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At our wits end... please help with 11 year old son.

47 replies

BG · 27/07/2012 12:55

When I asked DH what was wrong last night and he said he was depressed about our sons behaviour, I realized that I am too, so I decided to come here for help.

Three days before the end of term my son stole his teachers phone. He was asked to empty his bag and claimed someone had planted it there. He came home and told me the same story. DH rang the school to be told his teacher saw him take it out of his bag and put it on the floor. He finally confessed and was made to write a letter to his teacher and headmistress which he did. I think we both cannot get over it because about 6 months before that he went onto the Apple website and ordered £5,000 worth of kit. If Apple had not called me to verify such a large order we would be homeless. He said he did it because he was angry that we shouted at him for not doing his homework.

He is becoming increasingly sullen, insolent and obnoxious and tells me that he has human rights and he could call the police or childline should we do anything to him. We are at our wits end...Please can anyone give me some advice on how to deal with this?

OP posts:
Olympia2012 · 27/07/2012 12:59

Gosh, he's starting early!

Anymore stealing then I would inform the police! It may scare him into stopping. What could be bothering him?

I would hand him the phone to call childline. But why dies he think you would 'do something to him'?

pictish · 27/07/2012 13:03

Yes...hand him the phone and tell him "It's 08001111 son....and just incase you didn't catch that it's give them a bell you thieving little toerag...go on!"

Wee shite. He needs bringing down a peg or three.

Numberlock · 27/07/2012 13:05

What punishment did he get for the £5000 Apple incident, BG, and what sanctions have you imposed for stealing the phone?

imnotmymum · 27/07/2012 13:07

Agree with pictish and do think something must be bothering him but ordering stuff because you shouted at him> Is there anything you aware of at home or elsewhere he is picking up on?

ANTagony · 27/07/2012 13:09

Mine aren't quite as old, eldest is 8, so I'm not really qualified to advise based on experience but my gut instinct was to suggest calling your community policeman and asking if they could pop in for tea and a chat some time, full uniform and talk to your DS about how he's approaching an age of adult responsibility and wouldn't necessarily be treated as a child by the courts.

How did you manage the aftermath of the apple order? How does your DS cope/ react with punishment and reward?

Is he acting out, in a rather extreme way, being one of the big ones in a small pool at junior school and the big fish at secondary will soon be helping put him in his place?

BG · 27/07/2012 13:35

Thanks for the quick replies, I am working so just trying to keep an eye on the thread.

He is an only, much wanted child. He has had most of what he wanted from day one, maybe thats the problem. The only punishment that hurts is no internet/no computer and no xbox, so that's what he gets. It kills him more if he doesn't know for how long, so we don't tell him. In his 11 years I have smacked him maybe 5 times, so he has nothing to fear. I try to avoid violence as my mother was violent with me and I don't think it is the answer. But I do get very shouty!

OP posts:
imnotmymum · 27/07/2012 13:38

5 times Confused, shouty, not telling how long, maybe you all need to sit down as a family and set some rules and regs

TangoSierra · 27/07/2012 13:42

Oh I am sorry that you are having difficulties. No real advice, but my ds has just bought himself £50 of microsoft points via my bank account. So you are not alone.
Ds didn't know you had to pay for them Hmm
My card has to be linked to the account, and he was fiddling about and thought, this is fun. Thank god I noticed. He is extremely remorseful and we are off to his bank account today to pay me back. Lesson learned. He is a very very young 12.

NoComet · 27/07/2012 13:49

I've smacked DD way more than 5 times, shout and send her to her room for random amounts of time.
Often I totally forget she's thereBlush

She's 11, neither she nor her 14 y sister would contemplate behaving like that.

Both the OPs DS's actions are attention seeking in a massive way.

They are not a normal reaction to Mummy is a bit bad tempered with me and doesn't let me get my own way.

Something is really upsetting him and she needs to find out what.

BG · 27/07/2012 14:12

Yes I have talked quietly to him about the consequences of his actions, about the legal age of criminal responsibility. He generally takes his punishment without too much trouble when he knows how long it will be. If he doesn't know he becomes extra specially nice till he gets what he wants.

OP posts:
Redwinekeepsmesane · 27/07/2012 14:17

I have a 12 year old who I sometimes struggle to understand. When his behaviour deteriorates we take x box phone pc away but always let him know how long for so he understands. The worse the behaviour the longer the ban !! When he has been banned I get him to help me with jobs around the house. This means his time gets filled , I get help, he understands there's more of life than gaming and gives us a chance to just chat and get to the bottom of things. Works sometimes !! HTH.

lastnerve · 27/07/2012 14:28

Hmm I agree perhaps their is something more here,

how is he day to day?

imnotmymum · 27/07/2012 14:34

Maybe try spending some quality time as a family this Summer . Do you do some activities together I know he gets hat he wants but does he get time sounds a bit attention seeking toddler type ant attention better than none. If he is especially nice he gets what he wants really not teaching him a lesson he is going to be a man one day and this manipulative behaviour needs to be stopped.

BG · 27/07/2012 15:29

Yes, quality time might be something. We have a business and so its full on for 6 days a week. We will not even get a holiday this year. During the school holidays he has friends around some days but they play computer and xbox games and don't tend to go out even when the weather is nice.

I do try to get him to eat with us in the evening but if he has a choice he would rather eat next to the computer.

We have found that he is getting up after we have gone to bed to play with friends so have resorted to switching the internet off at night to stop him doing it.

Its just a total mess.

OP posts:
imnotmymum · 27/07/2012 15:32

Well there your problem. You need to make family time. NEED to. You are drifting away and pull your family back together. It is a cry for help, I know times are difficult and running a business is hard but remember this much wanted boy. It may seem silly but put it in the diary. Family time.

BellaVita · 27/07/2012 15:37

BG, I feel your pain.

Whilst DS2 (12) he has not done anything as serious as ordering ££££ of stuff or stealing from a teacher, he has done some pretty horrendous things... And I find it truly exhausting.

DH and I sit here sometimes and ask each other what/where did we go wrong? DS1 (15) has never behaved in such a manner.

What works for us is grounding as Ds2 likes to be out all the time, we then give him extra jobs to do around the house.

I would, certainly reinforce that your son eats with you on an evening and I would limit the Internet access to say 2 hours on a morning and 2 in the evening.

Numberlock · 27/07/2012 15:38

I do try to get him to eat with us in the evening but if he has a choice he would rather eat next to the computer

Don't give him the choice. Meals are eaten together; it's not up for discussion.

So I think some give and take on both sides here. You will cut down on work to do some stuff together; in return he will eat with you as a family and stick to the XBox rules (not coming down after bed-time etc)
I would then review the behaviour after you've done this for a few weeks.

By the family, the family stuff doesn't have to always be the 3 of you (mum, dad and son). If work prohibits this, he will benefit equally from time with each parent individually.

ivykaty44 · 27/07/2012 15:39

firmly explain that even parents have human rights and if he goes against you again you will the ones calling parent line and the police.

Make it clear his choices will have consequences that are like a pebble being thrown in the water the ripple effect is as great as the actual action.

keep the chat to no more than 5 minutes

(after 5 minutes 11 years olds switch off and therefore you may as well talk to the wall paper)

ivykaty44 · 27/07/2012 15:41

BG - does your ds have hobbies outside the house? Does he do any sport? from table tennis to volley ball or swimming etc?

BellaVita · 27/07/2012 15:43

Oh and Ds2 once said to me....

"I hate it when you drag me round everywhere, I am going to call Childline" - I told him to go right ahead and inform them that because of his behaviour he has to go everywhere with mum because he can no longer be trusted! That stopped him in his tracks.

Olympicnmix · 27/07/2012 15:49

Imo the root of your problem is right there

  1. full on business so you don't do stuff together as a family

  2. The internet babysitter. Seriously get rid of it. A radical step maybe but racking up a 5k bill and stealing from a teacher are big alarm bells.
fluffiphlox · 27/07/2012 15:57

So he was much longed for and now you (and his father?) spend six days a week at work, don't eat as a family, dont have a holiday, have smacked him yet given him all the material things, give undefined punishments, get shouty...
I'm starting to feel a bit sorry for him. If it wasn't for the fact he'd STOLEN something, which is never acceptable and will be something he will be remembered for doing by all his peers, forever.
I think you need to spend time together, he is only 11, after all and you are a family, and what I've read here doesn't sound much like a family I'd like to be part of. I'm not unsympathetic to you, but I think you need to spend less time on the business and more on your son.

dixiechick1975 · 27/07/2012 16:01

TBH I am suprised that the sanction from school was so light. Theft is serious and he is over the age of criminal responsibility (10 assuming you are in England).

If he had stolen most peoples phones they would have called the police which could have had serious implications for his future.

BG · 27/07/2012 16:02

Yes I think there is something in the time issue but I think its also pure greed. He went on and on for an Iphone so we got him a 2nd hand one off ebay, I think it was a 3G? But he wanted a 4GS and I think that's why he stole from the teacher.

We moved here so that we could run a business part time between us so that he would not be a latchkey kid and there would always be someone home. But about 4 years ago our staff member left and financially we had no choice but to do it all ourselves.

We are constantly harrassed and tired too, which makes it easy to give in if you know what I mean.

He was going to call childline because he didn't eat his lunch and I refused to let him have a cake in the afternoon. I suppose I am starving him too!

OP posts:
imnotmymum · 27/07/2012 16:11

And he knows you will give in BG come on do some parenting. Surely you can find time.

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