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I am too mean a parent

(13 Posts)
SidandAndyssextoy Mon 10-Feb-14 12:43:34

I was just reading the thread in Chat about the parents in Outnumbered, in which people are saying that they show lots of love to their kids. I don't think we show enough love to DS (11) and I don't know how to change it. He is full on sulky, whiny, resentful and basically fairly like lots of kids his age. We have battles over his hygiene, chores, homework etc. He's basically a good kid but presses our buttons like crazy, and when that happens we end up having rows. I hate this and feel dreadful afterwards, and will apologise if I've obviously gone over the top, but it feels like we're virtually permanently at loggerheads, and we're only at the start of this. We hug him whenever things are calm, and try to talk to him, but I remember how out of control I felt as a teenager, and I think at times when he's trying to push us to see if we're 'there' for him, we're just not.

MurielHeslopp Mon 10-Feb-14 14:39:10

Do you show optimum enthusiasm for his interests?
Just a thought but at that age I was a very huffy, button pusher. I feel it was because my parents, although caring, never really had much interest in what I liked to do or take me anywhere I might like to go as a family kind of thing.

yourlittlesecret Mon 10-Feb-14 17:35:20

presses our buttons like crazy, and when that happens we end up having rows
Well it sounds as though you are reacting like a teenager. Try reading "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff".
Make more time for fun, don't battle unless it really matters. If he wants to be dirty, let him, it really doesn't matter.
Try to compromise over time spent on chores or homework, don't criticise if it's not perfect.

SidandAndyssextoy Mon 10-Feb-14 17:54:23

Thanks. I suspect we don't pay enough attention to his interests as it's mostly Minecraft, which makes my brain die. We do talk to him about what he's reading and he reads a lot.

I do need to let go of stuff. But he won't do any homework at all or lift a finger unless something is said. I need a better balance. He also likes to be painfully literal which starts pointless arguments and I need to learn to ignore that. Sigh.

SidandAndyssextoy Mon 10-Feb-14 18:08:43

I should say on the homework that he is only year 6 and gets minimal (less than an hour) homework every week. We are trying to get him into the habit of doing it so that year 7 doesn't hit like a ton of bricks, but have already told him we're not going to stand over him every night once he starts secondary.

yourlittlesecret Mon 10-Feb-14 18:22:37

I found at that homework at primary school was always tricky to enforce, and you may not be able to back off when he starts secondary (I needed to get involved up to about age 13/14).
Try using a sense of humour and negotiation, permanent nagging is soul destroying for him and for you.
What are the chores? Do you have other DC?
Could you compromise on how much he has to do if he in turn promises to do it nicely?
It may sound as though I'm a pushover but I don't think my DSs would agree.

SidandAndyssextoy Mon 10-Feb-14 18:34:43

Chores are minimal. He makes his own bed once a fortnight, tidies the living room once a week, makes his own sandwich every morning and feeds the cats every evening. He also helps to sort the laundry and is sometimes asked to do a small amount of washing up. In return he gets pocket money and computer time. He is also meant to do them with good grace. He has two siblings but they are much younger. Our two year old is asked to tidy up and help set the table. The baby leads a life of leisure so far!

chocoluvva Tue 11-Feb-14 15:05:52

I'd give him a ton of praise for making his own sandwiches. Perhaps we have low standards in the choco household, but I'd be astonished if my 14 and 17YO managed that more than two days in a row (the 17YO can barely get herself to school in time even when she has a late start). Tell him you're proud of him for that.

IME you have to let go of a lot of the small things as they become teens or everyone in the household will have a hard time. Pick your battles and all that. Ignore his huffing and puffing as much as you can.

I sometimes I feel I don't share many interests with my DS too - x-box, skateboarding, football, minecraft. (although we do have share a similar hobby). As he's got older he's more interested in current affairs and tv that all the family enjoys so it's become easier.

yourlittlesecret Tue 11-Feb-14 15:19:19

A two year old and a baby are cute and tough competition for an 11 year old boy I think. perhaps it's not just his age that has brought about this behaviour.
Agree with chocco as well that when they get a little older and no longer feel the need to share so much detail about minecraft they can be more interesting. Until then you have to pretend to be fascinated by minecraft.
Low standards here as well because my 18 and 15 year olds would struggle to make pack up. I work on the principle that they need to know how to cook and clean and do chores but I don't enforce them rigidly.

JeanSeberg Tue 11-Feb-14 15:22:34

Make time to do things with him on his own without his siblings; depending on finances an afternoon out, an evening at the cinema followed by a meal, a weekend away.

Encourage him to have friends round.

He sounds like a good kid.

SidandAndyssextoy Tue 11-Feb-14 15:25:19

Haha. We only started the sandwich making because I read stuff on here about what chores kids did and lots of people said their kids made up packed lunches. Everything he needs is set out for him so he only has to assemble it!

We had a good conversation last night about the book he's reading, and I sat on myself twice about small things, which did help.

SidandAndyssextoy Tue 11-Feb-14 15:28:45

We do those things, Jean, especially the friends round. This weekend just gone he went to the cinema with a friend (with the friend's parents), he went to two parties and had a friend over for dinner and Minecraft. We've done stuff with just him when we can. It does sometimes feel though that the moment the fun stops, he reverts to sulk, which can be infuriating when we've spent a day with loads of treats and then five minutes after we're home he is acting like a downtrodden serf for being asked to hang his coat up!

chocoluvva Tue 11-Feb-14 17:01:57

My sympathies re the minecraft by the way. Very boring IMO.

(Just remembered the time that DD's boyfriend told her he'd been "being creative". There would be a surprise for when she called round later. The 'surprise' turned out to be a Minecraft wall with a cressellated top that read 'I love you'. grin)

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