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My biggest fear is that DS turns into his father

(38 Posts)
Sandinmytoes Wed 20-Apr-16 11:13:26

H was emotionally abusive
More than likely psychopath- I don't say that lightly.
H died over a year ago now. We had separated after 5 years of increasingly volatile behaviour.
We are doing ok.
DS never really spent that much time with H, I think I protected ds from most of his behaviour, I don't think he misses him much on a day to day level.

Ds's behaviour is becoming more and more like H.
He's 8
He is showing entitled behaviour, the world revolves around him.
If he doesn't get his own way he will immediately turn nasty, infuriated, say the most horrible things, hates me. This lasts 10-15 minutes before he apologises profusely, heartbreakingly sorry, hates himself for saying what he did. This is exactly what H did.

The last couple of weeks we've had massive standoffish about teeth brushing/ hair brushing- regular stuff.
He is unbelievably stubborn

I'm aware that this could be normal 8 yr old behaviour and any sort of behaviour problems could of course be related to his Dad's death.
I'm just st a loss as to where/how to start dealing with it.
He's lovely most of the time, very affectionate, fun, bit obsessive about minecraft, but doing ok at school, lots of friends.
But his father was massively popular, very charismatic.

Guiltypleasures001 Wed 20-Apr-16 11:56:17

Hi Sand

Your right in the statement of most of this being normal behaviour

Because your still on high alert looking for this type of behaviour, you are falling into the trap of seeing it in your son, don't make this into a self fulfilling prophecy it's not fair on him or you.

He's 8, he hasnt got the vocabulary or management of his emotions to deal with stressful Confrontations appropriately. You have to show him, pick your battles and talk in a low calm voice with out escalating
Both of your behaviours. Don't do you must got to or need to, try, do you want to brush your teeth or hair. Tidy room or wash up. Either or is better than you must, they then get a choice which makes them feel like they still have control, but still having to do something.

It's very easy to fall in to dealing with him unconsciously as you would have done with your late xdh

He's grieving lovely confused and angry, see if there's a kids charity near you or YMCA who can offer him some free counselling sessions. The YMCA now sends counsellors in to schools for those in primary school , depending on your area.

If your happy too pm me your area or town and I'll have a look to,see if there's some thing near you, also ask the school and get them on board. thanks

Sandinmytoes Wed 20-Apr-16 14:54:42

I learnt long ago to pick my battles, he's always been difficult.

The school has been great but it's an independent school, so not the same support system as state schools.
I talk, explain, make sure he understands so there's no meltdowns.
But it's the really small stuff like getting dressed, teeth brushing, suntan lotion

Slowdecrease Wed 20-Apr-16 15:36:49

My daughter is nearly 14 and I still have battles with her brushing her teeth. I agree a lot of what you describe is typical of strong headed children..

AlwaysDancing1234 Wed 20-Apr-16 15:42:31

I know how hard it must be but please do not read too much in to the behaviour, it sounds exactly the same as my DS, nephew and friends children of similar age and are starting to grow up and push the boundaries without having the vocabulary and emotional maturity to deal with it.
I can totally understand why you are on high alert for bad EA behaviours though.
Does your DS have anyone he can talk to, I don't mean a councillor (although that might be good?) but just a trusted adult. Also some sort of physical activity might help with the aggression, my son does karate for example (non contact) and it's really helps to channel the aggression and energy

corythatwas Wed 20-Apr-16 16:17:03

I think you have to be very, very careful not to turn this into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Your ds is his own person, with his own life to live, atm he is also a very young person who is still learning about the world. You can not and must not lay it on him that he has some kind of responsibility to reassure you that he won't replicate the EA behaviour of his father.

Joysmum Wed 20-Apr-16 17:15:11

I think you are right to be concerned, I'd raise it with the school too for another opinion as they'll have experience if this and be able to offer coping strategies.

Sandinmytoes Wed 20-Apr-16 17:38:54

Im very wary of going down the counselling route because I worry it might open a can of worms, ie if none of this behaviour is related to his dad dying. And talking more about his feelings sets him off worrying.

I honestly don't think he thinks about it that much. I know how awful that sounds.

I have to make a very big effort to talk about H and keep his memory alive for him.
But I honestly think we (he) is doing ok.
He talks open and honestly about him, to me, to his grandmother, H's mum.

He is v close to my family, my brother and sister are fantastic Aunty/uncle.

I've just had a half hour meltdown about why we can't have a swimming pool built in the garden!!

I think I'm concerned now because I personally can't cope with this behaviour now, it is becoming ridiculous and I feel like I need to act.
I've done the parenting classes, I've explained, I've stayed calm, I've followed through, set the boundaries but it doesn't seem to be getting any better.
the situation does remind me of H. I'm starting to dread asking him to do anything different or really anything!

He can talk to my sister, she spends a lot of time with him.

We tried karate, it was way too slow for him.

I talk to his teacher quite often but as she couldn't really come up with a strategy to get him to sit still and concentrate I doubt very much that she can help with a much deeper psychological issue to whether he's angry/sad about his dad.

There have been a few instances much earlier on when he was upset in school.
He told me and the teacher did too.
Once was when the teacher asked what makes them sad☹️

Joysmum Wed 20-Apr-16 18:17:04

School have been a great source of help with me and my DD. It's a good place to start.

corythatwas Wed 20-Apr-16 18:20:47

Do you think part of the problem is that his behaviour is so triggering for you? Seen from the outside, it doesn't look that bad. From what you tell us, all he does is go a bit teenagerish and shouty: if you are struggling now, is that likely to get worse when he reaches the real Kevin stage?

Sandinmytoes Wed 20-Apr-16 18:34:00

I wouldn't say it's triggering as such.
I would have reacted to H in a very different way- I definitely have my mother hat on with ds.
But it is like treading on eggshells all over again, preparing what I'm going to say

Sandinmytoes Wed 20-Apr-16 18:38:13

I think it is quite bad
It's like a rage, and I have no idea which at he will go.
On holiday he stormed off in the middle of a water park, in the ocean, swam further out. He would jump out of the car, hit me, kicked me.
When he's in this rage I cannot get through to him
I have to wait until he gets through it and keep him safe.

corythatwas Wed 20-Apr-16 18:44:58

Ah, you didn't mention the physical violence in your OP.

My dd used to do this: it was coupled to extreme anxiety. She did it right up to the age of 10 and then stopped. She told me afterwards that when she was having one of those meltdowns she couldn't really recognise people around her, she couldn't really feel that the person who was holding her was her mum but felt as if it was some evil monster trying to hurt her.

Nothing to do with our family situation at all, I don't think; in her case, the anxiety was associated with health issues.

What really helped her was not so much the kind of talking therapy where you delve into your past, but more CBT based therapy, where she was basically taught techniques for controlling her thoughts.

Sandinmytoes Wed 20-Apr-16 18:49:27

That sounds like it Cory

Yes sorry, I didn't omit it on purpose, I was trying to fit everything in

Sandinmytoes Wed 20-Apr-16 19:00:03

I talked to him about seeing a 'doctor' and he seemed agreeable when he was in his apologetic state.

Hopefully it's just yet another phase, but with the background I'm obviously a bit worried

BatFacedGirl Wed 20-Apr-16 19:16:51

God, talk of seeing a doctor is totally OTT at this stage

I've got a 9 year old boy and he's exactly as you describe your son, although he's grown out of the physical stuff. It's completely normal, unless of course you suspect other additional needs.

He just needs firm and fair handling, keeping things low key and picking battles. If the teeth brushing is a mission at the moment then just drop it to once a day for a little while. I did this and it lasted a week before he was just doing them twice a day with only being asked once. I also did the whole ' just brush your teeth now and then we can have this treat/watch tv/ look at this interesting mine craft fact' and that was suitably distracting a lot of the time

My son is lovely for most of the time now with the occasional temper tantrum. It really is very normal at this age

Sandinmytoes Wed 20-Apr-16 19:19:41

By 'doctor' I meant a counsellor, I said doctor to him

Sandinmytoes Wed 20-Apr-16 19:22:05

I've been doing firm and fair handling for 8 years, when it is going to start working?!!

KindDogsTail Wed 20-Apr-16 19:30:13

H died over a year ago now.
That is no time at all for bereavement, especially for a child. Behaving in an angry way is typical behaviour after someone has died even when the anger seems unrelated.

I do think you should possibly get family counselling though as you are so worried.
This would address your child's bereavement as well.

AstrantiaMallow Wed 20-Apr-16 19:46:09

I also have moments when I worry my DCs might turn into their abusive dad under one shape or another, even though they didn't witness anything. Those moments usually come when one of them, who can be bossy boots and turn very angry and aggressive, has a tantrum. The same DC also became very aggressive towards me after their father left the country (hitting and some behaviour that felt worryingly self destructive like trying to cross the road in traffic when she had a very public tantrum). I felt awful and pretty helpless. So I understand where you are coming from.

I sought counselling for the children after talking things through with my own counsellor. Turned out DD was very anxious about the situation but was finding it too difficult to verbalise this despite being old enough (so I wrongly thought) to do so.

Now things are a lot more settled. When DC has a meltdown similar to your swimming pool one, I remind myself that a/ other kids have tantrums (talking to other mums might help put things in perspective), b/ they don't see their dad, c/ I'm massively projecting my fears and it's not fair on them.

I don't really understand why you don't want counselling for him or what can of worms it would open? He's lost his dad. Did he not have grief counselling then? It's a neutral ground for him to express things he may not be able to even voice, or wouldn't want to share with you (or in your instance your sister). He may well sense you find it uneasy talking about it.

So I recommend counselling. Catching things now would be more helpful than waiting till the teenage years. The hitting is not acceptable and is probably a symptom of something else. But as PP said not brushing teeth and tantrums up to a point are pretty usual.

sassymuffin Wed 20-Apr-16 19:49:21

I know exactly how you feel OP, my exH was a narcissistic compulsive liar when we were together. After we divorced he took his vile behaviour to the next level and when he was 45 he groomed a 15 year old girl and was convicted for this. He did a lot more than grooming but the girl refused to testify. He is a child abuser.

I have a DD and DS but it is my son who seems to have the most similarities to his father.

I live in absolute fear of my son inheriting ANY of his traits. I think however sometimes I can overreact for example when he tells a white lie I can blow it out of all proportion and get irrationally upset about it. It is such a difficult thing but I must continue to remind myself that I cant allow my ex's behaviour to affect my relationship with my son or my parenting style.

I know my reaction is sometimes influenced by fear so I have stopped impulsively reacting to when DS pushes the boundaries and I consider my responses more carefully.

Sorry to hijack you thread Sandinmytoes but I wanted you to know you are not alone.

ApocalypseSlough Wed 20-Apr-16 20:04:54

There's a theory that his behaviour isn't so much his father's but in response to your's. As other posters it might be triggering, or you might ignore it or overreact or freeze.
Can you get some advice or counselling?
I've met this counsellor professionally and she was great- she's in East Anglia but I'm sure could advise it refer you- maybe you could get a lot of help from a book!
Cathy Press

KindDogsTail Wed 20-Apr-16 21:17:45

The more I read this OP, I really do think counselling for both of you would be a good idea. As someone else said it would be better now than when you son is a teenager. Children grow up so fast now.

Northernparent68 Wed 20-Apr-16 21:51:34

Op, would your son be interested in boxing or rugby, it'd provide him with exercise, controlled risks and strong male role models.

Atenco Thu 21-Apr-16 01:38:48

My nephew's father was a diagnosed psychopath and my nephew even witnessed some very disturbing behaviour. He was a difficult child and like you, dsis was worried that he would turn out like his dad. What really helped with him was family therapy. Anyway he is in no way like his dad and he's getting into his fifties now

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