I'm exhausted and worn down by DS - and he's only 12

(64 Posts)
minxthemanx Thu 08-May-14 19:58:02

Sorry to off load, need a gentle shoulder. I'm feeling like a crap, inept parent at the moment, as every day is a huge battle with DS1, who is 12 and a half. Basics: he has always been very full on, v bright kid who needed loads of stimulation as a baby/toddler and never stopped talking/questioning/thinking. Generally a lovely child, sensitive and caring, but very very argumentative. He is always right, of course. Now hitting teens, and horrendous. Every day there is a new "I want" - beats headphones (£150), new phone, new guitar bigger and better than the one he has, new control for PS3 (he broke the 2 we had, by throwing them on the floor in temper.) We say NO to all of these demands. On a daily basis. Which then erupts into a tantrum, door kicking, sulking in room, spending hours on instagram.facebook and other works of the devil like those. He's had his phone confiscated many times, and PS3 games taken away.

I feel so drained tonight - it has all kicked off again because I said, for the umpteenth time, no I will not buy you a new PS3 controller. You broke it, you buy a new one. Argues: but I need my money for other things, (trendy t shirts, etc). Tantrum, stomping. It gets worse - having been told 'no' to the new guitar, he wrote a letter to my Mum, asking her to buy it for him!!!

Horrible behaviour, and I know you're all going to tell me it's normal. How the heck do you cope with it? We're trying to be firm and consistent, but very supportive in terms of running him around to his beloved cricket matches, training, meeting friends. Just finding it very hard to battle with him every day, and having no 'nice' time together at all. He is so vain, and stroppy, that I don't really want to spend too much time with him! DS2 is 7, and a dream, thank God. Any advice welcome.

minxthemanx Thu 08-May-14 20:00:31

And no he's not bored- is at one of the country's top grammar schools and loves it.

JessePinkmansHoody Thu 08-May-14 20:42:41

Minx I can only offer you mutual empathy. I have nothing helpful to say thanks to being drained of all sense by my horrible slightly older female version confused

minxthemanx Thu 08-May-14 20:46:44

Bldy hard work isn't it! I sometimes, dream of sitting, at a, caf� in Paris or Venice, sipping cappuccino, and being at peace...

Blu Thu 08-May-14 21:10:21

It does sound very hard work, and very dispiriting. I have a Yr 8 12 yo and feel as if it is the last year of child-like innocence, so very poignant.

No advice, I don't kno what to say - just sympathy.

I asked my 12 year old for his advice, and he said 'tell him he doesn't need Beats headphones - too mainstream and over priced' and 'what guitar has he got and what does he want? I agree his Mum should get the guitar!' hmm

Is the top Grammar full of kids who do have all this stuff? Does academic pressure / competitiveness feed into clothes and stuff? I ask because DS and friends couldn't give two hoots about trendy T shirts and aren't on FB. I don't know what you d about all that, though.

minxthemanx Thu 08-May-14 21:17:14

Yes there, are lots of kids at school who have lots of money and therefore all the expensive stuff. We are not in that bracket and he knows that. In his nicer moments he understands that he can't have all these things, so why the feck does he keep on, every day? He's v popular at school as confident and funny, and good at sport. Just vile to his parents and hard to like at the moment.

LastingLight Fri 09-May-14 09:10:33

Tell him if he cannot be nice to you then you don't feel like being nice to him. Tantrum about the controller? Sorry DS, I can't drive you to your friend's house.

scouseontheinside Fri 09-May-14 13:36:21

Are we both parenting the same boy OP? Some days I just want to run away.

It sounds like you're doing everything you can be doing. My only other piece of advice is just not to engage (I know, I know... easier said than done!) Make a statement, and they just say: "I've give you my answer, that's the end of the subject. If you continue to speak to me like that, xyz". Then walk away. Follow through if necessary.

You have my sympathies.

Martorana Fri 09-May-14 13:39:29

Why are you running him around to places if he is being vile?

minxthemanx Fri 09-May-14 22:11:42

Running him around to cricket etc as rather he was doing sport than home being rude. But he, gets grounded, has gadgets taken away; we do take sanctions. I've, been out, with friend tonight to cinema, gone 3 hours, during which ds 1 had row with dh (who had, told him to come, off phone as been on it ages following games on laptop). Ds 1 ignored dh, so after 3 warnings confiscated phone. Ds 1 climbed out, landing window and Sat on flat roof, refusing to come in. Dh had to climb out and, get him. He will now, be, grounded and not allowed out with friends tomorrow. See, what I mean? Relentless and exhausting.

Martorana Fri 09-May-14 22:51:31

But he's getting what he wants. Don't do anything at all for him- no taxi srvice- let him sit on the roof. He's taken control. You need to get your share of it back.

2kidsintow Fri 09-May-14 22:58:09

The only advice I would give is to not engage. Stropping and tantrums is attention seeking. I've always answered any question with a calm no, a reason (if there is one beyond 'because I said so') and then replied 'you've had your answer' if they start to argue. Any huffiness or strops are resolutely ignored.

You could stop his pocket money and tell him that he has to earn it, by doing jobs or at the very least by being respectful!

SavoyCabbage Fri 09-May-14 23:03:10

Can he get a paper round or something?

BackforGood Fri 09-May-14 23:47:29

Have you sat with him and helped him budget? (I'm presuming he has pocket money, from your OP, saying "you broke it, you buy a new one").
I know with ds, the blanket "no" isn't usually the best way to move forward, but giving him some kind of control - through him making choices - does help. However, at 12 we'd have had to guide him to saying -

"The thing you want costs £x. You have £Y a week/month pocket money, so if you put £z of it aside each week, then by this date, you'll have enough - now, do you want me to hold on to £z rather than giving it to you, or do you want to show us that you can save up for something yourself?" Ultimately, he's still saving for it himself, but at the time, he feels he has something to make a decision about.

So the example re the phone - why did your dh need to tell him to come off the phone? (I'm presuming this was his own mobile and he wasn't hogging the landline whilst your dh was waiting for an important call that could only come through on the landline too). Presumably he either has a set amount of minutes with his contract, or is on PAYG, so surely it's up to him if he wants to blow all his minutes in one evening / pay out for more minutes - I'm confused as to why dh confronted him about it. It's fairly classic for ds's and dh's to be confrontational at around this age (the whole 'only one adult male in the pride' - lion cub turning into an adult lion thing), so it doesn't make sense for him to start trying to control what your ds uses his minutes for when it's one of the very few things your ds will consider himself to have any control over at this age.

Pennyforthegal Fri 09-May-14 23:55:54

I think it's natural to want things, but the issue is his manners and compromising.
If you say no straight out to everything, it causes antagonism so try to make it more of a discussion / plan of how he can choose which is most important and to work for it or have it for birthday.
Do you allow him clothes .. Does he pay for these from his own money not sure if that is fair.

Manners... Non negotiable .
Stuff... Negotiable.

minxthemanx Sat 10-May-14 08:42:48

Thanks for your replies. He gets paid for doing jobs round the house, like painting the garden fence last weekend (well, 2 panels!), as he doesn't have time for a paper round. Recently he discovered Hollister and other trendy clothes shops (is very, very image conscious) and I took him shopping as a compromise for saying no to Beats headphones at £150, which would get broken/lost on bus to school. I bought him one nice top, he bought others plus sunglasses and belt. He's been on shopping trips with friend since. So I feel we are doing the right thing, money wise - he has his own to spend on what he likes within reason - we just say 'no' to the silly requests and explain why. He is only 12, after all. Regarding the phone - maybe this is where I'm going wrong. He is endlessly on Instagram/Facebook, posting pictures of himself and his quiff, and has quite a few girls 'following' and putting comments. I've no idea who these girls are, and I don't like it, but I suppose that's par for the course. Our main thing has been that he comes off the mobile at a certain point in the evening, to have a rest from small screens and texting before going to bed. Not good for eyes/sleeping? Generally we say 8.30 week nights is the phone off time - he hates this and shouts that all his friends are still using social media until much later. Maybe we're being a bit unreasonable on this and could 'give;' a bit. But that doesn't alter the fact that when he gets up this morning he will start the "right, today I want/need...." confused

Martorana Sat 10-May-14 09:34:30

OK- here's what I think- a couple of things leap out at me.

He shouldn't get paid for doing jobs around the house- that should just be what he contributes to the family. I would give him a set amount of money each month paid into a bank account that he can save or spend. That money is just his- not dependent on jobs. But he doesn't get any more.

He should have jobs to do- and they should be on a quid pro quo basis - you cook the dinner, wash his stuff, take him to cricket, speak to him politely - he washes up, puts his stuff in the laundry basket, mows the lawn,(or equivalent) speaks to you politely.If either side doesn't keep their bit of the bargain the deal's off. And you have to mean it. And follow it through a few times- he won't believe you if you don't.

And he should not have any friends on Facebook that you don't know who are. Sit down with him and get him to tell you who everyone is. He's 12.

If he won't, change your Broadband password and don't tell him what it is.

Easier said than done, I know. But you do (sorry) sound a bit of a push over- he had a tantrum about Beats headphones so you took him to Hollister? Rookie error!grin

minxthemanx Sat 10-May-14 09:42:43

The beats headphones battle, had gone on for, weeks... However many times, we said no, he just started, again. Then it, was rayban sunglasses, yes really. It feels, like, we, say no to everything, and it must, feel like, that, to him. So I don't feel we're being,a, pushover exactly, as he hasn't ended up with the things, he, wants. But I did feel fed up, with endless negative "no" conversations, so took him to our outlet village for a bit of quality time together, coffee and chat in Starbucks, couple, of � 9 t shirts, in Hollister. We, had a nice morning together, but that was soon lost in the, next " I want", "no" battle. He's in a lovely soft mood this morning, embarrassed about climbing out, window last night. He knows he's, lost his phone, and the, laptop for, the, weekend.

Martorana Sat 10-May-14 10:14:24

Can I ask- why did the quality time together need to include shopping? What about a posh lunch out, or a movie?

minxthemanx Sat 10-May-14 10:17:20

Needed a couple of t shirts for the suffer, seemed like a good idea. And not expensive.

dementedma Sat 10-May-14 10:25:20

Sounds like you are doing all you can OP. DS is 12 but so far we have only had a few door slams to contend with. His two older sisters at that age on the other hand were complete horror bags!!
Wish their was a way to skip the young teen years as they come out the other side more or less OK.

Martorana Sat 10-May-14 10:26:04

Sorry- please tell m to shut up if you want to. But it does seem that as "stuff" is the trigger point, it may not be a good idea to link having a nice time with "stuff"? Is that over thinking it?

Did the rest of my post strike any resonances- or am I talking bollocks?

2kidsintow Sat 10-May-14 10:26:33

I have to disagree that he just gets monet that is his with no conditions or effort on his part. After all, I don't get money without working etc. Surely that adds the the sense of entitlement if they just are given money for nothing.

ForeskinHyena Sat 10-May-14 10:31:43

Oh god he sounds just like my ds1 (age 14) too. 'Fortunately' his dad and I are separated, so I get one day a week without the arguments to refresh and recover before battle commences again the next day, it's a life saver!

He too will argue until he's blue in the face. Last weekend he wanted a sleepover, I was ill and needed a good night sleep so I said no. He was absolutely vile to me, but of course denied he was being rude when pulled up on it. All week I've heard about bike parts and new clothes he desperately needs, while, resolutely doing nothing to help me or the other dcs.

It is so wearing. Sorry I've nothing constructive to add, just sympathy. It does help us to have a chat about expectations, when he's not asking for something and is in a good mood. We've had a couple of little talks either just him and me, or with my boyfriend who ds does like and respect. He will then see the light for a few days before slipping back to his old ways.

ForeskinHyena Sat 10-May-14 10:32:54

2kids, I think the issue is then that kids don't help with jobs etc unless there's something in it for them. Some things should be unconditional, like him being helpful and him being able to buy some clothes. For the extras he can then learn about working and earning.

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