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I want to tie my DS1 to a tree in the garden!!

(52 Posts)
TigerMumalert13 Mon 04-Feb-13 21:23:09

16 yr old DS1 in another strop (4 times a week usually) bec we wouldn't let him have wifi. Last night at bedtime he turns his music on full blast, other 2 younger ones can't get to sleep. We warned him 3 times to turn it down, in the end we switched off the sockets at the mains. So he decides to play his guitar very loudly, we were still calm, trying very hard not to blow. So we turned off the light switch. Whole house in darkness now. Also took away the guitar. Next thing he does is gathered all his GCSE books and left it in the hallway with a note saying he's not going to study anymore.
My husband and I are hard working people, education is very important to us, this is like a slap in the face. We don't know what to do with him, increasingly his behaviour is getting worst, aggressiveness towards us and his siblings. So mouthy and disrespectful, for god's sake he even calls us names! Will we get done for tying him up in the garden? Am so desperate sometimes I feel like calling in the social workers. He's making our lives hell and he actually enjoys watching us cry and stress, seems like a game to him.

throckenholt Wed 06-Feb-13 07:45:11

I think sonnet may have it right. He is realising he is getting close to adulthodd and is finding it frightening. He thought he could sail through exams and not have to compromise his fun at all. He has now realised that isn't going to happen. So he is lashing out at whoever he can - so that he does have to face up to it himself.

I would try and get him on his own (or failing that a letter). Stating at 16 he is not a baby and you won't treat him like a baby. He has no right to all those "entertainments" - you as his parents give them to him because you want him to enjoy life. But it is contingent on his taking in part in the rest of life - ie being pleasant to live with and getting on as best he can in school. If he isn't willing to do those, then you aren't willing to subsidise the other part of his life.

He needs to realise that no-one in life is promised fun all the time and no hard work. If he wants the fun, he has to earn it (like all grown ups). If he chooses not to do the school work then he is also choosing not to have the fun things at home. When he is old enough he can go and try and find a place of his own, and try and fund it all himslef - but he is likely to find that is not easy with no qualifications behind him. He CAN go back later and get any qualifications he needs - but it WILL be harder than knuckling down now and getting on with it. You have to stop worrying about that - other kids have screwed up at this stage and made a go of it later - it is not a now or never situation.

Bottom line to him - you are his parents and love him. You want him to have a good life. You will help him (within reasonable limits) - but if he chooses not to be reasonable to live with then you will not bend over backwards to keep him happy. You have other children who deserve a peaceful home and your attention too. You can't force him to conform now, but you equally won't enable him to sponge off you while he does nothing in return.

HDee Wed 06-Feb-13 07:58:46

Is not studying enough his only issue? Really, you are incredibly lucky, and to get yourself into so many battles really isn't worth it.

Does he get up and go to school?
Is he stealing?
Is he staying out late and not coming home?
Is he taking drugs?
Do you have to hide your possessions to stop them being sold?
Are you scared to leave the house for fear of who he might bring home?

As far as I can see, your study issue is small fry.

Matildaduck Wed 06-Feb-13 08:12:11

I don't hAve teenagers, just a v demanding toddler and four yr old. Negotiation is the key. They can't complain if they have agreed.

I was a horrid 16 year old. I didn't speak to my parents for months.

I'd give him less attention. Write the rules of the house on your wall ( i have this for mine) stick to the rules but allow a degree of flexibilty. It's important children can learn about negotiation and flexibility. The crux is finding what incentivises him. Computer, phone, money....there will always be a hook.

If you need to do a reward system to earn his prize.

In short treat him like a four year old, just like a four year old he is trying to find a higher degree of independance......good luck.

CailinDana Wed 06-Feb-13 08:12:42

To me, all of that behaviour sounds like a desperate cry for attention. If he really didn't give a shit he would just suit himself and ignore you but he is escalating and escalating, in a really destructive way, in the hopes of getting a reaction. What reaction he wants is hard to say until you actually sit down and talk to him.

GCSEs are incredibly stressful for a lot of teenagers and some react really badly - it shows in their behaviour. If I saw my son doing this I'd be worried about his state of mind.

Time to stop this stupid war and just act like adults, after all, that's what you're trying to teach him to be. Adults don't punish each other for not seeing eye to eye, they sit down and talk it through.

HDee Wed 06-Feb-13 10:05:14

Matildaduck, I can absolutely guarantee that if you treat a 16 year old in the way you are suggesting you will have anarchy on your hands.

TigerMumalert13 Wed 06-Feb-13 11:57:49

In a moment of madness we have tied DS1 to the tree ..... no no no, we haven't so please don't report me!

Flow4 you are right again, yes he has no more privileges so there is no incentive to study but he did have them once and one by one we had to take them away because he had detentions and teachers complained homework not done etc ... we are reasonable parents, if only he behaved we would gladly give him things back. My children are very lucky, they are fed, watered, roof over their heads, comfy bed, what more do they need??? Joking aside they are privileged children, they don't realise it now may be one day they will (hopefully whilst I am alive).

Angelico don't worry not all children are like mine, it's probably down to the way I brought them up to be honest, kids don't come with manuals so we only drew from experiences we had as children to work on. Herimone yes I agree, only 2 more years before they leave home (by force!) but I'd rather he left to go to University ha ha. Sonnet yes you are on to something, when ever he fails a test he always says 'well I didn't revise for it anyway'. What is worst? Him failing bec. he couldn't be bothered or he tried his best and failed? I prefer the latter, at least there was effort involved.

HDee, yes to many people DS1 not studying is 'small fry', he's not on drugs or goes out clubbing (he does steal food and take what he fancies from everyone though) so I should be happy/lucky, but I am still stressed, it could lead to worst things. If DS1 took drugs, steal, goes out all night drinking, someone else can turn around and say, you are lucky at least they are not mugging people or going out in gangs or worst at least they didn't murder anyone. There are always going to be worst scenarios out there.

Anyway, I couldn't sleep last night bec. plotting my next step ....... I wrote an email to the Head of Year and Head of GCSE asking for a meeting with DS1 present. If he hears from them about being kicked out of the school if grades are poor then that would be better than hearing it from me, afterall I am only a 'moaning ole cow' to him.
Thanks everyone for your input it really helps, next step is communication, when we are all calm, I will drive into the woods in the midde of the night and talk, hes scared of the dark so he wont be able to escape, I can't talk and drive in case it gets heated and we have an accident.

Matildaduck Wed 06-Feb-13 12:28:16

Why would you have anarchy? Treating a 16 year old that there are rules and that treats and rewards are earnt by good behaviour. Is that not how life works?

Independance be it for a four year old or 16 year old has to be earnt with trust and positive behaviuor.

It's a basic positive reward system. You work witin the rules and your get more. He wants xbox...he does his homework.

Miggsie Wed 06-Feb-13 12:36:01

My friends had this issue.

They took this approach:
Spoke to their son and said, "ok you have decided not to study, in that case, in a few months time you will need to get a job.
You will also need to find your own place, we are not supporting you. Here is the local paper for jobs and here is a list of local flats you can think of renting."

stargirl1701 Wed 06-Feb-13 12:40:56

Is there an older role model who could have a word? A cool uncle, a big cousin, a teacher, a youth group leader, etc.

catladycourtney1 Wed 06-Feb-13 12:45:55

Miggsie I think that's a good idea for someone his age. He's almost an adult, after all. I wasn't really a problem child, but when I finished my A-Levels and decided I wasn't going on to university, my parents told me that I was to either pay board to them, or move out. Not in a nasty way, but they had my siblings to support too and couldn't afford to keep me while I dossed about at home, nor did they want to encourage me to. I felt a bit hard-done-by at the time, seeing all my friends living for free and enjoying their money, but I'm glad I had that motivation to grow up and take responsibility for myself.

Startail Wed 06-Feb-13 12:52:45

I don't think you can force people to study, they need to want to, they need something to aim for and want to work.

Sadly I don't think any about of punishment or withdrawal of primal ages will make any difference, but it will make your younger DCs life hell.

Startail Wed 06-Feb-13 12:53:50

Sorry auto correct and dyslexia

secretscwirrels Wed 06-Feb-13 15:36:57

Sorry OP but I think that you have been very heavy handed to take everything away from him indefinitely all over homework.
I will drive into the woods in the midde of the night and talk, hes scared of the dark so he wont be able to escape I assume this is a joke?
Have you thought about being the adult here and suggesting a fresh start? Tell him he gets it all back now if he will agree to behave and do an hour's revision (or whatever) each day.

TigerMumalert13 Wed 06-Feb-13 16:37:09

What? But Secretscwirrels you told me yesterday not to give in. If I give it all back now it just means he's won, he's hardly going to keep his side of the bargain, we've been through this many times already. Thanks for listening anyway.

TigerMumalert13 Wed 06-Feb-13 16:40:35

My brother is waiting to speak to him. Also my sister has suggested taking him to a monastery. It's not just the studying, he's quite aggressive towards his siblings and us.

HDee Wed 06-Feb-13 17:29:22

I think considering him to have won or lost is where you are going wrong. Parenting a teen isn't a battle or about winning and losing.

He is basically a good teen, who for whatever reason isn't totally dedicated to his studies. The sooner you accept this, the better for your family and your relationship with your son. Of course he is angry with everyone - in two years he is legally an adult and you are controlling him like a five year old.

It's YOU who needs to change OP. but I suppose until he actually IS bad, you won't appreciate what you have.

TigerMumalert13 Wed 06-Feb-13 17:49:52

HDee I do appreciate what I have, deep down he's still a good kid, the whole point of my finding help on Mumsnet was to see how I can get through his teen years without us killing eachother. I still appreciate your input, sounds like you have experienced much worse. I will take your advice and count my blessings.

flow4 Wed 06-Feb-13 20:35:43

Tiger, you will find two types of advice here.

The first is from people who have never had teenaged kids, or have had 'good and easy' teens, who have never actually dealt with this kind of situation. They will (by and large) tell you to crack down hard on him and remove all privileges.

The second is from people who have already been through what you are dealing with now. They will tell you crack-downs do not work with a teen once they get to this point, and that you have to negotiate, motivate and give them more control not less.

If you think your DS is still, basically, a 'good and easy' teen, then a crack-down may work (because most things work with teens like that). If you think he is more challenging, then you might be wise to listen to what experienced parents say.

If you turn this into a battle, you will not win. Your DS is fighting you because he feels you are being unfair. He is fighting for freedom and justice and self-respect... Whereas you are fighting for, um, homework. So - You. Will. Not. Win.

Your only alternatives are to back off and let him decide how much he studies, or live with this constant fighting.

Mrscupcake23 Wed 06-Feb-13 20:45:46

Well said flow how I envy those first parents. Ooh I wish for an easy teen.

TigerMumalert13 Wed 06-Feb-13 20:51:43

I'm reading the book you recommended earlier on Flow, it arrived today.

deleted203 Wed 06-Feb-13 22:25:28

Have you asked him what his plans are for next year, Tiger? I would be initiating a conversation along the lines of 'What are you intending to do after GCSEs? Have you got a plan?' and see what he says. I would keep my tone very neutral and see what he says. If he says 'A levels' I would be asking 'What grades do you need to get accepted?' Asking questions like this should at least make him think about what he needs to achieve to take the next step. If you get a stroppy answer like, 'Nothing, cos I'm going to fail all my GCSEs!' then I would nod calmly and say, 'And what will you be doing then? What sort of job will you be looking for?' I would be very non judgemental but make it clear by my questions that these will be the options. He gets the grades he needs to progress further, or he finds work. Anything along the lines of 'I'm going to get benefits' would be met by a 'That sounds fairly miserable. You won't have much money, as obviously your father and I will be taking board and lodge off you once you are no longer at school'. Try and steer him into actually considering what his future is going to look like if he continues to sulk and refuse to study.

flow4 Wed 06-Feb-13 23:08:15

That tactic worked well with my DS1 soworn smile So did sitting down with him and working out what his share of the bills would be - it came to £67/week minimum. shock
BTW, state benefits are no longer available to 16-19 yos, except in exceptional circumstances - e.g. if they are 'in care' or care leavers, or have their own children. Certainly not if they live at home with their parents. hmm

niceguy2 Wed 06-Feb-13 23:28:55

That conversation needs to be had but the immediate priority has to be to get to a point where OP and her son can have a rational conversation without it degenerating into an argument.

Is there someone he respects whom could act as a trusted mediator? If he/she is sat in the same room then he would may have more incentive to act mature rather than like a toddler.

Not sure what others think but personally i'd be very tempted to take the whole topic of his education off the table. I'd neutralise his attempts to manipulate you by simply saying that his education is for him, not you. That you can't force him to and neither should you have to anyway. So if he doesn't want to study, get the grades he needs to succeed then so be it. But HE, not you will have to live with the consequences of that.

Instead concentrate on his behaviour and respect. One tactic I'd use though is give him one goal to improve. If you go in and expect him to change everything overnight then it won't work. But say if you agree with him that he will not play his music loud you may have more luck....then over time add something else.

Don't forget to reward him when he does something. Doesn't have to be with a thing. A compliment or action will sometimes suffice. Tonight I screen banned my DS(11) for being rude to his step-mum & step-brother. We then had a quiet chat about how he is growing into a man soon and that a real man apologises if he's done wrong but that I wouldn't force him to apologise. I just hoped he would of his own accord. To my surprise he did. So I rewarded him by lifting the ban for the last hour and we watched footie together.

Hope that all makes sense.

deleted203 Wed 06-Feb-13 23:29:56

Thanks flow! I actually thought that was true, that 16 yo can't just 'sign on' now, but wasn't sure. Therefore he needs to come up with some plans for the future involving either study or work!

Sonnet Thu 07-Feb-13 15:27:44

But if he is scared then confronting him with the head and a convo about being kicked out of school will NOT help.

You need to find out why he has stopped studying, how you and school can help and support him.

Good Luck

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