DS12 hit me yesterday and today

(51 Posts)
Tansy7 Sat 20-Jul-13 14:05:05

Need advice right now really. DS1 is in his room, having thumped me very hard on my outstretched arm as I was closing the door to his bedroom, where I'd told him to go because of really nasty rudeness. He'd tried to come back out of his room and I told him to stay there and I was shutting the door again when he hit me.

Yesterday, he also hit me, very hard, punching me on the shoulder as I was driving at high speed on an A road with DS2 also in the car, on a special family 'treat' day out. On that occasion, I found a place to pull in safely and then told him off.

However, DS2 became hysterically upset about the row. So I tried to calm everyone down and carried on with the trip out.

I was expecting DS1 to be very contrite today, especially as we'd had a long talk last night and his main worry was that I hadn't fully forgiven him.

Yesterday, I put it down to him being hungry or tired (we'd had an early start) but the punch was as a result of me insisting he eat something (we had a picnic with us), to up his blood sugar level, in case this was why he'd become really, really nasty and horrible as we were driving along.

Today, he wasn't hungry. He wasn't tired. We were again doing a family activity for fun (when I've actually got masses of other things I should/could be doing for me - but it is their school holidays now).

Anyway, that's a bit of the background. He's always been a bit hyper - but not at all at a diagnosable level. He's in puberty now. He's hit me before as his DS2 (I'm a single mum). I'm not sure I'm dealing with this properly or adequately.

I don't know what to do right now as a consequence. He's been in his room for over an hour. He's not supposed to be doing screen activities right now but I found out he'd sneaked in a laptop, which I've now taken away. He's not at all contrite.

I've threatened to call the police, as he's almost as tall as me now and I refuse to live with someone who's physically violent. However, I know I would never ever call the police as I wouldn't ever want anything recorded that might affect his future in any way and am I over-reacting?

What would a suitable consequence be in this context - where he's thumped me two days in a row in the context of receiving a family treat? How do I manage things without DS2 suffering also? Right now, DS2 is huffy with me and anxious because of the row and by DS1 being in his room, DS2 is also 'suffering' and wants to blame me.

Have I been too soft with DS1?

valiumredhead Sat 20-Jul-13 21:08:14

I think the fact you say he only gets pleasure from PC would be very good reason to take it away for a lot longer than 3 hours. He must bed spending an incredible amount of time on out if 3 hours its a punishment!

Teens have energy that needs to be carefully channelled our ime they 'get up to no good' as my nan used to saywink

valiumredhead Sat 20-Jul-13 21:10:38

I also find the fact he thumped you really worrying, that is really quite a violent act much more so than perhaps a shove or trying to square up to you.

valiumredhead Sat 20-Jul-13 21:11:10

I agree that you need outside help x

Tansy7 Sun 21-Jul-13 18:29:30

I hope it's OK to offload again here even though I've not had a chance to act on getting any external help. DS1 has thrown a pair of goggles at me that hit my eye (we'd been swimming to try to get them doing something active) and then lashed out, scratching me, as I tried to help DS2 - who was being bullied and teased by him.

He's denying what he's done and unfortunately, DS2 is so upset that yet another day is ruined, that he's saying DS1 didn't mean to do any of these things and it was all an accident and so DS1 is going along with this too.

However, he has, this time, gone to his bedroom when I told him to go, without protest and I've put off his PC again. From tomorrow, I am working for around 5 hrs a day in meetings (I have a business I run from home) and the DCs would - as usual - spend that time in front of PCs as it's been the only thing that keeps them quiet. How on earth do I ban DS1 from screens when I have people coming for meetings and need the DCs to be quiet during that time?

I am now working most of the rest of the summer and this is the first year that neither of the DCs has wanted to go to a holiday club. So it'll be 6 weeks of me working on and off most days and then trying to cook for them and do chores and activities with them between times.

How will this now work with DS1 becoming so violent and DS2 so distressed and me planning to ban DS1 from screens? Is there anything I can do today to manage this situation with DS1? I am both furious and really upset. I don't know why he's being like this - now three days in a row. Is it hormones? Is it because the consequence just really isn't bad enough for him?

If I ban him from screens, life is unbearable here because he won't do anything else and he actually will defiantly go to bed or sit in a chair for hours at a time, staring into space, to prove to me that he can't do anything without screens. Everything is that much harder because his brother is becoming increasingly disturbed by DS1 and me rowing and I realise that in the past, I've diffused situations and backed down just to stop DS2 getting too upset and anxious.

DS2 desperately wants to be on his brother's side, even if it means letting him off from when he's hurt DS2. He just wants a peaceful life.

I've tried to get DS1 away from screens for some of today and succeeded briefly but I've had to do business admin, today and lots of household chores and so they've both been stuck at PCs a lot of the time. They've played together a bit but DS1 gets violent and DS2 can also have his moments and then I have to go and sort out rows and can hardly get anything done.

I think in fact that this is why I've relied so much on them sitting in front of PCs, as it's the only thing that keeps them occupied and less likely to fight, for any length of time.

God I feel so inadequate!

valiumredhead Sun 21-Jul-13 18:44:37

Get through your meetings tomorrow then take the PC away. Let him stare into space if that's what he wants to do, just ignore him completely and focus on your other child.

Atm he's being rewarded for misbehaving and this needs to stop or he will continue to do it imo.

PC might be easy atm but things will get a whole lot worse if he doesn't see you are in charge and he can't act this way.

valiumredhead Sun 21-Jul-13 18:47:07

Imo he is behaving like this because they're are no consequences to his behaviour at all.

He sounds so much like my ds behaves if allowed to play on computer for too long. Rude, volant and unable to focus on anything else.

Does he not play sports of any kind? Play out with mates?

valiumredhead Sun 21-Jul-13 18:47:20

wine thanks

flow4 Sun 21-Jul-13 21:15:25

Tansy, I have already said a lot of what I have to say... But...

I think that if you are working at home, you absolutely MUST have peace and/or childcare.

I do understand your dilemma, because I was also self-employed when DS1 first started being difficult. I actually had to back out of one contract because he had been excluded from school... I really value my professional reputation, and that was a very big deal for me.

I also understand how hard it is to change the way you have responded to them, but you are going to have such a problem on your hands if you don't.

It will be totally impossible for you to enforce a PC ban while you are working, in exactly the same way that you could not enforce it if they were at school, or going to a childminder or their dad's. I think you will have to separate out your 'work time' from your 'home time' and enforce any/all sanctions during 'home time'. Other people may disagree, but my experience tells me this is the only workable solution.

I think you need to sit your DSes down and spell some things out. But you have to believe them yourself; if you don't, of course they will not believe you.

Introduce the no violence rule. As of today, there is no violence in your home. The past is history. From now on, no hurting/hitting will be allowed. At all. If anyone hurts anyone else, they should expect serious trouble. (BTW, this includes you too. I think you'll have to give up on forcing them into their rooms. It won't be possible for much longer anyway).

Tell them that any violence, however 'minor', will lead to an immediate withdrawal and an absolute minimum of 24 hours total equipment ban. No PCs, no TV, nothing. Don't tell them that you will not try to enforce this while you are working (because you need to keep things peaceful), but do add any time they cheat or break the ban on at the end of the ban, at a time when you can enforce it.

Tell them your work time is sacrosanct. Your work is what puts food in their mouths and pays for their PCs. If they behave, have not been violent and do not disturb you, you will allow them to amuse themselves (in any reasonable way they choose) for the 5 hrs/day you work. On the other hand, if they disturb your work in any way, they should expect serious trouble, AND you will make immediate arrangements for them to be cared for by someone else while you work. Emphasise that all the best holiday schemes are already full, so they will have to put up with what is left - or they may end up with a babysitter while you work elsewhere.

You may also like to offer a positive bribe reward - I think I would - something like If you behave, have not been violent and do not disturb me, you will get X at the end of the 5 hours... X could be cash, a trip out to do something they like, a favourite meal, etc... Rewards have always worked better with my DSes than punishments.

You have to mean all this. Don't say anything you don't mean, or make any threats you won't carry out. Ever.

If you are like me, you will be wondering why your DS1 is suddenly behaving like this. There will probably be several reasons, including habit, lack of consequences, hormones, lack/loss of self-control (common at this age) and/or anger. About the same age, my DS1 started to angry about the fact that his dad wasn't around... This could be a factor for your DS too...

You may not ever disentangle the reasons, but you still have to deal with the behaviour. You don't need me to tell you that you will have a serious problem if you don't...

Here's wine or a brew from me too. It's bloody hard work, this parenting malarkey!

Ledkr Sun 21-Jul-13 21:39:49

He doesn't want to go to clubs!
Well tough titty la la.
tell him if he can't behave then that's exactly where he will be going.
Poor you it's a nightmare.
I feel maybe you should see your gp and explain tho ha to him.
I know it's very hard but his screen addiction maybe causing him some issues.
Don't be afraid to stop it it at least reduce it massively and don't feel sorry for him either he isn't in any danger or being deprived of anything.
Explain that you are now seriously concerned about his worsening violence and that its simply not going to help him and you all have a happy life. That eventually it wil come to it that people will have to intervene and that it will never be ok or acceptable to hurt you.
Have you thought about ringing parent line or contacting your parent supporter who will be linked to his school.

Ledkr Sun 21-Jul-13 21:42:34

Remember you are doing this for him mostly.
He will run I to trouble if he's not put right about this.

bamboostalks Sun 21-Jul-13 21:50:09

flow4 that's an incredibly detailed and helpful reply which is very compassionate as well...you're really kind.
Good luck Op.

mumblechum1 Sun 21-Jul-13 21:55:20

It sounds as though he needs to get out and get rid of his aggression in a positive way.

http://www.bafanl.co.uk/

If there is an American Football club near you, that could be perfect.

I also think he needs some male role models so some predominantly male sport would do him the world of good imo.

mumblechum1 Sun 21-Jul-13 21:56:06
valiumredhead Sun 21-Jul-13 22:14:40

I also think some kind of club would be good,I tell my soon he can chose to do something or I will choose for him but be has to do something once a week minimum.

exoticfruits Sun 21-Jul-13 22:28:01

I agree with the others- you must take a very hard line.
Do not let him use the excuse that you smacked him occasionally - take MyNewCatisFab's advice on that one.

flow4 Mon 22-Jul-13 08:00:50

You've said you feel guilty and you don't like to punish them, so I guess you're not comfortable with the idea of being 'hard' on them. Maybe it helps to think of it not so much as a hard line, but more of a clear one. Because really, in the medium and long term, it is kinder and more loving to support your DSes to learn to control themselves and not be violent.

What you are effectively saying to them is Hitting people is NOT okay. You MUST learn to control yourself and not hurt people. I know it's hard to change, but you must, before you get any bigger, because if you don't, you will get into trouble with me, school and the police. People won't like you, and they won't want to be your friend. I will help you to learn to control yourself, by encouraging you and rewarding you and giving you practice at self-control, and I will also stop you if you can't control yourself. I'll punish you if I need to, so you have reasons to want to control yourself. If you can't stop yourself being violent, and I can't stop you either, I'll have to call the police who can, because this is too important for us to fail. I love you, and I will not let you hurt people. Whatever happened before, from now on violence is NOT allowed in this family.

IloveJudgeJudy Tue 23-Jul-13 23:16:18

I definitely agree that the screentime is contributing to his aggression. DS2 who is really mild-mannered on the whole, gets aggressive if he's had too much screentime, even when it's only Minecraft or a really mild game.

I agree with everything that flow4 has said.

You sound really down. Don't feel bad for smacking your DC when they were younger. That's in the past now and you don't do it now. Your DS1 is playing on your emotions about it. Whatever you decide to do, you absolutely have to mean it. DC can definitely tell. I'm much smaller than my DSs, but absolutely no way would they hit me, or even dare to. If they have tried to cross whatever line I've decided is the line, then I only have to mean it when I say "Don't you dare to talk to me like that", or whatever else I've decided to say. Meaning it really is the key.

Don't be so hard on yourself. You've had a tough time, bringing up two boys on their own. I know it's not fair that DS2 has missed out, but neither is it fair that DS1 wouldn't have any sanctions for his horrible behaviour. I really would call the police to come and speak to him. You just have to mean it and show him that you mean it now. I also agree that you should speak to him a bit more like an adult and explain that if you can't work they can't have stuff. Lay it on the line.

I hope you get it sorted. Please come back to the thread if you need more help. There are some very wise heads out there, particularly on this thread.

valiumredhead Wed 24-Jul-13 14:52:14

How's it going OPsmile

cory Wed 24-Jul-13 19:41:48

"Introduce the no violence rule. As of today, there is no violence in your home. The past is history. From now on, no hurting/hitting will be allowed. At all. If anyone hurts anyone else, they should expect serious trouble. (BTW, this includes you too. I think you'll have to give up on forcing them into their rooms. It won't be possible for much longer anyway)."

This is brilliant advice. (Well, all of flow's is actually wink)

And I think flow is spot on that you must stop all physical intervention.
You simply cannot manhandle a teenager because a) they are too strong b) it upsets their sense of dignity in the same way that you would feel really upset if another adult tried to manhandle you into a place (however justified)

This has nothing to do with what you did when they were little. Everybody manhandles small children to some extent even if we don't all smack. When they get older it's simply an option that isn't open any more.

Call the police please.

Do you really think you are doing hi any favours letting him do this to you?

Treat violence from anyone as you would a complete stranger - it is utterly and entirely unacceptable and he needs to know this from you.

simquero Sat 03-Aug-13 13:14:39

Tansy, your situation sounds similar to mine in many ways so I want you to know that you are not alone and I feel some comfort myself having found your post.

Now my DS13 is asleep (I hope) I can take my house keys and cell phone out of my pocket and risk having this post on my screen. If he saw it I would be in massive trouble. He is a bully, takes great pleasure in blocking access, locking me out, shouting me down, verbally abusing and swearing, stand-over tactics and more recently has taken the phones when he's preparing to act up so I can't call for help. There is a toll free parenting line I often called and for some reason that caused his tirades to de-esculate, even if I never actually got through and sometimes I'd fake it. Two weeks ago he resumed plysical violence so I called the police for domestic assault (3rd time now). He took the cordless handset but forgot my cell phone. A week later he was preparing to launch again and took both phones, but then changed his mind, calmed down and gave them back. Do act now though Tansy because once he enters puberty he'll lose whatever ground he has in the common sense realm. First 2 times I called the police for assault DS was 10 and it escalated to him holding a knife to my throat. He still refers back to that 8 months or so as a terrible time and neither of us know why it began or why it stopped. Now he is my height and much stronger than me and I am aware that this return to aggressive behaviour can easily result in physical harm and danger.

I also understand the triangle you refer to. When DaD (adopted) then aged 13-15 was stealing from me, shoplifting, pathologically lying and displaying her rebellion of choice - passive aggressive. DS would side with her and still does, even though it came to a point of me no longer able to cope with her living here. She's 20 now and we are no longer estranged. Lots of things I tried to teach her she's finally assimilating.

I have always taken a hard line - marching back to shops to return stolen goods AND pay, requiring repayment of money & treat food not free for the taking, giving consequences, lost privileges, made them pay for systems to lock up my stuff (sigh!) and am very conscious of not backing down or showing my intimidation. I do not feel guilty for that, or the fact there is no father figure. Lots of kids face that and turn out great. I'm not perfect, but I do my best and sometimes I'm not in a space where my best is as good as I wish, but it's still my best at the time. Give yourself some credit too. Don't deal the guilt card on yourself.

Like you, I only spoke about her behaviour when I was at my limit and either wasn't believed OR others implied it must be something I'm doing so I haven't tried talking about DS behaviour. Except, there is one big difference. When things came to a crisis with DaD and I about to have a breakdown I found a true support person, someone who is there just for me and experienced enough to be able to assure me that what I faced with DaD and now with DS is definitely NOT normal teenage behaviour, under any circumstances. Maybe you can find someone like that too. She was mother to 5 teenage boys, now adults so maybe you can find someone empathetic like that to be a shoulder to lean on and help you think through some things to trial. She may be able to call in some trustworthy, wise people to get your kids perspective on things who won't permit them blaming you! Blaming is my DS preferred option, even when what he says is complete rubbish. It takes a mature person to sort out all that, so better to not even allow it.

I'm not sure what my next step is. I told DS that absolutely cannot happen again, but I don't know what I'll do if it does or how to feel safe in my own home. Police took 90 mins to arrive last time. He is starting with a counsellor soon, but he was seeing a different counsellor for some time and can't say it helped much.

Tansy7 Sat 03-Aug-13 20:03:59

I wanted to come back on with an update and thank everyone again for your input. DS1 has not hit me again and a lot of things have become clearer. I now realise that he's had another surge of puberty hormones - showing up in lots of physical and emotional ways. It's exactly like he gets taken over by his impulses and can't restrain himself like he did before - except that he IS now managing to hold back.

I am really pleased with him - depsite there being some very challenging moments almost daily. I can see him getting very angry with me and his brother and then going away and calming down and not lashing out verbally or physically. I've praised him for this as I want him to know I can see how hard it is and yet he is doing it - even if it's not all the time.

There've been several examples where I've told him if he doesn't stop x/y/z I'll send him to his room and when he hasn't stopped, he's now taken himself off to his room. He seems finally to have made the connection between bad behaviour and having to take time out from the fmaily and his PC and he doesn't like that.

More recently, I've not had to send him to his room at all but just say that this may happen if he doesn't stop. I've bene working about 5 hours a day and although he's spent most of that time on PC, it's meant fewer confrontations between us, which I think has helped.

We've also had some long and positive talks and this actually really helps in his case as he's able to say sorry and how he doesn't understand why he's been like he's been and I've been able to talk about hormones affecting him and yet how brilliant he is to hold back.

He's also disclosed some OCD-type worries/ behaviours, which he's always had to a degree (and his brother even more so) but these got worse recently, around the time of his aggression and I think there's a biochemical connection.

I think he's surging with testosterone and certainly his physical body is changing rapidly. We seem to have a good relationship beyond his aggressive urges and whilst we're not out of the woods yet, at least things have improved and there's been no further violence. I think he frightened himself and he certainly frightened me.

valiumredhead Sat 03-Aug-13 20:22:24

Good news OPsmile

Ds is a ball of raging hormones atm hmm <sigh>

simquero Sun 04-Aug-13 06:18:05

Just called the police again after the 2nd time he put his hands round my throat and squeezed harder. Had to use the neighbour's phone - humiliating. DS took off out the toilet window. These police were very good and told me not to think twice about calling them. Still feel bad for taking their time when it doesn't seem to help. DS has shown up but finally followed my suggestion to get out and cool off - which was what I was suggesting when he assaulted me. Triggering issue - he was playing inside with fire and I insisted he do so outside. Having his arm out the window was good enough by his standards.

simquero Tue 06-Aug-13 11:44:22

Tansy I would like to recommend to you the following savingsammy.net The book is amazing about a sole parent, also working from home and her fight to cure her sons OCD and may just be the help and insight you need for that. For everyone else not dealing with it, the book is a page-turner - really interesting and very well written.

I have my DS back. Last night after yet another stand-off well past bed-time DS broke down and admitted he needed help. I realise just how much in survival mode I really was now that the crisis is past and how much the crisis loads up the shame so you keep your head down and afraid to reach out. I am grateful to have some support people proactively thinking on our behalf how to create a plan of action to be called on immediately should he revert to aggressive behaviour again some time in the future. Once decisions are in place. we will probably have like a 'family conference', except they are family friends.

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