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I am in tears again today. Holding my head and wondering what to do.

(24 Posts)
LittleBlueMouse Mon 04-Jul-11 16:16:08

Hi everyone, I wondered if anyone would have any wise words. I am at my wits end. We started Home Ed last June and until two weeks ago everything was fine.

I have two boys, DS1 is (used to be academic) bright but is also quite manipulative. He is hard work and demanding. He always sets himself up for disapointment and then blames the rest of us. He is very confident and very bossy. He has a totally overbearing nature. He has no friends (his choice he tells me) I have always coped with him, his father prefers to let me deal with him but now I am totally shattered. He puts pressure on me constantly. It's hard to explain really but I feel like he enjoys making me unhappy. He rushes at any written work, either makes silly mistakes (english) or gets 100% and makes no effort (maths, sciences) and then makes a huge point of telling me it's too easy. I should allow him to take his exams!! (he is studying 1 IGCSE) no I don't want him to yet, he's too young and he won't work at anything and apply himself.

DS2 is (was an easy going child) now very sulky. He will not work at anything and only wants to tackle things that he has already mastered. He lacks confidence and won't be encouraged to try anything new. He used to be lively and talkative but now he just wants his own company, he doesn't want to work on any projects.

Both are now doing the only thing they are interested in, playing computer games. I have given up again. Both have done exactly 30 minutes maths, a play in the park, a look around a bookshop and as per usual nothing to help in the house. They have learnt nothing.

I don't know what to do? Is DS1 shattering DS2's confidence, he is mine! Somedays I don't even want to be in the same room as DS1.

CheerMum Mon 04-Jul-11 16:19:43

how old are the boys?

CheerMum Mon 04-Jul-11 16:20:20

and did something happen two weeks ago to start this?

ScarlettIsWalking Mon 04-Jul-11 16:22:42

Poor you. What happened to trigger this?

LittleBlueMouse Mon 04-Jul-11 18:24:25

Thank you for responding. The boys are 10 and 6 years. I don't think anything happened two weeks ago except I started tutoring a child for maths. The parents are only in the uk for 4 weeks each years. Each year I have the little girl for maths lessons. Maybe that's it.

Could they be playing up because of this?

SDeuchars Mon 04-Jul-11 18:55:25

It could be. If I were you, I'd ride it out for the next two weeks and see if things return to normal once the tutoring stops. You can then consider how to deal with it. How old is the little girl? You may not be able to change DS1's attitude much in the next two weeks, but if it reverts, you may be able to ask him to consider why he behaved so badly.

LauraIngallsWilder Mon 04-Jul-11 21:01:01

Hi Littlebluemouse
You have my sympathies, My ds is quite similar (he is 9). He is hard work, rude, frustrating, demands everything on his terms and gets very angry! Then minutes later he can be the sweetest little mouse! (he has aspergers - not suggesting yours has!)
I also have a dd who is just 7 who lacks confidence about most things.
So similar situation smile
Im wondering from your op if maybe they feel both overwhelmed by the whole 'freedom' aspect of HE whilst also not motivated to learn? Im not sure that sentance makes sense!
I ask because I was surprised to see your ds is doing an igcse - my ds is super bright but no way is he doing an igcse yet as he couldnt cope with it. (his handwriting is appalling but thats a different problem). I cant put into words why though - perhaps emotional immaturity?

Mine are both motivated to learn stuff of their own chosing but to ensure that they "cover all bases" I also get them doing stuff that I have planned. Sometimes they make a fuss sometimes not (if they are clearly making postive use of their time then I let them get on with it and my planned stuff waits till tommorrow.
One idea Im thinking of implementing is workboxes - you put activities for them to do for the day in a box and ask them to complete it by the end of the day/week - maybe that would be an idea for you - there are good website links available (but I dont know them!!)

The two best suggestions I have (from my own experience!) for improving my relationship with my two is playing games and reading - I try to play at least one game (cards/board etc) every day and I read aloud to them for one hour every day

Sorry that was a wandering ramble but I hope maybe it might help a bit

LauraIngallsWilder Mon 04-Jul-11 21:07:00

Final thoughts having looked at your op again - I would ban computer games until work is done and they have helped with household chores in some way.

Bribery works well in this house! We are getting ds (who isnt great at hand eye coordination) doing the washing up which is a marvellous learning experience! Dd is learning to sort the washing for the machine and hang it out etc. They both sort clean washing and help to fold and put away. I also insist they tidy up their stuff - no helping/rude surly behaviour = no tv/computer time.

Also I have the problem of older child shattering younger ones confidence - my solution 1 is to put a cardboard screen so ds cant see what dd is writing as she is intimidated as he watches for her to make mistakes
2nd solution is to spend time with dd by herself every day (ds is very suffocating/talks constantly)

Marjoriew Mon 04-Jul-11 21:35:30

We also use the Workbox method now grandson is 12. We have adapted it from the original idea from the US.
All work in the drawers has to be done before 5pm. No tv, ds, wii till work is done - and properly.
He goes to HEROES twice a week and does lots there - maths, small animal care, cooking and baking, archery, art and craft. Gives me a break so I can get my planning and housework done.
We also cover core subjects, and then projects/lapbooking.

LittleBlueMouse Mon 04-Jul-11 22:14:14

The little girl is 6 but she had SEN. The boys usually work with DH or go to Granny's.

Laura, it's interesting what you say about aspergers. We took DS1 out of school because he disliked the classroom noise, he likes to be very organised and you have to set your expectations out very clearly. If a plan is made he will follow this to the letter and he doesn't like change. We have considered aspergers for several years but the school thought his problems stemmed from being bright. It was partly this reason that we decided to home ed. I'm inclined to think he is both and one sort of compensates for the other. I fear he will never reach his full potential. I guess though he will scrape by because he used intellect to cope where social skills are lacking. Does that make sense?

DS1 also likes to correct DS2. DS1 is ultra sensitive just not to others feelings! I've tried breaking the day up so I can help one child at a time, this suits DS1. However strange it may seem though DS2 wants his elder brother with him all the time partly because he is the more social child. Both seem to need not only work at very different levels but now need to work in very different ways.

I'm not coping well with the realisation that I can't split myself in two, I feel like a bit of a failure right now. DS1 stated earlier that he wants to work at home totally on his own so he can concentrate. I feel very unhappy at the idea of sending the youngest back to school, it might be best for him but he doesn't want to go.

LauraIngallsWilder Mon 04-Jul-11 22:24:39

Hi littlemouse - the fact that my ds is bright is a bit like a mask if that makes sense
Everybody says oooh your ds, isnt he clever, oooh he is like a walking encyclopedia etc
Whilst I stand there thinking "Yeees I was feeling so happy when he was threatening to kill me this morning, when he was threatening to kill himself yesterday and chucking stuff, when he flipped out because the plan changed, when he is sobbing because XYZ happened"

You are not a failure, you mustnt think that! HE can be hard. It is harder still if you have a child with challenging behaviour. I think you should seriously look once more at whether your ds1 has aspergers.
Where abouts in the country do you live?
Feel free to pm me and we can chat more if you wish smile

LittleBlueMouse Mon 04-Jul-11 22:45:58

Thank you Laura, we are in Sussex. You are amazing to cope with the throwing stuff and behaviour like that. Thankfully DS is fairly self contained although recently he has started being a bit devious and manipulative. He likes to sabotage things and then lay the blame with others. He will start on something and then ruin it and tell me it's my fault!

He is doing the study at IGCSE maths but I think he lacks the maturity to tackle the exam.

I don't even know where to start with getting an assessment for aspergers.

I am so tired I'm off to bed but I will PM you if that's ok. Thank you. smile

LauraIngallsWilder Mon 04-Jul-11 23:00:28

Definately ok
Ill hold your hand - when Im weeping next week you can hold mine grin

FionaJNicholson Mon 04-Jul-11 23:03:50

Some of us have children who make us feel like we are rubbish parents, though my experience with mine has got much better as he's got older and less dependent on me (and therefore less resentful and angry about my manifold inadequacies and general slackness in not devoting 100% attention to him 24/7) They'll blame us because as my Theo explains it has to be somebody's fault and he knows it's not his!

LittleBlueMouse Tue 05-Jul-11 12:05:10

Fiona shock they do don't they. "Z" makes me feel inadequate quite a lot. He finds many things easy such as chess and logic games and puzzles and then makes me feel I am wasting my time! I'm then hit with "I need help, your not helping, now look it's gone wrong" arrrrrrrrr

Laura you have a deal, I'll pm later. I'm just about to do lunch and I can hear "Z" calling DS2 a baby, so I'll have to pop back later.

nickschick Tue 05-Jul-11 12:12:43

I h.e too.

The thing is educating at home can even in short periods be very intense and its not all 'academic' learning.

I think we also have to remember its coming near the end of term and even H.E children need the break.

Is ds1 old enough to understand his 'targets' could you over the weekend plan his days and set targets for each day? my ds prefers maths and science to writing and English but he knows he has to do some and do it well before the day is his own.

Without wishing to offend you,can you help your ds with his 'people skills' and use that as school work for a while? as I believe understanding the world and people in it is as valuable a lesson as verbs and adjectives,could you go to parks after school so he mixes with school children and gains insight on friend making skills?.

mummytime Tue 05-Jul-11 12:40:19

Maths is the subject that least needs maturity IMHO.
I would also go to your GP and request an assessment for Asperger's. From my experience of friends who are bright but didn't get dianosed until adulthood, it would have been easier for them to have known a) they did think differently to others and b) to have things explained to them in a way they could understand. BTW both of them were very bright, both spent some time at Oxford. So don't underestimate your son.
However they both are very young yet too.

good luck!

throckenholt Tue 05-Jul-11 15:20:32

can you not send the older one off to do something on his own while you work with the younger one - at least sometimes ?

My 9 year old often prefers to go off on his own. I try not to do it too much because he is not good at teamwork and needs to practice working with and alongside others. But more lateral thinking may be needed for you.

Maybe also set DS1 watching a video like coast with instructions to tell you what it was about later in the day - he can take notes if he likes.

throckenholt Tue 05-Jul-11 15:23:45

by going off - I mean doing some task in some other part of the house (rather away to some other location smile).

LittleBlueMouse Tue 05-Jul-11 21:06:48

It was the last day of tutoring the little girl today and by 2pm both children were happy. Both have worked really hard today and they have been co-operative.

I'm going to try and split the day up a bit so that I can give both individual attention. DS1 resents not getting enough help and guidance and I think I have been silly in asuming he could tread water when he is desperate to learn and chat about things. I seem to have fallen into a pattern of giving more time to the youngest probably because he is still learning the basics and lacks confidence.

DH is happy to spend all of his time with DS2 so maybe I should let him do more with him when he is at home.

Nickschic, you are so right about the social skills, he needs to try, he has very few friends. He says he prefers adults and he really dislikes going to the park, he is moaning about scouts because the children are boisterous but he does love his steiner group, they are all older than him. It could be lack of social skills or it could be a lack of tollerance as his school suggested.

However I am going to have a chat with DH about going to the GP re: aspergers.

In the meantime I will try a DVD for the youngest while I am with DS1 and something like chemistry DVDs for DS2 so I can work with DS1. I may have also made the mistake of trying to treat them too much alike and keeping them too much together.

homeedmam11 Wed 06-Jul-11 13:09:56

Perhpas they just really did not like seeing mum with someone else as they usually have you fulltime? You never know with kids.
My daughter is getting really fed up and does not want to do anything these days, I think shes really tired and needs the summer break.

cory Tue 12-Jul-11 10:56:58

Another thing to remember is that this age can be quite difficult anyway. It's easy if you're doing something unusual like HE to blame everything on that- but I found ds pretty heavy going last year when he was 10 and at school most of the day. Very negative, never taking responsibility for anything- he is a lot easier this year, so perhaps he is growing up. smile

catwoman2011 Wed 13-Jul-11 00:35:28

My brother has Aspergers (apparently) and everything you described about your DC, is exactly the same as my brother.

Try getting games that allow your DC to use the computer for learning. The most diverse games are set up for a PC rather than a consol. My brother wasted his time on a course that meant nothing when he should have gone on a computer programming course. He programmes everything - literally everything. He could be earning a fortune! He is defying all the odds though by working full time in a good job with good money.

My brother is 29 now and when my parents are gone, I will have to take over 'looking out for him'.

You won't be able to correct the problem of Aspergers, however, if they have a niche, identify it and find out what course will suit them best, that might just set them up for a great life.

LauraIngallsWilder Mon 18-Jul-11 18:58:41

Hi littlebluemouse - so sorry I haven't replied to you.
My granny has died so I'm away for the funeral and have been tied up helping to sort everything out (and can't get proper Internet access atm)
I haven't forgotten you honest - will deffo be in touch when I get back
LIW xx

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