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ds 11 years old meltdown

(13 Posts)
SalaciousCrumb Fri 18-Oct-13 22:30:36

Hi...I wasn't sure where to post this. My 11 year old ds has no interests aparts from playing minecraft and skyping his friends while playing the game. We spoke to him last night about using swear words he's picked such as mother f*****, it's broadcast into other peoples houses and other parents can see the messages, etc. He keeps having rows with one particular friend and his mum texted advising me check his messages from & she said her son is no longer allowed to have anything to do with him as he has been abusive. He's called his friend "effing' idiot." He's also said "F* you to hell and back" to another boy amongst other things.

I angrily confronted him & told him he's now banned from skype as can't be trusted, badly done as I didn't even ask him what happened sad He had a complete meltdown, pushed dh, and hit me hard in the face and my lip is a bit swollen sad Unfortunately I slapped his face back (I'm so upset with myself) he said he knows I didn't hit him hard but he says I caught his eye sad Then he spat at me; something he's done before after being confronted about swearing on skype.

We sent him to his room. He pulled out drawers, threw everything on the floor. He is refusing to take any responsibility for hitting me as he said I hit him back, but I have apologised. He won't apologise to me. He is very upset and won't tell me what happened on skype and is refusing to communicate.

We had an occupational therapist's report done a couple of weeks ago and she says he is dyspraxic; we became concerned as he is unable to ride a bike/scooter/cannot get the hang of tying shoelaces/tying a tie/handwriting for any length of time hurts his hand, etc. He can't cope with football/team games. he has co-ordination difficulties but his balance is fine so it's been difficult to spot. He suffers from low self-esteem.

It has been the first half term at secondary school and he also has difficulty sleeping. His tutor at school spoke highly of him at parents evening; no problems there and they can read his handwriting.

he refuses to intereact socially out of school apart from skyping friends and he won't be doing that anymore. He's been invited to a friend's house next week but he is refusing to stay for tea so at least that's something!

I am very upset and don't know how to give my son a life sad

Would be grateful for any advice.

TeaandCakes1983 Sat 19-Oct-13 09:18:50

Hi, I'm so sorry to hear what a rough time you are all having. I don't have any advice. I just didn't want to read and run. Take care of yourself, that sounds like a hugely difficult situation. I'm sure someone will be along soon to help out x

flow4 Sat 19-Oct-13 10:58:50

Oh dear, what a mess! I really feel for you Crumb. You handled this particular incident badly, but you know you did... You need to work out ways of dealing more positively and effectively with similar situations in future.

But perhaps even more importantly, you all need support with the 'big picture' stuff: understanding what your DS's diagnosis will mean to him, and you. Your 'background levels' of sadness and confusion and stress are probably very high - all of you - and I can't help feeling this will have affected how everyone behaved in this specific situation, and will do again if you don't address it...

How much do you know about dyspraxia? Maybe pop over to the special needs discussion board to chat and find out more... Your son will almost certainly be struggling with all sorts of things; you listed some, but there will be more. Many dyspraxic kids are also dyslexic or have problems with numbers, or both, so you should get him tested. It's an 'invisible' disability, and quite often seems to lead to teasing or bullying, because there's no obvious reason why a dyspraxic kid can't do the things he struggles with. Being bad at team games means he can't fit in with the 'sporty types' at high school, and dyslexia/other learning disabilities mean he can't fit in with the 'geeky' ones, so he could be struggling socially, in and out of school. My DB is dyspraxic, but didn't receive any support with it until sixth form, because he's bright and his intelligence partly 'masked' his dyspraxia. But he struggled with everything at school, and thought there was something 'wrong' with him but didn't understand what, and has grown up anxious and insecure. A proper diagnosis and good support and understanding should avoid this for your DS.

We all worry about our children's friendships, social activities and general happiness. It's hard when their lives don't seem to be going the way we imagined, and we don't have magic wands to make things 'perfect' for them. But happiness doesn't depend on certain magic ingredients (we all know there are rich, unhappy people, for instance) or on avoiding all difficulties, since this is impossible - it depends on having good ways of dealing with difficulties. smile

As for this particular situation, personally I would say this is one of the times you have to hold your hands up, acknowledge you all behaved badly and messed up, and 'start again'. Tell your son you will reconsider the skype ban if he'll talk to you, and then pick a good time for a conversation (car journeys are often good, because there's no direct eye contact and that seems to help teens... But not if you're driving and you know you're going to get upset!)...

Try to discuss the following things with your son. You probably won't cover all of them in one conversation, especially since some of the things you need to talk about will be upsetting... Also, discuss them first with your DH and present a united front if at all possible. You don't need to both sit him down and talk to him together (I think sometimes kids can feel 'outnumbered' by that, and in this situation he needs to feel you're 'on his side'...) but you do need to be sure that if he talks to either one if you, he's going to get the same 'key messages'.

Tell him you handled the situation badly, and apologise. You should never have hit him, you are the adult and should be in control. Tell him - and mean it - that people in your family have a right to feel safe and be safe, and from now on there will be no violence.

If you think that him hitting you and you hitting him was a one-off event that has shocked you so much it will never be repeated, leave it at that. If you think either of you might do it again, then you need some support - start with your GP - because if you do not tackle it now, things will become very serious and dangerous as he gets older and bigger than you.

Don't ask him for an apology. Yes, he 'owes' you one. But you can't 'make' him give one that's meaningful; it's not the words that are important, it's the understanding. You are quite likely to get an apology by the end of the conversation, I'd say, if you don't force one...

Tell him you imposed a punishment when you were angry, and in future you want to take more time and calm down before you punish. (You might or might not also tell him - or at least notice it yourself - that you reacted partly because you had a complaint from another parent: be careful of punishing because you're embarrassed, rather than because he deserves it- it's easily done but not helpful!) Tell him you'll lift the skype ban this time, but he must sit down with you and agree some rules for safe, acceptable use. Tell him you all need to think about these, so you want to do that tomorrow and talk about these other things first...

Acknowledge life must be tough for him at the moment. High school and dyspraxia are both difficult new things to deal with. Tell him he needs to find ways of dealing with stress without using violence, and tell him you'll help him. Ask him if there are other things stressing him out. Don't push him: he may not know what's stressing him out. But if you plant the thought and give him time to reflect, and he believes you'll help, he'll perhaps come back to you in a few days or weeks.

Personally, I would be alert to the possibility that he is experiencing some bullying - perhaps in that specific skype conversation or perhaps not. Don't assume it, but watch out for it.

Acknowledge to him that you're worrying too. Tell him high school and dyspraxia are new things for you, too, and that you are also learning. Tell him you're always there to help him solve problems, and you'll always do your best, even if you sometimes make mistakes. smile

Also help him understand that being bullied and/or being stressed might explain bad behaviour but it doesn't let anyone off the hook! People need to take responsibility for their own behaviour, including their mistakes. Explain that's why you have apologised to him and why you are changing your mind about the skype bad. Explain that he needs to learn to be aware of how he's behaving and how he affects other people, and put things right if he makes mistakes. Ask him if he knows how his behaviour this time has affected you. Maybe also ask him what he thinks he can do to be more aware of how his behaviour affects people... There are no 'right' answers this time - this gives you an idea of how self-aware he is.

Explain your role as his parent is to help him do that... But also that punishments are meant to make him take responsibility if he doesn't do it himself. You're giving him a second chance to take responsibility for his behaviour on Skype, but you won't hesitate to ban him again if he doesn't do that.
The skype conversation is more practical and less emotional. You'll have your own 'family rules' about time allowed, online security, your access to and checks of his online activity, swearing (or not), bullying, etc. Ask him what rules he thinks are reasonable and encourage him to set his own limits - but don't hesitate to say "No, that's not going to work for me; I say X instead".

This is a mammoth post, Crumb - I hope at least some of it is useful! As a last word, I would just like to say I really empathise with you when you say "I don't know how to give my son a life"... One of the hardest, hardest things about parenting is coming to terms with the fact that you can't 'give' your children a life: the best you can do is support them to deal with the difficulties they face, and make their own lives. smile

dramaqueen Sat 19-Oct-13 12:06:25

Cumb, I have a 12 yr old DS with dyspraxia in year 8. He finds life hard and we have spent many years working on his self esteem issues and all the associated problems he has. We could have easily found ourselves where you are if we hadn't had an early diagnosis.

I feel for your DS as his stress levels are no doubt high and he will be very scared right now. Year 7 for him will be a nightmare and he needs you to help and support him. He will be relying on the technology as a form of escape from the hell that his real world has become as it is an environment he can control and he will feel safe there. Withdrawing it will take away his safety net.

You need to start listening to him and spending time with him. You might not like what he has to say but hear him out and start helping him with strategies he can use. Get him referred and go into school to get them to start helping him.

SalaciousCrumb Sat 19-Oct-13 17:15:00

Flow I had technical difficulties just typed a long reply but my copy and paste didn't work!

Thank you for the advice. At the moment ds is at my mum's I have been at work all day. Unfortunately dh has banned him from the computer all weekend for telling to 'shut up' and saying he hates this friend. Will make it worse sad I will re-read your post. I am so tired and still upset. My nose still hurts from where he hit me. I just have to get my head round this dyspraxia stuff and re-read the report. ds does well academically and I feel primary school haven't been interested sad

I posted this in parenting and there are some ideas to get him into more physical activities.

drama I am lost at sea really, how are you working on your ds's self esteem issues? My ds felt relieved after the OT's report as there is an explanation for why he is like he is. I am being told by his tutor he is doing well and he would never know he has dyspraxia. I spend time with him every evening organising him. Our OT is going into the school this week to speak to them.

Control is the issue here. The friends on skype are used to him being low in the pecking order and don't like him trying to take more control sad now he's humiliated, angry and without any control sad

I am really grateful for the replies.

flow4 Sat 19-Oct-13 17:59:12

Of course you're upset, Crumb, it's awful to have any conflict with your child, and really appalling when it turns violent. I know; I have been there. sad You will feel shaken for a while, and your DS probably will too, despite bravado.

A computer ban for the weekend is absolutely fair enough, under the circumstances. A permanent ban would be wrong though, I think, for the reasons I outlined in my last post.

Be kind to yourself. And to your DS. You have a lot to take on board, and you don't have to do it all at once. smile

SalaciousCrumb Sun 20-Oct-13 05:07:22

Thank you Flow. I woke up at 3.30 and can't go back to sleep.

DS is very uncommunicative has been hiding away. After I found him rolled up in a blanket I said I made a mistake in not even asking him what happened and messed up. He replied with "yes you did." Can't tackle the ways of dealing with anger until he's more ready. He feels wretched at the moment.

He at least came and sat with us in the front room after that and snuggled up to dh while watching tv. He only really spoke to me to say he doesn't want to go to a Halloween party.... a rare invitation.

I said to him as well before bed, as you suggested, everything's new and we are getting used to what was said on the OT report and I need to help him. No response but I hope it will make him feel cared for.

We have so much to work through. He will not try anything new or go to any groups (he is good at creative writing, but just compares himself to a gifted and talented friend sad); as a family we need to introduce him to new experiences, with his agreement. He hated being on holiday; I've read it's a symptom of dyspraxia change is difficult for them. He's never liked change but the last 3 holidays he has hated and put the dampers on things with being unhappy/bored. I need to sit down with dh and sort out what we need to do. He won't go out of the door to a friend's house; of course without being able to ride a bike/scooter/skateboard/play football he is out of the loop and it holds no attraction for him.

Where is the special needs board? I found Educational Special Needs, but this is more social and emotional. Is that the right place?


flow4 Sun 20-Oct-13 08:43:00

There's a whole SN section in Talk, crumb. Here's the link to the SN teens board within it: My silly phone won't let me navigate between windows without losing everything I've typed, but there's another section on SN children, and lots more.

It might help to remember that, probably, he's not miserable because he's dyspraxic; he's miserable because he has been undiagnosed, and living with a disability without recognition or support. If you can help him get that, you can help transform many areas of his life. smile

flow4 Sun 20-Oct-13 09:03:51

Also, it is hard socially for boys who can't or don't like to ride bikes/scooters/skateboards/play football, but it's not impossible. My DS2 can do all these things, but doesn't enjoy them at all. He has been lucky enough to find a couple of like-minded friends, and instead they play computer games together, watch films, walk dogs (physical activity but no rules, no teams and no coordination required!), design things (from go-carts to imaginary worlds) and talk and talk and talk!

I often remind my boys that when you look from the outside, it seems like everyone else has lots of friends, especially if they are in teams, but really groups don't talk much and don't know each other well. Sometimes the most 'popular' kids seem the most insecure. In reality, each young person probably only has one or two friends they really like, and who likes them back... If you're an interesting, unusual person, the 'crowds' might not like you, but other interesting unusual people will, and in the end, you may not have a quantity of friendships, but you will have quality. smile

SalaciousCrumb Sun 20-Oct-13 09:38:59

Thanks Flow. It's a bit grim here this morning, he is very angry and resentful at dh for the computer ban, dh is angry with him for the disrespect, apparently my dad shouted at him yesterday because he threw scrabble tiles at his sister. He's refusing to go out or do anything but will look at his pokemon cards.

He was self-harming a while ago - banging his head - I found him doing that on the stairs just now sad so I've just sat next to him and acknowledged his feelings of how angry he's feeling. Hoping he comes down from all this, it's passed before

conkertheworld Sun 20-Oct-13 19:15:32


You are having a really awful time of it. Can you get out and have a drink with a friend, or go somewhere to reset your brain a bit? Have a long bath. Be kind to yourself.

I think perhaps all the adults in his life should discuss the extent of the problem and decide on a response to bad behaviour. Sanctions are very hard to impose at the best of times, but when everyone has different ideas, then it just becomes a mess.

I wouldn't feel that bad that you slapped him. It's not ideal, obviously, but it sounds like he hit you really hard and he needs to acknowledge how far over the line he stepped with that. That sort of behaviour can get him into enormous trouble. When some time has passed, he needs to apologise for this, properly and sincerely.

I don't know anything about dyspraxia so I don't know how much leeway he should be accorded for it. Maybe you could write down some house rules together? At 11 he should still go for this.

Good luck

SalaciousCrumb Mon 21-Oct-13 07:24:15

conker thank you smile

I definitely need the help of the school and my friend, the parent of the child my ds has said silly abusive things to.

He was awful yesterday morning, got argumentative and horrible about doing his homework so I said I've had enough you come to me if you need help and will do it. He's refused to do it but I'm out of patience so I've disengaged; he'll have to take the consequences.

Seemed to have some sort of effect as he became distracted by seeing dd playing with clay and joined in and my mum & dad came for a cuppa so visitors in the house was another distraction.

By the evening he was back to his lovely self smile and enjoyed watching the one show on bbciplayer grin said he was sorry for the way he's been past couple of days he knows I've been very upset too. I have to talk further about hitting me and think about what we need to do to help with anger management and talk to dh about avoiding our mistakes.

I've read the report for dyspraxia again and drawn myself a flow chart. It's just getting my head round it. Inset day today and dh is taking him to the doctor for neurological testing. if no neurological reason (cerebral palsy or something I suppose) or educational reason (no dyslexia and he is getting by educationally) the OT said Developmental Co-ordination Disorder (dyspraxia...) can be diagnosed. Now I've thought it through I am discussing it further on the special needs section, posting later. (thanks Flow for link).

Conker I don't know how much his behaviour is due to his condition or anger management. He has always had meltdowns from time to time the anger overwhelms him sad

mummytime Mon 21-Oct-13 08:56:37

I would take him to your GP and ask for a referral to CAMHS, especially in view of his historic self harm. Dyspraxia is often associated with ASD, and your son might benefit with you using some ASD type techniques whether or not he gets a diagnosis.

Social stories, and over explaining (in very strait forward, non-ambiguous and not asking for empathy terms) why his behaviour is not acceptable might help.

Does he get into trouble at school? Talking to the SENCO might help, and they may offer a program that could help him/you.

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