At our wits end... please help with 11 year old son.

(48 Posts)
BG Fri 27-Jul-12 12:55:32

When I asked DH what was wrong last night and he said he was depressed about our sons behaviour, I realized that I am too, so I decided to come here for help.

Three days before the end of term my son stole his teachers phone. He was asked to empty his bag and claimed someone had planted it there. He came home and told me the same story. DH rang the school to be told his teacher saw him take it out of his bag and put it on the floor. He finally confessed and was made to write a letter to his teacher and headmistress which he did. I think we both cannot get over it because about 6 months before that he went onto the Apple website and ordered £5,000 worth of kit. If Apple had not called me to verify such a large order we would be homeless. He said he did it because he was angry that we shouted at him for not doing his homework.

He is becoming increasingly sullen, insolent and obnoxious and tells me that he has human rights and he could call the police or childline should we do anything to him. We are at our wits end...Please can anyone give me some advice on how to deal with this?

imnotmymum Fri 27-Jul-12 16:11:47

And he knows you will give in BG come on do some parenting. Surely you can find time.

Adversecamber Fri 27-Jul-12 16:15:01

Agree about family time. DS is 11 he is playing football with his Dad and some other Dads and kids in the park tomorrow. We will probably all watch a DVD tomorrow afternoon. They get full attention with one parent. my DS has said he loves having one of us to himself.

He loves his x box but it is an hour a day and in the main living area and will not be going in his room. My friends DS ended up dropping out of school because of issues with x box and family, his Dad ran a business and had no time at all. His Mum my lovely friend had issues and spent almost every spare moment cleaning.

All his behaviour points to attention seeking.
Do you eat together or even just watch tv together?

fluffiphlox Fri 27-Jul-12 16:15:31

But is it greed to fill an emotional hole, do you think? To maybe big himself up to his mates? (sorry about the vernacular) he sounds like a not very happy, still quite little, boy to me, wanting to fit in and impress at some level?
And just because someone is there, doesn't mean they're 'there' IYSWIM. (Re not wanting him to be a latchkey kid, I let myself in from age 7, I used to like the half an hour on my own.)

imnotmymum Fri 27-Jul-12 16:26:49

Book some time in you cannot possibly be working 24/7 camping ? swimming? Just playing xbox together (great male bonding IME)

TheCrackFox Fri 27-Jul-12 16:31:16

I would ban all Internet access for the summer holidays fir stealing the teachers phone.

Use the time to do quality stuff with him, giving him proper attention and not material possessions. You are no busier than anyone else so stop making excuses on this front - unless you are doing a 14hr shift down a mine you can't be that tired.

Adversecamber Fri 27-Jul-12 16:32:45

I actually don't have a problem with children beng bought i phones if their parents can afford it and the parents want to. Children should never dictate to their parents like that.

You know you spoil him, you need to stop, though it will be hard as he is used to it.

kmdwestyorks Fri 27-Jul-12 16:34:43

I don't know how much help this will be but we're in the same position, two parents working all hours and an only child, who's only 3 at the moment but i was a secondary school teacher for a long time and used to older kids lacking in parental contact. It always showed in their school behaviour. That's not to say they were bad parents, just busy parents.

It's easy to get lost in putting a roof over his head and food on his plate but he needs your undivided attention too.

I agree with others, you need to set aside a family day where there is only the three of you, internet and games not allowed. You donlt have to go far or spend much, i aim to make sure we just be together. Then i have my time with DD when DH is away and DH has his time with DD when i'm away and we try to emphasise how special it is to have that one to one with each of us. mostly doing things the other prefers not to do

Meals are a non negiotiable, we eat as a family either at the dining table or as a special treat a picnic in the lounge.

best of luck, i wouldn't encourage calling childline ( i know one person who tried that tack and it did backfire)

NapaCab Fri 27-Jul-12 16:39:43

I'm no expert as I'm struggling with my 9 month old at the moment hmm but maybe the bad behavior is attention-seeking? Since you pay him most attention when he's being bad, like stealing the teacher's phone, maybe he is doing things like that deliberately?

It definitely sounds like you need some time as a family to communicate better with him and get some boundaries set. I'm sorry to hear that you won't get a holiday this year. Is there any way you could get some temporary help with the business, even just for a long weekend e.g. to cover the Saturday and Monday? You'd presumably have to be on call over the weekend but even just showing your son he's important enough for you to take time off might help. Maybe sit down, have a chat with him about boundaries and set some rules and then if his behavior improves do a long weekend as a reward?

Numberlock Fri 27-Jul-12 16:40:07

BG - so what is it going to take before you accept you have to make some changes instead of excuses? How far will he have to go to get your attention (and time?)

ivykaty44 Fri 27-Jul-12 16:46:19

I would seeks some sport for him and you all to do

CeliaFate Sat 28-Jul-12 08:47:41

Sometimes you need to make a stand. This is one of those times. Sit down together and tell him
1. You're worried about him
2. You love him
3. This can't go on and things will change

I would ask him
1. What's bothering him
2. What he likes/dislikes about his life
3. What he'd change if he could

Then I would ban internet/xbox privileges for the phone incident, set clear boundaries with regards to eating together, spending time together, earning pocket money to save up for expensive things by doing chores.

He's ruling the roost and you're giving in because you feel guilty that you don't spend much time together, or because it's easy to succumb to pester power.

Be strong, be consistent and be there for him.

DontEatTheVolesKids Sat 28-Jul-12 09:30:51

A lot of that is definitely attention seeking.
I have kind of similar problems with DD (nearly 11). She has a huge greedy streak, and too much pride. It's nice she's feisty & confident, but FFS, she needs to learn a bit of humility, too.

I find a really good time to chat is bedtime: sit in his room at bedtime while he gets ready, or is just lying in bed in the dark, & let him babble. They love adult attention, really. confused

Is he going up to y7 in September? I would be quite open with HoY about the types of issues he's had. Teen-type peer pressure could make things worse.

BG Sun 29-Jul-12 07:02:11

Thanks again for the (mostly) positive and helpful replies.

CeliaFate I did ask him what he likes/dislikes about his life and he has told me before he does not like living where we do (a fairly remote place in Scotland) because there is nothing to do. However it is a very safe place and he goes out with his friends on bikes and builds bike jumps and dens.

He told me that he would like a holiday to New York!

He knows that we love him, we tell him every day and he tells us too! He shows me new songs that he likes on Youtube and asks if I like them. Mostly there is good communication until he does these off the wall things! He is bright and does fairly well at school although he 'lacks concentration' but this has improved a lot recently according to the school.

We absolutely cannot get away even for a long weekend as it is impossible to find cover, we have tried.

However we have plans to totally get out of here and move back to England to retire which could happen within the year if we are lucky and sell the house. He knows nothing about this yet but will be pleased because he says he prefers England and it will also move us much nearer to family. The different education system worries me but I am doing a lot of research into Ofsted reports.

We have a very good community policeman and I think that we will get him to speak to our son (who, unbelievably wants to be a policeman himself!).

So there are plans afoot and they can't come soon enough as far as I'm concerned!

ripsishere Sun 29-Jul-12 07:10:24

IIWY, I would tell him about the probable move to England. He may see that as a good thing and try to ammend his behaviour.
good luck.
On another subject, do you have apprentice schemes in Scotland. Rightly or wrongly, they pay very low wages to young people to train them. Where I work there are two. Both will get a qualification at the end of it.

BG Sun 29-Jul-12 07:46:21

We cannot tell him about the move just yet because he will tell his friends and it will be all around the village.

I know nothing about apprentice schemes anywhere and at 11 isn't he too young?

ripsishere Sun 29-Jul-12 08:00:22

Not an apprenticeship for your DS grin, rather to get some labour into your company.

BG Sun 29-Jul-12 08:04:59

Oh I see!

That is not possible either, it needs specialist training and we couldn't even afford a low wage atm. Anyway it would be pointless training someone and then leaving, which we are planning to do within the next 3-6 months.

ripsishere Sun 29-Jul-12 08:10:52

Ah. I think you should tell your DS about the move then if it is imminent.

BG Sun 29-Jul-12 08:22:08

I cannot tell him because it will be all around the village. It will be very unpopular as we provide a community service.

Numberlock Sun 29-Jul-12 12:43:00

Threads like this depress me. You say you're at your wits end, please help me.

Yet refuse to make any changes at all to accommodate your son and disregard all suggestions without even considering them.

Do I understand right that he's amusing himself for the summer hols or is he at holiday clubs? Will he know anyone his own age in the part of England you're moving to?

BG Sun 29-Jul-12 15:46:55

I'm sorry we depress you Numberlock, and I disagree that we refuse to make changes and disregard suggestions. If you had read the thread properly I had already agreed to speak to the community policemen as I thought that was a good idea.

My son and I have been out today and spent some quality time together. We spent some time driving to and from our destination and I asked him in a very low key way why he had done these things. He said the apple thing was because he was mad. The phone was because he wanted the latest model.

He has had friends to the house for five days running, in fact he asked me not to let anyone in yesterday or today because he was tired!

The job..we cannot change, but will within the next 3-6 months when we will retire and he will have our undivided attention. We will live within an hours drive of family including cousins of a similar age. He is quite a confident child and makes friends easily. I asked him how he would feel if we moved to England and he had to change schools and he was very laid back about it.

We are aware there is a problem and we ARE trying to change things as much as we can given the constraints that we have at present.

ripsishere Mon 30-Jul-12 09:34:50

TBH, and I shouldn't come back to this, I agree with Numberlock, not about the depression, but you do seem to be reluctant to make changes and have drip fed a tiny bit.

idotry Sat 29-Sep-12 19:29:57

Personally, I think your son's behaviour is a result of loving parents feeling guilty because of work commitments and therefore over indulging and creating a spoilt child who is feeling rather invincible.
I don't think you are a bad parent because you haven't had a holiday this year and this certainly doesn't warrant his foul behaviour (stealing from the teacher because he fancies a flashier phone).
I would say keep rules firmly in place and don't back down. In my experience children feel safe and content when they have boundaries in their life.

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