Please help - Mother of 13yr old boy

kayakingkrisFebruary 11, 2009

Calling all mothers who have survived parenting a 13 year old boy.

My son has mood swings that are hard to predict and difficult to handle. I thought girls were the ones who suffered with this stuff.

He has good and bad days. When he doesn't get his way, which is very often, he gets sooo upset. By now I would think that he should have gotten used to it. Sometimes I feel like I'm on eggshells around him. You never know what will set him off.

Any advice will be appreciated.


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Going through the teen years can be like the terrible two's but with a much larger child! It can last for years. Don't get discouraged. I have a DS16 and just trying to have, what I consider, a normal conversation with him can sometimes make me want to stick hot pokers in my eyes....or his.

It might be a good idea to talk with him at a time that is calm and remind him what the rules are. I have tried to lay down some sentences that I can say to DS16 during a discussion or disagreement that can remind him of the rules....Such as...."Remember who you are speaking to."...."You need to lower your voice."....."Your tone of voice sounds disrespectful to me." and so on. Sometimes he doesn't even know that he is loud or that I think that the way he is saying something in bothering me.

All of that being what you can to rule out the things that we all fear as parents of teens....alcohol or drug use, inappropriate internet use, depression, becoming sexually active. I'm sure I have left things out but you get the message.

This day and age is tough. I feel for these kids. All the more reason to not let go of your house rules when it comes to respect and safety for the teens. Discussing with him some changes that he might like as he matures is an option. Stress the "As he matures" part. He needs to learn to handle his anger, talk about his feelings and still follow the rules. Each one comes to a calmer place at a different time. Some take a long time. The hard knocks of life can be the only teachers for some kids. Parents lose IQ points big time when their kids hit their teens.

I wouldn't rule out getting him into see a counselor if you feel his anger is beyond control. Some kids can't talk to their parents and a third party can really help. It doesn't mean that their is something wrong with him. His brain and his body are on mega drive right now. Watch how he grows in the next few years!....I have heard that every growth spurt, whether it be mental or physical is preceded by an emotional time of turmoil. I think that is true when a child is entering into the just beginning to walk months and the teen years.

Just fasten your seat belt. The ride will be bumpy at times. It is a good thing that God gives us these kids as sweet little babies. If we got them as teenagers they would likely mysteriously disappear...or we would.

I remember thinking, when my DD20 was a teen and she would be mouthing off to me...."You know child, you are standing way to close with your back to those stairs to be talking to me like that."...Of course I would never push her but a bit of a sense of humor helps!!!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 2:37PM
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Maybe reading this post from last year will help...My son is a little younger but some of the people who posted had older sons with similar issues.

Here is a link that might be useful: Earlier post

    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 2:39PM
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Kay my 10 year old is like this and everyone keeps telling me it is a phase. He tries to argue his way out of everything. He complains about everything under the sun. Tries to get out of going to school. He cries when he gets reprimanded. He will start crying and yelling saying "stop yelling at me" when we are only talking to him about something he did wrong. He has become sensitive (wonder if boys can get PMS)?

Just today he came out of the bathroom upset saying that he feels like he has a unibrow growing and he wants me to pluck it. And he was whining that his hair still has not grown out and he hates it. He has been trying to grow his hair into one of those longer boy styles and he has such thick hair it looks awful growing out and we have to wet it down each morning. But he insists he wants to grow it out so I let him.

There are days where he will throw such a fit over whatever I made for dinner and refuse to eat. I will literally have to force him to eat.

Uggh....I just try to be patient and react calmly so he does not see me freaking out and act like that. Some days I almost dread when he comes home from school though, as much as I feel horrible for saying that. I love him but he really tests every ounce of patience I have!

    Bookmark   February 12, 2009 at 9:58AM
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First, let me just say a parent knows their child best so listen to your inner voice if you feel the anger is putting your son or anyone else at risk, physically or emotionally. In which case, find the right professional to help identify the problem and the solution.

OK. Now I'll just comiserate with you all. LOL. I have boys ages 15 and 12. Let me tell you, the oldest one threw me! Everyone talks about girls and mood swings, but the lack of discussion about boys makes it seem like it doesn't happen for them. But IT DOES! From crying to yelling to laughing in minutes. My 15 y/o is about over it for the most part. His fuse is much longer and he's learned to control himself and to reason, so that the little things that would have set him into anger or tears a few years ago, roll off his back now. So it was a phase, and it's winding down now.

My 12 y/o, on the other hand, is winding UP. Yesterday I caught him a small lie, I asked what was in his pocket (candy) and he said "nothing." You would have thought I arrested him and put him solitary confinement. He was so mad, his face all twisted up, the defensive anger, then the sorry tears. Good grief! Save the drama for the llama cuz your mamma's had enough!

I have to talk to him reasonably, ask questions, and make him think about it, to get him to check his behavior and attitude. Then I have to make him laugh, that's really the best remedy.

Now for a while, #1 was about halfway through the phase and #2 was just getting started. Holy testosterone! Talk about fighting! One breathing too much would set the other off! LOL! We are laughing now about a day #2 came home from school in a bad mood, #1 asked "what happened? Did a girl beat you up?" Couple days later, roles flipped, #1's bad day/mood and #2 (remember the jab) asked "Did a girl beat you up?" #1 went to the fridge for a Coke, to which he wanted to add a splash of lime juice from a bottle. When he couldn't find it, #2 was immediately to blame, big argument. I made them sit in chairs facing each other, they are so angry they're shaking. We all take deep breaths and I ask "What is this about?" DS#1 shouts "I just need my lime juice!"

I had to walk away I was laughing so hard! It cracked us all up, really, even DS knew when he heard the words come out how ridiculous he sounded. Like a lime juice junky! LOL. Now we laugh, when someone has a bad day the line is "I just need my lime juice!"

Anyway, I think my point here was USE HUMOR! But trust your instincts if you sense this is unhealthy anger.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2009 at 10:41AM
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You sound like a great mum Stephanie, good job ! Humour all the way, I think, helps get through lots of tense situations.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2009 at 7:00PM
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#1 you will survive.
#2 don't ever give up talking to them. Even if you have to do it at a time when they "can't escape" if that means in a moving car, out in a boat fishing, whenever.
#3 keep your word...for the good and bad.

My kids (2 girls and a boy)...boy there were times I didn't think they'd live to see the next year. I will never forget following my 6'2" son out into the yard because I wasn't done yelling at him...mind you I way doing the one finger shake at him (I'm 5'8"--lost some effect). Another friend would stand on a chair so she could look down at hers for effect. Another was so mad, she told hers, I've yelled at you about everything and I'm still mad so I'm going to start over. Now all of us have something in common...we also tell/told them when they did good, and did more than yell. We'd laugh with them too. Many serious conversations. My Kids knew when I was really mad..I don't yell I talk VERY SOFT. Don't yell at me mom..Oh you want me to yell I'LL get the picture. I would also listen, usually what they do is try to distract you from the issue, change topics and take the issue off them, or off the real topic.

Don't walk on egg shells, Why...then HE is controlling you. He has to learn to control his emotions too. I know it's hard with hormones, but it is a fact of life. Often kids that age feel that "if you don't agree with me, it means you're not listening to me" We all know that isn't the truth. I had to learn to say. I heard you say XXX, I do not agree, blah blah blah. That way they knew I listened and heard them (okay after repeating that statement like 10 times or more). Did I have trouble with my kids..oh yes. Did they get into trouble...oh yes. Are they good adults now. Yes. FINALLY for one.

Make rules, some will matter and not be negotiable, some will be negotiable...just know which is which. Curfew is negotiable...drugs are not. What is negotiable for your family, may not be for others, DO NOT FALL FOR "but Tommy's family XXX" Personally I don't give a rats AXX about what Tommy's family allows him to do, I care about what is important to MY family's values!!!


    Bookmark   February 14, 2009 at 8:25AM
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Thank you all for the words of wisdom. We survived the weekend which included my son actually turning 13. We had an extra 3 boys over for 24 hrs for a never ending party. I have more gray hair then this time last week.

The more I talk to other mothers, the more I read and the more research I do - the more I realize that my kid is kinda normal after all. Lucky me!

Thanks again for all your help. Loved the lime juice story - I can relate.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 4:01PM
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