Advanced search

I'm so hurt by what my son said to me.

(67 Posts)
Megatron Sat 11-Jul-20 10:30:01

He's 16. It's been a shit few months for him with lockdown, unable to do GCSE's and see his friends until recently etc. He has an up and down relationship with DH (his dad) and can be cheeky (usual stuff for his age), DH reacts and they argue. It's not awful but I feel a bit like a referee sometimes trying to keep everyone happy. DS doesn't like to take responsibility for just about anything and sees any conversation as 'having a go a him'.

I've always felt we have a really good relationship, we get on well, we talk about stuff (though he finds that more difficult now as he gets older). I know he finds things tricky at the moment so tried to talk to him this morning about how he was feeling and if he was OK. One of his friends told me last week that he was a bit worried about him which is what prompted this.

He said he wanted to talk but then just sat there. I said something along he lines of 'if there's anything on your mind you know you can talk to me, I've always thought we have a good relationship and can talk'.

He said 'Do we, I don't think it's as good as you seem to think it is'. I asked him what he meant and he said he couldn't put it into words but we don't get on as well as I think.

I am so hurt. I feel like I've just been landed with this statement with no explanation or reason. I try really hard to be mindful of his age and I know it's a difficult one but I feel a bit blindsided by this. If anyone had asked me what my relationship with him was like I could have said really good, we have our moments but we get on really well. Now I find out that he doesn't think our relationship is that great and I feel like a totally crap mum. It probably sounds trivial but I really am hurt.

OP’s posts: |
Chrysanthemum5 Sat 11-Jul-20 10:36:17

It's not trivial at all and I can understand how hurt you are. So I'm saying this kindly (and knowing I'd feel exactly like you) he's 16 and his life has been turned upside down. He knows you love him and will always love him so he knows he can vent some frustrations and you will still be there for him.

Instead of sitting him down for a talk maybe try just chatting whilst doing something together like making dinner or going for a walk (if he will do that grin) it's less pressure for him that a face to face chat

He's learning how to manage emotions and he's at the crossroads of needing you and wanting to be independent. So don't take his words to heart too much. And you clearly do have a good relationship as he feels he can be honest with you

QueenOfWinterfell Sat 11-Jul-20 10:41:34

It sounds as if you do have a good relationship but teens have dreadful hormonal ups and downs. You probably caught him at a down moment. Try not to take it to heart (difficult I know) and concentrate on all the positive things.

milienhaus Sat 11-Jul-20 10:45:47

If one of his friends is so worried about him he’s mentioned it to you I would be seriously worried tbh. Could he be depressed?

I think you might be taking this too literally (could he be saying he doesn’t feel like he has a proper relationship with anyone even you who he loves so much and so is feeling disconnected from life - red flag) and maybe missing a bigger problem.

Historya Sat 11-Jul-20 10:50:18

I can understand that you are hurt but isn't it written in his teenage son job person specification to detach himself from you and the best way to do this is to be push you away with what he is saying?

On a more serious note, don't push the conversation on him, be there share your own thoughts about lockdown and try and do some fun things together.

The key thing is to not take this personally, he is pushing you away, as he should at his age, he'll come back and if your relationship is or was as good as you feel it is you will feel close again once he's over his teenage bit but allow for your relationship to change, he's not your little boy anymore, allow him to be his own person.

Megatron Sat 11-Jul-20 10:53:35

@milienhaus I don't know to be honest. He does have a history of 'embellishing' the truth to make things sound more interesting if you know what I mean? Like if you ask him to get out of the shower because he's been in there for half an hour, he'll get very over dramatic and say he's 'not even allowed a proper shower'. I know that's a silly example but I know he's said things to friends before that aren't strictly true. I'm hoping this is the case here but I am mindful of it and will be keeping a close watch. He's going to 6th form in September and it can't come quick enough to be honest.

What I really want to do is go and tell him he's an ungrateful sod and to grow up a bit, but I think the best approach would be to go and give him a cuddle then take a step back slightly. That may of course be completely the wrong thing to do but I'm at a bit of a loss.

OP’s posts: |
Megatron Sat 11-Jul-20 10:56:10

The key thing is to not take this personally, he is pushing you away, as he should at his age, he'll come back and if your relationship is or was as good as you feel it is you will feel close again once he's over his teenage bit but allow for your relationship to change, he's not your little boy anymore, allow him to be his own person.

Yes I think this is key. I still feel really bloody hurt though. I've always tried to be a good mum (don't we all) but now I feel like I must have got so much wrong.

OP’s posts: |
iwantmyownicecreamvan Sat 11-Jul-20 11:01:30

Yes, I would be more worried that his friend is concerned than about this comment.

I am in my 60s now and I got on well with my mother. I was wondering if you ever say to people in your son's hearing how well you get on? I don't know why, but when my mother did this when I was a teenager it really annoyed me. We DID get on, but I always thought of when she told me off or wouldn't let me do things which I resented and it annoyed me. I didn't always act up or complain, so she might not have realised I was resentful about certain things.

She used to say things like people thought we were more like sisters than mother/daughter - and that REALLY annoyed me. I don't know why.

Unreasonable I know, but I was a teenager. grin

DishRanAwayWithTheSpoon Sat 11-Jul-20 11:02:14

When I was really struggling with mental health as a teen I felt my mum didnt notice, and would brush it under the carpet.

She definitely loved me but it felt like she would often pretend we were really close, and that shed done a wonderful job raising me and I was really struggling.

I think this was probably unfair of me, mums arent mind readers but at the same time I did actually need my mum to notice.

If one of his friends has told you he was worried about him, Id believe him. You might need to accept he doesnt feel as close to you as you think, which doesnt mean you arent a good mum or have done anything wrong.

Zaphodsotherhead Sat 11-Jul-20 11:03:30

Teenagers just seem set to 'contradict' sometimes. So him saying your relationship wasn't as good as you thought is pretty much just the standard come back. If you'd said you thought he seemed quiet he'd just have said 'so I'm not allowed even to THINK now, is that it?' or whatever.

I wouldn't take the words too much to heart. It's his behaviour that matters. Does he still treat you the same way as he (mostly) always has done?

I agree with pp that kids seem to find it easier to talk if they are 'doing' something. Do you have a garage that needs help to clear out or a wall that needs his help to paint? Just occupying yourself in the same space can get the to open up - it's easier if you aren't face-to-face, staring them in the eye.

GreenTulips Sat 11-Jul-20 11:04:06

You could be the best mother in the world and still get it wrong!

You have to parent them how they need to be patented! They are all different.

He has hormones and is trying to negotiate ever changing relationships

Don’t you remember how friends drifted when they finished school? How you formed new ones at work or higher education? How suddenly the difference in those relationships changed

For example girls who were all over the boys, girls who partied hard drinking/drugs, girls who were into being dolled up all about makeup and clothes and you didn’t recognise them anymore let alone wanted to be friends with them as they went in different directions?

He maybe finding this out for himself?

It’s not a reflection on your relationship, more a confusion over being himself v his friends decisions.

ProseccoBubbleFantasies Sat 11-Jul-20 11:04:49

I totally understand why you're hurt. Any parent reading this would too I'm sure. flowers for you.

Ok, so my advice would be:
Lock your hurt away. Don't let him know you're upset. (Vent to friends/partner/on here if that helps)
Concentrate on him and his feelings, not yours (otherwise you risk making it about you)

Find some time and space to be with him and just 'be'. Just time to chill together. A walk, as a PP suggested or watching something he likes. Maybe a game, if he plays cards or something? Just spend some relaxed time together.
Let him know you value/enjoy his company.

And then things might just come out naturally

GabsAlot Sat 11-Jul-20 11:06:21

i thik they think theyre hard done by for some reason-like the shower thing my nephew does this comepltely does a kevin along with huffing about how nothing is fair

if he wasnt like this previously id say lockdown has been tough on him

Clutterbugsmum Sat 11-Jul-20 11:06:57

Could he be depressed?

With out being flippant I think most teenagers have some form of depression at the moment.

Their and their friends worlds have been ripped apart. All the normal teenage things they have lost.

They have not had their exams, End of school celebration with friends, prom Etc. They should be spending the summer with friends being carefree. Instead they got lockdown and no idea how their future is going to be.

Anyway OP I do think you have a good relationship with your son, he just doesn't know how to communicate how he feels. Has his High School given you/him any advice about mental health/wellbeing people he can talk too. It might be easier for him to talk to some who is not his family.

Somethingorotherorother Sat 11-Jul-20 11:07:51

I can sympathise with your son here - i think at 16 my mum would have thought we had an excellent relationship. And we did, as far as it went, but i was lying to her all the time about pretty much everything. I was deeply, deeply depressed and up to my eyebrows in a bunch of incredibly unhealthy coping mechanisms. She had no idea. I think you may need to face the fact that your son may be right, and you may not be as close as you thought. If he's saying that, and his friends are concerned, i think you may need to be looking into this more deeply, rather than just writing it off as usual teenage distancing.

Legoandloldolls Sat 11-Jul-20 11:13:50

If he felt safe enough to tell you that then you do have a good relationship.

I have written my ds a note before and left it on his desk. It's best to keep things light with kids ( which he still is)

You could just say you was sorry he felt that way, reiterating you love him and can talk about anything. That want him to be able to do so and you want to work towards that.

I do tell my 16 yo how his actions make me feel sometimes. I just talk about his actions and my feelings very simply. For example he came into to kitchen and his sister was annoying him so he punched the counter which made me jump. I said you scared me ( loud unexpected noise) so I shouted at you. Dont do it again. So I try to not to say " you have anger issues

Plus as said upthread my ds opens up best after we have been in the car like after the orthodontist and small talk. He starts the convo that way. It might seem like a trivial issue is a big deal, again I try hard to give the same attention to his gaming problems as to his gcses. To him at 16, it's all the end of the world.

It's a funny age. Dont take it personally. Terns brains are very self inward looking so even if you worshiped him 24/7, in his mind it wouldnt be enough. But once he comes out of the teen brain stage you will have a solid bond still

DuckbilledSplatterPuff Sat 11-Jul-20 11:18:26

"""If anyone had asked me what my relationship with him was like I could have said really good, we have our moments but we get on really well. Now I find out that he doesn't think our relationship is that great"""

So it probably is really good in general, nothing can be 100 per cent perfect all the time, neither of you can.
Firstly, I think you are doing your absolute best. It was the right thing to say to him when he's feeling down and even if you didn't get the response you wanted, it will sink in that you are saying that. You know you are trying hard to help him and he will also know that too, even if the lovely little lamb doesn't always acknowledge that, so don't beat yourself up.

So try to get over feeling hurt. You asked him to talk to you and to tell you anything and he did. He was honest. That was what he was feeling right at that moment in time. From his point of view you clammed up and proved that in fact he couldn't tell you, or he said something annoying knowing that you'd stop asking him.
But without discussing it further, by retracting and being understandably hurt you don't really know what he actually meant by that. You've put your own interpretation on it. It could have any number of meanings, that he doesn't relate to people your age or that you don't "understand" how he's feeling because he's sure you haven't been through this etc.
I get that it must have felt like a complete slap in the face, but I genuinely don't think he meant it as badly as you've taken it. Tell him it hurt (in a way that doesn't start an argument and ask him to help you understand why he thinks that. What specific things would improve it. (and be prepared for some more catty comments but go over them) What does he think realistically he/you can do to improve things?

Or maybe start the conversation in a more abstract way about something you both enjoy or something funny, rather than making it a formal type of thing. Help him do some cooking or something (whatever you think might work) so that you are communicating without a specific object in mind and some info may pop out.

This happens to all mums.Teens don't always know how to express themselves when hurt and angry or feeling that things are hopeless ( not by you but by what he's going through). They have so many decisions to start making at that age and at the moment a lot of options seem to be closing up, so its no wonder he's loosing his footing a bit. But if you ask him to tell you anything you have to be prepared for what might come out and try not to get to flustered by it.

Its a tricky one, but just carry on, it might be that calm informal casual dialogue is the way forward.

Megatron Sat 11-Jul-20 11:21:56

I was wondering if you ever say to people in your son's hearing how well you get on? I don't know why, but when my mother did this when I was a teenager it really annoyed me.. No, never because I know it would embarrass him.

We often take the dog out together so we do get time to chill. I'm not dismissing what his friend said at all, I know he was pissed off at his friend for saying something at all. He won't talk to anyone else.

When I was his age you didn't really talk to your parents about much really, now everyone tells you to talk, talk, talk but I suppose in reality, we're the last people he really wants to talk to.

OP’s posts: |
LordOftheRingz Sat 11-Jul-20 11:23:58

It must hurt, but from my experience it is due to the fact that the ground has shifted on his side due to maturing and brain development and the current (very hard) situation, and you are still working on the same parameters as before.

I would seek to let him understand that if things have changed for him, can he help you gain understanding in what areas and that you will try and work it out together.

Megatron Sat 11-Jul-20 11:26:57

But without discussing it further, by retracting and being understandably hurt you don't really know what he actually meant by that. It was him who finished the conversation, he wouldn't say anything else because he said he couldn't put it into words. I didn't really force the issue because I thought that would make it worse for him if he was already struggling with what to say. So now I'm left with the statement without knowing what he really means.

OP’s posts: |
Evelefteden Sat 11-Jul-20 11:30:40

I’d buy him a big note pad and ask him to write a letter to you about how he is feeling.

MsJuniper Sat 11-Jul-20 11:33:12

It sounds like he was trying to deflect the conversation, push you away and maybe even start an argument.

I have heard from lots of teen parents that a walk or drive is a great way to get a conversation going rather than sitting down as it feels more organic and precludes eye contact. I've already found this works with my much younger DS.

If you are worried about him then don't get waylaid by this conversation and how it reflects on you or makes you feel.

CatteStreet Sat 11-Jul-20 11:35:43

Tbh, I think this: 'I've always thought we have a good relationship and can talk' was setting him up a bit to reassure you, and he picked up on that and, for whatever reason, didn't feel like giving you that. The comment jumped out at me a bit as (I do mean this kindly) you making it about you, rather than about him. It seemed a bit of an odd thing to say, tbh, if your intent was to get him to open up - it feels a bit as if you're forcing the issue and I think that would make a lot of people shut down rather than the opposite. It also sounds, from your description of the refereeing between him and dh (and I have this a bit too with my 15yo, so I understand the sometimes bumpiness of the father/eldest son relationship), as if you are very keen for everything to be smooth and harmonious. It sounds a little as if his words are reacting against that, possibly.

YANBU to feel hurt, but YWBU to make that into his issue. It really is, as a PP said, in the teenage job description to detach from your parents, and that isn't always a pretty process.

Did the friend specify in what way they were worried, or what he had said or done to make them so?

Mine is extremely over-dramatic too, btw. We make light of it. If his drama is veering into lying to his friends, I'd want to keep an eye on that. What sort of lies?

Shortfeet Sat 11-Jul-20 11:36:04

I suspect he is speaking the truth for most young people !

Abraid2 Sat 11-Jul-20 11:38:50

Children that age can say some appalling things, really hurtful. Often it’s because they know you love them more than anyone else and they are safe to vent feelings. Then they go off feeling better, forget it and leave you feeling awful. One of mine was like this at 16 and by the time they were 19 they had become very loving again and we are close.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in