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more 11 year old boy problems - it's ruining our family :(

(92 Posts)
dreamsofsea Wed 09-Feb-11 07:55:02

Sorry, very ong desperate post. Ds1 is 11. He used to be so good. So so good. Pleasant clever funny, friendly, a bit serious and sensitive.

In the last few months he has changed so much. He is so negative and spoilt and unpleasant to everyone and it is now really spoiling our family life. Now his standard way of talking to his brothers is an automatic rude, bitchy, condescending comment. Every time. It is depressing to be around them.

It seems to be infectious and very often all 3 automatically argue or disagree with each other just for nothing. Usually it's nonsense. "What's more powerful, the sun or a space rocket. The sun. No you're wrong, a sapce rocket is because...."

He cannot talk to his db with out being rude, sarcastic and unpleasant. eg this morning he tips all my tea bags on the work surface to take the box to school. I ask what he wants it for, he explains doing boxes, rectangle, cubes etc in maths. His db, ds2 exclaims in happy voice that's a coincidence, that's what he's doing too. Ds1 makes rude bitchy reply. No reason. Constant negativity and bickering.

Mornings are particularly bad for bitching and bickering. I am constantly repremanding them all and in the end usually have to have a talking ban just to stop them arguing. So every morning is miserable.

Ds1 got a letter home from school last week. Very serious warning from school. He's insolent, rude, cheeky, disruptive. (Unbelievable change since last year, which was totally the other end of the spectrum. He made it into grammar school and seems to have morphed into a smart arsed arrogant monster )

DH furious. He's on a 1 month computer and Ipod ban. Every now and then ds1 makes a sarcastic comment (none of his friends got punished for the same letter home from school), we've got no right to take his ipod off him.

It now feels like I am constantly fighting with him or punishing him. He is constantly fighting with his siblings. At w/e ds2 was away. For the first time in ages he played with ds3 loads, really really nicely. I even commented to dh as it was remarkable, and praised ds1 for behaving so well. I let him earn a half an hour go on computer as a reward. Later in week, ds3 mentions them playing. Ds1 replies he only played with him cos ds2 gone. ds3 crushed Nasty comment for no reason.

This morning ds2 looking for t-shirt. Dh finds ds1 physically attacking him. Dh extends the computer ban by 2 days. On leaving, ds2 says something to him , ds1 shouts 'shut your face' , dh extends the computer ban by another day.

Constant negativity, rudeness and punishments. A total change, like night and day in the last few months.

Home life is stressful and miserable. How do I turn this around? How do I stop the mean, bitchy, condescending comments and bickering?

nipplesofthenorth Wed 09-Feb-11 08:20:45

No answers I'm afraid but I do appreciate what you're going through. Our eldest DS 13 is the same. It's the constant negativity and inability to say anything nice that gets to you after a while. We've tried grounding/banning the xbox/laptop etc to no avail.

Will watch this thread carefully in the hope that someone has an answer - although I suspect this is probably fairly normal behaviour for a pubescent male!

TanteRose Wed 09-Feb-11 08:28:07

well, its a bit extreme, but not out of the realms of normal for an 11 year old.

I have one too, and he can be quite unpleasant most of the time.

Ignore the nastiness, and also try to make time to do nice things (easier said than done when he is being a monster...)

go to the cinema, or get him to choose a video, and all watch it together.

My DS is awful to his sister (13), really nasty comments etc. but sometimes they will be sitting watching telly and chatting away smile

he is still the same boy under all the bravado and hormones, so buckle under and ride it out grin

Katisha Wed 09-Feb-11 08:28:48

Yes I suspect it's the dreaded hormones kicking in.
Just posting and dashing, but I am also the owner of an 11 yr old boy so interested, but is he getting enough sleep? DS has gone very tired lately and we are trying to get him in bed and actually asleep (as opposed to reading for hours) earlier.

TanteRose Wed 09-Feb-11 08:30:41

ah yes, the sleep thing - HOW do you get them to go to bed earlier?? it is a constant battle...

Foxinsocks Wed 09-Feb-11 08:30:45

do you think something might be going on at school?

Changeisagoodthing Wed 09-Feb-11 08:38:50

He isn't ruining your family. He is part of your family and needs love and support not blame and condemnation.

Children can be hard.

Maybe you need some parenting support. You seem to have got into a cycle of punishments and then more punishments given in anger without any attempt to look at the underlying cause or to help what sounds like a very vulnerable little boy.

jabberwocky Wed 09-Feb-11 08:42:44

Mine are not quite that age yet but my first thought was that the teenage hormone behavior seems to be kicking in at a much earlier age these days. Also wondering if he has made a new friend or started hanging out with a different crowd this year at school?

Heroine Wed 09-Feb-11 08:43:14

1. some of the 'nastiness' will be hormonal/normal stresses causing what might be, if better timed, better expressed, a 'cheeky' comment - if I am ehausted tired angry and confused a little jolly 'oh I'm only doing this because you took the DS away (wink) sounds nasty and negative
2. Disagreeing and arguing is sometimes healthy practice at devloping yur own opinions and status
3. Perhaps his new 'drive' is making enemies at school and that is confusing and upsetting and his unappiness will bleed through to 1 and 2.
4. feeling constantly punished may also be a problem
5. as may be a feeling that computer games are a sanctuary (i.e this is slightly addictive behaviour.

In a perfect world I would a) encourage disagreement like 'space rocket v sun' to be a debate with someone at least coming in on his side (eg 'that's an excellent point,. the sun is bigger and more powerful, but a space rocket is something made on a very small planet that fights and wins against gravity of an extremely large planet.. well done for seeing that!!') otherwise he will feel that having a different opinion is problematic and everyone jumps on him b) get him in a debating club so that making contrary arguments is seen as a skill (some people I know in youth politics deliberately argue ridiculous points of view in order to practice eg 'killing the poor is right (see Jonathan Swift for an example presented to parliament!!) 'Democracy is wrong' etc etc
c) instead of providing punishments, if he behaves badly, don't say 'I'm banning you from computer games' take him to something non-computer-y or get him something to do that is not computer gamey that is a bit punishment (howls) but also interesting once he gets into it and d) don't praise things he is embarrassed about getting praise for (playhing with others) - just reward quietly. e) gently talk to teacher saying your son is struggling with having opinions but having no outlet and ask for help.

Changeisagoodthing Wed 09-Feb-11 08:50:23

A month is an unreasonable ban an 11 year old doesn't really have a concept of that. It might as well be for ever and so why should they bother to behave. You have then extended iit in anger by 3 days- at this rate you will keep extending it and he will think well i am never going to get it back and somewhat is the point.

Use blanket bans as a short sharp shoc. A cowpoke of days. A week at most.

Then reward good behaviour. Be very clear about what you expect. You have done the 1 month ban now and so have to honour it but how about if you do xxxx and yyyy for 2 days you can have it back for 4 hours on Saturday. Also random rewards for good behaviour-the way you just helped your brother find his book was very kind- as a reward for being good you can have an hour on iPod today. These would be during the existing ban,

Changeisagoodthing Wed 09-Feb-11 08:50:57

Shock. Couple not cowpoke.

dreamsofsea Wed 09-Feb-11 08:51:13

he has sleep problems, sufferes a lot on and off with insomnia. But right now I think it's ok.

I have 3 ds, 11, 10 & 7, I cannot have this for the next 6 or 7 years. I can't ride this out, as one after the other decide it's fine to be rude and bitchy.

I often have to resort to total speaking ban I don't expect them to be best mates (thou until recently they were, ds1 & 2 even used to sleep together), they don't even have to have a waltons style chat over breakfast and dinner, but the snide meanness is horrible.

I feel it's really affecting our relationship, and I'm starting to dislike him and dread having to spend time with him. I told my friend here and sil, describing his behaviour and none of them can believe it, it's such a change. I don't think I can cope with a few more month of this never mind years.

Changeisagoodthing Wed 09-Feb-11 08:56:25

I think you have got into a culture of punishment and banning.

You need to break this cycle and get into one of praise and rewarding positive behaviour.

You and dh need to be consistent and never punish in anger. Consider it carefully.

I know it sounds hard but in really think that parenting support or classes would be helpful.

dreamsofsea Wed 09-Feb-11 09:00:55

I didn't ban it, dh did. I didn't extend it, dh did. dh gave him the month ban. We have issues of him being too harsh, me being too soft and dh being angry with me for not supporting him, or undermining him, so I felt I couldn't undo his month'S ban. I did however say to ds that I would contact his teacher in a week, and if there had been a big improvement we would shorted the ban, so he could earn through improved behaviour his stuff back early. I also at the weekend, rewarded him with a temprary reprieve as a reward for good behaviour with ds3 (then a couple of days later he crushes him with nastiness again).

I am trying to be positive with him.

He seems to be very popular. He has plenty of friends, though unfortunately his best friend hates school, is very naught, well, he was at primary school, now suddenly they seem too old and serious to be dubbed 'naughty'. Ds has come home before describing how rude his friend was to his mum, having screaming tantrums etc. Now he seems to be adopting this behaviour. I won't let him go to this kids house now, but I can't separate them at school, although it seems to be universally agreed that they are a bad combination, so I have requested, and can only hope the staff have the sense to separate them too.

fartmeistergeneral Wed 09-Feb-11 09:02:24

I have been in exactly the same situation and although it's not perfect now, I think I manage it better (ds is 12). The negativity thing and the 'you say black, I say white' thing is very very tiring, I agree. But, it's not the worst thing that could happen, I just ignore it now.

When you said about the speaking ban, it reminded me that last year I had to make sure the boys were up and dressed and fed, then put them each into their separate rooms where they had to stay until it was time to go to school!!!! Now ds1 is at high school so is leaving when ds2 is just getting up so at least I don't have that any more!

I have no advice really, except to say, it's completely normal and it reminds me of when I was young - I used to actually ENJOY being miserable and feeling 'got at'. I used to wind my family up so I could flounce and sit feeling sorry for myself.

Try your very best to choose your battles with him to reduce the amount of punishments you have to hand out. If you have to manage separating the siblings as much as you can at the moment, then do it. Get them together for DVD watching/cinema etc and ignore all sarcasm/nasty comments by talking over them and changing the subject. Distraction!

Good luck - we are all in this together!

Heroine Wed 09-Feb-11 09:05:48

If dramatic change it could be that he is acting out a more confident and nasty guy because he feels he needs to to survive at school - the school could be a clue here. I would do something that he really loves to lift his mood, or, say, get him to research and present a case for a visit to Alton Towers (or similar) from both boys, say he has to present say argument why one week. then research cost next week, then ride plan the next then a 'suitable dates' research and summary of all arguments in week 4 and promise and deliver full ipod priviledges afterwards and allow him to book it (easy to write down here I suppose!) if he is a nice guy all day and leads the trip all to the good, if not, cut off rides from his ride plan and only give them back with long periods of being good, then talk to him about how it worked if you can (this might not be possible!)

Heroine Wed 09-Feb-11 09:07:03

ps my brother planned a lands end - john O'groats C5 trip with an atlas when he was 11 - he claims its still on his CV!!

Doodlez Wed 09-Feb-11 09:08:47

Dreams - there's a similar thing going on with the Yr 6's at my children's school and it's linked to the entrance exam being over (they sat for it in January). You mention in your OP that your DS got his place.

I have a yr 5 boy and he's had a load of trouble with some of the Yr 6's in the last couple of weeks. I couldn't understand what was going on, so I went to see his teacher. She explained - once Yr 6 get those entrance exams out of the way, they morph! It happens to some of them every year apparently! They've got their place for senior school and basically, their bodies are in school but their heads have left the building.....they feel too big for primary school now and want to move on!

There's a half term holiday coming up. I'd strip everything back to basics....start afresh. Lose all the punishments and let all three children start with a clean sheet.

Also, get them (esp. the 11 year old) running - get them out side and run 'em ragged. Exercise the life out of them - up the good and positive feelings that exercise brings. Get them 'team building' by making an obstacle course round the garden. Just get them out of the house, away from screens etc.


dreamsofsea Wed 09-Feb-11 09:09:22

thanks fart. sounds similar!

My 4 all have to bout at same time so unfortunately can't separate them so well, though mornings would be so much calmer if I could.

I have tried to be positive and do stuff with just him, eg went off just with him to try and find the skate park.

I find rudeness, either to myself or to other people really upsetting and do get offended and find it difficult to keep calm.

heroine, can you give examples for your point c please?

Thanks for the helpful comments and suggestions.

Changeisagoodthing Wed 09-Feb-11 09:09:25

Ok. This will sound very hard.

I think that you are blaming the child rather than yourself and your dh. What you describe is pretty typical 11 year old behaviour but something is making it a bit worse.

I think that's the parenting style of you and your dh. It is easier to say that it is the Childs fault and shocking to think that you can dislike him.

You and your dh are inconsistent in your parenting approach. You use random punishments. You react rathervthan consider.

I don't think the issue is with the child but with the home environment and parenting.

Sorry I know that's hard. You need to change otherwise you will lose your child. You already dislike him and dontbwant to be with him. He is 11. He needs your love and support. If you dislike your 11 year old I think the issue is with you not him. You need to talk to your dh and decide on constant parenting approaches. Reward him, love him, nurture him.

fartmeistergeneral Wed 09-Feb-11 09:15:34

Another thought - I have the same issues as you have with often not agreeing with dh's punishments and not wanting to undermine him in front of ds1.

I do think a month's ban from computer games etc is too long. After a while, it won't seem like a punishment anymore IYSWIM. A month wouldn't seem real to my ds12, but perhaps a week's ban would.

I have tried to show casual interest in ds1's computer game or whatever he's into at the time (gogos/wrestling etc etc) and it's ridiculous to say, but I still remember those treasured MINUTES (!) over the last year or so!!! I cling on to them...

Also, you do seem to really try to be positive with your ds1 and make time for him which is great. Let us know of any breakthroughs!

fartmeistergeneral Wed 09-Feb-11 09:16:09

oops, ds12 - I meant ds1 who is 12, not my 12th son!

CrosswordAddict Wed 09-Feb-11 09:21:35

dreamsofsea You say this behaviour has only just started? It seems to me it's learned behaviour. He's taking on the attitudes of the boys he mixes with during the day and you are getting the backlash. Don't know how you can wean him off best friend but that's what it needs. You need to nip this in the bud because DS2 and DS3 take him as their role model and in a couple of years you'll have all three of them being snide and foul.
SHOW A UNITED FRONT You must support your husband on this one. Seriously, a week's ban should mean exactly that, and don't go softening and saying he can earn a half hour off the ban if he's good.
Is there anyone he can stay with for a week or two to give the rest of you a break? Seriously, this is badly affecting your family life and could even break up your marriage IMHO.

duchesse Wed 09-Feb-11 09:22:19

Quite frankly he needs a big shock. If it were my child by this stage I'd be tempted to say to him "Can't take away your iPod? How about this?" and drop the bloody thing into a sink of water. He needs to remember who the daddy is in your relationship.

I do feel for you though- they all seem to go through this rude phase at this age and need pulling up on it. Some people choose to let it run but I wouldn't recommend that personally or he'll be doing it for the next 6 years.

BalloonSlayer Wed 09-Feb-11 09:23:28

I wonder if it's the "got into Grammar school" that is one of the sources of the problem.

He used to be the clever one at his primary school. Now he is nothing special. He finds it harder to impress at school than he used to. He is no longer being told that his work is fantastic - now it's only average. He attempts to bolster his self-esteem by belittling everyone at home.

I still remember our headmistress warning of this, ahem, 35 years ago when I started at Grammar School.

"You are used to being Top Dog," she said, "Not any more."

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