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Desperate for advice

(3 Posts)
babartheelephant Thu 22-Sep-11 20:16:23

I have 3 children, girl (9), boy (7) and boy (5). I've pretty much been a stay at home mum for them, and on the whole I have got through with positive parenting and star charts. There have always been moments of extremem stress on and off with behaviour of my middle child, but I have usually won him over with strategies that worked.
But I am clean out of strategies now.
His behaviour is not dreadful - I am sure there are far worse behaved children. He is an angel at school. And for a large part of the time he is really lovely and very affectionate and a kind brother and friend. But towards me, for what feels increasingly like a lot of the time, he is pretty horrid and unpleasant. Low level not listening, defiance, rudeness, angry-sort of behaviour. He picks fights with me about things that are so trivial e.g. tonight it was about food. I am a pretty tolerant parent, but I am also firm and I don't go back on what I say, and he gets unbelievably cross and angry, which upsets me enormously, and I get angry and then it is upsetting for us both. Not to mention the other 2 children who are pretty well behaved most of the time.
I feel like I have run out of ideas. If i make a star chart the first question is always 'what will I get?' or often not even a question, just a 'I'm going to get loads of Dr Who cards' . I somtimes make the star charts very specific eg. I get dressed nicely, or I come downstairs happily. These work, but then after 2 weeks the novelty wears off. And I also believe after my 9 years of parenting that surely there must come a point where you can stop doing star charts and just expect the good behaviour? Is it so unreasonable of me to just expect him to behave nicely?
I can't really list the things that he does, because they are ridiculous. But tonight it was things like repeatedly going back to the fridge to get the thing that I told him not to get, then really trying to fight with me when I had calmly told him to sit on the stairs until daddy came home (10 mins). He just can't bear to be told what to do anymore. I really feel like I have lost the plot with him.
Then he is very upset afterwards and says he is sorry and hugs and kisses me. I want to say what I always used to say when they were little ie. don't worry, it's forgotten. But I really think that he needs to understand the consequences of his bad behaviour.
In the summer holidays I put him on a TV ban for 2 weeks, but it was pretty ineffective, as they normally only watch TV at the weekend. The love of his life at the moment is his Beast Quest books, and I could threaten not to get the next one, but this seems cruel. Especially as I am always delighted that he is reading happily.
My husband works hard and comes home when its the calm after the storm. But he is a good hands on dad when he is around, but not the disciplinarian at all. I think he should spend more time with him in the style of Raising Boys advice. But even with good quality dad time, he still reverts to being mean to me. It actually makes me want to go back to work, so that he might appreciate me more. But that would be a crazy reason to return to work. I freelance from home while they are at school, so I am working, just not in their eyes.
His other passions are LEGO and Dr Who cards, which he collects. I hasten to add that he is actually scared of Dr Who, so has never seen it on TV.
Anyway, sorry for rambling, but if anyone out there has a son with similar behavioural issues, I would SO appreciate some ideas.

Sam100 Thu 22-Sep-11 20:52:49

Do you get any 1 to 1 time with your son? Maybe you could try and get him on his own at the weekend? Maybe try something that the 2 of you can do regularly together? He needs to see you in a different light - out of the home and away from the role of minder, cook, cleaner etc? Is there some sport that you could do together? Then sit and have a drink, snack afterwards and just talk - not about behaviour etc (to start with) but about him and how he sees the world?

Is he copying behaviour that he sees elsewhere? Does your DH tell him off if he talks disrespectfully to you? Is this maybe how he sees a close friend behaving with their mother?

babartheelephant Thu 22-Sep-11 22:11:51

sam100 - you are very perceptive! There is a new boy in his class who speaks very disrespectfully to most people because his mother abandoned him and he is being raised by his less than good father, and amazing grandmother. I daresay the other child says bad things about mothers. My DS told me that he saw a sparkle of light in this other boy, and wants to be his friend, but so far we are just getting a lot of swear words etc. I want him to make friends with him if it means they both find a way to enjoy life together. They like skateboarding together.
I would love to play tennis with him. I will try to arrange that. I think this is an excellent idea. 1-1 is hard when you've got 3 kids, but I will try to work it out. And of course, DH tries to support me, but often too little too late, because the moment will have passed and we will have kissed and made up before he comes home. Thanks for your thoughts.

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