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I am beside myself.....please HELP

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Guys, I dont know what to do anymore!!! My son(12 y/o) is having some major issues, and he is SOOO hard to deal with! He constantly picks on my daughter, argues with me, just every day its SOMETHING! I know that hes got a lot on his plate....I mean getting ready to start 7th grade(scary, I know) Hes never really had a "dad" in his life........his dad is a worthless POS and another story.....hes never really "bonded" with my DH for some reason, and my dad passed away almost 2 yrs ago and that was like the only MAN he was close to...so I know hes dealing with all that. But I am to the point that I cant take it anymore!! I love him so very much, but hes pushing me to a point of either a nervous break down or something!! I mean he wont hardly hang out with his friends anymore....its just UGGHH!

I really need some advice/help! Thank you guys.....
post #2 of 17
I guess I need a bit more background info.

I'm a special education teacher, and I've worked with a lot of different kids, with a lot of different issues. Most of the children I teach now are within the severe/profound range of disability, but I've worked with high functioning students and students who just needed some extra help with everyday living. This does NOT make me qualified to place any type of label on your child, but I do happen to know a few things about 12 year-olds. Hey, I have a 12 year-old boy of my own! And an 11 year-old son!

How are his grades? Are they sliding downhill? What does he like to do in his free time? Is he eating and sleeping well? I guess I'd like to know a bit more about what he's specifically doing to drive you nuts...I know he argues with you, picks on sister, etc. Here's my advice...never argue with a 12 year-old. Once it begins to lead into an argument, you end it, there and now. Say, "We are not going to do this. This is DONE." And then you send him to his room, and walk away. As far as picking on your daughter, how normal is this? Siblings fight. Siblings can be downright AWFUL with each other. Solution...separate them immediately. If they cannot be nice to each other, then they can sit on the couch holding hands for a half hour. I'm dead serious about that! That will make him think twice about picking on her again...who wants to hold hands with their little sister on the couch for a half hour?

I'm sorry to hear that your son has had a lack of strong male role models in his life. This can be hard on many a boy. However, 12 year-olds are a special breed. They're caught between "kid" and "teenager." They become headstrong, sometimes disrespectful, and they WILL test your boundaries, and see how far they can push. You cannot relent, you need to draw the line, and he needs to know where the line is. If he crosses the line, you administer the consequence (which he should be aware of before he crosses).

I guess what I'm saying, is that it is wonderful to have empathy for children, when they've been through rough times and situations. It's fine to allow them a certain degree of anger, and it's fine to maintain a dialogue about your son's feelings. But we also must not allow our children to behave like victims...they are accountable for their own behavior, and in the real world, others will NOT cop deuces for you if you didn't have a strong male role model in your life as a child...unfortunately, this is life.

I don't want you to think that I don't feel bad for the problems your son has had. But, there are things that cannot be allowed, such as arguing with one's mother, or picking on little sis...and being angry about certain aspects of one's life does not excuse the behavior!

12 year-olds are tough, no doubt. My own drives me crazy sometimes...and I know that this will continue until around the age of...well...35, probably.

Here's a squeeze for you...hang in there! Being a parent is a tough job!
post #3 of 17
I don't really have a lot of advice, having never had kids, but here's a little bit. Try and make his life as structured as possible, and give him your expectations and the consequences of failing those expectations very clearly, then follow through. Try to make sure you're focusing on his deviant behavior, and not him. i.e. If he picks on your daughter, send him to his room. And if he argues with you, just tell him that he knows the consequences for picking on his sister is time out in his room, and leave it at that. And if he continues to argue, simply increase the amount of time he has to spend in his room. Don't let it escalate to the point of you yelling at each other.

How much effort has your husband put into bonding with your son? I don't mean that in a bad way, but maybe if they find some common thing to do, they could work their way into spending one or two days a week, or even a month, doing something ritual and special between the two of them. I think the same could go for you and your son as well, something you only do with him and not the rest of the family. Do you think he might have a problem with you having another man than his father (even if his father was a loser) in your life (and your daughter if she is a half-sister) that he's never really talked about?

I don't know if any of that makes sense or helps, but I know that there are some great and experienced parents here on TCS that just need to notice your thread! Best of luck with your son, and bless you for being patient and wanting to help him instead of letting it stew. Prayers, vibes and sent your way!
post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys so much. You have some wonderful advice!! As far as he and I yelling at each other, no he doesnt yell at me, he just loves to argue and I am sure it is very typical at this age. I know as a child I was the same way. But he just has totally lost interest in his friends this summer. He wont go swimming, play outside, nothing. Its just watching tv or playin his PS2. I am thinking very seriously about taking that darn thing away, for a long time. His constant picking on his sister is just ridiculous!! And he loves to say things like "she started it first" or something like that. I am telling him all the time "shes 2, your 12" ya know, grow up!!

I dont know....I have a special day planned for just him and I next weekend, to go shopping and eat. We really dont get alot of time alone together. Its very hard to when DH works all the time and I am always home with my daughter.
post #5 of 17
I was a really crappy 12-year-old. I argued with my father about pretty much every single thing (well, he argued right back, and acted like he was 12 too). I feel bad about it now. I was snotty and rude and mean. I'm pretty much the opposite now. My poor mom must have hated being home for a couple years

Would you consider taking him to counseling? I know alot of people, esp boys and men, get the heeby-jeebys just thinking about it, but it might help him learn how to control his anger. Also, if he doesn't have any adult men to talk to, and 12-year-old boys don't talk about "feelings and stuff" among themselves, it might help him just be able to vent to someone about it instead of taking it out on you. Maybe you could bribe him by taking him out of his least favorite class in school once a week for the counseling...

I don't have kids either, but punishing him for what he's doing might make him worse. Of course there are limits and he needs to know there are consequences for being mean... but constantly punishing him might end up with civil war.



Whatever you decide to do, I'm so sorry you are so frustrated by your son right now. That must be very very very difficult, and we're always here anytime you need to vent!
post #6 of 17
Puberty!!!!!


youre in for a rollercoaster darling!
post #7 of 17
I would say rather than completely take his TV and PS2 away, do what my parents did. Put limits on when he can play/watch them. I was only allowed to play my video games on the weekends, and that was all the way up through high school until I went to college. Weekdays were for school and studying, and if he wants to go out and play with his friends when he's done with school work, so be it.

But it sounds like since his sister is so young, he might be looking for attention by acting out. So the important thing would be to only give him attention for doing the right things, and not "reward" him with attention for acting out. I realize its hard with a two year old, but can you try paying him a little more "positive" attention?
post #8 of 17
Sounds like he's hurting inside and NEEDS the PS2 and the TV for a diversion. Are his friends bullying him? Bullying is often psychological and maybe he's being teased or ignored. Since he is picking on his sister, and she's just a toddler, he may be reflecting what is being done to him. Also - a 2 year old!! It's like a pre-teen & a mini-teen in the same room together! yikes - hand me a cup of catnip tea, or something like it!
post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by catsknowme
Sounds like he's hurting inside and NEEDS the PS2 and the TV for a diversion. Are his friends bullying him? Bullying is often psychological and maybe he's being teased or ignored. Since he is picking on his sister, and she's just a toddler, he may be reflecting what is being done to him. Also - a 2 year old!! It's like a pre-teen & a mini-teen in the same room together! yikes - hand me a cup of catnip tea, or something like it!
I agree with this post and if I remember rightly he was suffering from stomach
aches a little while ago, which can be another sign of bullying. I think on your day out together you should try and get him to open up about what it bothering him.
post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by fwan
Puberty!!!!!


youre in for a rollercoaster darling!
my thought, exactly! along with any other problems he may or may not be having, he's just the right age for the rampaging hormones! all 3 of my brothers were horrors from 12-17 - & i teach primary school because i don't like middle school/junior high school kids! the other advice has been very good...if limiting his time on tv/ps2 doesn't work, you could allow him to 'earn' extra time by being nice to his sister, doing his chores without arguing, or doing homework without arguing, etc. you can keep track of when he chooses to back down instead of arguing, & each time could be worth 5 minutes extra. just an idea - my students repond better to positive rewards than negative punishments.
post #11 of 17
i have 3 children and 3 step sons aged from 6-16. i find rules and concequences to be the key we sit on a one to each month and agree a list of rules and consequences for the first two weeks it was all consequenses now it is so much better everyone has there own list of chores and we all have a list of rules including mum and dad it works great for us when my 12 y/o step son came to live with us he was a nightmare he trashed our home he started fires was expelled from school and had an a,s,b,o against him we had called the police etc as i say a nightmare we still have the odd moment like swearing in front of the smaller ones but other than that he is near enough a angel in comparrison.
so dont lose hope sending you a big hug from one mum to another x
post #12 of 17
I agree with limiting TV and video game time for kids. Although they enjoy it, it really isn't teaching them anything, even social skills! Maybe when you spend the day together you can ask what happened with his friends. It is possible at 12 that they are starting to smoke or drink, and he doesn't want to stay friends.

If that isn't the problem, maybe you can invite his friends over.

And realize that a 12 y/o boy is simply annoyed by a 2 y/o girl. Make sure he has his space from her. But then of course he cannot be allowed to pick at her!

If you cannot get this worked out, I do strongly suggest counseling. Sometimes kids can be dealing with very grown up issues, and need more help than a parent can provide for finding the way.
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zissou'sMom
Would you consider taking him to counseling? I know alot of people, esp boys and men, get the heeby-jeebys just thinking about it, but it might help him learn how to control his anger. Also, if he doesn't have any adult men to talk to, and 12-year-old boys don't talk about "feelings and stuff" among themselves, it might help him just be able to vent to someone about it instead of taking it out on you. Maybe you could bribe him by taking him out of his least favorite class in school once a week for the counseling...
I really like this idea too.

And I hope things ease up on all of you soon.
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
You all have such great advice~thank you! I have tried asking him whats bothering him and of course, he says nothing.....and yes, boys will be boys, espically at this age Today we had a good day(finally) we went and picked up my step son(who is 13) and then we went to MIL to swim...and hes been pretty good since then. I know ALOT of his problem is boredom too. Hopefully he can stay on the right track this week with step son being here, and keep him busy. Once again, thanks for everyone that replied.
post #15 of 17
If anyone has already mentioned this I apologize. Have you thought about Big Brothers/Big Sisters? Maybe you could find a male mentor for your son. They are really set up to help children like your son.
post #16 of 17
I also don't know a thing about your beliefs, but youth groups through churches are often really great resources. If you don't want to do any particular faith, Unitarians have them too.

My youth group had a few boys with some behavioral problems, and they all seemed to grudgingly like it. Pretty much, they'll accept you as-is and forgive you and teach you to do the same.

Kinda like group counseling but without as much stigma.

Just an idea that came to me!
post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by fwan
Puberty!!!!!


youre in for a rollercoaster darling!

I agree with this.
My almost 9yr old is starting to do the same thing. Even though his father is active in his life he doesn't do much with him except play PS2 all the time. When my DH (his stepdad) and my father (his grandfather) are doing things around my dads house like building,planting or sawing something Justice is right next to them. Like he's craving the testostorone (sp?) from them. Maybe look into counsiling and a Big Brother program. He might not bond with your DH because thats what he is, a parent. Maybe he needs a friend?
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