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To think this is not normal for a 13 year old.What to do?

(63 Posts)
wetandmiserable Mon 03-Aug-20 23:01:43

DS has had a few very dramatic tantrums lately and I am getting really worried about him. I know tantrum is a silly word to describe a 13 yr old - maybe rage is better. That's what it feels like. He shouts, stomps around and is just horrible to me and his younger sister. It is hard to predict what will set him off but one obsession is if he feels he's being treated unfairly compared to dd and that she is getting away with things he didn't at her age. I swear 99% of this is in his head.

When he's like that I feel I've lost control and it's scary really. Nothing I can say will get through to him, whether I get angry or stay calm doesn't make a difference. He's always been a bit like this but it seems to have escalated recently. Behaviour elsewhere is absolutely exemplary.

I feel like he's bored. He doesn't see friends much, or have much contact with them at all. At school he was happy with his circle, but in lockdown there hasn't been that much contact. He plays a sport, which he loves and training for that is back on, but other than that he doesn't really have hobbies. He is academic and a high achiever at school but struggles to be motivated to read (his words) and just spends so much time watching YouTube videos - mainly on academic topics he's interested in tbf, but I'm worried because he seems so sluggish and irritable and seems to have this pent up fury that erupts suddenly that I'm sure is partly down to frustration/boredom.

Today he wanted me to go for walk with him but I'm a lp who wfh and we'd just come back from a week away so I had loads to do and I just couldn't but it feels like he's moped around all day to then blow up. I feel he needs mentally stimulating but as I said he doesn't really read and hates puzzles/stuff like that. He has a language app on his phone but gets frustrated with that. Don't know why - he's more than capable but if it's not easy he gives up.

Any ideas? I feel like I'm letting him down but don't know how to help him at the moment.

OP’s posts: |
coronafiona Mon 03-Aug-20 23:06:37

My 12yo is similar. I've given her specific tasks to do, get the washing in, contact a friend and arrange something, put away shopping. She moans- don't get me wrong- but it gets her off her screen and gives her some structure. It's the lack of structure that's been hardest for her in lockdown I think.

StillGardening Mon 03-Aug-20 23:13:37

My DS(11) is academic but not a reader of fiction. However, he’s got started on a few books via audible and then I have to get them from library etc because it’s too slow and he wants to read them for himself. If I say no screens, he will take himself off to his room during day and read. It’s a transformation and I’m so pleased. Maybe try that ?? Has to be a ban on screens,a good book, and a bit of being stroppy about it to begin with ...

Bunnybigears Mon 03-Aug-20 23:21:07

Why doesn't he see his friends? Tell him to arrange to go out with his friens he will feel 100% better

Owleyes16 Mon 03-Aug-20 23:25:25

Not sure what's on with covid and all, but has he thought about taking up a martial art? He reminds me of a few people I've known in school, college, etc. when I was younger, they found solace there. The great thing about the martial arts is that they're very physical but also about focus and discipline and channelling your emotions. I personally did a bit of Tai Chi (Not the most energetic I know) a couple of years back which helped me at the time. I also did mixed martial arts in college which was brilliant. It sounds scary and violent but it's a brilliant sport if you can find a good trainer.

Emeraldshamrock Mon 03-Aug-20 23:31:32

His hormones are playing havoc it doesn't mean you should put up with his bad behaviour.
He needs an outlet he shouldn't be raging at you two. Other than turning into a man has there been any disruption to his life. Was he angry as a DC maybe he should speak to someone outside of the family?

GrumpyHoonMain Mon 03-Aug-20 23:35:33

Why does he need you to go with him for a walk, is he not allowed to go by himself?

wetandmiserable Mon 03-Aug-20 23:41:31

He has no interest in meeting friends. He insists none of them in his circle are meeting and I have no way of knowing whether that's true but I do know those he is closest to are not that close by and don't all live in the same area as each other or us, so I think it may well be. He's just turned 13 and not really got into going out with mates yet. He was very happy at school when it was open.

He has had a tendency to anger since being around 4, but goes through phases where it'snot as bad. Now it seems particularly bad. No events recently - dad and I split 6 years ago and he sees him regularly.

He's allowed to walk by himself, and cycle, bit wants me with him because he wants to talk. I swear he's bored.

OP’s posts: |
Yester Mon 03-Aug-20 23:47:32

Out of my 4 the 13 year old boy has struggled the most with lockdown. They are very insecure at that age, semi independent but not quite in the swing of organising their own social life. The insecurity makes it tough to do. Also hormones are all over the place. My smiley, gentle12 year old is a ball.of sulking and temper. I think letting them know the aggression is completely unacceptable is important as is being a listening ear and a bit silly friend to them as well. It's a shite age at the best if times.

helloagainmyfriend Mon 03-Aug-20 23:49:37

I know it's hard, really hard but you need to find the time to go for a walk with him.
The housework will always be there but he is needing your attention now.
Teenagers are really needy of attention and you need to carve out time to hear his worries and maybe then he won't kick-off quite as much.

compulsivesnacker Mon 03-Aug-20 23:55:55

Structure is your friend. Ds here was always terrible in the long holidays (and frankly that’s what this is with a bit of added stress.)
So, what is he going to do? We made da choose two or three extra-curriculars, to keep him occupied and preferably interacting with people. Bored is right but also frustrated due to lack of routine.
It’s honestly good that he does want you to go for a walk with him - at least he isn’t sulking and irritable and lashing out at his sister.
Can you schedule your day so they have some tasks while you are working and they are occupying themselves? What would they usually be doing in the school holidays?
That tweens/ early teens stage is the hardest. They aren’t quite at the point where the last thing they want is to have anything to do with you!

JKRisaqueen Mon 03-Aug-20 23:56:41

He's bored and he needs his friends. I bet they're the same as him, moping around, pent up rage etc

SuperCaliFragalistic Mon 03-Aug-20 23:58:19

Mine are a different age but when they're going through difficult phases I try to arrange with their dad (I'm a single parent too) for them to each have 1:1 time with us both. So DD will go to their dad's for 24 hours and DS will stay with me then swap over. They get some decent quality time with each parent and time apart from each other. They really respond well to it. Not sure if this is possible for you?

BoomBoomsCousin Mon 03-Aug-20 23:58:50

I think you are wrong to see his desire to spend time talking to you as a symbol of simple boredom that could be alleviated by him doing any old thing. He is looking for connection to the adult world and he's looking for it through you.

You can push that need of his off onto other people and, eventually, he'll look elsewhere but if he ends up looking to Youtube, say, for his guidance into adulthood you may regret it a lot more than you'd regret giving up time to spend with him now.

BrummyMum1 Mon 03-Aug-20 23:58:55

From your posts it sounds like he needs more human interaction that just mental stimulation. Can you make time for walks or do more to encourage him to see friends? He sounds stressed. I would tackle the cause rather than just discipline his behaviour as that might make him feel even more isolated.

DressingGownofDoom Tue 04-Aug-20 00:00:43

Spend some time with him, and make sure he gets much more exercise to get that energy out.

SirVixofVixHall Tue 04-Aug-20 00:04:46

My dd, who also turned 13 during lockdown, has been similar. A combination of boredom, anxiety and hormones I think. She is only just beginning to show small signs of puberty so there are a few years of this ahead....

SirVixofVixHall Tue 04-Aug-20 00:05:54

I agree that exercise helps.
My dd can’t see friends as her best friend is shielding, and I am at increased risk. It is all very hard for teenagers.

Bowerbird5 Tue 04-Aug-20 00:07:21

He sounds like a typical teenager with raging hormones.

MadameMeursault Tue 04-Aug-20 00:08:03

Hormones and lockdown. A terrible combination, but I think he’s having a pretty natural reaction. It’s so tough on them. He isn’t emotionally mature enough to cope with what’s been going on and it isn’t his fault and it isn’t your fault.

Cut him a bit of slack. Try and spend time with him, and encourage him to see his friends - could you drive him to see them? Do you know any of the other parents? I know he’s a bit old for play dates, but perhaps you could talk to the other parents and see if something could be arranged.

Juliehooligan Tue 04-Aug-20 00:09:55

I have a 13 year old girl, and she has become really needy, nasty, moody and demanding in recent weeks and needs to get back into a proper routine. I don’t think that there is a simple answer to this way of life, as no one has ever been through it before. You may need to give him a bit of one on one time in case he does want a bit of tlc just for him.

EmilyBishopmyconfession Tue 04-Aug-20 00:10:37

Definitely try your best to go for walks with him- it's not just the physical/ outdoors aspect, it's the spending time with one another (one-to-one if possible?) Maybe there's something on his mind that he wants to talk about with no distractions?

TheMotherofAllDilemmas Tue 04-Aug-20 00:18:35

That sounds difficult but agree with other posters that no matter how his hormones are playing up or how bored he is, he shouldn’t be taking it out on you or his sister.

What do you do when he goes into a rage?

bridgetreilly Tue 04-Aug-20 00:23:39

He's 13. Why do you think this isn't normal? This is literally how teenagers are.

Redbirds Tue 04-Aug-20 00:43:59

Do you think he could be jealous of his sister? Even if it's unjustified sibling rivalry can be difficult. I don't think he is bored particularly but is uncertain and is reaching out for your attention. He needs 1-1 time with you and although difficult you will need to prioritise this.

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