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Quite pathetically don't know how to deal with ds13

(18 Posts)
Valoury Mon 01-Oct-12 22:31:14

I would really appreciate some objective views from other parents of teenage sons because as the title says, I really do not know how to help mine.

Dh and I are at our wits end.

Ds aged 13 is just totally obsessed with girls, facebook, girls, messaging, girls, being cool with mates, girls, looking good etc etc. He is bright but not especially academic, slightly dyslexic. He WAS a loving, funny, happy chappy.

But not now - moody, bad tempered. He has all but given up on school and homework.

At the end of year 8 we let him have facebook in the summer, and since he is a sociable chap he used it a lot, chatting to girls etc etc.

We are at the stage now though in Y9 where this is becoming a problem and his school work is suffering greatly. Eg: (sometimes) doing homework (poorly) but managing to facebook message one girl, text another and whatsapp a third all at the same time! Fine, we thought, simple solution - take the bl***y things off him! But he was like an addict without drugs - moody, rude, attitude, screaming.

We are really struggling to know how to deal with this, without completely alienating him and pushing him over the edge. Obviously, we want him to do his best at school and achieve things, but this does not seem to be important to him. He has started lying about stuff at school. Eg: when we've told him to go to Maths clinic, he says it's not on, or the teacher wasn't there.

It probably doesn't help but dd aged 15 is the complete polar opposite. She thinks facebook is a waste of time, tries hard in homeworks and tries to come top in everything.

Dh and I don't know what is normal teenage boy stuff or what is a problem. All we know is that he doesn't appear to care about school.

Any insightful comments will be most welcome.

justbreathe Tue 02-Oct-12 06:50:42

FB is such a distraction . We turn off wifi until after homework is done and then on school nights maybe let them have 1/2 hour or so time to message. I have 2 teen ds , the first has been a pain in the ass since he was 15 and the 2nd is just coming into it. Just have to remember it's a phase like all the others, remember the sleepless nights when they were babies... I have stomach ulcers from the stress of my 1st ds, just have to remind myself that everything passes...

TantrumsAndBalloons Tue 02-Oct-12 07:10:52

Well if it's any consolation, we had the same thing with ds1. Facebook, whatsApp, texts, Skype, BBM, twitter. Anything other than homework.

So we took it away. Phone switched off until homework done/after dinner.
Changed the wifi password. Etc etc

Yes, he was moody for a bit. But he learnt that if he wanted to use social network, phone etc he had to "earn" it by completing homework to a high standard, going to bed at a reasonable time, getting up on time.

I think you have to just ignore the sulking and moodiness tbh, teenagers think the whole world is unfair.

I just tell mine to suck it up and get on with if!

LesleyPumpshaft Tue 02-Oct-12 08:38:42

Having similar problems with DS also 13. Turning the internet off during homework is fine, but they often have homework that requires some research. As soon as I have to go and do other things elswhere in the house he is fannying about on F/book.

TantrumsAndBalloons Tue 02-Oct-12 08:50:05

Net nanny on the pc he uses for schoolwork?

Maryz Tue 02-Oct-12 09:00:37

Does he have a 3G phone, or is this done on wi-fi?

ds2 hands his itouch over to us half an hour after he gets home from school, and gets it back when he has finished his homework.

He doesn't have 3G, so only has access in the house.

dd is 16 and we have just got her a phone with access all the time, and I'm really regretting it.

MoreBeta Tue 02-Oct-12 09:07:41

We set one simple rule that homework is done before any home leisure activity is allowed.

DS1 is 12 so not hit this stage yet but we deliberately leave him at school until 5.00 pm where there is a homework club or after school sport/activity clubs. No texts allowed at school or Facebook so no distractions.

He knows he has to finsih his homework at school or if doing something else then finish it once he gets home. The rule is that he finishes his homework first and then he can use PC/iPad/text after that without time restriction. He does do a huge amount of sport and otehr clubs though so he si not sat in front of a screen that much.

We have confiscated his ipad for a week as a punishment only the once. It worked.

LesleyPumpshaft Tue 02-Oct-12 09:17:52

That's great that you DS's school has activities and homework club until 5:00pm!

We all have our own laptop, me and DP have our own PC's and the house has 2 Xbox's and all are networked etc.

DS has his own laptop, have net nanny etc. We are a family of massive geeks btw. DS got into the bios and re-set the time, so the internet cut off was later. It didn't occur to us that he would figure it out. All admin is restricted now and he is in a massive strop about it.

Incidentally, the only subject he now excels in is ICT.

MoreBeta Tue 02-Oct-12 09:24:29

Clubs and activities outside home is definitley a way to keep their mind focussed away from distractions. Its the way my boarding school used to work. No girls allowed neither.

DS2 is singing in the choir until 8.30 tonight and on Friday - and he is only 10. Meanwhile DS1 will be doing rugby from 2.00 - 4.30 and then judo 7.30 - 8.30

We like to keep them busy with after school activities now we don't have chimneys to sweep. wink

Maryz Tue 02-Oct-12 09:42:48

ds2 plays loads of sport after school every day, so is never home before 7 or 7.30. And then has a couple of hours of homework to do.

It causes quite a few rows.

He could catch up on some of the homework at weekends, but refuses to on principle hmm. I'm considering confiscating his itouch on Saturdays until he has cleared the backlog.

I'm afraid that if he falls behind they will stop him playing so much sport, which would be disastrous

The awful thing is that they don't seem to realise just how much time they waste. He can be on it for a couple of hours, but think it's only ten minutes.

flow4 Tue 02-Oct-12 11:14:36

My DS2 is a bit of a screen and social media addict, too. He sends at least 200 text messages a day (mostly after school) and spends several hours on the PC. He prefers the games where he can build worlds and create/change his own environment (Club Penguin when he was younger, then Spore, now Minecraft). He also watches about 6 films a week - including French ones with subtitles - because his dad is a bit of a movie buff and DS shares this with him.

But he's bright and he does well enough at school. Importantly, he still likes learning and chooses to do things like research and science projects in his own time. I don't want to put him off and threaten his 'love of learning' by making him give up the screens, games and social contacts he also loves.

I also think back to my own childhood. I read fiction at least 2 hours per day - often 4 or 6 or 8 at weekends! - and spent as much time as I could get away with on the house phone! It doesn't feel very different to me... smile

chocoluvva Tue 02-Oct-12 14:32:52

To get him over his addiction could you unplug the broadband for a couple of days and feign a technical malfunction?
I sympathise - my DCs waste a lot of time on 'screen' activities.

SecretSquirrels Tue 02-Oct-12 15:12:42

Yes teenagers are like toddlers and will have a tantrum when they don't get what they want.
When they are in between toddlerdom and teens they are often so easy to parent that you can forget how to be strict.
You are right and you have to stick to your guns.
Also I think the slacking at school should be tackled separately to the media addiction.

bunjies Tue 02-Oct-12 16:46:10

You are not alone. We had/have this with ds, also 13. He's not into social media as such but is addicted to YouTube as he's really into making his own films. We are happy to indulge him in this but we've told him not at the expense of his school work. We've come to an agreement that he cannot have any screen time until all homework for that day is done. We hide his phone & 3ds & keep the laptop password protected so he can't use those when he gets in from school. He could, in theory, watch tv or play on the Wii but he knows it's not worth it if he's caught. Luckily dh picks our 2 dds from school so is home by 4. We also stipulated his h/w had to be of a reasonable standard for him to earn his screen time. You need to ride the storm of moodiness but do not cave in. Stick to your guns & do not get into an argument about it. The broken record technique is what you need. Good luck!

Valoury Tue 02-Oct-12 17:38:11

Thanks so much for all these replies. I feel relieved that others have this problem and there are some good suggestions here.

I have a social worker friend who more or less suggested the scenario of letting him message for half an hour when he gets in, then making him hand phone, itouch etc in until homework done later. So will give this a try. And good idea - to actually turn the wifi off!

I think I have been shocked at his stroppy and sulky behaviour. His moods have been very 'dark' and out of character. And his behaviour reminds me of an addict that needs a fix - so that is worrying. But they go through a lot of changes at this age as well, don't they.

I guess it is a question of being firm. I have confiscated gadgets before now. I would like to think that he will grow out of this. He does sports a couple of evenings a week so that's a positive thing.

We do intend to see the school about his poor attitude to school work.

Thanks for all your comments.

bunjies Tue 02-Oct-12 18:24:05

Yes, it's definitely like an addiction which is why you need to remove all temptations out of sight if you can.

SecretSquirrels Wed 03-Oct-12 15:25:54

Actually you are right about the effect of addiction. DS2 was addicted to xbox. I had often read on MN about children self limiting their gaming but from where I stood that wasn't going to happen. I didn't realise how bad it was at the time until last year when, with some persuasion, he agreed to give it up for a while.

Two months later he was like a different child. He actually said "mum, I never want to feel like that again".
I felt terrible that I hadn't been stricter in the first place. Not that there were not limits. He had a daily limit with one day of no access. Trouble was he just lived for his "ration".

A year on he rarely plays xbox although his latest game is Minecraft and he's much less obsessed by it.

lightahead Wed 03-Oct-12 15:48:17

Regarding the homework I had similar problems with ds1, I went to school and got teachers on-side. All homework was written in his planner by teachers so I knew what he had to do, also got individual teachers to e-mail me if certain work was required. the constant contact with school stopped the lies about what had to be done. Went up to school a few times as well(much to his embarassment). This summer he passed 12 g.c.s.e's with good grades and is now doing A levels, as yet he is on time with all work. Rightly or wrongly "taking over" worked.

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