Struggling so much with DS (7)(16 Posts)
I don't know what to do. My lovely, calm, sensitive, kind, happy, bright, eloquent DS has been replaced by an incredibly angry, frustrated, obstinate oversensitive creature who refuses to do anything at all & is being a nightmare. I'm in tears every day.
He is rude, defiant, he threatens to run away, he says he's never able to do what he wants to do (e.g. on Friday, he played out for an hour with his friends... I called him in & he had a massive screaming tantrum about never being allowed to do anything. I pointed out that he HAD been doing something he wants to do but that didn't help.) I try to take him places - to play crazy golf, have an ice cream, strawberry picking & we spend time together at home chatting & reading etc.
At bedtime, he gets up 4, 5, 6 times... I can't stop him. I know I need to have boundaries but I don't know what to do. How do I stop him coming out? He doesn't even make an excuse, he just gets up & wanders around the house, despite knowing I'll be cross. He goes out of his way to create problems where he will end up being told off, then he cries that it's not fair.
It stems from various things including his father leaving him when he was a baby - he lives overseas now & sees DS a couple of times a year. My ex left us this year, after 3 years together & DS was devastated. I've been very ill over the past 18 months or so & suffer chronic pain & fatigue. I try really hard not to let my illness have a big impact on DS but it does affect our lives.
I am doing my very best to remain calm but I can't do it. Today, I told DS that I was going to call his aunty and tell her to come and get him because it's so awful. I don't want to say things like that.
We have involvement from Young Carers and now CAMHS. Their advice was for me to do even more nurturing things, like me brushing his hair rather than asking him to do it himself. I've read & used Lovebombing & a book about parenting a bright but challenging child but I'm lost. I hate this.
I'm exhausted. WTF do I do?
My DSS was like this at times, he could be fab when getting his own way, but a nightmare when not. We found being calm
whilst counting to 1000 and following through on punishments worked a treat.
I think getting up in the night is just a phase, we tackled it by saying every five minutes after bedtime you are up and around means you will lose ten minutes of Xbox or tv et tomorrow evening.
For the rude and defiant behaviour we used three times you're out, so at first issue it would be something like "if you continue with this xxxxxx then you will not play out, use your scooter etc etc, this is your first warning" carries on, " right that's your serving warning, once more you lose xxxxxx", carries on "right you have now lost xxxx for whatever period you quoted" stick to it, don't budge for playing up.
My DH when frustrated used to say thinks like your grounded until your 18 or I'm selling the tv. Never had any impact as DSS knew pretty unlikely.
If you've already done these, apologies, but we did find calm consisten behaviour from us worked. If ithelpshe got better until 6 months ago and now we have a raging hormonal 15 year old.
hi Grockle. how old is he? I've no idea if that is relevant but I do wonder if he has hit some developmental bump or has hormones starting to fly round and confuse him. ds1 turned into a complete horror for a while at 10.... then stopped it for no apparent reason (now we are revving up for teens.)
It's hard going, esp when you're not 100% healthwise.
i have ms which saps my energy and limits some things that i do but it is a fact of life fpr all of us in our family..dd 9 knows that if i can do things i will but she has had phases like your lad when nothing is enough and is furious with me for limiting her.
Things that i think have helped are
being open about my illness
not running myself into the ground becsuse i feel guilty that there are things i can't do
Accepting that it's not all me, that at timed she is rude and demanding and it's not helpful to any of us to put up with it
at 7 i think your ds should be able to entertain himself for chunks of time, be mostly polite and know treats are treats. It's also normal to try his boots on behaviourwise and to feel hard done by.
Can you maybe set a small budget for some holiday treats and get him to research what he'd like to do, ((within whatever constraints you have distance.time of dsy) then make those things contimgent on him behaving himself. At 7 , dd started wanting to be a bit more independant eg going to multisport camps at school which gave me a break and let her burn off some energy
and when he goes out, tell him what time he needs to come back (and stick to it)
oh and i'd second ratbag's strategies
good luck OP
He has had a lot of issues over his short life and appears to be an angry child. Although he loves you to bits, you are the one there and so you are the one that is getting the brunt of it.
I would sit him down when you are both calm and tell him that you are not happy, you do not wish to be annoyed with him the whole time.
Draw up some basic rules together- keep it simple e.g once he is in bed he has to stay there - he can read but he stays in his room.
Make a list of things he would like to do over the summer- they don't have to be costly.
As there are only 2 of you give him more responsibility- e.g helping him cook a meal.
List 2 depends on list one. If he keeps to list one then you do something from list 2.
Grockle, what a lot you have to deal with.
I could have written quite a lot of what you have written myself and completely empathise with you. I am undergoing tests for various neurology tests and too suffer with major fatigue and muscle weakness. My ds 6 has gone through a really bad period where he wanted to kill himself, was being very angry towards himself and me.
I am now seeing a counsellor to help me through this and seeing a child pscychotherapist for ds. It is helping. One of the things she has explained to me is that at this age their emotional side of the brain is not yet matured and doesn't mature at the same rate as their intellect brain therefore they can be quite bright (ie clever and doing well at school) but not deal with their emotions very well.
For eg. Yesterday my ds and I have a special time booked out once a week where we do a play session chosen by him. In the am I told him that I was having a red day( our code for me saying that my symptoms were bad and to be gentle with me.) he took that to meaning we wouldn't have our play session and for 3 hours was a nightmare. When I had realised that might have been a trigger, I asked him about it, we talked, I explained that we could still have it but inside and toys rather than outside running around, his behaviour was fine and all was tickety boo.
This has been a real learning curve for us and for you too I am sure but please be comforted in that you are not alone. You both have had a lot to deal with and it sounds like your ds has a lot of emotions inside him that he can't describe. I would highly recommend seeing some professionals to help you through this.
You are doing a great job. Lots of love and reassurance to your ds will help. Lots of cuddles. We have found actually having a cuddle time where I just say "how u feeling today? " is working quite well. Any emotion he is feeling is okay and helping him to deal with it. Here for you.
Oh poor boy, and poor you! Sounds as if with all this stress hes become a bit anxious and bad-tempered and afraid to you let you out of his sight at night, maybe when he has a quiet moment he starts fretting and hed rather be shouted at than be left to himself. Im glad youre getting some help from CAMHS etc, hopefully that will make a difference.
One thing you could try at bedtime if you havent already I got it off Supernanny, she did it for a worried little boy who wouldnt stay in bed, and it worked for my DS when he went through an anxious phase too I did the bedtime routine, story, kiss, tuck up, the works, put on his story CD and nightlight as usual, and then I said shut your eyes and try to go to sleep, Ill come back in 5 minutes, Im going to do the washing up. 5 minutes later I came back, gave him a kiss and said try to go to sleep, Ill come back in 5 minutes, Im going to watch telly. Then I repeated that, but with a 10 minute gap, then 15 minutes, 20 minutes . Once DS realised that I wasnt doing anything exciting and I would always come back to him he stopped getting out of bed, and a few days later he was nodding off pretty promptly. Dunno if itll help but might be worth a try!
Hope things improve
Thank you for the responses. MrsShrek, he's 7.
It's hard... I KNOW I need to be firm, fair & consistent & follow through when I say something & I think that on the whole I do. I do it at work but it's easier there... somehow doing it with your own child is harder! Especially when you are exhausted and functioning poorly.
Polly - I do end up running myself into the ground and then some. I honestly don't know how to find a balance between work, DS & the house.
Exotic, DS has had to do things like cook his own dinner when I've been too ill to do it. CAMHS say that is part of the problem & to take all responsibility away from him (which I can't really do. I need help) but I do like the idea of 2 lists.
Kleinzeit... I might try that. I struggle with the stairs though & often, when DS is 'in bed', I collapse on my bed & can barely move but I think it is worth trying. Bedtime worked tonight for the first time in weeks because I fell asleep whilst reading to him.
Thank you for the support. This is really difficult for me
children of 7 often enjoy helping, they don't necessarily have to feel like it's responsibility. I have a dd of that age and she has helped no end around the house, esp at 6yo when dh was having chemo.
Boys are sometimes less willing to express their emotions though, ime. with my ds2 (during dhs illness ealier this year, as above) we had a crystal ornament and he decided it was his crystal of feelings, he would bring it when he needed to talk, tell me what colour he saw in it and what that meant about his mood and what he was thinking. He needed something to latch on to to be able to express it all. The entire thing was his idea, he has even drawn me a diagram of the crystal and all the colours in it and what they mean. He was 8 at the time
Hi, I know exactly how you're feeling right now! I have M.E. and single parent to a 9 yr old DS.
Try not to take his ranting to heart. He's ranting at you because you're his Mum and that's what kids do, not because you put him under too much pressure! I know it's easy to say, and I often forget myself when I'm faced with a ranty child who I can never seem to please.
I find with DS that routine helps, so rather than him having to prepare his own food when I am ill we work it into the normal routine, he chops veg etc / gets the plates out / does some washing up while I'm cooking. It means he panics less when he has to do a bit more and he's also confident that he can do it himself. He's really proud that he can cook and often chooses new things to try together.
It gives him a chance to talk to me ( at me ) and I found out from someone he's been working with that it's one of his favourite things ( I was worried I'd been pushing him too far! )
I find rescue remedy night helps with DS. He's had some serious stuff going on this year and it has made a noticable difference to his anxiety levels at night.
Feel free to P.M. me. I really do know how hard it is. If it's anything like DS, you'll find out in a few weeks time that he'd had a problem with someone/ something else completely unrelated and it wasn't aimed at you at all!!
Grockle, would a 2 way walkie talkie/baby monitor work for bedtimes? 'I'll speak to you in 5 minutes, and check you're okay'.
My DS was similar when I was recovering from long term illness last year. I taught him anger management strategies (punching pillow, doing 100 star jumps etc), and also relaxation techniques (alternate nostril breathing, handful or foot massage). It was hard for him having to be good because people expected him to help me and his little sisters.
Give yourself a break too, could you afford/arrange play scheme or science camp for a few days?
And remember, there is no perfect childhood, you didn't choose to be ill. We are coming out of the other side now, I'm much better and I can see the sensitive, caring young man that DS is growing into...I hope in some ways that this time has offered him opportunities to develop his empathy and relationship skills.
Thank you all, for being understanding and supportive.
Coro, we have lots in common! I think getting DS to cook with me is a good idea, so it doesn't come as a shock when he has to step up & help. Rescue remedy is a good idea too. I've tried lavender oil.
ballstoit, DS sometimes has his iPod at bedtmime to listen to audiobooks on. He'll sometimes text me(!) but it just keeps him awake!
I don't need a break over the summer as he's going to his Dad's for 3 weeks (the cause of most of his current anxiety). I will do massages - I do that with the children at work but somehow forgot to try it at home.
3 Weeks! wow! What's your ds worrying about? Are they going away somewhere?
My ds has been worrying about the end of term! He doesn't like a change in his routine. -rolls eyes-
DS's father lives in the US so he goes over there. It's a long way from home & he doesn't have or see any friends over there, only his father's girlfriend's family. His Dad treats him oddly, like DS is a small adult & he sounds bored all the time.
We've had a lovely day today with friends (MNers actually) & DS has loved it.
Gosh, no wonder he's anxious! I'm pleased you both had a better day. take care. X
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