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Is this puberty?! Advice from seasoned Mums please!

(6 Posts)
wineusuallyhelps Wed 28-Oct-15 15:52:30

Hello, I'll keep this fairly short otherwise it'd be a saga.

My son (nearly 11) is literally making our lives hell. Angry, meltdowns, crying, refusal, toddler tantrums, provoking arguments, not doing ANYTHING but still being unhappy about it, seems to be the order of most of our days.

We have spent many, many hours trying to help him. We have been patient in spades. We have got cross. We have talked about hormones. We have worked through an anxiety book and done the suggested activities. We have taken things away from him. We have made chill-out spaces within the home where he can 'get away' from the rest of us (we have two other younger children). We have spent time with him doing activities he likes. We have ignored him. We have given him ways of burning off energy. He initially seems to respond to most of these things but he will not follow our advice about what is best for him (e.g. going out and getting some fresh air/having a drink/going and punching a punchbag). He is completely unreasonable and yet wants all of our time, attention and patience. He doesn't know why he's like this.

Is this standard pre-teen stuff?! At our wits' end.

MerryInthechelseahotel Wed 28-Oct-15 16:13:21

Not standard in this house. What were you and his dad like as teenagers? What was he like as a younger child and how long has he been like this?

It sounds tough for all of you but he sounds very anxious.

wineusuallyhelps Wed 28-Oct-15 18:23:50

I don't think either of us were like that. Yes, he's always been an anxious child but this is on another level. It would seem the pressures of year 6 and choosing a secondary school have come along at the wrong moment, as it does seem to smack of hormones as well. A heady mix which I don't know how to best help him with!

FamilyAngel Wed 28-Oct-15 18:49:38

Hello wineusuallyhelps. Each of the issues you have raised can be associated with the teenage years but my feeling is that there is more going on here. His anxiety seems to be the key and when you add puberty, and secondary school it is all too much for him and has resulted in a nightmare for you. I am sure that he is as unhappy as you are and is not deliberately being unreasonable. You have done so much already but my thoughts would be that he needs a tool to use to deal with his own emotions so that he can start to have some control over how he feels. Have you tried to get him to describe how he feels by asking him questions? For this exercise you would need him to tell you on a scale of 1 to 10 how bad he feels first. This is so that he has an indicator about how he feels. If he is angry for example you can ask him....Where abouts in his body does he feel his anger? How big does his anger feel? if it were a colour what colour would it be? If it were a shape what shape would it be? If it were an animal what animal would it be? Once you have asked him a few questions get him to rate his anger on the scale again. He will find it has dropped. If it is not down to a 2 or 3 keep going with the questions. The exercise gets him to step back and become the observer of how he is feeling. Once he stops fighting the feeling and focuses on it it will start to dissipate. The exercise will also show him that if he changes the way he is thinking he can start to have some control over how he is feeling. Please don't wait until he is a 10 to try this exercise, do it when he is still open to working with you. There are many technics you can use. I hope this one helps. I promise you that there is light at the end of your tunnel.

wineusuallyhelps Wed 28-Oct-15 21:17:47

Thank you FamilyAngel (and Merry whom I rudely forgot to thank before!). That is really useful. We have already done some stuff around drawing/describing his emotions but I think we need to be more consistent with this and not let him 'lose interest'. I will try what you suggest.

Joiningthegang Fri 20-Nov-15 23:46:42

My da sounds very similar and isn't nice to parent at the moment - so nothing constructive, but you aren't alone x

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