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stopping son from coming on weekend family trip

(100 Posts)
ClarkL Tue 17-Nov-15 15:10:51

So my son has a lot of behavioral issues, nothing like ADHD, simply a pain in the rear end. Hes 11, on report at school, hes manipulative, hurts people and quite honestly is horrible. I am working hard with the school to turn this around, we have a trip to Edinburgh this weekend and he was told if he doesn't behave he isn't going. A friend has volunteered to have him. We had 2 good days last week, the calm before the storm! This weekend was bad, kicking his step Dad, screaming and shouting over homework and angry at me for talking to the neighbor on the phone for half an hour. SO I explained final warning, his teacher has said final warning, yesterday he apologized. not great behavior last night but no fights. Today I get a call from the school to say he's bullying another child and grabbed him by his neck and pushed him. I don't want him to go this weekend, his sister is very down from his bullying of her and becoming withdrawn I cant think of anything worse than him kicking off and ruining this trip...but is it really terrible to stop him from coming? Will I scare him for life and give him more reasons to be aggressive or may it be the kick he needs to realize being part of a family actually is conditional and you do not behave the way he is??

Sirzy Tue 17-Nov-15 15:13:59

It's a tough one, I am not sure pushing him away from the family is going to do much to help him in the long run though.

What support you are and him getting?

Ragwort Tue 17-Nov-15 15:20:20

I think it was pointless to use a threat like that ........... of course you can't leave an 11 year old child with a friend whilst you go away for a weekend.

What exactly is your family situation, where is your DS's Dad? Does he get on with his step dad? Does he feel neglected at home? Is the step dad your DD's biological dad? Could your DH and DD go away together & you stay home with your DS?

Whilst I absolutely appreciate how frustrating it must be for you*, you can't penalise your DS in this way - there are no conditions to being part of a family for a young child. You can't 'send him back' if he doesn't meet the conditions.

*I have a challenging teenager - I know it is very, very tough.

Perhaps a better punishment would have been withdrawal of a mobile phone or whatever gadget he might have.

Contraryish Tue 17-Nov-15 15:23:23

I think you've made the threat, and if you don't follow through, he won't see it as a threat next time. That said, it depends on what your friend would do with him. Being left to his own devices to play on phone/gadget of choice would be my 11 year-olds idea of heaven and much preferable to a day out with the family!

ClarkL Tue 17-Nov-15 15:58:44

The only support we get is the school, his form tutor is amazing. He doesn't have a behavioral learning disability, simply chooses to misbehave.
He has already lost all electrical items after smashing up a tablet, breaking his remote control and putting a hole in his door. Each time was punished, each time something was confiscated for a week or two and when he behaved he got it back, except he'd behave long enough to get it then start again. We haven't had any consistently good behavior for him to earn it back.
He sometimes gets on with his step dad, one day they'll play football, the next when they play he will scream and shout and go for his step dad if he gets a goal in past him, it entirely depends on his mood as to if he will be nice or physically go for him (my son not his step dad)
He doesn't see his own Dad, his biological Dad is mentally ill and after an overdose is unable to care for the kids. My family do not provide any support so the only help we get is friends, my friend really is like a Mum to me.
I do disagree slightly with you Ragwort there are conditions to being part of a family. He will always have a roof over his head, however I will not let him continue hurting people in the family. There is a difference between living in a house and being an active part of the family. I have to consider my daughter who wont come out her room if she thinks he is 'on one'
I can think of no other alternative other than I stay at home and my husband and daughter go away, or we take him and risk him continuing his behavior when away and knowing our threats of a punishment are empty. I genuinely thought the idea of not going would be enough

Sirzy Tue 17-Nov-15 16:00:42

Has he been seen by camhs? That isn't normal behaviour for an 11 year old so personally I would be pushing for more support.

ImperialBlether Tue 17-Nov-15 16:05:58

I think that if he goes with you, he will ruin the weekend. Your daughter is as important as your son; she deserves some time away from him. Accept your friend's offer - I hope she can cope with him.

nagsandovalballs Tue 17-Nov-15 16:10:41

Got to say, you need to follow through on this one. Try to offer a reward that he can earn though, such as a day trip on his own with you so that he has a special something to earn.

It does seem there is a transgression/punishment dynamic, rather than positive behaviour/reward, but I appreciate it must be scary and difficult to deal with.

SofiaAmes Tue 17-Nov-15 16:11:15

Is it possible that since his bio father is mentally ill, he is suffering from some sort of mental illness himself? I am speaking from experience. My ds is mentally ill. He was diagnosed at 12, but the symptoms were quite clear starting around 10 or 11, but at the time I didn't know what they were, I just knew something was wrong. I would recommend having your ds assessed by a mental health professional (go private if you can't get it done through the nhs).

nagsandovalballs Tue 17-Nov-15 16:11:19

And agree, don't forget the emotional abuse he is inflicting on your daughter. Is she a half or full sib?

SofiaAmes Tue 17-Nov-15 16:12:19

PS. The symptoms sound like bipolar to me.

AnaisB Tue 17-Nov-15 16:13:16

I second the CAMHS idea - sounds like your son has been through a lot WRT his biological dad? Have you asked your GP for advice?

In the short term, I would feel uncomfortable about excluding him from a trip, particularly in the context of not having (or no longer having?) contact with his biological dad. How would you feel about staying at home with him so that you were sticking to your word?

TinklyLittleLaugh Tue 17-Nov-15 16:17:30

How about your DH goes with your daughter and you stay at home and spend some really good one to one time with him? People report good results with lovebombing, even though it seems counter intuitive. I have tried it myself with DD2 to good effect. Though DD2 was more sad than bad.

AnaisB Tue 17-Nov-15 16:20:41

I don't think there's enough information to start suggesting mental health diagnoses sofia. It sounds like this behaviour could be a very understandable reaction to a difficult situation. OP, I appreciate I could have got this wrong as I'm not sure how much your son knows about his father's psychological difficulties and OP, but I imagine that contact with mental health services or the suggestion of a mental health difficulty would be very anxiety provoking for him (and you).

AnaisB Tue 17-Nov-15 16:22:07

sorry - the second "OP" should be "OD"

Lozza1990 Tue 17-Nov-15 16:24:55

You have to follow through so yes. Maybe next time use other tactics but you told him if he misbehaves he won't come and he chose to misbehave so he shouldn't simple as that.

Jw35 Tue 17-Nov-15 16:25:34

Why would he simply choose to misbehave to this extent? It's either an undiagnosed condition or there's something really wrong at home or elsewhere.

PhilPhilConnors Tue 17-Nov-15 16:25:46

I very much doubt that he is choosing to misbehave.
Have a look at the book The Explosive Child, as the author says, all children will behave if they can.
When expectations are more than the child is capable, you get behaviour like his, whether the reason is mental health, neurodevelopmental (like ASD - please don't discount this, it doesn't always present stereotypically) or something else.

My son has PDA (a form of ASD) giving him conditions like this before a weekend away - which in itself is a massive stress for him - would mean that he never did anything, as the pressure of having to behave in a way that he finds impossible would make it even more impossible.

Please don't think your child is choosing to do this. Please try to unpick what's going on, for his sake.
IME teachers will always come from a perspective of children choosing to be naughty, which is very unhelpful and is obstructive when you're trying to work out what's going on.

AnaisB Tue 17-Nov-15 16:30:22

OP - did your son used to have contact with his father - if so what a massive bereavement to experience so young. Is he aware of his mental health difficulties?

Groovee Tue 17-Nov-15 16:34:07

What a hard situation. In one respect your Dd deserves sometime without him kicking off but by leaving him at home could result in him thinking you don't love him and acting up even more.

Viviennemary Tue 17-Nov-15 16:41:43

He sounds like a very angry child. I don't think leaving him at home is an appropriate punishment here. It will only cause him to be more angry and resentful.

SofiaAmes Tue 17-Nov-15 16:43:27

AnaisB, I disagree. The OP's ds is very clearly in distress and should get assessed by a professional. There is no need to tell him that you suspect he is mentally ill. If his father is mentally ill, he is at high risk of being so himself and the earlier he gets treatment, the better. I find the British attitude towards mental illness so backward and unhelpful. It's a disease like any other and very treatable in many cases. You don't do anyone any favors by pretending it doesn't exist or not talking about it. If the OP's ds had unusual physical symptoms, you wouldn't think twice about recommending that she takes him to her GP or an appropriate specialist. Why on earth would you discourage her from getting his mental health symptoms assessed by a professional.

AnaisB Tue 17-Nov-15 16:57:26

Sofia I did recommend that OP's son might benefit from contact with CAMHS and also that she took him to the GP (post at 16:13:16).

I was a bit uncomfortable about suggesting diagnoses based on very limited information and having had no contact with the child.

My post acknowledges that contact with MH services might be anxiety provoking, which is not the same as saying don't do it!

ouryve Tue 17-Nov-15 17:01:26

You do need to follow through with this (though if he is so out of control, I do hope he doesn't attack your friend).

Punishments aren't helping him long term, though. He's not learning anything from them. He needs help and guidance to be a Civilised Human Being.

And if his father has mental health issues, you absolutely must talk to his GP. It takes extreme circumstances for a child to "choose" to behave to badly. Besides, if it was purely behavioural, then I'm afraid that would imply something that you have contributed to. While you've probably not been handling him in the best way possible, it would take some spectacularly shit parenting to bring up an 11 year old to be so violent and destructive without something else, perhaps neurological, going on in the background.

In the meantime, OP, it might help you to do some reading around about ways of working with your DS that are more constructive than punishing after the fact. I've not read it myself, but I've heard good things about How to Talk so your Kids will Listen. A favourite of mine (and many of us with kids, the same age, who display challenging behaviour) is The Explosive Child. The emphasis is very much on working with your child to find alternatives to his current behaviours and to find ways of communicating distress and anger that don't involve jumping straight to hitting people or smashing things up. There's a summary of the approach in the book on the author's website www.livesinthebalance.org/

IoraRua Tue 17-Nov-15 17:03:16

I would go and leave him, yes (assuming the friend can cope). You've threatened it, I'd follow through on it.
I grew up with a physically and emotionally abusive sibling, please be mindful of your dd and encourage her to let out her emotions in a healthy way.

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