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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: |
Haffdonga Sat 11-Jul-20 11:39:42

One of his friends told me last week that he was a bit worried about him which is what prompted this

THIS is what you should be focusing on. Not your hurt feelings. If he's in a bad enough way for a friend to contact you then it could be serious and frankly your feelings about how close or not close you are need to take a back seat.

With my own ds as teens I know that they would never have told me what was wrong if I'd sat them down and said tell me what's on your mind . They'd have run a mile from deep heart to hearts. Instead they might just drop casually into a conversation while we were doing something else (such as cooking a meal) something that was bothering them. If I made a big deal of it and questioned too much then I would probably be told to Just leave it mum .

Honestly it's so normal for teens to blame those they are closest to (their parents) for their emotional feelings. Your relationship with your ds is what it is and was forged when he was much younger. It sounds like it's strong enough to ride the storms of teenage angst but making this about you instead of about him will do the exact opposite of what you want and push him right away from you.

Megatron Sat 11-Jul-20 11:44:55

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.

I think this is probably spot on. Maybe I wanted reassurance, I don't know. I didn't tell him I was hurt by what he said, that would make him feel bad and I don't want that.

His friend made a comment about an ex girlfriend (which I know isn't true due to the timeline) and I know he lies sometimes, probably for attention from friends as he's the 'quiet' one. I don't really know what to think right now. I do think that I need to recognise that he wants me to step back. Until he wants something that is.

OP’s posts: |
JRUIN Sat 11-Jul-20 11:46:54

Interesting that your post focuses on your hurt feelings rather than the feelings of your son. I'd be very worried if one of my kids friends came to me and voiced concern for them. Did you ask your DS's friend why he was worried?

Megatron Sat 11-Jul-20 11:48:17

THIS is what you should be focusing on.

That's the exact reason I tried to talk to him in the first place @Haffdonga. His friend didn't contact me specifically, he was standing outside the house while I was in the garden so it was a comment in passing, but enough to make me worry.

I hoped he would say something out on a dog walk or something but he hasn't which is why I brought it up. I got it wrong.

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Witchend Sat 11-Jul-20 11:49:19

I think you probably put him under pressure by saying you thought you had always had a good relationship and could talk.

He might not want to talk, he might not want to talk to you.
Does that mean you don't have a great relationship? Not necessarily. I would regard me as having a great relationship with my parent-even at that age. Oh boy did I not want to tell them everything! And not necessarily the bad things either. I did not want to sit down and have a heart to heart over my feelings.

By saying that you came across as trying to emotionally blackmail him into talking. I don't think you meant to, you meant to say that you are always ready to listen. But if I'd been told that I would have cringed so hard and felt pressurised to say something. I would have done too. Just not the truth.
By his response he's telling you not that he doesn't feel you don't have a great relationship, but that at this point in time he does not want to talk to you about it.

Write him a letter. Tell him you love him very much and are proud of him. Tell him that if he wants to tell you anything you are here to listen, but he doesn't have to feel that he has to tell you if he doesn't want to. You can say you were worried after what his friend said. Do tell him that you won't be angry with him perhaps-as long as you can keep that promise.

Then leave it. Don't mention it again. Don't push it. However make little opportunities where he can talk if he wants to. You need to let him bring it up though, however hard this is.
I find the car a good place for things like that (although the spontaneous sex talk with all 3 dc was looking back hilarious-with both dds going "Yuck" grin). So offer to drive him to a mate's house. Take him to something he loves. You may find that if he relaxes after enjoying something that is when he'll talk. Not when put on the spot.

Megatron Sat 11-Jul-20 11:51:37

@JRUIN I've already acknowledged that, there's no need to try it make me feel any worse, because I feel bad enough as it is for getting it wrong. My main concern is DS and how I can help him.

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HepzibahGreen Sat 11-Jul-20 11:52:21

You sound WAY intense. I get it, I'm pretty intense too, so I recognise it!
I think getting upset because he says you're not as close as you thought is a bit odd. OF COURSE there is going to be stuff he doesn't tell you! He's 16! It would be really strange if he confided every last thought to you. I think you have to let teens pull away from you and just be the solid ground they feel safe to come back to.
If you emotionally fall apart at the slightest comment, he won't feel safe to talk to you.I would be concerned about what his friend said, I would let my son know he can talk to me, or that he can talk to another family member,and I would be a little bit sneaky detective and try and find out more about what was going on. Then just pull back a bit a stay calm.
It's not about you.

Justaboy Sat 11-Jul-20 11:52:35

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'.

Once .. we had a bloke round here looking for water leaks! tis true i kid you not! DD3 can manage 2 to 3 hoiurs in the shower christ alone knows what she does there, sleeps i reckon!, and thats just one of the moody awkward things that can and does go on. She is a cheeky/ offensive/ difficut/ moody/ hormonal/ sod bless her, sometimes you need the patience of a saint but then she will just say sorry and burst into tears and say "Luv you, your the best dad i could ever have"!

Children eh;?..

Nearlyalmost50 Sat 11-Jul-20 11:56:50

Oh, you can't do right for doing wrong, it's lovely that you are trying and also worried about this.

Often even if we are being good mums, teens feel misunderstood or that they can't speak out.

This is normal and not particular to him, in fact, it's actually quite open of him to tell you this and suggest there's a bit of a gulf, and as time goes on, you may be able to use this idea as a bit of an 'in' to what's going on with him.

I would acknowledge what he said - so I'd say things like 'I know sometime it can be quite hard to tell your mum stuff' or 'you probably do feel I don't understand a bit' but I'm still here for you when you are chatting, so he knows you heard it, but you are still there for him. I mean don't force it, just try to let him know that even though you aren't the perfect mum, and even though the relationship isn't perfect, you are still there for him, whatever, and that will help.

My children told me I didn't listen. I didn't, it was hurtful to hear but I was very good at giving advice and not good at listening. I do try to listen now.

He hasn't said anything truly terrible and it may be more a function of him feeling depressed and sad, it doesn't change anything in a way- just carry on being his mum and it will sort itself out over time.

JRUIN Sat 11-Jul-20 11:57:04

@JRUIN I've already acknowledged that, there's no need to try it make me feel any worse, because I feel bad enough as it is for getting it wrong. My main concern is DS and how I can help him.

Sorry, I got interrupted mid post and didn't see that someone else had questioned your focus.

bumblingbovine49 Sat 11-Jul-20 11:57:37


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.

I don't want to be negative but I think I agree with this. I also think the fact that he he doesn't think your relationship is as good as you believe it is, is an opportunity to say that you are sorry to hear that. That whatever is going on in his life, he can tell you and you will always be on his side and want to help him. I'd say that even if he had things he doesn't feel he can tell you, would he be.willing to talk to anyone else ?

Maybe a professional counselor/ therapist would be someone the would talk to if he doesn't want to talk to his parents

GeorgiaWeLoveYou Sat 11-Jul-20 11:59:12

I think he's probably feeling quite low mentally. And what he means is probably that he feels like he can't speak to you about everything in his life, which is normal. A lot of boys wouldn't speak to their mums about certain topics (sex is the obvious one). You do probably have a good relationship OP but he's likely feeling the mental effects of lockdown

ScrimpshawTheSecond Sat 11-Jul-20 12:00:17

OP, you're doing a great job and I would say the crucial sign of a good, strong relationship is one where both parties are able to (gently, respectfully) raise an issue when there is one.

So - that was a great start! I appreciate it was upsetting, I can imagine it was. He obviously has something on his mind that needs airing, needs heard.

Keep going! He has anger, it's not the end of the world. Your job as parent is to keep him within safe limits, set boundaries, listen and allowing him to talk to you even when it's uncomfortable will be a lifelong gift.

All relationships have bumps and problems. We sort them by listening and talking (probably in that order).

ScrimpshawTheSecond Sat 11-Jul-20 12:04:09

And this on teens specifically might be useful:

pictish Sat 11-Jul-20 12:42:19

I think you’ve taken this too personally.
I’ve always had a great bond and close relationship with our eldest who is 18 now. When he was 15/16/17 he was hard work and that’s the sort of thing he would say to me. He was simply establishing that the relationship was on his terms as well as mine...illustrating his need to have his own opinions and be thought of as a separate entity to me, which is perfectly natural. It’s a clumsy way of expressing burgeoning independence.
We’re still close and share a great relationship. wink

FrogmellaSlob Sat 11-Jul-20 12:44:41

OP I would see that as the first conversation of about ten in a row.

You will get the truth out of him eventually.

This is just the start.

Stop being the referree for a start.

Redcups64 Sat 11-Jul-20 12:49:01

I can understand why your hurt, try to remember it’s part of being a parent and you get good and bad feelings from if.

He probably sat down to talk and then once there clamped up and felt he couldn’t go through with it. That’s normal.

Try again op, reminding him that you love him no matter what and most importantly you are on his side-always.

He does obviously want to tell you something.

Lightswitches Sat 11-Jul-20 13:04:47

I think the note left on his desk as suggested by a PP is a good idea. It gets your message across without being confrontational, over emotional or making him feel under pressure to talk.

He could be feeling bad and it's nothing you've done or haven't done and he's feeling disconnected with everyone but you're the one who actually asked directly. Maybe he'd say the same to his best mates if they asked directly as you did, so it isn't specifically just you if that makes sense. He couldn't back up his statement likely because there isn't actually a reason, which is why he can't give you a reason.

WaxOnFeckOff Sat 11-Jul-20 13:05:00

Oh OP I feel for you and I don't really know what the answer is other than he has some idyllic situation in his head and no-one is ever going to meet that. there will also be an element of him not being able to articulate the issue and it's easier to just make it your fault.

I had similar recently with my 18 year old who is in in his first relationship, been together about 9 months but obviously didn't see each other for a lot of that. They are both away at Uni too so we've not had that many opportunities to meet her but she seems nice but shy. We are a quiet family but I think we all get on well. During a conversation, DS told me that he doesn't feel as close to us as she seems to be with her family and seemed a bit sad about it. I felt rotten but obvs didn't really say so. I think that she is the youngest by about 20 years of her siblings so essentially an only child. We have 2 close in age. He then went on to tell me she has 8 fillings as wasn't encouraged or checked up on when brushing (or not brushing) her teeth and that she doesn't really eat fruit or veg and they haven't bothered. So thinking neither of us are parents of the year then...

Try to put it past you and continue to try to engage with him OP.

justanotherneighinparadise Sat 11-Jul-20 13:08:05

Did any of us really get on with our parents at that age? I don’t think I did 😬

WaxOnFeckOff Sat 11-Jul-20 13:08:34

I tell mine that there is nothing in this world that isn't helped by sharing it with someone who loves you and that as parents we may get a bit angry sometimes but that we always love them and will do what we can to help and that there is always a solution, nothing is ever helpless.

Ilovesausages Sat 11-Jul-20 13:08:57

Try and put aside your feelings of hurt.

It would be interesting to ask him if he can say anymore about what he means by this?

WaxOnFeckOff Sat 11-Jul-20 13:10:43

I think it also helps if you share some of your own weaknesses or mistakes you've made, they need to see you as a human being with flaws I think smile

Idontlikewednesdays Sat 11-Jul-20 13:12:05

I think you’re rewording what he actually said. He didn’t say you were a shit mum did he. I can understand why you’re upset but i think you have to take this in context. I don’t think for a minute he meant to hurt you. Because you’re not a mind reader you don’t know his thought processes. He may have just meant at the moment he doesn’t have as good a relationship with you, as you think. I think a child’s relationship with its parents is an ever moving thing. It’s not a static thing that never evolves. I have a son who is only just out of his teens. My advice would be definitely don’t tell him that your feelings are hurt. He has to know he can speak freely to you about anything. I would keep those communication lines open. Reassure him, be there for him. It could just be that he can’t quite articulate what he wants to say. Please don’t worry that your relationship with him is forever lost. You sound like a loving mum💐

Megatron Sat 11-Jul-20 13:13:18

@pictish I think you're right.

I think you're all right. I haven't said anything else to him, just carried on as normal. He's off out on his bike for the afternoon now so it'll probably be good for us both to have some space.

OP’s posts: |

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