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12 year old out of control(4 Posts)
Seeking advice about my 12 year old DS. He has always had behaviour issues which have worsened over the last few years to the point now where I am starting to give up. He doesn't listen to a word I say, do what I ask etc, and has recently started to go out with friends, coming back at 8.30 or 9pm in the evening or asking to have a sleepover on short notice with a friend I don't know well. He is bright but not at all engaged with his school work, obsessed with rap/being cool etc, not interested in working hard and has no respect for me or any rules I try to set. Situation is not helped by our family set up as his dad and I are divorced and DS doesn't get on well with his stepdad, despite DH trying to reach out to DS over the years (DH has been around since DS was 2 years). I honestly don't know how to manage him anymore and feel I simply cannot control his behaviour unless I give up full time work to try to supervise him although I am not sure that will help. I've had him assessed for ASD and ADHD - he was found to have traits of both but no diagnosis of either. His behaviour at school is generally poor although the private secondary he started at last year seemed to help a lot and sort out his behaviour in lessons at least, although not in the playground. He lies, is rude, swears, is super loud, messy and simply doesn't listen or do anything I ask. What can I do, other than despair?
Children will always respond to things that are important to them, either as a punishment or reward. However make sure you talk to him and explain things as well, as children react much better to things that they understand.
It sounds as if being cool/popular is very important to him. So he needs the latest clothing, phone, gadget. I would make sure that he knew if he behaved he got those things and if he didn't they got taken away, but make sure he gets rewarded for good behaviour or he may become resourceful and source them elsewhere.
However at the same time I would explain why you need to know where he is, why school is important, everything you do for him and all you ask is he is respectful. Make sure you talk to him like you would like to be talked to, an angry or loud confrontation will only make things worse.
Children are smarter than most people give them credit for. They have more free time than us and have all day every day to think about how to get the things they want. It will be a battle initially which may last months, but if you stick to your guns you should see a change in behaviour. If you relax the rules at any point, he will go back to his previous behaviour.
It sounds really really worrying - not knowing where he is until late, being with new/unknown friends - it's a situation where your DS may think he's an independent adult but he doesn't understand the risks he's placing himself in. I think you may need specific outside help if you're truly at the end of your tether, your DH and his relationship isn't strong, and your ex isn't helping to remedy the problem. I know you may have thought of this but are there any local sources of help around like youth centres, outreach type people in youth charities you can self refer to, or even a pastoral support worker at his school who can advise with specific knowledge of your son?
That sounds really difficult for you. Remember to take some time to look after yourself too.
Have you tried any sort of therapy?
Play therapy or something similar could be a great route to try.
Learning how to understand, express and manage his emotions through emotional literacy would also be beneficial.
Putting in the calendar a time where you must all sit down as a family, either play a game, eat some food, have a positive time together as a family. He may not want to join in or even attend but if you enforce this and do it regardless of him being in the same room he will see the positive effect it is having on you as a family and no doubt he will be curious.
Just like you’ve done here try and get support from other mums and parents with children around the same age.
I hope the above makes sense.
Happy to help any way I can if you’d like to message further.