rapid mood swings in a 10 year old - is this the beginning?

(23 Posts)
tigermoth Wed 28-Apr-04 12:18:55

Creeping onto this thread, cap in hand, for advice.

When my son (just turned 10) came back from his week long school trip at Easter, he was more stroppy with me usual. I have got this under some control now, but I have noticed a difference in him. It started a little the six months before the trip but now it's more pronounced.

His moods swing much more. He can get really hung up on details - ie choice of meal, clothes or activity. And the choices are ones he used to like. He seems both older ( more self conscious) and younger (more tantrums) than he was a year ago. I have heard the argument that a 9 year old can be more balanced and mature than an 11 year old simply because those pubescent hormones are not surging through their bodies and disturbing their thought processes. Could this be what's happening here? Is this the beginning? My son has no physical changes as yet - not even smelly feet. I am not at all sure what he has reached the prepubescent stage. He could be unhappy/unsettled about something else.

He has just been told the facts of life and seems ok with this knowledge, but doesn't want to talk about it. He has never shown much interest in the facts of life, or other 'grown up' issues like drugs. Dh and I have good lines of communication with him and we've had lots of happy times together recently. It's just that he has more mood swings. I feel that treating him like a naughty child (ie sending him to his room for bad attitude, praising good behavior etc) are techniques not quite so on target as they used to be. I feel I am entering unknown territory, never being a teenage boy myself of course and never having had a brother. Should I change my approach?

Jaybee Wed 28-Apr-04 13:30:33

tigermoth, no real advice just sympathy as I am in exactly the same situation with my 10 year old - he has started a few physical changes too (sweaty armpits, a few spots around the nose) so I am more convinced that his hormones are causing his moods - he can be his usual self one minute but can then be quite self concious, stroppy and quite physical the other. I agree that the old ways of dealing with them no longer really seem appropriate.

tigermoth Wed 28-Apr-04 14:27:25

oh goodness, yes, I'd forgotten about the spots round the nose. Ds has these tiny little ones, not acne, more like blocked pores.

It's looking more and more like the big 'T' phase approaching. Help!

Jaybee Wed 28-Apr-04 15:07:59

Thankfully ds does alot of sport so he tends to vent alot of his energy into that (rugby has proved to be very good for this). I never had a brother either so all new for me too. He did admit the other day that he sometimes gets really wound up and he didn't really know why, he actually admitted that at those times he wants to punch something so we fetched out his large King Louis that he was given as a baby and told him to thump that if he feels the need poor old King Louis!! Thankfully, him and dh are pretty close and do quite alot together (football matches and concerts) so, hopefully, we can kerb the attitude a bit.

soyabean Wed 28-Apr-04 15:15:18

I dont really have a lot to add, but I like to bump teenager conversations up the list in the hope that others will join in and make wise contributions...
My ds1 is 12 and I wouldnt really say he has mood swings. Our problem at the mement is knowing how much freedom to give him. He feels that as he is at secondary school he can do anything, by himself and we are not quite ready for that. I need to loosen my vice like grip I know...But it goes against the grain a bit.

roisin Wed 28-Apr-04 16:17:40

I've nothing to contribute, but like to keep an eye on 'teenager' threads to get an idea of what we might be in for in future! Thought I'd bump it up anyway.

noddy5 Wed 28-Apr-04 16:35:28

my ds is 10 on saturday and has been v.moody and stroppy since he came back from the schooltrip to the isle of wight about 1 month ago.He too has tiny blocked looking pores around his nose but I have decided not to suggest we do anything about this for now for fear of setting him off.It seems young to me for all this but glad to know others are going through this too!

Batters Wed 28-Apr-04 17:56:10

tigermoth, no experience of this at all yet (but since when has that stopped me from posting ).

However, do you think that your ds is a bit unsettled since coming home? Perhaps his trip away, together with the revealing of the facts of life, has really shown him that he is growing up and he is a bit worried about it? His hang-up on details could be about him being intent on controlling those things within his power, as he suddenly understand there are lots and lots of things that are outside of his power? Also, isn't he coming up to having to chose a secondary school etc? All this does sound quite stressful for anyone never mind a young boy about to hit puberty.

Of course I may be completely wrong here....

lars Wed 28-Apr-04 18:01:41

Just to add tigermoth my dd is 10 and yes mood swings and attitude. BTW I think most parents are experiencing this with their 10 year olds as well. My mum said it's that age. larsxx

tigermoth Thu 29-Apr-04 10:58:33

ohh noddy, that's spooky - school trip followed by blocked pores and mood swings - have I found a mumsnet twin?

It's reassuring to know other 10 year old boys seem to be going through similar. Soyabean, we haven't got fights over freedom as yet, but I suspect this will come. Ds has a fair amount of freedom for his age, but the next step - taking a bus ride without an adult, going off swimming or to a film with friends - seems such a big one to me.
Batters - you could well be right. I hadn't added up all the unsettling elements of ds's life at present and there are rather a lot of them. I'm wondering also if he feels more threatened by his younger brother now. Ds 2 is at his school so shares his territory and he is popular with ds1's friends. And now he is doing more and more of the same things as ds1, perhaps ds1 feels he is losing ground.

I feel I need to build up ds1's confidence in a way, and treat him with more respect for his age, but not sure how to go about this.

Hulababy Thu 29-Apr-04 11:01:04

Not sure if this helps or not but I teach Y7 - the year above your boy I think. And, yep, several of them come to school with hormones all over!!!

Tortington Thu 29-Apr-04 23:49:58

i have an 11 yr old boy ( and girl) and in my boy i noticed that he has a built up anger he releases at home if things go crappy at school. he doesnt know how to release this anger he just talks rather loudly and very very fast when describing whatever incident, he goes red in the face and then bursts into tears. it usually takes a "dont worry about it" kind of approach or as he is a pip squeek " one day you will be bigger than them!" that seems to cheer him up.

my girl seems more like your boy. attitude like i cannot describe. this always takes a " i will not tolerate this kind of behaviour. are we clear?" kind of approach.

i find chores a better punishment than bedroom.

hope this helps

Jollymum Fri 20-Aug-04 18:43:54

Mine are 14 (boy-horrible!), 11 (boy-getting spotty and stroppy), 9 (girl-nickname MOO because she's a mooooody cow!) and nearly 6 (boy-should have been named DAMIEN 'cos he's like that kid off the OMEN. I have bought a pack of facial wipes, cleansing stuff etc and stuck it in the bathroom. Told them all that if they don't want to have pizza faces, like I did, they had better start washing their faces! Not too subtle approach IYKWIM but I found that doing the hormonal quiet talk just made them laugh and I got nowhere. My littlest one has read the book about "Babies" and now knows everything there is to know and discusses it loudly in the car/supermarket etc wherever I can be embarrassed! I ask the two oldest boys when I go shopping if they need sprays etc and because it's not a big thing, everyone just shouts out their list. Even the little one, who does his "pits" as he calls them, with Lynx or whatever and goes to school doused in CK1 or whatever he can find!! If your kids are embarrassed about asking for stuff, get them to write on your list when you go shopping, just shout out where the list is and does anyone need stuff? Mind you, on a naughty note, my Dh always puts BJ on the list, but doesn't get it!! Teeth cleaning is a nightmare!! I really shouldn't have to supervise them, apart from the 5 year old, but MOO informed me yesterday, when I mentioned that she had dog-breath, that she hasn't cleaned her teeth since Sunday. We stayed in a hotel overnight and the little MOO forgot to tell me she'd left her toothbrush there. I've got loads of spares in my cupboard but she didn't think it was important! Now I know why there was loads of dead moths in her bedroom, what with her breath and her feet, well, she's never going to get a boyfriend at this rate!!!!

jampot Fri 20-Aug-04 18:51:12

My dd is 11.5 and has been stroppy/spotty/prone to greasy hair for about 18m-2years. She started her periods in April just after her 11th birthday and it made me feel very old. She quite often can be reallly stroppy and downright nasty to her younger brother for no apparent reason. Apart from that she embraces all the changes pretty well apart from the fact that she doesn't want to wear a bra (but really should).

Goldfish Fri 20-Aug-04 22:42:45

My dd1 is 10 and he also went on school trip and came back somehow different. And he doesn't want to go back to school in September as he is worried about all these spots that have appeared. He is normally very calm and easygoing, but lately if he does get into a temper don't we all know it! Though I must say it is rare. Its normally something to do with ds2 who is 9 so is not far behind. I don't know much about teenage boys either. Looks like I have got a fun few years coming up with two of them at once.

bobs Fri 20-Aug-04 23:17:41

My 10 yr-old dd can be v stroppy - I think she now realises its a whole new world out there what with sex discussions with friends, boobs growing, tummy aches every month (crash course from me about periods resulting in her telling me off for making her miss her favourite programme!).
Maybe its just a very confusing time for them??
Talking of periods starting, what do I buy for her when she starts pad-wise (I had thumping great Dr Whites and an ST Belt)??

MUMINAMILLION Tue 24-Aug-04 22:20:42

Hi bobs. My dd just turned 11 and is due ANY SECOND to start her monthly's (mind you i feel like she's been due to start for the last 10 years). She does have a bit of a discharge (she would kill me if she knew I was telling people this!) so I bought her panty liners. These are a great size for her - much smaller than regular pads. But I think they are absorbent enough for her to use even once she has her periods providing she changes them often enough and is not too heavy obviously. If not, I think the Always pads are probably the next best as they are very slim too, but are quite long. It is a confusing time for them. She gets very emotional about growing up. One half of her cant wait to be 18, the other half wants to stay a little girl. She is into quite a regular cycle now - 3 weeks normal daughter - 1 week unrecognisable shrieking demon child. Got 3 more dds - it can only get worse!! Poor dh - all those hormones!

bobs Tue 24-Aug-04 22:54:37

Thanks for that - was beginning to think I'd killed the conversation .
Was planning on Allways (She's used to seeing them around anyway). Useful to know about the discharge bit - so far its bad tummy aches each month, but never sure if its also related to school!

dottee Tue 24-Aug-04 23:14:00

MUMINAMILLION and others. Yes it can get worse. My dd is 12. She's had pubic and underarm hair for sometime now. She hasn't 'started' yet but she can horrendous mood swings and we're taking note whether they are cyclic. Her breasts are developing and she is now tolerating a bra.

Now the not so good bit ... she has Cerebral Palsy and has very limited communcation. TBH I don't think she knows much of what is going on. They have been doing lessons at her special school with visual aids and videos so she may have some ideas.

She's noticed boys! She's also can be a little bit spotty (again we're noting when this occurs) and sweaty (I'm trying to teach her how to use roll-ons etc.)

She is mobile and almost 10st so the strops can be physical and stressful.

I hope you don't mind me posting this different view of my dd approaching puberty.

bobs Tue 24-Aug-04 23:25:47

Thanks Dottee - not so much different as more difficult for you - and there's us all moaning away.......

MUMINAMILLION Wed 25-Aug-04 08:19:49

Hats off to you dottee. Its a hard enough time with a pre-pubescent child without a serious illness to boot. Do you have plenty of support and other parents in similar circumstances to offer advice? This growing up business is all new territory for me as this is my first one to go through it. Its a bit scary that EVERYONE without exception says that it can only get worse! (My mum's words of wisdom are that the bigger they get, the bigger the problems get! Thanks mum.) Did anyone out there find it remotely easy or did they just handle it well??

poppyh Mon 30-Aug-04 18:40:17

Tigermoth,
My DS is 10.He has become full of attitude recently too.He came back from his yr5 school trip in July (A week in Kent),and didnt talk to me for hours!
I managed to talk with him later.I think the reason it seems worse after a school trip is they experience a taste of real freedom with their friends.I think they slightly resent coming home!!All these feelings and hormones are a terible combo!!!

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