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Advice needed before I kill DS1 (14)!

(15 Posts)
loubeedoo Thu 18-Nov-10 12:34:02

Where do I start?
I have 2ds, 14 & 5. They wind each other up constantly. The problem I have is how to deal with ds1.
He is 14 going on 17 iykwim. I know all teenagers have their moments and I certainly wasn?t an angel, but I just don?t know how to handle him?
We definitely have a clash of personalities, which doesn?t help. We?ve always had a fractious relationship, and I know he resents his younger brother coming along.
He is very monosyllabic, shouts at his brother all the time (yes he can be annoying, but his younger brother doesn?t understand/know the boundaries that ds1 is expecting of him), tells me to shout up if I ask him to do something (like bring his washing down so I can put it in the machine etc), and is generally not the lovely the boy I know, or thought I knew.
We had a heated discussion last night about him not doing his homework (after his head of house had rung yet again to say that he was falling behind with homework and that given as this is GCSE coursework etc not acceptable). He ended the discussion by rolling his sleeve up and saying ?Look what you are making me do, I cut myself?.
After he had stormed to his room I went outside and sat in the garden crying my eyes out. What have I done that has led him to do this? Is he over reacting/acting up? Where have I failed him? I know that being a single parent family (with no contact at all with Father) is hard for him when all his friends have dads, but he has a really good relationship with my own dad and brother.
I looked at his arms while he was asleep, and there were no marks there at all. Was he making it up in an attempt to stop the conversation, to shock me?
Can anyone give me some advice on how to deal with this before I get home from work tonight and see him?
What do I do????

Niceguy2 Thu 18-Nov-10 12:46:30

You know what, I feel for you. My DD is same age and its just a nightmare. I've no idea about the emotional side. Mine usually does little more than grunt. If she has to reply then its generally short & to the point. There's no chat and I often wonder where I went wrong. Other kids seem to tell their parents EVERY little detail whether they want to hear or not.

As for homework I had similar not long ago. The crux of the problem for my DD was she struggled to make the leap from the old homework where you pretty much googled your topic then cut/paste to homework where you have to actually research, analyse & interpret answers.

So before you go in all guns blazing, perhaps look and see if there's a particular aspect he is struggling with?

inthesticks Thu 18-Nov-10 14:28:05

He sounds like a typical 14 year old, apart from the cutting thing. Was he just being a drama queen do you think or could he really be that depressed?
The grunting and shouting is normal. Try to choose a time when he is happy and relaxed to discuss how his behaviour upsets you.

It may seem unfair but I think it might help if you are seen to be strict with DS2 when he invades his brother's space or annoys him. When brothers are the same or similar age they can resolve their differences themselves and can have a bit of rough and tumble but with such a big gap that's not possible.

Thingumy Thu 18-Nov-10 21:19:41

I'd call his bluff tbh.

Make an appointment with your gp and take him along.

Explain the cutting remark.

My dd is doing the drama thing to a tee at the moment,she came out with a corker the other day.She has 'bi polar',she's self diagnosed this.

I just rolled my eyes and ignored the temper tantrum that followed.

Nip the homework worries in the bud by making an appointment with his school and let him give his reason as to why he thinks he doesn't need to put the effort in.

Tough love all the way here.

loubeedoo Thu 18-Nov-10 22:10:13

Thanks for the replies.

Will make an appointment tomorrow with our gp. His School has a monitoring day next week, already have appointment with his form tutor and have also asked to speak to his head of house. DS will be there, so can that will be interesting.

He has actually been contrite this evening, although it is still strained between both boys.

Have been reading a book recommended on another thread I think called "How to talk so teens listen and how to listen so teens talk"

Have tried one of the approaches about homework, i.e. rather than say 'why have you not done your homework?', say 'are you finding a particular area of it difficult?'
His reaction was "no I just forgot" then he 'switches off'.

At least we didn't have another argument!
We shall see, not holding out much hope as he is currently in his room listening to music when he is supposed to be doing homework.....

SecondhandRose Thu 18-Nov-10 22:52:35

You try tackling it differently by asking for his help with his brother. Give him a little bit of responsibility. Sounds like he is playing up to get your attention and it is working. Tuck the little one in bed and do stuff with the older one. Even watching tv together helps. Put a blanket over both of you and hold his hand under the blanket. Try and hug him every day. Sod the washing, it is not worth falling out over.

loubeedoo Fri 19-Nov-10 13:17:21

Thanks Rose, I will ask him for help with his little brother.
I always used to give him a hug, but when he started back at school in Sept he pulled a face and I gradually stopped. Maybe that and the extra attention the youngest is getting has just put him out of kilter a bit?
Thingumy I'm scared that if I go for the tough love approach that he will either withdraw further or go the opposite way. I'm also not good at sticking to one approach.
Hence why I think I'm in this situation now...

ladyfirenze Sun 21-Nov-10 16:14:08

op - i'm a new mner but an old hat with the 'cutting' issue.

ds1 is also 14. at the moment he's --been brainwashed and kidnapped-- living with my estranged and barmy mother.

the sad fact is tough love cannot work in this situation. also, do not expect miracles from health proffs either. unless your ds is stealing, violent to others, or taking hard drugs, there's very little they can do.

i also feel that the self-harm issue is a confusing area.

i have done a hell of a lot of research into this, and my experience is, majority of self-harm is done in secret, and then hidden. this new way of harming self seems more like a weapon, or a way to manipulate parents etc so that dc can get their own way.

this doesn't make it any less upsetting for the family, and also, for the child - their emotions are still just as valid.

one positive i've taken from this, was that when ds1 got his own way (living at --bitch from hell-- mothers), the self-harm has stopped.

i realise that this is no help to you in current situation. i also have dts age five, and that was impossible to police. ds1 would be delightful to them when he felt like it, and then horrendous for no apparant reason.

my advice is take a step back. and that's crap i know sad

ladyfirenze Sun 21-Nov-10 16:14:53

dunno why my strikethrough failed there. humph

dracschick Sun 21-Nov-10 16:18:54

I have a 15 year old ds and a 17 year old.

Its a phase.

Its hard being 14 your not a child yet not an adult girls interest you and all the tv and lads mags say they should want you but .....they dont.

You have spots and mood swings your a child in a man sized body - just because you look 14 doesnt mean you feel 14 so you act a bit daft,you torment your Mum your siblings do stupid things,dont think about your actions......homework? why? you do enough in school.

Best thing you can do as a Mum is nod and oh and ah and ask him to tell you things.

If he is cutting himself obviously he needs more help than you can give him and hes finding changing roles harder - but even this isnt the end of the world and certainly doesnt define your parenting skills.

Cutters usually are very secretive about it, so though I would be concerned, if there are no marks then I would hope that at this stage it was more a threat/ need for attention than a real issue. (My DD cut and it was a quite a while before we found out as she was very careful to hide her cuts..it was a secret releasesad) However I would keep a close eye incase it does become an issue.

Teens can be hideous! Mine are now 18,17,16 and 13 and my 17 yr DS in particular has put us thro it.. didn't work at school, vile temper (still have hole thro pantry door from last bad mood) simply treated us like dirt...

BUT... it is a tough time for them. We had to stay tough with DS and it wasn't funny but he is coming out the other side..slowly..now and becoming much more human!

We ended up prioritising.. what was essential, and what we could ignore. Grumpiness we lived with. Calls from teachers led to grounding until work was caught up, bye bye Xbox etc.

It gets easier.. mostly!

loubeedoo Sun 21-Nov-10 23:39:42

Thanks ladies for all your messages and support, it really means a lot to me.
I tried something differently this weekend.
Ds2 spent most of today --driving his grandparents insane-- with grandparents, whilst ds1 and I spent time doing stuff we used to, like playing board games, on the wii, talking nonsense. I know it sounds silly, but we spent hours laughing and having fun.
Ds2 came home later and I took a step back and let ds1 deal with ds2 acting up (he was being silly with his cars and crashing them into the tv stand).
Instead of shouting at him, ds1 talked through with him what would happen if he knocked tv stand and tv over etc. Then they played on the wii together.
I know that sounds trivial etc, but for them thats a huge step forward.
Ds1 even ironed his uniform whilst I bathed ds2 then helped with packed lunches for school/work.
Enjoying it while it lasts.
Have decided to priotise and not sweat the little stuff, and give ds1 reponsibility, as has been suggested. As for the cutting, will have to see. I can't let it lie, but I won't charge in. Softly softly I think.
Thanks again for your support ladies it's very much appreciated!!!

ladyfirenze Mon 22-Nov-10 09:55:55

hurrah! pleased you got a bit of instant gratification.

re cutting - you may want to get in touch with CAMHS (child and adolescent mental health service)

they have a self-harm team who are very understanding of teens issues, however, use your best judgement here - you know your child/situatuion better than anyone, and sometimes, giving too much attention to the physical signs of self-harm is like pouring oil on fire. unless there is significant cutting, or you're afraid there will be, i'd leave it be.

sadly, aggressive self-harm (not secret or hidden, but used as a weapon to manipulate) seems to be something i hear more and more of.

ladyfirenze Mon 22-Nov-10 09:56:31

situation

SkylineDrifter Mon 22-Nov-10 12:58:40

loubeedoo, I can't add to the advice you've had, as it's obviously been helpful, but can I just tell you I was very touched to read about you spending yesterday with DS1 - it sounds like you had a wonderful day, and when things go a little bit awry again (and they will!) remember yesterday, and it'll put it all into perspective.

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