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How to cope with teens wanting to spend less & less time with you <sob!>?

(56 Posts)
Pebbles574 Mon 07-Mar-16 15:41:38

Have two DS teens aged 16 and 13 and in the last year we've reached the point where they just want to spend the absolute minimum amount of time with DH & me.sad
I know we wouldn't be doing family outings like we did when they were toddlers but I hadn't expected such reluctance to spend any time with us.
We went out for lunch yesterday for Mother's Day and a walk afterwards. We had to tell them ages in advance that it was a three-line whip and that they were coming. Before we'd even left the house DS2 was asking how long we'd be out and exactly when we'd be back hmm.
At lunch we had a bit of a chat but then DS2 was just talking to DS1 about random YouTube videos and tech stuff which we couldn't easily join in with.
We only walked about a mile before DS2 started complaining about wanting to get home as he still had homework to do.
When we came in the front door, they both dumped their shoes and coats and disappeared up to their computers and bedrooms. Strangely, DS2's homework didn't materialise and I heard him gaming with his friends angry.

DH took himself off to do some jobs in his shed.hmm

I found myself feeling a bit lonely and sad and wondered what happened to the jokey, fun family afternoons we used to spend together.

They're not bratty, horrible teenagers and can be perfectly chatty and polite to guests etc if need be, but they just seem to consider it unnecessary to make the effort for DH & I these days.

Is this it? Is this normal family life now? Anyone feel like their family spends their lives in separate rooms these days?

Sparklingbrook Mon 07-Mar-16 15:48:07

That sounds pretty standard stuff round here. DSs of 16 and 14. 14 year old isn't in very much, 16 year old either at PT job/footy/socialising or doing schoolwork/gaming.

Both chatty and polite when necessary.

I am fine with it. I don't think there will be a family holiday this year, DS1 won't be seen with us. I was pretty much the same at their age IIRC.

ThroughThickAndThin01 Mon 07-Mar-16 15:49:18

Yes, sounds like me. Mine are now 19/17/15 and a couple of years ago I felt like your post.

I think I actually spent a bit of time grieving for the loss of the fun times we all had together. But ive made my peace with it. Life changes and evolves.

We are planning a couple of holidays tailored to them to spend time together. And we have a three line whip about some things they need to do with us such as coming to a wedding this weekend, and family birthdays. Other than that we don't demand much.,

But all in all those carefree days out and meals out when they were little are gone.

AnyFucker Mon 07-Mar-16 15:50:02

Pretty much the only time my teens "spend time" with us is when there is food involved and the 16yo wants help with GCSE revision.

We go away without them now at's bloody fab if you ask me.

All those years you craved couple time...make the most of it

Burgerbobismydad Mon 07-Mar-16 15:50:13

Totally normal. I was exactly the same at that age. They're growing up!

Sparklingbrook Mon 07-Mar-16 15:51:55

YY I am enjoying all the me time. Not so much the teenage taxiing, but that's when we have some good conversations if they are in the mood.

MuddhaOfSuburbia Mon 07-Mar-16 15:52:33


I've taken up torturing playing an instrument and am applpying to the OU

you would be amazed how much they miss your company when you find something else you want to do grin

Wolfiefan Mon 07-Mar-16 15:52:40

Psychologically speaking they need to do this. It is part of them developing their independence and preparing to move out. It's normal I'm afraid.
Two strategies. Try and take some interest in what they are interested in. Tech stuff?
Build your own life!

AnyFucker Mon 07-Mar-16 15:55:30

tbh, I didn't find all the family days when they were younger all that "carefree"

I found them hard work, demanding and tiring. In fact around the ages of 10 they were bloody whiny, mithering, pains in the arse. Always complaining, asking for stuff and generally spoiling stuff if I am completely truthful

< not really a natural mother >

I much prefer pleasing myself/myself and DH. In fact, sometimes we deliberately go to cafes and stuff that we would have used when they were younger so we can smugly watch others struggling to convince themseelves they are having "quality" family time with a bored pre teen smile

AnyFucker Mon 07-Mar-16 15:56:02

lots of "stuff" in that last post, Gawd knows why

MuddhaOfSuburbia Mon 07-Mar-16 15:56:33

yy to food

mine always materialise when there's cake

also, careful what you wish for

took mine to see Hail Caesar yesterday- one liked it, another whispered loudly all the way through when she wasn't dropping Haribos on the floor, the other got the huff because there weren't any women in it

after a noisy row about where to eat I was quite glad to get home to a microwave macaroni cheese FOR ONE

Pebbles574 Mon 07-Mar-16 15:57:18

Oh dear, ist's as I suspected then...

MuddhaOfSuburbia - funnily enough I have just started music lessons again and have been doing online courses

AF - Yes - food is the only thing I can lure them out of their rooms for and even then, it's one-buttock-on-a-chair while they wolf it down and then disappear again.

We were also just trying to decide if we'll have a family holiday this year. DH was a bit shocked when I told him that I wasn't sure I wanted to, as I feel so LONELY on holiday with our family these days (he's not much of a talker).

PeaStalks Mon 07-Mar-16 15:57:53

Two boys here ( older than yours) who live mostly in their caves but are perfectly charming and good company when they emerge.
Was the Mothers Day lunch for your mother? If so then they did their duty in going along. I wouldn't expect them to go out for lunch for my benefit though, nor push my luck for a walk! Actually DSs have never to my knowledge said no to an outing involving food.

I think it helps to do stuff they enjoy, mine like a good board game or a game of poker, I don't exactly love it but I join in as it's a family "thing".

As to holidays, again I choose entirely to suit them (sun, sea, water park and no culture) and at 18 and 20 they are still coming along this year.

Whathaveilost Mon 07-Mar-16 15:57:58

I 6hink it's about getting the balance right about you snd them having your own interests and having family time

My ladsare 16 and 19 now.

I miss the full days out but we plan some holidays together that they enjoy and then they have their own holidays. Same with the cinema. When we go there I'm happy to let them and their girlfriends decide what we see ( unless I know that I'm really going to hate it) I always give them loads if notice about family celebration meals so it doesn't creep up on them. Also when they suggest we go somewhere I make a point of going whether I fancy it or not! ( Thinking about The Vacine gig recently. )

Sparklingbrook Mon 07-Mar-16 15:59:45

I do look at families that go out with their bored teens trailing 5 paces behind and wonder why they do it. The teens sucking any enjoyment from the outing. confused

Pebbles574 Mon 07-Mar-16 16:01:54

Peastalks - no, the Mother's Day lunch was for ME (DH had arranged it).
My parents are both dead, so I find Mother's Day a bit sad at the best of times.

Pebbles574 Mon 07-Mar-16 16:05:05

I do try to go along with things they want to do - e.g. we're going to see Muse later in the year. I don't share their taste in violent/ action adventure films and I can't get them to watch my costume dramas with me wink.

Sparklingbrook Mon 07-Mar-16 16:06:31

At 14 and 16 there isn't anything that they both would want to do, and DS1 hates been seen with DS2 as well as us. grin

Sparklingbrook Mon 07-Mar-16 16:06:52


PeaStalks Mon 07-Mar-16 16:08:03

I agree Sparkling though I remember it being far harder dragging grumpy 5 year olds along grin. We've never really done "days out".

One of the pleasures of going on holiday with older DC is that you get the best of both worlds.
When they were little they got tired and whiney and had to be put to bed early so there was no evening out. Then there is the phase where they are full of beans until all hours but too young to go off alone in the evening.
Now they will join us for a meal and and maybe a game of cards and then they go off and do their own thing while I go to bed I am very boring.

Pebbles574 Mon 07-Mar-16 16:08:24

"The teens sucking any enjoyment from the outing." - OMG - yes - exactly this....

Sparklingbrook Mon 07-Mar-16 16:11:02

We took the PS4s on holiday. shock

PeaStalks Mon 07-Mar-16 16:13:34

There must be something you would all like to watch Pebbles?
There is their stuff - Walking Dead, Game of Thrones.
My stuff - Homeland, Bones, any crime drama
Stuff we watch together - Suits, House, House of Cards, any cheesy american dramas.
Incidentally is anyone watching the re-run of Malcolm in the Middle? A series about a family with teens that I first watched years ago. Still as funny as ever.

Pebbles574 Mon 07-Mar-16 16:19:44

Peastalks - yes, boxed sets are my saviour:

-How I met your mother

DS2 will watch epics like Troy and Gladiator
DS1 will watch SciFi/Crime/clever stuff e.g. Derren Brown

If I'm lucky I might just convince them to stay downstairs for a couple of hours to watch something -especially if there is pizza/ chicken goujons on offer.

stumblymonkey Mon 07-Mar-16 16:43:41

I remember being this teenager.

It's just a phase...a few more years down the line and they'll be back. In the meantime don't strain the relationship by demanding time...either lure them in with food and box sets or enjoy your free time until it goes full circle and they're back to being happy to see you again!

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