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Fed up trying to think of more and more punishments

(25 Posts)
WhitePhantom Tue 29-Nov-16 13:55:08

It feels like such a battle ground sometimes.

Take yesterday evening for example, as we sit down for dinner - the only time of day that we're all together with no screens and nobody rushing off anywhere.

DD's (10) job is to get cups and a jug of water. So she gets the cups, getting herself a bigger one. DS2 (13) starts arguing that he wants the bigger cup - DD refuses, says she got that one for herself. DS2 goes on and on about, ending with him giving DD the middle finger - totally not tolerated, as he well knows.

He was off school sick yesterday. I emailed the school to let them know, and they replied to say fine, and that he should get the schoolwork and homework from a friend. I told him that and he refused, saying if anyone is off sick they don't need to do that. So when he wanted to play on his iPad we wouldn't let him. Said if he won't do his work he doesn't get to play. That ended with him shouting and walking off, giving DH the middle finger. DH followed him upstairs, trying not to lose his temper, and tried to have a conversation with DS. That ended with him giving DH the two middle fingers and shouting F*ck you. So he's on a screen ban for two weeks. No screens at all - phone, iPad, tv, anything.

I feel like that's just not effective, but we don't know what else to do. He has no hobbies to speak of that we can curtail. He almost never uses his phone anyway, so not topping it up is irrelevant. We can send him to bed early and give him extra chores I suppose, but I'm just sick of trying to find something that actually gets results.

If I'd done that at his age I'd have got a good hiding, and would never have done it again - actually I'd never have done it in the first place, because I knew what would happen! - but of course we can't do these things now... unfortunately (only half joking!)

Most of the time he's fine, but when he gets like this he's a bloody nightmare. He was bored from being home all day, but wouldn't do anything to help himself. Just mooched around the place reading, and when he gets really bored he kicks off and would pick a fight with his toenails. (He wasn't all that sick, but he'd had bad diarrhoea Sat and Sun so we kept him off as a precaution - he was up and about and could have done plenty to amuse himself. He's gone into school today.)

Sorry for the long post, just rambling as thoughts come into my head. What to do??

Allthebestnamesareused Tue 29-Nov-16 14:01:48

Remove all electronics, grounding him, extra chores that are not his usual ones, writing a letter to explain why his behaviour is not acceptable.

Have a look at the teenagers threads - there are usually some good suggestions over there.

zzzzz Tue 29-Nov-16 14:09:01

He was bored from being home all day ...
wouldn't do anything to help himself ....
mooched around the place ....
when he gets really bored he kicks off .....

he was up and about and could have done plenty to amuse himself

So basically he can't amuse himself or self start? Help him to learn how to do that and he won't be such a pain in the arse.

Allthewaves Tue 29-Nov-16 14:12:28

Cup thing, I would have made dd put cup back and get everyone same size.

Trifleorbust Tue 29-Nov-16 14:20:47

Stick to the grounding. Don't buy any treats. Early bedtime. No TV or computer.

He'll get there.

FATEdestiny Tue 29-Nov-16 14:24:07

Regarding the cups - everyone has the same size and if that isn't possible the odd sized one goes to mum or dad.

Regarding being off school. If you're poorly, you lie quietly in bed in our house. If you're well enough to get bored, you go to school. I'd have sent him into school mid-morning, as soon as it became obvious he wasnt ill.

fourcorneredcircle Tue 29-Nov-16 14:27:29

If he was "bored" and "mooching" around he doesn't sound like he needed to be off school.

Off school sick means so unwell that he's asleep or so zoned out that that any old crap on TV would have amused him. Feeling a bit poorly but well enough to pick a fight, stomp around and be an arse is life, time for him to grow up and get on with life, and for you to stop enabling him.

Sounds like cup-wars and it's result is the least of your problems.

YelloDraw Tue 29-Nov-16 14:29:25

Cup thing, I would have made dd put cup back and get everyone same size.

Why? DS could have got up and got the cups if he wanted the big one.

corythatwas Tue 29-Nov-16 14:31:27

But surely with diarrhoea, you can't just send somebody into school the moment they feel bored? Isn't it about infection control and not starting an epidemic?

I remember feeling perfectly all right with German measles. But I would not have been allowed into school- and quite right too.

fourcorneredcircle Tue 29-Nov-16 14:37:26

Infection control is much less of an issue with teenagers than younger children as they don't get in such close contact and generally practise better hygiene. Most adults have occasional bouts of vomiting and diaorreah, very rarely do they obey the 48 hour rule though. Certainly, I've never had a colleague say "oh, I had D&V" Tuesday so didn't come in until Friday".

Besides, of OP was that fussed about infection control it's 48 hours.

OP you need to insist that your son catches up that work. If he was so much better there's really no excuse and if it's school policy then tough, you agreed to it.

Jabuticaba Tue 29-Nov-16 14:49:44

With the cup thing, he should take the small one back and get a big one. If he doesn't, don't moan.

You say the middle finger isn't totally tolerated, but it is tolerated to a certain extent. I would stop reacting to the middle finger or the swearing and keep making your request clear.

You say I told him that and he refused, saying if anyone is off sick they don't need to do that did you then repeat yourself, insist until he did it? They are usually all bark and no bite at this age. You asked him to do something, you're his mother, you know the reason he has to do this and you continue to make it clear. Insist and continue to insist. Do not react to anything he throws at you I would say "You can put all your fingers up, and when you're finished you still have to do your school work". He will probably use noise or intimidation or swearing to make you back down. If you back down then you are a push over. You asked him to do something, he said no, you let it go. You're a push over. Sorry!

mummymeister Tue 29-Nov-16 15:27:23

so you say in your post he doesn't have any hobbies or anything. is this the root of the issue do you think? that he is actually a bit bored with too much energy. can you get him interested in something locally - a club or hobby. what about joining a running group with him or going to an acting group. something/anything to give him a focus in life.

butterfly990 Tue 29-Nov-16 15:31:51

There is a book that was recommended by somebody on MM.

I have found this book helpful. It is helping me firstly understand their viewpoint and attempt to carry out some of the strategies.

Another thing that a parent has mentioned to me is the screen time app. This can be used to limit times and too see what is being accessed on the internet.

WhitePhantom Tue 29-Nov-16 15:38:55

Thanks all!!

You're right that we should have insisted on him doing the work. I'll deal with that, but my thoughts were that it'll be on his own head, and that he'll face the natural consequences in school of not having it done. But he says teachers never check if someone who was out sick has it done - and that therefore he doesn't need to do it.

Re. keeping him off, he had a few messy incidents on Sat / Sun where it come on him so suddenly that he didn't make it to the toilet. I didn't want that happening to him in school, so that's the main reason why he stayed off - not so much the infection side of it.

Re. the cup, as I said to him there's a unlimited supply of water. He can refill his cup 10 times if he wants more. I don't see that it makes any difference if everyone has a different size cup (we only insist on all the same size on the odd occasion that there's a 'treat' going - coke or 7-up or something).

zzzz - you're right about him being bad at getting up off his behind and doing something to keep himself occupied. He's in great form when he's busy doing something, but lately everything is 'meh, couldn't be bothered'. How do you get around that? I don't want even more rows!

Sometimes I feel like I can't see the wood for the trees. There's the whole thing of 'pick your battles' and 'don't sweat the small stuff' and 'keeping the lines of communication open'. Sometimes I feel like I'm making a mountain out of a molehill (not in this case of course, but other times) and other times I feel like I'm being too soft.

Kids, eh? Who'd have 'em?!

WhitePhantom Tue 29-Nov-16 15:46:06

Mummymeister - that's exactly the problem! I've tried numerous times to get him to join stuff, or even just try it, but no way.

I managed to get him to do a kayaking summer camp last year, and he was like the anti-christ personified leading up to it. He got on great at it and loved it - but would he go back?? Not a hope!

He did drama a couple of years ago, liked it but didn't love it, but stuck with it for the year and was involved in the play at the end of it.

A few years back he signed up to the local cycling club, but we had to insist on him going each week, so eventually that went by the wayside.

We bought him a wood-work weekend for his birthday last year, and he made a gorgeous chair - absolutely loved it! - but when another course came up to make something else, there was no way he was doing it.

I don't want to push him so much that we fall out really badly, but he really really needs to be involved in something, preferably either creative or energetic, but he just refuses point blank.

I just can't understand him, I really can't! People usually WANT to do things that they're good at, things that they enjoy!!

WhitePhantom Tue 29-Nov-16 15:46:30

Thanks Butterfly, I'll have a look at that!

mummymeister Tue 29-Nov-16 16:18:35

is he really shy? would it help if he joined something one of his friends is involved in? I would ask him again about being involved in something and explain why its so good in the long term for his mental and physical well being. there has to be something out there for him and I do think his behaviour would improve if he had less time sitting around navel gazing. I would put your energies into sorting this out with him rather than dealing directly with the behaviour.

MagicMarkers Tue 29-Nov-16 16:30:03

I think too many punishments just leads to a downward spiral. He feels "got at" and resentful and unloved and the behaviour gets worse.

Would you want your DH, or anyone else, constantly suggesting activities for you? Have you tried backing off a bit?

TheSparrowhawk Tue 29-Nov-16 16:35:16

Mine are 5 and 3. If they fought about cups I'd take the cups away without saying a word. They'd have to do without cups. There is no way I'd tolerate a fight about cups at that age -I'd probably give them one warning to sort it out then throw the dinner in the bin, get a takeaway and let them go hungry. I cannot stand that sort of silly fight and I wouldn't tolerate it at all.

burgundyandgoldleaves Tue 29-Nov-16 16:37:00

I agree with him about being off sick.

FabFiveFreddie Tue 29-Nov-16 16:45:56

Holy cow. If my kids swore st me or gave me the finger, all hell would break loose. Forget keeping lines of communication open when this is what comes down them from the kid end. Outrageous.

More constructively, DS needs a job. At 13 not a lot he can do, but sitting around on your arse not doing anything is unconstructive at that age. My view is for that stage of childhood they just need to be busy: schoolwork, sports, hobbies, Saturday work, housework. Whatever. At 13 it should be as enjoyable as possible. Given a choice between woodworking and a paper round, I suspect he might choose the former?

I've always said: if you want to behave like an adult you get treated like one. Never too soon to learn.

burgundyandgoldleaves Tue 29-Nov-16 16:49:33

He's not an adult, though!

You say 'all hell would break loose' but what does this actually mean?

FabFiveFreddie Tue 29-Nov-16 17:03:36

No he's not an adult. So he shouldn't be behaving like one. Swearing and flicking the finger? To a parent?!

All hell would break loose = lecture from me that my job is to raise him right, that I work to pay his bills, keep him fed and clothed, healthy and safe. In return I ask for basic things: civility, doing what you're told, your side of the going-to-school bargain. If he won't agree to fulfil his role, I won't be fulfilling mine. No laundry done, no food bought or cooked, no lifts, no wifi or gadgets. I will give him a roof over his head, money with which to buy food which he can cook himself. If he's sick I will take him to the doctor. Otherwise he's on his own. Need new clothes? If uniform I will buy. If not, tough shit. Go get a job and pay for it yourself, or make do. I will be polite and civil as I would to an adult lodger, that's it.

And I will do it. Better believe it buddy.

(I think the most stubborn will last a couple of weeks max. It's amazing how resourceful and creative kids can be - we often see the best of children when they're really pushed).

burgundyandgoldleaves Tue 29-Nov-16 17:05:50


Blimey. I think a lot of difficult teens would LOVE you as their mother grin

FabFiveFreddie Tue 29-Nov-16 17:15:09

Admittedly I start from the standpoint of a lifetime (theirs, not mine) of not standing for any form of bullshit. Like OP, I just can't imagine the sheer balls it would take to swear at me (or for me to have sworn at my parents). So my definition of "difficult teenager" is probably quite different from yours!

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