I'm currently having issues with my 13 year old son, and I don't know whether it is "normal" teenage behaviour (which I am constantly being told) or whether it might be something more like depression, or some other mental illness.
His moods are absolutely shocking, some days he won't speak to me, other days he argues constantly with me, just wants to stay in room, he is not eating much, he is slowly failing at school, and he is just completely defiant with me. His dad is currently deployed overseas with the military, so I am coping with this on my own, and i just don't know what to do anymore.
I have been to three different councillors, and the family doctor. They all tell me this is normal for a teenage boy - but I just don't know. i rang a different councillor on Thursday, who told me that unless my son is prepared to talk and tell them what is going on, they can't help. My son tells me there is nothing wrong, and that if i take him to see a councillor, he won't talk anyway. But he is obviously unhappy for some reason.
Although my husband and I are not super wealthy people, my son has never gone without either - he has led a pretty good life for a 13 year old -he goes to the best school in our town, been overseas numerous times, has all sorts of electronic gadgets to play with etc. So he basically has no reason to feel like he has gone without, or he gets a hard time. As my son pointed out to me tonight "yes but that was your decision to do that for me"! Ungrateful!
We've always had pretty good communication with him, but just lately he is unbearable. I am so stressed about him, I've tried so hard to get to the bottom of what is going on, but he refuses to talk and no one else is prepared to help either.
He also likes to blame me for everything that goes wrong in his life - even if it has nothing to do with me. He made the decision not to play football, but today he blamed me for him not playing, and said it was my fault!
Sometimes i feel like just walking away and giving up. There are some days when he just follows me around the house arguing with me, and he won't back off. He is in my face, and just keeps going and going. Other days he won't talk to me at all.
Can anyone please suggest ways to deal with him, and what might possibly be going on. Is it normal behaviour?
I don't know your son so it;s difficult to judge but maybe since he is 13 his friends and him are growing and maybe his friends are getting girls and he's not and he;s frustrated and can't deal with it. Things change as you start to get older with all your friends at school they get more cliquey and start to date. Maybe he's not getting respect from the boys and maybe girls don;t like him. I don;t know. wish i could help you!
Add in a dose of an over-emotional, easy to frustrate and manipulate mother, and he's got some EASY buttons to push with you.
Stop letting your son push your buttons. It sounds like you are distressed, emotional and upset during these situations, and it probably broadcasts itself HUGELY to your son. He is WELL AWARE that he is the one in control and that you're the one who is upset and doubting yourself. And from the sound of it, in a purely teenaged boy fashion, he is totally taking advantage of it.
So, first thing you gotta do: Calm down. You cannot solve this when you're upset and emotional. So you gotta take five (AWAY from your son) and get a grip on your emotions. You need to work on not reacting to his behaviour emotionally.
Next thing you have to do is decide what's important. What matters to YOU? That he gets good grades? That he is honest? (Honesty does NOT equal disclosure, by the way) That he's polite and/or respectful? No drugs? You may have to make a list on paper, privately, to yourself, about what behaviours and values are most important for you to instill on him. Once you have a list, pick out the 5 things that are non-negotiable, and maybe another five that you'd like to have, but are flexible.
Copy these ten things onto a new list, for your own reference, then tear up the rest. You will NOT be able to control what he learns or what he'll take away from you, so I would concentrate on the stuff that matters most to you and leave the rest, unless it becomes a problem on its own. Devise effective consequences for if your expectations are not met.
Next, I would sit him down and tell him (this is not a discussion - you are the parent and he is the child) about your non-negotiable expectations. Calmly outline what they are and what will happen if he doesn't meet them. Don't let him attempt to goad you or change them. Just say "That's the way it is. This is what is important to me. I'm willing to be flexible about other things, but these are the ones that are NOT going to change."
Next: Be willing to be flexible about everything else.
He's a teenaged boy, he's not going to talk much, but at the moment, his body is being FLOODED with hormones and he's reacting to it as such.
Think back to when you were pregnant. All those hormones and the bad moods. It's the same thing, except instead of estrogen, he's getting steamrolled by testosterone. He'll get better around 16-17 years old.
Some suggestions I would make is that you ask him to be honest. He doesn't have to tell you much at all, but what he does tell you, you want it to be 100% honest. (And seriously, keep your cool if his honesty triggers your emotions - nothing smothers honesty faster than emotional outbursts. If its something you don't like, send him away so you can think about what you're going to DO with his honesty)
As me being a teenager myself, i did the same thing to my dad but i am girl and at that time i had a new step mom with four step brothers and sisters. Try to adapt to the attitude and slowly bring him back into his ordinary self. Ususally this is just a stage for us teenagers nothing major.
It's normal to a point, because of puberty. However, that doesn't mean his behavior is acceptable. It's likely he misses his dad, and at 13 he's probably feeling rather clumsy, especially emotionally. You don't need to allow disrespect and defiance though. Set some clear boundaries, and if he crosses those, lay out some meaningful yet realistic consequences. I raised two boys and they can put you to the test, but if you set down limits to what you're willing to allow, he'll know he can't just act any way he desires. Do it now, because in a couple of years, it will be too late.
I can agree to a point, but her son also needs to have clear-cut boundaries set. I think many of conflicts between parents and kids these days is because parents sometimes try to be a "best friend" instead of a parent. Not so much in this case, but at the very least, kids need to understand there are limits to their behavior. If they aren't taught when they're young, they could have a lot of problems later in the work and social world.