HELP with preteen disrespect and language - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 22 Old 06-12-2009, 08:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi. This is my first post, just joined today. I need help DESPERATELY!!! Last day of school, 6th grade), and just got a call from the VP. My son called him a "mother fucker" 2X, then called him a dick. completly unprovoked, no reason for it at all. Never had issues with the VP, never spoken like that to anyone (as far as I know) before.
He will be suspended for the first 3 days of school next year. What do I do? ;How do I handle this? My son is very emotional at times, history of tempertantrums when younger. NOw at this age when discipline issues arise he has a very hard time dealing with it. Lots of denial and excuses, ultimatlely leaving house sometimes, or going into a rage.
Any help out there? He will be home soon, and the discussion will have to begin.
Thanks a bunch
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#2 of 22 Old 06-12-2009, 08:58 PM
 
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I am so sorry I know this sucks ... my first quickie advice is to listen to him when he gets home. let him tell you about his experience and feelings. I am willing to bet it was pretty traumatic for him.

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#3 of 22 Old 06-12-2009, 09:11 PM
 
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Why is disciplinary action being carried over to a new year. That really stinks. And for cussing? This seems a little over the top IMO.

Hugs for you momma. It's not easy when your kids "get in trouble".

I have an almost 6 year old with a mouth when she is mad. I actually think it's an improvement for her, she used to have the worst physical outbursts. I fear that his kind of thing is in my future.

I would listen to his side of the story when he gets home, and try not to pile on a lot of anger and disappointment at this stage. Perhaps there was a valid trigger for his behavior (not that that excuses it). Once you know more you will have a better idea of what you need to do to help guide your son.

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#4 of 22 Old 06-12-2009, 09:15 PM
 
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It would depend on his reaction. If he came home upset, I would have a discussion. If he came home defiant, I'd be more harsh in my approach and consequences than if he was remorseful. I would share my feelings on the matter (sadness? disappointment? other?), and I would ask for his side of the story. Then I would ask what he would do if her was a parent in this scenario. Maybe don't make any decisions tonight, but think, take a step back.

It sounds like he has anger problems, as you mention raging in your post. I am not sure what "leaving the house means" at 12 y.o., but I would address that on a separate occasion as well.

I wouldn't go past looking for professional help, in your case. It sounds like it's starting to become a very big problem.

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#5 of 22 Old 06-12-2009, 09:21 PM
 
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yikes. i wonder what on earth happened. if he comes home defiant i wouldn't be harsh. this could make the whole conversation go down the tubes really fast. i might be more concerned if he is defiant though. it might mean he's covering up some other emotions and such that he doesn't want to deal with..
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#6 of 22 Old 06-14-2009, 09:12 AM
 
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My first reaction would be that I agree with AbbieB...I think the discipline is way over the top for just cussing! I don't really think that is punishable by suspension (or it SHOULDN'T be, at least). Cussing isn't that big of a thing, really. 99 % of all kids these days cuss like that now, and most schools I know of just take it in stride and no longer punish for it. I think I would check this one out and challenge it.
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#7 of 22 Old 06-14-2009, 09:36 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Shann View Post
My first reaction would be that I agree with AbbieB...I think the discipline is way over the top for just cussing! I don't really think that is punishable by suspension (or it SHOULDN'T be, at least). Cussing isn't that big of a thing, really. 99 % of all kids these days cuss like that now, and most schools I know of just take it in stride and no longer punish for it. I think I would check this one out and challenge it.
I strongly disagree. I work in a school, and 99% of students in sixth grade do not cuss in front of a teacher.

And by no means 99% of the kids would tell an assistant principal such a thing. In fact, in two years of working working with sixth grade, in a low income district, I had maybe 5 students that I could see doing something like that at that age. Out of 80 students I worked with, it is not enough to make up 99%.

I have no problem with students disagreeing with authority, but this is not a healthy or normal for a 6th grader way to do it. And yes, I would see it as a very serious problem if my child did it, especially at such a young age. I would try to address it in some way, before things get even worse.

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#8 of 22 Old 06-14-2009, 09:48 AM
 
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Definitely get his side, but I also agree with Oriole - this is not typical 6th grade behavior. I worked in a high school for 7 years & was never cursed at by a student. I'm now in an elementary school & haven't seen this.

Cursing at a teacher/administrator is *extremely* disrespectful and should be dealt with a this stage & not seen as a minor indiscretion to be excused. Most schools/districts have a discipline policy if you do x, y will happen. If it is already outlined, this is the consequence & not a punishment handed down in anger.

I work in the schools also and students do things on the last day & think there will be no consequences since it's the last day. Which is why they apply it to the next year.
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#9 of 22 Old 06-14-2009, 09:54 AM
 
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this is normal?

99% of students call their teachers and principals dick and motherfuckers to their face?

I highly doubt that.
There should be some form of punishment from the school, and from mom.
If this is normal than it's ok if little Johnnie tells his mother she's a bitch?
Or tells the cashier at walmart she's a slut?

You know because 99% of the kids do it anyways.
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#10 of 22 Old 06-14-2009, 10:26 AM
 
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Ummmm...please re-read my post before you jump down my throat again: I said that 99% cuss, not that 99% cuss at their school principals. Granted 99% may be a bit high, but again, does it merit suspension being carried over to the next school year? QAlso, I work in a junior high as well, and yes, the overwhelming majority DO INDEED swear! The school takes it in stride because if they did not, the suspension rate would be through the roof for this one "offense." I happen to know of which I speak...I am glad some of you exist in an ideal world where kids don't cuss, but that isn't my experience in the least !
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#11 of 22 Old 06-14-2009, 10:29 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Shann View Post
Ummmm...please re-read my post before you jump down my throat again: I said that 99% cuss, not that 99% cuss at their school principals. Granted 99% may be a bit high, but again, does it merit suspension being carried over to the next school year? QAlso, I work in a junior high as well, and yes, the overwhelming majority DO INDEED swear! The school takes it in stride because if they did not, the suspension rate would be through the roof for this one "offense." I happen to know of which I speak...I am glad some of you exist in an ideal world where kids don't cuss, but that isn't my experience in the least !
The issue is not swearing ("Shit. I hurt my hand"). The issue is calling the VP a motherfucker. Do you seriously not see the difference?

DS (6.06), DD (10.08), DD (05.11).

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#12 of 22 Old 06-14-2009, 10:53 AM
 
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Please, please take a deep breath and really listen to him. AFTER he gets it all out, uninterrupted, take a few deep breaths before you say anything. Listen to your heart. Is this behavior really typical of your ds? If not, really ask yourself what it would take for him to react so strongly to someone like this. Was he cornered in front of friends and felt he had to act cool to maintain respect in their eyes? Or is he struggling socially so this big outburst was an attempt at defining himself in front of a peer group that ignores him or sees him as weak (in his mind)?

Then I would be honest that I was clueless what to do. I would rephrase back to him the feelings he expressed so he knew I heard him. I honestly would make that my top priority--establishing that I was willing to listen without judging--my top priority.

The reason this post caught my attention is because of my older brother. He started acting out in such a way and everyone just kept piling punishments on and telling him how horribly he was behaving. He had been the victim of a traumatic event and felt no one would listen to him or care, so he acted accordingly. Years later, he is able to voice that if just one adult would have listened to how he was feeling and gained his trust, he life during his middle school and high school years would have been completely different. I don't want to make this post about his story; but I do want to stress that as a kid who kind of knew what was going on with him at the time was baffled that all the adults were focusing on STOPPING his "bad" behavior instead of trying to figure out what had caused it so they could help him.

Anyway, I hope that's helpful. I hope you and your ds find a way to build trust with each other through this ordeal.

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#13 of 22 Old 06-14-2009, 11:08 AM
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What an awesome, heartfelt post Materbum.

I have to second this idea. Kids do act out for a reason.

Like Materbum said - is this behavior out of the blue?

I have used the same thought process with my kids and it works. The main thing I tell them is that they can't make the same mistake twice. The first time, we talk about it. If there is a second time - then I would punish. My ds15 made a stupid decision last week. We talked about it - he felt horrible - and we moved past it.

Why don't you ask if your son can help out in the office a few days this summer as a punishment. Suspension for the first three days of the new year is strange. After you get to the bottom - talk to the administration and let them know what is going on. Usually for first time offenders they are more forgiving.

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#14 of 22 Old 06-14-2009, 05:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all your heartfelt replies. I just wrote a whole bunch about what had happened and somehow I couldn't post it and it got deleted. I will get back to this later and try to get it posted.

Thanks again.
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#15 of 22 Old 06-14-2009, 06:46 PM
 
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Materbum's post is fantastic.

If you have 2 or more months to deal with the school system, it means you have a lot of time to work with your child.

Just proving that someone else did something wrong is a hollow victory. Help your son prove that he responded to a wrong, did wrong himself, and now knows how to do right.

That your DS chose to do it at the end of school shows he already knows part of this story. Respect him and be glad you can give him some time.
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#16 of 22 Old 06-14-2009, 06:57 PM
 
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3 days of suspension in the next school year is, in terms of behavior analysis and reinforcement, so far removed from the act that it's completely useless.

Early intervention specialist and parent consultant since 2002.
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#17 of 22 Old 06-14-2009, 07:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by bearly View Post
Thanks for all your heartfelt replies. I just wrote a whole bunch about what had happened and somehow I couldn't post it and it got deleted. I will get back to this later and try to get it posted.

Thanks again.
sorry bout your post rip... btdt... i am curious to hear about what happened

Mom to DD born 1989 DS born 1993 and grandma to
DGS born 2005
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#18 of 22 Old 06-14-2009, 07:13 PM
 
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Because of the age of the child, I disagree with Pikkumyy. He's 11 or 12 years old and will have to deal with this again and again in small ways.

Grandma: "What's the first day of school?"
Neighbour: "Do you want to walk together on the first day?"
Mom: "I have to work, but you can spend the day folding laundry and attending to the mousetraps."

The time line is long for a pre-teen, but when he gets over the defensiveness, he'll have to deal with the reality.

Also, if he's still defensive after 2 months, there is definitely something else to investigate.
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#19 of 22 Old 06-15-2009, 06:16 PM
 
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I agree that you should listen to him, hear him out and refrain from judgement immediately. Tell him you need some time to process this if it is just more than you can deal with rationally at this time, but make sure you DO go back and deal with it.

From the conversation, I would try an access if normal discipline is in order, or if you need to start seeing a counselor for something deeper. (or both)

The suspension sounds reasonable, and I would tell him he is lucky he wasn't expelled. That is just not an acceptable way to treat people at all.

I am sorry you are having to deal with this. It is so hard when our kids do things so out of left field from how we raised them.

Mom to 10yo Autistic Wonder Boy and 6yo Inquisitive Fireball Girl . December birthdays.

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#20 of 22 Old 06-15-2009, 06:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by PikkuMyy View Post
3 days of suspension in the next school year is, in terms of behavior analysis and reinforcement, so far removed from the act that it's completely useless.
I agree, but there aren't any real options since it is the end of the school year.

That is why the parents need to do something in addition to the suspention, something more immediate.

Mom to 10yo Autistic Wonder Boy and 6yo Inquisitive Fireball Girl . December birthdays.

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#21 of 22 Old 06-16-2009, 11:23 AM
 
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For the record, I find the amount of foul language that is considered acceptable "these Days" appalling. I am not a prude and at times find a good strong f*ck perfectly expresses the emotions I am feeling. That said, I never swear in the work place or around teens.
That said, what happened right before. Of course the VP is going to say the language was out of the blue. But was your son feeling cornered in some way? Was it a dare?
I would approach the administration about the ridiculousness of 3 days suspension 3 months from now. I mean, what he's getting is 3 extra days of summer vacation. Something along the lines of doing service work at the school these days after school is out. Pulling weeds, moving furniture, whatever.
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#22 of 22 Old 06-16-2009, 07:46 PM
 
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How are you doing, bearly? How is your ds? Have you made any discoveries as to what caused this behavior? I hope all is well with you and yours.

"We think we're gliding down the highway when in fact we're slip sliding away." Paul Simon
DD-7 & B-G twins, 5
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