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How the hell do I manage this behaviour?

209 replies

Workyticket · 24/07/2022 21:15

We (me, dh and ds 10) are currently on holiday in a fab hotel but I'm on edge and so upset tonight

Ds is the absolute apple of my eye, I adore him and throw praise and attention at him. He's generally loving and polite but he's developed this horrible snipey streak towards me and it's uncharacteristically getting me down

He must have criticised / sniped at me literally dozens of times today and yesterday
-mam can't sing, there's literally nobody worse
-you can't throw the ball straight / you're literally rubbish / you're the worst thrower / you can't even catch (in the pool)
-mam is the worst dancer / everyone is a better dancer than mam
-mam chose the worst sun beds / put the towels on wrong

It sounds ridiculous - and I feel childish for being upset but it feels constant

I've sat him down and told him it's hurtful, given him time out, taken his tech. He apologies, acts sorry, tells me he loves me then literally the next thing out of his mouth is negative towards me

I'm a teacher - known for not going a pushover and for having a handle on discipline. Ds is usually a good lad. He's always erred on the negative side whixh we're trying to steer him away from but it's another level this week

Not sure why I'm posting but dh is having a cool bath and ds is snoring in the bed next to mine looking angelic and I'm feeling emotional

Please help me rescue the holiday and my relationship with ds

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Am I being unreasonable?

AIBU

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shropshire11 · 24/07/2022 21:17

I’m sorry to hear this. You’re doing the right thing by being consistent. He has to learn that a bit of directness is fine, but relentless sass and disrespect isn’t.

Is there a deeper frustration underlying that is causing him to act out?

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DarcyBlue · 24/07/2022 21:18

How does your husband talk about you and to you?

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Buddingbudlia · 24/07/2022 21:21

Have you asked him why he's becoming like this? That's where I'd start.
He's also wanting to experience a bit more independence and to be treated a bit more like a grown up at that age.
Get him to make decisions like where to put the sunbeds etc
Let him lead on what he wants to do rather than force him to play ball games etc

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Workyticket · 24/07/2022 21:25

shropshire11 · 24/07/2022 21:17

I’m sorry to hear this. You’re doing the right thing by being consistent. He has to learn that a bit of directness is fine, but relentless sass and disrespect isn’t.

Is there a deeper frustration underlying that is causing him to act out?

Not that I know of, he's not got a care in the world and we've had no changes or anything recently

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Grapewrath · 24/07/2022 21:26

He’s trying to communicate something here and I very much doubt it’s a reflection of how he feels about you.
Are you very self critical or is your DH critical of you? If not I’d say he’s seeking a connection with you- he’s making comments about you knowing they trigger you and then he is your biggest focus (even negative attention is good). Are you very busy? It might be helpful to have more scheduled one to one time with him doing positive things.
As for the comments- I’d breeze over them and de personalise them ie ‘little Johnny we don’t say unkind things’ and move on.

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Yourheartwillleadyouhome · 24/07/2022 21:28

Maybe throw praise and attention at him when he behaves well and walk away when he's being rude?

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Workyticket · 24/07/2022 21:28

DarcyBlue · 24/07/2022 21:18

How does your husband talk about you and to you?

He's not the most openly complimentary but certainly doesn't put me down or point out my faults

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Hotenoughtoburnasausage · 24/07/2022 21:28

Maybe an outright talk about not hurting other people's feelings and being more respectful?

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sheepandcaravan · 24/07/2022 21:29

He's trying to tell you something.

Is DH his dad? Is he spending time elsewhere?

And what's his social media, tech usages, are you checking it all.

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Workyticket · 24/07/2022 21:31

Buddingbudlia · 24/07/2022 21:21

Have you asked him why he's becoming like this? That's where I'd start.
He's also wanting to experience a bit more independence and to be treated a bit more like a grown up at that age.
Get him to make decisions like where to put the sunbeds etc
Let him lead on what he wants to do rather than force him to play ball games etc

I have, he says he doesn't know

I sneaked out at half 7 to grab sun loungers and grab a coffee while the boys were both still snoring

Oh how I wish I was forcing him - he begs us to throw the ball - he's like a puppy! I was actually quite enjoying it until the shit talk started 😔 I ploughed on and have thrown that bloody ball for about 4 hours on and off today 🙈

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Seeline · 24/07/2022 21:31

What does his Dad say when he speaks to you like that?

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Seeline · 24/07/2022 21:33

Workyticket · 24/07/2022 21:31

I have, he says he doesn't know

I sneaked out at half 7 to grab sun loungers and grab a coffee while the boys were both still snoring

Oh how I wish I was forcing him - he begs us to throw the ball - he's like a puppy! I was actually quite enjoying it until the shit talk started 😔 I ploughed on and have thrown that bloody ball for about 4 hours on and off today 🙈

Well that's easy,
Mum, will you play catch?
Oh DS you know I can't catch/throw/I'm the worst at that. I don't think it's a good idea. I'll just read my book.

Etc

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OhGoodnessItsSoExhausting · 24/07/2022 21:33

Aw OP :( sorry you are experiencing this :(

I think it's just a phase they go through a bit at that age. But maybe you've got yourself into a viscous circle, where he feels you are not pleased with him, so he takes his hurt out on you, which makes you more upset by him, which makes him take his hurt more out on you etc ...

Avoid any 'you've ruined the holiday' talk. Spend tomorrow telling him how much you love him, buy him an ice cream, have some 1:1 chats, a swim together, take an interest in what he's doing etc... really help him feel loved and valued.

If the behaviour persists, you could try using humour?.. my boys both say things to put me down sometimes, like 'mummys got a big belly', 'mummy can't play computers'. So I just use humour to defuse it :) Eg. 'Ah thank you! I've worked really hard to get this belly, not easy having to eat all that cake!' or I turn the comment on its head and pretend I heard the opposite - Me: 'oh thank you for saying mummy is great at computers. I am the best in the family', DS: 'no mummy I said you are rubbish', Me: 'oh thank you sweety, I know you think I'm great at computers, you are so kind, you don't have to keep saying it 😀', DS: 'no I said you were rubbish' Me: 'rubbish? That's code for great isn't it! Thanks again but no need to keep complimenting me..' etc..

Just have fun and don't take it personally, humour tends to work for my boys! ...

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Workyticket · 24/07/2022 21:34

Grapewrath · 24/07/2022 21:26

He’s trying to communicate something here and I very much doubt it’s a reflection of how he feels about you.
Are you very self critical or is your DH critical of you? If not I’d say he’s seeking a connection with you- he’s making comments about you knowing they trigger you and then he is your biggest focus (even negative attention is good). Are you very busy? It might be helpful to have more scheduled one to one time with him doing positive things.
As for the comments- I’d breeze over them and de personalise them ie ‘little Johnny we don’t say unkind things’ and move on.

When I'm not at work he's my absolute priority. I've always enjoyed his company and I'm devastated that I've been resentful of him the last few days

We read together, play cards, board games, footy etc together. We're usually a real team - the 3 of us together or just me and ds

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Seeline · 24/07/2022 21:34

Similarly - Mum these are the worst sun beds.

Oh dear DS - collect up your things, we'll go back to the room instead.

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Workyticket · 24/07/2022 21:36

sheepandcaravan · 24/07/2022 21:29

He's trying to tell you something.

Is DH his dad? Is he spending time elsewhere?

And what's his social media, tech usages, are you checking it all.

Yes, dh is his dad. No issues there. He's usually quite evenly a mummy's boy / daddy's boy

Dh seems flavour of the holiday despite not playing as much as me etc.

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ClaudiusTheGod · 24/07/2022 21:37

You should have walked away and told him to occupy himself instead of showing him that you will take as much rudeness as he’s willing to dole out. He should be respectful towards his mother. Is he speaking like this to his father?

Nip this in the bud now or he’ll think it’s fine to treat you and other women like this.

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mathanxiety · 24/07/2022 21:37

This requires punishment doled out by your DH.

DH needs to inform DS in no uncertain terms that disrespectful speech directed at you will result in immediate consequences for DS and he needs to follow through. Maybe a verbal bollocking would do the trick.

When you get home, DH needs to work at chores around the house with DS, with the goal of DS taking on chores by himself. Children who are rude and disrespectful toward their mother usually look down their noses at women's work in the home. They also tend to have low self esteem. You can tackle both problems by having DS learn to carry his weight at home.

DH needs to make a point of praising you, praising your cooking, care of the home, your appearance, your work outside the home, etc.

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Workyticket · 24/07/2022 21:38

Seeline · 24/07/2022 21:31

What does his Dad say when he speaks to you like that?

He's had a chat with him - it seems to work then literally the next thing he says is negative

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Grapewrath · 24/07/2022 21:41

Op if there are no other issues it’s probably just him heading into the teenage stage where they have real mixed emotions towards their parents and start finding them a bit cringey but don’t really know what to do with it.
Just breeze over the comments as much as possible imo and let him have that outlet. Keep the lines of communication open and be curious like when he’s in a better place explore it with him eg ‘little Johnny you seemed a bit angry earlier when you said xyz, I wonder what was going on for you?’ Or ‘little Johnny earlier when we were playing you were quite unkind- can you remember what triggered that’. Support him to understand his emotions and where to et are coming from in order to better manage them. Even if he says he does t know, encouraging the explanation will have him thinking about it at least

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Workyticket · 24/07/2022 21:42

Thank you - some lovely advice here which I'll throw into place 2m.

I'll get dh on board with praising and being positive about me (he's lovely but not very verbal with these things so it'll help him too)

I think.i may well be reading my book a lot tomorrow

I really hoped to throw loads of time at ds and would happily throw the ball as long as he wanted but there's no chance I'm putting up with constant put downs

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NuffSaidSam · 24/07/2022 21:42

I'd try coming back directly to each point.

mam can't sing, there's literally nobody worse

But I enjoy it! (And sing louder)

-ou can't throw the ball straight / you're literally rubbish / you're the worst thrower / you can't even catch (in the pool)

Ok, would you prefer we stop then?

mam is the worst dancer / everyone is a better dancer than mam

I'm quite a good dancer actually! Let's see your moves if you think you're so much better!

mam chose the worst sun beds / put the towels on wrong

It was these sunbeds or none. Which would you prefer?

Or

Ok, I'll wake you at 7am tomorrow and you can get the sunbeds.

Don't let it go. Challenge him each time.

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LondonWolf · 24/07/2022 21:45

My children are told firmly not to speak to me like that. It is made very clear that that kind of sneery spite will result very quickly in the nice things I do for them being withdrawn and they know I mean it. I don't ignore it or brush it off,

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RedRobyn2021 · 24/07/2022 21:45

I agree with @Grapewrath

Sounds like he needs connection and time one-on-one with you to me

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twordle · 24/07/2022 21:46

My DD went thru this stage.. I think it's quite common, part of them separating from their mothers as they head into adolescence. They have to hate us for a bit in order to detach.. try not to take it personally, repeatedly pull him up on it but dont let him see it's bothering you & pull back a bit from him.. it's not nice (especially on holiday) but it will pass. My DD now tells me she loves me all the time & laughs at the things I do that are 'cringe' instead of making snipey comments. I've heard the closer they are to you as children the tougher the detachment stage is, so maybe take some comfort from that!

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