How do I deal with my stroppy eleven year old boy who is lovely to everyone else except his parents?

Clodagh - posted on 08/04/2014 ( 9 moms have responded )

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My eleven year old son knows how to behave at school and with his peers but increasingly shows both my husband and I a really bad attitude. His moods are really upsetting me at the moment and I know I am not handling this very well. I even slammed the door when I walked out of the room this morning as I tried to talk to him about this and got nowhere! I need advice about this.

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Clodagh - posted on 08/06/2014

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Thank you for responding to my 11-year old frustration! Things have improved already as he is at a theatre summer camp which he is really enjoying and is out all day every day! Your advice is really good and I will definitely refer to this when the need arises!

Cheers x

LTM - posted on 08/04/2014

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Hello Clodagh. There's a bunch of things I've said to my kids over the years to ensure they don't treat me rudely or take me for granted. Here's a couple that might help you. :)
"Don't speak to me like that. What have I done to deserve such rudeness?" Then I wait for an answer (that never comes) and I finish it off with "If I ever speak to you rudely, you let me know - and I will apologize. Until then, you watch your mouth."
If your son refuses to complete a task you set, or back-chats you, try "I will remember this the next time you ask me to drive you to a friend's house, or to wash your sports shirt" (or whatever is common in your home.) "If you can't be helpful to me, don't expect me to do you any favors."
You'll find it is easier to put an end to the battle if you make your point, and then walk away. There's nothing to be gained from slamming doors. It just leaves a taste of hostility instead of inspiring resolution. (Although I do understand the frustration that makes slamming a door seem perfectly appropriate, lol.)
Good luck. :)

Clodagh - posted on 08/04/2014

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Thanks again Jodi,

I am totally aware that I am not dealing with this very well and tend to lose my temper when reasoning with my son does not work. Am definitely going to try keeping calm and insisting on consequences. I think he brings out the worst in me. I have an older son who I 13 and much easier to deal with and am feeling out of depth with my younger son. I have never spanked my kids either and am usually quite easy going with my kids but do have a temper if I feel that it is all too much! Am definitely going to practise keeping calm as I know it is only making things worse.

Thanks again, you have been really helpful

Jodi - posted on 08/04/2014

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Oh, and always let him know you love him, that it is about the behaviour, not the person. Even when my kids have been their maddest at me, when I have discussed it with them, I give them a hug and let them know I love them unconditionally, but that we need to learn that some behaviours are not okay.

Jodi - posted on 08/04/2014

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Thanks Clodagh. I can't even remember the last time I had to impose consequences for behaviour around here for my 9 and 16 year old!! (and no, I don't spank, just natural or logical consequences so that they can learn to make good choices).

Keeping a cool head over it is definitely the key. While I know it can be very easy to lose your temper, you need to do everything in your power to remain calm. Don't show that it is upsetting you. If you can't deal with it calmly in the moment, as him to go to his room, or even put yourself in time out (I have been known to lock myself in the bathroom to regain my control). Only then should you deal with it.

I know it is hard, and we all slip up sometimes, but when we get ourselves into that conflict cycle with our kids, it really escalates the situation. Have you heard of mirrored emotions? This is what happens, we start to mirror one another's emotions and it spirals out of control. As the adults, if we can remain calm, it will often calm them, and then create and environment in which we can deal with it. We are also modelling to them they way we should deal with conflict. It is, however, a learned skill. Lots of practice!!

Clodagh - posted on 08/04/2014

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Thanks Jodi I know I have to stand up to him. I know it will get worse if I don't. I am definitely going to try to be tougher. I also have to try to keep my cool. It sounds like you are doing a good job with your kids.

Jodi - posted on 08/04/2014

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So what have you tried as parents to stop this poor behaviour? I'm assuming there are consequences? To be honest, if my kids ever speak disrespectfully to me (which is pretty much non-existent around here these days), they soon find out which side their bread is buttered on. They find they have no way to get to their extra curricular activities, no Wifi, no tv, no phone credit, some of their favourite clothes don't make it into the wash, and so on. All of a sudden, they realise that parents deserve more respect because they do a LOT for them.

I don't have any issues these days, and my kids will help with the chores and realise how hard we work to make their lives a little easier. Your child needs consequences for being rude to you.

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