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Feeling desperate

(11 Posts)
cafenoirbiscuit Mon 27-Mar-17 09:20:50

Hello all - I'm feeling bloody wretched and can't pull myself together at all. DS2 (11) has been in huge trouble at school - accessing the XBox when we think he's in bed asleep, and has called a school friend a f'ing c after a bit of excluding my son. We knew nothing about it, and this boy's parents have found out, bringing printouts of the conversation to the headteacher. I just feel so awful about it all, and like the worst parent. He's apparently known for swearing at school too, and talking about sexual stuff too - which I didn't know he was accessing. He tells lots of lies and has done since forever, just stupid ones but also some, I did my homework at school, whilst telling the teacher he left it at home.
Until this happened, he was known for being kind, the parents all tell me how great he is, he's clever, funny, sporty, musical - his brother and sister found learning way more tricky than he has, and he has lots of praise, hugs, attention. He's a very affectionate boy, loves us all, but is clearly just so troubled, and I don't know what to do next.
I've taken all of his devices away, he knows he's in trouble, but although he says he's sorry (and his relationship with his mate is now clearly over forever, and I'd imagine the parents - who are in with everyone - will tell everyone about it), I just don't believe anything he says, or that he's learned anything from the experience: he's still been lying about things over the weekend, asking his brother (19) to let him play on his devices etc.
DH thinks it's all very normal, he just got caught, and isn't taking it terribly seriously - which is another issue altogether.
I just feel so sad, humiliated, embarrassed, desperate, because the lying is so perpetual, despite him being pulled up on it every time for years now - I just don't think he will change, or even knows he's doing it.
I love him but I don't like him very much at the moment. Is there anything anyone can say to me to move me on from this?

HappyJanuary Mon 27-Mar-17 09:31:05

If I've got this right the current issue is that he's accessing the x box when he should be sleeping, and called his friend a horrible name.

Wider issues are that he's known for swearing and talking about sexual things with his friends.

I would suggest, having had four teens, that you pick your battles.

You are never going to be able to police what he talks about with his friends, and i doubt he is very much different from other boys his age.

What you can do is switch the router off at bedtime, remove devices and ask for passwords so you can do routine checks; explain that anything he writes must be suitable for your eyes.

I'm surprised the other parents complained about a single insult, and suspect their own son will be using such language shortly even if he hasn't already.

You've got a lot of teen years ahead of you, pick your battles.

Universitychallenging Mon 27-Mar-17 09:37:01

What Happy said.

I bet most of the boys in the next year or two will swear a lot and talk about sexual stuff. They're teens. It's common.

They lying about homework - pfft kids have done that since forever - let him get into bother for that a time or two and see if that sorts it.

For now - do as you have done. Take away gadgets. Make sure wifi gets a different password and unplug at Night (there's also software that turns off gadgets access to it at certain time but if it's a phone he will just use data). Get his brother to not let him use his devices.

Tell him you'll be checking up on him when he gets his devices back and do it.

A lot of teens are challenging. I suspect you've had two who were either well behaved or better at hiding it xx

cafenoirbiscuit Mon 27-Mar-17 09:54:19

thanks both - I just don't think he even knows when he's lying - and hes come out with some corkers. It's just all the time, and I just don't ever know when he's telling the truth. He's been caught out so many times that I'm told his classmates just don't believe a word he says any more. The head teacher showed me a log of things he's lied about - it didn't make for comfortable reading, and he's been doing it since reception. Often stupid inconsequential things that don't matter. But also bigger things which do.
I don't know how to approach it with him - I've tried the we love you anyway, and we'd rather know the truth, to being firm with him, and everything in between, but with no success. He goes to a new school in Sept, and I don't think he has got to grips with what serious bother he has been in - he lied about saying what he did to his mate, lied and swore on his own life he hadn't said it - then was presented with the evidence.
He knew how upset I was about the whole thing, but it didn't stop him from lying or trying to access devices since.

Universitychallenging Mon 27-Mar-17 10:02:06

Well. He needs a punishment that matters to him.

Is devices his thing? Or is it football? Or swimming?

Does he know he won't be getting the devices back until he can show an improvement in behaviour?

How have you dealt with the lying before? What punishments have there been in the past?

Also, why is your DH not backing the punishment ? You Ds will sense that and play on it

cafenoirbiscuit Mon 27-Mar-17 10:48:35

He does know he can't have screens back, but he's such an adept liar I can't tell whether he's telling the truth about how things are at school or around the house.

Also - I feel like I ought to apologise to the parents of his friend - I've been trying to pluck up the courage to send a text msg - any suggestions on what to say? DS will be writing to the family too

HappyJanuary Mon 27-Mar-17 12:45:19

If your ds only said that one thing then I wouldn't personally feel the need to apologise. Complaining to the school about a single incident of swearing is an overreaction imo and they'd have been better served teaching their child a bit of resilience.

If there's more to it, or if you really do feel the need to apologise then I'd send something quite factual : 'thank you for bringing this to our attention, I'm sorry your son was upset by it and the situation has been addressed at home'.

I think your son should apologise, even if only to make him think twice in future.

Id avoid grovelling, criticising your son or promising it won't happen again.

Regarding the lying, I'm afraid I don't know. Most children lie to avoid getting into trouble or to make themselves seem more important than they are.

I'm sure you've already tried it, but a zero tolerance approach, following through with meaningful punishments and making the fact that you and his school are on the same page really explicit might work.

If he's about to change schools, he gets a clean slate so may want to avoid the reputation of being a compulsive liar following him around.

It's worrying he isn't bothered that he's in trouble. I think this suggests the punishments aren't meaningful - 'mum will moan and take my x box for a few days, so what'.

cafenoirbiscuit Mon 27-Mar-17 16:25:18

Mum and dad aren't really on the same page I'm afraid - husband is a screen addict and is defending his son's right to use screens but with safeguards - quite why he hadn't done this in the past I don't know. So things are tricky at home too. DS1 19 and DD1 17 are both with me ie he shouldn't be accessing things he's clearly not responsible or old enough to use - but DH is adamant we are all wrong.

cafenoirbiscuit Mon 27-Mar-17 16:26:05

And I'm saying DS2 should have a ban for a long time

HappyJanuary Mon 27-Mar-17 19:29:50

I'm surprised your dh isn't more supportive, particularly as your son is only 11.

What does your dh think is a suitable punishment for swearing, sending offensive messages to friends, lying and staying up after bedtime to access screens?

Sadly I think you have a difficult few years, and an increasingly offensive son, if he realises that only one parent is interested in nipping it in the bud.

Rattata Mon 27-Mar-17 19:51:28

If the lying has become compulsive - he may feel it is safe and comforting to do that. You may need to get some help with that. i garee with others - pick your battles and "don't sweat the small stuff"

Since the parents of the other boy went straight to the school perhaps they don't want to deal with you and if you are like me you might be too grovelling and meek when "apologising". I also agree that you and your DH need to find some common ground on how to react and you need to be consistent in your attitude. I have always found with children that is the most likely way to ensure good behaviour - be calm and consistent - stick with a plan and be patient - it will take a while for your interventions to work.

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