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DS (12) wants to be left alone

(13 Posts)
Flyonthewindscreen Tue 18-Mar-14 15:37:27

sad but its normal isn't it? DS is clearly starting puberty, moody, massive growth spurt, etc. We don't see much of him unless he is told to come and be with us as he has his screens in his den (a downstairs playroom) which we don't limit as long as he has done homework and any organised activities (also no screens allowed in his bedroom) and plays out a lot now the weather is improving.

I'm inclined to let him be and only insists he comes and has family meals with us and also comes with us when we go out as a family at the weekend. However DH continually makes a big issue of it and goes one and on about "how we never see you anymore DS", "thought we would have more time before you turned into a moody teenager", etc. DS hates it and tbh it would have wound me up as a 12 yo also.

I feel like I need to speak to DH and tell him to lay off with the histrionics, it will only drive DS away further. But I don't know if this is the right thing to do? I was brought up by my DF after my DM died when I was 11 so feel like I don't have experience of normal family dynamics for this one. My DF never bugged me to spend time with him when I didn't want to and he was a widower with an only child.

I was going to put this in preteen topic

mummytime Tue 18-Mar-14 15:59:01

I think your attitude is correct. Your DH needs to realise that the changes in hormones do not suddenly kick in on a persons 13 birthday.

I do insist on attendance at some meals, on some family excursions and of course school work being done.

You could try a family meeting if your DH will listen to others contributions. Discuss a set of house rules, and limits on computer time. Even having a family night.

However one other possible issue is: is your son introverted? Is your husband extrovert? Because this can cause clashes too.

I would also say that it is very normal for Fathers and Sons to have clashes during adolescence. (Mothers and Daughters have similar but different ones.)

Don't let your Dh undermine your confidence, there is no such thing as "normal family life", every family is different.

Guiltypleasures001 Tue 18-Mar-14 16:05:22

Your right op your dh is going to alienate his son if he carries on, I've got a teen so its the same here, they need space at that age as well as boundaries, it sounds like you have it just about right.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 18-Mar-14 16:07:14

I will say its normal since DS (13yo) has also discovered solitude. We get on perfectly well and he's quite cheerful, appears for meals, chats about his day, has friends round, does his homework and so on. But he likes his space to watch mind-numbing YouTube game walkthroughs and play Minecraft.... and I get control of the TV remote!!!! Win-win.

fishfingereaters Tue 18-Mar-14 16:35:30

I think a combination of the two attitudes is good. On one hand, he can have some space, on the other, he will have to spend some time with his family which is good for balance. Even when they are retreating they are still listening to you and factoring what you say into their beliefs.

Flyonthewindscreen Tue 18-Mar-14 16:51:56

Thanks for replies, don't think its an introvert/extrovert thing mummytime as would say everyone in the family is on the introvert side of the scale, although DS spends plenty of time with friends.

DH is a very devoted family man and I think is genuinely hurt that DS wants to spend so little time with us and how soon that stage has hit us. But I think I need to speak to him and say its ok to express that in private to me or to friends with kids the same age but it is pointless saying it to DS and will just make him less likely to want to be with us.

Feel a bit guilty also that I don't actually mind the kids (have a DD age 10 who is getting more independent also) doing their own thing too much blush. I have been either a SAHM or sporadic PT WOHM for 12 years now so I feel I have been there continuously for the DC for a long time now and its quite nice to not be required so much!

The daft thing is that DH has loads of interests which he has consciously limited while the DC have been young as he didn't want to be away from them loads or to dump all the childcare on me and has plenty of plans up his sleeve "for when the kids are older" but seems thrown that it would be fine to start doing some of them now.

mammadiggingdeep Tue 18-Mar-14 16:52:05

I agree with fishfingers- a balance. If its done in a nice way, encouragement to spend family time will make him feel loved and wanted (even if in a teenage way he doesn't welcome it).

diddl Tue 18-Mar-14 16:57:17

I think your husband has the wrong approach.

I know your son is still a kid, but surely at an age where he can have some freedom to do as he wants & not as an adult wants?

I'm 50 & never had screens in my room-didn't stop me from going there ostensibly to read, but also for some time away from parents & from whatever they were watching that I didn't want to!

fishfingereaters Tue 18-Mar-14 17:08:49

My DB has twin foster children. He believes children should have to do some stuff with their family and dragged them on numerous days out which they endured, sulked and complained their way through. They look back on them as their happiest times and remember every moment. It's easy as your children turn into teens to spend less time with them, but actually they need their time with you just as much, although in lesser quantity.

Also they should be doing stuff around the house, helping etc. Don't let them off the hook, you need the exposure to each other.

Deathwatchbeetle Tue 18-Mar-14 19:00:37

It is such a shame in a way, here is a devoted dad (Yay! they do exist!!!!)
and now he has limited time with his son.

However, I remember being the same at that age. I spent hours in my room on my own listening to the radio and reading books. I used to get well annoyed when they called me down, even for food! (and I was a big pig even then!!).

As long as you can still encourage him out of his nest for 'family fun' at some point then I think it is ok.

Don't worry though, your hubbie will soon see plenty of him, chauferring him around town!!!!

daytoday Tue 18-Mar-14 20:14:13

I have a one day off, one day on policy for computers during the week, and my son gets a max of 1 hour computer gaming each time. Every now and then we have a week free of computers.

I think that too much screen time is bad for a deveping brain. It is totally addictive and I treat it as such.

Maybe I'm out of touch but it seems to work for us.

I think it does make children less sociable and able to 'be present' -

Papaluigi Tue 18-Mar-14 20:31:17

I have a twelve y o boy EOW. I can completely relate to what some of you are also experiencing, especially the YouTube watching of game walk throughs....the little lad who used to trail around after me like my shadow is now a happy, clever, bigger, pre teen who enjoys his own space and is the life and soul of his XBL 'parties'. We try and laugh about his changes togther, and without insisting on it, I try and engineer some me n him time without being forced. I take him to football, do a bit of cooking togther that kind of thin, without getting too arsey if he can't get into it.

IME kids can be motivated by money, ie come and help me with the garden, painting, dog walking whatever and you get extra pocket money, with obvious fringe benefits for you.

Flyonthewindscreen Wed 19-Mar-14 10:19:35

Papaluigi, payment for big one off chores that need to be done with a parent might be a good idea as DS always after extra funds! And would mean less screen time also... Although to be fair in the summer DS spends so much time playing out, screens not really an issue.

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