you are seeking control over her attitude, you are not and you can’t. You are seeking control over her behaviour (for her benefit). Kids today do not give respect easily and they certainly do not give it on the basis of seniority. They only give respect when it is earned and their standards are very high for everyone (except themselves).

When you base compliance with your boundaries on a teen’s respect for you that child is given a quick and certain counter argument. In the frustrated teen’s mind there are at least a hundred things about you that prove you are not worth of her or his respect. In the teen’s logic if you demand or even suggest behaviour on the basis of respect there is no need to follow that path because you don’t deserve respect.

Instead expect compliance with a set of behaviours because they are clearly sensible. In the early days you will have the same battles, and the same defiance, but if you base your expectations of her on the realities of consequences of her actions you will do one of two things; if you are lucky – both. Over time she will be more accepting of the boundaries because she will learn to see the sense in them, and later in life she will use the same system of weighing up consequences to make her own decisions.

Make the boundaries fair, clear and firm

Every restriction you place on your daughter will be met with resistance. As you have already seen, her response to your boundaries will escalate through three stages. First comes emotional manipulation where she makes you feel sorry for her. Then comes deceit where she pretends to do the right thing while actually doing her own thing. Finally, when the other two don’t work she turns to defiance. There is not much you can do about her reaction, your only course is in your response.

I suggest you and your wife establish your absolute boundaries in those areas that really matter and the consequences that will always be applied when those boundaries are crossed. If you can, involve your daughter in the process of setting these boundaries and consequences. It’s much more effective if she knows that at some time she agreed to these things.

Then when the boundaries are crossed apply the consequences, calmly and without a lecture. She will still go through the 3 stages mentioned above but the worst thing you will see is no different to the current situation. There is every chance though that over time you will begin to see positive results in terms of self control and wiser decision making on her part.

You might be interested in the website It is American but it has good information and offers interactive support.

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My teen is abusive with me

QUESTION: My teen can’t argue without being abusive, what can I do?


Teens are so driven by the immediate they will frequently use every means available to get their way. Sometimes their desires are so urgent they will bypass all standard forms of argument and go straight to emotional blackmail. The subconscious thinking is: “If I can hurt mum enough, she will get sick of it and just give in.”

There are reasons teens are so extreme when angry (and get angry quickly with parents)


While they might like to think otherwise, teens know that in the end their parents control both the money available to them and how they use their time and space. There is very little they can do about that because of their personal situation (they are living at home), the law (they usually can’t leave) and societal expectations (most of their peers are in the same boat). Their verbal lashing out is an attempt to exercise power.


Because you are his parent he has confidence that no matter how unpleasant he is you won’t desert him. Consequently his words and actions are not moderated by the factor that softens most social interactions: fear that you will find him so offensive that you leave.


Quite possibly, deep down, she knows that you are right, but that doesn’t make the decision you are making for her any more palatable. Rather, she is facing an inner conflict where her head is telling her something her heart doesn’t want to hear. Sometimes the abuse you receive is not directed at you at all, it is simply the venting of her inner frustration.


Acting on a whim and treating every experience as a once in a lifetime opportunity is as much a normal part of adolescence as pimples and growth spurts. The teen brain is not good at thinking things through. Your teen is loud, aggressive and hurtful – basically irrational – because the thoughts he or she is defending have come from raw emotion not carefully considered thought.

Short term responses
  • Don’t return fire – it will only escalate the problem. Chose to not speak to your child until he or she calms down and speaks civilly.
  • Don’t panic – if your child is arguing with you it means your child knows it needs your permission (or money) to proceed. You still have the upper hand.
  •  Seek a compromise. It is easy to get into the habit of saying no for no’s sake. A small compromise can often allow the child to experience something of the wish without breaking parental boundaries.
  • Let the moment pass. If you absolutely cannot bend then wait till your teen has calmed down; then talk about your reasons, not his or her behaviour. You may reactivate the argument but if you are reasonable over time your child will be more accepting.
Long term responses

The following strategies will help minimise the number of occasions you have this experience (the earlier you start this process the more successful it will be)

Anticipate – wherever possible lay the ground work for a situation a good two years before the situation arises, it is very difficult to wind freedoms back. Behaviours and freedoms that are cute at 10 can be very frightening at 14. The current trend is to rush kids into maturity, I believe a safer way is to preserve innocence as long as possible.

Consistency – a huge benefit found in thinking your responses and values through ahead of time is that you are able to establish a set or responses that are consistent from one day to the next and one issue to the next. The quickest way to undermine credibility is to create in your kid the sense that they’re never quite sure how you’re going to react.

Balance – Prove yourself to be reasonable by developing a habit of being ahead of your teen in some areas of freedom. A great way to make unpleasant decisions palatable for your teens is when they know that you are also inclined to surprise them by the slack you can sometimes cut them.

Example – As with everything in parenting, the most powerful influence is example. If children see their parents handling disagreements, conflicts and argument calmly and with mutual respect they are very likely to have a similar approach.

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My son is totally out of control

QUESTION: Hi, My husband and I have a 15yo son who is over 6ft tall. He has not been to school for two years and refuses to go. He smokes heaps of pot ( and probably other drugs) sleeps all day and gets aggressive or violent if we try to challenge him. Hes been in trouble with the police and now facing an unlicenced driving charge.

He wont do the community service from his other charges and just goes bezerk if his father gets in his face or tries to talk to him. I think he has conduct disorder,depression and maybe a learning disability. Three years ago his best friends burt to death in a bush fire and I don’t think hes ever got over it. We are very worried about him and it is hard for us to get ANY help in a remote community. I would like to know if there is anyone who can help him. Can we take him to a “place” that will help him with his addiction and his mental issues before he hurts us or I have a heart attack from the stress.

Your situation sounds very difficult and I can appreciate the pain and frustration you are feeling. Your question contain many indicators that your son needs professional counselling, especially in terms of the death of his mates. Unresolved, a trauma like that one would certainly easily lead to the kinds of experiences you are no having with him. I suggest you phone Kidshelpline  (National: 1800 55 1800) or Parent Helpline (WA: 1800 654 432 1800 654 432; SA: 1300 364 100; QLD & NT: 1300 30 1300; VIC: 13 22 89; TAS: 1300 808 178;NSW: 13 20 55; ACT: 6287 3833)

In terms of directly addressing the problem you would probably get more appropriate direction from one of the organisations I have listed below. They are much more experienced in these issues than I am.

In terms of you and your husband though: Whatever the reason, your son is so established in his patterns of defiance that the road to change will be quite long, but it is not impossible. What you can do in the short term is to reinforce the positive in your son (wherever you find it and however small it is) and resist the temptation to engage with him on his terms. You need to build a platform of security in your relationship and acceptance of him as your son to give you the confidence to pursue his behaviours that are totally unacceptable.

For a whole range of reasons, including and probably beyond the ones you have indicated, he wants you and his society to be angry with him. Every time he provokes you to rage he wins, and you lose. It is not easy to stay calm in the face of an abusive teen but it is the most important weapon in your arsenal.

Something that may help you is to keep in mind that the problems that most concern you at the moment are not yours. If he is not attending school – that is the problem of the school, Department of Education and Police. His community service and pending court appearance are the problem of the courts and the police. I know it sounds impossible, but at this point in your situation the only focus for you and your husband should be on small domestic matters. Look for a chink in his angry armour, some small softness and receptivity, and build on that – that will be the most likely starting point to bring him to recovery and will help bring you some peace.
The eBook mentioned in the My Teen is Out of Control link below has some really good sections on the importance of looking after yourself in this and strategies to focus on the problems that are yours.

Now as to the organisations that are best placed to directly help:


Tough Love is an organisation that has over 30 years experience dealing with situations like yours, they will have people who understand what you are going through and have good advice to offer.

Youth Off the Streets is an excellent organisation that has a wide range of residential programs that may suit your son’s situation. If not they will have a very current view of what is available in Australia. Information and contact details can be found on their

Teen Challenge is a Christian organisation that has residential programs in most states. Queensland has one for 16-25 year olds  and South Australia has one for 18+ but they will make exceptions Both programs require a willingness to accept a Christian approach to treatment and voluntary admission. Like Youth Off The Streets their staff would be up to date with other programs available today.

Headspace, the national mental health initiative website has a range of information and contact points that might help you.


There is an company in the USA called My Out Of Control Teen that provides training and online resources and counselling for parents in situations like yours. The cost is a one off charge of US$29. I cannot vouch for the quality of the program but it seems well credentialed. I have attached a copy of the book they sell on the website – it will help you decide whether the material is suitable for you. They also have a very active forum and online counselling program. The website is

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My daughter wants to move in with her boyfriend

QUESTION: My daughter is 15 and is telling us she is going to move out at 16 and live with her current 17 year old boyfriend. We have concerns about this and have spoken with her. If she leaves home at 16 and get into any trouble with the police or in debt will we be held responsible for her actions even if we can’t make her stay at home. She believes that when she is 16 she can legally move out is this right or is it 18 or 21.

You daughter is right, She can leave home without your permission at 16. Unfortunately laws have been framed this way because of the need to protect some of our children from dreadful experiences at home and in the process they sometimes make it harder for responsible parents to guide their children in the right direction.

The reality of the situation is that even if it wasn’t lawful, your daughter is of an age that if she wants to move in with her boyfriend there is very little you could do to stop it. The issue is not serious enough for the authorities to act.

Let us hope she does not get into trouble with the police, but if she does she will be the one accountable for it. Similarly with debt: the only way in which you could be held responsible for it is if you sign leases, contracts or rental agreements.

The first place to start though is to lay a foundation so that whether your daughter leaves home or not your relationship will survive. While it may not seem like it to her now (and at times it may not even seem like it to you) that relationship is going to be very important to her life in the near future.

Perhaps there are areas in which you could lighten up which give her a greater sense of independence without compromising your family expectations and values?

Also, it is important to build the relationship in spite of the current tension. It would be a very good thing to find some opportunities to spend positive time with each other in which the conflict areas are not discussed. Maybe have a weekly lunch date during which you both are banned from talking about anything to do with the boyfriend or her leaving home. This won’t be easy at first but if you persist it will become very valuable time during which you will almost certainly rediscover your mother-daughter relationship. It is that relationship that will ultimately give your daughter safety and security and you peace.

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My teenager won’t go to school

QUESTION: My teenager won’t go to school. How do I get him/her to go?

RESPONSE: Teens who resist going to school do so for a variety of reasons. Each reason requires a different response. The problem for parents is that their kids will rarely tell them why they don’t want them to go.

The first step is always to try and discern what lies behind the resistance. This can take some time, especially when the parent is so frustrated and upset, and the teen so stubborn, that any conversation becomes a shouting match.

Don’t have the discussion in the midst of trying to convince the teen to go to school. On school mornings everyone is tense; it is hard to be calm. Plus, there is a battle ground so both parties want to win. The teen wants to stay home; the parent wants the teen to go to school.

Instead make a time to discuss the issue, perhaps after dinner or perhaps even in a neutral venue like a restaurant. While the teen is unlikely to acknowledge that he or she must go to school, an even partly reasonable teenager will accept that the issue must be discussed. This is particularly true if the parents give the impression they will listen to the arguments even if they don’t agree with them.

In the discussion give the teen time to say what it is about school that is bothering him or her. The initial responses are likely to be trivial or monosyllabic (“it sucks”, “it’s boring”) but with persistent gentle questioning the truth will usually come out.

The 3 major reasons teens avoid school (and potential solutions) are:

1) Social networks

Your daughter, or son, may be struggling to find friends, or may be experiencing bullying verbally, electronically or physically. Whatever the cause if your child feels un-liked or unacceptable then school, where that message is reinforced every day, is the last place he or she wants to be.

This child needs parental support to develop strategies to stop the bullying and to build a network of friends to provide a buffer against the cruelty of other students.

Never take bullying lightly, the era of ‘names will never hurt me’ is long gone because modern means of bullying have become so invasive and social acceptance has become such a huge part of our society. In previous generations bullying messed with one’s popularity, today it can crush a kid’s sense of value.

2) Not coping with the work

Some teens cannot face school because it seems that in every lesson confronts them with their inability to learn. Pride will frequently prevent these kids from admitting the academic struggle they face, instead they simply take every opportunity to not experience it.

Talk to your child’s teachers, the school possibly has support programs in place. If you can afford it seek tutoring to help your child overcome the ‘hump’ that is blocking his or her progress. If he or she will let you, work on your teen’s homework and assignments with him or her. The simple fact of having someone help can make the learning easier and much more effective.

3) Cannot see a future

Our last category of persistent truants are those kids in mid teens who just cannot see the point in going to school. It is their perception that nothing they do in school relates to what they want to do in life so can see no point in going to school. Or they see nothing in life they want to do, or believe they could do, and so cannot see the benefit of learning now because in their minds qualifications don’t matter if there is nothing they will ever be qualified to do.

These kids best respond when the adults in their life help them focus on specific beneficial outcomes rather than vague concepts of levels of academic achievement. These kids are not interested in what a year 12 student needs to achieve. Their only interest is “what am I going to do?”

In general the best motivation for these students is to mix work and career with school. School based apprenticeships, TAFE courses linked to their school program, 1 & 2 day work placements can all work wonders in making these kids want to go to school (but they will still do all they can to avoid traditional classroom learning).

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My son is using school attendance as blackmail!


I have a 15 year old son who is in grade 10. He asked me last weekend if I would get Broadband, and I told him that I couldn’t afford it and it was an un-necessary expense. Because of that he refuses to go to school until I get it on. What can I do??? Don’t say contact the school because I have and they don’t care…….


Thanks for your question, 15 year old boys can be so much fun can’t they!

Firstly, as a bit of background to his reaction: mid to late teen boys are very clever (some would say devious). They are smart enough to know when logic won’t help them win an argument so they resort to either cruelty – saying hurtful things in loud ways – or blackmail, or both. Every time they win an argument this way extends the amount of time they will use the same method the next time.

The good news for parents in this is if they are strong and: 1) don’t escalate the problem by responding to the boy in the same way, and 2) don’t give in; the emotions will ease reasonably quickly and the issue will pass. Then in a couple of days (or hours) either a new issue and new battle will arise, or the boy might give the old one a go again. Another piece of good news is that by the time a boy is 18 this approach fades pretty quickly.

Now to your particular situation:

Assuming that the issue is just broadband perhaps there are some questions you could ask yourself and discuss with him.

Is his need for broadband related to school? If so this could be quite a reasonable request. Broadband access is fast becoming an integral part of secondary education.

The teacher of nearly every class he attends will at some point suggest using the internet to research something. The point here though is that by staying away from school to protest not having broadband he his defeating his own argument. Perhaps you could suggest that he demonstrates his commitment to school and learning first by his attendance, attitude and application till Easter and then together you will make a decision, with the following question in mind:

Is he able to make some sacrifice that will contribute to the cost? Share a portion of his pay from his weekend job (if he has one, if not maybe he should get one), buying lunch at school on fewer days, or no days. Settling for ‘lesser’ brand clothes etc. I am aware that this will mean a sacrifice on your part too but with broadband plans available for $29.95pm with no upfront cost it may be possible – it means each of you have to find a way to squeeze, say, an extra $4 per week. By the way, if you do go this way be very careful to get a plan that is ‘slowed’ after you reach your download limit, that way you can be certain to never pay excess usage charges.

If that is not possible do you have access to an alternate solution: is there a neighbour or family member or library close by the he can use to access the internet for study?

On the other hand, if he wants broadband for non-school issues (MySpace & MSN, downloading music, etc) then I would be putting to him that he pays for it himself. To protect your budget you might like to suggest that he saves the first 3 months of subscriptions before you sign up for anything and then he pays monthly in advance. You might be able to contribute a small amount if you and other members of your family will be using the internet.

With either option it will important to work out some usage rules first. The internet – especially for teens – can easily be a black hole that sucks in time. Discuss reasonable usage that allows him time to complete his school work and some school performance measures he must attain. Put that into a contract he signs before any broadband plan is taken. The contract won’t guarantee that he will use the internet sensibly, it will just help you when you have the argument with him about over use or inappropriate use.

My concern, though, is that his reaction has been so severe I wonder if broadband is the issue or an excuse to take a stand.

Is he having problems at school he hasn’t told you about? Is he struggling academically? Is he being bullied or socially excluded in some way (and not having broadband could be contributing to that)? Is he nervous about achieving the results he needs for the future he wants?

Is he struggling at home? Are there some unresolved issue between the two of you that he can’t talk about but can’t ignore? Is he angry about some issues in his life and this is the simplest way of express the anger without talking about the issues.

If you suspect this might be the case then I would suggest you give him some time to calm down and when both of you are calm have one of those “hey mate, what’s really going on here?” conversations. These can be hard to initiate, with a sullen teenage boy it can seem impossible, but if you are calm and choose a time for the conversation when are you both least likely to be stressed, over time you will get to the heart of the matter.

These are just brief thoughts, I hope they give you some ideas and encouragement. If the problem persists or, more importantly, escalates, I would strongly suggest that you seek a family counsellor. Life Line and Centacare are two organisations that provide excellent service at a very low fee.