12 year old boy,playing one parent off,against the other(7 Posts)
My 12yr old son has lived with me happily for 3 years.
His mum has addiction problems,the courts recognised this,and he sees his mum once a week for 4 hours.
Son's behaviour is getting worse and worse at school,he is purposely missing detentions and sporadically playing the class clown .
He sometimes refuses to do his homework,which leads to more detentions ,and so the slow , gradual decline does on.
He is constantly verbally abusive to me and , has even started to verbally abuse the coaches and referees at his weekend football games.
When I impose sanctions (loss of phone,x box,grounded), he threatens to run away and live with his mum.
He forgets what life was like with his mum ( no electricity,home alone),but the
problem is,that's a real possibility,and would be disastrous for him due to his mother's poor parenting.
( his mum has a daughter,who is 17 now,but who was been allowed to skip 90 per cent of school from year 8)
There is a court ,residence order in place,which says he is to live with me,but as children get older,court orders get less enforceable)
My dilemma is that I need to sanction poor behaviour,but I have to encourage him to live with me,in order for him to have any life chances.
Should say that it's not all bad news,he's very bright (level 6 maths),has friends,plays sport and doesn't hang around street corners).
Any advice on keeping this boy on track,and how do I stand up to him,without driving him back to his mother,and a dysfunctional existence??
Are you sure it isn't just bluff? He feels secure with you and can say it. It is general for children to say 'I hate you' etc but they don't mean it.
I can see your worry that he does have an alternative. Your body language probably tells him that you are vulnerable in this area and so he will do it more. ( all subconscious).
If you look at the positive -would he want to give all that up? He must be intelligent enough to know what life with his mother would be like.
Just be firm, make sure that he knows you love him and use my popular phrase ' you will thank me when you are older'.
If it did disintegrate to the point of him going you would have to make it clear that your door was always open, whatever time and he could come back without recriminations. You can't just be a walk over because he holds moving out over your head. Many teenagers do it, they just don't have the place to move to.
Even though he understands whyvhe doesn't live with his mum, have you sat down with him and really, honestly and openly talked about it? I was raised by my grandparents because my mother had addiction problems & I found it hard at times to see my friends with seemingly normal families. Other kids comment on it too. At your son's age I was angry and confused and nobody in my family would honestly talk about my mum. Questions were brushed aside. She herself was incapable of giving honest answers.
Sounds to me like your son may be putting on this persona as a way of deflecting some inner turmoil or not wanting to show any vulnerabilities so a good honest discussion about his family life may help him process some of that.
I would talk to your GP and the school about a cahms referral as your son may find it too hard to talk to you but it definitely sounds like he needs help dealing with how he is feeling.
I am not sure punishment is the right thing here, maybe try positive reinforcement like hugs and telling him you love him etc will get better results?
He has had quite a traumatic life and when the problem is taken away the stress is allowed to come out. Please concider getting councelling for him. He can use the school councellor or ask your gp for a referral to child psychology. They will help him make sense of what has happened , his feelings and teach him how to deal with them.
Sanctions don't work for some children they just add fuel to the fire and they rebel against them. Push for councelling. The earlier he gets help the easier to rectify. All the best.
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