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11year old boy driving me to distraction(15 Posts)
Hi not been on here for very long time but could do with much needed gentle advice please.
I have only child ds who is 11 & starts secondary in September.
Currently having real issues with behaviour mainly aggressive arguing back, cannot control his emotions especially @ sport, generally just pretty miserable with a doesn't give a shit attitude.
An example is that dh runs his cricket team, if he's out he looses it whether in practice or a game, he answers back on decisions to the extent that DH sent him off last week (I didn't even know you could do that in cricket!, he comments out loud on other peoples performances and is negative and slumpy shouldered.
We have banned him from having lessons until he can get himself under control but whilst he's in the throes of a 'tantrum' there's just no talking to him.
Is this hormones, rubbish behaviour, normal. Are we being too soft?.
He likes his tv has an xbox which he rarely plays, loves football drama cricket
I am exhausted with trying to get him to see that things don't need to be this challenging, and am at a loss in how to deal with everything.
Experienced answers welcomed .
This back talk is him testing his boundaries and challenging authority. Arguably it demonstrates he feels the most comfortable around you. Perhaps better he treats you this way instead of aggravating others or after the holidays, mouthing off at teachers or figures of authority. He could be all too aware he's going to face new challenges at secondary school but that is no excuse for back chat.
Frustrating as it is stay calm and in control of your emotions. Resist any temptation to engage in a shouting match. At normal pitch and volume tell him these types of comments are not acceptable and you will not tolerate it. It might be an idea to drop the father-son cricket experience for a week or two if it's a pressure keg.
Remind him if he is upset about something and wants to talk about it, you or dad are always available. Be consistent and make sure DH is on the same page as you.
DS may try to say even more rude things to you just to get a reaction out of you or his dad. Keep reprimands short and consistent so he realises this isn't up for debate.
Thanks for advice- so today I have taken a stance and after yet another tantrum at cricket practice I have banned him from a match on Sunday.
He has begged and begged but I have remained calm and told him that's the way it is and there's no earning it back and refused to discuss it any more.
He shouted and cried but has gone to bed remarkably calmly and happy.
I have spoken with DH and we have agreed a united planned front.
Any strategies anyone has that I can share with ds that will help with dealing with his emotions would be very much appreciated.
Is he aware that he's struggling with his emotions?
If he is, then you might be able to use his love of drama to help him work though what he was feeling (and as a consequence of that how to recognise it in the future) by devising a script for a play. Have him try to work out how the situation could have been handle better (by having an alternate ending maybe?).
My DS (11) uses a journal to work through his feelings and then either leaves it for me/DH to read and discuss with him later, or come to talk to one or both of us directly. When teamed with firm boundaries and simple, clear, non-negotiable expectations it certainly helped us navigate the 10yo grumpfest phase (he sulked, grumped, snarled and moaned...it got him precisely nowhere).
Has he gone to bed calm and happy because, although he enjoys the game, he also feels stressed about his inability to maintain control and is, in part, relieved about not participating? Does he find it hard when he feels that someone else has broken the rules and is getting away with it?
Before he can deal with his emotions he has to be able to recognise them. My first strategy would be to use sentences like "I can see that you are feeling angry....." and "I know that this makes you feel frustrated...." so that he is aware of the emotion he is experiencing. You can also help him to recognise the physical effects these emotions have on him.
Get him to talk about what he feels like doing when he is angry and help him to choose alternative strategies. When he is angry you can remind him of those strategies and help him to use them.
Children don't always just learn to manage their anger. They sometimes need someone to lead them through the process lots of times, gradually withdrawing support until they can manage the process themselves.
Thank you for your thoughts, I shall be trying the strategies out.
Goldmandra you have pretty much hit the nail on the head, he becomes frustrated with his own performance but probably more so with that of others.
He can be insensitive in voicing his opinions and it is maybe that that I find difficult to deal with myself as I get incredibly embarrassed.
Any recommended reading??
Hi since reading your message yesterday I came across this and thought it might be useful for you. Possibly watch it with your son?
Best wishes - remember all things pass and it about dealing with them with loving fairness. We parents can't know we are right at the time and if in retrospect you realise that you have done something horrible and hurtful do apologise. My parents never said sorry and I still remember the nasty things they did and said. With mine I explain and apologise and they forgive and understand. It cuts both ways of course. <3
Another approach could be to analyse the actions and viewpoint of the other players with him so he can start to see things from their perspective. I use this with my DDs who have AS and can have a very one-sided view of events.
By asking questions, get him to put himself in the other player's shoes and help him to acknowledge other factors which affected them that he may not have been aware of. Also get him to consider the fact that they may have made mistakes or misjudgements. Then follow it up with how they might be feeling, how his words could be affecting them and how he could respond differently to make things better for everyone.
If you take a social story approach with this and do it repeatedly, including on days when he hasn't lost his temper, the idea is that he will eventually be able to integrate those thought processes into his responses while in the thick of it and start responding differently.
It takes a lot of time but can be very successful.
As well as firm boundaries and short focused consequences be sure to look for as many opportunities as you can to give him independence, choice and a feeling of being control of his situation.
Team sports are all well and good, but being trusted to go to the pool with one good mate or the shop on your own are situations far more within his control.
Something we do with DS, who is 10 and has similar tantrums, is to give him a random word that if he feels himself getting overwhelmed he can say it and it means he needs one of us to stop and just let him vent at us a little. Once he has vented a bit, we can then resume the discussion we were having.
It doesn't always work because he forgets, or doesn't realise how wound up he is getting, but it has been useful.
Goldmandra- ds was tested for as when he was smaller and did not tick enough boxes but it has always been on the back of my mind.
The transition to secondary is definitely on his mind and I am sure that this is having an effect.
He can become very anxious when faced with really easy decisions, if things do not go as he had planned, if he feels that he has failed at something even though he consistently highly achieves, he is a level 6 maths/reading student and he definitely has one sided views with peers and grown ups.
I am beginning to think this combined with hormones and the fact that we have allowed him to get away with it for too long is our issue, and to be honest we have probably let him down by not giving him clear enough boundaries.
Do you mind me asking your experiences with your dd's?
I would recommend reading "how to talk so kids will listen and listen so children will talk" which gives some great strategies.
I also recommend "philosophy for kids" for him to read, and that you start to use emotional language around your DS so he can describe his feelings rather than kick off in a tantrum - it really helps to say "I can see you are worried" and help a child articulate their emotion.
You may also like to read books by Tony Attwood about Aspergers - he deals with the issues of anxiety and resistance to change (typical of, but not limited to, those with AS). You son may not be diagnosed but Tony Attwood discusses anxiety etc so even if you have no diagnosis this is a useful resource for parents and children to understand anxiety. Lots of people get anxious and I still think Tony Attwood discusses it well - better than most other child rearing books who tend to skirt round that stuff.
Your son needs coping strategies to deal with his emotions - this will help him, and by helping him it will help you as well.
Do you mind me asking your experiences with your dd's?
Autism wasn't on our radar at all until DD1 transferred to High School. At that point our quiet, sensitive DD who didn't like interacting much with her peers and often thought people were doing things on purpose to upset her, suddenly started refusing school and hiding in her bedroom. It took a year to get her back into school and during that time CAMHS diagnosed her with AS. Her mental well being took quite a battering during that time.
In hindsight I can see a lot of subtle signs like not liking to go on holiday, not playing imaginatively, finding rules very important, not wanting to play in the playground, etc but we had just put them down to her being quite academically ahead of her peers and just being a bit of a quirky individual.
She now has a statement of SEN for social and emotional reasons and is doing very well sixth form in a great school where she gets a small amount of very consistent but low key support.
DD2 was diagnosed just after her sister when she was in Y3. She gets a lot more angry when people break rules and finds busy environments like classrooms hard to cope with. She shuts down emotionally in school then loses it big time when she gets home. She's also very academically able but has a statement and TA support in school.
Sanctions based behaviour management isn't usually the best way to deal with behaviour resulting from ASD so don't tell yourself you have let him get away with too much. It is better to look for the reasons behind the behaviour, often anxiety or misunderstanding social rules and try to minimise those instead. COming down heavily with punishments can increase anxiety and make the child's behaviour worse as they fight harder to gain the control they need to feel safe.
Thank you so much for your time very much appreciated.
If you are concerned that he will struggle with the transition to secondary you need to bring this up with the school SENCo now because there are ways they can support him. He doesn't need any diagnosis to be entitled to this support. You raising a concern is enough.
Is this his transition year? If so you should try to contact someone in the school before the start of term and ask what they can put in place for him to make the transition easier. A good SENCo would much rather know in advance, even at this stage, and be able to keep an eye on him than allow him to struggle.
Miggsie is spot on about Tony Attwood. See if you can get hold of one of his books. It may help you to understand what is going on in your DS's head and feel more able to help him and get him the right support in school if he needs it.
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