Help w/12year old son

momof2gr8sonsDecember 29, 2008

My loving son of 12 years has suddenly become an angry, secretive, stranger who is easily embarassed by me. I know he's dealing with a lot of physical changes and my husband says it will pass-but when? And how do I handle this when it's breaking my heart that my loving son has nothing more to do with me?

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Welcome to this stage of parenting. Yes, it will pass, but not for a loooooonnnggg when he is married with kids and starts to appreciate you. Most likely he is going through a phase called 'growing up' and separation from the parental units is part of it.

Here is a helpful article. Enjoy. When Children turn into cats

    Bookmark   December 30, 2008 at 1:43AM
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momof.......It is true that this age group may go through some extreem changes in their moods and behavior. I think it is important though not to pass everything off as "normal" adolescent behavior without being absolutely sure. The confusing thing is that the behaviors that you described can also be related to a number of other things. Such as depression, sexual abuse, drug use, sometimes exposure to pornography and I'm sure other situations. I don't want to panic you but I would not be satisfied with "it will pass".

If he has really changed drastically I would talk to a professional. Your family physician would even have information about this type of thing. I would not want to leave anything to chance.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2008 at 1:48AM
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I have boys ages 15 and 12. They definitely go through an angry stage, and they have their secretive moments. But I would not describe their overall personality as angry or secretive. Only you know your son well enough to know how much he has changed. If he has bad moments or bad days, I would work on helping him learn to control his emotions and repsponses. If this change is more broad, so that he has more bad days than good days, then I would definitely agree there could be more to the cause the normal adolescent changes.

My 12 y/o can go from laughing to crying to screaming in any given 1/2 hour. That would not have been the case for him a year ago, he was less emotional. I remember my 15 y/o being like that, too. Now my 15 y/o still has mood swings, but they are less dramatic. I tried to get him to think about what triggers it, what goes through his mind so he knows when he's about to get very angry. When he sees himself getting angry, I told him to just back out, go outside, find what calms him down. Now I'm trying to get my 12 y/o to see the same things. I tell them to go outside and kick or hit a ball around until they are tired. ;o) Boys need to learn to talk about what bothers them, but they still really need to work out stress physically, in a safe way.

Nothing helps more than time with Dad, though. At this age more than ever before, for a thousand reasons, one on one time with Dad keeps them in check. It's hard to admit, after 12 years of mothering them, that some things require a Dad's approach.

I try to let them have their space, but still draw the line very clearly. OK, your mind and feelings are all over the place, but you cannot take it out on your family by treating them badly. You still have to have some standards. And I still set bedtimes, being over-tired makes all this worse.

And talk about embarrassed! I am in my 12 y/o class a lot. Partly b/c his teacher has very little parental help this year, I like her a lot and just want to help. Partly b/c I substitute and will go in for her, the support teachers who come into her room, and the PE/music/art teachers. All his classmates know me, I am with them as one sub or another a couple times a month. He has love/hate feelings about that! LOL It's really handy when he forget his lunch money, but a little too close for comfort when he did something he doesn't want me to know about. But he is actually dealing with it very well. He knows I try not to embarrass him, if he tries to return the favor. ;o)

    Bookmark   December 30, 2008 at 11:39AM
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Stephanie.....You have done an excellent job of explaining things. My son experienced a lot of those things also. He had no male figure to go to so his youth group provided a lot of male bonding plus his private school gave him some great male teachers to respect. He and I remain close with a very open dialog but there are times when "Mom" isn't the right one to talk to.

You are so right that boys need to be encouraged to talk about their feelings and to learn how to cope with their emotions.

Good job in your post....a lot of useful info!

    Bookmark   December 30, 2008 at 1:37PM
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I second believer, stephanie, you always have great posts.

Does anyone have the book 'How to talk so children will listen, and how to listen so children will talk', and if yes, is it a good book for this situation (ruling out all the factors believer mentioned).

    Bookmark   December 30, 2008 at 4:38PM
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Stephanie, you post is awesome, and so very true. jessyf, that article should be issued with birth certificates at the hospital!
I do however agree with believer that things should not just be passed off as 'normal'. There are to many things that could be going on to risk letting it slide. A consult with his pediatrician might be a great place to start

    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 3:03AM
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Today, where I live, near Sydney, Australia, it was very hot. The sort of hot day, when all you are left to do is sit inside, with a fan and drink lots of cold water. It is also summer school holidays, so I was here with my 16 year old son.

We spent the whole day hanging out together. We played two games of scrabble and one game of boggle, then we got onto the the spelling words out of the dictionary game (one we made up!). He played his music, whilst we did all those things - heavy metal ! He kept saying "do you like this mum ?" I said "yeah it's okay until they start screaming or is that singing !" He played his guitar and asked me to suggest genres of music and he would play them.

I suppose the point I am trying to make - it is still very hot here !- is spending time with them, doing "stuff" they like, listening to their music even though it is - well- very unlike the music YOU like. In amongst all the scrabble we chatted about all sorts of stuff, things going on in his world, laughing, being silly. He could be himself, with me, at home, not out "on show" to the world, where mother would embarrass him.

So important to throw out these lines of communication, so you know what is going on in their world. A game of scrabble can be so much more.

I know it is very difficult when they turn away when they grow up.

Good luck with it all.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 4:20AM
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