How can I give my 11 year old a "childhood" ; in London. What can we do?

(126 Posts)
Quinteszilla Wed 26-Mar-14 10:23:22

Please dont get me wrong. I am an adult, I grew up in a different world, in a different time, where kids were kids and roamed free, and where school and homework was a natural part of life. I never questioned things much at that age, I went with "the flow". I also did what my parents told me to do.

I struggle with our 11 year old. We are in London where kids dont roam free, and where you dont just go knock on somebodys door to play or hang out.

I honestly dont know what to do! He comes home from school, is knackered, sits in front of his pc and aimlessly go between minecraft, and youtube videos. He seems obsessed with shooting games, bb guns, guns, and we found him looking at some gory stuff yesterday where people were impaled. He had found a reference to this on a Fails video.

He has a strong will. I cannot "make" him do anything. I struggle to get him to stop playing games, struggle to get him to do homework, he has lost interest in the trampoline, his skateboard, lego mindstorm, wont read books, not interested in good programs on tv. Nothing. Everything is a battle. I fight with him over homework until last minute where he suddenly blows a fuse because he had not done homework. I am incredulous, because I have told him Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday that he has a special homework in for Wednesday, and on tuesday night all hell breaks out because he is frustrated that he has not done it and he will get detention. I tell him he will take the consequences and get detention, and he freaks out.

What am I supposed to do? All weekend was spent on minecraft. I could not get him off that game. In the end I and ds2 went out without him, and just left him at home. He baked an apple crumble on his own, which he eventually binned without letting us have any, because we did not eat it straight away after dinner. We were watching Top Gear together, and he made a point of not watching because we were asking him to join us.
DH took them swimming on Sunday, and he refused to come, so dh left him behind with me. I was supposed to use the time he was away to study, and with ds1 home I couldnt. I tried to get him to do homework, he wouldnt.

He is too big to lift him off his chair and carry him out.

He is refusing to do everything and anything we ask of him, and shouts and screams if we try to restrict his minecraft.

I honestly wish we could afford to send him to boarding school. I have tried so hard to create a happy family life, and I am so drained by him.

I have not bothered to NC, so please go easy on me as I am feeling really fragile about this whole parenting lark.

Disable the internet?
I'm sorry. I'm not looking forward to this stage either!

Leave Timeout lying around artlessly, open at pages of stuff of interest?

Quinteszilla Wed 26-Mar-14 10:33:15

I have left Time Out, National Geographic, Wanderlust, etc out.

We cant disable the internet due to dhs work. Dh finally got around to set up parental controls on ds1s pc yesterday night.

It is terrible. He says he hates school because of homework. I am telling him he would get homework whatever school he goes to.

MmeMorrible Wed 26-Mar-14 10:34:12

Hi OP, I have a DD the same age and I agree it is so hard to start letting her have a bit more freedom. We're in a more rural location though, so it is easier to let her do things like a solo bike ride, trip down to the village shop etc. However, none of her school friends live close by so she doesn't go out to knock on doors like I did as a child.

Does your DS have any close friends nearby that you could setup reciprocal after school hanging out sessions with?

Quinteszilla Wed 26-Mar-14 10:36:19

I suggested he spend 10 minutes daily reading BBC News so he can be uptodate with what is happening (he needs this for one of his classes) but he just smirked at me and said "yeah right, as if I am going to spend my precious time on that"

I bought him a £12 fountain pen for school work two weeks ago. He snapped it last night in the rage over homework. This morning, he asked me to go into town to buy him a new fountain pen. I told him to dream on, he could get one with his own money on the way to kick boxing tonight. He left the house in a huff.

Some man he is turning into. sad

WorraLiberty Wed 26-Mar-14 10:36:48

It sounds dreadful but I'm not sure what it has to do with living in London?

I would definitely restrict his screen time so he has to earn it back.

Sure he'll shout and scream but that's what kids do. He'll eventually realise that it won't get him anywhere and that he'll catch more flies with honey.

Quinteszilla Wed 26-Mar-14 10:37:48

I wish we could just take his computer away, but he he needs it for school work.

WorraLiberty Wed 26-Mar-14 10:39:56

You can take it away though and only allow him to do school work on it until he changes his attitude.

Quinteszilla Wed 26-Mar-14 10:41:51

Worra, the link to London is that he spends all his spare time inside with nowhere to go!
If we were still in Norway, or somewhere rural, he would have places to go. I just dont know what to suggest in this environment as I have no frame of reference!

In Norway I would suggest he go cycling, go for a jog, run down to the shop and find his mates, go out pick berries, go fishing, go down to the beach, the youth club, take his skateboard out to the local skate area, go to the playground (where older kids hang out), climb trees, go see his friends! Here there is absolutely nothing!

Even I sit on my arse with nothing to do, bored senseless day in and day out. All I ever do is cook, clean, laundry, the school run, and drive kids to various activities.

zirca Wed 26-Mar-14 10:47:14

I believe restricting computer access can be helpful with getting children that age to co-operate! At least, everyone I know with teenage DC use restriction of TV/computer/phone in that way!

MrsDavidBowie Wed 26-Mar-14 10:51:40

Why are YOU bored living in London? And when you say London, do you mean inner city or's a big place.

I think you are indulging him...and allowing him to get away with shocking behaviour.I can't see many eleven year olds picking berries grin

MrsDavidBowie Wed 26-Mar-14 10:52:53

And does he have no friends? D's at that age would go swimming, play football..and we are in London, not some rural idyll.

WorraLiberty Wed 26-Mar-14 10:54:14

That's so strange because I live in London and I was literally only saying to my DS(11) yesterday, how lucky we are that there is so much free stuff to do.

He plays in the street with his friends, the buses are free so they can go off in to town to a different park, museums etc.

Sometimes I take him deeper into London to see all the free street entertainers. Almost always if you check your local website, there is stuff for kids to do.

Are his friends restricted in their freedom or are they allowed to get out and about?

Being in London really hasn't nothing to do with - just becasue he has places to go does not mean he would go there. There is too much for them to do indoors to stop them going out. We went out becasue there was no TV for our age group, no computers etc and we had no phone. If you wanted to speak to spmeone you had to go to their house to do it.

I don't know what the solution is. We live in a nice area and my two at 12 and 13 could have a lot of freedom. They prefer to be in. At weekends in decent weather we will kick them out and lock the door for a couple of hours!

You say he does kick boxing, maybe just get him in to more activities so he has less free time to waste?

We have a rule that homework must be done on the day it is given. If it is a longer project type thing then it must be at least started on the day it is given. We take away the power cables or controllers for their games consoles if there are any issues.

To be honest, he sounds as unhappy as you are, maybe you need to have a frank, no shouting or blaming talk about what is going on in his life, write up a contract? Find one behaviour that you want to change and reward him when he complies?

I think at that age despite them pushing the boundaries, they actually want to be told what to do as it shows that you love them.

I speak here as someone whos 12 year old threw a paddy this morning as I said he needs to go to the gym after school as per our agreement and he wants to go to a friends to play a video game (he'd get 20 minutes before friend has an activity he needs to go to) and then need picked up 10 miles away. If he doesn't show up at the car at pick up time he is in deep doodoo.

You don't have to give him the network password, though, do you? You can change the password daily and he only gets that day's password when [whatever].

IIRC, aren't you near(ish) Richmond Park? That gives you cycling/jogging options, and there's a good playground by Ham Gate (although I agree that there aren't many 11yos on it). That would also put you nearish to the Wetland Centre where membership is paid but there are lots of wandering around observing wildlife opportunities (including sessions for children -- again, he's getting on the oldish side for many of those, but not all).

We have always lived in London and my dcs always have things to do.
They go to the park, on bike rides, to friends houses, ice skating, football training, the astro pitch at the park, DS1 loves camden market, dd prefers wandering round Westfield all day, they do to Costa and make 1 drink last 3 hours, they go swimming, they do loads of stuff.

They also spend a lot of time online

annielewis Wed 26-Mar-14 10:57:29

I disagree that this is to do with London - I grew up in rural location and there was nothing to do - in London it just needs a bit of organisation/effort. He already goes kickboxing? Fab! Does he have friends from there that you could invite for tea before they go - or on another day to hang out?

Where in London are you? There are skate parks/normal parks everywhere!!! He can still skate or play at the park! It sounds as though you are having trouble loving London as much as it being his problem! Have you got much support in the way of family/friends? How long have you been here?

In the meantime I would move the computer to a public location ie the kitchen table so you can monitor what hes up to and I would limit time hes on there, agree with others that he will kick off and shout - but you are his parent and he wont' always like what you do but it sounds like he needs to break the gaming thing...

Good luck

Quinteszilla Wed 26-Mar-14 10:58:36

We are sort of suburbs, but there is nothing around here. There is nothing of interest. He played cricket last year. Does not want to this year. He has started doing kickboxing twice a week. He did Tae kwon do for three years in Norway, and this is the closest thing to that we have found locally.

How am I letting him get away with this behaviour? What do you suggest I do? With each and every incident of bad behaviour we speak to him calmly, we explain why his behaviour is wrong. We put restrictions in place.

We have gone through temporary bans, banned I phone over time. We have banned the play station. We have told him he has one hour of screen time daily after his homework is done, this worked for some time. We try to trust him, but he breaches this trust.
We have been hesitant to take his computer away (It is a desktop, not a laptop, permanently connected with keyboard mouse and screen, so not easy to take away and give out again) because he does need it for school work.

you dont need to take away the whole computer, just take the power cable if required.

Quinteszilla Wed 26-Mar-14 11:01:52

How do you get children to do their homework?

I have tried getting him to do it the day it is given. He just does not do it. I cant force him. If he has decided to not do as mum is saying, he wont do it.

Wetland center is boring. Even my animal and bird loving 8 year old is bored by it.

He just wont go to Richmond park. He just behaves like a stubborn 3 year old, only he is 11 and almost as tall as me.

He just started kickboxing so no friends there yet.

NotCitrus Wed 26-Mar-14 11:02:06

I don't think this is a London thing. I live in part of London often written off as 'crap' and the local 11 year olds do most of what you list from Norway, with the exception of the beach.
It sounds much more like a kid without friends.

Change the WiFi password every couple days and only tell him what it is once enough homework is done and/or he does an activity with you.

Is it just lack of time stopping you exploring? Friends with older kids have had fun doing the London Loop and Green Chain walks round London, interspersed with visiting all the free museums and nature reserves they can find and looking up.all local community events. There are plenty of things to do, just possibly harder to find than in Norway (I grew up there for a few years).

So your problem isn't that there's nothing to do in London -- there are plenty of cycling/jogging opportunities, for example, which was one of the things you were complaining about not having -- it's that he doesn't want to do it.

I think maybe try it in the reverse as rewarding instead of punishing?

I don't restrict computer time as long as all the other things are done.

i.e. they need to go to sufficient activities (that they enjoy) to keep fit and meet real people. Homework must be done, bedrooms/playrooms must be in a decent state with all washing in the basket. Shower must be had every morning and school bag must be packed for next day. If all that is done, then they can have as long as they want on games in the time that remains.

At the weekend, unless we have family plans, they are "encouraged" to make arrangements to see firneds for a bit on one of the days - if that doesn't involve an activity e.g. swimming, then they must do that on the other day. They can go on screens in the morning until about 10/11am and then none until after Dinner but then it isn't restricted. It mostly works for us. They go to Scouts, Life guard training, Judo or the Gym. They also go to CoderDojo when available and No2 son does Music for an hour a week and No1 son does an art class.

nobutreally Wed 26-Mar-14 11:07:24

OK, my ds is 10 & we are suburbs rather than London 'proper', but I think the idea of the difference between my (freerange) childhood, and his chime a bit here.

We have an allotment which was my attempt to bring that freerange stuff in. He's certainly not always keen to go, but it's ended up that 2 of his mates families have also taken on allotments. They can run freeish round the allotments/make dens/throw sticks into the river etc as well as occasionally help plant/weed/harvest. But maybe taking on an allotment is a bit of a big ask smile

Are there outdoor things he does enjoy? Skateboarding? Mountain biking? Climbing? I can see that dh and ds are going to start doing more outdoors stuff together soon - is there a male bonding option (maybe something ds2 isn't old enough to do?) There would all be day trips, but perhaps a day of time with him & dad would be a good thing?

I am also strict on screen time - ds needs to 'earn' their screen time in the evening/at weekends: by getting their homework done/piano practice/helping tidy etc. Is it worth - however painful - deciding on some screen time limits/constraints (eg not until you've done x/y/z?) I may be speaking from the 'easy end' of tweendom though there...

Wrt homework ... what happens if you don't nag him? Would getting into trouble at school because he hasn't done it/done it well enough be a motivator? I feel like I am still holding onto homework as 'my' responsibility atm but am conscious I need to be changing that as ds heads towards secondary school.

Finally - I am HUGELY impressed he made a crumble on his own - that's fab! How about encouraging that cooking flair and potential?

You can't say there's nothing to do in London!! OK, you can't free range ... but there are a few things going on smile You sound exhausted and fed up. I reckon maybe it's time to devote a few weekends to making the most of London to re-energise. Me & the dcs do something where we all put slips of paper in a hat, and it can be ANYTHING - as long as not too £££! Then everyone HAS to do whatever is pulled out of the hat. My two will do things they normally hate, on the offchance that their favourites will come out of the pot later in the day/weekend. I'm not saying he'd go for it st away, but worth a try? Get time out lined up, so you can check out some good options first...

I agree you cannot force him, but if he sees the reward of having free time doing what he enjoys and also realises that it is a lot less stressful having his homework done, maybe it will dawn on him and he will comply without punishment?

My eldest now does as much homework as he can in the car going home as he loves being home with it all done!

Quinteszilla Wed 26-Mar-14 11:10:40

We are exploring. It is not like we never do anything, we are very active. I have spent the last two weekends hanging around waiting for him to do his homework so we could go out. It ends up with two days of battle, where we end up not going anywhere because he is "doing homework" and then it turns out he isnt.

We have been to lots of museums, galleries, ranging from museum of childhood, imperial war, national army, science/natural history, windsor castle, hampton court, dulwich picture gallery, kew gardens, virginia water. We have been out walking different walking trails in surrey, hampshire, south downs for day trips, cycling by the river, skating in nearby parks including Bay66 and as far down as to Kings Field and Skaterham, playing tennis, basket ball, so, it is not like we sit and do nothing. sad

He does not have many friends. He has lots of friends in Norway though. Not sure what it is, his sense of humour, and quirkyness is totally cool amongst Norwegians. He just seem unable to make friends here. He has made one friend in his new secondary that lives locally, the rest live further away. They dont seem to go visit as much.

feelingdizzy Wed 26-Mar-14 11:12:46

I live on a remote island of the coast of Ireland, where my kids can run free , they have more freedom than I did growing up in Dublin.

Do they avail of this, my arse they do ! My 12 year old is obsessed with her phone and my 10 year old has a full relationship with the ps3.

Don't imagine there are children skipping merrily somewhere, teens and pre-teens can be arsy anywhere. I simply take them if they are on them to much, if bored I throw in housework, but I am harsh.

bigTillyMint Wed 26-Mar-14 11:13:02

I also don't think it's a London thing - my DC's seem to find plenty to do here! But they probably wouldn't just go to Richmond park (if we were nearby!) for a run/bike ride unless it was with friends/something special - they do organised sports, which is the same as your DS doing kickboxing.

I agree with NotCitrus, it does sound like he would do more if he had friends to do it with - DS(13) will kick a ball all day long if there is someone else around, in addition to football training/matches, watching football matches, playing FIFA... (pattern here?!)
Also DS went through a(nother!) tricky patch around the time he turned 12 - he hit puberty, his voice broke, he started growing like a weed and became (even more) obstreperous. Could this be happening to your DS?

squizita Wed 26-Mar-14 11:15:29

I work with kids and just to give the flipside...

...we'll give hand-outs and advertise things. In our working class London suburb I hasten to add (I'd 100% refute, as others have "Here there is absolutely nothing!") ...things from sports, to music, to subsidised trips out, to helping out at an old folk's home.

Some kids grab these with both hands. Some are so-so. Some (either because they genuinely prefer TV/gaming, or because they've got themselves out of the habit and are scared to try again) will hide the stuff from DM/DD. DM/DD then rings me with a tirade about nothing being organised. hmm

It may be his lack of enthusiasm is a vicous cycle: no habit/friends doing these things = scared to start them = no habit/friends there. Has he moved here with you (as opposed to living here all his life)? That can also be a massive factor. And boys don't often say 'I'm nervous', they say 'do't care/can't be bothered'.

I really struggle to understand what London has got to do with this, I would love to live in london!

My ds is 11 and a half and yes, he is tempted to spend lots of time playing with the ipad or watching silly videos on youtube. He is also strong willed and moody.

We live in Milan, which, trust me, is possibly more difficult to navigate than London and has fewer green areas.

However, ds also loves to play football and he trains twice a week. It's only 5 minutes walk from home, so he goes there on his own or with his friends.

Friends happen to be the most important thing for him nowadays. Therefore I am more than happy to have them around or for him to go and see them. Sometimes, to make it easier, I invite his best friend to come along with us to the movies or exhibitions.

I do agree with you it's hard with pre teens.

Quinteszilla Wed 26-Mar-14 11:17:00

He did notice his first little spot a few weeks ago. Maybe he is just extra hormonal?

I have tried not letting them have any screen time until homework is done. Maybe we need to go back to that.

I have also told him he has to stop kick boxing if it turns out he is not doing his homework, as two days per week will impact seriously on his homework if he keeps leaving it till last minute. He needs to plan his work in such a way that he still manages to do it, even if he has activities.

nobutreally Wed 26-Mar-14 11:17:30

Sorry, xpost with lots of stuff.

So, has he done all those trips, Quint? If so, it sounds to me like he's doing loads... is it that you feel everything is a battle atm? Or that you want him to be doing more independently?

I do think independent friends house stuff is tricky around London at this age. I would look at semi-organised hangouts. Are there friends where you could organise sleepovers/days together to hang out at the weekend - organise transport even if they live further away? They may still hang around on the laptop, but it would be building those friendship groups.

Like others, I'd also look at out of school groups - something he can do with people who have similar passions. I wonder if there is a programming/Computer group locally...

In terms of getting homework done, one thing I have done with ds is agree a length of time homework should take (say x hours) after that, we are going out. If you don't get it done, you can do it tonight instead of TV time. Doesn't work some of the time, but means I don't sit around getting frustrated as 'homework' drags on.

More practically ... any chance of putting the desktop somewhere not in his room? Easy to feel you can get away with mooching and not getting on if you're out of sight...

Give him a window of opportunity to do his homework. Plan your family activities around that window. If he doesn't make use of the window, then his homework doesn't get done, you crack on with other activities as planned and he has to face whatever consequences his teachers impose.
I have recently had to explain to my DD she isn't doing homework for my benefit. I will provide her with time, space, resources and support but the homework is between her and her teachers.

thecatfromjapan Wed 26-Mar-14 11:20:17

Hello Quint.

This is such a common complaint amongst mothers of teen boys. Of course, there are a handful who don;t have this but, honestly, they are quite rare.

Mine is a lot like yours.

What do I do/have done in the past?

Structured leisure.

So ds does lots of things, in an organised fashion, with a timetable - and usually me driving him to them.

Hilariously, he has started to be a bit more proactive with his social life, which seems to involving hair-raising announcements that he is going off, mid-week, to see some band or other, half way across London, in the middle of the night.

That, my dear, is the alternative. And I have friends whose kids have been like that since 13. How their hair hasn't turned grey, I don't know.

So I would suggest 1. to keep "reminding" about doing homework - bearing in mind that they don't get much at this age and it's not terribly challenging (so he may have a point not putting that much effort in) - and just accept that is to be your lot.
2. Find some structured activities for him (you are near a sailing club, which proved a big hit in our family). At first, you will have to organise this, but ultimately he will, and it will provide out-of-school peers.
3. Don't fret too much about Minecraft etc. It's a legitimate hobby, with a real skill to it (coding) and it is social. remember, children socialise on-line a lot these days. He's not necessarily turning into a lone wolf/serial killer with all the on-line stuff. It's a lot like the cafes/playgrounds we went to as kids.
4. In Britian, if kids are meeting up in the playground/woods, it is to smoke, drink and take acid. So chill. At least he's not doing that.

P.S. I think you, generally, are too hard on yourself. Behind everything you have written I catch a sense that you think you have failed. You haven't.
I catch this, I think, because I recognise it in myself. I am telling you something that I could have done with someone saying to me years ago.

All the best, my dear. xx

LittleBearPad Wed 26-Mar-14 11:20:31

It isn't a London thing. You say there are parks nearby but he doesn't go. You also seem to have found loads to see and do. He doesn't want to do it, that's the problem.

The computer needs to be switched off and put away, he can do his homework with a pen and paper surely, for a week anyway. If he really needs one he can use your DH's to do his homework and then it gets taken away.

How long since you moved from Norway?

squizita Wed 26-Mar-14 11:20:43

He does not have many friends. He has lots of friends in Norway though. Not sure what it is, his sense of humour, and quirkyness is totally cool amongst Norwegians.

hmm Be careful of transferring what is a stereotype "London kids are 'ard and serious" to your son. That won't help him. Kids here are quirky too (and used to kids from other cultures). Honestly, reading your post it seems you have some fears with what you expect us to be like - and saying there's nothing then lo and behold not only is there stuff, you've done it... I wonder if he's picking up on this? Thinking London folk are rough and tough and don't have wholesome hobbies?

Just saying this as I know of some RL friends from the home counties with similar views - and their provision for youth activity is far worse than in, and there are rough kids out there, but they won't admit it.

Seeline Wed 26-Mar-14 11:20:53

How has he settled at secondary? I think this age is difficult for all of them - massive changes at school, as well as their own bodies and emotions changing. Are there issues at school that might be contributing - how are his reports? Might it be worth having a chat with his tutor/head of year - they might be able to offer a bit more support re homework.
I know how you feel. My DS is 12 but Y7 - we seem to spend every weekend hanging around waiting to finish his homework. He really thinks he is working, but everything just seems to take soo long eg a piece of written work on the pc will take hours because he has to get the right font, colour, pictures etc. I hate google grin
We also live in the suburbs of London, although on a main road so not really the opportunities to play in the road, cycle etc. He has 'friends' at school but has never shown any enthusiasm for meeting them outside of school. He was like that at Primary too.
I have found having do his homework in a family room rather than his bedroom has helped as I can keep a constant eye on what he is doing. He shouts and whinges and moans too - I think that is what 12yo boys do. He can be lovely too though - and still comes for his cuddles wink
I don't think you are alone on this one, but I do think that perhaps you need to accept that this is not Norway, and life is different.

Quinteszilla Wed 26-Mar-14 11:22:35

We have had problems since early February getting him to do stuff, but the last month has been a nightmare.

He does not have any old group of friends to hang with. We left London at the end of Y1, and he came back to his class for Y5, and struggled to settle with them as the friendships were formed and there were really "no room for him". He has one friend from his London primary though, but he is in a different secondary.

thecatfromjapan Wed 26-Mar-14 11:24:07

By the way, having moved to London from a village located some distance from a market town, I think London is safer but more structured. I really get what you are saying: there is less opportunity for children to explore autonomous, slightly disorganised, low-level, self-moderated and organised risk-taking. I think.

MavisG Wed 26-Mar-14 11:24:56

I'd ignore the screen time as not being the real issue and concentrate on what I'd perceive as the real problem for all of you, his connection with you & other family members.

He made you a pudding, that speaks of a thoughtful and kind attitude to you all, the strop he had over it sounds like a kid trying to cope with the big emotions that come with the hormonal changes of this age, and the frustration that he wanted - I'm guessing - appreciation for his efforts & is over sensitive to the 'criticism' of you not eating it straightaway. Maybe he's over sensitive because he's l

Quinteszilla Wed 26-Mar-14 11:26:21

squizita - careful before you judge, I have lived in London more than I have lived in Norway. But it is true that my son has turned out to have better and more accepting friends from the three years he lived in Norway, than he has here. I have not said anywhere that Londoners are hard and tough, I think to be frank he is regarded the rough and tough element, due to his (socioeconomic) background, where we are now.

thecatfromjapan Wed 26-Mar-14 11:26:55

I'd also add that an important key to happiness lies in the (somewhat gnomic) edict: "Love what is."

titchy Wed 26-Mar-14 11:27:22

It sounds as if you almost expect him to appreciate the fact that you live on one of the best cities in the world! I agree you also seem to think that if you transported him back to either rural Norway, or 1970s Britain he'd be a chnaged child - he wouldn't be though, he'd still be an obstinate bugger.

Can you leave him to take the consequences of not doing homework? And don't put family plans for a day out on hold because he's supposedly doing homework - that way everyone in the house resents him. Tell him - right we're doing this on Saturday so you need to be up and ready by 11.30. And do it - drag him out if needs be. At the end of the day I think family time is more important than homework time - as long as there is time to do homework on the Sunday maybe.

And what was the story with the crumble - did you make a big fuss of him making it when you got back? Was it an attempt at a peace offering? I feel quite sad that he felt he had to bin it.

Quinteszilla Wed 26-Mar-14 11:28:02

He does not have the computer in his bedroom. It is in the dining room, he has a nice little bureau set up for his work next to the dining table so he can spread out.

Quinteszilla Wed 26-Mar-14 11:30:07

I did make a big fuss over the crumble. He had even mopped the floor, so I was amazed at him.

But he wanted to eat it before we had all finished our meal, so I asked him to wait a little.

givemeaclue Wed 26-Mar-14 11:30:16

All those things you mentioned doing in Norway can be done in London. London has rod of the best parks, museums, galleries and theatres in the country plus its easy to get to countryside, seaside etc.
Get him off the computer and get out and about as a family.

Quinteszilla Wed 26-Mar-14 11:30:53

He did not do his science homework last week, and got two detentions. He was really not fussed.

MavisG Wed 26-Mar-14 11:31:18

Oops hadn't finished


I'd try (& keep trying) to talk to him, take him to a cafe or pub and keep things neutral. Maybe he has ideas about homework, being with family etc.

And at weekends I'd talk altogether in the mornings and ask him to estimate how much time he needs for hw & then plan around that, leaving him behind if really necessary but preferably taking him out for a break and supporting him w hw later.

It sounds like homework is a big thing for him atm - he is only 11, it would be ok to help him with it, help him see it for what it is rather than build it up into a massive deal & get stressed.

The calm talking etc sounds like brilliant parenting to me. I don't have teenagers yet but I often think, through the threenager type stages, that all we can really control is how gentle we are with our kids while they go through difficult stuff and so how connected we'll be to them afterwards.

fs2013 Wed 26-Mar-14 11:31:31

I'm reading it through again because I'm confused! Does he have his own PC or is it a family computer? Why can't he use a central computer in the main living area for homework so you can see what he's doing?

My 10.5 year old DD is very hormonal at the moment. Everything can be a battle and she is starting to get pimples and smelly armpits etc.

This is a battle of wills because your DS is not paying attention to you and doing whatever he likes. PC games should definitely be limited and my DD is actually banned from youtube because I am worried about what she might see.

If I were you I would start from scratch. Ban PC games altogether for a while so he can get a bit of perspective and take away electrical items. Have more heart to hearts and be a lot firmer and in control. I did this recently with my DD when she was having lots of angry outbursts and being rude. No computer. no tv in her room and I also took away some fav toys. It was a big message-listen to Mummy or else!

Over the last week she has changed so much and I feel like I have my daughter back! Her stuff is still in my room and I'm planning to give things back bit by bit. It was tough to begin with but so worth it, we have had so many lovely chats and hugs and she knows I mean business.

Even though there may be good reasons for your sons anger etc such as loneliness I think the first step is getting him to listen and talk. You can't do that if he refuses to so you need to get tough and take action. I knew my DD was hormonal but it was nice to hear her tell me that herself and for me to be a nice mum again and make her hot choc and a hot water bottle and sympathise when she was calm and not angry all the time!

Don't be afraid to parent your son. Be tough! Watch worlds strictest parents and realise how soft you might be! Take control it works!

I wish you the very best of luck xx

Quinteszilla Wed 26-Mar-14 11:31:51

Get him off the computer and get out and about as a family.

You got it. Have you read the thread? hmm

As I said earlier, let the school deal with it. He will tire of detentions.

jonicomelately Wed 26-Mar-14 11:32:03

Is his Dad around? If so, could he not take charge of homework duties?

bigTillyMint Wed 26-Mar-14 11:35:36

It sounds like you do lots of stuff as a family, which is good. Agree with titchy on making him manage his own homework time to fit in - that is what we do!

Is he unhappy, or is it you that is unhappy because he is not doing what you would like him to do?

Although DS does sport/goes out with friends, he also spends a lot of time at home. He likes being with us at the momentshock

I live in london, kids can go out, both mine when they started high school, went the park, shopping ect with friends, no need for him to be inside if he wants to go out, what about school friends? Homework I would just ask them to do it and then leave it, school will punish him if its not done. If you want him to go swimming just tell him to go, if he refuses, take his PC away and ban minecraft for a few days, sounds like he becoming a teenager to me, he wants his independence but sometimes he will still have t odo stuff you want him to, I can make my 19 year old do stuff with me if i want him to,(not that I apart for visiting grandparents) my house my rules.

Quinteszilla Wed 26-Mar-14 11:37:01

"It sounds like homework is a big thing for him atm - he is only 11, it would be ok to help him with it, help him see it for what it is rather than build it up into a massive deal & get stressed. "

I am helping him with some of it, and that is why I am so "on to him" about it. I started on Friday evening explaining that if he wants me to help with X piece of homework for Wednesday he needs to factor in that I am taking ds2 to gymnastics on Tuesday, and he has kickboxing on Monday, so really we need to find a time to sit down together on the weekend. I was available for him all weekend. He was too tired as expected after kickboxing, and he knew I would not be around Tuesday night.

I had helped him select links to read online about the topics so he could read up before hand. (Ethics homework, which has included a formal structure relating to debating technique) We started watching Gandhi for him to get to grips with concepts relating to pacifism and non-violence, as well as racism.

Quinteszilla Wed 26-Mar-14 11:39:42

His dad is around, but he was away with work for a few weeks, and he has just started a new job so is tired after work and work long hours. He is out of the house from 8 am to 7 pm most days, and he is knackered when he gets home. I am sure it will be better in a couple of weeks when he settled into his role.

squizita Wed 26-Mar-14 11:40:26

careful before you judge

Apologies if you feel judged: I asked the exactly the same frank questions as I would helping a child/parent in RL as part of my job (which frequently involves helping 11-18 year olds, recently moved to the UK, who are having trouble settling in). I based them on inferences based on what you wrote - which others have picked up on too - because in RL we don't always write/say our base thoughts, do we? We don't say "kids in x are nicer" but we might give all positive examples from x, and all negative from y.

Quinteszilla Wed 26-Mar-14 11:42:40

It is actually encouraging that none of you are mentioning cahms, or anger management, or that he is totally off the rails in his behaviour. Knowing that his behaviour seems like pretty normal-ish teenage stuff is helpful.

There are lots of good suggestions. Maybe I have been focusing too much on what he would do if the situation was different, and not enough on the opportunities he actually has (that he is not taking).

His friend from school nearby is also into skateboards, so maybe we could suggest something in that respect.

squizita Wed 26-Mar-14 11:43:29

Also- and you'll know this, having lived in London with us Londoners - the prefix "careful before you..." is seen as quite an angry, aggressive one. Very different from "Please don't judge" or even just "Stop judging".

nobutreally Wed 26-Mar-14 11:43:44

Sorry, (re:PC) - I guess I was wondering how he was getting away with mooching for so long... Right, this is what I'd do:
- prioritise getting friendships sorted: missing y1-y5 is a BIG gap, and not having a peer group is tough, and will I'm sure be making him feel insecure. My ds is 'quirky' (understatement) but it's accepted in his peer group because they've known him since he was 3, and he was ever thus! If you're breaking into friendship groups it's tougher - where-ever you are. I'd work on enabling friendships anyway you can.
- I'd ask school about homework - what would they suggest?
- I'd sit down (away from the house?) and talk to him about what you feel the house rules need to be - and get his input (no shouting? Screen time rules?) - what is his take on things/how is he feeling/what would he do differently? Classic How to talk stuff, really.

I also agree with others that maybe what you're experiencing is partly normal 11 yo behaviour, esp when dropped into a new environment. Moving has almost certainly heightened things - and will have made some things harder. But even scandinavian teens have hormones smile

Quinteszilla Wed 26-Mar-14 11:50:16

squizita - yes but you seemed to assume that I see the kids in his peer-group as rough and hard, but I dont. They are very privileged. This does not mean they are not hard or cruel like kids can be, bullying and cruelty transcends upbringing and privilege, the kids are just different, and maybe less accepting. I know they think he is weird, they say so to him on instagram, whereas the conversations with his Norwegian friends are very different. They are real conversations. The kids here seem to just fling off accusations and bait.

Ha ha, my 12 year old asked the other day if he should see a psychiatrist about his anger issues! hmm

I explained he has always been tempremental and that just because his brother is quiet doesn't mean because he isn't that he isn't normal. He just needs to learn to think a bit before reacting and give people a chance to finish what they are saying. He also needs to learn to laugh at himself a bit and not take everything so personally. Mainly though it's all part of growing up and entirely norma even if it is bloody frustrating!

It's totally normal 11 yr old behaviour, ime.

And imho, what he needs is good friends. And it takes a while to make good friends at his age. I am saying so, because I see my ds who is very friendly, but, after 6 months in his new school, he still prefers to hang out with his friends from primary school.

Give him time.

Quinteszilla Wed 26-Mar-14 11:54:48

Squizita, I echoed your "Be careful " - good to know that you meant to sound aggressive. wink

I dont find your posts to me helpful at all. I find that you try to pick me apart in a very unkind way (unlike most Londoners I mix with), so I wont respond to you any further. I said at the beginning of the thread to please be gentle with me as I feel very fragile.

squizita Wed 26-Mar-14 11:56:57

Sorry Quint I meant emotionally hard - regardless of social class. Those kids sound awful and cliquey to be honest- have you tried other sources of friendship via 'open' hobbies such as youth clubs, boy scouts (which I know seems very uncool before they start, but often they enjoy it afterwards) or volunteering? Essentially hobbies where they can chat as they do (not always possible with sports).

Quinteszilla Wed 26-Mar-14 11:58:45

Right, so I need to tackle the friendships.

How do I go about doing that when I dont know any of the mums and he is in secondary? His birthday is coming up soon, and he wants to do paintballing. Maybe this is a good start?

Take him and only him out for a cream cooler and see if we can come up with anything useful regards to homework.

keep at the kickboxing, and encourage friendships there too.

Quinteszilla Wed 26-Mar-14 12:00:21

I have lots to mull over. Thanks. flowers

Need to get back to work. <sigh>

squizita Wed 26-Mar-14 12:00:23

Quint ah again a misunderstanding. smile Essentially 'be careful before you do something to me' = be careful or I might do something to you back! (Not for a second saying that you meant that).
Slightly different from 'careful you don't trip over/get upset over that other thing'.

Seeline Wed 26-Mar-14 12:01:18

Actually Scouts is a good idea. It's the one thing during the week that really makes my DS get on with his homework, as I won't let him go unless it's done. It's a good way for kids to experience a range of different activities, and make friends from outside school (although again, my DS wouldn't think to meet up with his Scout friends outside of Scout activities!!).

sounds a good plan Quint - he does sound unhappy. Does he socialise on-line at all? Could he get skype details for the boys he does get on with? Even if he was then still on PC he'd be socialising too.

What about getting him into board games e.g. role playing stuff - i'm sure there will be a games place in the locality that has sessions for that.

Seeline Wed 26-Mar-14 12:05:19

Are there any clubs at school that he might be interested in? Either lunchtime or after school. It's a good way of getting to know classmates outside of the formal learning environment.
Have a look at the school website, or again contact his form tutor for help.

squizita Wed 26-Mar-14 12:05:46

Just some places to make friends (these are ones I suggest to new kids in town locally):

Don't know if he'll be horrified at the very thought (it's got quite a twee image) but a few lads I work with who were loners got on well with the (often kinder souled) types at Scouts.

Also this is one I use a lot - it's an 'emergency service' so great for their skills (and a bit more grown up than Scouts), motivates at school (they often want to be a Dr or Nurse so get into science) and by its nature the cadets are often, again, kind kids at heart:

I'd maybe do a wee bit of research of things available in the area and give him the choice to try a few.

There is probablly a lot going on that you don't even realise.

My boys love Scouts, one is quiet and a bit nerdy, but the other is a trendy boy who is pretty outgoing - it seems to suit them both.

mummytime Wed 26-Mar-14 12:10:46

We love the wetland center! (Youngest asks to go there most times we ask for suggestions to go out).


You cannot solve problems by running away. He is a teen. Some teens love going out. Some just want to veg.

Discuss with him what he wants to do long term. Work with him on ideas of how he will get there. Don't argue about homework. Remind him once, but leave it up to school to punish (if they don't you have no hope of getting an unwilling student to take it seriously). Do point out the jobs he will end up with if he doesn't get GCSEs, but then leave it to settle in.

A lot of young people in some countries are more conformist than is the norm in the UK. Which is fine. But that doesn't mean your son would be.

I would suggest reading some parenting teen books. Beware incase he shows signs of depression, and then get him help or direct him towards help.

Work hard to spot 10 things he does correctly every day and praise him for them (and having a shower or brushing teeth or going to school are not too unimportant to praise- believe me).

As for the internet, my DH has restricted the internet use for each device we have which can access it.

Quinteszilla Wed 26-Mar-14 12:11:06

I have just discovered the Sea Cadets........... grin


KatnipEvergreen Wed 26-Mar-14 12:14:56

I recommend spending some time with him on his own and he gets to choose the activity, love bombing, if you will. Even if it's Minecraft. It sounds a bit like he is reacting to change and lack of individual attention, and may be a bit depressed about the friendships. Also hormonal. Also I would ask him if he wants to invite anyone over sometime. And he needs the perspective that everyone feels like they don't fit in sometimes at certain times in their life.

Just remembered re the homework thing.

When my younger son was a bit younger, he went through a spell of not wanting to do it, leaving it to the last minute etc. it was only primary, so not as big a deal really.

However, i said to him to shut his eyes and imagine a world with no homework. I asked him how good it felt etc. I then explained that that's how he could feel all week if he spent an hour on Monday doing all his homework. It sunk in. Not quite the same now I guess as they get given different bits all week, but the principle is the same. get it out the way and enjoy the rest of the evening.

Sea Cadets will be great - I bet they do stuff at the weekends too which will make you more relaxed about him doing Minecraft in the rest of the free time smile

What I allow them to do is to go on line/games etc when they get home from school if they want. We have dinner about 5-5.30 so after dinner they need to do any homework, get stuff ready for the next day and make sure they have done any chores - they can then go back on screens until it's time to go to their activity and then that's that. One evening they get back quite early so they get to watch something on tv for a wee bit before bedtime.

No-one does activities on a Friday night so they can do what they like and sometimes we do a family movie evening but attendance is not compulsary!

BeCool Wed 26-Mar-14 12:23:02

My DD is 6 and tells me all the freaking time how boring the Wetland Center is. Until we go there and she has a fantastic time!!!

Sea Cadets (or similar) is a fantastic idea. I did Air Training Corp when I was a young teenager. It provided me with a safe 'adventure' outside of the home, different friends, bit of structure etc.

re the WWW/minecraft, I'm sure it has been said upthread already but Minecraft/game access has to be a reward for completing homework - otherwise it is competing with homework and will ALWAYS win..

Also I believe there is a way via your router you can determine when his IP address accesses the www. You can put this on a timer so he isn't accessing www between hours of 9pm & 7am (for example). If he has www access in his room chances are he is using it in the night and isn't getting enough sleep either. An IT bod told me all this recently - I'm not sure exactly how to go about doing it though (my DC are still too young for unmonitored www access)

oscarwilde Wed 26-Mar-14 12:25:24

He sounds really lonely to me. Badly behaved and definitely heading into sullen teenagerhood but lonely and unhappy too.

cottonwoolmum Wed 26-Mar-14 12:28:00

Quint, it does sound tough.

The way we sorted out homework was to get DC to do it on the night it's given, not the night before it's due in. Friday nights and one day in the weekend, they don't have to do any homework, so they know they have those days completely hassle free.

When my DC (similar ages) start to remove themselves from family life and get stuck into computer games, I plan something with them. And without battle discuss how to have a better time. Maybe something along the lines: sorry I've been having a go at you so much recently. Let's just have a day off and go and do something nice together. then ask him what he fancies - Chessington world of adventures or London dungeons etc might be mid way between what interests him and what's acceptable to you.

I did wonder if that apple crumble was some sort of teenage version of a peace offering and he chucked it away because you not jumping for joy at it immediately was, in his mind, a rejection. (NOT saying it was a rejection btw, just they can be so sensitive and judgemental at that age.)

As to being in London - I do think it's part of the issue. We're London suburbs too and I have decided this summer to let them find their way around central London alone. Very gradually, starting in sections they know well like South Bank (there's a Warhammer type shop by the station where the geeks all play games at café tables. Quite sweet.) And there's the skate board park under the South Bank centre. if you take him and a mate down there and orientate them, then park yourself in a café nearby and let them roam for a couple of hours, that could be a start to him getting a bit of freedom in London.

Do you let him do slightly independent things, like meet a friend to go to the cinema? I think they are old enough by 11 to be doing that and it gets them out of the house, meeting friends, and having to use public transport etc, even though it is more screen time, ultimately!

I still need to drive a fair bit of their socialising tbh so don't feel that he is behind as that isn't happening automatically for him.

My younger son is away on a trip for a week shortly so I got elder to ask his friends to do something at the weekend and they are all delighted. None of them would have thought to organise it, but once someone does they are happy to join in.

mummytime Wed 26-Mar-14 12:34:41

Oh my 3 all tend to whinge loudly when we suggest a trip out. But if we just ignore then after 1/2 hour they have a great time.

We took them away at half term, and two complained they didn't want to go for weeks before. Now they all talk about what a good time they had. (We went to Yorkshire - so not exotic.)

Te socialising for the more social tends to happen about 14- lots are lost before then.

Sea cadets sounds great. A friends son does Air Cadets and its really helped him.

fs2013 Wed 26-Mar-14 13:16:32

"I am helping him with some of it, and that is why I am so "on to him" about it. I started on Friday evening explaining that if he wants me to help with X piece of homework for Wednesday he needs to factor in that I am taking ds2 to gymnastics on Tuesday, and he has kickboxing on Monday, so really we need to find a time to sit down together on the weekend. I was available for him all weekend. He was too tired as expected after kickboxing, and he knew I would not be around Tuesday night".

You know the bit where you said you were 'available for him all weekend' this is where you are going wrong! You should be insisting he does it not waiting for him to come to you! What 11 year old goes to find mum to help with homework he can't be bothered to do! Even the way that paragraph is worded is wishy washy. My DD get's no choice in matters that have to be done! It's 'right-homework out please'! Choices are for things that don't matter like 'bath or shower' or 'ice cream or a lolly'.

bigTillyMint Wed 26-Mar-14 13:18:56

Sea Cadets is an excellent idea - friend's son does it and loves it. There are loads of events and stuff to do as well as the meetingssmile

IME you can set a time to do homework.
You can offer to help with the homework.
You can say "right, homework for an hour then go and get ready for football or whatever

If you have a son like my ds1 he will piss about on Twitter, snapchat, YouTube for 59 minutes and they say he didnt have enough time.

I am wicked though. I say nothing. I let him do that.
And every single time he got a detention for not handing in homework, there was a consequence. It was usually confiscation of his phone. Or not being allowed to go to football.
On the last memorable occasion he got 4 detentions in a week.
I made him go to the match he was supposed to be playing in and watch
And he had to explain exactly why he wasn't playing. And as an added bonus, his team lost.

That was 4 years ago. Never did it again.
Gets his books out and actually works as soon as he gets home.

Quinteszilla Wed 26-Mar-14 13:36:32

I think the problem is that he is not LISTENING to me. I can tell him "homework now for an hour" until I am blue in the face, or schedule a time for him to do it, but it does not work.

He is categorically NOT doing as he is told. If he was doing homework when I asked him to, there would be no thread.

It is easy for you all to say "Just" tell him. It does not work. confused

I suppose next time he has ethics homework I will tell him "I am available for an hour between 10 and 11 Saturday morning. This is your only chance of help from me" And then leave him to it.

my ds1 didnt listen either. I had set homework times, but he just didnt do it.

Quinteszilla Wed 26-Mar-14 13:44:51

There is not really anything that matters to my ds, like your ds' football, that I can use as a bargaining tool, though.

mummytime Wed 26-Mar-14 13:44:51

I think you just have to stop trying to make him do things. But let him face the consequences. At sometime hopefully he will wake up and realise what those consequences are. But for teens, you as a parent can no longer force them to do most things (all things maybe) as you did when they were a toddler.

Do remember even if you could your aim is for them to be able to function as independent adults eventually. If he does study when you tell him to, and get good grades, and goes to University what will happen then? Will he have learnt the importance of study? Or will he finally rebel and do what he wants? Or will he do what the loudest voice tells him to?

With one of mine I do use subtle manipulation (I tell her to do X, she shout she won't do it, I ignore and then act as if she is going to do X).

thesaurusgirl Wed 26-Mar-14 13:47:39

You need to run him ragged, (which is what happens at boarding schools). The idea is to be so physically exhausted there isn't much time left over for insubordination and introspection.

My London friends with boys hire a "manny", basically a male babysitter (usually a student) who does stuff - sport, Parkruns, walking borrowed dogs - which parents don't have the time or inclination to do. The going rate is £10 which is loads cheaper than boarding.

fs2013 Wed 26-Mar-14 13:47:53

Quint it is obvious he is not listening to you. That's why you have to step up a gear. It's not about telling him over and over it's about action. Eg. 'You aren't listening so you have lost PC games this week' etc. Whether he does as he is told is not the issue it's the consequence which must really suck for him, that way he will start to do as he's told but it's an ongoing process and you must be consistant. Find the thing that will really bother him and do it! A loss of authority is a serious problem and it must be tackled! It's so important especially before he gets much bigger.You are giving up! He won't listen to you, so what is the consequence? x

Quinteszilla Wed 26-Mar-14 13:48:32

Actually, it is not all homework that is causing so much trouble. It is mostly Ethics, or geography if it is really difficult. He has no problem sitting down to do maths, French, science, art, etc. It is only the homework where he needs help from me, so not sure what is going on. Maybe it is because it require interaction from me that he is causing so much trouble?

Quinteszilla Wed 26-Mar-14 13:50:04

thesarus, that is so excellent, it is like a "hire dad", there was recently an email from a mum in school wanting to "hire out her manny" as they are leaving. grin Maybe I should get him to come and walk my sons and neighbours dog! [

fs2013 Wed 26-Mar-14 13:50:19

"There is not really anything that matters to my ds, like your ds' football, that I can use as a bargaining tool, though".

yes there is! You said all he does is go on the computer! There's your bargaining tool.

Quinteszilla Wed 26-Mar-14 13:51:42

The computer. Yes. How can I restrict minecraft and Youtube at will, and only enable when I want to?

castlesintheair Wed 26-Mar-14 13:52:00

Quint, iir I'm pretty sure I know which school your DS is at. I'm not a stalker (!) but I was on the threads when we're all talking locally about school options for our now Year 7s. Anyway, you said upthread that you don't know other mums at his secondary and you/he need to work on friendships. I agree. PM me if you want me to help. I know a lovely boy in the same year and the mum is pretty great too.

Having said all this, I think this is normal pre-teen/teen angst which is likely to happen to us all at some point. I went through it with DS (just 12) but he's coming out of it now.

jonicomelately Wed 26-Mar-14 13:52:19

Why not try to reboot his brain in the short-term? Five days riding his bike around Centerparcs may be a good way to do this? If money is no object I'd be tempted to invest in a holiday home or static caravan somewhere where there are fields and places to explore. If friendships are an issue I'd probably plump for a caravan park where there are tonnes of kids he can pal up with. I have a 12 old and I'd also say if he's lethargic look at increasing his sleep and food intake. I've done this recently and it's done wonders for ds's mood. They are growqing so rapidly at this age as well as having to deal with all the hormone issues.

Quinteszilla Wed 26-Mar-14 13:53:45

His actions are really distracting me, I should be writing a paper on corporate identity and reputation management. sad Here I am, he is in school, and I still cant get on with what I am supposed to do!

Maybe we just both are emotional and easily distracted, and with difficulty doing what we really should be doing. hmm

fs2013 Wed 26-Mar-14 13:59:13

"The computer. Yes. How can I restrict minecraft and Youtube at will, and only enable when I want to"?

You stand next/near to him and make sure he's doing his homework not going on minecraft or youtube. If he does (that blatantly in front of you) you unplug the computer and try again later when he's had his sulk and you can talk to him. In the meantime you make sure there's nothing else fun around and tell him you will not let the homework matter drop until he does it. You have to win the battle or he will do what he wants. Besides as those things are such a problem I would ban him from them for at least a week or 2 anyway to teach him some perspective.

Quinteszilla Wed 26-Mar-14 14:01:57

castles I think I remember! The thing is, there are lots of great boys, and he mentions many names, form tutor tells me he is never lonely and always seen in a group of boys. I think the problem is the transition from school friend to friend you also bring home. He is the only one from his old primary, and many of his year group know eachother from before, so I reckon they would more easily pair up at home with kids they have known a while. He is skyping with old classmates.

I have just noticed a couple of boys on our street, I think they came off the bus from H, but I am hoping he might bump into them and make friends this summer.

I do appreciate your suggestion, it is very kind of you.

squizita Wed 26-Mar-14 14:04:44

Quint re "It is mostly Ethics, or geography if it is really difficult." ring the school and see if they have subject-specific H/W clubs - just let them know he's doing his H/W except for these two.
Most schools have something in place to support younger kids with subjects they find hard. Who knows, the social element might be helpful too?

thesaurusgirl Wed 26-Mar-14 14:10:33

Challenging authority figures at that age is quite cool - he's probably really enjoying making you feel miserable.

I think the Manny thing works because of the age gap being smaller - they're not "in charge", they're a big brother figure.

Have a word with the school - I bet there's someone sensible in the Sixth Form who would bloody love a holiday job at £10 an hour before university.

jonicomelately Wed 26-Mar-14 14:18:53

As an alternative to the Manny (a concept I've never heard the likes of before) what about your DH taking a bit of time off work? Could they go away somewhere together over the Easter holidays.

Quinteszilla Wed 26-Mar-14 14:26:48

Joni, he just started a new job, so he cant take time off now.

He is going skiing with the school in Easter, hopefully will make more friends. They are also going on a history trip for May half term.

Dh and ds1 will join me and ds2 for Easter at my dads, where there will be more opportunities for skiing and meeting old friends.

I honestly cant wait for Easter holidays. This is not helped by me doing an MBA, and I start a grueling schedule of exams after Easter. Roll on summer!

jonicomelately Wed 26-Mar-14 14:33:10

It sounds like you and your DH have a lot on your plate at the moment! I'm sure you can sort out your DS's problems. Don't forget to ask him what he thinks he could do to improve things. What's making him unhappy. What would he like to do at weekens (other than the dreaded computer). You seem to be taking a lot of it on yourself. Your DH and even your DS should be given a role in trying to resolve the situation. Best of luck.

Quinteszilla Wed 26-Mar-14 14:36:16

DH is usually available at weekends, it is just the last month he has been very busy and not really present. Interesting coincidence though.
I guess it shows that he needs to be present, the boys need him.

cottonwoolmum Wed 26-Mar-14 14:44:12

joni - how do you increase their sleep? They desperately need sleep but get 8.5 hours max on school nights (ages 11 and 12.) Unless I stood like a matron checking their lights were out between 9 and 10.30 pm, it just doesn't happen. they switch off the lights when I go downstairs then the lights go back on again.

btw - I like Joni's idea of getting DS to fix the problem: asking what would make it easier for him to get it done, or what can he think of that he'd enjoy. If you shoulder all the responsibility Quint, you feel the guilt if it doesn't work. But it could be shared.

jonicomelately Wed 26-Mar-14 15:04:04

Remove the lightbulbs!

Driveway Wed 26-Mar-14 15:15:26

What about a cooking class? If he chose to make a crumble in his free time he might enjoy it?

bigTillyMint Wed 26-Mar-14 15:39:00

Easter is nearly here, so he hasn't long to wait for the skiing trip and that will surely help with bonding.

They do need their dads, don't they? DS would be bereft if DH wasn't around as much as usual.

BeCool Wed 26-Mar-14 15:46:00

Quint I just had a look on the BT website (my router is from BT) and you can actually block certain websites used by individual IP addresses and also time limit them. So you could block your DS from Mine craft on his laptop/ipad/phone for example, and then once he has done his homework you could allow him X hours on these sites for the rest of the week.

You can also block his access to the wifi entirely for chosen hours - say from 9pm till the morning which might help with his sleep.

I'm not techy but it doesn't look hard to do and I'm pretty sure other routers will function the same way.

An IT person told me about this in a www safety meeting at our school recently.

BeCool Wed 26-Mar-14 15:48:43

I'm pretty sure if you started to seriously mess with his online time he would start to listen to you and do his homework.

andsmile Wed 26-Mar-14 18:50:46

Have you share how he is making you feel when he is angry and destructive. Didnt someone on here write a quirky note and pin on the door (think the idea is from a book about getting kids to listen)

The note was all tough, but funny at the same time.

Have you offered for him to have some people over or a sleep over or chaperone a cinema visit (sorry by DS is 8 so not sure of 11 get chaperoned at arms length?) Would these help with friendship thing?

Get your DH on board - what has he said? Do they miss him as you alluded to this up thread.

<dreads angsty hormone stage face>

Good luck OP

Smerlin Wed 26-Mar-14 19:09:58

Quinteszilla I am Head of Year at a secondary school so here's what I would suggest from the perspective of dealing with lots of 11/12 year old boys rather than as a Mum.

* work out how to set parental controls on PC yourself/be prepared to take power cord away
* decide on your 'rules' about when homework is going to be done and how PC time will be granted afterwards and stick to them. If he doesn't do it when you specify, do not help him another time, let him take the detentions and don't allow PC time. He will scream and shout of course but you have to not give in and then he will learn you mean business.
* speak to your son's FT/HOY. Lots of Y7s really struggle with the enormous hwk burden at secondary and need guidance from school and home on how to manage it. Knowing you are all working together and singing from the same hymn sheet will help. While having this meeting, you could also go through the after sch activities timetable together and see if he fancies anything. If things get really bad, they can give him targets on a Pastoral Support Plan so he gets extra support with homework
* I would be very surprised if your son's school didn't give access to PCs for hwk purposes at break/after school for those without computers at home.

It sounds to me like you are feeling worn down by it all and seeing the situation as hopeless - it really doesn't sound it but I think you need to be super firm and consistent- this is a massive age for testing boundaries!

Sorry for the essay but hope some of it helps!

cottonwoolmum Wed 26-Mar-14 19:30:41

LOL Joni. You sound like a very practical mum!

Quinteszilla Thu 27-Mar-14 09:46:52

Thanks all.

Yesterday evening was pretty good and normal. He came home happy with an 80% score on his maths, upset about a 66% score in French, but generally happy. Went to kickboxing on the bus by himself, and keen to find out more about sea cadets. He only did 30 minutes of minecraft after homework was done, and we watched the rest of Gandhi, which shook him. From glorifying war, seeing innocent people, and children killed and injured so unfairly made an impact. It feels like really murky waters to paddle through.

Smerlin thanks for your input. I have already had a chat with head of pastoral care and his form tutor about him struggling with some of the subjects where independent thought and analysis is required. Mostly because he is not used to education this way, as he has been used to remembering facts and churning them back out. But even more because his education has been topics based, with geography and history facts mixed in. Also, he has a gap in his schooling from spending three years in Norway, where they dont start school until the age of six, so he went from London Y1 to start fresh in Norway, then jump from Norwegian Y3 to London Y5. He has been working really hard to catch up, but it is hard, and some things you just cant get overnight, like his English, which is his worst subject. I am hesitant to get him a tutor as his days are already so long, I dont want to overdo it. I just want him to not battle me over homework.

mummytime Thu 27-Mar-14 11:15:33

If he is willing to have a tutor and you can find a good one (I could do with a good English Tutor they seem even harder than Maths ones), then I would go for it. My DD sees her Maths tutor once a week (and is a very busy little thing anyway), and it has totally turned things around. At the beginning of the year she was worried she would pass Maths GCSE now she plans to take A'level and loves Algebra.

One hour intense tuition is worth more than hours of struggling over homework.

MavisG Thu 27-Mar-14 16:04:23

Could a tutor not do his homework with him?

oscarwilde Fri 28-Mar-14 11:21:38

OP - I find your last post really revealing.
He's upset about his French score = he's used to being a high achiever in school and is coming down to earth with a bump in his new school.
He started school earlier than his peer group in Norway = he was quite possibly ahead of his class in some areas as a result, and is used to being a high achiever.
Struggling with subject where independent thought etc. You mentioned his ethics homework up thread somewhere and I was shock for an 11 yo to receive homework at this level. Add in a schooling gap, different teaching approach and a gap in his English and it's not a big surprise that he's a bit miserable. As an adult I'd be stressed and miserable if I started a new job in an area I was used to doing well in and found I was not achieving and actively finding it a real struggle. Had a similar experience after mat leave returning to find that my brain matter appeared to have died.
I really am no expert, but I think the English tutor suggestion is good. Particularly if you could get someone to mix it up and take him out for a few hours on a Saturday morning (fresh brain) sometimes (depending on the topic) so it is more discursive?

The only other suggestion I would make is has he tried indoor climbing? Fab fun (for everyone actually), particularly appeals to boys, there's usually a good social scene with it, it's a safe warm indoor environment in the depths of winter with no booze (thinking a few years down the line). Quite a few centres will do a teaching session as part of a birthday party for a few hours too.

Quinteszilla Fri 28-Mar-14 12:17:49

You are right oscarwilde , I feel utterly miserable when I feel something is above my head (currently doing an MBA and struggling with Method and connecting my proposed research topic) so I can only imagine how he feels.

I am leaning towards a tutor. A young male would be perfect, I can sort of imagine running in the park, and having a discourse on English turn of the century poets. (for him, not me) Sort of like an older "buddy" who can run/cycle with him, and help him get to grips with English.

oscarwilde Fri 28-Mar-14 13:20:02

I grew up in Ireland where you start secondary school rising 13 rather than 11. Everything was (and probably still is) much more rote learning and "churning facts back out" at that level. If someone had given me "turn of the century poets" out of the blue to discuss at 11 I would have really, really struggled and that's as a grade A english student.

The Irish system at second level was for me, much the same as primary insofar as it is fact based rather than discursive and encouraging independent thought. I really struggled when I started university as a result whereas the A level system here is much more university like in it's approach from what I can gather. I am very taken aback at the work he is being set at 11 though. I am clearly going to have to kick my brain back into gear by the time my kids hit that age.

Run/cycle and possibly cook grin Crumble making should be encouraged at all times !

Quinteszilla Fri 28-Mar-14 13:26:42

We are doing banana muffins this weekend. So I have been told! grin

No seriously, they have done work on Wilfred Owen, a soldier who was also a poet, in addition to Shelley. They are miles ahead.

oscarwilde Fri 28-Mar-14 16:09:09

Rather him than me. Bleurgh. hates poetry and bananas grin

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