My 12 year old is being horrible.

(74 Posts)
BackieJerkhart Mon 28-Aug-17 08:56:44

It's really getting to me. He has been horrible all summer. He just arrogantly refuses to do anything he doesn't feel like doing and he knows I can't do anything about it. He is currently grounded for 3 weeks because of his behaviour last Monday morning. I have taken his phone off him and am only allowing PlayStation when he has shown me good behaviour. When he is feeling compliant he is lovely, he will empty the dishwasher (his one and only chore) and will sit and have a cuddle and chat with me but if he doesn't want to do something (like get out of bed!) he just refuses and lies in bed until midday. I told him all summer that the week before school starts back he will be going back to a fixed bedtime and getting up at the time he will have to for school. He is starting secondary school on Friday and it's a much earlier start than he is used to for primary school. I woke him this morning and he just refused to get up. I opened his curtain and window, took his duvet and pillow off him, tickled him, sang badly out of tune but he just said no he wasn't getting up. What do I do if he refuses once school starts? I feel totally helpless and he knows it.

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SnowiestMountain Mon 28-Aug-17 09:36:56

Do you think it's anything to do with starting secondary school? Nerves? Anxiety?

BackieJerkhart Mon 28-Aug-17 09:43:27

If I wanted to be generous i would probably excuse it as being due to that but in all honesty I don't think it is. I think he has just realised that I can basically do jack shit about it if he doesn't want to do something and he is enjoying that. I grounded him last week because his behaviour had been so rude and disrespectful that when he was due to go to a one week long summer club I said no. I mean he was being rude right up until the moment he was walking out the door to the club despite many warnings that I would stop him going. So I said he couldn't go and he went off upstairs in a sulk then when I was distracted with DS2 he ran past me out the door and jumped the garden fence. He did come back almost immediately and we argued and he sulked but honestly it scared the shit out of me that he can do that whenever he wants and I can't stop him. When I have challenged him about winding his brother up (aged 8 and undergoing assessment for ASD) he says it's just fun. He does it to me too, he takes pleasure in getting a reaction from us.

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MurielsBottom Mon 28-Aug-17 09:58:48

He sounds like a normal teen. We went through a phase where DD (now 14 but 11/12 at the time) simply refused to get up. In the end to stop myself killing her completely losing my sanity I left her too it. We talked to her one evening about consequences which we followed through on, and we also let the school follow their own procedures. Things resolved after around six months but by God it was tough going through it.

I think they get to a size and age where they realise you can't make them do anything at all if they don't want. For us is became all about carrots and consequences and keeping my cool.

BackieJerkhart Mon 28-Aug-17 10:07:24

Oh god! sad the thought of this for another 6 months! So did you just let her be late for/miss school?

What do I do about him not getting up today? I had planned to go to a local NT property but DS2 and I are stuck here waiting for his lordship to decide to get up and more than likely he won't want to go so we are beholden to his wishes. We went out yesterday and spent a lovely day on the seafront that he pretty much decided on so it's not like he doesn't get his say in what we do.

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Mrscropley Mon 28-Aug-17 10:13:21

Sorry but your grounded for 3 weeks is essentially a punishment for you!!
Chores are given out in our house - nowt like a good vacuuming session to vent for a teenager imo!!
(as a dm of 6dc over teen age)

BackieJerkhart Mon 28-Aug-17 10:15:31

Ok so I say to do the vacuuming and he refuses. (Because he will refuse) what do I do then?

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RandomMess Mon 28-Aug-17 10:16:03

Go out somewhere without him? Even just to a cafe so he is missing out!

BackieJerkhart Mon 28-Aug-17 10:16:45

He won't get up out of bed!!

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BackieJerkhart Mon 28-Aug-17 10:17:24

Sorry I misread that as gonout somewhere with him! Apologies!

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BackieJerkhart Mon 28-Aug-17 10:18:45

I think if I went out without him I would come back to find him out of the house.

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Friendshipsareexhausting Mon 28-Aug-17 10:24:14

What does your younger ds enjoy doing? Could you do some activities that your younger ds really enjoys at home in the morning, totally ignoring the fact that DS is in bed. Cooking/painting/a movie morning etc and then when DS does get bored and gets up just move on with the day, head out to a park/beach etc. Basically don't let him win, if you can't get him up, you can't get him up but if he knows it is bugging you he will keep doing it. If he gets no reaction he may well get fed up of it.

Also could you get a babysitter, local a level student to sit with him one day so you and your younger ds could go out for a really exciting day out, make it clear that if he can't behave his age he will have to be looked after. That way he might agree to stay in when you go out, if he knew the alternative was being looked after.

I think it's also important to spend some quality time with him, jump on the small patches of good behaviour and build on them.

This is just what I would do, may not work for you. Hope you manage to have a good final week of the holidays.

BackieJerkhart Mon 28-Aug-17 10:28:15

I have been trying really hard to praise all the good stuff and I've been letting little "bad" stuff slide as I don't want to be on his case constantly. Yesterday was a really good day and I thought he might have been a bit more amenable to cooperating because of it but no such luck. It feels like he is dictating the whole house.

Getting a babysitter sounds like an idea!! It might shame him into behaving if he thought his friends were off out socialising and he was being babysat.

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crazyhairdontcare Mon 28-Aug-17 10:35:49

It would be a good old fashioned jug of cold water from me after three warnings of not getting out of bed.
I have a 12 year old too. He is pushing boundaries and that is completely normal and extremely irritating. If you let him get away with doing whatever he wants then he will further push the boundaries, ie. next time he legs it he won't come back for possibly several hours. I think the key is staying calm. But you can take back control calmly. Give fair warning and follow through, stay consistent. If he doesn't want to hoover that's fine, no playstation for that day. Fine, he may still not hoover but he knows there are consequences. Talk to him about the situation only when both are calm, happy and relaxed.

Oblomov17 Mon 28-Aug-17 10:41:01

Oh I know exactly what you mean. Our 13 year old is so rude and horrible ATM. His football team mum's report exactly the same.

The 3 week punishment is too long though. Like pp said, That only really punishes you. Finding a punishment that he really cares about is very hard. But it needs to be short and effective.

Really I don't want to punish, because to be fair, it's very negative isn't it? I want him to just be pleasant because he wants to be, but I actually don't know how to instil that in him. That's actually very tricky.

BackieJerkhart Mon 28-Aug-17 10:43:20

A Jug of cold water would end up with him shouting, slamming doors, possibly throwing things, taking it out on his brother. He has gotten aggressive and squared up to me in the past. It certainly wouldn't result in him getting up and getting dressed. He would rather lay in a wet bed than give in to me.

When I talk to him when he is calm he cries and says he is sorry for his behaviour. He would promise to behave but he forgets it almost immediately and I am on his case again which I hate.

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BackieJerkhart Mon 28-Aug-17 10:48:31

Really I don't want to punish, because to be fair, it's very negative isn't it? I want him to just be pleasant because he wants to be, but I actually don't know how to instil that in him. That's actually very tricky.

Yes this is it. I hate having to punish him. I model polite behaviour and pleasant tones but every time he opens his mouth is like he is speaking to shit on the ground. It disgusts me.

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claraschu Mon 28-Aug-17 10:56:27

Just a small suggestion-

I think punishments should involve getting rid of something which is bad for a child anyway- so no screens, or no junk food, etc.

Perhaps in the future, try not to punish him by stopping him from doing things which are going to be good for him (like camp).

crazyhairdontcare Mon 28-Aug-17 11:02:38

So what if he shouts and slams doors? At the moment he's 'winning' and your DS2 is already suffering because you're all stuck indoors. In my opinion you don't teach children anything by being nice and letting them get away with whatever they feel like, it's a recipe for disaster. I'm not being judgey or mean, I honestly do get that it's hard. And I hate hate hate the days where I feel like I'm always going on at my DS or moaning about something, but that is because of the choices that he makes, which he knows are wrong. If I let him get away with these things then he'd basically be on his playstation 24/7 and be a thoroughly unpleasant human being.

Friendshipsareexhausting Mon 28-Aug-17 11:03:18

I would second the punishment being things like screen time rather than things like camp which are actually good for him.

Can you wake him up with options- today your brother and I are going to a castle, you may come with us and then go out with friends or you may stay at home, if you are home when we get back and the hoovering is done you may then go out with friends. He might quite like the idea of being able to choose and both options would work for you.

MissHavishamsleftdaffodil Mon 28-Aug-17 11:06:15

His behaviour is working well for him. He behaves how he wants and enjoys the power and attention of you trying entice and be positive. If consequences he doesn't like get involved then he gets angry and aggressive or runs away to upset you, and that's successfully intimidating you into not wanting to risk upsetting him. Why would he need to change behaviour that is so rewarding? He understands and is telling you he knows this behaviour is not ok, but it's irresistible in the moment.

What may help is working on the behaviour not working out well for him. No attention for not getting up, and do what you planned to whether he comes or not. He doesn't get to control the family, and at twelve he's getting old enough to make a different plan if he doesn't want to come with you and do 2. If he knows his going out alone will scare you into compliance then he will use that. Where do you think he would go? What would he do with that time that worries you, or do you think the aim of disappearing would be the effect it would have on you?

JaneEyre70 Mon 28-Aug-17 11:09:41

It's truly horrendous going through these years....it's 98% misery and stress, with the odd moment thrown in that reminds you of the good kid underneath. I always remember watching a programme on TV about the effects of hormones and puberty on teenagers, and it was fascinating to see what was going on. Their bodies and brains go through such massive changes, and I think we sometimes forget that they are totally powerless going through this. I found taking a really concrete stand on certain things helped, ie what their chores were, and making consequences instant, not long term. They are testing your boundaries all the time, and by not budging, you're giving them a lot of reassurance but jesus it's hard work. They do come out the other side, mine are all amazing and wonderful at 24, 21 and 19 but their teenage years were the most testing phase of all flowers.

BackieJerkhart Mon 28-Aug-17 12:41:18

Yes his behaviour is working out very well indeed for him.

What worries me about him just running off out of the house is that it basically is a big fat flashing neon sign saying he can do as he likes and I have zero control over it. He can go where he wants. At 12. He doesn't need to ask, if he really wants to go he just can. And when he is gone I have no idea where he could be or who with. I hate the thought of him twigging on to this fact and just getting lost on that pattern of behaviours. I know I am thinking worst case scenario as so far he has only done if that once but I worry if he gets the idea he can just do that.

I have taken DS2 out to the cinema, I called into the room and told DS1 where we were going and he just said ok. Not sure if he is bothered or not.

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Friendshipsareexhausting Mon 28-Aug-17 12:55:22

Well done for taking ds2 out, he needs to enjoy his summer as well.
Good luck for when you get back and remember it is just a phase, even if it's one of the longer ones!

MurielsBottom Mon 28-Aug-17 13:17:22

There needs to be consequences for everything even if he doesn't seem to respond at first. We got a point where DD had no phone, no money, no bedroom door, no tv or playstation time. Eventually it just clicked that if she made an effort her life was much more comfortable.
The same with school, she had a large number of detentions for being late and then she suddenly decided that she was frustrated by spending all her time in detention. It was like she just woke up one day.

I would definitely leave him in bed if he has not got up when you asked. Go out, enjoy yourselves - it is a shame that his younger sibling has to miss out. Make sure there are serious consequences to him leaving the house without permission and then follow through.

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