Need help with 10 year old difficult boy!(7 Posts)
Hi everyone. I'm having a really dark moment right now and feel desperate. I have 2 boys: a13 year old (John) and a10 year old (Sam). My younger son's behavior towards me and his brother is terrible most of the time. He has a bedwetting problem and we checked all the physical possibilities and he is fine. So we're seeing a psychiatrist weekly and he's on medication. The doctor says this problem may be the reason behind his behavior. We don't punish him or anything when he wets himself, we tell him lots of boys are like that and he will get better.
He is an A student and he controls his temper and is polite with everyone outside home, but he is hiding many anxieties (the dark, doctors, stray dogs, being alone, getting sick, hygiene ) and he kinds of lets it all out at home. When he's upset he calls me really bad names and hits me but he soon apologizes because he needs A LOT of hugs and kisses throughout the day.
As for his brother he openly says that he hates him. He cannot stand that his brother touch him or touch his stuff. He's says his brother is not clean (which isn't the case) and arrogant and ...etc. It's worth saying that his older brother is popular- handsome -athletic, but then, he is too! Sometimes, no matter how many times I've told him not to, John teases him that he can do something that he can't, or he would just ignore him when he talking to him because he's busy with something. What Sam does then is hit and insult John. A few minutes later he calls him to play with him or help him with something!
He makes me mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted. He talks a lot at home and is always moving around, jumping all over me, forcibly hugging and kissing me.
I'll tell you an example from today:
Sam had football practice today.He wasnt wearing the team outfit because he planned on buying a new one before practice. He called me a while after saying that the money he had wasnt enough. I told him he could play with what he had on and just buy the clothes next time. He started crying and calling me names. I asked him what he wanted me to do . He didn't have an answer and kept calling me names so I just told him to call me when he was ready to come home and hung up. He called me about 20 times after that. I mostly closed the call. When I answered he just said more insults. When I wouldn't answer he started texting me the insults. If he had been at home he would surely be hitting me. I texted him back: May God forgive you and guide you to the right path my beloved son. (I'm not always this calm). He sent me another insulting text. Half an hour later he texted me that he was ready to come home and that he was very very sorry and that Ihe knows I didn't do anything wrong!
It sounds like your son has a lot of anxieties.
If they are your sons real names you may want to get it edited to protect their privacy - usual protocol in most circumstances on Mumsnet.
I wouldnt be telling a 10 year old anxious boy that may God forgive him, that could be quite worrying to him?
A lot of 10 year olds are challenging pre puberty and it sounds like he feels in the shadow of his older brother.
I would spend lots of 1 to 1 time with him, deal with his anxieties with professional help, and try and build his confidence.
Thank you for your answer! Actually they're not their real names. I meant may God forgive him for all the insults he was saying. It was the best I could think of...I was boiling inside. I feel like he already consumes a lot of my time either with positive and negative attention and that is beginning to take its toll on his brother who is too quiet at home and sleeps a lot.
What do you think I should have done in this circumstance?
If this has been going on for a long time I am wondering a little if your Sam might have some mild autism-spectrum issues? The anxieties, the unusual sense of smell, the sensitivity and temper, and the endless talking(!) Getting in a panic and insulting you over his footie kit is just the kind of nonsense my own DS (Asperger's diagnosis) would do. Unexpected situations are his weak point. I had to learn that when my DS insulted me it didn’t mean anything at all apart from “I am in a panic and my brain has stopped working for a few minutes”.
I think you handled the situation pretty well to be honest. I probably wouldn’t have said “what do you expect me to do?” just because I know my DS would take it badly. Instead I would have repeated “wear your footie kit today and we will buy new kit for next week, that will be fine” just once more in a deliberately calm voice and then turned off my ears and my phone and done exactly what you did! One other little thing you can do is to accept Sam’s apology in a warm way, tell him “thank you for messaging to say sorry, you really are a good boy” because believe me it is a very good sign that he realises he’s been in the wrong and can apologise for that. (My DS wouldn't have been able to do that.)
In the longer term, you’re right to maintain calm as best you can, for yourself and for Sam. One thing you might try is to be very clear with Sam. “I can’t speak to you just now, I am on the phone. I will speak to you in five minutes”. And then keep your word, exactly. You can even hold up a card with “5 minutes” written on it. That exactness may make it easier for Sam to hold back. John might benefit from a card like that too! You might also use a card or a hand signal to get Sam to stop talking or to give you a bit of physical space.
It might even be useful if you explained to Sam how to interact with John; perhaps you can negotiate an agreement with John. “Sometimes when you go up to talk to John, he is ready to talk. He looks up at you and answers you. Then you can go on talking to him. Sometimes when you want to talk to John, he doesn’t look at you. He is busy doing something else. He is concentrating on his book or his video game and he doesn’t want to be interrupted just then. He will be ready to listen to you later. Please try to leave him alone and wait for ten minutes and then go back. Then he may be able to listen to you.” At present Sam may not recognise the signs that should tell him John doesn’t want to be bothered right now, or he may not have a clear idea about waiting and coming back later– he may believe deep inside that if John wont listen to him right now then maybe John will never listen to him.
You say he sometimes hits out at you... that is very hard to live with It might be useful to have a look at Explosive Child. It's good for managing anxious children who seem to fly off over nothing. I found it very helpful for avoiding aggression from my DS and it doesn't depend on any particular diagnosis or label.
Thank you for your thoughtful answer! I'm not sure if doctors where I live are aware of these diagnoses. Although we are getting the best professional help we can, I feel like the problem is mostly on my hands. I'll surely check out the book you recommended. Thanks again!
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