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11-y-o emo... strangling is not an option. :-) Any advice?

(5 Posts)
mandalee Mon 29-Jun-15 14:05:38

DS is 11, and usually a lovely boy, but in the last year or so he's gone increasingly emo on us... lots of "I'm feeling sad" and very little enthusiasm for going out and doing things, or trying anything new.

Any little thing at school gets him worried - for example, he has two quite small roles in the Year 6 play, and he's been fretting over it for a week or more. Ditto about homework, Sports Day, school projects... it doesn't seem to be subject-dependent, or related to the actual importance/likelihood of failure. He just mopes and mopes, and when I try to get him to see the positive side of things, he just says, "I don't know how." At times, this has translated into stomach cramps/sickness, which he saw a counselor for a few times, but she seemed to think he was fine. hmm

Doing things with the family is equally like pulling teeth problematic, which drives my husband mad. Nothing ruins a nice walk in the country like a moaning preteen! Basically, if I'd let him, he'd just sit and play computer games/watch YouTube all day long (we don't actually let him use screens all day, BTW, though he tries to push the limits of his time as much as he possibly can.)

Summer is coming, though, and I'm plotting ways to try to pop him out of this negative-thinking habit.

First up, though it's going to be absolute hell painful, is going to be at least a week's holiday from the computer. Reckon it'll be about as nice for me as childbirth, but I'm hoping it will give us some insight into how much of his mood is screen-related. (I suspect that Minecraft bloke has a WHOLE LOT to answer for.)

Second, he's going to have to choose a sport/physically active thing to do regularly. This is already a rule during term-time, but I'm going to push it harder over the summer.

Lastly, I'm going to give him proper chores to do, so he feels like he's contributing to the family. We've been very lax about this in our house - he pitches in with dishes, etc., but very much on an ad hoc basis - so I think it's well past time for him to get stuck in.

Anyone else in this position, and if so, what have you tried that has made a difference? I know some of it is undoubtedly the beginnings of teenage hormones, but surely there's something I can do?? confused

Ormally Thu 23-Jul-15 19:32:43

Did you see the 'Bedtime Live' programme (I think it was?) about a year ago? They followed people with sleep problems from small children upwards. There was a study about a family of fairly close in age teenage boys who at weekends would generally have loads of screen time into the night, and the scientific study of the effects was absolutely horrifying (mood and concentration and everything). It was also a very 'visual' way of recognising this. It might be a really good thing to try to get hold of and show him in terms of saying that you are concerned because of the fact that his mood is low and that you have no choice but to try 2 or 3 things to change it, and why it's important not to embrace pushing it the other (negative) way.

Could you also put up more of a timetable (not super-rigid but a structure) of things to do, so a week-to view, like days to see Granny, family outing, 1 hour of homework etc, and have a couple of half days a week where he gets to choose what he does in advance, and the things he would like to have for the meal during that time - possibly not a full day? But he has to commit to it beforehand rather than being 'meh' and disorganised (or you will fill it with jobs/whatever else you can devise)?

Backforthis Thu 23-Jul-15 19:38:05

Maybe showing him some positive ways to deal with feeling of anxiety and asking him to pick some family activities would be good.

proudmummy2004 Thu 23-Jul-15 20:17:12

He may just been feeling very self conscious all of a sudden which leads to a dip in self esteem with regards to abilities etc. He is at "that age" where he will be in secondary soon so maybe it has suddenly petrified him so he prefers to hide away to pretend it is not happening bless him.

I would say the behaviour is pretty normal for age - I have a DD of 11 who has changed dramatically in the past 4 months that I feel like I am living with jekyll and hyde! As somebody said in another thread I read on here, it is true the more we "push" (For want of a better word) them into something, the more they will resist. If perhaps you stopped and acted a bit like "whatever if that is what you want" he might think oh she is not on my case perhaps I will join in or have a go, or do something. This occasionally works with my DD although not every time!

Have you spent any one on one time with him, asking him what he wants to do? That might help bring you closer again and he might talk a bit more. In my limited knowledge of boys, most of them just seem to grunt and skulk around bored pmsl.

Pre teen I am discovering, girl or boy, is not the most fun age to parent :p

Ormally Thu 23-Jul-15 21:11:47

The other thing I'd do, even if his diet is good, is get him to have a daily multivitamin (with zinc ideally, if there is one for that age group), and if possible, one that can be dissolved into water so he can have it at breakfast.

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