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Problems with my 9 year old son

(23 Posts)
QuintessentialDead Sun 09-Oct-11 21:09:46

I dont really know where to start. We have had some issues with him for the last few years, and it is hard to pinpoint exactly what the problem is.
We need to eradicate some behavioural traits, and I just dont know how.

To start with his good points.
He is bright, loves school work, has a good sense of humour, is easy going. Loves to be active, cycling, skiing, mountain walking. He loves his younger brother and is very attentive to him, and other younger childrens needs. He is helpful, will on his own accord help setting the table, empty the dishwasher, etc.

On the other hand. He is sometimes acting out of character, but it is becoming so often now, that it seems to really be part of his character.
He can suddenly be rude, and say the strangest things. Like this evening, his dad was asking "do you want cereals with milk" and he replies "No, I want poo poo with milk".
He can suddenly start monkeying about, making strange noises and odd movements of his limbs. It is not cool. Other kids just raise their eyebrows at this.

We were going for a walk earlier, and his brother was on the scooter, and quite a bit ahead of us. DS2 came up to a junction, and shouted back to us "Shall I cross the road or wait?" DH said to him to wait for us.
There were parked cars, and difficult to see if any cars were coming.
DS1 shouts out "Cross the road, just cross the road!" Dh said "No, he cant just cross the road" and raises his voice going "NO DONT CROSS!" and ds2 shouted loudly, "CROSS THE ROAD!!!" and laughed. We were really cross with him. He did not know why he said this, he had not thought about the consequences.

Back home they were playing Battle Ship. He cheated in the game, and refused to admit to cheating. Was instead basking in the glory of winning, until confronted. No, he did not think it wrong to cheat, and he had not thought about the consequences.

We had an issue in school where he had scratched his bottom and waved his hands in the face of another boy. Word of this of course spread like wildfire, and the classmates were discussed. The teacher was appaled. She was really disappointed in him. I was shocked. It turned out that the other boy had kept putting his finger in his mout and prodded spit on him, so my son thought he should do something equally disgusting. Of course, the other boy did not admit to starting this, and was just laughing at my son getting into trouble.

It seems to happen again and again. He just does not think. Do stupid things.

He is new in the class this year. He kept doing similar stuff in his old school too, and ended up bullied, and with very few friends. I have told him this was his chance to start a fresh, and make new friends. And instead he does this.

He can be so nice, such a great boy, and then he goes and ruin it for himself with inappropriate behaviour, thoughtlessness and just pure lack of understanding of cause and effect.

His teacher said that in the month since he has started he has done really good schoolwork. There are sudden bursts of surprising sillyness and odd behaviour.

The week before he had started calling another boy in his class names, and the other boy hit him. He did not realize that the other children would not look kindly upon him calling their friend names and that this would make him unpopular. He just did not think, and he did not know why he did it.

I just dont know what to do about it. It seems no matter what we say, or explain to him, he just keeps doing silly thinks without thinking. He seems at times socially inept. No matter what consequences his behaviour has, like losing his scooter, or not being able to play on the Ipad, it doesnt work. He does not care. He just looks sullen, withdrawn, and goes "ok, if you say so".

Any suggestions?

I cannot have the same nightmare situation here in London as we had in Norway, with the school calling me weekly about YET another situation..... sad

QuintessentialDead Sun 09-Oct-11 23:08:56

I have lost all sense of perception. I just dont know whether the problem is his behaviour, or my perception of his behaviour. Maybe he is behaving totally normal, and I am clamping down really hard on what is essentially normal 9 year old boy behaviour? I just dont know. sad

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 10-Oct-11 07:24:24

Sounds 'normal silly' to me. In my other life, I'm a cub-leader and spend lots of time with kids aged 8 - 10. Some are very grown-up, some are very immature and there are always a few in the middle that are quite sensible most of the time but seem to 'crack' occasionally and do something incredibly stupid for no apparent reason. Sometimes it's simply to make everyone laugh. Sometimes they're going along with a fun game but want to take it a bit too far and don't realise it's not funny any more. Sometimes they literally don't think of the consequences ... like the boy I found inside his tent 'whittling' with a knife (given to him by his Dad hmm ) totally oblivious to the holes he was gouging in his sleeping bag. Or the boy that rolled around in a muddy patch having a great time but ended up having to go home in his pyjamas because he didn't factor in that he didn't have any more clean clothes.

Obviously you've got to point out when he oversteps the mark but I would ask, does he have plenty of opportunities to go a bit nuts and lark about? Or is his life quite restrained and controlled?

Chandon Mon 10-Oct-11 07:42:38

As a mother of 2 boys, one who is nine, I would say it's all normal, apart form the telling his DB to cross the road. I would be cross about that

I spend a bit of time with my boys, almost once a day *(!) to explain the difference between funny-silly (as that exists!) and naughty-silly. I also have to explain that what may be acceptable at home, or with silly uncles, is not appropriate at school.

I think you need to lower your expectations a bit. Also, he will be corrected by his peers. I must say that I really like boys and their silly energy, and find it a challenge to make sure they are clear about boundaries though (no talking about pee and poo and farts at the table, that sort of thing). They do need time when it is allowed to be really silly.

The poo-poo with milk would be regarded as the hight of sophistication and with in this house, by boys by the way ! grin. They seem to have a poo and bottom obsession (sigh....)

Bucharest Mon 10-Oct-11 07:57:10

It sounds a bit Ben-in-Outnumbered.
It is fairly, normal silly behaviour. But, it's approaching unacceptable (if that makes any sense)
9 is old enough to know the difference between being daft (the poo and bum obsession seems to be fairly widespread) and being "naughty" for naughty's sake. (not a word I like using, but YKWIM?)

What do his teachers think? I think you need to have a good long talk with them, and find out how to help him see what's acceptable and what's not.

Bucharest Mon 10-Oct-11 07:58:34

PS Meant to say, the stuff at home I wouldn't be as concerned about, that's just pushing boundaries I'd say, but they aren't going to put up with it in a class of 20+.

MoreBeta Mon 10-Oct-11 08:21:17

Another vote for normal sillyness or at least within the range of boy behaviour that is normally observed. We have two DSs and DS1 is very bright, kind, considerate and sensible for most of the time and THEN 'bursts of surprising sillyness and odd behaviour'.

For DS1 this stems from the fact that he wants to be popular and he does not have a good feel for how other people work. In fact, he had no idea how other people work, he does not understand humour, he is very literal. He thinks stupidity is what makes people laugh and makes him popular.

All I can advise is, take a deep breath and try not to jump on everything but try to keep reinforcing the boundaries of what is acceptable and what is not. Unfortunatley, DS1 is very 'either or' and needs clear rules setting because he just cant set his own. We also try and bolster his self confidence by telling him that being yourself and not one of the crowd is OK. We also encoureage him to do lots and lots of organised disciplined sport and physical activity.

It is very infuriating at times though.

MoreBeta Mon 10-Oct-11 08:24:14

By the way, it seems 'poo, bottom, fart, willy' obsession is something that is likely to continue for ever many years.

clutteredup Mon 10-Oct-11 08:40:44

My DS was lovely and kind and thoughtful and sensible and sensitive to others and in the last 18 months (9 - 10) has become similar to yours - not bullied at school but very concerned if he doesn't have the right bag, shoes, pants! he will get laughed at - he was worried because he had a spot on his nose that people would tease him - every now and then when I'm at my wits end I see a glimpse of my lovely little boy so I know he's still there somewhere just deep down and buried for now - I'm thinking it's an age thing and it's similar to the toddler one where they are asserting their individuality as an entity separate from us - it's a pre teen glimpse (let me get off now!!!) but I also think you need to stay firm and consistent and let them know you love them - keeping rules consistent helps with this - and do your best to know that like all the other times it is a phase - now off to take my own advice -grin

GooseyLoosey Mon 10-Oct-11 08:41:13

We have some similar issues with ds (8). He just does not seem to see the consequences of his own actions.

After he has done daft things at school, I sit down with him and go over what happened and ask what he thought people would think and how he could have stopped the situation going the way it did. I think this helps.

Also I find that he is aware that he does not fit in and part of his coping strategy is to act the clown. This gets him immediate attention, but of course at least half of it is not good attention. Again, we repeatedly reinforce that this is not a positive way to gain his peer's approval and talk about the point at which the joke goes too far.

Lots of it does sound like normal silliness, but I think some children need more help than others to work out appropriate social boundaries.

mumeeee Mon 10-Oct-11 10:00:01

Like previous posters I also think this is normal silly behaviour. fir a 9 year old. You
need to lower your expectations of him
a bit. Saying I want poo poo on my cereal is him just trying to be funny. Yes a lot of boys say stuff like this. I now my nephews often referred to bottoms. willies and farting in a silly way at that age.

QuintessentialDead Mon 10-Oct-11 14:25:31

Thank you for reassuring messages. It is a relief to read that this is reasonably normal. But, I feel like a pretty crap parent for over reacting and misunderstanding his behaviour, and making it out to be worse than it is.

Any room for sillyness?
Maybe there isnt. He used to monkey about and be silly on the trampoline, but we dont have one at the moment. We dont joke much. sad
Maybe dh and I are just too serious and expect too much.
Maybe we are ruining our lovely boys confidence by nitpicking on him?

How can I be a more easy going parent? I feel that I am forever sending him "looks" to hint at him to modify his behaviuor. I dont see other parents doing that!

QuintessentialDead Mon 10-Oct-11 14:27:58

The last three years have been so shit. So heavy duty with problems and issues. Two international moves, building a house, sorting out my mums diagnosis which eventually led to her being sectioned, sorting out my dads care situation, problems with tax authorities with double taxations and shit, health issues for dh, and just generally one problem after the other cropping up. Laughter left our home in these years. I am adamant that now we are back in the UK, life MUST improve. For all of us. sad

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 10-Oct-11 14:58:12

And this is why god created the indoor play area, cub scouts, swimming pools, dressing up boxes, comics, and other forms of kid-focused silly fun opportunities smile I would say the problems you are describing and the subsequent stressful atmosphere have probably not gone unnoticed by your DS. Good kids will do their best if they see there are problems but it's tough to stay serious when you're a kid This does not make you a bad parent

I'm a parent that gives 'looks' in public to my DS (you're not alone there, don't worry) but, at home things are different. Silly stuff we do would include nights in with pizza, Coca Cola and a funny DVD; a morning at our local bowling alley; making up limericks and silly songs. You know that bit at the end of Mary Poppins were Father emerges from the cellar with a badly fixed kite and they all head off to the park and fly it?.... That's the kind of thing they like. A bit of spontanaety.

Good luck smile

Chandon Mon 10-Oct-11 15:07:43

Oh, I give looks all the time, and correct the kids.

The idea is they get so sick of it, they'll behave as I want them to to avoid the nagging and the looks grin

Like you, we have had to deal with emigration twice, and health problems, and I find these things can make children "regress" a bit.

my DS1 best friend is very silly and lots of parents (mainly parents of girls) find him a bit of a pickle, but I think it's nice for DS to have his "partner in crime" and they usually don't overstep the mark (fingers crossed! One time they decided to get naked and throw water at eachother and throw all the lego down the stairs when they were pretending to be monkey babies shock. I DID shout and made them tidy up!!! Tis my job....

I think taking boy(s) swimming and to the park are great ways of letting them be silly and monkeying around under supervision.

You'll be fine. You can't stop kids having fun if you tried! Just take him out and about with a mate.

QuintessentialDead Mon 10-Oct-11 15:10:25

ah, if only he could find a mate.....

We moved back to London last month, so he has not made any friends yet!

takeonboard Mon 10-Oct-11 16:46:10

you are being hard on yourself, we all give the looks, its just we don't notice others doing it as we are focusing on our own DC's behaviour.

We have had a similar 3 years in different ways and are just starting to get our happy boy back after a concerted effort from DH and I to back off and relax - its hard though, we only correct them because we care. smile

Chandon Mon 10-Oct-11 17:52:51

he WILL find a mate. It takes time smile

QuintessentialDead Tue 11-Oct-11 13:43:55

It was a lot more positive yesterday. Ds was involved in an incident on friday, and was very upset. He had not told the teacher what the other boy did first, so he got a bit of a telling off. First by teacher, then by me. His dad took them to school in the morning, and they found the teacher and let her know the full story. So they did some bully role play in class, and everybody got to know my son was not the main culprit in fridays incident, which was good. And he has named two boys he has been playing a lot with. So I think we should probably invite one of them home for tea one day next week, maybe. Fingers crossed!

Chandon Tue 11-Oct-11 15:29:41

Yes to inviting boys for tea.

I always find it a bit of a headache, but worth it.

Also, enjoy your 9 y old boy! They really are quite funny and sweet at this age (if cheeky, full of themselves and coming up with too many poo jokes as well).

Remember to still give lots of hugs and kisses, boys this age need it especially I think (even if they pretend they don't) smile

Lilyloo Tue 11-Oct-11 15:46:11

Just to reiterate what others have said , my ds 9 is also capable of the bouts of silly behaviour and needs a 'look' to let him know the boundaries.
I would definately have friends over for tea / sleepovers / go swimming etc. If only to see how similair your ds is to other boys his age.
I think most boys of this age do know about consequences and with hindsight are probably aware of what they should do but when they get caught up in the moment do not always realise that they are being 'silly'.

KarlaFromMoscowCentre Tue 11-Oct-11 15:53:58

Poor you - you've had so much to deal with recently (am Hassled). And yes, he'll have picked up on the tough times and the over-the-top silliness is probably a reaction. Plus a new school at 9 is a tough place to be; at that age friendships are quite established and it's going to be hard for him to break in to those friendships.

But you've moved now, your parents are sorted, you're back in London - time to take a deep breath, try to relax and yes, have some fun with them.

piratecaaaaaaaaaghhht Tue 11-Oct-11 15:55:15

oh quint, i am really pleased that happened in the school, with the role play sounds like your ds and all of you need to settle, take a day at a time and enjoy life more.
very hard to focus on the simple, easy stuff when you've been thru a ton of 'stuff'.

My dd is 9, and it's a funny one. so young but so 'mature' at times, and she's gone thru emotional hardship. That he sets the table, and enjoys school and stuff, all those good points are positive.

Get some stuff organised for half term. it will soon be here. have fun! (even if you have to plaster a smile on!)

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