I've become more shouty with my pre-teen and I hate it

(47 Posts)
MissStrawberry Sat 31-Aug-13 20:28:11

Really I hate myself.

He is 12.6 and for the last year he has been hard work.

Can anyone give me any coping strategies for ignoring him when he is ride/disrespectful/arguing/taking the piss out of me (ie ignoring him for longer than 10 seconds and then cracking) as I am making us all feel crap.

I know he is normal. It is me that is the problem.

Salbertina Sun 01-Sep-13 08:00:52

Marking my place... Struggle too. You have my sympathies!
I have that How to talk so kids listen... book, good but often forgotten Might be worth a read? Other than that, earning screentime, money etc thro good behaviour.

MissStrawberry Sun 01-Sep-13 08:13:32

I have tried so many times to read it but I just can't take it all in and remember it. Once I took to writing a big I on my hand to remind me to ignore as much as I couldhmm.

InternationalPower Sun 01-Sep-13 08:17:06

This is going to sound bonkers, but I had exactly the same problem last summer. I hated it and I hated me for it. I work term-time and before the holidays were half over I was desperate to get back to normal, even though I'm not that excited by my job.

During the course of this year, for various reasons, I have given up refined sugar which has completely solved my mood swings, made me a far nicer person and now I'm enjoying the challenges my two pre-teens bring. The problem was me not them iyswim. Now I'm able to breathe deeply, walk away and come back a few seconds later with a punishment/sanction/solution.

I'm quite sad that the holidays are over this year.

MissStrawberry Sun 01-Sep-13 08:46:21

I don't really eat sugary things but I will bare it in mind, thank you.

Salbertina Sun 01-Sep-13 08:50:23

Op- ikwym about the book! simple but not easy- to the extent that i actually noted down the 5 key points for me from it and then forgot a timely reminder for me also:

1. Describe problem-" it's getting late." "Your hmk's due tomorrow"
2. Say with one word "bed"
3. Talk from the " I " re my feelings "i feel frustrated when I'm interrupted"
4. Write a note eg on iplayer - "have i done my hmk? Maths first! " etc
5. Offer choice - when/how

Salbertina Sun 01-Sep-13 09:02:50

IP- agree, sugar highly toxic and was hard core about this last year, low carbing in big way! Great effect on mood, weight etc. Fallen off wagon rather since.

MissStrawberry Sun 01-Sep-13 15:39:59

I have no patience at all. Currently it feels like nothing is going right. From devastating news last week to the iron leaving dirty marks all over the shirt I spent ages ironing as the iron is shit but clean confused. I am close to breaking point with everything and the kids being PITA is not helping. Seriously considering getting something from the GP as I will be in a complete fog but maybe I will care less about everything that is currently pissing me off.

Salbertina Sun 01-Sep-13 15:46:35

Well you've just had the challenge of the long hols, haven't you? So sure patience in v short supply.

MissStrawberry Sun 01-Sep-13 16:13:23

Just saying the same stuff over and over again. DH just shouted at the boys and he never shouts.

Both boys have started saying no punishment will work.

NoComet Sun 01-Sep-13 16:26:19

I shout always have, always will, doesn't bother me.

If DD2 doesn't hear me shout, I politely remind her that my taxi driving skills can be withdrawn at anytime.

We live in the arse end of nowhere with no busses, this is a real threat!

MissStrawberry Sun 01-Sep-13 17:56:08

I just take it all so personally and it feels personal when they don't do it with anyone else. They will try with daddy but no where near as bad.

DS1 takes the piss and makes fun of me.
DD answers backs and argues repeatedly.
DS2 answers back, says he won't do X and says no one loves him. He ran away a few weeks ago because of it.

Have all been sniping and each other all day, awful to DH and I. Currently upstairs playing nicely and talking nicely to each other. DH and I feel like we've been fighting a war and are close to break down.

MissStrawberry Sun 01-Sep-13 17:56:52

Spoke too soon. DS1 just said "no one likes you DS2. Go away." angry

Maryz Sun 01-Sep-13 18:11:20

The best parenting advice I ever got was "ignore the attitude, deal with the action".

So for example in our house, if I tell dd and ds2 to do something, dd will stamp her feet, rant, grumble, raise her eyes to heaven, but go and do it. ds2 will smile nicely, agree, wander out happily, but not do what he was asked.

I find myself getting really angry with dd for her attitude, but ignoring the fact that ds2 didn't do whatever it was confused. I'm trying hard to do the reverse.

I found giving short instructions and developing selective deafness helped. So I would ignore the muttering and complaining unless they really crossed a line, in which case a "What Did You Say" with a deathstare usually made them think again.

If it is general bickering, I eventually gave up trying to sort it out. So I tried a new method. If they were arguing among themselves, I would turn off all the electrics (including the modem) and send them all to their rooms for half an hour. The half hour didn't start until they were all in their rooms and had stopped shouting insults from room to room were quiet.

There was mayhem for about a week, until they realised I meant it, and then things improved significantly.

Maryz Sun 01-Sep-13 18:12:11

And another suggestion. Do try to make one-on-one time with each of them if you can. Even a cup of hot chocolate in a cafe, or going to the supermarket with only one does help.

MissStrawberry Sun 01-Sep-13 18:28:26

It all is such good advice but it doesn't work confused. I have tried looks and they just say "what?". Today with DD I even said "did you mean to be so rude?" and I got nothing back.

They argue constantly if we say no, if we say they can't do certain things, they have to go to bed now, what we are having for tea etc etc etc.

They say hurtful things. Apparently no one loves DS2, DS1 has had no fun and done nothing all holiday, they never get any treats and on it goes.

I am going for ignoring everything but then they complain I don't love them then if I don't tell off X for doing Y to Z hmm.

One to one never really happens that often. More kids than parents was a stupid idea when you are shit at being a parent.

MrsTwgtwf Sun 01-Sep-13 18:34:54

Honestly, get something from the doc's to help you cope. You sound really down. sad Fwiw, there's a version of that book mentioned above, called "How to talks so teens will listen, and listen so teens will talk". I have it...haven't tackled it yet...

MissStrawberry Sun 01-Sep-13 18:39:11

I have the toddler taming book but from 5-12 years old. Just having found the time to read it yet.

I need patience, to ignore, to not give in, to stop feeling so resentful and realise I am the adult and I should grow up. This is my life now and it is tough shit if I don't like it.

Maryz Sun 01-Sep-13 20:40:10

It's all a psychological game.

These techniques work if you can step back and not react emotionally. Or at least if you can pretentiously not to be emotional about it.

Your aren't a shit parent. Really you aren't. You are a stressed and miserable parent.

Do you think you might be depressed? I was when mine were your ages, but it took me five years to admit it and get help.

I also discovered that shutting myself in my room with chocolate and a book was a perfectly acceptable thing to do. They didn't kill each other.

MissStrawberry Sun 01-Sep-13 21:04:50

If I could switch off from them a bit I think I would be a much better parent [[couldn't be much worse.--

There have been times when I have been almost indifferent to them because of something they have done and I found I coped better with them and they responded better to my requests to behave confused.

I love them too much. I am trying too hard. I am too invested and involved. They are too much my whole life.

I have been depressed for the last 26 years with varying medications and none/counselling that didn't help and tbh I don't believe I will ever me normal or better.

But tomorrow is another day and I am going to try harder not to be such a fuck up.

MissStrawberry Sun 01-Sep-13 21:06:13

I would love to lock myself away but they have injured each other in the past sad.

MyBoysAreFab Sun 01-Sep-13 21:12:08

Oh, can I join you? My DSes are 12 and nearly 14. They can be really sweet and funny but also are both strong willed and hotheaded, and not getting on well atm. Some days all that seems to come from our house is screeching and bickering with me yelling helplessly in the background.

I sometimes hear myself banging on and even whilst doing it am thinking "I wouldn't listen to me either"! I am always wise after the fact.

Maryz Sun 01-Sep-13 21:18:57

Since mine have got to teenager age, I find that being pragmatic and dealing with them as if they were lodgers sometimes keeps me sane grin

They are old enough now for you tell them you are taking a break. Ds2 learned very quickly not to wind ds1 up if I wasn't around.

It's so hard to step back, but it really does help. It isn't possible to be a fair referee, so sometimes you have to just call time out and refuse to engage.

MissStrawberry Sun 01-Sep-13 21:24:33

Your last sentence rang bells, Maryz. We struggle sometimes as our boys lie and now they are older we can't trick them into the truth so it feels like you either punish the innocent one and the guilty one or you let the guilty one off.

DS2 has been nicking food without asking for years. Always treat stuff. Usually eventually I get it out of him. Today he admitted it sooner but when I asked why he didn't tell me sooner he said he didn't want his siblings hearing. I have a system so anyone can own up without others knowing but he obviously doesn't believe that. Today it was he had nicked my smarties eaten them all and hidden the tube under his drawers. He tried to blame the cat. I made him pay me back 2 x the cost of the smarties. Before I knew who it was I said I wouldn't bake this week and there would be no nice after school treats. Now I know who it is, and he has paid me, do I still go ahead with the no baking etc?

I have taken to hiding treats in my room as he nicked stuff last month too but didn't work this week. He took them Friday and I discovered they were gone last night.

Maryz Sun 01-Sep-13 21:40:49

Hi MyBoys smile. If yours have taken to thumping each other have you considered geting a punch bag?

MissS, you can simplify some of the problems.

Don't try to get to the truth - that's why I instituted my "half hour time out for everyone" rule. I stopped taking sides and got myself breathing space. All hell broke loose for a week until they realised I didn't care (at least I pretended not to care). But then they gave up.

Put a lock on your bedroom door and keep treat food (and your chocolate) in there. Don't spend time trying to get them to admit things. Only punish what really matters (and really smarties don't, not in the greater scheme of things).

Be a bit nicer to yourself.

Fraxinus Sun 01-Sep-13 22:04:00

They sound rude and ungrateful. If any of us were in a position where our children were being consistently rude and ungrateful it would grind us down and make us feel unable to make any strategy work.

So I don't have it that it is YOU that is the problem... Just you are in the middle of the downward spiral.

Have you told them, individually, how they are making you feel?

MissStrawberry Mon 02-Sep-13 07:08:53

Maryz - It upsets me that he takes food as they don't go without. I don't buy many treat stuff but I do bake a lot including making my own lollies, ice creams, biscuits and I do know what it is to go without but I went without basic food not treats.

When you do time out where do the children do it? DD always happy to be sent to her room and usually throws a rude comment at me as she goes.

Fraxinus - I have tried to tell them but I guess they don't really get it as they carry on but then consequences haven't sunk in either. For DS1 it is to take his ipod and lap top away and he loves them so even with a warning he will lose them he still carries on. Last week he told us no punishment would work.

baskingseals Mon 02-Sep-13 07:40:08

Miss strawberry I understand what you mean about investing too much in your children. I think it can be easier to focus on them rather than yourself, but ultimately it doesn't help anyone at all. Try and turn your gaze on yourself. You mentioned that you didn't always have enough to eat as a child, which suggests to me that your needs weren't met properly.
Try now to meet some of your own needs.

Take little steps. Get your boundaries up. It is okay to say no. It is okay to be you. Once you feel better with yourself, it is so much easier to deal with your children, you just don't take it as personally. You are not responsible for their happiness, you are responsible, IMHO, for creating an environment in which they can be happy, which you are evidently doing.

What do you enjoy doing? Can you even remember? grin spend some time on yourself, respect yourself and your relationships with everyone around you will feel easier.

Maryz Mon 02-Sep-13 07:40:34

In their rooms. I'm lucky they have. Room each.

I remember one dreadful day when I took the main electricity fuse to bed with me for an hour.

Dd never minded either. But she probably started the least of the trouble so I suppose it was fair that she minded the punishment least.

It really helps if you can stop minding and be less emotional. Because half the bickering will be attention seeking and if your upset they have obviously "won"

Maryz Mon 02-Sep-13 07:41:27

And what basking said. Be nicer to yourself

MissStrawberry Mon 02-Sep-13 08:00:36

You are all so wise and have worked me out perfectly [sigh]. I wish I wasn't such an open book as it usually does me no favours as I show the pages to the wrong people.

I have something huge on at the moment and seeing a friend later and was wondering whether to share with her but tbh I have always found it hard too as when I have tried with others I feel uncomfortable. Like they are feeling that way too and I am feeling ashamed even though it wasn't me that did anything wrong. I was also once sacked from a job for sharing something about my childhood so I am wary.


- take it less personally.
- don't be scared to say no - I am scared full stop of my eldest so that would be a good place to start.
- stop worrying about their future childhood memories and concentrate on the here and now.
- be a bit more selfish.

Thanks all flowers.

School run now. One more thing to worry about.

Maryz Mon 02-Sep-13 08:54:08

I'm not wise, I'm just five years ahead of you much of which I spent shouting and crying

I am speaking from bitter experience.

If it helps mine are now 19, 17 and 15 and despite the odd humungous row, usually about school, we seem to be through the worst of it. At least they have stopped the bloody bickering.

MissStrawberry Mon 02-Sep-13 09:41:51

Another example of my stupidness. My DH grew up in a big family. My children will have a smaller one as I have none and DH's brother is not having children so we had a lot of children so they would have each other. Hurts as they feel each one doesn't like them and they act like they don't like each other.

baskingseals Mon 02-Sep-13 10:43:28

Hey miss strawberry you are absolutely not stupid. It is really hard bringing up children, I think more so if you didn't have a fantastic childhood yourself.

Could you try with doing one nice thing just for yourself today? Say no to something that usually you would say yes to and then feel uncomfortable about.

MyBoysAreFab Mon 02-Sep-13 16:00:16

Not a punchbag Maryz but I have sent them to their rooms to punch into a pillow before to let off steam.

I hate that they don't get on, but I know it is more to do with the ages they are at now as they always got on well when younger.

I think it is definitely a case of retraining yourself as to how you deal, and picking your battles. No point in trying to get into the mind of a teenage boy! (eeugh)

MissStrawberry I do hope that this thread is giving you some comfort that you are not alone. Don't beat yourself up too much - motherhood is by far the hardest job out there, and it is always easy to look back and know you could have dealt with things better - we all do that. I think even the fact that you are even analysing what you are doing means that you are doing a great job.

bigkidsdidit Mon 02-Sep-13 16:09:39

Seriously, Maryz, you should write a parenting book

blue2 Mon 02-Sep-13 16:23:14

I think MaryZs idea about taking the fuse to bed is a great idea. A friend of mine does something similar (she unplugs and kidnaps router), and it restores order to the household within about 30mins... once the 3 kids have all blamed each other for the fracas in the first place.

It's normally preceded by several warnings, and then when it happens, it doesn't involve discussion. She just does it.

I also think it gives her the feeling that she is still in control of the teens and NOT the other way around.

MissStrawberry Mon 02-Sep-13 18:07:30

Today has been okay.

I took DS1 to a friend's for lunch and we were there until afternoon school pick up. I had some difficult news while out but haven't taken it out on the kids by having no patience. I am calm but firm with them and have done reading with DS2 and made sure all have done something to help me chore wise as well as getting homework done and getting bags ready for tomorrow.

DS1 was a pain asking in front of DD and Ds2 what their snack was when I had already mentioned I had forgotten it and it is the sort of thing they do a lot. Like mentioning they have had X while the other 2 were out. Very petty but extremely annoying for me.

I am taking comfort from the fact that my kids are actually normal despite having me as a mum and I hope they know how much I love them.

DH due home soon so I will have help.

I find that when I am confident in my speaking when asking them to do something they do it. It is when I am doubting if I am being right or fair that they play me up.

blue2 Tue 03-Sep-13 14:25:00

Sounds like Confidence is the key!

MissStrawberry Tue 03-Sep-13 15:16:30

It really is but it is hard to keep it up. Rather strangely I seem to be worse at the end of my period instead of before. I wonder if it is hormonal as I also feel suicidal at those times and depressed.

Anyway, have to go and get the kids from school now, my last one goes back tomorrow so I'll be on my own for the first time since mid July.

Salbertina Tue 03-Sep-13 16:13:47

Hope your respite brings you some relief, OP. if it helps, had v v tricky afternoon fighting over helping dc w hmk. Sigh. Such a battle! Am over my pmt at least (that makes me worse and less tolerant) so a smidgeon more patience but still exhausted and despairing. You're not alone!

MissStrawberry Tue 03-Sep-13 17:02:04

<offers wine and chocolate>

Try Agnus Castus. It works miracles.

UptoapointLordCopper Fri 06-Sep-13 11:00:28

Can I say one thing about DC saying hurtful things to each other? Mine are younger but they've been saying rather sarcastic and not-very-nice things to each other, and it has been driving me up the wall. But then I remember doing the same things with my brothers, and I remember the horrified look on a visiting relative's face. Like yesterday. He was shocked we would say things like that to each other. But me and my brothers - we like each other! We were just playing! So now I insist on a pretence of politeness at the dinner table, and all other times, as long as it doesn't go OTT, I ignore them. I think they don't mean it - you can tell when they do, I think - and they are just playing...

Not sure what the point is! I think we want them to get along, and we see that way down the line you are glad you have a sibling who gets along with you or you are upset your sibling and you don't get along, and you project that onto their behaviour now. And that's stressful.

MissStrawberry Fri 06-Sep-13 12:41:36

Mine don't like each other, they say they don't, they act like they don't most of the time. Makes me very sad.

However, yesterday we were at a clinic and DD(10) and DS2(8) were being horrible to each other, mainly DD, and weren't doing as they told. On the way home they were chatting nice and friendly while I was feeling wrung out. I asked them why and they said in the clinic they had no topic to talk about hmm.

UptoapointLordCopper Fri 06-Sep-13 15:41:36

LOL at having to quarrel because there was nothing to talk about.

I guess they are allowed to dislike each other ... that's why I demand a pretence of civility ...grin

MissStrawberry Fri 06-Sep-13 16:59:54

More friction with them both. While sat in the car at school while I spoke to a lovely man, DD threw her snack box out of the window and since we have been home she has been horrible to him and he has been annoying to her.

She is stroppy. We have rolling of eyes now. Much sooner than her older brother. Her little brother can be a pest but she is very intolerant and it does upset me. She said she wishes he wasn't her brother. Is that a normal thing to say and I am meant to ignore her as I find it upsetting?

UptoapointLordCopper Sun 08-Sep-13 19:03:34

Sorry to hear MissStrawberry sad. No idea what to do. I do think though that sometimes all this "I wish he's not my brother" and "you are the worst brother ever" types things ought to be ignored. Or if I remember my how-to-talk book, you need to acknowledge the feeling without making any judgement. That's a hard thing to do.

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