To be sad that DS1 doesn't want me to go to his Christmas concert?

(38 Posts)
upsylazy Tue 11-Dec-12 13:40:46

Bit of background: DD wanted piano lessons a few years ago which I arranged. I tried to encourage DS1 (now 12) to have a try and he was adamant that he wasn't doing it - He's like this if you try to get him to do anything new but, if you can persuade him, he nearly always ends up enjoying it, I had a quiet word with the teacher to see if he could try to coax DS into giving it a try and it worked!
He's now turned out to be really gifted (my poor DD gave up in disgust when she realised how much better he was that her). We've been paying for piano lessons for the last 3 years and have recently forked out £1500 which we can barely afford for a new piano.
The head of music made a beeline for him last year when he started year 7 and has really encouraged him. He also plays piano in a school band.
Last Christmas, he opened their concert with a perfect solo and it was one of the proudest moments of my life.
I've been asking him if there's another one this year and he's been really vague - saying that he didn't know when it was and giving the impression that he isn't even in it. I then got a text from school saying that the concert's on Thursday. When I put this to Ds, he said that he is playing but doesn't want me to come. He couldn't even give a reason, just kept repeating that he just didn't. I got really upset so he said thet he'd try to get some tickets but then told me they were sold out. i got a bit suspicious and said that i could phone the school to check at which point he confessed that they weren't sold out.
He flounced out of the bedroom this morning saying "OK, come then!" in a really aggressive tone which just isn't like him.
I told him that what i wanted was for him to want me to come which he clearly doesn't. Am I right to be upset or is this normal behaviour for a 12 year old? I feel like crying.

redskyatnight Tue 11-Dec-12 13:51:09

I might be wide of the mark here, but when you say you were proud of your DS for his solo last year what do you mean? Did you tell him over and over how fantastic he was? Did you ring friends and family and tell him how fantastic he was? Did you stop random people in the street and tell them how talented your DS was smile ?

I am slightly wondering if DS is feeling a little bit overwhelmed by all the attention and/or he is perhaps feeling nervous about his performance and worried he might not play his best. And he feels that he will let you down or your reaction will be OTT?

(At school I was good academically. And my parents used to tell random people how well I was doing. It was not only excruciatingly embarrassing, but left me feeling a failure if I -shock horror - only got 99% on a test or something).

Like I say, I might be wide of the mark, but there must be a reason he doesn't want you there ...

DonkeysInTheStableAtMidnight Tue 11-Dec-12 14:36:35

Yes there must be a reason, oh hang on he is 12, it's not necessarily to do with you, it's as likely to be him. Children that age feel self conscious, it may not be, "Mum will see me playing and judge me/go on about it", it could just be, "The other kids will think I'm showing off for my Mumeeeee" and he worries about losing face with his peers.

Don't forget early secondary school is all about maintaining cool, being self possessed. Nobody dares be overly enthusiastic or take pride in their accomplishments. The whole tall-poppy syndrome kicks off around then.

Let it drop for now. If he asks, don't lie, be vague and say you'll see if you can get a ticket. Buy a ticket, sit somewhere discreet amongst other squirming parents and do not on pain of death attract his attention or wear anything to stand out (as far as DCs go, a bag over your head will do nicely).

Go, and take pride and pleasure in his performance. Afterwards, if you see him amongst his friends, smile but be monosyllabic in front of his mates.

upsylazy Tue 11-Dec-12 15:41:39

redsky I don't get the feeling that he's worrying that me being there will make him nervous - I've been to see him in assemblies/school plays etc and he's been fine with that. He's always had this thing about finding praise and compliments embarassing - even saying something nice about what he's wearing will embarass him. Obviously I spoke to my family and friends last year but I deliberstely didn't go really over the top with him because I know he doesn't like it. It's just that I had this really heart bursting moment when he was sat on that stage all on his own - he was just so confident. I'm so gobsmacked at how musical he is as I'm virtually tone deaf.
I think what really upset me was him actually lying about there not being any tickets. I have friends who still feel sad that their parents never went to see their plays/sports days etc and basically took no interest and I want to go and see my little boy and he doesn't want me to.

squeakytoy Tue 11-Dec-12 15:44:34

Maybe you need to take the pressure off him a bit. He is about to hit his teens, a time when most kids want to be more independent and not want their mums to be flapping around them and singing their praises.. be proud but silent! (And sneak in at the back of the concert)

Pandemoniaa Tue 11-Dec-12 15:47:28

Obviously I spoke to my family and friends last year but I deliberstely didn't go really over the top

12 year olds get very embarrassed very easily. Especially so if they don't like a fuss being made. So I rather suspect he knows you spoke proudly of his achievements last year (which isn't a crime, I hasten to add!) and perhaps he'd rather not be the topic of these conversations again. It might be that what you describe as speaking to your friends and family, is what he'd consider making too much fuss.

My ds2 eventually went on to take a drama degree. He always got a good part in the school play. He always asked me "not to go on and on about it" though.

I realise it is hurtful to be lied to but perhaps this year if you go to the concert, just say nothing. To anybody.

Crinkle77 Tue 11-Dec-12 15:52:43

I don't think you have done anything wrong. He is at that age where he does he finds his parents embarrassing

HildaOgden Tue 11-Dec-12 15:59:17

He's 12.Which entitles him to think his parents are huge embarassments.

Welcome to the Kevin Years wink

KellyEllyChristmasBelly Tue 11-Dec-12 16:01:47

I don't think you have done anything wrong. He is at that age where he does he finds his parents embarrassing << This. Also if you stop praising him you'll probably be having a conversation in a few years time that goes like this "I never felt you were proud of me or encouraged me" - you are a parent of a teen and you can't win grin

DPotter Tue 11-Dec-12 16:04:51

I agree - it's because he's 12 and you're his mum. Does he have grandparents and if so how would he feel if they went to the concert (& you go as well). if you do go - play it so cool you're artic. and whatever you do don't let him hear you call him your 'little boy' - he'll be cringeing for a month.

Lancelottie Tue 11-Dec-12 16:12:03

Just the existence of parents is cripplingly embarrassing for a 12-yr-old boy.

At that age, I could coerce good behaviour out of DS2 just by offering to walk into school with him if he transgressed.

Pandemoniaa Tue 11-Dec-12 16:16:03

I could do similarly Lancelottie just by suggesting I could accidentally wander into the road that his secondary school was at the end of.

3b1g Tue 11-Dec-12 16:22:36

He is twelve. You probably embarrass him just by existing. How can he perform properly at a concert when he is cringing with mortification that you are in the same building?

My DS1 (Y8) was asked to be a tour guide at his school's open morning in October. I was looking round the school with DS2. I made the mistake of saying hello to DS1 as we walked past him in the corridor. I honestly thought he was going to die on the spot.

My DS2 would be exactly the same. He doesn't want me to get involved/ show an interest in anything he does, to tegh extent that he destroys anything he has made in tech before he brings it home. There is no reasoning with them as there is no logic to there moans that they don't want the attention and they don't want to be ignored either. I'd be tempted to either sneak in adn don;t tell him until he is at least 18 or tell him that if he doesn't get you a ticket you will buy the recording and you can all sit and watch it on Christmas Day! grin (don't really recommend the second option!)

Narked Tue 11-Dec-12 16:32:19

'He is twelve. You probably embarrass him just by existing'

Yes grin. Don't worry, he'll get over it. In 7/8 years.

upsylazy Tue 11-Dec-12 16:34:46

Donkey What's the tall poppy syndrome? Thanks for your replies, it's reassuring to know that it's fairly normal, I just can't help finding it hurtful and I know it sounds horrible but there's a part of me that's a bit miffed that it took a huge amount of work on my part to get him to have lessons in the first place, we've spent a fortune on lessons and a piano and he won't let me even go and watch him for 5 minutes. sad
I also know that it's a general fear on my part about him growing away from me - we've always been incredibly close and he's always been very tactile with me, smothering me with hugs and kisses and is generally very loving in a very demonstrative way. I find it so hard that it's like getting blood out of a stone trying to find out anything that he does at school when he used to love telling me before.
I know I'm sounding like I just want to keep him as a little boy and I don't, I think I'm just a bit shocked by how quickly this time has come - It only seems a couple of years ago that he was building sandcastles. Think I shall be spending a lot of time on the teenagers board soon grin

Lancelottie Tue 11-Dec-12 16:36:12

Don't worry, OP. Teenagers can be really lovely (much to our surprise).

Narked Tue 11-Dec-12 16:39:10

Just tell him you are going but will sit at the back and never mention it again.

DonkeysInTheStableAtMidnight Tue 11-Dec-12 16:40:21

It's the notion that people don't take kindly to others doing well, standing out because of a special skill or talent, they resent any fuss made of them so belittle or mock them. Anything from diving to playing trombone to sketching.

peeriebear Tue 11-Dec-12 16:45:46

I'd go, but not tell him unless he asks. Let him assume you didn't go and see if he is relieved or disappointed.

DonkeysInTheStableAtMidnight Tue 11-Dec-12 17:01:13

The thing is, we invest time money and trouble in our children - you say you had to coax him into playing, and sought out his teacher and paid for all that tuition and now he's amazing, which is great.

You are justly proud of him, and perhaps feel pleased with yourself that you sparked it all off, but that's about as far as it goes for now, he won't be rewarding you by showering you with thanks and dedicating performances to you. It may turn out yet that he drops it when he feels he's reached his limit. Sometimes children do that and take it up later.

As he gets older there'll be more demands on his time, let alone your purse. Enjoy it now, don't fear him growing up - relinquish some control as he matures and works things out for himself. I'm sure DD has talents too, it's lovely to take pleasure in their accomplishments.

PenguinBear Tue 11-Dec-12 17:06:46

Ring the school and get a ticket and go. Creep in at the back and he'll never know you were there. Please don't miss it because he's having a pre-teen wobble, you'll regret it if you don't!

Lancelottie Tue 11-Dec-12 17:11:01

Is he perhaps embarrassed because this time he's just one of the masses rather than picked out for something special?

ChippingInAWinterWonderland Tue 11-Dec-12 17:21:05

<HUG> It's hurtful to feel that they don't want you there - irrespective of the reason why.

I think I would try to talk to him tonight and see if you can find out why. If it's that he's not doing a solo and thinks you'll be disappointed, that's easily sorted, if he thinks you will 'make a show of him' that's easily sorted (simply saying 'Hi' seems to be enough some days!) if it's that 'parents coming is so babyish' then I'd stay away.

My Mum, even now, will say 'ChippingIn was so good, she xxx or yyy' and I want the ground to swallow me up! Fine if she wants to tell her friends etc but FGS Mum - learn not to do it when I'm standing there like a fucking lemon grin

Try not to show how hurt you are by him growing up/away from you. You have had a very good relationship with him, it needs to be on his terms now and in time he will come back to you. If you make him feel guilty for growing up/away from you, you will build up a wall of resentment that is very hard, if not impossible to break down again.

Can you get someone to video it for you wink

I did this when I was exactly his age. My mum had come to previous performances but for some reason I just didn't want her to come. I was singing solo and the applause I got at the end was amazing. I'd never had a reaction like that and I was instantly gutted she wasn't there to see it. I don't have a particularly good relationship with my mum but I still really regret not letting her come and feel guilty about making her miss it. I would have loved it if she had seen it without me knowing. It was just before the performance I couldn't bear the thought of her being there. Once it was done I'd have given my left arm to have had her there sad

Not just me then.
DS2 is 14 and in the school play. He has a comic role and was wavering about quitting as everyone would laugh at him. No matter how much I said they would be laughing at the character not at him he said he couldn't bear for his friends and family to see it.
So I promised not to go.
He breathed a sigh of relief and carried on.

thegreylady Tue 11-Dec-12 17:55:35

Just quietly get a ticket and go along.Sit somewhere unobtrusive and afterwards just say "Well done ds,that was lovely."
He may have been teased last year if a friend or relative's dc saw some over effusive comments from you on fb or something.This year keep it totally private.

Spons Tue 11-Dec-12 18:08:47

Do you have anything else big going on your life op? Reason I ask was because, I was just like your son at this age. At the time my mom was coping with and caring for my nan who had Alzheimer's and my Dad was made redundant. I sort of felt that anything I had going on wasn't important as the 'big stuff' (not that they particularly projected on to me) and withdrew into myself almost having a separate life. Unfortunately I've never really stopped this trait.

Could be totally wide of the mark, and banging on about my family for no reason! More than likely he's just being a 'normal' 12 year old boy.

upsylazy Tue 11-Dec-12 20:48:55

Quick update: DS came home from school late (after rehearsal) gave me big bear hug and said "I'm sorry, was in bad mood this morning" . I;m not going to go tomorrow but feel reassured that it's not because he hates me that he doesn't want me there. thanks for your wise words everyone. I've got a lot to learn about teenagers!

HildaOgden Tue 11-Dec-12 20:56:47

Awwwww smile. Glad you got a hug and made up,he sounds great.

My DS is just 13 yo and plays in school rugby matches.
I said if it was a Wed or Fri I could go -it was a Wednesday but he didn't want me there <<sob>>
It would distract him sad

Teen boys hmm . Got to love them grin

pigletpower Tue 11-Dec-12 23:49:22

I thought 'Tall Poppy Syndrome' was when other people didn't like anyone elses success and cut them down.

steppemum Wed 12-Dec-12 00:00:36

OP - I would go, just don't tell him before hand and sit at the back. You can tell him the day after, or in 5 years time that you never missed a concert, but do go and see him.

inchoccyheaven Wed 12-Dec-12 00:35:08

My ds2 who is now 10 has always hated me going to any of his school performances including class assemblies and have been know to cry his eyes out over it until I promise not to go! He doesn't like performing anyway and the fact that he knows someone will be there to watch him makes him really upset.

I have missed lots of his plays etc whereas ds1 always wanted me to watch so I do feel a bit sad about it.

whois Wed 12-Dec-12 00:41:16

My Mum, even now, will say 'ChippingIn was so good, she xxx or yyy' and I want the ground to swallow me up! Fine if she wants to tell her friends etc but FGS Mum - learn not to do it when I'm standing there like a fucking lemon

Omg I think your mum is my mum!

I was with her a few years ago and we bumped into an old teacher. Mum told him all about my first class degree, prof qual, prizes in the prof exams, my job with one of the big names in my profession AND then went on to tell him about my appraisal grading. OMfuckingG does not even cover the embarrassment! I was basically tugging at her sleeve and hissing "stop it" like a 12 year old!

Asked her later why she did that and she said it was because he really put me down at school and she's proud of me. Aw.

OP, I reckon your DS will grow out of it. I invited my mum to come to a concert I was in at the weekend and was stoked she came.

upsylazy Wed 12-Dec-12 09:58:27

I think i have real ishoos that my parents took very little interest in anything i did and I always vowed that I would smother my DCs with praise for every little thing that they did and I'm learning that that isn't what Ds1 actually wants. He does want praise but in a much more subtle way.
DD excels at sport - is in the athletics, football and cricket squad and got selected from all the girls in the UK to go away on a cricket coaching week. This is great because DS1 hates sport with a passion so at least it's an area where they're not competing with each other. She actually loves OTT effusive praise so I will use my gushing mummy act on her (until she turns 12 in 2 years time and decides that she doesn't want me there either).sad
I hope I'm not coming across as boastful btw - it just amazes me that someone who's tone deaf and was always picked last for sports teams and ran the slowest 100m in the history of my school could have produced these children!

GrendelsMum Wed 12-Dec-12 10:29:12

Well, I'm 37 and I wouldn't let any of my friends or family come and see me perform in a special event lately - I would just have found it a million times harder with 'real people' in the audience.

DonkeysInTheStableAtMidnight Wed 12-Dec-12 11:36:17

Not boastful at all, upsylazy, and if your parents weren't ones to come and support you, then that explains why you are keen to do the opposite with your DCs. By the time your DD decides not to have you cheerleading DS might have softened his attitude somewhat wink.

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