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    12 Year Old Boy
    SmlSoldier02 posted:
    Hello all you parents of 12 year old boys, I'm the step father of a 12 year old boy who is exibiting some troubling behavior. This behavior consists of excessive display of anger, inability to control anger, back-talking, disrespect to his mother, failure to follow simple instructions, failure to complete and/or turn-in school assignments, a "don't give a crap about anything" attitude (unless it involves the Xbox 360,) failing grades, acting a fool in school by clowning to gain attention, hitting other students, attempting to assault his mother, and only caring about watching TV or playing video games. Yes, I realize that this is probably just normal behavior for a 12 year old boy, but with this young man, the behavior is destroying the relationship between him, his mother, and me as his step father. Are any of you experiencing the same behavioral issues with your 12 year old boy? If so, how are you dealing with it and what advice can you offer my family? I look forward to your replies.


    Mike A., Radcliff, KY
    Louise_WebMD_Staff responded:
    I would definitely investigate some anger management therapy for him and family therapy for you all to help you learn good strategies to deal with him. Of course, before that, you will want to get him appropriately evaluated for ADD/ADHD, Conduct Disorder , etc to see if there is something more that should be done to help.

    In the meantime, I would sit down and work out the house rules together, make them written and clear. TV and video games are a privilege and it doesn't sound like he should have them right now to me.

    This sounds like more than what I would consider normal 12 yo boy bad behavior and I definitely would get some help finding out what was going on.
    SmlSoldier02 replied to Louise_WebMD_Staff's response:
    Ms. Louise,

    My stepson Dakota has always been a little hard to get through to, but in the last month he has really taken a turn for the worse. Here's a little background: I'm in the Army Reserve and have been gone from the home for the last three weeks attending Human Resources training. In my absence, Dakota has decided to "act up" with only mom around to deal out the discipline. My wife Cathy is trying her best to get through each day with him, but this kid is 5'7" and Cathy is 5'0" even. Dakota's biological dad is 6'6" and Dokota is most likely going to continue growing to over 6 feet tall. The real funny thing is that Dakota is a real "goober" as I like to call it. He slouches, has no pride in his appearance, won't shower unless you tell him to, and generally attracts other "goobers" at school; you know, the un-popular kids that everyone makes fun of. Dakota has brought this on himself because he always tries to be someone he's not. I believe in the freedom of self expression, but he's a slightly overweight white boy from a middle class family with strong values, integrity, honesty, and love. Despite the positive influences in his life, Dakota insists on trying to be a "hip hop lifestyle" know...pants on the ground, jerk in the step, slinky neck, hand gestures, ignorant speech, "gangsta" rap and hip hop music, etc... Let me make one thing real clear; Cathy and I do not allow Dakota to have this kind of music on his iPod nor do we encourage him to to dress and act like he's a street kid from the inner city. We live in a modest 3 bedroom ranch home that I built in 2006. My wife and I listen to country music; drive a Chevy pickup, ride a Harley Davidson motorcycle, and believe in God. My job requires me to maintain a SECRET security clearance, good credit, and live a life of rock-solid integrity. The military part of me wants to whip this kid with a belt, but the common sense side says no; handle this another way. wife called our local community mental health provider, "Communicare," and requested to have Dakota seen. I'm hoping that the professionals at Communicare can help us discover what is going on in my stepson's head. I hope that he doesn't have to start taking a chemical to change his behavior, but I suppose that if chemical therapy is the only option, then we will all deal with the side effects as a family.
    Thank you for your first reply; I look forward to more from you when you have a chance.

    Very Respectfully,

    Mike A.
    cris_mercy replied to SmlSoldier02's response:
    Hi...Cris here. if i may have an may not resolve much...but a matter of opinion. I feel pre teen syndrome is part of growing up..and rebelling towards you is part of life. A kind reminder and yet keeping it nice and simple is the way to life for a child at that age. Achieve is to be discreet. Be incline to is enviroment and learning a way to discuss it in a fashionable way is key and compassion will always keep a family together. I am sure it is difficult for him to understand so many pubrity and making good decision...which is always hard with pure pressure. Just keep him aware of making good decision starts within his conscience...and his values due to his upbringing. But always keep an open mind and always always changes..nothing stays the same. Continue to strive for a better tomorrow. As for school...keep reminding him how important it is... and speak to him of college and thru his grades he will have the benefits to leave him and enjoy "the college life" but so as longest he does well in his studies now. I am sure this generation has brought to light the values of a good education. the xobox has to burn out good luck..and he will grow...with a positive reminder and good advice he will go a long way.
    Louise_WebMD_Staff replied to SmlSoldier02's response:
    I have to say that I pick my battles with my children. Hair, music, clothing (as long as it doesn't violate school dress code), does not rate remark in my home. If it doesn't leave a permanent mark-I am not going to fight it. Of our older three children, they all had some pretty annoying dress/peer habits. Boy with his goth phase complete with Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson playing nonstop might have seemed a hopeless cause. You know what? He has grown up to be one of the most well behaved young adult men I have ever known. You couldn't find a kinder, more responsible child. He just bought his first home at 24. He has worked the same employer since he was 17 and worked his way up to management.

    I grew up in a security clearance family. My father let me know exactly what would jeopardize his security clearance and the consequences of those actions. It haunted me well into my 20s and kept me from any serious trouble.

    Changes in the pattern of family life are hard on kids and it seems to be the time they push their boundaries.
    Raelynn831 responded:
    I don't have step children but I did have a step-father. I took to him almost immediately, my brother did not and my step brother didn't take to us either. You did not mention how long you have been in his life. If you are a new member then he may be angry about his parents not reconciling, (now they can't get back together cause mom went and got remarried)... My step brother felt that way... If he saw that his father caused a lot of hurt to his mother (not to mention the hurt he may have felt), he may feel angry with her for taking a chance that could get her hurt again. This is what my brother felt... You also don't mention other children or if you brought children to the marriage. If there are no other children then he may feel like you specifically are taking his mother. If there are more children, he may feel like he has to fight for the shared attention that once he had to himself. I don't think it's normal 12 year old stuff that he tries to bully his mother. I agree that family counseling is a good idea, that way you can address why he feels the need to behave in this way and solve the true problem. Everything your dealing with is just the symptoms. My family had the option of patience and waiting the boys out. I'm not sure that would be in your best interest tho, considering his anger issues and your professional need for family integrity...
    SmlSoldier02 replied to Raelynn831's response:

    There's others in the family. Dakota has a 7 year old brother, a 14 year old step-brother, and two 10 year old sisters: 1 is a step sister. His step brother and 1 sister live in Florida during the school year (my kids from a previous marriage.) Just recently his blood sister moved in with her daddy after over 200 threats to move out when she doesn't get her way. We always got the "I wanna go live with my daddy!" line when things didn't go her way. We had to let her go this last time she threatened because this 10 year old became enraged when we (me and her mom) wouldn't buy her a cell phone. I have been in Dakota's life for over 7 years. Dakota was a little dude when I first met him, He's been a great boy up until age 12 and then took a turn for the worse. I talked to him today on the phone for 2 hours about school, life, and his relationship with his mom. Dakota IS upset that his dad and mom are not together, but he has got to learn to accept it. Dakota's biological father is a violent man with a bad temper. He's been in and out of jail at least three times in the last 7 years and he used to beat Cathy during their marriage; that's why she divorced him. Dakota takes his anger and frustration out on him mom because his bio dad is not a big part of his life. Dakota gets a lot of attention; probably more than his little brother. The attention is positive except for the negative attention that he brings on himself. I guess I just have to be strong and see what the future holds.

    Best, Mike
    Raelynn831 replied to SmlSoldier02's response:
    I know that it is not always nurture over nature. My brother is just like our biological father. Our biological father was only in our lives a short time and it was our step father that raised us. I have reconnected with my paternal grandmother and have found that my brother and biological father have many similarities.
    They both are abusive and violent, which started in their pre-teen years toward siblings. They both have a history of being in and out of jail, while my step father has never been in trouble with the law. Both have a problem with alcohol. Their personalities are identical; self righteous, always the victim in every situation, insists that they are right even if you can prove they are not, believe that even when you do something for them they did YOU the favor, etc.. They even drive the same model vehicle and have the exact same career...
    My grandmother actually spoke to her doctor and asked about the similarities since my brother and I were raised without his influence. Her doctor said that the vehicle and job choice was probably coincidence. He said that she was right about genetics playing such a big part in who my brother became. He said that my brother would require counseling to change what genetics had set in motion. Of course he believes there is nothing wrong with how he has decided to live his life....
    My whole point in this long little story is that even if he is being raised by a good man who is teaching him the right way to become a man, he may need some extra help to over come his genetic predisposition to be like his father..
    difeterici responded:
    My son will be 12 years old tomorrow and he bullies me he makes me cry and is really mean to me im in pain and he knows it i am getting surgery september 25th i dont know what to do he doesnt act out in school or doesnt bully kids at school he has good grades he is just mean to me and his sister and sometimes his dad I think he is bipolar cause sometimes he is nice and most of the time he is mean but he is really bad toward me gl and i hope we find a solution together unless u already did
    difeterici replied to difeterici's response:
    I had a nail tech and she was doing my nails and we were talking about our sons and she said that her son was acting out and her son made her cry and come to find out it was from testosterone and later on he was good to her
    kay_kay75 replied to difeterici's response:
    I would look into the hormonal thing, if he is on any medications it may be that it needs to be adjusted. I am from a blended family and I was a step Mom, it is not an easy job and those that are called on to do it are special people. Just remember that even though he was young when his mother and father split up he may have lasting memories about the abuse and he may think that is the way he is supposed to treat her. I suggest intensive therapy to get over his anger and possibly some type of physical activity to encourage him to get out and be social.
    jaggedbak responded:
    how did you get on ? that kid must be like 15 now . Are you guys ok ?
    MichelleAve responded:
    Some of these behaviors are common, but certainly sound extreme enough to not be considered "normal" behavior. I would take him to a Therapist and try to figure out what is triggering his anger. It could also just be hormones and a rebellious attitude gone far out of control. Either way something needs to be done. I would try talking to him about how his behavior effects you, and how he needs to care about his future. As for TV and Xbox, take them away. I know he didn't pay for them, and those things should be earned. If he wants to act like a little hoodlum then he can sit in his room alone with nothing to do until he shapes up.

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