DS - low self esteem and my communication issues - long (sorry)

(10 Posts)
wohmum Tue 24-May-16 23:25:14

My 13 yr old Ds is showing classic signs of low esteem (won't try new things, spends loads of time on his own, worried about what other people think etc) and I seem incapable of helping him.

I know the classic advice is to encourage and praise for trying, not just archiving grades/ teams/ results which I do try to do.I really struggle with conversation, and dh isn't very chatty either which has resulted in us not being a chatty family and I often really can't think of anything to say apart from ' how's school/ homework/PE ' etc. And all I get back is then one word answers .

He hasn't really enjoyed high school ( now yr 8) and only shows enthusiasm for subjects which he feels he does well in - with the bare minimum effort and no enthusiasm in other subjects

Ds is spending more and more time in his room , watching YouTube videos and plsying with his lego characters. If he downstairs with us, we are usually all on various devices whilst tv is on.

When we've talked about hobbies and interests, he has tried lots if things but not really stuck at anything and when pressed says he doesn't know what he likes.

I am similar and gave realised recently that I don't have any hobbies or a passion that I get absorbed in, and I worry he will turn out the same - but I can see how fulfilled people with hobbies are and want that for him.

I really feel like I sm letting him down by not being more able to engage in conversation and make time spent together fun.

Tips please for how I can bring back his zest for life and bring out conversation for all of us

Help! I'm feeling like a really crap mum at the moment sad

saoirse31 Wed 25-May-16 13:05:06

You're not a crap mum.... I often think of the 'they fuck u up, ur mum and dad, they may not mean it, but they do, they fill u up with all their crap, and then some extra just for u'..when I see ds sharing traits with me which I wish he'd avoided getting... But u can't chge or not easily, personality. Has he friends?, I think for most teenagers esp quiet ones, one or 2 good friends is worth a huge amt.

Alternatively maybe u and ur dh need to start getting him out doing stuff with u ie pitch and putt, swimming, running, whatever. Complete generalisation but being active and exercising improves mood.

Conversations... WTch the news with him and discuss..even if u have to come out with something stupid so he shows his knowledge , engages, disagrees etc

OneMagnumisneverenough Wed 25-May-16 15:13:51

Sometimes it's just how they are. I have two, one is like this the other isn't. It's also fairly normal for teenagers to spend a lot of time in their rooms.

DS1 drives me up the wall as it is just really hard to have a conversation with him as you get nothing back. It's not his fault, we just keep trying until I feel myself getting annoyed at him. He seems to have no problem barking orders at his friends on on-line gaming though - it's like he is a different boy from the one who can't speak to anyone about anything which is the one we see.

Try not to be hard on yourself and keep trying to engage him.

Luckything50 Wed 25-May-16 17:32:38

Perhaps lower your expectations - there will be a certain amount of this behaviour from many kids this age, even those who publicly appear outgoing and fun loving. I could have written your post but things are improving - showing the tiniest amount of interest in the (incredibly boring) Xbox games or YouTube videos usually starts conversations, and once they're talking you can ask further questions and then get them to test you to show you were listening. My usually monosyllabic 13yr old ds and I had a 2 hour walk when he told me ALL ABOUT call of duty (yawn) but it was lovely hearing him unusually animated.
Go for a burger, to a lateish cinema, bowling, paintballing, whatever might draw him out, and then at home it doesn't matter so much if he's doing 'his thing' as the time he's with you he's enjoying and you're sharing. Ask him about the annoying kids at school and sympathise even if you don't! Generally being happier and feeling closer to you should help. And agree about not beating yourself up too much, we do what we can.

Gatekeeper Wed 25-May-16 17:35:58

my sympathies- am going through this with my 13 yr old dd

I could have written your post word for word along with the dh not being chatty etc etc. No advice but lots and lots of empathy for you all

GeorgeTheThird Wed 25-May-16 17:40:26

Well, half term is coming up, can you make some small changes? Go to see the new x men film, out for tea and cake, to Forbidden Planet (comic book store)? Consciously think of things to ask him. Just spend a bit of time - don't expect miracles but do some low key things, see how they work.

norightanswer Wed 25-May-16 17:56:55

It is not your fault. I think that year 8 is such an inbetween year. My DS is the same age and he has already given up on the subjects that he doesn't intend to choose next year. I also get very little information when he comes home. I think this is quite normal at this age.
Have you spoken to his Form Tutor to see whether he is falling behind at school or seems to have any obvious friendship issues?
How about all sitting down for dinner together? Once you start talking about your day, maybe he will join in. Can your DH show some interest in the YouTube that he watches? How about watching sport together? Going out with another family with kids?
Keep positive and I'm sure that you are a great Mum.

Myusernameismyusername Thu 26-May-16 19:21:38

I tease mine a lot, this seems to help lighten moods. I will sing and be silly and mess about and it kind of encourages them to be silly too. I am sure the people in tescos hate us with a passion

wohmum Fri 27-May-16 09:27:40

Thank you all for your replies, will take on all your suggestions about getting him out and talking - would love to be silly with him - but he would hate it! He doesn't take well to teasing but I am gradually getting a lighter response from him.

it doesn't help that his dad is a pretty quiet solitary type too - so this may be just how he is !
As I am currently out of work I am around for Half term which is unusual as i normally at work full time 8-7, so will be able to spend lots more time out with him. Planning to get our bikes out and make him come out with me for a coupe of long rides

it re

GeorgeTheThird Fri 27-May-16 13:59:44

He'll like having you around more. Even if he ignores you and spends time in his room, he'll like having you in the house. At least I think they do!

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