DS12 hit me yesterday and today

(51 Posts)
Tansy7 Sat 20-Jul-13 14:05:05

Need advice right now really. DS1 is in his room, having thumped me very hard on my outstretched arm as I was closing the door to his bedroom, where I'd told him to go because of really nasty rudeness. He'd tried to come back out of his room and I told him to stay there and I was shutting the door again when he hit me.

Yesterday, he also hit me, very hard, punching me on the shoulder as I was driving at high speed on an A road with DS2 also in the car, on a special family 'treat' day out. On that occasion, I found a place to pull in safely and then told him off.

However, DS2 became hysterically upset about the row. So I tried to calm everyone down and carried on with the trip out.

I was expecting DS1 to be very contrite today, especially as we'd had a long talk last night and his main worry was that I hadn't fully forgiven him.

Yesterday, I put it down to him being hungry or tired (we'd had an early start) but the punch was as a result of me insisting he eat something (we had a picnic with us), to up his blood sugar level, in case this was why he'd become really, really nasty and horrible as we were driving along.

Today, he wasn't hungry. He wasn't tired. We were again doing a family activity for fun (when I've actually got masses of other things I should/could be doing for me - but it is their school holidays now).

Anyway, that's a bit of the background. He's always been a bit hyper - but not at all at a diagnosable level. He's in puberty now. He's hit me before as his DS2 (I'm a single mum). I'm not sure I'm dealing with this properly or adequately.

I don't know what to do right now as a consequence. He's been in his room for over an hour. He's not supposed to be doing screen activities right now but I found out he'd sneaked in a laptop, which I've now taken away. He's not at all contrite.

I've threatened to call the police, as he's almost as tall as me now and I refuse to live with someone who's physically violent. However, I know I would never ever call the police as I wouldn't ever want anything recorded that might affect his future in any way and am I over-reacting?

What would a suitable consequence be in this context - where he's thumped me two days in a row in the context of receiving a family treat? How do I manage things without DS2 suffering also? Right now, DS2 is huffy with me and anxious because of the row and by DS1 being in his room, DS2 is also 'suffering' and wants to blame me.

Have I been too soft with DS1?

HeySoulSister Sat 20-Jul-13 14:10:08

It's escalating.... The police may be the best option. Does he hit his brother too?

It needs nipping in the bud.... A short,sharp,shock might be needed here.

If my almost as tall as me 12 year old son punched me he would be on the receiving end of a shit storm

Firstly his room would be stripped - no toys, laptops, iPods, phones etc

Secondly he would be given the shitttiest jobs to do around the house

Thirdly I woul tell him in no uncertain circumstances that it is assault and I will not hesitate to call the police if it happened again. I would also point out that he is of an age where he can be treated as a criminal and therefore punished

Life would be very difficult and u pleasant for him u til he apologised and showed a changed behaviour

valiumredhead Sat 20-Jul-13 14:24:50

What Korma said with bells on!!

valiumredhead Sat 20-Jul-13 14:25:21

What was his punishment for hitting you OP?

Ledkr Sat 20-Jul-13 15:01:56

I have to say that having raised three boys alone I would take a very hard line on this one.
It cannot be allowed to develop.
Ds2 once clenched and raised his fist to me.
I went mental and he very much regretted it.
None of them ever ever hit me.
I think you may have under reacted the first time.
Tell him if he dares to hit you again you will call the police.
He won't get charged but they will take a very dim view of it.

MyNewCatIsFab Sat 20-Jul-13 15:27:21

I have sons, two of whom are teenagers. I'm not sure if the previous posters have had to deal with puberty/ teenagers but it's a whole different ball game.

I would just say that this is not at all unusual behaviour as their hormones kick in, even though it is unacceptable. One of my sons has been much harder to deal with than the other. How to deal with it depends on lots of factors including, your personality, his personality, siblings etc.

The scenario described above of going in hard and make life as difficult as possible for him just made it worse in my case as it then becomes very confrontational.

The difficulty is , at that age they are still a child, so we tend to apply the same disciplinary rules and expect them to conform however, their hormones are causing chaos within them and they can find it hard to manage their own behaviour.

I wouldn't threaten something, like the police, unless you are prepared to carry it out. He'll probably know if you're not prepared to do it and then it's an empty threat.

My son pushes right to the extreme, seemingly to see how far he can go and sanctions, removal of Xbox etc. have no effect on his actions whatsoever. Actually it makes the situation worse as it becomes about who will back down first, him or us. ( and used to end up in screaming matches between him and I as if we were both teenagers )

His dad and I have had to adopt the strategy of "whether you like it or not we are the parents and adults here and you are the child/ adolescent. We have a responsibility towards you to ensure that you learn how to behave and interact with the family. We appreciate that is difficult for you as you are growing up and lots of changes are taking place (he's 14 going on 15 now) but this behaviour is not acceptable and we will not allow it. You have a responsibility for your own actions and behaviour and need to learn how to control it, if you need us to help with that we are happy to do so."

We have by no means sorted this, it is an ongoing issue for us that affects everyone in the family on a daily basis. It is very draining having to constantly manage the situation. I live in hope that one day he just grows out of it!

My sister was a single parent when she went through this with her daughter so I know that that can be even harder as you have to make all the decisions yourself.

I would have faith in yourself and your son and approach this in the way that feels right for you. What you actually say to your son and the words you use depend on your relationship and your son's level of maturity.

What I mean is, I have two teenagers and they would respond completely differently to the same conversation about behaviour so I take a different approach depending on which one I'm talking to when I'm trying to get my point across about something which I think matters.

Ledkr Sat 20-Jul-13 15:33:56

My boys are all adults now btw and each one presented a different challenge. However, hitting your mother is not normal behaviour at all and you owe it to him to demonstrate this so he has clear boundaries before he has relationships himself.
I worked for 12 yrs with troubled teens (on remand£ and can count on my hands the number of boys who hit their parents.
I think your response to it initially was fairly misleading so now you must find a way to impress upon him the seriousness if his actions.

HeySoulSister Sat 20-Jul-13 15:39:30

I think that hitting a parent is also unusual behaviour!!!

and yes,i have 5 dc....3 are teens

and I have called the police before due to violent behaviour with younger dd......they actually helped and dd listened to them more than any teacher/adult

notnagging Sat 20-Jul-13 15:44:56

Sorry not normal behaviour at all & I can't believe anyone would say that.i have 5 boys & they would never ever think of that. If they did they would know with no uncertain terms never ever to try that again. Your their mother you need to be respected or it will escalate. End of.

Yes I think you were too soft. I agree with Ledkr It cannot be allowed to develop.
When you had a long talk what was said?
He is only 12. At 14 he will be much bigger and stronger.
I think you under reacted by carrying on after he hit you the first time. He needs to know that he must never use violence. There may be a less drastic alternative than calling the police though. Look up your PCSO and ask them to come and give him a stern talk.

HeySoulSister Sat 20-Jul-13 15:47:13

its already escalating....op says he's hit her before.

now its up to twice in 2 days....

Tansy7 Sat 20-Jul-13 16:34:45

Thanks. He was in his room for well over an hour - and then when I'd fully calmed down, we talked again at length.

The awful thing is that he brings up the fact that when he was younger, I - very, very occasionally - would smack him on the bottom when he was being deliberately provocative to me or his brother and although I don't do this anymore, he said today that it seems unfair that I was 'allowed' to hit him but he isn't allowed to hit me.

Many, many times before, I've explained that hitting is always wrong and whenever I smacked him, as a younger child, it was a sign of me losing control and it's not right and it doesn't help anyone anyway. However, because I've smacked him, he feels it's no different when he hits me.

He also said that today, I'd 'manhandled him' to get him to go to his room - which I had. I've tried to not force him into time out/his room but we've had other situations where he's refused to leave the room/leave his PC/ take time out and has stood there going, "Go on then. Make me!" He deliberately tries to provoke me. He'll do things like say he'll phone Childline or he'll say loudly, in a public place, "I don't know this woman. She's not my mother" if he's trying to wind me up in the midst of being defiant and rude about something.

I don't know if when I try to get him to go to his room and he refuses, I should just back down or should I try to physically force him to go there (which I did today but haven't done for ages), or just stand there quietly and calmly repeating that he must go to his room - or what? I tried the latter occasionally and it sometimes works when he knows I'm not going to be provoked but not always. Also, if it's one of those days when I'm exhausted and overworked (work fulltime and am source of only household income) or have been up all night with an ill child or something like that, then I can't always stay that calm and he is an absolute master at provoking me. In fact, if he did a degree in this he'd be First class.

Anyway, I explained all of this to him, as he's very able to understand everything. I explained that when he's being rude and nasty, I literally need us to have space from each other so that he can calm down and think rationally and I can do the same and that this is a main point of time out in his room, along with stopping doing something he wants to do (like screens), so that he isn't 'rewarded' for inappropriate behaviour.

I also talked about how neither of us nor DS2 ends up happy when these situations happen. He may feel good and powerful at being able to provoke me, for a while but he doesn't feel all that great longer term and nor do I.

So I told him that when he's done something wrong and I tell him to go to his room, he needs to go and he needs not to stand there saying, "Make me!" and then I won't physically force him to go and then the whole thing can be over and done with much more quickly.

He listened but I think that part of him was probably just wanting to 'act' compliant and contrite so that everything would be OK again and he could go back on screens. He did in the end have a 3 hr break from screens because of all this row, however. I even said to him that I was concerned that maybe he was only sitting there looking sorry because he just wanted to return to his PC and would it be like every time when he says sorry and then he gets everything he wants again?

The really sticking point for me is that I've not been 100% perfect as a parent and have smacked him in the past and 'manhandled' him to time out and I know this is wrong. So I feel as if I haven't a leg to stand on when he confronts me with this when I tell him he mustn't hit me.

I know anyone here who may have smacked their DCs probably hates to admit this and I know that it's not at all the right way to be. I also know that there have been times when I've been brought to the edge with endless demands from the DCs and work and am run ragged by both of them (DS2 has some SN) and I've ended up being pretty crap as parent. They always know I love them though and we always return to a good relationship after every single row.

The difference now if that they're getting bigger and I feel unable to argue back when DS1 tells me rightly that I've smacked him in the past so why shouldn't he do the same to me?

MyNewCatIsFab Sat 20-Jul-13 17:00:19

No one, anywhere, is 100% perfect as a parent.

Apologise to him for smacking him in the past and admit that you were in the wrong. Then establish that the new rule going forward is that hitting is unacceptable. Parents are allowed to make mistakes.

Ledkr Sat 20-Jul-13 17:00:52

I think he's using that as a cop out.
Lots of kids get a smack but don't hit their parents.
As you have addressed it and apologised then he needs to do the same.
As for his screens, that is your tool.
If you ask him to do something and he flatly refuses warm him he will lose an hrs screen time for e avert time he refuses. The stick to it.
As an aside I do believe these kids on screens all day end up with pent up aggression.
Does he get physical exercise too?
Can a male relative or friend talk to him about the inappropriateness of hitting women as this is an important social message.
Stop being scared to discipline him.
You are his mother no matter how big and hairy he is he will feel secure with firm consistent rules and boundaries.
My boys treat me on Father's Day as well as Mother's Day grin

Ledkr Sat 20-Jul-13 17:01:37

Sorry every hour

cephalicdream Sat 20-Jul-13 17:06:36

He may be clever but he's not an adult. You may have smacked him but you don't now and that is not an excuse for him now to start hitting you.. He is guilt tripping a you and trying to get the better of you.
You tell him no one hits and if he does its police time.

Ledkr Sat 20-Jul-13 17:15:02

He's also most welcome to report you should he wish to but as a sw nothi g you have told me would alarm ss

We all make mistakes. I put my hands up. When DS1 was a toddler I smacked his bottom once or twice for hurting his brother. I then realised the irony of that and never did it again.
Even if you can "manhandle" him into his room now it may only be a matter of months before he is too big and strong for that.
While he is being reasonable would it be possible to discuss what sanctions he thinks are appropriate for his bad behaviour?
It sounds like the loss of computer hurts and would be a good basis for penalties.

domesticslattern Sat 20-Jul-13 18:38:17

Do you have a family friend or someone he looks up to? He needs to see the reaction of someone to the fact he has thumped you- he needs to see someone gobsmacked and horrified by this action. It seems that it is hard to make him realise this is serious stuff, not tit for tat, so I wonder if drawing on someone else would help. Not quite the police, maybe an uncle or family friend or similar.
This all sounds so difficult for you, I feel you need someone on your side.

valiumredhead Sat 20-Jul-13 18:53:17

When ds says 'make me' I tell him it's his choice and of course I can't make him BUT if he doesn't go to his room he will loose his x box and he will have to earn it back.

The trick is giving him a choice. If he chooses to be a twat then he will be punished.

If ds hit me an hour in his room would be just the start of things. I would also march him down to school in the absence of a father figure and get him to explain to the head why he hit you. The school will help I'm sure, we have a fab counsellor lady who works with kids and their parents.

What computer games does he play? My polite child is turned into a rude obnoxious little so and so who can't control his tongue or temper after a stint playing Halo, we've just had to put it away indefinitely. Other games he's fine with, weird because halo isn't even that violent, it just affects ds's behaviour. After a 2 week ban he was able to explain that it 'made his brain go weird and he felt angry.' Do you think your ds would benefit from a proper screen break while you focus on showing him what he did to you was very very wrong?

Parenting is so bloody tough! brew thanks

flow4 Sat 20-Jul-13 18:54:22

Tansy, I'm sorry you are experiencing this. It is a really awful situation to be in. It happened to me too, and is (I suspect) much more common than people realise. Domestic violence is pretty taboo in itself, and plenty of women don't tell people about it even when the perpetrator is an adult partner. It is much harder when it's your own child, and (IME) felt pretty shameful, because our culture tends to hold mothers responsible for their children's behaviour, so if your child hits you, IME it feels like this must be your fault. sad

At 12, this is (I'd say) 'borderline' DV. He's still smaller than you. He probably can't do you much harm. You can still send him to his room and he'll stay there. He's not a 'perpetrator' and you're not his 'victim'... He's still a child behaving very badly, and you are mostly, more-or-less in control.

BUT you must know that if you do not draw a line and stop this now, in a year or so, this will be - totally unambiguously - domestic violence. You will be living with a violent son who is bigger than you, and you will be a victim and you will have lost control.

If it feels hard to stop it now (and I know it does) it will be much, much harder to stop it then.

You need to tell him that you have been thinking long and hard about this, and you have decided that your home will be totally non-violent so that everyone can feel and be safe. Whatever has happened in the past, there will be NO violence from this day onwards.

You need to decide some sanctions that are more serious than any other sanctions you ever impose, that you will use if either of your boys is violent towards you again.

If these don't work - if they hit you again - you will need to call the police. I know you don't want to, but you need to feel and be safe. The explanation I gave to my own DS was that I could no longer control him because he was bigger and stronger than me, and if he couldn't control himself, I would have no choice but to 'call for back up' and get the police to help me.

The police were great, incidentally. They will not prosecute a 12yo unless you ask them to, or unless he does you or DS2 serious harm - in which case matters will be out of your hands.

The issue of you hitting him in the past is a red herring. Firstly, you have stopped. Secondly, (assuming you are in England/Wales at least) the law allows you to smack your child, so long as you do not leave a mark that does not fade within a few minutes. It is called 'lawful chastisement'. I know this for certain because one day when my DS1 was 13, he squared up to me and screamed 'cunt' in my face, and I slapped him before I thought, and he called 999. The police attended and were hugely supportive of me.

I agree hitting is not helpful. It is not very useful parenting. You want a violence-free home. It will confuse the situation and as you have found allow your DC to try to get themselves 'off the hook'... But you may find it liberating to know that he cannot blackmail you with this particular threat.

The other thing I would say is to consider getting support for yourself and/or your boys. If their father (or a previous partner they have lived with) was violence and this is 'learned behaviour', or if your tolerance of it was learned because you have already experienced DV, then there will be some difficult patterns for you all to break. It is probably a good idea for you to ask for some counselling from your GP, and to talk to him/her about whether it would be useful for your boys too.

And keep coming back here. There are women here who have experienced what you are now experiencing, and it does help to know you are not alone, and to get outside/impartial views.

Good luck. smile

Tansy7 Sat 20-Jul-13 19:34:48

Thanks again. Domesticslattern, there is no one in our lives that he could talk to or who could talk to him about this. I am very worried that if I tell anyone in RL, they will assume it's my fault and in any case, DS1 will make a big thing of me 'manhandling' him and smacking him when he was younger. I really don't want to involve anyone else as I'm worried about how it might impact on the DCs.

They've never had any father figure in their lives nor other relative and it's always just been me. The only time I've ever involved their school was when DS2 was only 4 and he bit DS1 and I took him to school the next day and got him to stand next to me whilst I told his teacher. He was so mortified about people knowing that he never did this again.

I've threatened to involve the school since then when either one has been really atrocious to me but they always then bring up how I'm no saint and they'll tell on me. I've even explained about how it's not illegal to smack a child but that's it's never a good strategy and is always wrong (my belief). I think I feel incredibly guilty about smacking them and also about physically forcing them to their rooms at times.

DS1 had about 3 hrs away from PC today, which is far longer than ever before and I also talked to him calmly but at length. Since then, the natural consequence really has been that I've felt sad and withdrawn and not really wanting to interact with him much or show my usual affection. I've made meals and done all the domestic stuff but the activities we had planned today haven't now happened. DS2, unfortunately, is therefore also 'punished' by this happening.

Valiumredhead, he plays Minecraft on PC but mainly does things like software tutorials for computer generated images, for fun and browses YouTube for music videos and CGI stuff. He doesn't have X box or DS. They have a Wii but rarely play on it.

If I ever ever restrain the time they're allowed on PC, I pay a thousand times for this. DS1 particularly will happily spend every single waking hour on PC and when I've asked him why he can't do one of the millions of other things he could do, he says that on computer, there's just so much to do and look at but other things are boring. He's one of those DCs who get all passionate about a new thing, eg meccano, remote control helicopter, Wii, photography, fil-making and then it'll be a one day wonder and he'll never use it/play with it again. His only consistent pleasure is his PC.

So today having less time on PC was a big deal but maybe not enough. Since it all kicked off and then was over with, he's been fairly contrite and saying things like, "I love you Mum" as I pass by but inbetween times, he's been nasty to DS2. I think he's torn inside between feeling still very angry with me and feeling worried that I've withdrawn from him.

I've told him I still love him but he must be fully aware that I feel a bit detached at present and I think maybe this has the greatest effect of all with him. He can be incredibly and intensely loving and affectionate but he's also very self-centred and selfish a lot of the time.

I've experienced mild DV but that was decades ago in my twenties with my much older boyfriend of that time (not my DCs father and years before they were born). Maybe I'm not reacting strongly enough to DS1's violence because I feel guilty about being less than perfect as a parent and also I feel powerless and 'ganged up on' by both DCs some of the time.

It's often a bit of triangle here - as in, either one DC is being obnoxious and is out of favour and the other is being good and close to me - or both are ganging up against me and being extremely anti-woman and sexist. I'd never ever live with a man who was like this. I think it's hard because they've never had another adult - father-figure or otherwise - 'call them' on their behaviour towards me. They know I'll always love them regardless and they 'use' this, I think, to 'exploit' my goodwill.

I've mentioned in RL to an acquaintance/friend about some of the milder misbehaviour but she was so shocked even at that that I ended up feeling really inadequate and didn't want to say anymore and I then imagine that everyone else's DCs are much much nicer to them than mine are to me.

Outside the home, my DCs are mostly extremely well behaved and I often say to them, if you're so polite at school, why can't you be like this at home - but they just laugh.

bellablot Sat 20-Jul-13 19:51:30

Not normal behaviour at all and if you allow him to get away with it you'll be showing DS2 it's okay to hit mummy too.

I grew up with 4 brothers in a hectic impoverished household (that's being tame) and not once did I see them raise a hand to my mother, she would have raised holy hell (kicked the shit out of them).

flow4 Sat 20-Jul-13 20:59:19

Tansy, you're letting an irrational fear interfere with your parenting, and as a result you're losing control of your DSes' behaviour.

Lots of parents fret about social services taking their kids away - I know I did. But from what you say, you've let your fear grow far too big: it's not rational, it's a symptom of anxiety, stress, guilt and feelings of inadequacy. Social services absolutely will not want to get involved in your family, if you are describing things accurately; you will be nowhere near their 'threshold for intervention'.

In fact, you would probably find some kind of family support service very useful, and you could try self-referring and actually asking for help, but you may well find they tell you your needs aren't serious enough (as I did).

I understand what you say about loving your children 'regardless'... But the fact is, Tansy, you are loving them better if you do not tolerate their abuse and blackmail: you want them to learn violence is not acceptable, and you want them to grow up to be nice, loving people, not abusive or manipulative men.

Teenagers, as you already know, can be pretty nasty; they lack empathy and they're very self-obsessed. They often struggle to control their behaviour, and as they get bigger, you will be totally powerless to control them. You must teach them the boundaries of acceptable behaviour, and challenge what's unacceptable, or you will face far more serious problems in a year or two.

Really, you only have 2 choices:

- You put up with their abuse, live miserably, and before long find yourself at real risk from your own son(s).

- You put a stop to it, getting outside help if possible.

I know you will be hoping this problem will go away, or that they'll spontaneously start to 'be nice'. And they might. But it could take until they're 18 or 20 or older... Can you wait that long? And what if they never 'grow out of it'?

Do something about it now, or you really do risk it getting even worse.

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