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16 year old son quiet and withdrawn

(7 Posts)
Tommo75 Wed 17-Jun-20 19:31:39

My eldest son has always been the one I don't have to worry about. I noticed a while ago that he was very quiet. I would ask him questions on the drive to school and he'd reply with yeah or no or something limited. He got to the age where he didn't want to go anywhere with us which I can understand and I put it all down to his age. I'm starting to worry more now and I wonder if anyone has had similar experience. He spends a lot of time in his room and occasionally goes to meet friends in the park. He sounds happy when he's gaming and can be heard talking and shouting but at the dinner table and any other time with us he just doesn't engage. I sometimes will try asking him a question. He'll answer just what he needs to. When he comes downstairs I'll always a acknowledge him and ask how he is. I don't want to be in his face. He doesn't seem to want to do his school work and when I ask can I help or anything h

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Tommo75 Wed 17-Jun-20 19:32:34

Gets annoyed or looks on the verge of years. I worry that I don't know what's in his head and if in ok to dismiss this as teenage behaviour.

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Ifeelfat Wed 17-Jun-20 20:48:24

It depends I think.
If you think he’s just like this with you then it’s all good, normal, and he’ll come round eventually. Is it possible to take him out for a burger (drive in?) or similar and just chat about anything he’s interested in, gaming, football season, friends etc? Tiny little sentences with lots of opportunity for him to duck in and out so no pressure? Or share some music and sing along?
Don’t make a big thing of it and it should pass.

If he’s not engaging with anyone (friends I mean) then you might need to dig a bit deeper. Does he have a close friend who you could subtly ask?

Tommo75 Wed 17-Jun-20 22:11:34

Thank you. He seems fine with his mates. There was a programme he enjoys on the telly so I can get him to watch that with me but he's very quiet. Goes back to his room when it finishes. I just hope it's part of this stage.

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Ifeelfat Wed 17-Jun-20 23:16:29

I think the more you show him it bothers you, the less likely he is to be able to change his behaviour as he’s aware of the tension iykwim.
Relax, try and enjoy his company in short bursts so he doesn’t have time to get pissed off, and be fun ... make him want to be with you.

Gazpacho Thu 18-Jun-20 03:35:06

Hi Tommo75 just came across your post in the wee small hours, as fI ind myself wide awake again, fretting about my 18 year old son who has similarly become quite withdrawn, which I guess began around age 16. Was looking (again) on Mumsnet for some reassurance that he is just going through a phase of becoming independent, but like your son, this is a change from how he used to be not so very long ago. What Ifeelfat said makes sense to me, And is good advice. I do think he picks up on me being bothered and asking if he’s ok, and it isn’t helping. I do wonder if the lockdown is one factor that a) is making me notice more how uncommunicative he has become - we are all here most of the time so in each other’s sights a lot more than normal and 2) is causing him to feel quite low. I think it is especially tough for teens because they need to be around their friends. I think the fact your son is clearly still engaging with friends and gaming is reassuring. I have 2 older daughters, one who lives with us. They never clammed up like this, there was certainly other stuff to deal with, alcohol, curfew breaking, rank bedrooms etc, but not this chilly, melancholy distance. It is making me sad, and my first instinct is, “what am I doing wrong,?” but I guess boys are maybe just different. It could be that the school work is one reason for your son being uncommunicative. Mine has had issues there, and his final year at school has not been worth it at all. Fortunately he sat his highers and did ok last year, so not so important this year. If yours is 16, I guess he will be under some pressure to keep it going despite their being no exams or actual school. That must be tough, to keep it all going online with no direct teacher input. I did manage to have a short “conversation” (ie I spoke and he didn’t immediately leave the room) about pressure of some important work not done. I tried to reassure him that it was not worth making himself miserable over, if that was reason for being so unhappy. Yes it is a shame to miss out on another qualification when so close to completing it, but in a couple of years time, it will seem insignificant.and at 16 or 18, there’s still plenty of time to retrieve things if school doesn’t furnish you with the qualifications you need once you work out who you are and which way you want to go. I basically said, his peace of mind and mental health were much more Important than passing modules. Tomorrow will def try to follow Ifeelfats advice and lighten up a bit and be fun to be around. Though given that it is now past 3am, I may lack sparkle in the morning!

Tommo75 Thu 18-Jun-20 06:11:21

Thank you for your messages. It's good to feel I'm not the only one. I don't think I let on that it bothers me but I'll definitely make an effort to lighten up. I also remember being that age and not wanting to spend loads of time with mum and dad. It's different being on the receiving end. As long as he's happy interacting with his friends I will be satisfied he's ok. I do think being away from school has had an impact. Thanks again. Hope all works out for you too

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