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Preteen ruining family life - aargh help! Lengthy rant!

15 replies

confuseddotcomm · 26/05/2012 10:03

We've got 4 boys, age 4-11. The eldest one has turned into a nightmare since starting secondary school. He won't do anything we ask him to do, steals, lies (he's been doing that for a while though). When challenged over stealing he gets very angry. We obviously give consequences for unacceptable behaviour such as stealing, hitting his brothers. However he's now realised we can't physically make him do something he doesn't want to do, ie go to bed, go to school, go on a family trip. The disrespect, anger etc we can deal with but its now affecting the whole family. Ie, i was taking them all out for a trip and cos it was somewhere he didn't want to go he refused to get in the car. Now, if he was a 2 year old i'd have put him in the car but he's as big as me so its not an option. Therefore we were unable to go out as he's not old enough to be left alone for a long period and i doubt that the house would still be standing uf i had have done! I feel for the other kids as they missed out on their treat. We try to vary what we do so each gets to do something they like but there's no reasoning with the eldest. We can't split them up and do differwnt things as i'm on my own with them a lot if the time.

Also, i'm concerned as to the impact his behavior will have on the others, ie, the swearing, anger, disrespect. They see us give consequences but i'm worried that they'll start copying his bevaviour, the 4 year old is already saying 'i don't care'.

Please, please advise. We've tried ignoring the bad behavior but then he starts attacking his brothers (trying to push them downstairs) as he knows we'll intervene.

OP posts:
robotcornysilk · 26/05/2012 10:04

how long has he been behaving like this for? Is he actually refusing to go to school or does he go with a lot of hassle?

confuseddotcomm · 26/05/2012 10:42

It started when he went to secondary school and has got steadily worse. He's not being bullied and is doing okay. He likes school but refused to go, i think he's just refusing to do anything we say to state his independence and growing up if you see what i mean. My husband was able to put him in the car and took him into school but i can't do that. We have a meeting being arranged with the school, cahms etc

OP posts:
robotcornysilk · 26/05/2012 11:54

do you think there may be an underlying difficulty? (youngminds is a good website for help and advice BTW). My ds was a school refuser for a while due to his needs not being recognised (and therefore not met) within school - you have my sympathy - it's really tough

confuseddotcomm · 26/05/2012 12:07

I don't think its anything other than a pre-teen thing and asserting himself. Its how to handle it and limit the disruption to everyone else :(

OP posts:
saulaboutme · 31/05/2012 11:30

so sorry to hear things are like this in your house. Is dad around? I always try to remember what it ws like in our house when we were growing up and how my parents dealt with us, my dad was a nonsense kind of guy and my mum dealt with things in a stern way. When I'm in disapline mode I turn into my dad. He may be trying to be top dog in the house and this is maybe how he thinks it's done? Pre teendom is no fun I've discovered...try to talk to him and maybe banishing afew luxuries may do the trick?

AdventuresWithVoles · 07/06/2012 01:17

What was the outing, was it definitely something you'd expect him to like to do? I have been there-done that with DS1, but at least I feel comfortable leaving him at home for spells, so doesn't have to tie us all down every time.

CeliaFate · 07/06/2012 15:51

If dd had done that, I would have told her the consequences of her actions and stuck to it.
Eg, "dd if you refuse to get in the car, you are being selfish and spoiled. It's not all about you, your siblings are looking forward to going and you are making this really stressful. These are your options. 1) get in the car and we'll have a good day out. 2) refuse to get in the car, we have a miserable time at home and you will lose all treats/privileges/electronic devices for a week. You will not hold us to ransom. We will not miss out because of your tantrums. If you do this again, the consequences will be more severe."

Stepmumm · 08/06/2012 09:28

Thanks cella, thats useful advice. I don't think he's getting enough consequences for his bad behaviour.

Stepmumm · 08/06/2012 09:29

Ps what would you do that is more severe?

Catsdontcare · 08/06/2012 09:40

If you are certain that there are no underlying issues then I would go with some real tough love, his room would be cleared of all his belongings and privalages revoked until they are earnt back but I admit I'm a bit hard hearted!

savoycabbage · 08/06/2012 09:49

I once knew a patent who stripped everything from their teenagers room. Bed base, duvet cover and even the door.

Catsdontcare · 08/06/2012 09:51

Ooh the door too! (makes notes)

CeliaFate · 08/06/2012 10:57

Anything that would punish him iyswim - if he loves football, ban it for a week.
If he goes to clubs after school, they're banned. Sweets, crisps, etc. gone.

Tough love here too - they're physically too big to manhandle so you have to hit 'em where it hurts Grin by taking away things they love.

They can earn things back during the course of the punishment to reinforce that if you are good you get nice stuff, if you're not you don't.

swanthingafteranother · 10/06/2012 23:05

I have a screechy temperamental 12 year old, just started secondary etc.
We are trying two tactics:

speaking very politely and respectfully to him, trying not to shout that sort of stuff, asking for his help, appealing to his "better" self, descriptive praise, confidence building

AS WELL as setting firm boundaries, insisting that he do x before he gets to do y (put laundry in basket, plates in dw, shower when we ask him to, take rubbish out)

We had an incident recently where he refused to go to Brighton for the day with his Dad and siblings. I was able to call his bluff and just not go, leaving the others to go. He was absolutely crestfallen when they returned, having had a lovely time - I think he realised what an idiot he was to have stayed at home. So I suppose you could try testing him on another occasion when he has no "power" as it leaving him with friend whilst you go and do something really fun, on basis that he doesn't want to join you, as he didn't want to "last time" I think he might soon get message.

Basically he is controlling you all by his bad behaviour atm, and so you need in the short term to limit the power he has to annoy and disrupt your plans.
So if he doesn't go to school, fine, but no telly no computer, nothing to do all day. The less concern you show over his behaviour the less power he has over you by misbehaving ifysim.

Also, read How To Talk So Children Listen. Very good for trying to get positive response from teens. Start with involvement, then move onto discipline, rather than taking line that he MUST OBEY YOU and TOE LINE. That follows on from him feeling you are on side, and then he will want to obey you, or be secretly glad to have you setting firm boundaries, rather than feeling you are against him.

Bubby64 · 18/06/2012 16:21

In a similar situation (without the stealing part) with both my 11 almost 12yr olds, and so glad I am I am not alone!! taking in all advice given here.
I take everything off them, I have taken one of the bedroom door of one off its hinges (he had broken it anyway so it shut and he was trapped inside!) I have at the moment several bruises from where one was hitting me on Saturday, all because I dared to ban TV or Xbox until he had tidied his room and put washing away. The other is as good as gold whilst twin is playing up, then he starts playing up later, but not in the physical way- he shouts/screams and slams doorrs repeatedly. Our neighbours must love us at the moment, it is often sounding like World War 3 in the house!

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