Online Parent Support Chat

24.5.11

Son has changed overnight to be moody...

Hi There

I've just gone onto your web site for the first time today out of sheer
desperation. Not to mention shedding bucket loads of tears over the last
few days.
My only child is my 13 yr old son who has changed overnight to be moody,
aggressive, foul mouthed, rude, arrogant and just plain not my son? I need
some help here please!
Scott is a champion swimmer at the tender age of 13 he has successfully
made his way in the last 18 months to the All Australian Nationals this
year. Monday to Sat I get up at 4:15am every day to get him to training -
he starts every day at 5-7am. I also swim in another pool when he trains
as it's a bit of a distance to come home and go back to fetch him later-
also good exercise for me. He also swims in the afternoons as well as the
mornings as he's now classed as an elite athlete. He has worked extremely
hard to get where he is and put in a significant amount of effort and sheer
hard work and determination to succeed in his sport. He loves it and he's
passionate about it. His Coach is extremely pleased with him and believes
he will go far - he has been significantly rewarded for is efforts. I have
managed to save and provide for all his sporting requirements - swimming is
not a cheap sport I can tell you - but we've managed because he loves it so
much! Nationals were in April 2011 and since we came back I noticed the
difference in Scott's attitude towards myself and my husband.

He has everything a 13 yr old boy can ask for - he has a Wii, an Xbox, a
Playstation 3, a large Sony Bravia screen in his bedroom, an Apple Mac
Laptop for school, and an iPod Touch and a nice phone to use. He gets the
best sporting equipment for his swimming and he has a phone similar to an
iPhone. We bought him a new phone in April as he was due for an upgrade
and his old phone actually got damaged so we had no choice. I upgraded his
plan so he could have more attributes such as unlimited Facebook and other
stuff his friends had. I told him he would have to keep under the limit of
texting or a large bill would ensue and that he would have to pay for it.
I also noticed that he spends an inordinate amount of time on Facebook on
his Mac and his phone and is posting what I would not expect him to post.
Rude and snide comments about his friends and colleagues and generally
behaving poorly online. Not what I would expect from my son at all. He has
just recently run up an unusually high and expensive text bill on his phone
of $215.00 and when I discussed this with him he just shrugged his
shoulders about it and became abusive, I then made the decision of
confiscating his phone and asked him to come up with a plan to rectify his
spending and phone habits and we would discuss it further. Rather than
discuss it he has become incredibly abusive and arrogant towards me and is
now continuing to display this behaviour. I have not yet give him his
phone back after a week of him not having it.

My husband and I walk around on eggshells most of the time depending on
what mood he's in and he has told me "I refuse to give in to you or let you
control me - you'll give me my phone back or I'll stop swimming, stop
racing and I don't care if you go to your room crying 'cos I hate you and
you're the worst mother ever!" I have no idea why he is behaving like
this. Is this typical teenager behaviour? He answers back, is rude to me
in front of his friends in our house and is just plain disrespectful.

Since I took his phone away, he has since refused to do anything such as
chores around the house to help recoup the high phone bill, unless I beg
him to do it. Instead he continues to be rude, arrogant and disrespectful
to me and his father. He constantly plays my husband and I off at each
other saying one of us has said something the other hasn't and this ends up
in an argument between my husband and I.

He attends a private school and there have been a number of notes in the
diary recently from his teachers along the lines of the following:
"no homework submitted"
"wrong books for class"
"homework under par and not the best effort"
"disruptive in class"
"detention given for being disruptive"

Scott is a very bright kid and a gifted swimmer - and up until a few months
ago was an A-B grade student. He's been considerably awarded at school for
his swimming prowess. Whilst he was training for Nationals this year I
took on his chores so he could focus on getting his homework done and
continue with his training regime. How that he's back from Nationals and
the pressure's off we instigated his chores again.

I've tackled him about the above issues and tried to discuss his behaviour
with him, but he was very aggressive when I tried to discuss it, saying he
was tired and saw no reason why he had to discuss this with me all the time
and he wasn't aware he had homework so didn't do it. Fortunately we live
next to a kid in Scott's classes so I know he has homework most days his
mother is a Teacher. He has lied to me several times about not having
homework, or when it's due and I have completely lost trust in him now
considerably.. We allow him to have friends over for the weekend and,
rather than be honest that he has homework or inform us that he even has
any, he has chosen to spend the entire weekend playing Video games in his
room with his mate, despite me asking if he had any homework. On the
Monday getting ready for School he decides he's "forgotten" to do homework
and provides a shrug when asked why he didn't do it. This then means we
have to scramble around t help him get it done - I have sometimes managed
to get him through his homework deluges even t the point of completing some
of the aspects for him and being late for work myself !

He comes home from school and sits in front of the TV or jumps onto
Facebook rather than do his homework. I cannot be there sometimes when he
gets home I'm always home by 5pm so he's only alone for 30-45 mins. I
spend time cooking stuff the night before or on the weekends so that he has
food he can access quickly before swimming but he's so busy on his Mac on
Facebook or his iPod Touch on Facebook chatting, that he never gets time to
eat properly. And when I get home from work at 5pm to check he's eaten and
doing homework - I can invariably say he's not done anything I asked him to
do to make his life easier. I then have to rush around and fix it.

I've spoken to his Coach to ask if he can forego a swimming session if he
doesn't get his homework done with his Coach's agreement, but to no avail.
His Coach is a great advocate for mixing swimming with sport - he has 2
kids grown up now that he took from youngsters to the top 3 swimmers in
Australia s he knows what it;'s like to be where I am. I've tried to get
him organised at night so he's ready for the morning, but Scott just
doesn't seem to have any interest in school or my husband and I helping him
and promptly announced he hates spending time with us last weekend.
Everything seems to end up in a fight and loud voices when yo ahve to
constatnly remind him to do something. It hurts!

We're only 3 but are a busy family. I work 5 days a week as does my
husband. I get up at 4am in the mornings (do some of my chores) and get
Scott to training every day (Mon-Fri) and when we get home in the mornings
at around 7:30am, I get his lunch ready for school and drive him to school
or the bus. I then head off to work and from 8:30am-5pm work all day with
no break so I can leave at 5pm to get home to get him to his afternoon
training session and ensure that he eats before the session. Scott gets
home from school at around 4:15pm so has time to eat a light snack and do
some homework before we leave for swimming at 5:45pm - he's in the water
training from 6-7:30pm on Monday, Tuesday, Wed, & Friday afternoons. He
also swims Sat mornings from 6-8am and then comes home and goes back to
sleep. He races some weekends when there are competitive meets but not
every weekend (1in every 5 weekends he races). When he gets home from
swimming I cook a meal and, by 9pm, he and I are in bed. I don't employ a
cleaner or someone to do my ironing - we can't afford it - I take all this
on and do it very early on the weekends myself so I can I attend with/or
get Scott to swim meets or wherever he needs to go for swimming during the
days. I have literally become a finely tuned working Mum/machine but I
wouldn't have it any other way or it just wouldn't work.

Where am I going wrong please? I'm the primary caregiver as my husband is
away a lot and has no interest in any kind of sport. I find myself yelling
at Scott constantly as I have to ask him 7 or 8 times to do something and
by the time I ask for tjhe 5th time my voice is louder and louder and I end
up yelling. Wouldn't anyone? I've sat down with him and asked why he
doesn't pay attention. I;ve had his ears checked and he'snot deaf! I've
begged and pleaded but to no avail. I;'e asked him if he wants to have a
break from swimming or even give it up but he doesn't want to. I'm almost
at breaking point!

I have given my son everything I can but why has he changed overnight. I
feel so useless and alone. I'm so sad that I've lost my son. I'm at my
wits end!

Please help me?

Thanks

Paula