HELP!!!

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-13-2004
HELP!!!
6
Fri, 09-24-2004 - 10:44am
I am going crazy. I think invasion of the body snatchers is happening in my house. My son has had a complete personality change this school year. He is acting like a completely different child. He is sulky, angry, whiny (I understand this is kinda territory that comes with his age) But I have recieved 4 phone calls from the school this year. He has been in so much trouble already they will take him off safety patrol if he gets into anymore. Not bringing home homework. Talking, attitude with his teachers, refusing to do somethings he is asked (like put away gym equpiment) I have grounded him everytime. It isnt working. This year so far his grades are excellent, even with all these problems which is abnormal for him, he usual is a model student with average to below average grades. I am happy about the academic improvement but what about his behavior. I have tried talking with him, encouraging him, rewarding for good days, grounding him from everything. His attitude is terrible at home to I ask him to pick his socks up off the florr he has a little fit then whines about it for about 30mins and the socks are still on the floor. I have tried everything I can think of except a spanking, and he hasnt been spanked since he was very very young. Wheres my son? What do I do to get the happy go lucky boy back? How can I find out why he is acting like this at school, when he just blames his behavior on the teachers, and school staff? Thats another big problem, he is never at fault. If his homework was forgotten its the teachers fault etc.. I just dont know what to do. Any ideals, constructive critism, anything would help.
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-08-2004
Fri, 09-24-2004 - 12:25pm

You're right that a certain amount of this is part and parcel of dealing with the age, though knowing that doesn't always make it easier to deal with.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-02-2003
Mon, 09-27-2004 - 7:42am
We went through this with DS last year, I feel your pain.

((((HUGS))))

He got so bad at times, he was sent home from school. We tried grounding, removing everything fun from his room, taking away all priveleges, even spanking. The spanking stopped the school suspensions, but the attitude continued. We were constantly in contact with the school, if 3 days in a row went by and I didn't get a call, I called them. We had a big meeting involving all his teachers, the principle, DH and I, and DS. The only thing we can figure is that being in that situation got through to him. He couldn't then say that his teachers were picking on him or the principle didn't like him. It was all laid out in front of him and he was made to stand and face it. His grades had slipped badly by that point but that meeting turned him around. He brought his grades up from D's to B's and (thankfully) passed grade 4.

This year so far we have seen the difference still happening. He brings home his homework, he has sat and found information for 2 school projects and when we went to Open House, his teachers were full of praises for his in class work. One of his teachers this year was one of his teachers last year and she is amazed at how much different he is in her class this year.

He never did give us a reason as to why he acted the way he did, but if you ask him now he will say that he likes it a lot better now that he's not "attitude boy". We still see "attitude boy" pop up, but it's usually at home and it's usually when he's been cornered into admitting something he's not proud of, like the mess that is his room, "It's all 's fault!" *whine whine*
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-28-2004
Tue, 09-28-2004 - 7:43pm
Hello I'm brand new to message boards. Some of the parents I work with state they come on to boards such as these for advice and to help so I'd thought I'd see for myself. I dont have any "Real Kids" myself however I work as a counselor at a residential/group home with severe emotionally disturbed kids around this age. So, basically I'm a paid dad. I do everything from get them up in the morning to putting them in bed and everything in between including helping develope and work on their treatment plans. I've read some of the posts already and I can tell there are alot of Good parents here providing very good info.

About the post... "Help." I agree that his personality change may have to do with his age and development however that may not be the case. I feel it is important to find out and not just accept the developmental theory and move on. As the title of your post states, this behavior may be a cry out for help. Kids who are not good a expressing their emotions usually express them using behavior in a negative way. Most children around this age have a problem with expressing their emotions verbally unless an adult initiates the conversation him or herself. Also parents who model expressing their emotions verbally and in a positive way are more likely to have kids who do it. Many parents believe they can't show weakness to their kids. For example, many dads believe its not good to let their kids see them cry. Then in turn they wonder why their kids cant come to them and express their emotions. Also as a child gets older it becomes harder to express their emotions since they are trying to figure out how they are suppose to be acting like. There are really only two ways to trying to figure out what is causing the behavior: by you or someone else talking to your child or by observing behavior. Doing them both works the best. For example, what parts of the day does your child usually have his most problems. By narrowing down the target environment, you also narrow down the causes. For example if most of his problems are happening at school, I'd first focus on his peer relationships. How is he getting along with other kids? Does he have friends? Real close friends? Does he feel truley accepted by the friends that he does have or does he feel like one of the pea-ons of the group? There is a pecking order in every group so just because a child hangs out with other kids doesnt mean it's all great. Figuring out this can be rather difficult though. There can be millions of other causes but that just one example.

If I were in your situation I'd go to my son in a caring way and try to figure things out. (I know you already did this..Ha.)I'd try to come across with a very concerned way and not judgemental. A child will not open up to you unless they feel you are an ally. One techneque I use sometimes when I know something is bothering a child and they dont want to talk is to start talking about myself. For example, if I think there is a problem with their peer relationships, I'd tell them about some problems I faced early in life. By showing your weaknesses first, you'll less likely come across as an authoritarian but instead as a caring ally. You can use this strategy for any topic ... be creative. If your kid isnt open to discussing things with you at first regardless of what strategy you use, its okay. Do not try to force someone to talk. Thats the best way to get them to not talk to you. Stay away from power struggles. Usually I'll tell a kid that if they dont want to talk to me its okay... they dont have to. I just wanted to let them know that I'm concerned about them and I'm here for them. I also let them know that I'm ready to talk about anything at anytime and that I'll ask them again later about it. I can't count the number of times I've done this and the kid get's back to me later. Again, I model the behavior to them also. If something is bothering me I talk to them about it. I'm not saying start talking about adult problems with them.. dont do that. Keep the discussions age appropriate. It helps if you mainly talk about the past also. A problem you had and worked out. By doing it this way you get to express your emotions about it and not put any pressure on your kid making them worry about how they are going to help you... when you are trying to help them. I can go on forever. Let me see if I can wrap this thing up .... Ha ha. Basically, it may be developmental however check out everything. Try to develop an open relationship with your son... it can be hard I know. If you cant get through to him, maybe another adult can. It doesnt mean you are a bad parent. Earlier in my career as a counselor kids would open up to me mainly because I was so young. They saw me as an adult big brother. Some parent deep down hated me for it because how is it possible for a twenty something year old man to be capable of reaching their kid when they couldnt. These parents couldnt understand that my age helped me to come across easier as an ally. So its okay to reach out to others and allow your son to talk to them. It doesnt mean you are a bad parent and dont know what you are doing. Personally I feel it makes you a great parent. Another point, regardless if this is just developmental this behavior needs to get fixed. If you allow your son to learn that this behavior will work for him it will not go away. People do what works. Let your son know that you are open to talking with him because you are concerned about his behavior lately however he still has to understand that he is also responsible for his actions. People have problems all of the time. It doesnt give them a right to act any way they want. Well Let me finish there. I just kind of rambled on there. I hope I said something beneficial.

Future_hope

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-08-2004
Wed, 09-29-2004 - 11:46am
Hello and welcome!!

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-13-2004
Wed, 09-29-2004 - 1:30pm
Thanks!

Update : 3 days now and no calls from the teacher!!!

I have been talking to him as you guys suggested. It boils down to something I had dismissed because I thought I had him prepared and its something we discussed alot over the summer. We moved last Nov. Into a new house new neighborhood. My son started school this year at the new school. I wanted to give him the summer to make some friends in the neighborhood before starting. I think..funny been with this boy for 10 years now, and sometimes anymore I find myself trying to decode what he tells me. Its all very round a bout. Btw I wonder if a parent is a parent (and hard to indentify with) no matter what age because I am only in my twenties.

For the moment I am just letting him know hey moms here if you want to talk, scream, vent, etc..

And making sure that I stay very invovled with his teachers. We talk daliy now, not because of his behavior as much now as my concerns.

Thanks Guys!!!

Kim
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-08-2004
Wed, 09-29-2004 - 2:29pm

Update : 3 days now and no calls from the teacher!!!
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WTG!!