How Do You Parent an Emotional, Irrational, Angry 11 Year Old?

Updated on March 01, 2008
E.R. asks from La Mesa, CA
4 answers

I don't know what to do with my boy. He's not completing his classwork, he's disrupting class, he lies and says he's finished his homework when he hasn't and he holds his relationship with his grandparents constantly over my head. He threatens to runaway and live with them. He says I'm mean and all I do is yell at him..I do yell, I don't know how else to speak to him. When I'm nice and sweet, it doesn't work either! But neither does yelling, it doesn't work!

He has this "best friend" that is a girl, she's 11 as well but she's more mature then she is (as we all know girls mature faster then boys) all she ever talks about to him is boys and her drug addicted mother. I'm sorry but I don't find that to be the best kind of friend to have. Am I wrong? He thinks I'm awful for not liking her and for not wanting him to socialize with her. I'm at my wits end. He makes me feel so angry and upset. No matter what I say or do is wrong. He says that I don't love him! Crazy child, of course I love him or I wouldn't give a flying pig who he talks to or hangs out with. Has anybody else been through anything similar to this? How did you deal? What did you do? Counseling is $250.00 an hr!!! That's more than half of my paycheck.

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answers from San Diego on

I'm sorry you're going through this. I don't have any firsthand experience, since my baby is still, well, a baby. But a couple of things jump out about your post. First, are most of your fights with your son about this friend you don't like? And, aside from the conversational subjects you find objectionable, is she really all that bad an influence? Is there a way you could let him socialize with her in a setting that you find acceptable? Like, maybe let them watch a movie in your living room or take them out for ice cream or something? That way you eliminate her as a source of the power struggle between you and your son.

Second, has he gone through any recent life changes (divorce, new baby, new school)? Frequently kids start acting out as a response to stresses in life. Have you tried talking to him about what's going on with him? And by "talking," I mean asking him if anything is bothering him and listening without judgment (which I know can be hard).

Third, depending on where your son's grandparents live, your relationship with them, and how bad this gets for you, would it be at all possible for you to let him live with them for a while? I bet if he does, he might find out that he doesn't have it so bad at home with you as he thinks. And it might be a nice break for the two of you so that you can start fresh when he returns.

Finally, I think you really need to reexamine the way you relate to him. If you find yourself alternating between yelling and being nice and sweet to him, you're not being consistent and kids find that confusing. It might be helpful to really think about which of his behaviors are just him being a normal child who is testing his limits (e.g., choosing his own friends) versus those that are truly unacceptable (e.g., lying and not completing his classwork).

There are a number of good parenting books out there that you might find helpful. I liked the Positive Discipline books, as well as the Love and Logic books.

Good luck! I hope things get better for you and your family.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

Where is his father in all of this? One of the problems that I see in your situation is the missing father. The other problem is that you are giving your son the freedom to be disrespectful to you. Make sure the next ime that he throws his grandparents in your face that you mention to him that they would also like to see him succeed in life and let the matter drop there. Do not entertain his threats of running away to live with them, it is just his way of manipulating the situation and making you defensive.
As for the girl friend you should tell him to stop comparing his life to hers. I have a feeling that his disrespectful behavoir may stem from his affection for her as well as the lack of a united front at home.
I believe in raiseing children with as few rules as possible. All four of my children know those four rules. they are: #1 be respectful at all times, #2 Apologize when you have not followed rule number one, #3 Take advantage of all free educaion, #4 Count your blessings and thank God every day for them.

I hope this is helpful
H. Stanley

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

Hey erin,

had the same problems with mu eldest she was really not being the child you expect. Found the best way to deal with it was change tack and treat like an adult and ask questions instead of telling her what to do. She had to really think her answers and when she did she saw what she was doing wrong.

The homework well best thing to do is getthe teacher on side and explain that the more you ask the less cahnce of him doing it. Tell him that the responsibility is his and if he doesn't do it then you already told teacher and they know about whats going on. Find when the responsibility shifts to them they change quick enough.

Can I ask you, did you live with his grandparents at any time? Seems he just trying to set you all against each other because grandparents are that bit softer than mom. Maybe an idea to talk to them and tell them he is using them against you. If he comes up against a united front then he will stop this challenging behaviour.

Hope this helps honey



1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

hi the have a book name love and logic is a i read it and went to did wonder for me my family, and friends, did you knows about the mentor grogram in you for singles mom no fatherin the home that can help.
are just diong thing with him and one to one, like going to a movie or to dinner, are plaing a video game,. tell him you love him allthe change you got,every days.,hi hope
this will help you. M.

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