DS 10 his glass is always half empty (or worse)

(45 Posts)
duracellmummy Mon 17-Feb-14 16:39:18

Lone parent
DS10 has always had a temper and been quite negative even though DD2 and 3 and I are pretty upbeat people and DD1 quite a level person who manages to enjoy most of what we do.

DS though he can be delightful and thoughtful but he just isn't most of the time. Agrees to plans for the day then sulks and gripes all the time. Always moaning, always beating up on his sisters and me, very defiant.

we limit screen times at home because too much screen makes his attitude and behaviour worse however he will just sit around and moan and complain. He's a great reader and has always been able to escape into a book but he just won't now. His lego is his pride and joy but he won't go and create or play.

we've only had 3 days since school broke up and i am already wondering how we are all going to cope.

I truly admire how he has coped with lots in his life, he can be kind and is great fun when he wants to be...he just doesn;t want to be. unless he is on a screen (1 hour per day in the hold, 25 mins term times) he's miserable.

Any help?? What can I do to help him embrace life?

gottasmile Tue 22-Apr-14 12:26:32

So interesting Justwondering. My ds is all about impressing friends and acting more cool and more like a teenager than he is. He gets so grumpy and mad if he has to come out with us as a family too. It's probably to do with not feeling independent, everything is "babyish" at the moment.

Does this mean there's really nothing that can be done? We just have to wait until they can have more freedom? And in the meantime, they'll take out all their frustration on us?

justwondering72 Mon 21-Apr-14 06:49:25

What an interesting thread. And reassuring, in a way! I have a 6 year old DS, first born, who is a total drama llama, utterly negative most if the time - especially in terms of imagined slights or unfairness towards him, does not acknowledge any if the great things in his life, when offered an opportunity or trip out will pick it apart to find the flaws... He regularly spoils whole family outings by being grumpy, meant, mean to his little brother, rude and demanding ice cream/ toys/ snack food. All that seems to interest him is wrestling with his dad (until someone gets hurt), watching tv, meeting his friends to play - he is very sociable, a lot if his grumpiness occurs when he is not able to meet his friends.

At this stage he seems incapable of looking outside his own head and seeing that anyone else has needs much less modifying his impulses or behavior to help us all just get alongsad he's all about him. It's hard work.

DH has never read biddulph though I have. He is a teacher though. Last night he said that he reckons ds has made the shift from focusing on family to friends, and that a lot of his stupid behavior is repeated because its stuff that his friends find funny. Unfortunately this is likely to continue well into his teens! DH teaches secondary and reports that for the boys he teaches impressing their mates and making them laugh is top priority, way more important than impressing a mere teacher!

Soveryupset Sun 20-Apr-14 11:56:21

So glad I found this thread as I sit here worn out by my nearly 8 years old second born son.

This holiday we've been on a speed boat across lake garda, running through vineyards, seeing friends, touring venice, doing easter bunny hunts but all he was interested in was his next turn on minecraft. He looks disinterested all the time, told me he had a boring holiday and we hate him after denying his screen time.

He is such hard work but he used to be delightful, now we can't do anything as he is always unhappy. Our resolution when we get home is totalbban on screens and more exercise...hope it works because I can't bear it any longer!!!

gottasmile Wed 02-Apr-14 10:31:20

My ds is very insecure. I try to praise where appropriate, give lots of hugs, but it's obviously not enough. His attitude towards school, his sister, us as parents is terrible. Looking after possessions he's quite good at.

What else can I do for an insecure boy? He's mentioned taking up an instrument. I might try that as I think he needs something that he's good at (not good at sports).

Cory, I'm glad there's hope that the pleasant boy might return.

cory Wed 02-Apr-14 09:53:08

My second was like this round about this age; it was like walking around with a grey miserable cloud. "what's the point of you doing anything, you're not Nelson Mandela" (when I put some money into a charity tin), "no point in trying at school, I'll only end up at Liddl's stacking shelves anyway".

It was insecurity, fear of growing up, fear of not finding his way in the world. He is a lot happier, and more pleasant, now that he is 14 and can have a bit more freedom.

Nocomet Wed 02-Apr-14 08:43:37

I don't know about DSs, but DD2 could be very negative and moany, especially as she walked out of school.

In the end we had a rule, say something posative or just shut up.

She was very well behaved at school and worked very hard at fitting in and being a good friend.

As soon as she got out she had a massive moan about absolutely nothing.

I think, Y5 and Y6 are stressful, DCs aren't grown up enough for real freedom, but they are leaving toys and childish things behind.

They feel really frustrated. Theywant more control over their lives than they can have or actually handle.

Sometimes this frustration comes out in clear toddler grade stroppyness, sometimes in teen attitude and sometimes just in low level grumpy moaning.

They focus their frustrations not on big things, they know they can't control those, but stupid little things they feel they can. Trouble is their choice of things to get totally annoyed about is, to everyone else, not always logical and very wearing.

The best response I found was giving them the opportunity to feel grown up.

Independence and being able to do things with their friends and a say in family days out etc.

Really little things like KFC rather than Macdonalds. A hour in town with a friend on their own or going swimming. Staying home while I taxi her sister about or getting to bake.

I don't do screen limits as SIMs is DD2's escape, but she has never kicked off hugely about being told to do something else. Like many if your DSs she also needs to be sent out to race about or trampoline.

Also I'm certain my DDs sence that I'm far too lazy to enforce ridgid time limits and certain to forget to look at the clock. In any case I feel petty rules for the sake of rules live in school.

I don't worry to much about screens, bedtime, chores and general untidyness.

I'm am strict about attitude to parents or siblings, working at school (not every scrap of HW, but overall attitude) and looking after possessions.

I also dole out lots of hugs.

gottasmile Wed 02-Apr-14 07:37:42

I really do need tips!

I worked through "What to do when you grumble too much" book and it seemed to sink in, but in practice, ds won't do what they suggest sad

We went to the GP and then I got a letter which suggests we have to go through the school? Does anyone know anything about this?

We're still struggling...

lu9months Tue 01-Apr-14 19:51:45

I am really encouraged to find out lots of us have the same issues! my ds is 11, the oldest ds, and finds it hard to be happy, especially if his younger brother (a generally happy soul) is about. cant seem to resist winding him up, complaining about what he has, or some perceived unfairness. he is lovely with his 4 year old sister and like many kids described here is gentle and sweet with little ones. he is also fiercely intelligent, though tends to be lazy. funny there are so many similarities. I drive him to school a few days a week and we have a lovely 20 mins together when he is pleasant and good company, so definitely vouch for one to one time. watching closely for tips!

Newhere2 Tue 18-Mar-14 09:55:25

this is such an interesting thread and I can totally relate. Its scary to me to have so much negative energy at such a young age.

FiscalCliff the idea of outside activities and burning up energy / getting positive endorphins going sounds like a good idea. I have also been toying of the idea of a dog, and thought that might be a good way to bring a smile to everyones face.

gottasmile Thu 06-Mar-14 17:25:48

Coming back to this again. I have just ordered What to do when you grumble too much. Has anyone read it yet?

Poopoopeedoo - yes to all of this:

*-Still battles to share :" what's mine is mine and what's yours is mine..." hmm
-Seems to be consumed by jealousy of younger brother.
-Extremely single-minded and tenacious- no amount of distraction tactics have EVER worked once he focuses on something.
Any of those last ones apply to your DS's?*

I've also made an appointment with the GP to see if there's anything they can do/referrals they can make. It sounds extreme, but after another weekend of extreme negativity, I feel like I need some outside help.

Would love to know how you're all getting along!

duracellmummy Fri 21-Feb-14 21:56:54

I understand your frustration...I am a single parent, DS's dad is an abusive bully who has been absent for 2 years but is back on the scene. BUT it is true that these boys need male role models (as do our girls) to demonstrate how to be a "man" in lots of different good ways...i struggle with this. Not so many men around who i think are good role models to be honest.

Poopoopeedooo Fri 21-Feb-14 21:01:15

Interesting.... The main message I took away from Raising Boys was that, after they reach about five, you as the mother are basically of secondary importance and are of use mainly as clothes washer and meal cooker whilst its ALL about the dad/ male role model after that! Made me feel extremely powerless and irrelevant wrt my sons' futures! sad
At which point I heartily chucked it on the BBQ and used it to grill some rather nice sausages.
Not a Biddulph fan

gottasmile Fri 21-Feb-14 20:29:37

This thread is so interesting!
My ds is first born and like some of yours, he's so gentle and loving with young kids and he loves playing with them. He'd love a cat or dog, but we just can't have one.

He wants to be cool - with what he wears and now how he speaks. He tells me it's cool to say no instead of any - eg. I haven't got no money. I have to laugh when he does this!

He often has friendship issues, feeling left out, but seems really popular with the girls and this is when the cool, popular dude comes out!

Please let me know what you discover from your reading!

duracellmummy Fri 21-Feb-14 12:23:02

My "half empty" DS is number 2 of 4, not sporty (could be a good x country runner but gave it up as it was "hard work" hmm) not cool, been bullied and had issues with not fitting in. Moderately bright, super with babies and younger kids, good at talking to adults. Philosophical, has lots of good insight into himself but once the glums have a hold on him it's super hard to dig him out or for him to find a way out.

I think the screen thing is interesting. My observation is that screen gives immediate gratification whereas most "real life " takes longer to get results...that could be pretty addictive especially if they are struggling a bit with peers and others perception of them.

I also like Raising Boys and have also found some good tips for raising boys (and girls) from "when dad hurts mom" by bancroft and silverman for giving children a critical and aware mind to look at the way they and others behave around them and make good choices.

perhaps it really is "their hormones" but boy is it exhausting and although DS2 gets time with me I often feel he gets more than the others but still feels hard done by...the truth is that I am stretched too thin, but that is life I suppose.

NationMcKinley Fri 21-Feb-14 07:19:14

Oh God yes! My DS1 is a category A drama llama without a doubt. I have found the Raising Boys book by Steve Biddulph useful at times and I do make sure he gets 1:1 time regularly. He's lovely, funny, kind and wonderful but he does drive me nuts and to gin

CeliaFate Fri 21-Feb-14 07:10:50

Mine is trying to keep up with the uber cool and popular kids and feels a failure because he isn't one of those kids.

He gives up if he fails at something and slumps his shoulders and puts his head against the wall. (He is v. dramatic!)

Is there a website for boys, like the My Daughter or A Mighty Girl sites? Something that will inspire him or help him see he's not alone?

Poopoopeedooo Thu 20-Feb-14 22:55:50

Ha! Yes, Action lots of that applies:
-Very very competitive and hates to lose
-Very aware of what peers will think of him/ puts on cool act around his mates.
Also:
-Still battles to share :" what's mine is mine and what's yours is mine..." hmm
-Seems to be consumed by jealousy of younger brother.
-Extremely single-minded and tenacious- no amount of distraction tactics have EVER worked once he focuses on something.
Any of those last ones apply to your DS's?

NationMcKinley Thu 20-Feb-14 22:23:17

Poop yup. He's the eldest of 3 boys. He's amazingly gentle and kind with babies and young children (he says he wants to be a reception teacher). He's very bright (according to his teachers) but inclined to be a bit lazy and slap dash rather than a perfectionist. He's competitive but inclined to give up if it's all a bit hard hmm He's also mega sporty. He's also (and this worries me) very preoccupied with what his friends think of him and if he's "cool". He started the whole no PDA business in reception FFS sad whereas at home he's very affectionate. He's a real seething mass of contradictions and thinking about it gives me a headache. Any of these ring true for any of you? [make me feel better emoticon]

Poopoopeedooo Thu 20-Feb-14 20:06:33

That's a half FULL glass I just handed you! Heh heh

Poopoopeedooo Thu 20-Feb-14 20:05:47

Welcome to the Challenged Parents Club Starlings wine

Poopoopeedooo Thu 20-Feb-14 20:04:12

Another question for the lot of yer grin : are your Challenging Offspring firstborns too or has it got nothing to do with birth order?

This is a really interesting and timely thread. I feel simply wrung out after another day with ds1. I will definitely check out some of the reading recommendations. I joke that ds is less a glass half empty person than a "why have they got more in their glass than me" one. <<sigh>>.

He can be really funny and has a great imagination. He is kind to friends and popular with his peers, just not so popular in his own household as he can be negative, aggressive and, yes, would happily play on the computer all day every day. Of my three he is the child I worry about most.

Poopoopeedooo Thu 20-Feb-14 19:31:58

Oh PS- he has guinea pigs and is unusually gentle and affectionate towards them compared to other boys his age- quite baffling ! So yes, pets are probably a good one provided there are no underlying psychopathic tendencies!

Poopoopeedooo Thu 20-Feb-14 19:28:44

Thanks for those suggestions, Fiscal. Unfortunately exercise does not put him in a good mood- yes we HAVE to leave the house and do SOMETHING outdoorsy or he's even worse than the norm, but I wouldn't say an entire day spent physically exerting himself brings about a massive change. One on one time can be great and he can be lovely during those moments but within seconds of it being over, he's straight back to the negativity- it almost makes you feel it was pointless (although I do tell myself that it must be at least forming some good memories and having SOME sort of longterm positive effect!)
Negative feedback or "consequences" ( I've tried to stop using the word "punishment" ) also seem to make things worse- rather than helping him learn from his mistakes he just feels victimized, unloved and justified in being negative and defiant.... Sometimes I think I should try not telling him off but it's impossible when DS2 bears the brunt of the abuse or when he's rude or disrespectful to me or DH. Aaarrgghh ! Hurry up, Amazon, and deliver that grumpy book!
Anyone have any more suggestions ?

PolterGoose Thu 20-Feb-14 18:33:44

Oh, and I think only an hour screen time a day in holidays is quite short, it is a holiday after all smile

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