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 Mon 17-Feb-14 19:02:14

Hi, I'm going through the same with ds (10). I actually did the glass half full/empty experiment to test him! (He said full, which proves to me it doesn't work!)

I'm sorry I don't have anything constructive to say, but wanted to let you know that you're not alone and I'll be watching this thread with interest.

I hope you get some helpful advice.

Misiecle Mon 17-Feb-14 19:55:43

Me too and hoping for tips; have retreated early to bed, worn down by DS1 and the negativity; the emotional heavy lifting when things don't turn out his way (the lack of fish fingers for tea; the fact I made him come off the XBox, the fact he has to share his life with his siblings) - he has been in meltdown or near meltdown every day for as long as I can remember. Banning things, reasoning, love-bombing, reassuring him, telling him I love you, building in special time, getting cross - nothing much works, except perhaps ignoring until he comes round - I'm pretty good at ignoring the worst of the behaviour, setting boundaries etc but tonight, after a full day of the emotional blackmail and the whining and the apologies and the "you dont love me"s and the "why are you so disappointed in me"s and the making up and the endless cycle going round and round I have had enough. I have never posted on a behaviour board before; please tell me it will get better.

neolara Mon 17-Feb-14 20:10:25

I've just downloaded Learned Optimism which promises to show how you can teach your kids to be optimistic. I haven't got to that part yet but the author is a very well respected psychologist so I imagine it will be interesting.

OddFodd Mon 17-Feb-14 21:07:30

What to do when you grumble too much by Dawn Hueber was recommended to me on the SN board. It's not aimed particularly at kids with SN but its basically a CBT workbook abouy overcoming negativity. I can't recommend it highly enough

duracellmummy Mon 17-Feb-14 22:16:07

thanks all...well at least we know we are not alone!!

a bit of reading when I get a chance then and maybe we can encourage one-another to keep on going?

Some small encouragement might be that I was a thoroughly miserable child blush and felt totally invisible but I did come round...maybe our lovely DCs will do the same??? (fingers crossed along with every other part of my anatomy)

It is sooo wearing though. I work and save very hard just to do small nice things as treats (eg a bowling game) and I know he does not have as much stuff or do the exciting things his friends appear to...but surely this should not define happiness.

Poopoopeedooo Tue 18-Feb-14 21:48:38

Ah yes, I too have one of these....DS 8 yrs going on 16. I´ve felt like the mother of a grumpy teenager since he was 3!
DS2 is all sunshine and light which almost seems to perpetuate the behaviour in DS1.
It really sometimes gets me down too. The are days when I feel he ruins the whole family dynamic completely. On the odd occasion he goes off for a sleepover, it´s like a big cloud has lifted and the sun comes out. It makes me so sad and frustrated and worried for his future chances of happiness. I love him dearly yet many are the days when I find it hard to actually LIKE him. sad
Watching too for tips and will check out the recommended reading.

gottasmile Wed 19-Feb-14 08:54:03

Just coming back to this. I can identify with everything that's been written so far - especially the sun coming out when ds is not there.

"DS2 is all sunshine and light which almost seems to perpetuate the behaviour in DS1." This I can definitely relate to.

I got a glimpse of his lovely nature the other day and it made me so happy! It was the first time in ages that dd was away and we were alone together for the morning. So one on one time definitely helped! But it only lasted one day.

He doesn't want to come out on family days out, not even to go out for a meal. He just moans and complains and picks fights with his sister the WHOLE time. I'm at the point where I want to leave him at home so we can enjoy our time out even though I feel so sad about this.

I don't think it has anything to do with how much "stuff" they have. Ds has a lot of things that he's asked for, and I often think maybe that's the problem! He's even grumpy when his friends come over because they want to actually play and all he wants to do is computer stuff. I'm worried about him only caring about super mario and having no other interests.

For ds I know that too much screen time makes him much worse. It's so hard, but we've now limited it a bit more, but it's still not enough for my liking. We've also made his bed time earlier, which he is not happy about, but he seems to understand that he's someone who needs more sleep.

I'll definitely be reading some of the above ^ We still have a long way to go and I really want him to be more positive and happy!

CeliaFate Wed 19-Feb-14 19:48:45

I'm sorry you're all going through this, but just wanted to say THANK GOD FOR THIS THREAD! grin
Ds has gone into total meltdown tonight. Everyone "hates him", he's "unpopular, an idiot, invisible, stupid".
He's sobbed and sobbed because he bumped his leg, almost to the point of a panic attack.
I have ordered "What to do when you grumble too much" in the hope that he can recognise that this Eeyore behaviour is as damaging to him as to everyone else.

NationMcKinley Wed 19-Feb-14 20:10:45

My 7 year old DS is just like this. It drives me insane! He too has two younger brothers and sometimes I think he would have been happier without siblings. I've recently started getting him to consider different scenarios in his head and considering the consequences of his flying-off-the-handle-screechy-rages. For example, he often has a melt down before bed over some perceived slight such as his middle brother having slightly more toothpaste hmm. I have to get in their super quick, before he really gets going, but getting him to consider the effects of a tantrum (everyone stressed, everyone upset, punishments) before he has it, seems to defuse it. (Hope that makes sense). At other times, going and sitting on his bed with a book often helps him "reboot" iyswim. I do appreciate that he's quite a bit younger than your DS, though, OP.

Honestly, I feel like I could work for the UN sometimes, this parenting lark can be bloody exhausting grin.

duracellmummy Wed 19-Feb-14 21:55:59

welcome all!
I am still wondering what to do with DS....but at least I feel among friends!!

Basketofchocolate Wed 19-Feb-14 22:04:45

Your children sound just like my mother.

I could go the same except I'm determined not to turn out like her!

I have no answers...originally clicked through as DS has a book How Full is Your Bucket? about filling up the bucket of happiness, for yourself and others. There are two levels of the book I think - for young children and older ones.

A friend of mine is very wise and reminds me that no one said humans are supposed to be happy and optimistic all the time. That's true I think, but we often led to believe we should be.

As a child I had a lot to deal with and was prob grumpy a lot but was saved perhaps by having extended family to escape to and chat to - different from parents. Sometimes siblings can certainly make things worse when personalities clash. My sister is particularly annoying when she seems 'happy' all the time but mostly it's cos she hasn't noticed what is going on around her.

Poopoopeedooo Wed 19-Feb-14 23:30:14

Hi again.
Funny how these kids of ours seem so similar- I wonder if there is some sort of "negativity syndrome" or something- a lack of happiness neurotransmitters or similar!! Interesting that most seem to be posting about male children too!
Mine is also terribly obsessive about screens- computers/phones/TV ... When he's on one he's happy, contented and quiet and when he isn't, it takes him hours of whining and nagging and pleading to use one again until he will eventually possibly find something else to do that doesn't involve being a beast to adoring younger brother!
It's like he's addicted- he goes through serious screen- withdrawal and the more he's been "using" , the worse he is!!! Like heroine or something!! If we cut it down his behaviour is definitely better. School holidays make me lose the will to live, frankly !
And thanks all- SO nice to hear similar stories thanks

Poopoopeedooo Thu 20-Feb-14 08:31:40

Just out of interest- how do your "challenging children" perform academically? Mine is pretty bright - finds school work very easy although sometimes lazy and careless as he's more interested in being the fastest to finish than getting everything dead right !

CeliaFate Thu 20-Feb-14 10:45:37

That's exactly what ds is like Poopoopeedooo.

NationMcKinley Thu 20-Feb-14 18:15:32

Yup, Poop that is a very accurate description of my DS. He's also very articulate, sociable and nosy grin

You cannot make someone feel ok.

However, IMO and as the mum of an 11 yr old DS and 9 yr old DS, they need exercise, almost like a dog(!), ie 1-2 hours a day preferably outside. We often go for walks, boring wet muddy walks, they always come home happy though!

Excercise is key, we do masses of sports and also go for walks/swimming. Aim for 1-2 hrs of physical activity.

Having a dog has been amazing for them too. ( but not doable for everything), you cannot be grumpy if a dog wags its tail just because you are there.

But seriously, get very active!

And bedtimes! 8:30 lights out

And special 1-2-1 time, at least 10 mins a day .

That's it, will shut up now

PolterGoose Thu 20-Feb-14 18:32:46

I've got a pessimistic 10yo nihilist, he does have a primary diagnosis of Aspergers so has lots of anxiety which contributes to it though. I've used others in the series of 'What to do when you grumble too much' with great success and that's next on our to do list. Since he read the Hitchhikers Guide books he does seem to have gained some insight and we now call it 'doing a Marvin' grin

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

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 ?

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!

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 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?

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

Welcome to the Challenged Parents Club Starlings wine

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

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

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 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.
-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?

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?

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

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.

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!

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

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.

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!

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.

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!

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...

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.

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.

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.

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!!!

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!

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?

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