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Is 10 too early for behaviour change due to puberty?

(12 Posts)
cavolonero Tue 23-Nov-10 22:58:37

My 10 .5 yr old boy has always been a bit difficult in public with me - but generally sweet and well behaved at school and home.
In the last few weeks he has become increasingly moody and aggressive towards me - his dad lives elsewhere - (he sees him alternate weekends and gets quite spoilt.)
Along with this he has become very anxious about school in the mornings (even from the night before.) I've tried to get to the bottom of it - school say theres no problem.
Since sunday he has been very,very rude and abusive towards me -shouting and calling me names and being very unco-operative.
I have tried getting angry and demanding respect,I've tried sending him to his room - but he just comes straight out.I've tried calling his dad(never resorted to this before) - drew a blank.
This morning he woke up shouting and refusing to go to school - I tried ignoring him - I have to go to work.He did eventually go but was very late.He was very moody when I picked him up and has been badly behaved all evening.
I've tried to ignore him as I can't continue being so negative - I'm exhausted and god knows what the neighbours think.His dad says its just his age - but his only 10 and I'm really worried what the future holds - how will I cope with a 13+ yr old boy if its all going wrong now?

cory Tue 23-Nov-10 23:18:48

Not too early, I have a 10yo and he is very definitely hormonal. I don't see it as all going wrong though, hopefully it's more of a phase. I just keep insisting (as calmly as I can) that I do not wish to hear rude language or personal comments, and try to acknowledge his anxieties. And try to find some common ground, things we can both enjoy and talk about.

cavolonero Tue 23-Nov-10 23:49:24

yes finding common ground is getting harder -he is finding the things we used to do boring -like gardening or baking a cake - I even offered to build a airfix model with him today - but he refused.My interest in psp/computer games/ warhammer is nil.
I do acknowledge his anxiety - I've been seriously trying to get to the bottom of it - its real to him - but not sure how far to go with it - whether I should go down the ed -psychologist route -don't want to over analyse him.
I'm not a patient person - I flip when I'm called an ugly old witch - I just can't tolerate it and think I should make a stand but it seems to escalate and get out of control.I worry that he seems to enjoy it.
I suppose I'm not sure where the boundaries lie these days and what to tolerate and let go -I don't want to be an over-controlling victorian parent but I don't want to be a mug either.

milou2 Tue 23-Nov-10 23:59:31

I suggest practicing de-escalating situations when your son yells at you etc. It will stand you in very good stead with him and keep the relationship more steady.

When my older son gets anxious about school matters I go all non reactive, I offer food and chat about his favourite topics.

I try to just sit there in a relaxed way and be there for him, literally.

Even if I have got angry earlier, I start again and get back in synch with him. I eat something too, because I can get snappy if I'm hungry.

Try not to let the rude words get to you, a mum has to be so much stronger than the child and not get upset by silly things.

Being aggressive and authoritarian doesn't help my boys if they are anxious and badly bahaved as a result.

My boys are 12 and 15 by the way. Their moods, particularly the older one's, can turn on a sixpence. Don't take their rudeness to heart, only the 'I love you's!

cory Wed 24-Nov-10 00:11:57

I'm having the same about the difficulties of finding common ground: anything I like has simply got to be wrong. And as I like quite a few things that doesn't seem to leave a lot.

I did take him to a football match the other day, though, and surprised myself by quite enjoying it, so I might do that again. Basically, I am trying to identify a few things he likes that I can more or less bear. Have been watching X-factor with him too <sob>.

I try to distinguish between actual rudeness ("no ds, I do not wish to be called that") and insecurity, like him worrying that my new coat is bad for his street cred- I don't accept that he is right, but I treat it as a joke instead of going in with the heavy guns: I will wear the coat but accept that he doesn't want to be accompanied all the way to school by it; in fact, I use it as my get-out clause on a wet morning.

Things are extra tricky for ds as he was diagnosed with a painful joint disorder two years ago, just before he hit puberty. It does make him very anxious, and it also means that he is often cut off from the only things he really cares about- football and other sports. Anything I suggest as a substitute is just a reminder of what he might lose.

I am hoping that going to secondary will help him to develop new interests.

colditz Wed 24-Nov-10 00:29:49

Find out if he is being bullied or otherwise mistreated at school. Something is going on there.

homeboys Wed 24-Nov-10 12:19:12

Message withdrawn

cavolonero Wed 24-Nov-10 22:40:45

Thankyou for all your very sensible advice.I hit a rock bottom last night and had to take stock - a bit of a cry and lets get things into perspective - its like toddler years again - the break inbetween you get on with your life rebuilding careers etc but secondary school transition is a crucial change.
I did really try this morning and tonight to grow a second skin and let stuff go and it did diffuse the situation - tried the praising route and lots of affection.It was all a lot calmer.
I realise that its our jobs as mothers to let them go - even if its painful for us as they reject us.

Am trying to get to the bottom of the school thing -its not bullying as such - he's a minority and doesnt fit in - secondary school could be the making of him -hope so as year 5 teacher warned me he could be a school refuser which set me down this path -but havent offered any clues why.

Also realising old fashioned 'discipline' and demanding respect never worked with us as kids anyway -we said our parents should earn it' ie lead by example so will have to muster up some quiet dignity - not really me -but its horrifying to see that even at 10 they are still so impressionable-he is prob responding to me - mimicking my behaviour.

I'm going to really try to turn this around before it gets out of hand - just have to accept we're into a new phase -

fingbusymum Thu 25-Nov-10 20:27:52

Ask to talk to the teacher again and find out what s/he means by him becoming a 'school refuser.' It is very irresponsible of a teacher to suggest this possibility without explaining the reasons for thinking it.

Ten and half is considered adolescent by child therapists and most doctors, so he undoubtedly has some overwhelming hormones affecting his moods and behaviour. If you feel uncomfortable with the language he uses, ask him to substitute the worst words as they are unacceptable to you. But a second skin is a good thing to grow, as he doesn't mean most of what he says.

It's very important (as others have said) that he thinks you are able to take his angry feelings. He must feel that you are there, no matter what he says or does. Have you tried re-iterating the things he says, reflecting them back to him, so he knows you are listening calmly and are thinking with him? He says 'you are a horrible old witch.' You say 'you think I'm mean and nasty, like a witch?' 'Yes, I hate you.' 'You sound really angry...' Just opening up possibilities for him so he might talk a bit; let him shout, even, he might say something illuminating.

Unconditional love and containment are what he's after so let him have those. But also make boundaries, explaining that you love him but certain language and behaviour are not allowed in your home and if he continues, there will be sanctions: no pocket money, no tv, no computer etc. Sending him to his room won't work. Take away what he values, for a very short time at first, if he appears to be uncontrolled or completely unresponsive.

If none of this works, get help from a child psychotherapist. Problems with dad???

cavolonero Mon 29-Nov-10 14:59:49

Yes ,thankyou all for your continued sensible advice.

I did go back to the year 5 teacher who talked about school refuser - he's in yr 6 now so she didn't want to deal with it.She was talking about secondary school and social interaction with other kids.

Despite my resolve and common sense understanding - I cracked again on friday morning after repeated evenings of refusing to go to bed etc.He was determined from thurs eve that he was not going to school the next day - I had to physically get him out of bed and dress him and he refused to eat breakfast as now all my food is 'disgusting'.I had a busy full day of work ahead so I put him in the car and drove the short distance to school with no packed lunch.He was hitting and punching me all the way and refused to get out of the car - so I opened the door and got him out and drove off - it was embarassing as other parents saw(and schoolfriends.)
I was very ,very upset and felt very guilty.But I'm not sending him to school to be bullied etc although there must be some anxieties there.
I phoned the school and asked the SEN to call me(never did.)I explained the situation - again to the school secretary and asked her to make sure he had a school dinner - they didnt so when I picked him up he hadnt eaten all day.

With only 8 months left at this school it seems unlikely they are taking me seriously - we have seen a child and family therapist before when we split up - and occasionaly since but don't think its that helpful.She has suggested CAMS - think its child mental health?

I am quickly growing a second skin but its becoming a habit - in public now as well which makes me look such a pushover - I feel a failure.

My neighbour works with teenagers at a special school and says hes on the 'spectrum' so wont be able to cope with adolescence or any change that well.

I suppose its hard when youre on your own - I don't want to end up being bullied by my child(!) and I need to lead by example but I do sometimes shout and swear too -so I'm a hypocrite-doesnt everyone??

cory Wed 01-Dec-10 10:20:07

It may well be a case for CAHMS. My dd is getting a lot of help from them re school refusal. She suffers from anxiety problems. Basically, if it's bad enough for him to refuse school, then it's bad enough for him to get help.

The first thing I would do is to insist on a proper meeting with the school- to include his class teacher and the SENCO and anyone who may be involved in pastoral support. Not a brief chat at the gates or a phone call, but a proper scheduled appointment. The fact that he is in Year 6 is no excuse for them to ignore the problem: to my mind, that makes it extra urgent as he will shortly have to deal with the transition. And a lot of things could escalate in 8 months.

I would then have a chat with your ds prior to this meeting. Be non-confrontational, ignore any rudeness or surliness, just explain that you are there to help him, but you can't do it unless he helps you. He needs to tell you if he is being bullied.

Once you have any relevant fact, go in to the meeting and discuss with the school. Ask for a plan to deal with everyday anxiety. Be prepared for them to suggest CAHMS: even if the underlying problem is bullying, which they are responsible for dealing with, counselling may still be worthwhile.

But set the ball rolling.

cavolonero Thu 02-Dec-10 23:20:07

Yes I have done but outside of the school - with the family therapist - so am waiting for a CAHMS appt -prob be after xmas.

I think the school are totally hope less - and from the brief 5 min chat I had with the secondary school (I'd like to get in to ) senco -youre right I do need to have a meeting and write a letter so I've something on record - if I need to appeal.

I have asked ds and he says hes not being bullied - but I see more and more in social situations he thinks he's being picked on - then he invetitably is.

His primary school Senco this week said to me on the phone(I called in sick and she just happened to answer school phone)that shed heard about friday and spoken to him.She assured me that being firm and sending him in was the right thing to do - and recounted a story about one of her ds tld her to fxxx off -so she slapped him across the face and he never did it again!!!And suggested he go to the head(male ) for a telling off and if this doesnt work to call in a police officer to the school!!I a bit sarcastically replied that she took the 'old fashioned 'approach then.I know that this wont work.I've tried it.

They still maintain he's fine at school (his teacher admits he's a bit quiet) - but I'm realising that he's too young and unconfident to show bad behaviour at school - but I'm not sure that this will last.

She also said that the problem was with me and him ,our relationship,and not with the school.It was suggested a couple of weeks ago that we would have a meeting the 4 of us(teacher,ds,me,senco) but this hasnt materialised - so I will push for that - should ds be present?

I took ds to gp this time last year when he started getting anxious and a bit ocd ish about handwashing /needing to wee/germs.She also brushed off my concerns(about poss aspergers) and said labels wouldnt help and again started talking about her own ds - its all a bit unprofessional.

Good to hear that CAHMS can help then - am beginning to lose faith in professionals - but need an impartial assesment.

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