Hi everyone, not been on here for such a long time but now I need your pearls of widsom!  
My ES turned 11yrs old a couple of months ago and I really don't like the person he's became (feels like literally overnight).  He is moody, cheeky, thinks he is 16 not 11.  He constantly looks dirty and unkempt (even though he showers daily), has been in trouble at school (not concentrating, too much carry-on!) and now I find out that he has been bullying/threatening to fight a fellow classmate.  All my punishments seem to fail....at the moment he is grounded, FB account deleted, no xbox, no pocket money.......
I know a lot of you will feel sympathy for the bullying victim, but I am asking you to help with my side of the problem.....how do I stop my son being the bully?
I physically feel sick when I think of him going to the High School after summer holiday....I need this nipped in the bud!
I can't think of any reason why he has changed......we are a family unit, husband works, I am a SAHM.....nothing has changed in our family set-up.
Hope someone can offer advice, I need it :-((

I'm really, really glad that someone has raised this issue. it is VERY difficult to be the parent of the bully, arguably harder than it is to be the parent of the victim, because at least as the parent of the victim, you get everyone's sympathy, parents and teachers alike. I suspect the fact that so few people ever ask the question gives away the reason why many bullies are bullies - they have uninterested parents who aren't interested in solving the problem. But clearly this isn't the problem in your case, so let's have a look.

I don't think you should worry too much about his attitude or appearance, at this stage. He's only 11, and lots of children struggle at this stage, as their hormones surge up and they suddenly feel as if there are three other people in their heads. Just keep doing what you've been doing on those things. As soon as the hormone levels settle down a bit, and he starts to notice girls, the appearance thing will sort itself out! The bullying is the thing that needs work. Have you been into school to speak to his HT and class teacher?

It sounds like you are doing all the right things at home. What has been his reaction to having all his things removed? Will he give you any reasons at all as to why he is picking on this other child?

Is it at all possible that he is being bullied himself (older sibling, friend, Scouts, church, football club)? Obviously, it doesn't excuse the behaviour, but it might help to explain it. Does he have friends? Are his friends also bullies, or have they drifted away since his behaviour changed?

Hi Fruity - welcome back.

BFG as usual has given you some great advice.

The only other thing I can think of is that he's going to high school in September, is this worrying him? obviously it's a huge change for him maybe this is worth looking at.


Hi, FS, good to 'see' you again.

BFG raises some good points.  Is there any 'history' between him and the classmate?  Has he grown recently and now feels able to stand up to the other person?  Not that I'm trying to make excuses for him, of course.

Also, regarding the high school thing, don't forget that he (and the rest of the class) will be going from being    the 'top' of the school to the bottom again, and everyone will be older/bigger, but you are quite right to be aware of the potential problem.  Teachers are less likely to be sympathetic if he does seem to be causing trouble when they don't know what his 'normal' behaviour was like.

Good luck with him and please let us all know of any developments,.

Hi there, nice to see you.

As someone who mums a 15 year old, and has daughters of 18 and 17 dating boys around that age I'd throw something a little different into your thinking if I may?

Looking grubby - check, normal - I seem to think about 14 he noticed girls in a new way, and started bathing in Lynx.  I preferred him grubby, it was cheaper!   The girls fortunately aren't interested, he smells too much, says inappropriate things and can't hold a conversation - they have more sense and go out with older boys who are on to the next stage, speaking and listening :)

I can offer no helpful advice about the not concentrating/could do better at school thing - I had five, well publicised on here years of it - and he's passed every blessed GCSE he's taken so far this year and looks set to pass the rest - all grade C '#aslittleeffortaspossibletogetthedesiredresult#  -  but excepting art he will pass.  I have no idea how.  I have been on his case, into school, attended meetings, pleaded for retakes, bought every revision guide he has ever not-read.  But he passed.  Hang in there.

And the bullying?  There is this social convention amongst teenage boys called 'banter' - it involves them building status in their group by putting others down, being quick with repostes, taking it in good spirit, and belittling others - whilst not being upset when you do something stupid publicly.  I don't understand it properly, I have read things and seen things that make me want to report offenders to the police!  I am looked at in horror and hear 'it's only banter'.  Really, it was called bullying when I was younger.

Because you've only put a little bit I wonder if it is 'bullying' - to be truly bullying he needs to be consistent, aggressive and negatively affecting the other person. 

Is there any way this could be children growing into adolescents and him just getting that whole status/culture/teenage thing wrong?  I watch my boy/man talk to girls and friends and suddenly he just gets it completely wrong.  Still.   Could you son be trying to exert himself and act older and just be overstepping all the boundaries because he doesn't yet know where they are? 

To be called a bully is, thank goodness for us all, now terribly terribly viewed - I think to label him as such may not help his, or your, cause. 

I suspect that he will have to hold his own with this banter at secondary school, he will have to have sufficient 'cred' that he isn't bullied - but he needs to do this in socially conventional ways within his friendship group, and that's a hard learning.

Perhaps a long conversation about how he makes others feel, accepting it's a difficult time, but that he has a responsibility to make sure that the people around him aren't hurt, ever, by his actions. 

Welcome to the fun years :)

Thanks everyone,  Corris I think you may be onto something!   Things seem to have calmed down a lot....there again, he is grounded and no computer access!!
I can feel the grey hairs sprouting LOL

There was another incident (argument) at school yesterday, my son assures me that he never said or did anything but I think that because he was in the vacinity of the arguement,  when the 'victim' informed his mum, my sons name was one that was mentioned.   I have given him the benefit of the doubt....this time.

I have calmed down a lot and now realise that what is going on is not 'bullying' but more boys being boys, picking on each other, calling names, arguing.......its difficult,  when do you say right enough is enough and when do you let them just get on with it.  

Oh it's a barrel of laughs.  I wish I could offer something reassuring, but I can't - you just hang in there, keep hugging them, remain available, try not to crack any nuts with too bigger hammers, and hope that in 10 years they are still talking to you.

He's learnt a lot I'm sure - perhaps a gentle climb down from the major punishment response along with dire warnings about how embarrasing you found it?

It really is a jungle out there though, they need to have some stand up for themselvesness -  if they are too lovely they just get ripped apart by others.

Thanks Corris,  as for my boy, punishment stays (the things I read on his facebook.....shocking!) and really its for that that he is getting punished.  

Being a mum is hard, you think you've got it sussed, then the wee buggers enter the next level....and it starts all over again LOL

Oh it really does.  They are a whole new breed now.  Take comfort from the fact that all his mates are probably putting the same stuff.  truly. 

hello fruitsalad :)

It's interesting your lad has picked up on how he automatically got the blame the other day, even though he says it wasn't his fault. perhaps some gentle reminders that- unfortunately- once one gets a reputation for certain behaviours it tends to stick around like a bad smell long after the original behaviours have gone away.