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12 year old son firmly off the rails(5 Posts)
I have a 12 year old son who has been slipping off the rails for years. At primary school he was often in trouble for various things but it's escalated since he started secondary school. I'm constantly getting letters/phonecalls about him being cheeky, answering back, messing around in class, fighting and a couple of times truancy.
The latest one was where the school called to say they've had a phonecall from the local tesco manager to say a group of kids from the school had been identified as the ones who have been shoplifting from the store for the past 6 months. He said he wouldn't press charges this time but they're all banned from the premises and if he catches them on there again, it will be the police he calls.
The kids were spoken to by the local police/school officer, his pocket money has been stopped for 6 weeks and he had a good telling off by his father and myself (seperated).
Last night I went in his room and there was a can of monster in his bed (that's what he was stealing from tesco). I asked where he'd got it and he said his friend bought him it (these cans are about £1.50 each so unlikely) and his brother tells me he's started going into a different shop in a morning on the way to school with one of the girls involved in the tesco thing.
I don't know where to go from here. I can't prove he stole this can but I'm sure he must have done?! He doesn't have money of his own. Where do I go from here? He's going to end up with a record. He's obsessed with gangs/prisons/criminals etc, records all the documentaries about prisons and gangs, keeps asking about Charles Bronson etc
Sorry you are having such a bad time. I'm wondering if stopping his pocket money was the best sanction as it may lead him to steal as he has no other way of getting snacks. When I read Stephen Fry's autobiography - he used to steal sweets and other stuff as a teenager, he said that he hadn't had any money to buy sweets and all the boys had some. My daughter has stolen money from my purse, and I realised that I often forgot to give her her pocket money (I keep all my money locked away now as well as giving her regular pocket money). I would change the sanction.
Does anything seem to help with his behaviour?
That sounds very worrying, I feel for you. I suppose it might partly be that he doesn't yet fully realise the consequences of his actions but he sounds pretty defiant.
To be honest I don't think stopping pocket money and a telling off are strong enough sanctions for shop-lifting but I can see that it will be very difficult to get through to him if he thinks of crime as glamorous.
Don't know if you've noticed but there is a thread on here support thread for parents of troubled teenagers - Part 2 here's to a peaceful 2013 to help parents dealing with very difficult teens - they will definitely have experience of this problem and may have some ideas on how to deal with it.
It's very difficult to manage or understand a 12 year old boys motivation in these situations. My DS is older and only starting to mature after at least 7 years of stupidity starting in primary school, all along the lines you describe with your son.
I agree with FiveCups, maybe - and perversely - you should see if you can give him more money not less? My son once said he felt poor. We're not, but I don't like to waste money on the sort of rubbish teenage boys like. However I set him jobs about the house that I paid way over the odds for, so he could get extra cash "honourably" to spend on rubbish as he chose. (I also hid my purse to remove that opportunity to upset me).
For the other rule breaking - I have had a long journey to understand my ability to change him is limited. Restate the rules, tell him (never shout or scream you understand ) how you feel when you get letters from school or the police. Time seems to be working in the end, but in the meantime I recommend you read Flow4 and MaryZ for sound advice about detachment. Still get calls from school - but I care less!
The Stephen Fry book is also good. He couldn't explain himself why he acted as he did as an adolescent, and I try to remember that for my son - he is probably as clueless about his motivation as I am!
What about a bit of shock therapy if he is glorifying it?
Go to the police station and ask an officer to talk to him? Take him on a tour of a jail?
Basically scare the shit out of him
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