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2 Bumps

What to do about a defiant preteen?

My boyfriends son, who lives with us full time, just turned 12. Everything has now become a struggle- homework, behavior, dinner, responsibilities, chores... It's a constant battle, and it seems to keep getting worse. Not just at home, but at his mother's, his grandparents, and sometimes even at school and on the bus. We have tried everything from grounding him, spanking him, timeouts, taking away activities that he enjoys, point systems, everything that you can possibly Google. Nothing seems to bother him as he is so stubborn he just doesn't care. Any input would be great. We all understand his hormones are changing, but the constant arguing, fit throwing, pouting, not doing what he is told, downright dis-respectfulness, failing grades, and even sometimes getting physical or causing damage to things inside our home, is not going to fly in our home. What else can we do?

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Asked by AndreaNicole84 at 8:48 AM on Jan. 24, 2013 in Tweens (9-12)

Level 3 (20 Credits)
Answers (17)
  • Whenever there is a question like yours the first thing I ask is, "What does he like?" Electronics, time hanging out with friends, sports, whatever it is, control his access to it based on his compliance with the rules of the house.

    It sounds like you have a lot of methods in play. Pick one and stick with it. Spanking a 12 year old sounds like a bad idea by the way. Also, you may benefit from some family counselling. It worked wonders between my 13 yo step daughter and me. If no one will go to sessions with you, go yourself. GL

    Answer by tessiedawg at 8:59 AM on Jan. 24, 2013

  • I think you need to find something he enjoys and try connecting with him. I would also go to therapy. He's young it will only get worse.


    Answer by RyansMom001 at 9:01 AM on Jan. 24, 2013

  • The answer to the question "What does he like?" has already been taken away from him until he shows improvement with his behavior and school work. We tried to give him all the luxuries of things he enjoys, but each time he shows us that it's not good enough and that he does not appreciate these things. Ex. He wanted to do Karate, we signed him up and was locked into a years contract. Through that year his grades declined and his behavior got worse. We kept telling him school comes first and how he decides to behave will be the factors of renewing the contract. Well, he no longer is doing karate, and I'm glad we did not agree to another year as each night he is doing homework from the time he gets off the bus, to the time he goes to bed. This is not because the teacher overloads him. Ex. last night he had 9 math problems of simple division. He didn't want to do them so he just sat in his room and stared at the wall.

    Comment by AndreaNicole84 (original poster) at 9:10 AM on Jan. 24, 2013

  • counseling?

    Answer by charlotsomtimes at 9:12 AM on Jan. 24, 2013

  • Or thought he could kill time by blowing his nose every 15 mins, or hanging out in the bathroom pretending to be "going to the bathroom", or whatever else he tried to do instead of his homework. All video games have been boxed up, the TV has been removed from his room nor is he allowed to watch TV anywhere else. We constantly try to go do things as a family that we know he would enjoy, but each time he turns it into a negative time because as soon as things don't go his way, he starts throwing a fit and pouting. Ex. we took him to The Children's Museum a few weeks ago. They gave us a coupon when we parked for $2 off frozen yogurt. So after being there a few hours we decided to go check it out, well for a shot glass size of yogurt it was $11. We said no way, we will stop on the way home and get ice cream that doesn't cost that much. That wasn't good enough and we ended up having to leave because he was so angry and

    Comment by AndreaNicole84 (original poster) at 9:16 AM on Jan. 24, 2013

  • ended up we couldn't even enjoy it. It makes us not even want to try and go do something with him because this is how it always turns out. Even going to get McDonald's for dinner, he gets upset because we order him a mighty kids meal instead of 2 quarter pounders and a large fry and drink. (He's 12...) As far as the counseling goes, we are in the process of trying to get him into a behavioral center. He doesn't have insurance because his mother chooses not to cover him as she was court ordered and we currently can not cover him as we make too much money for state issued insurance and neither of us are provided insurance through our employers. And we honestly do not have the money to pay for any other type of health insurance.

    Comment by AndreaNicole84 (original poster) at 9:22 AM on Jan. 24, 2013

  • We have two two teens - 13 and 16. We have been going thru the "hormonal" change with both of them. But what we found that worked was after they kept fighting us on EVERYTHING we came up with first a "sit down". Each child was talked to sepeately and we had the moment of how we will ALL had to make changes. We found that we were making (in their words) "idol threats" - not following thru with the they knew that it would never stick. So we changed our methods completely, Our kids do not have x-box or ipods or "gizmos" during the school week - till friday afterschool. During the week when something does not get done when asked they loose friday afterschools "privilidge" and so on. But they also get a "reprieve" when they do something good. Just stick with your one a day - don't punish for a month, it does not work and they then don't care. Don't be wishy washy and not follow thru..stick with it don't let him win!

    Answer by madmueller at 9:36 AM on Jan. 24, 2013

  • I was going to suggest karate, I think you migh reconsider getting him back into it, My brother's instructor took grades etc. very seriously. I think it is time for you to find some insurance check into blue cross/blue shield for kids. You could also enforce the court order on the mother. Part of the problem may be WHO is enforcing the rules. Does your boyfriend do it, or leave it up to you? I think that 12 is too old for a mighty kids meal, and the expense of 1 1/4 pounder, fries and a drink would be about the same. I wouldn't allow 2 because no person needs to eat that much junk. How does he act in school? You all need to get this fixed and now, when he is 16 it is going to be out of control. So find a way to get him some help, and he most likely needs a full check-up with the doctor to start.

    Answer by jerseydiva at 10:14 AM on Jan. 24, 2013

  • Counseling and anger management. Maybe you can sit down and talk to his Karate master as well maybe he needs a mentor. His problem is more then bad behavior it sounds like an anger issue as well. Talking to the Sensei of his Karate Dojo and maybe even having him sit down with him might provide him with a mentor . Also He needs anger management it will help with the passive aggressive behavior.

    Answer by pinkdragon36 at 10:48 AM on Jan. 24, 2013

  • Have you had him tested for ADD/ADHD? It manifests in many forms and doesn't have to be severe for it to still affect him. Is there something going on at school? He might be acting out because he can't do anything about what is happening in school. Does he simply hate school or hate doing homework? Would homeschooling help or moving to another district? I would say that now is the perfect time to begin life coaching him. Help him figure out what direction he wants, what he likes/dislikes, find out about what careers are out there, find out about his strengths and weaknesses. He needs an incentive to behave better and not just talking about video games. He needs a life goal to work toward and keep him focused. Once you figure out what he wants to be (for now, of course it will change), then you could use that to guide him. "A great doctor/actor/artist finishes school first." Do you reward good behavior, too?

    Answer by hellokittykat at 1:43 PM on Jan. 24, 2013

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