Reaching end of!! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 10-15-2003, 09:41 AM - Thread Starter
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My oldest ds is 11. This is a hard time in all of our lives, as, after 11 years of abuse, about a year ago I separated from his dad. He had some difficult moments in the beginning adjusting, and has been in therapy since the beginning. My questions is, he is starting to really see how far he can push the envelope as far as doing homework, etc. I don't know how much of this is due to the issues we are dealing with as a family, and how much is hormones, but I am reaching the end of my parenting rope. I want to know how other people have handled this issue.. the normal rebellion of preteens. I have talked to the teachers involved, and I have allowed for the fact that he is going through alot, but I am starting to think he is using this as an excuse to bail on responsibilities and manipulate. I have always been proud of the mother I am, but now we are entering a period where I feel can't just pop a neenie in him and make him happy anymore ... any ideas for smoothing out these years ahead from other moms, books i can read, whatever, would be greatly appreciated. Thanks !!
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#2 of 5 Old 10-15-2003, 08:02 PM
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can't just pop a neenie in him and make him happy anymore
It used to be so easy, didn't it? My ds is 12, and I wish I had "the answer," if there is one... This morning, (5 minutes before it was time to leave for school) we were running around looking for his P.E. shorts, which were never found. After he finally left with a poor substutute for the proper clothes, I noticed that his homework was in his book on the floor in his room.

It seems to me that his brain is on auto-pilot most of the time. I have to say things two or three times before he hears me, but if I say two words about him to someone else, he doesn't miss a thing.

I try to be accepting and choose my battles. I try to oversee the homework without taking over. I try to make sure everything is packed and ready the night before, but I can only do so much.

My dad always told me that difficult times strengthen your character. That's the best advice I can give you. Be strong and ride out the storm. They tell me it gets better.
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#3 of 5 Old 10-15-2003, 09:40 PM - Thread Starter
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thanks for making me feel better... I know this will make me stronger... and I read some where this is the age when a boy starts to separate from his mom and bond more with his dad. Since my ds has so many negative issues with his dad at the moment, alot of times I know he takes them out on me, I am his place to vent.. sigh.. add to that the normal growing pains of his age and you see what I am dealing with. Today though, after school, he came up to me and put his arms around me and said I love you mommy...sigh.. can't tell you how good that made me feel.. last night he hated now tonight, after the ritual homework war I am back to being enemy number one. I can't wait until we reach a place where there is less and more ... till that time I suppose I must pick my battles carefully so I do not end up in the nuthouse..which, after any given night might be a welcome respite from this loony bin I live in now
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#4 of 5 Old 10-15-2003, 09:49 PM
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I could have written much of your post myself. I understand SO WELL the "ritual homework war" and that feeling of inadequacy. I thought I was such a great parent, until my oldest hit 11...he's 13 now and I'm doing the thing several times daily!!!

It certainly is humbling...never again will I get up on my parenting "high horse" again, that's for sure!

I'm right there with ya, sister. We'll hang on by our fingernails together; and pray the wild ride ends soon!

Every baptized Christian is, or should be, someone with an actual (disturbing) experience, ... a close encounter, with God; someone who, as a result, becomes a disturbing presence to others. - Fr. Anthony J. Gittins, A Presence That Disturbs
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#5 of 5 Old 10-27-2003, 04:53 PM
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I have had 4 stepsons in my home at various times. They were 10, 10, 12 and 15 when I married their dad. They are now 20, 18, 15 and 15. Only one is still living with us.

They all went through a few "school/behaviour" phases. I will tell you what worked for us:

1. Kids over ten should be responsible for keeping up with their clothes and school supplies. If they are late because they can't find their shoes, then they get a tardy. If they can't turn in their homework because they didn't repack their school bag the night before, they get the bad grade (no sympathy from us for being lazy) ... you must let them face the consequences of their actions or they will never learn to be responsible.

2. Decide on punishments for failures to keep up with school work. Write it all out. Tell them what you expect from them. Stick to the punishments. We have an assignment book. They are expected to manage their school work. They have to write down what they did that day, what assignments they were given and when it is due, what grades they recieved on tests, quizzes, or homework, and when the next test will be. If they don't keep up with this, they are grounded for a night or until they catch up... If we find out that they lied about something having to do with class, they are grounded from the computer for a week.

3. Don't cut them too much slack... they will just take advantage. If they need help and reassurance, then they need firm guidance and boundaries/rules to rely on also. Expect more from them, not less. Spend more time with them, not less. Don't just ground them to their room and think they learned a lesson. Be creative and interactive. Use restrictions and rewards. If they spend too much time playing a computer game and it interferes with their homework and chores, then set a time limit on that game. They will never limit themselves... you have to do it for them.

4. Talk to them about what they did wrong and what they should have done until you are blue in the face. We adults tend to think they understand, but pre-teens really are aliens (their brains are actually changing dramatically), but they don't understand... the only way they will is if you tell them exactly what you think and then ask them what they heard you say until you are both clear on the issue.

5. It never ends... they will do something the same way for 6 months and then suddenly forget. They will swear, when you bring it up 2 weeks later that they don't remember ever doing it (like vacumming the hallway). Are they lying? Are they braindead? I don't know. The action we take as parents is the same. Show them that list of expectations/rules/chores you should have written up and posted in the kitchen and tell them to do it and remember next time.

6. If you don't write it down, they will always be able to say that you "never said that." Write it down! I don't care how wonderful they were before they were ten. They will never return to that child. They are going to continue to grow and become more and more alien, rebellious, and brain dead. How do they go from a child who got up at 5 am to watch cartoons to a teenager that won't get up until noon?! It will happen! Pick your rules and stick to them... if you don't do it, no one will. It will give you all something to cling to when things get really confusing.
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