21 Answers

My son is 10 years old and has this new found attitude that he is hard done by. He thinks I’m mean, that I make him feel bad, he wants to kill himself, that I ask him to do to much and that he has a right to do nothing around the house. I’m going through mental health issues at the moment so it gets very hard for me to deal with him. I have two other kids in the house who it is also affecting and they are picking up on some of the behaviours and doing them too. Can any mums suggest some hints and tips of what I can do. Thanks.

Posted anonymously, 16th October 2014

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  • I see this is an old question. How is he (and you) going now ?
    Pre teen age can be quite a difficult stage indeed and so can be the teenage years. The most important thing you can do for your child is actually just sit down, without questions, and just listen. Also I found it helps to take the time for every little question my teens come with and take it serious.
    I try to take at least 10 minutes each day aside for each child. My boy is 15yr now and he loves a neck massage ! I love one too, so he can do one at me = win-win ;)
    I do agree that when you think your child is seriously depressed it would be good to get help. Only thing is it can be quite hard to motivate them at this age and of course it would help if they want to get help.

  • Maybe because you yourself are experiencing mental health issues, that your sons issues are magnified and much worse then they actually are

  • No child should talk about killing himself. Please both of you go to a GP first , explain your story then he will refer you further if needed . Please seek help now so that you both wont have to suffer much longer. God Bless.

  • How awful that you’re going through this when you already have so much on your plate!
    Did this behaviour start around the same time your own personal problems did?
    This could be a way your son is reaching out for attention, but he needs to know this is the wrong way to be going about it.
    Perhaps you should spend a day just you & him doing something you know he enjoys like go-karting or laser tag followed by lunch and a talk.
    Tell him how his behaviour is making you feel and ask him why this behaviour started?
    He may have some underlying issues such as bullying at school or peer-pressure. It could also just be teenage hormones kicking in early.
    It could also be that he knows your having a rough trot & has decided to take advantage of the situation.
    If the day out & talk doesn’t resolve some of the issues you really should speak to your local doctor about a psychologist, especially where self harm is concerned.
    It is also very important that you remember this is not your fault.
    All kids go through different phases and some are worse than others.
    Be there for your son, be supportive, be Mum but also be his friend.
    & take some time out for yourself as well.
    I hope things improve for you soon.

  • If he wants to kill himself he needs help. Talk to a gp or behavioural specialist.

  • Im so sorry to hear you’re dealing with it! Pre-teen ages are soooo much hard work!!!! However the only advice that I can give is to ensure you are getting some mummy time out, seek some professional advice as its serious if a child threatens to harm themselves!!

  • Mt son is 11 and im going threw the same things the only thing I can do is say keep going and there wont be any sport this wk that’s working atm but who knows how long that’s going to work for. its a worry..

  • don’t let him see you are down, stand your ground, if he thinks his life is so terrible then show him how terrible his life can really be. make him miss out on everything for a week, make him do his own dishes, washing, cleaning etc and if he doesn’t then he doesn’t get clothes ood etc.

  • Sounds like you are doing it tough at the moment. Please look after yourself first – if you are struggling with things your 10 year old might just be picking up on that and acting out. Thinking of you and good luck

  • Parent Line
    1300 1300 52

  • I too am going through this problem with my 10 year old and believe that it is a phase he is going through. I have sat him down on his own and he has also realised on his own how much his brothers take from him as he did a speech at school on challenges. As he is the oldest he didn’t realise that they copy everything. He too used to tell me that he wanted to die but he was just venting. He knows I love him because I tell him every day at least twice.
    I have recently started a rewards chart for my boys where each created their on buttons to stick on and everytime they do a major chore they stick their button on the chart at the end of the week (providing they have done their homework) they will be rewarded either money for their moneybox – $1- $2 each chore or an activity to the value of what they have earned so going to the pools or indoor play centre, having pizza for dinner or going to get maccas. Maybe try this to see if this motivates him to help out around the house, it is working for my boys. But stress to them if they don’t do their homework and the task is not completed properly that it won’t count. Last week my boys didn’t do and hand in their homework therefore they missed out on reward. this week they have been working extra hard!
    Also take advantage of the free parentline, it’s always good to have a professional help in any way they can – even if it’s to help calm you down and set your mind at ease that you are not alone. And you’re not!

  • I suggest a couple of things, – are you seeing anyone about your mental health? If so have a chat to them about what your son is going through as it would defintely be affecting your mental health. Secondly get him to see someone and thirdly have a look at the food he is eating. You may see changes just by cutting out additives, preservatives and colours – or you may need to do the whole elimination diet to see what is affecting him (check out FAILSAFE)

  • All kids have some form of defiance & attitude. It’s normal to try & push the boundaries & refuse to help out, however I don’t think it’s normal verbalising thoughts of self-harm. Perhaps you are asking a lot of him & the pressure is too much for a child of his age. Have you spoken to your GP or support worker about this?

  • Definitely take him to see someone or a few different people til he finds one he wants to open upto.

  • my 7yo boy is resembling a 14yo girl at the moment (attitude wise), and even though it is not as far as what you are describing, my hubby and i are going back to basics with reminding him of house rules, that nothing has changed, we will always love him. that his attitude is 100% unnacceptable, yes he is more that entitled to his opinion and feelings etc, but doesnt mean that he has to be a brat about it. due to massive amounts of disrespect lately and outright lieing, he is grounded atm, and this is seeming to be working.
    i hope this helps in some way. good luck. xx

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