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To be tired of 'picking my battles' with my 10 year old who argues with almost everybody about almost everything.

(37 Posts)
hammouhouseofhorror Fri 10-Oct-08 08:16:24

I'm happy to pick my battles but he is like a dog with a bone and whilst I am quite a patient person he is exhausting me. He has been up for 10 minutes and has argued with everything I have said. I generally get up in a pretty good mood but can feel the tension rising, and now he is winding his sister up who up until he got out of bed had been a little sweetie.
We have a reward scheme.

hammouhouseofhorror Fri 10-Oct-08 08:31:45

4 minutes to school and counting,grin

AbbeyA Fri 10-Oct-08 08:32:52

I would refuse to interact-you can't argue unless you get a response.

worley Fri 10-Oct-08 08:50:51

is he still tired? what time does he get to bed?
my ds1 is ten in a month, if he doesnt get enough sleep he can be a pain in the butt and argues about everything, or winds his brother up, he was on a go slow this morning, i had to tell him 3 times to get his coat and then have to shout at him as he is laid on the floor trying to trip his brother up !but he didnt get to bed till 9.10pm last night as cubs doesnt finish till 8.30, where as normally he is in bed by 8pm.

he is getting argumentative (?) though when i tell him its tea time, or to do his home work, but im assuming its the end of the day and he is getting tired. he is fine at weekends when he sleeps in etc

CoteDAzur Fri 10-Oct-08 09:07:48

Can you give examples of things you said and he argued with?

Reward scheme for a 10 year old sounds a bit like you are babying him. At this age I would think it would be more productive to discuss options and let him choose the best (for him) rather than insist he does things your way and reward when he does. Or maybe I misunderstood OP.

chestermonster Fri 10-Oct-08 10:17:22

ground him thats what i do works every time!

Troutpout Fri 10-Oct-08 10:33:31

What is bugging him?

ladytophamhatt Fri 10-Oct-08 10:42:18

I have a nearly 10 yrs old who is exactly the same.

If you search my name you'll find billons of threads with me despairing at him.

I honestly have no idea how to parent him now.
I've been making a huge effort to not bite back when he's winding everyon up (he's even said recently "I love winding you up" to me).

I've been physically spottinbg myself from saying another word. Even resorting to putting a hand over my own bloody mouth at times. I tell him to not worry about it, that we aren't going to get into another arguement, that its finished etc etc etc I say it all nicely but he just keeps going.

I say it all again, while trying to stop myself retaliating, I say it all calmly.

But he still goes on.

and on

and on

and on.

Its exhausting, especially as I'm trying so hard to stop it in teh first place.

It ends up with me normally in tears and screaming at him like some insane raging harpi.

Then he says I'm horrible and he hates me.

I have no idea where he find teh ideas for teh next argument. He'll argiue about everything, anything and if he can't find something he'll start a fight with one oof his brothers. I find it exhausting just dealing with it..

chestermonster Fri 10-Oct-08 11:25:43

I really think that you shouldnt cry infront of your kids in anger I know its easier said than done but you are in charge and have got to be the strong one. I take something away from my boys, their tele or games machine or wont let them out to play they do think again when they start to go off on one and it soons stops when they think I will do any of those! Be calm, kids only really know from what they hear from us if your ranting and raving then hes won cos thats what he wanted to do, to wind you up!!

ladytophamhatt Fri 10-Oct-08 11:35:22

Oh believe me chester, I do try not to, but its through sheer exhaustion/exasperation/and 10,000 other things that I've got to that stage.

You haven't met Ds1, he's intollerable(sp) and inpossible to reason with.

I've had so much help with him on here and I do try. I try really bloody hard but like the OPs ds he's like a dog with bone.

cory Fri 10-Oct-08 11:40:30

I think it's really hard to advise without hearing anything more specific. Is his arguing actually a refusal to do as he's told? Is he unhelpful or deliberately unkind? Or is he one of those people who just have a different viewpoint and love discussions?

My dd used to argue a lot, but it was more about the latter, liking to use her mind and putting her own point of view across; she did usually accept that I was in charge. So I didn't mind much, I'd argue humourously with her if I had the energy or else just tell her that we needed to get on with it. But a lot of the time I found a laugh defused the situation and as she has grown older she often does the same thing with me: defuses the situation with a joke if I am being bad tempered and argumentative.

My db had days (still does) when he is what you might call obsessively argumentative; he just can't let go, and can become totally unreasonable though a very intelligent bloke. Again, we find humour is a godsend.

jammi Fri 10-Oct-08 12:05:12

Message withdrawn

bigTillyMint Fri 10-Oct-08 12:50:43

My 7 yo is like this, and I agree with AbbeyA that it's best not to interact if he's arguing.
But it's damn hard to let him feel he has had the last word!

hammouhouseofhorror Fri 10-Oct-08 12:50:57

Long post now, so sorry.

Oh god, ive just got in and read your posts.
I don't react AA, I walk away but once he's up he follows ME arguing.

Yes he is still tired, goes to bed at 8.15 with a good story but is often awake when I go to be at 10.30ish. He's like the tasmanian devil at bedtime. We monitor his diet massively as junk food has a really bad effect on him..another source of arguments!

CoteDazur, reward scheme is a money based thing....which he likes, we have a pot and money goes in or out according to behaviour but he struggles and admits he enjoys a bit of a verbal touslehmm. He challenges almost everything all the time. Getting out of bed, getting dressed, breakfast, brushing teeth, whether he can have a friend round that night, getting shoes on, which way we walk to school, and I let him make loads of breakfast, he likes an egg sandwich, and I have a rule..not down by 8.00 o clock, it is cereal or toast. comes down at 8.15 in a foul mood demanding an egg sandwich. I remind him of rule so he kicks up, makes a mess of the kitchen pouring his cereal, banging the kitchen door, deliberately stands in front of tele so DD can't see and when I ask him, nicely to move aside he growls 'oh for god's sake!'.
Then we have to get ready to leave the house........
Grounding him is a LAST resort. He has massive anger management issues (we are seeing CAMHS), and it simply does not work as it makes it worse.

Confiscate his phone or bike sometimes but he is strange in that these actions simply aggrevate the situation, he never sees it as a reason to try and earn them back. Use 'rewards', but he seems to think he should be rewarded for breathing.
I asked him to do a small amount of washing up so he kicked me and slammed me so hard into the worksurface that it bruised me.....

Ladytophamhatt, I could hug you, my Ds a carbon copy except it is his dad he hates. Despite the way he treats me he is desparate for my approvalhmm. I try to use this but i can't find a way. And I cry in front of him, it is wrong and the guilt makes him worse but it is out of frustration and deep sadness at our situation, and I always tell him I am sorry.

The list of examples would go on and on.
Make him a corned beef sandwich..'I don't want it'
'why not?'
'I don't eat corned beef with that kind of bread'.
It may well end up on the floor.

Homework...jesus, I get things thrown at me over that.

Time on the computer, has a tantrum when it is time to come off. and I give him warnings..10 more minutes now, 5 more minutes now.

I've read books, gone on courses, talked to childline, the samaritans.

He has been assessed for everything, but apparently he is just bright and 'might' grow out of it. Has gone to so many clubs but gets bored, and I try to find a balance between letting him give up too soon, and forcing him to do something he really doesn't want too.

I believe I am firm, fair and consistant, give him choices, but he even argues about his own choices.

Lots of love and attention, as much praise as I can, but he is so needy and it is never enough.

He has the potential to be outstanding and has so much to offer but so often chooses the negative in life. I so don't want to 'lose' him.

Thank-you all. I am exhausted now. Didn't mean to go on so much, it just all came out.

ErnestTheBavarian Fri 10-Oct-08 13:14:49

sorry no time for more, but one thing that stood out from your post is that he goes to bed at 8.30, but is often still awake 2 hours later. Is that right?

My ds had to see a psychiatrist re diagnosis for ADHD & this is one of the things he specifically asked ( bed time vs falling asleep time) he sadi it was a very common error of parents, trying to ensure their children got enough sleep, but it is in fact extremely stressful for children to be in bed for a long time before they sleep (obv. allowed time for reading book not included in this)

It's hard, cos my ds natural rhythm I think would be to sleep from say 10 till 10, but obviously not possible with school, but sleep might be an areas you look at and say allow him to go to be at 9, read for 20 mon then light out or something. Do you think that could help?

And throwing things is unacceptable. what do you do when he does that?

Being icy cold and calm and authorative and lady of few words much better than angry screaming banshee ( I am the latter who aspires to the former)

cory Fri 10-Oct-08 14:30:35

That does sound that like hard work, Hammou! He sounds like he has got some kind of problem that is rather more than your usual pre-teen upettyness.

ErnestTheBavarian Fri 10-Oct-08 14:36:22

just read your post fully shock

gosh, sorry, don't know what to say - sound very serious.

I do think that seeing what you can do differently might help.

Maybe give him fewer choices?

if mine strop about eg turning off the computer, I count calmly to 3. if they still not turned it off, or are being stroppy by the time I get to 3 the don't use it the next day. No shouting or discussion. Ds, time to turn off the computer - Ds oh no, i'm still busy
Me That's one
Ds screams
Me that's 2
Ds turns it off -
Me that's great, thanks

Ds It's not fair, I always have to blah blah blah
Me That's 3. No computer tomorrow. Walk away no discussion/arguing.

I use this a lot.

Also, if I wnt ds to do something & he won't Isay eg he has to urn eg friend coming round & has to do x, y & z by such and such a time. No discussion. It's up to him if he does it or not. I might even charge him - eg if he doesn't put his clothes away I'll do it but charge him 50p or something.

I found the tactics in 1-2-3 magic (look on amazon) really helpful. Dunno if you could try browsing this book? Does sound quite extreme behaviour though Have you considered family therapy or omething?

tengreenbottles Fri 10-Oct-08 15:02:46

Whats he like at school and other peoples houses? My son can be a 100% bona fide git ,especially in the mornings and it is very difficult isnt it to stay calm , i too have become a screaming banshee ,much to the distress of the dog ,my son is practically immune ! I have discovered that laughing at him when he completely loses it actually works quite well ,he hates being laughed at grin and it diffuses the situation because i dont escalate the situation . The other thing i do is ring my best friend and describe exactly what hes doing to her ,she makes me laugh and again he hates me telling her how immature/childish/unreasonable his behaviour is (dont use these words ,just describe his actions) . I have also been known to get in the car and drive off , its hard to argue by yourself ! but my ds is 14 ,youd probably be called all the names under the sun if you did that and admitted it on here though! You could always just go outside , sometimes i do that and hold the door so they cant follow me smile

hammouhouseofhorror Fri 10-Oct-08 15:08:41

The withdrawal of privilages has a very negative effect on Ds. His behaviour spirals out of control. I suspect he uses this but unsure how to get round this.
If I withdraw computer for a day, that day will be hell. I do not give in and don't 'discuss' on decisions that are non negotiable -time to come in from play, how he treats Dd, etc. Was advised withdrawing too many privilages not good idea in ou circumstances and to try and focus on positive things to encourage better behaviour.
Sometimes we get;
'will you put your clothes in the wash DS?
'will i get 20p?'
'no, this is a job that has to be done so please just do it,'
'put your clothes in the wash.'
'make me.'
He can't be rewarded for everything

a/ life isn't like that,
b/ he needs to learn the basic life skills, you don't get rewarded for brushing your teeth.

He has massive issues, would be a very long threadsad, but advice so far appreciated and it will all be considered....thanks to all.

ladytophamhatt Fri 10-Oct-08 16:24:19

Hammou, Ds1 is exactly the same. If I didn;t knwo better I'd think you were writting about my Ds1.

If I take away X,Y, Z he's even worse. He expects to be paid for anything we ask him to do.

And teeth cleaning...well, I suspect that he'll have rotten teeth by teh time he's a teenager is all I can say.

TooTicky Fri 10-Oct-08 16:28:39

Oh Mou, he sounds a lot like my ds1 (9). I think it is quite an angsty age, not that that helps.

Miggsie Fri 10-Oct-08 16:29:32

my friend's son was like the end the entire family stopped either talking to him or asking him to do things/asking his opinion on anything.
I drove him mad in the end and he joined back in as he hated being ignored...and he was a bit more polite and less arsey

mabanana Fri 10-Oct-08 16:34:21

Would it work better to show him a pot of money at the start of the week that he can have on Saturday to spend as pocket money, and take out money for any breaches of an agreed set of rules? eg sit together and make the rules - such as come off the computer when you are asked, do x chores, speak civily to your mother etc and take money OUT if he breaks the rules?

hammouhouseofhorror Sat 11-Oct-08 07:55:43

My apologies if it looks like I am revealing by stealth, I was just having a quick rant on OP and have been touched by so many responses.

Thanks Toot, it has been like this pretty well since he could talk though, and the violent outbursts started 18mnths agosad. In a strange way it is as if he feeds off conflict. But if I am honest his Dad is a bit like that.
Miggsie, I haven't tried that, and will give it serious thought but I would have to be able to get everyone to help and co-operation is something I struggle to get. It is a really good idea though, I wonder if it would work if just I did it? he is desparate for my approval.
MAbanana, that is generally the idea of the pot, but he has quite violent rages and taking things from him tends to kick them of, and I really mean violent. Things get smashed, thrown, I or my Dd get hurt, and I can be subjected to hours of verbal abuse.

It is complicated because it is to a certain extent a control issue, but he also has a dreadfully insecure streak and his self-esteem is all over the place

fabsmum Sat 11-Oct-08 08:20:08

Wanted to say to the OP that I sympathise hugely. I have a very argumentative 9 year old dd, who drives me bonkers - especially in the mornings before school. The one thing I do that I find helps a lot is get into bed with her and read to her every night. Then I cuddle her until she goes to sleep. It means I come downstairs knackered, but it's our way of reconnecting in a loving way at the end of a day that might have had a lot of conflict.

I'm trying to spend more time on myself now - so that I have more energy to deal with her. I also try to project my mind forward 30 years and imagine myself looking back on this time and laughing. My dd is infuriating, but she's so full of life and so funny. I think it's important to remember that this time will pass - just like the baby days (not as fast unfortunately!) and to try to get as much pleasure out of your son's company as possible - I know that sounds hard at the moment. I think modern parents have it SO tough. I'm sick of all the stategies we're supposed to employ - of rewards, sanctions and praise. It's too complicated and exhausting. Sometimes I think we get things terribly wrong. Children need to behave well because they have a responsibility to themselves, their family and to society not to be selfish, lazy arses - not to get short term material rewards. I sometimes think maybe we need to work harder to get this point across to them!

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