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Struggling to cope with child growing up

10 replies

DadinCambs · 03/06/2021 23:57

First post here so if I break forum rules then apologies in advance.

My little lad is about to turn ten, and I’m struggling like hell with it. My little boy who likes trucks and tractors has been replaced with a moody boy who’s nigh on impossible to communicate with.

I try desperately to give him the support he needs and wants, retain the normal parenting boundaries of routines for bedtime etc

He’s discovered the whole passive-aggressive trick (although he’s not very good it tbh, and rather obvious when he tries so easily dealt with) and he’s becoming increasingly hard to communicate with.

I’m sure I’m not the first person to struggle with this but googling just results in reams of articles about absent dads missing their children.

Anyone got any advice for this? I want my lad to grow up and do great things, but I flat out miss the happy little boy he used to be.

OP posts:
FortunesFave · 04/06/2021 00:01

Humour. Resort to humor. That's what I do. I sometimes get so tired of my mean teens that I quietly stick two fingers up behind their backs when they've said how sad or stupid I am. It will pass. I try to find stuff in common. I've had some success through introducing old comedy shows they like....we can then laugh together.

OneToThree · 04/06/2021 08:17

I hear ya! (I’m a mum but same thing happens here)
Ds is now 14 and has come out the other side mostly.
My best advice is
Don’t take anything they say to you personally. Their hormones are making them rage and they’re just looking for someone to vent them at.
Don’t fight fire with fire. If they’re coming at you walk away.
And the best advice I found on here was if you’re asking them to do xyz and they moan about doing it, ignore the moaning. If the thing you’ve asked them to do gets done in the end you’ve won. The moaning and chatter around it ignore.

I think there’s a thread on mumsnet in Teenagers about holding the rope. Might be worth a read although yours is only 10.
It basically says they’re thrashing at the end of the rope you’re holding on. Never let go of the rope regardless of how hard they thrash. Be their person. Be on their side. You’ve got their back in any situation.

Fruityfriday · 04/06/2021 08:22

My Ds is9 and I love that he is growing up although he's not moody yet. I'm much preferring this age, we have a good laugh together its lovely . So many parents I know keep saying they would love to do the younger years again but that would be my idea of hell.

MissyB1 · 04/06/2021 08:24

All of the above. But also try to find things you can still connect with, support any hobbies he has, ask about the games he enjoys on his devices. Ask him to teach you some games?
Try new skills with him, my dh is learning to mountain bike with our 12 year old ds. I’m teaching ds to bake and cook.

It is hard (and yes I feel sad about my baby boy growing up), but you just have to think of new ways to connect.

WeIcomeToGilead · 04/06/2021 08:29

My sons like this at the moment and without sounding patronising, it’s so good to see a dad proactively seeking advice. My husband lets me deal with all that myself and would never ask for advice 🙄

Agree with the others on humour and making a big joke about the grumps. I actually spend more time putting him to bed now than when he was younger because I’m trying to keep lines of communication free at night so intend to potter around his room “tidying up” and things are always less fraught then. That’s when we have our good chats re school and friendship issues.

I’m finding it hard adapting to the morning grouchiness

I also think exercise is even more important than when they’re younger - nobody ever comes back from a dog walk or a run or a bike ride grumpy, do they? I find that really helps when he’s being “awks”

topcat2014 · 04/06/2021 08:37

Talking whilst in the car helps as there is no face to face contact so it is easier.

SkedaddIe · 08/06/2021 09:57

Definitely agree with pp about humour, especially self deprecating humour. If you call yourself a boring balding fat old fart then there's nothing left for them to sting you with lol.

OnTheBenchOfDoom · 11/06/2021 20:52

@DadinCambs definitely try to connect over something, a tv show or watching a YouTuber play the computer game he likes, give him an outlet to talk to you about, something you share. I absolutely detested Scrap Mechanic but Ds2 loved it and could prattle on for hours about it, I listened, asked questions and showed an interest as it was important to him.

Completely agree about the humour thing. If my two moaned about anything, I would do an over the top parody with everything I had to do as a parent but all done with smiles and laughter. I would show how hard it was to put a piece of bread into the toaster. Or I would ask them if they were the Ibek (goat that has to scale a steep cliff face just to get water which they had seen on a nature program) because clearly their life was soooo much harder.

A really weird trick especially if they are moody is to tell them hey whatever you do don't start laughing, I mean it, if you so much as parp a giggle. Strangely it works, they usually at least break a smile.

If you can get one on one time with him, do it, even if it is just nipping to the shops where you can furtively buy him an ice cream or something. But hang in there. If he is rude to you then it is helpful if his Mum can pull him up on that because he wouldn't like it if you were mean to his Mum so he knows that this isn't something acceptable in your house.

But also try to laugh at yourself which will take the sting out of things he says. Children do not understand the impact of their words. My sons are now 18 and 15, I have been a SAHM for over 16 years and they are incredibly close with Dh because he put the effort in. I hope that helps.

Uxori0us · 12/06/2021 04:31

Don't try to hard, he will pick up on that as a weakness.

My eldest bounces from thinking i'm the worst person in the world to occasionally "come check out this level" "check out this gun on COD" which to me are the holy grails of communication.

VashtaNerada · 12/06/2021 05:20

This is a really common parenting experience. I think it was Kate Atkinson who said that parenting is a series of bereavements as you move through different stages. You are on the cusp on discovering a ‘new’ child however! Someone you can joke with, be sarcastic with, talk about ‘big’ issues with - and when they come out the other side and are no longer a moody teenager you will have a lovely adult in your life to do grown-up things with. It’s really hard but you’re certainly not alone with these feelings.

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