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what is 'normal'?

(21 Posts)
Shoegal0305 Wed 02-Dec-15 20:19:24

I'm a lone parent, no family support. DS is 13, I'm concerned as he spends all his free time on the computer or on his phone. I'm constantly playing 'good cop, bad cop' in my head....... Trying to get the balance right and not being too strict but also don't want to be a pushover. He does sport and activities 3 nights a week till quite late (9.30). He is getting on ok at school I have no issues, although homework is a battle he DOES do it, albeit hurried. I just feel he wants as little interaction with me, or the outside world, as possible. I, maybe foolishly, imagine this life whereby we sit down and discuss the day, talk through problems etc...... Instead I am grunted at and snapped at. He does see his dad sporadically but he is absolutely no support to me or DS. I obviously am female, have 1 sister, never had experience of teenage boys ...... Is this normal and should i be worried? He is a good lad I'm immensely proud of him. I'm worried I'm not being a good parent as I currently allow him on the computer till 8.30pm but then I battle with myself that's too long? He has no interest in reading at night I've tried but failed to get him to read. Weekends he will happily spend all day on the computer I try and get him to go out with friends but he's not interested. Should I just let it go? As I say I'm constantly at battle with myself over what is right/normal/acceptable? Sorry to ramble on but I'm struggling as have no support and I'm finding this stage quite difficult.

foxy6 Wed 02-Dec-15 20:56:27

personally i wouldn't be too concerned, there is a lot worse outside the house he could be up to, and you said your self hes a good boy. my oldest boy was like this and is now in uni doing well. just make sure he know your there if he does want to talk about things x

Shoegal0305 Wed 02-Dec-15 20:58:17

Thanks foxy it's nice to hear that. I worry I'm being too strict, then not strict enough. I try to pick my battles so don't want to fight if it's not worth fighting smile

foxy6 Wed 02-Dec-15 21:08:26

my oldest has used his love of computers and gaming and doing a uni course in games design, so all his time spent playing on pc and xbox were not wasted, he never got of the things lol.
one of my other ds was completely different and hardly spent any time on these things and spent all his time out with friends getting into trouble. i also have one that in between the two lol.

Sparklingbrook Wed 02-Dec-15 21:12:07

Yes another vote for not worrying. I have a 13 year old who sounds similar, he's very self sufficient and I almost feel not needed sometimes, and he doesn't need DH much either.

Lolimax Wed 02-Dec-15 21:14:47

He goes to school, he does his homework, he's doing OK in school, he's sporty. I'd say you were doing an awesome job!

Shoegal0305 Wed 02-Dec-15 21:17:55

Foxy, sparkling and Loli Thankyou I feel I'm constantly battling, albeit mainly with myself haha. Times are so different now to when I was his age I feel like life is passing him by some nights when he's holed up on his computer. Apart from when he's doing his activities, and eating tea, he's tap tapping away and I don't get two words out of him lol X

Sparklingbrook Wed 02-Dec-15 21:24:22

I do it myself. Constant internal monologue, it's natural. When I was 13 i spent my evenings holed up in my bedroom listening to music. DH says if he had had all the stuff the DSs have when he was their age he would never have left the house. grin

My eldest is now 16 and I feel he's coming back to me a bit in terms of being a bit more chatty, so that's nice.

Shoegal0305 Wed 02-Dec-15 21:36:12

Sparkling thanks it's good to think he will come out of this phase relatively unscathed lol! I just feel I'd be more at ease if he spent time with actual real friends instead of some person he doesn't know on a computer game. I check his internet usage he certainly doesn't go on anything dodgy it's mainly Minecraft (by the way some of the worlds he's created are spectacular!). I grew up in an age where you physically went out to see friends I find this constant online friend thing slightly unnerving. But I will try to let it go slightly and let him be but it's hard X

dementedma Wed 02-Dec-15 21:39:44

Sounds like you are doing a good job. I have 13 year old Ds which all of this could apply to except he does no sports or activities whatsoever!!!! He loves Minecraft, but also Halo and CoD.He does play in a band, but gets no physical activity so you are doing better than me.

Shoegal0305 Wed 02-Dec-15 21:46:11

Demented I'm sure you are a fab mum! X

dementedma Wed 02-Dec-15 21:48:17

Oh thank you. That was kind of you!

simbobs Wed 02-Dec-15 21:59:23

I echo all the positive things that others have said. My 14 yr old is just the same, though he has now dropped most sporty stuff. He did used to spend a lot of time out on his bike and I used to worry that he would have an accident etc. Now, though I do limit hs computer time and homework is a constant battle I at least know where he is. Also, he is involved in multi-player games, so his friends are with him online. It is quite sociable really.
I sense that you "miss" your little boy, though. Try to negotiate half an hour (min) of his time, either when he comes in from school or at dinner time, remind him that he is still your baby, try and find something to watch together. I sometimes have to settle for The Simpsons...

Shoegal0305 Wed 02-Dec-15 22:16:22

Demented I really did mean that about you being a good mum I hope it didn't sound sarcastic lol. Sim yes I do miss my little innocent boy! I've embraced every stage of his life but this is hard as I feel I'm losing 'control'? But I will try the watching telly suggestion Defo smile

pasanda Thu 03-Dec-15 11:11:16

My 14 yr old ds is exactly the same.

He does do football and D of E which get him out of the house for a bit, but when he is in the house, ALL he ever does is play PS4 or be on his phone. He will wolf his tea down and leave immediately when finished, the thought of waiting for his younger sisters to finish and engage in conversation with us during that wait is unimaginable!!

Homework is a battle, bear minimum done.

I hate it too!! It is so un-engaging it drives me mad.

I occasionally give him articles of the paper to read that I think might interest him. He can't even be bothered to read those as it would take him away from the PS and his phone.

I bloody well hope he isn't like this as an adult!!

tuilamum Thu 03-Dec-15 11:26:22

I wouldn't worry tbh, these days everything is so expensive that just going out with friends turns into being bored out of your mind with nothing to do. This way, he's socialising and doing something, you say he likes building on Minecraft, so he's doing something skillful and creative.
I think technology has advanced so quickly that its hard to make the parallels with what teenagers used to do, but really each generation does something slightly different.
Does he have a headset for his PS4? If he does then how is that different than a phone call, except this way him and friends are actually doing something at the same time.
I think general uncommunicative sullenness is just classic teen really, the only difference is what they fill their time with, and if you know what he's doing, and that its not dodgy, he's still speaking to people and not isolating himself from everyone, then there's not much to worry about surely?

Shoegal0305 Thu 03-Dec-15 16:58:08

Thanks all it helps a lot as I have no support so often feel quite unsure of my parenting skills! I tell you something tho he's one stroppy little git! Good god if this is hormones you can keep them! confused

BackforGood Thu 03-Dec-15 23:25:38

Very, very normal.
Oh, and they do come out the other side in a few years time smile

beelights Tue 08-Dec-15 15:36:15

Hi...also single parent to twins (one boy one girl), my son was/is much the same. He has also put his computer interest to good use as he is now 17 and doing a BTEC in IT and has a place at Uni to do BSc computer animation. I agree that it is very normal. Read the book 'Get out of my Life But First Take Me and Alex Into Town'. It explains that when boys start to get into puberty they get very uncomfortable with the 'femaleness' of their mum and tend to literally or metaphorically shut them out of their lives. It also helps understand what is normal and how to set suitable boundaries. At about 13 my son's door shut and I now have to knock and wait lol. He speaks in grunts and in the street he walks a few metres behind me. He finds me deeply embarrassing most of the time. I find car journeys are the times he opens up to me. He didn't emerge back into the world until he was 17 and now is interesting and a pleasure to talk to when he talks.

I would say one thing though. Keep encouraging things beyond his bedroom/computer and don't let it go completely. Keep some common ground you both could share, even if you hate it (football matches at the weekend? cinema? my son will do anything for a curry at a good Indian restaurant). Encourage interests and help him take them outside his bedroom.

The other thing is to remember when you are a single parent to a young lad, you have to manage that fine balance of being the person he could come to talk to if he wanted to, alongside being firm about boundaries and respect. If he is actually being rude (not just cheeky, grouchy) then draw a line there - just remind him you don't talk to him like that and don't expect it from him. Keep a little Alpha Mum in reserve!

Good luck
x

ClancyMoped Tue 08-Dec-15 15:43:25

What games does he play. Some are more sociable than others. My DC socialize with each other playing online games even though they are away at Uni. If just one of them are home I can often hear them joking and chatting with his pals in cyberspace.

Peebles1 Tue 08-Dec-15 20:17:04

I have twin DSs who were just the same at this age. Re: missing the chats, I used to make a bit of a joke of it and sit on my bed, pat the empty bit beside me and say 'come and talk to me I haven't seen you for five weeks' to one or the other. They'd always laugh and come coz they're good lads, just like yours. They're now 20, at good Unis and hardly ever 'game' smile. Also, they played far worse than minecraft. I think minecraft's lovely. You sound like you're doing a great job. Carry on!!

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