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Dealing with aggressive 12yo son

(25 Posts)
GloriousSlug Sat 20-May-17 16:56:01

My son is 12 yo and in yr 7, his behaviour is becoming unbearable and I'm at my wits end.

He has a general veneer of apathy punctuated by aggressive and increasingly violent outbursts.

He frequently tells his younger brother to fuck off, go away, leave me alone, etc and never has a nice word to say to him.

He is refusing to do his homework... I have confiscated his phone, unplugged the television and told him he is not allowed to play out until it's done but he still doesn't seem to care.

Today we were going to the supermarket, he got in the cat and then got out again, stating he didn't want to come. As I started driving away he ran back to the car and sulkily said he'd come with me seeing as he couldn't t watch TV or play out. I told him tough he'd have to stick to his decision and left him at home. He then went in the house and slammed doors, kicked walls and knocked pictures off the walls. My mum was in the house with him and she said she is getting scared of his behaviour.

I am so tired of constantly battling against him and trying to keep the peace in the house. It's getting to the point that I just don't want to be around him at all.

We're locked into a negative cycle and I don't know how to get out of it. Can it get better? I'd be interested to hear from others who have managed/are managing difficult children and very negative sibling relationships.

I'm terrified he is going to get into drugs, he is very keen to impress his peers and I don't think he would be able to resist peer pressure.

How do people deal with this??

racheyroo74 Sun 21-May-17 09:27:16

Hiya my daughter is 12 next week and since starting highschool last september (year 7) shes turned into a vile nasty child.

Im sure its only hormones her periods have started so i know that could be a mega factor but she speaks to me as if i was a piece of muck never listens and spends most of the time in her bedroom. Ive taken her phone and ipad off her in the hope she will at least spend time in the same room as myself and my hubby. Her attitude towards me is getting me down . She has a twin sister who shes turned against too.. I totally know how you are feeling.. Any advice i would be very grateful

toplizzy Sun 21-May-17 12:43:19

I have an 11 year old boy who went up too year seven at comp in Sept. he is constantly frustrated and blows up at the drop of a hat! He says he's constantly angry with everything! But doesn't know why! He is unpleasant to the rest of the family. I fed up with everything being negative and constant rows! Any advice on stroppy teens??? Please confused

MissBax Sun 21-May-17 12:45:22

Have you asked him why? We often say children / teens are off the rails or misbehaving but there's often a reason why!

GloriousSlug Sun 21-May-17 17:30:27

Sorry to hear others are going through this too, I didn't think things would get this bad while he's still so young.

I do try and speak to him but don't usually get much out of him. He think life is terribly unfair - why should he have to put his washing in the basket/be polite to his brother/do his homework when he just doesn't want to hmm

My mum spoke to him yesterday and told him he had scared her when he was crashing around the house kicking walls and stamping about, he showed no remorse and simply said it was because he was 'pissed off'.

We had a nice morning today, I cooked his favourite breakfast and drove him to a football match he was playing in... Everything seemed okay but then his team lost and it all went to shit. He kept shouting at me to leave him alone when I tried to say anything to him and didn't want to speak to me other than to ask for money to buy a hotdog.

I'm sure there are lots of things in his head that are making him unhappy, however, as much as I want to understand what is going on in his head, part of me thinks he should be able to control his temper and not swear at his brother and in front of my mum.

LionelMessy Sun 21-May-17 19:00:53

I have a similar frustrated 13 yo boy here.
I find phone iPad or ps4 gets him aggressive.
But I agree with OP going to supermarket in car ought not be a drama.
Huge credit for sticking to your word and not letting him back in car.
Only advice generally is try not let one kid ruin the say for whole family.
Listening for clues on his mind helps - but even though I force family to sit at dinner table at same time, often a grunt like a pig is most chat I get, lol

AlwaysHungryAlwaysTired Tue 23-May-17 11:07:40

Have you read 'Get Out Of My Life...But First Take Me & Alex Into Town'? I found it useful when my pre-teen DS entered this phase.

I have two boys and both have been through exactly this behaviour, between about 11 and 14, on and off. I think it's hormonal.

My best advice (just from personal experience, what worked for me) is to pick your battles. It can be totally exhausting for you dealing with emotional and aggressive behaviour; try to give him little excuse to behave in this way. When he starts it, walk away and give him time and space to calm down, rather than challenging him over every little thing. Make personal hygiene, mealtimes and NOT harming other people non-negotiable. Add 'please' and 'thank you' to the end of his sentences, but in a light-hearted way rather than as a nag/telling off. Let the smaller things, which in the end affect only him, like not tidying his room or not coming to the supermarket, go. My two both became HYPER-sensitive to anything they perceived as criticism. But for both of them, it was a phase. It didn't feel like it at the time, especially with the younger one. I despaired. But it seems to have passed.

Help your DD to see the warning signs and steer clear of her brother. Explain that hormones can make him unlike himself, unpredictable and possibly not nice to be around temporarily. She needs to keep herself out of harm's way as you might not always be there.

When your DS is having a calm moment, explain to him that you are worried about DD's safety when he gets upset and that you have asked her to keep away from him if he seems to be getting upset or angry. Tell him that you don't want him to feel lonely and he can always come and find you if he misses the company!

The book explains it really well. In order to grow up, young adults have to distance themselves from their parents. In order to allow your son to do that, you have to give him space while still basically being his cook, cleaner, taxi driver and emotional punchbag.

Good luck. x

toplizzy Tue 23-May-17 12:59:05

Wow! Thank you! There is light at the end of the tunnel! You have given me hope! Xxx

Wolfiefan Tue 23-May-17 13:01:00

Does he have hobbies? Sports help relieve stress and can be a coping mechanism for teens.

GloriousSlug Thu 25-May-17 21:16:08

Thank you for the book recommendation, I'll order it on Amazon tonight!

He's just had a huge tantrum which resulted in him pacing around his bedroom ranting loudly to himself "fucking twat, fucking twat, ruins everything, I hate her, wish she was dead, etc. etc."

This was trigger by one event and my reaction, hopefully you'll be able to give me some insight into how I can handle things better next time (please be gentle with me, I'm crap at this but I'm trying my best).

So today he decided he wanted to go to the gym with his cousins, I agreed but on the condition that he come straight home. He agreed to this no trouble and this morning I gave him the money for the gym. Fine.

He agreed to meet his cousins at 4.20, they live a five minute walk from the gym and the gym is about a mile from where we live.

I heard nothing from him, tried phoning at about 6.30 to make sure everything was okay. His phone was turned off.

Then spoke to his cousin's mum at about 7.30, she said he'd just left theor house so should be home soon. About 8pm I get a phone call from my son saying he's on his way home, waiting for a bus. I said why don't you walkt will be quicker, to which he says he hurt his ankle earlier. Fair enough. I say okay I'll see you soon (I had just put my youngest son to bed so couldn't leave the house).

He phones me 20 mins later saying he got on the wrong bus and is now about a mile away from home. I say okay I'll come and pick you up as my mum had popped round so could stay with the youngest.

He gets in the car and i ask why he didn't come straight home. He says his cousins asked him to come to their house. I said what about coming straight home like a told you to? He 'forgot' to come straight home, or to phone me to ask if he could stay out or even to have his phone turned on.

I told him that I had ended up waiting in the house when I had plans to go to the park with youngest son and also that I had been worried about him.

His only response was 'you knew where I was'.

I then told him as a consequence he would have to miss football training on Saturday and phone his coach and tell him.

He is currently on the phone to his dad slagging me off and saying that I've banned him from football, he doesn't want to live with me, etc.

GloriousSlug Thu 25-May-17 21:17:28

Sorry that was so long, any tips?

GloriousSlug Thu 25-May-17 21:30:42

Was I too heavy handed?

RedastheRose Thu 25-May-17 22:14:02

If he is given a treat and a condition that goes with that treat then failure to comply should result in a punishment and loosing out on his football seems a perfect way to do it. You must always follow through though. Do not back down and let him go on Saturday. If you change your mind you are telling him that the rules can be changed or manipulated to suit.

I do think, however, that you seem to be a bit over protective. At 12 years old I can't see why he had to come straight home rather than hang out with his cousins. In one way he was right, you did know where he was so the guilt trip about staying in was a bit unnecessary. Perhaps if you give him a little more freedom then he won't be quite so rebellious. It is very largely due to hormones at this age, he will have much less self control at the moment as the testosterone rushing through his body in unpredictable amounts will leave him sometimes quite bewildered himself as to why he's reacted in a certain way. Definitely don't take the 'I hate you' comments to heart he doesn't really it's just that you have taken away something that he really wants to do.

Do make sure you are appreciative and tell him when he is good or has done something well and not just critical when he's done something wrong. Positive reinforcement is as important as being consistent with punishments.

GloriousSlug Thu 25-May-17 23:03:57

Hmm yes fair point about knowing where he was. I suppose I am a bit over protective, we live in an inner city area with a lot of crime and drug dealing and I do worry that he might fall into that. I have seen it happen with older boys, dealers 'befriend' them and get them involved in all sorts of trouble.

But yes I could have taken my youngest son out as planned, it wouldn't have been the end of the world if my 12yo had come home and we weren't in, he could've probably gone to our neighbours house til we got back.

I had very overprotective parents so it's quite difficult to work out how much freedom to give my children.

Hmm hoping tomorrow will be better but I'm fairly sure he will be angry still about the football practice.

GloriousSlug Fri 26-May-17 13:43:46

Quick update...

Today he is like a different child!

Woke up fairly grouchy but I cooked us breakfast and we went into town (training day) and he's been really chatty and jokey... We haven't talked about last night but have had a lovely day so far in the sun smile

Parenting really is like being on a roller-coaster!

RedastheRose Fri 26-May-17 20:43:25

Glorious it really is. Glad you had a nice day.

saoirse31 Sat 27-May-17 01:07:48

If he's playing on team, not letting him go to football trg is unfair to team and coach. I'd think of other punishment. But also, can't see why he can't hang out with cousins

Travelledtheworld Sat 27-May-17 04:36:29

I agree with pp above.
He is testing the boundaries and trying to be Independent. He doesn't want to spend time with you and the rest of the family. Alone with his phone in bedroom is normal for many teenagers.
Pick your battles.
Don't sweat the small stuff. Set some basic rules and stick to them.
Step back.
Don't fuss about every little thing.

And keep him in sports at all costs it will help get rid of some of the aggression.

GloriousSlug Sat 27-May-17 10:19:54

He has not gone to training this morning but he remained in high spirits for the rest of the day and so far today!

Hmm yes I was unsure about using football as a punishment but it's one of the few things he is actually bothered about, he doesn't seem too bothered about any other sanctions.

Re. the cousins, I wouldn't have minded if he had phoned me to let me know he wanted to hang out with them. The issue in my mind was that I had told him to come straight home and he had ignored that and not even let me know where he was.

Yes I do need to become more adept at picking my battles, sometimes I'll admit that do just go down the route of 'bloody well do as you're told and don't argue!'. Not always helpful but I don't want to spend every conversation negotiating!

I will try and talk to him about it today and see if we can work out ways of both handling things better next time.

louiseaaa Sat 27-May-17 14:28:11

I think there may be some room in there for an agreement that if changes in plans occur ..... and who out of us hasn't popped out somewhere and then been out longer than planned? The rule in our house is to let Mum (You) know that he's been asked and is it ok? We worked out a code so that if he was asking, he just said where he was going and I replied - yes that's fire or - I've got a problem and need you home (He then did the face saving thing of Mum needs my help, guys, I;s better get home.

Another thing that I have said is that I will pick him (them I have two boys) up from wherever if they feel unsafe, no questions asked. I'd rather have them out of danger even if they don't want to talk about it with me, than in danger. Lessons will have been learned - even if I don't know about them until they want to talk about it.

12 is too young but you could start having conversations when the timing seems right

And I agree with what others have said about picking your battles, aggression in words and deed is never acceptable, my youngest has a drum kit where he takes himself off to get rid of frustrations, find something like that.... a punchbag in the garage perhaps?

Squeegle Sun 28-May-17 16:56:11

My son is very like this. He had been diagnosed with ADHD, but his terrible moodiness and aggression only seems to have arrived with puberty. Things I have found helped:
1) praise for doing things right (thanks for being on time, I appreciate that)
2) leaving him alone. Letting him eat meals alone etc when he is moody
3) making "i statements", i.e. "I love it when we all get on well and the house is calm", or "I don't like shouting in the morning" rag ether that "calm down", or "stop shouting".
4) leaving and saying to him why I'm leaving the room when he is aggressive "I'm leaving now because I am very upset because of your swearing"

Things are by no means perfect but I think they are improving gradually. I hope so anyway. It is such hard work! I do sympathise. He's also horrible to his sister. I didn't realise boys could be so hormone crazy!

Squeegle Sun 28-May-17 16:56:54

*rather than stop shouting etc

CloudPerson Sun 28-May-17 17:06:18

My son is like this, he has ASD/PDA (pathological demand avoidance - you might want to have a look at it, as so many children with this kind of profile can be helped with PDA strategies).
My top tip is to buy the book The Explosive Child by Ross Greene.
It works on the fact that all children will do well if they can't, and if you're experiencing behaviour outside the realms of normal, there is a reason behind it, usually lagging skills.
He also has another book called Lost in School, which I actually prefer, the methods described are easily transferred to home.

youarenotkiddingme Sun 28-May-17 17:06:30

I think what you have done re boundaries and sticking with the seems to be working if you've seen an improvement in behaviour.

When he's actually being nice is a great time to say how much this is better and you'd like to agree some rules - e.g. Checking in when he's out etc.

MaisyPops Sun 28-May-17 17:09:17

Absolute admiration for you sticking to your guns OP. It's tough and sounds so difficult but giving him boundaries now will help him later.

I see kids at 15,16 who have been allowed to control their house environment and get away with shit and their options are much narrower than those who had tough love.

1.Well done for sticking to your guns.
2. Speak to his dad. You both have to absolutely be on the same page and dad should be telling him 'you are not rude to me about your mother'
3. Lots of praise from doing good things
4. If he's in a foul mood then ignore him.and carry on doing lovely things with the other kids. He doesn't set the mood in the house.
5. He misbehaves, he gets a punishment or something he likes taken away (and he can't earn it back easily. If he was awful on Wednesday, he can't earn Saturday football back by doing the pots Friday night)

If it helps OP I've talked to some parents this year through work. Some of them have been in tears worried about their 12/13 year old boys acting like this. The main thing is that you aren't alone and with consistency and firm boundaries and love most kids come out the other side.

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