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to not give my 13 year old much (or anything) for his birthday?

(113 Posts)
LouisaRossini Sun 21-Oct-18 12:00:41

I am having problems with my son including refusing to go to school, vaping and smoking cannibis. (I have posted in the teenage section as well)

I initially tried to deal with it by taking his stuff from him, reducing wifi etc.this just made him more angry and made his behaviour worse.

I then changed my approach to a more understanding - 'how can I help and support you?' tactic i.e meeting with school, asking why he behaves the way he does, asking if or how I can support him - this also didn't work. He just shrugs, says he behaves the way he is because he's bored and doesn't seem to care about anything.

His birthday is coming up - I would normally give him money, but because I know he is smoking will not give him any money at all.

I was instead going to get him some JD vouchers and a few bits and bobs, but because he is so vile and badly behaved would I BU to give him just a card? Or would he just hate me even more?

He really doesn't deserve anything but I am worried that me not giving him anything for his birthday will always be in his memory and he will hold that against me? WWYD?

ChilliHobnobs Sun 21-Oct-18 12:04:55

Put the onus on him to say what would make him less bored and offer him that but only if he stops the drugs (how is he getting them?) and sees the gp.

LouisaRossini Sun 21-Oct-18 12:05:31

I should add that he is smoking and vaping with others who are supplying this stuff, he has no money of his own to buy anything.

AlphaBravo Sun 21-Oct-18 12:06:30

Token gift and cinema/meal out somewhere so he can't trade it with his mates. Tell him in advance though that it's all he's getting because of his behaviour.

ChilliHobnobs Sun 21-Oct-18 12:08:08

What horrible friends they are!

Aprilislonggone Sun 21-Oct-18 12:09:39

Regardless of his behaviour he is your ds. Letting him know you love him and are there for him will be shown in the gesture of giving gifts. Agree not cash.
Gp appointment is a must. Do school have a school therapist?
Been there with a teen dabbling drugs op. It's very difficult..
Can you sway his behaviour for a short while? Film at the cinema together? Pizza out? Give him a glimmer that he can still take another path. Sometimes they just don't want to admit dm is right!

Seniorschoolmum Sun 21-Oct-18 12:11:11

Can you afford to take him away on an active weekend somewhere? Fresh air, decent food, fun, no internet, no drugs.

LouisaRossini Sun 21-Oct-18 12:17:13

Thanks, I did make an appointment with the GP and he refused to attend because the time 'wasn't convenient for him' and he said it was 'a waste of time'. School have offered a counselling service but he's just not interested in engaging.

I have offered to take him out and spend time with him things like swimming, cinema etc. but he just says things like 'why would I want to spend my time with you?' and 'Of course I don't like you, teenagers are not meant to like their parents!'

It's really hard work to try and help someone who clearly thinks there is not a problem - he keeps saying I am being 'over protective!' He's very unpleasant

onemorecupofcoffeefortheroad Sun 21-Oct-18 12:20:20

I would give him something otherwise his 13th birthday will always be remembered as the one his mother (and father?) didn’t get him anything. Birthdays should not be used as opportunities to punish people.
I wouldn’t give him money but I would give him something.

BlueBug45 Sun 21-Oct-18 12:24:31

OP is his dad around? If not is there any other family members he gets on with around?

No teenager listens to their mother telling them their behaviour to her is vile but they may listen to others they trust.

Oh and from now on tell your son you are no longer giving him money as presents for special occasions but will buy him a gift within a certain price range ( you state the price range each time) as money isn't special and he will soon be able to earn his own. Tell him he can indicate the gift he wants.

MrsRachel85 Sun 21-Oct-18 12:25:34

He’s 13, how was a GP appointment at an “inconvenient time”?! Can you not just tell him he’s going, rather than asking?

*disclaimer, mine aren’t teens yet so apologies if this is NOT how it works with a 13 year old

AnotherOriginalUsername Sun 21-Oct-18 12:28:10

Card, socks and bar of chocolate. He wants to behave like an "adult", he can have adult gifts too

LouisaRossini Sun 21-Oct-18 12:29:35

BlueBug - yes his dad is around, but he's just as obnoxious to him as well.

He knows he will no longer receive any cash whatsoever.

Unfortunately we don't have any extended family so there's not really anyone he can talk to.

He does have a 'youth worker' in school who he will sometimes engage with, but he just has the same 'what's the problem attitude' and 'everyone does this'. He really doesn't think there is anything wrong with his behaviour.

I regularly try and re-inforce the importance of education and job prospects, but he lives in a world where he seems incapable of thinking a few weeks in advance, let alone a few years.

I digress!

LouisaRossini Sun 21-Oct-18 12:31:39

Mrs rachel - indeed he should be told what he will be doing including a doctors appointment, but he seems to have a lot of issues with control and really doesn't respond well to being told what to do. This is why I think he is having problems in school.

corythatwas Sun 21-Oct-18 12:35:36

I would not use a birthday as an occasion to punish him or make a general statement about who he is: as others have said, birthdays are remembered an awful long time, and the last thing you want at this particular point of time is for him to remember that who he is is somebody in trouble. He is still very young, by next birthday he may have had the time to become somebody else entirely.

Otoh you are understandably reluctant to give him money. So I would do just as you initially planned and others have suggested: give him something that isn't money or can't be exchanged for money. Make it clear that this is what he will be getting (don't overstress why) and stick to it. But don't give him nothing; he will just take that as an excuse to pull away from you.

BlueBug's line is excellent not least because it implies a belief that he will be a responsible and capable older teen, that you are sure he can manage the adult responsibilities ahead.

HuntIdeas Sun 21-Oct-18 12:37:30

Rather than give him vouchers, can you give him something he can’t exchange or sell? Has he got a console that you can buy credits for, so he can use it to download a game?

Annandale Sun 21-Oct-18 12:40:26

I agree with fixing a day out and just taking him. I am fairly tolerant of 'statutory moaning', ie i just keep saying 'yes but we're going anyway' until they storm stampily out with you.

Make it something active like a pp said, something you will definitely enjoy. He should see you enjoying at least some of it. Go Ape? That artist's slide at the olympic park? Sports event? Stay at a youth histel and climb a mountain/hill?

Even if all you get is a few moments when the grumpiness lessens and the occasional reluctant laugh, those are wins.

Did you say you'd met with the youth worker? If they are willing to state that smoking cannabis is normal for a thirteen year old, you can tell them that it's not and ask them to explain more about their approach?

LouisaRossini Sun 21-Oct-18 12:59:23

Annandale - it was my son not the youth worker who said smoking is perfectly normal.

I would love to fix a day out, but he's just not interested.

EK36 Sun 21-Oct-18 13:00:49

Try signing him up to rugby/football maybe it will give him something to look forward to. Bit of purpose.

Goldmandra Sun 21-Oct-18 13:01:49

Google Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA). It could be well wide of the mark or it could make some sense of the behaviour you are seeing.

Whatever the issue, it sounds like your DS may be very unhappy and have low self-esteem. Punishing him clearly doesn't help and probably makes the matter worse so I wouldn't withhold birthday gifts.

daisychain01 Sun 21-Oct-18 13:04:05

I would consider moving him to a different school.

At the age of 13yo, it could be a game changer to move him into a completely new learning environment, away from all the pushers, and bad influence. At his age, he has plenty of time to readjust before getting 'into the thick' of GCSE study years.

TheStoic Sun 21-Oct-18 13:05:35

I have a 13yo son.

If he was behaving like this, his birthday would consist of a family celebration at home (his favourite meal, birthday cake etc), a card telling him how much I loved him, and that’s it.

PurpleOctober Sun 21-Oct-18 13:06:27

A 13 year old smoking cannabis! What is the world coming to

daisychain01 Sun 21-Oct-18 13:08:18

You could at least do some initial research, talk to other schools about the possibilities and options available to him. You not need to mention anything about drugs, just talk in general terms about he's been undergoing a lot of challenges and his learning potential isn't being met at the school he currently attends.

GreenTulips Sun 21-Oct-18 13:08:46

Google Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA). It could be well wide of the mark or it could make some sense of the behaviour you are seeing

Sounds like his dad should read this as well - does dad live with you?

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