13 yo DS barely speaks to me(26 Posts)
My 13yo DS barely speaks to me or Dad. anymore. It changed almost overnight when he started high school 18 months ago. He has plenty of friends and is always out and about but when it comes to having anything to do with me and dad - well its virtually non-existent these days. He could walk in the house, go upstairs and we wouldn't hear or see from him all evening. If we try and get him to join us for any kind of socialising or chat he will spend a few seconds with us then make excuses and go back upstairs. Its like he just can't bear to be in the same room with us. I know at this age their peers are the be all and end all but I just feel like Ive lost him altogether. All I want is a little bit of my son back. Does it get any better ?
I think this is just normal. Is school going ok.
Yes, as long as you have no concerns behaviour, grades, drugs, depression etc I'd just let him crack on. Better the quietly ignoring you than sitting with you night after night being rude and scornful and not hiding his contempt for anyone over the age of 25. Cos that's the other side of the coin!
Two of mine are 20s now and were pretty much like this but we are close now. One is 15 and prefers his own company as well at the moment. Don't worry. You could suggest something he would like to do, go ape, go carting, paint balling?
Forgot to say , mine always have to present themselves at dinner time and help clean up afterwards. So we see him for a bit that way !
He could be doing better at school but treats school like a social club. Its just such a massive change in personality since starting high school. It feels like empty nest syndrome but without him leaving home. Just feel so sad every day and miss the old child desperately. Other people's children don't seem to be anywhere as detached as he does. I feel I don't know anything about him anymore as he doesn't tell me anything. When I say he doesn't talk to me - I literally mean he doesn't speak. If I get 2 or 3 words out of him all day Im lucky. I hear him when he's with his friends in his bedroom and he talks and laughs with them - but when he's with me and dad its like someone has switched him off
My 12 and 14 year old have limited wifi time. They are still on it a lot but between 6-8 we have dinner, clear up, homework etc.
Does your DS spend all his time on screens when he's not with you?
DMIL got them "how to be a brilliant teenager" (book) which they read and has had a positive impact on their behaviour.... amazing!
Is he on his phone or gaming while he's upstairs?
I read somewhere that to speak to a teenage boy you say something, eg how was football today, then wait.............and wait............and wait.......... and long after you think they didn't hear you you get 'fine' or whatever. It's very easy to 'nag' them (when all you are doing is trying to make conversation). Try the waiting it worked for me (also with DH on occasions).
he'll come and sit and have a meal with me and his dad but the second he's done he's off upstairs. There's no point trying to make him sit and wait for us to finish as he'd just start being grumpy. Ive no worries about drugs etc.
If we are in a crowd of other parents and boys he's completely different - e.g. news years eve party at ours - he was chatty, funny etc. but when the 3 of us are on our own he is so detached. I don't think he's depressed as he is the life & soul of the party with his mates. I can only compare it to feeling like Ive been dumped by the love of my life. That probably sounds dramatic but its that same heartbroken feeling.
yes he's on his phone, iPad etc.quite a lot when he's in his room. Thats how they all communicate these days. But he's also out and about and playing sport quite a lot so he's not on his devices all the time. I find disciplining difficult - grounding won't work - he'd just get up and leave the house. I dread to think about taking devices off him. He can have a vicious tongue on him which cuts very deep and we've had episodes of barricading himself in his room last year because he was really hacked off about something that had happened. We had to take the door off in the end. The fear I felt in the time he was barricaded in was unbelievable.
"he'll come and sit and have a meal with me and his dad but the second he's done he's off upstairs. There's no point trying to make him sit and wait for us to finish as he'd just start being grumpy."
I think there's your problem.....
I struggle with the 'it's just his age' excuse. Yes they're trying to find their feet and their own identity but then you also say you struggle to discipline him, if you do he'll just walk out of the house! That's just rude and bad manners. You need to discipline him if that's how he behaves. You pay for his iPad and sports I take it? Restrict it then! He's only 13. He's still a child and failing to discipline him now and correct this behaviour would concern me that in a few years time you will have lost all lines of communication so he has no outlet if there becomes drugs, smoking, sexual encounters or dilemmas. He needs you and you need to keep you relationship with him open. If that means having a few weeks where he's angry with you for disciplining then so be it.
You took the door off?!
I think you need to calm down and stop pressuring him to be someone he isn't anymore. This is all normal teenage behaviour and your desperation to cling onto him is going to push him further away (and sounds like it already is). He has friends and wants to chat to them all the time and spend time with them - perfectly normal.
You should read this.
I feel for you but I think you need to rethink how you are dealing with him.
I think it's hard for parents to compete with gadgets for attention!
I would try to limit his use on those. Have a discussion about how long he's on them for. Print off articles that explain how and why too much screen time is not good for the developing brain. I think there was a recent article on smartphones should be banned for under 16s.
Tell him you're on his side and not against him.
Do you go out for meals? Go out (without phones) and see if that makes a difference.
Don't be afraid of his vicious tongue. He just wants to lash out.
What's he like if you're in the car with him, with no eye contact? I always found mine talked more then.
Something isn't right. I suspect he is drawn into the intenet. In any case, you should not tolerate his rudeness. It's your home and you should lay down some rules. Although yiy xannot foece him to be youe best friend, he must have respect for you and his dad.
Both mine spend less time with us and I was going to say it's normal.
But reading on, i'm not so sure. You can't discipline him? And he walks out the house?
Also why did you take his door off? If something upset him and he barricaded himself in, as long as he wasn't threatening to hurt himself, I'd have left him to calm down.
If he'd leave if you grounded him, doesn't stay at table when he's finished eating, and you daren't take his gadgets away and he's only 12 or 13, then you have a respect problem. He needn't be your friend, but he should respect you as his parents. My teens don't socialise with us much (one will watch Dr who and Sherlock, the other came in the living room and sat down today and we took photos, it's so rare!) - but they do help with clearing after meals and take it in turns to help cook Friday Eve tea (we discuss what they want to cook and I make sure ingredients are in and help them make it; trying to build their skills for when they leave home). There are no no- go zones but we knock on their doors. If they persistently misbehave, one loses his tablet and the other his phone, because those are their favoured gadgets. For an hour up to overnight, usually, on the grounds that it's more effective to give a short ban and stick to it than to threaten a week's ban and give it back after 3 days or you look inconsistent.
I think you need a family meeting and a bit of a realignment of the balance. You expect him to wait til you finish eating with a pleasant demeanour, and clear the table. In return you accept that he wants to be in his room more chatting to mates, but this is a privilege not a right.
It is a shame for him that provision of beepy beepy toys is linked to manners. Or should be.
Why were you so worried when he barricaded himself into his room?
Otoh you need to be able to enforce respect and good manners.
Otoh you really have no right to insist that he should remain the little boy he was. Some teens develop an enormous need for their own space and I don't think you should try to make him feel guilty about that.
Your job is to teach him how to get this need met in a polite and tactful way rather than to insist he should feel this way in the first place.
If you can manage that without too many hard feelings, it is most likely that you will find him more willing to socialise with you in a few years time when he has worked through his Sturm und Drang phase. My ds is now 16, and though he does spend a lot of time doing things away from us either with his mates or alone in his room, he also shows that he does appreciate us. And in an emergency he will rally round: he was very kind to his dying grandmother last year.
Mine is the same 99% of the time.
But I have two younger ones to worry about so don't have time to dwell.
1% of the time I take the eldest for a meal, just us two and we catch up then.
Not ideal but I'll take what I can get.
DH communicates with them via WhatsApp
Barricading himself in a room (to the point where the door had to be removed)
And ignoring being grounded by just leaving the house?
This is not normal behaviour.
Sorry OP you sound as if you are scared of the fallout or proper discipline.
Allowing him to just stay in his room on his devices and not spend time with the family is not good, it sounds as if he is in charge.
Oh dear that sounds a bit different. Why couldn't you leave him in his room? He would have come out eventually?
A good tip for if they try and escape a grounding is to hide his shoes
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