Our 12y/o son so abusive to me


New Member
hi - this is my first posting here. Apologies, I’ve moved this from another thread.
My son is our youngest of 4 boys and he has been difficult since the day he was born. We are a blended family but he’s very close to his two half brothers and close in age too. We have always had easy friendly relations with my husbands ex and a tremendous amount of contact with the boys, so no dramas there. We have not had him formally assessed but I’m sure he has maybe ODD, ADHD. His main problem seems to be with me unfortunately and he is daily abusive, demanding and bullying towards me. He only behaves for my husband. He got himself expelled from school last June for bringing marijuana into school - he was 11 at the time, and we’ve been home schooling him since. We had no idea he had MJ and were totally shocked but his expulsion came off the back of 4 years of difficult behaviour at school so we weren’t surprised they took that decision. He suffers attention deficit, he’s disruptive, has manic energy, talks non stop constantly, obsessively focuses on one thing until moving onto the next, swears, shouts at me and has started physically pushing me around. All he talks about at the moment is wanting to smoke weed and drink alcohol and be in a gang. He’s terribly immature sometimes but is now 5ft 8 and looks 16.
We have taken the unusual step of not letting him have a mobile phone which he hates us for, but any time we’ve allowed him internet access (he sometimes borrows my phone) he’s accessed porn and drug sites and has also been bullying an ex-friend on social media so much so his father threatened to come round and fight us!Basically he’s 12 going on 10 but the size of an adult and he’s taking out his anger on me.
I’m so worried about the next few years and what they could bring, he’s so badly behaved already. My husband and I work hard every single day with him to try and keep him under control, help him think about his choices, understand consequences. What more can we do? We believe that being really strict with him andhaving close, tight boundaries is key, but I just don’tknow how to deal with his treatment of me. I feel sodown about it. Any advice?


Well-Known Member
Whoa. Lots going on. My first question is why isn't the school district providing him services via an IEP? He would probably qualify under Other Health Impaired (a common qualify condition for kids with ADHD, and also Emotional Disorder--either one or both. They don't get just to expel kids and be done with it. He is entitled to a free, appropriate, public education, with whatever services are needed to have that happen. Period, end of story. And if they aren't doing that, you need to get an advocate and start raising some Cain. Maybe home schooling (I'm assuming you're doing the teaching) should be discussed further. If he's abusing you and you are having to be providing the education for him, I dunno. That would not be a fun situation, I shouldn't think.

Why is this boy being allowed to abuse you? What are the consequences of that? Who is standing up for you? And how are you standing up for yourself? What are the other children witnessing? You're not a doormat. 5'8"?? He's a tall boy. I know when my grandson rages, it's scary, and he's only 5'1 and 115 lbs.

Yes, structure and boundaries are key, which I'm sure he pushes against all the time. But he may need other kinds of support, too. And the school can help, unless the homeschooling thing is really working for you. But they still have to provide any services needed, even in your home.


Roll With It
Oh boy does some of this bring me back! My son was very abusive and violent to me and to my daughter (especially to my daughter, his little sister). Between ages 12-14, life was truly awful with him because he was my size or larger and he just never let up.

Why have you not had him evaluated? I think it is time to at least try to get some evaluations done. Do what you need to in order to bribe him to cooperate. Also let the professionals see how he does not cooperate with anything. It is crucial that they see his bad behaviors because they cannot help what they cannot see. I would strongly suggest getting an evaluation by a neuropsychologist, a psychologist with special training in the brain. This usually takes 10-12 hours of testing, broken up over several days.

If your son is giving you this much trouble, he probably isn't learning much while homeschooling. He is also adding a LOT to your stress level. It may be time to think about enrolling him in school again. Once he is diagnosed with a disorder, the school has to give him help and accommodations for his problems. This may or may not solve the problems. It won't be the whole fix, but it will be part of the solution, maybe. Having him at school and not with you all day will at least take some stress away from you. It will also take that role of teacher away from you, which may help your relationship with him.

I homeschooled my oldest son for a while. It wasn't a bad thing, but it did put a strain on our relationship at times. He wasn't as old as your son and I couldn't have educated him at that age. It would not have worked. I admire you for trying.

I will write more later, but I must leave to run an errand. I hope this helps. You have found a group that truly understands how hard it is to raise a difficult child. We will give ideas and tell you what we would do, but we understand if that isn't the right thing for you. We won't judge you ever.

Baggy Bags

Active Member
I feel you, Dot. My son is abusive to me almost daily, and all he talks about it finding a way to not live with me anymore. It's especially hard because he used to be so sweet. Everybody keeps telling me not to take it personally, that it's part of the disorder (that I'm just starting to really understand). But it's so hard. I'm here to get advice too, so all I've really got to give is to tell you you're not alone, and don't lose hope.


New Member
Hi, thanks for this. Our circumstances are so tricky. First off we live in south of Spain and we are English. He was in private school and they’ve just washed their hands of him. We are preparing to move to LA as we are starting a business and that’s the reason we didn’t just change schools. We thought the move would happen sooner but it’s been delayed and delayed and we limp on month by month. My sons already angry at being moved from his friends so I didn’t want to put him into a new school for just a term and have him just settle in then move to LA.
My son is having a tutor for a couple of hours a day which is expensive but as you can probably gather, there’s no way I can teach him.
The reason I’ve not had him formally assessed is because we live in Spain and I do not like their attitude to these disorders here. We tried him a few years back and the terrible psychiatrist just gave him concerta without even a medical or getting in touch with the school. I chose to stop the concerta after a month - I’m really quite against drugging kids, especially ones who show such addictive personalities like mine.
So now, my husband is away working a lot and my son is becoming so abusive towards me that we’ve now got to keep travelling with him so I’m not here alone with him, including keep going back and forth to LA. I’m just exhausted and drained and I feel like I’m coming unglued. I’m also just menopausal and have just started taking hrt to try help.
I just don’t know how to fix my relationship with my son and I’m worried about his mental health, his desire to take drugs and his abusive attitude towards me, his mum, who’s always been so loving and supportive of him. What an awful time this is.
Are we right to be so strick with him? To keep him in and away from influences, to not allow him a mobile phone? I just don’t know what the right thing is

Baggy Bags

Active Member
That's our dilemma too. If we loosen the reigns, we're afraid of what he'll do out there (drugs, theft...), but if we don't, then he starts feeling trapped and everything gets worse.

We are currently using a system set up by the psychiatrists we're working with, where he can earn privileges by complying with his responsibilities. So, for instance, to have friends over, he has to do his chores, be respectful, take his medications and supplements, do his occupational therapy... for three days. One day for internet access. One week for going out alone. If he smokes, takes drugs, drinks... he is suspended from work (he works one day a week and loves it) for two weeks, and gets his screens confiscated too. We've only been doing this for a week, so it's all very new, but it does seem to be helping him to control his rages and impusiveness.

Hang in there, mama.


Well-Known Member
Ah, not being in the U.S. changes everything. Since he's 12 (or there abouts?), its seems like you have to be somewhat controlling over as much as you can. He'll be an "adult" soon enough where you will have no control. We are very controlling of my grandson (11, almost 12). He's not allowed to have a phone, but he does have a GizmoGadget, a watch that allows him to receive and make phone calls from 6 different people. And a GPS that tracks where he is. Of course he can turn it off, "forget" to wear it, etc. But he knows if he does that, what little freedom he has will be curtailed. And when he's on his tablet at home, he's in the same room with us (previous issues with viewing and sharing pornography). . It's so hard.

And some stability might make things easier, at least lessen his anxiety. It sounds like he's not really happy about moving so much. I did it as an Air Force kid, but it was once a year or every other year.


Well-Known Member
Hi Dot,

Welcome to our community. In case you are using your real first name as your username, you may want to email the mods to change it to something less identifiable. We are a friendly and tight knit group here but this is still the internet, and it's always possible someone who knows you in real life may stumble on this site/your post. FYI....

I can relate in many ways to your situation. I am married to a woman with two sons from a previous marriage. We are not their residential parents.

When I came into their lives, the oldest boy was 13 and the youngest was 11. I built a relationship of genuine love with them, but their adolescence has been horrible. I came to this board in 2015 after the eldest - who is also a very large young man - strangled my wife, and this year the youngest made a very serious suicide attempt (swallowed 50 calcium channel blockers), died for a few minutes, was revived and then spent the next several months inpatient recovering from the physical trauma. He recently exited a partial hospitalization program to address his psychiatric needs. He now has an IEP and attends a special school for children with his issues. It seems to be helping him and for that we are very grateful. As far as the oldest, he refuses to see or speak with us. We have barely spoken to him since he turned 16. He has severe social anxiety, does not go to school (is enrolled in a for profit online HS but does very little work), is allowed to do as he pleases by his custodial parent, and we suspect he's involved in substance abuse on some level. We don't see younger son much anymore either. My wife's divorce from their father was very bitter and is still high conflict, which has taken a devastating toll on my wife's relationship with her children.

Although I did not come into these children's lives until recently, from what I am told the oldest was always a difficult, argumentative child who could not follow the rules of society and didn't mind getting physical if it meant that he would get his way as a result. He was kicked out of preschool because he couldn't follow directions, bullied other kids in elementary school, began failing classes in middle school, and essentially, won't listen to anybody. He was sent to therapy but needed much more intensive help to learn how to function in society. At some point when he was still in middle school, perhaps he could have been sent to a military school or other similar situation where he would have finally internalized self-control and self-discipline. But what happened instead is that he grew big, strong, and dangerous, uses his physical strength and size to intimidate and at times, attack his family, and unfortunately is not held accountable by his dad, with whom he lives. He can do as he pleases and that is what he does.

Your story sounds disturbingly familiar to me on many levels. My feedback, based on what you have shared, is that your stepson is out of control and growing more dangerous with every pound and inch he gains. He will continue to escalate as my stepson did, unless he is held accountable for his behavior AND you refuse to tolerate it any longer. What he is doing is not normal and should not be tolerated. You are fortunate to have a collaborative relationship with his biological mother. My suggestion is that it is long past time to have a family meeting (if you've already done this, then another one is due) with his biological mother present, frankly discuss the damage both emotional and physical this child is causing to you personally, and come up with a plan of action that includes removing him from your presence when other adults are not around, at minimum.

Be aware that my older stepson physically and emotionally abused his little brother. How much that played into his recent suicide attempt we're not sure, but we believe it to be a factor. This child's actions are affecting his siblings, and you need to protect them as well.

I am sorry if any of this sounded harsh - this has been my experience.

Best of luck. I do recommend that this child be taken to a different environment, be it another relative or perhaps a boarding/military school, so that the family dynamic can re-set, so his siblings can live normally as they should, and so he can learn how to manage himself appropriately in society. This is not said judgmentally. Quite frankly those who cannot manage in society typically end up in jail eventually.

Keep us posted.