Something I have been dealing with that only cropped up in the 14 years old year is something that I consider to be verbal abuse, teen to mother and teen to brother and father too. How and why that was happening left me confused at first but I think I have figured out why that son of mine is doing it.
A friend posted on Facebook that her sons are telling her she's a bad mother. Here is what I wrote to her with a bit more information added.
Welcome to the club. We have been accused of being the worst family on the planet and running away to be homeless would be an improvement. Teens say these things sometimes but they don't mean it. Their moods swing like pendulums. At the grocery store the other day suddenly my younger one (age 12) said, "I am so happy." I asked why (this was so random) and he said, "because I have a really good life". It all balances out.
They seem to be testing out using their words to hurt others which is something that I don't like being the guinea pig for. I tell them I will not let them verbally abuse me as it's sick and cruel so knock it off.
To communicate or to feel negative emotions is okay, but it has to be about what they really are feeling about the real issue. Since they were toddlers I have worked with them on identifying the real core thing that is affecting them. I tell them it's not alright to call me names and try to emotionally hurt me because they are mad about something like losing their earbuds. If they are feeling low about their own actions they should not start trying to bring everyone else down with them, in my opinion. I think that's what teens (and some adults) do. "If I can't be happy right now then no one will be happy" is how they think.
I tell my kids these things both when they are calm and happy and when they are ranting and raving and angry (but I try not to talk to them too much as dis-engaging or choosing not to engage them when they are irrationally angry seems to be the smartest thing to do.) I tell my kids that when they are mad about something they did to themselves, it is alright to feel that emotion. However, it's not alright to transfer the anger to other people or objects by throwing things damaging physical property or hitting people or using words to abuse people just to try to make them feel crappy like they do. I tell my kids that is what abusive people do and what bullies do. I say we (parents) don't abuse each other and didn't abuse them and we are not raising kids who abuse other people, so they need to learn to not channel their emotion in that way. Period.
When they are angry, I tell them to go run around the neighborhood, take a bike ride, do deep breathing, go sit alone and listen to music, go write a letter telling of your feelings, do whatever it takes to work it out but do not turn the negative emotions to hurt other people or to damage things.