My feed

to access all these features

Parenting a preteen can be a minefield. Find support here.


Is this normal and how do I deal with it as I am pretty upset?

242 replies

JustFabulous · 21/01/2013 08:05

DS1's school is open. He usually gets the bus and has too today as we can't drive after 8 hours of continuous snow. I wanted to walk to the bus stop with him in case he fell over and the bus didn't come. He did not want me too. He later snapped he'd be teased for being a mummy's boy. He went alone. I may have acted like a two year old as I didn't say bye. Normally he texts to say he is on the bus okay. He has texted DH instead so another one having a strop. DH said I should pick my battles and is fed up of the arguments, with DS1 and I, I suspect he means.

DS1 just texted me, he is at school okay.

I love this child so much. My first born, my heart, and it breaks my heart he treats me like I am nothing some times. We used to be so close and now it feels like he isn't bothered about me and doesn't need me anymore (unless he wants a lift).

I have felt like this for a while, not just over this morning.

OP posts:
seeker · 21/01/2013 08:50

I think the thing you should think about is the not saying bye. You're the grown up. You offered to walk to the bus stop with him, he said no. So you say OK and remind him of when the next bus is if the first one doesn't come and cheerfully wave him off. You don't take the huff - that's his job!

Lavenderhoney · 21/01/2013 08:51

Gosh this is heading my way too:) my ds is nearly 6 and doesn't want to hold my hand in public:) he has stopped laughing if I do a funny walk as well, he rolls his eyes instead and edges away. Dd still giggles and joins in:)

I see how you feel, but I think you know your dh is right. Can you talk to your ds and tell him how you feel? Also what other people think, ie his friends, isn't always the best way to decide what to do. You can always be waiting at home with hot chocolate for when he gets home and a chat. He might like to think of you doing that?

lljkk · 21/01/2013 08:53

Um, you sound suffocating, sorry. We all love our kids but part of loving them is letting them fly alone sometimes.
When you insist on walking him to bus stop you give him the message that you believe he can't do it alone. It undermines his confidence. Same with expecting him to text about his every movement and location. You're telling him he can't be trusted to know when he actually needs to be in contact.

If you said he had a bone growth problem or some other special reason why He shouldn't fall over, or selective mutism, or something, we would understand.

lljkk · 21/01/2013 08:56

Criticism on MN is always painful to hear, join the club, lol.

I think I'm understanding better now why you are over-protective. Hope you can find a comfortable way thru for you.

NormanTheForeman · 21/01/2013 08:57

It's totally normal. My year 7 ds would die of embarrassment if I wanted to accompany him to the bus stop. And he would also find it OTT if I wanted him to text me every day when he got to school. He has a phone, but only texts/phones me if things change (like on Friday when the buses all went early on the way home from school because of the snow).

Also if I go and see him at any school events (like concerts he is in etc) he will always hang around with his mates and pretend he is nothing to do with me! Grin But at home he is still cuddly and affectionate, so I know he still loves me to bits.

I remember when I was that age it was just so uncool to be seen with your parents. But they all grow out of that stage as they get older again, and it doesn't mean they don't love you!

sparkle12mar08 · 21/01/2013 09:01

It's not nice to hear OP, I understand, but he is nearly 12 for goodness sake! You wanted to walk your nearly 12 yo to the bus stop?!! And truly, don't worry about the wellies thing - he WILL learn that he'll get wet and cold, and he WILL decide for himself that he's better off in them. If he doesn't then it's his responsibility, and with resposibility comes consequences.

TBH his feelings and reactions are totally normal for any pre-teen. It really isn't any reflection on your parenting, and you certainly haven't not parented enough - you have to try and separate your feelings about your own parents and childhood from what your son needs now, because to me as an outsider from what little you've posted here it seems as if you're over-parenting. He needs you to learn to let him go, bit by bit, step by step. No-one is saying cut him loose overnight. But you are not serving him well by needing him to text you multiple times a day, and by needing to accompany him to a bus stop just down the way because of a bit of snow.

mousebacon · 21/01/2013 09:01

Don't feel bad justfab. At his age, his behaviour is totally normal and no reflection on you as a parent. The boys in my class are of a similar age and are mortified if their parents come anywhere near the classroom never mind speak to me. And as for coats/jumpers/fastening laces etc. don't get me started!!

Have a cuppa and think no more of it.

JustFabulous · 21/01/2013 09:03

Thanks for all your suggestions.

In trying to do the right things I have got it all wrong.

I was an amazing, instinctive nanny but so not in my job as mum. More things to be concerned about.

I certainly did not mean to make him think I didn't think he could get to the bus stop alone. I just didn't want him on his own should he hurt himself.

Having never had a mother makes it very difficult for me and yes, it really hurts that people think I am suffocating my son when all I am trying to do is let him know I love him and care about him. I never had that with either parent. I know they don't love or care about me.

I was left alone from a very very young age so don't have that confidence to know when it is actually okay to do that.

OP posts:
pictish · 21/01/2013 09:04

I have an 11 year old son, and he's my pfb too. However, I embrace his independence and see it as it all being a step closer to him being able to cope in the real world as the young adult he will soon be.
You sound very over protective I must say, sorry. It is little wonder he is getting annoyed with you.

LizzieVereker · 21/01/2013 09:06

I'm sorry you are finding this "stage" upsetting, and it is a stage - he will come out of the "OMG you're SO embarrassing" thing eventually! He's just finding his independence, and the opinion of his peers is of paramount importance at this age.

FWIW, he sounds like a lovely, well brought up boy, how nice that he remembers to text you or his Dad. You sound like a very caring Mum. Try not to let him see that his new independence hurts you, because then he will be worried about you, and I'm sure you don't want him to feel responsible for you.

Chin up, it will get better Smile

pictish · 21/01/2013 09:07

Btw - my son took off in the heavy snow to walk the mile and a half to school on foot, as he does every day. The thought that he might fall over did not occur to me. He's perfectly capable of managing on his own.

CambridgeBlue · 21/01/2013 09:11

I think you're getting a bit of an unfair pasting here, OP. Yes maybe you're a bit over the top but you are only trying to do right by your DS.

I find this very hard as well - DD is 10/Y6 but we have middle school round here so she's been getting the bus to school since she was 9. I found it very hard to just let her go especially on bad weather days, I felt like such a slack parent (and tbh judged a bit those parents who didn't seem as bothered). I've done all the same things - the fussing about coats and boots, the wanting to walk her to the bus stop and sulking when she didn't want me to but in the end we've compromised and she's been fine. I'm find that the more sensible I am about giving her a bit of freedom the better she responds to it - she's very good about texting if she's going to be back late etc. Hopefully you will find it works the same with your DS.

It's very hard though isn't it, this parenting lark - chin up :)

TantrumsAndBalloons · 21/01/2013 09:15

JustFab its hard to watch your children grow up, teenage years are especially hard as there as so many changes and things they want to do. Its hard as a parent to know when is the right time for certain things, its hard to know whats normal and when your first child starts to not need you as much its strange because you are used t being the focal point of their world.

But I have learnt that its ok for them to be embarrassed by us, to want to be independent and alone because they know deep down that if they ever have a problem the you are there unconditionally.

Just try and step back a little bit at a time, he will always be your baby, you will always love him and he will always love you but he needs to start the first steps into being independent and responsible. It isnt easy, but he will be ok.

JustFabulous · 21/01/2013 09:16

I am annoyed now as I just keep crying at each criticism I feel I am getting. I shouldn't let it get to me. I know I worry and care too much but having no parents and nearly losing DS1 (as well as actually losing 2 DCs) kind of made me a over protective mum.

OP posts:
pictish · 21/01/2013 09:17

Lizzie makes a good point about not letting him see how upset you are. You really don't want him to feel responsible for your emotional wellbeing.
Getting all angsty over his totally run of the mill independence will make him feel guilty and suffocated at the same time. It's not good for him. The problem lies with you, and that's where the buck needs to stop.

Sorry to sound like I'm wagging my finger at you, but ultimately, the upset you are feeling right now is about YOU and not him, even if it IS wrapped up as concern.

It's YOU who has a need to be fulfilled, not him.

mum47 · 21/01/2013 09:17

Totally sympathise, having two ds' aged 11 and 13. It is really hard but think of it as the "next phase" in both their and your lives. It is a minefield, trying to balance protecting them and letting them go. But we have to because before we know it, they will be out in the big wide world having to fend for themselves, and they have to be prepared for that. It is so tough though!

Mine have gone off to school in unsuitable shoes for the weather - boots are so embarrassing etc - having battled with them in the past, I now let them. I remember doing exactly the same when I was their age.

Pick your battles, keep lines of communication open at all times, always have a bottle of something alcoholic to hand.

pictish · 21/01/2013 09:18

The way you feel is totally understandable then, and I certainly do have some sympathy for you...really I do.

Part of being a good parent though, is knowing when to back off. Hard though that is.

JustFabulous · 21/01/2013 09:18

I've got little ones as well and maybe that has made me feel like he is still little too.

OP posts:
lurcherlover · 21/01/2013 09:18

Justfab, it's obvious you really love your son and just want to do what's best for him. I feel so sorry that you've obviously not had that love and stability from your own parents.

As an outsider, just going from your original post, my advice - and I mean it very kindly - is that you do need to back off a bit. My MIL could have written your exact post about her sons when they were that age. She has found it very difficult to adjust to her sons growing up and becoming adults with their own lives and families, and this has caused a lot of problems in the family. You are at a difficult time with him as he's still your baby, but he doesn't think he is, and he's at an age where the opinion of his peers matters more to him than anything else. And in the next few years you'll have other things to contend with - parties, girlfriends, wanting to be out later at night, the possibility that he might experiement with alcohol (or worse), stressing about his exams, and then ultimately him leaving's a huge adjustment for a mother to make.

He knows you love him. Really he does. And part of loving him is allowing him to take risks, make his own decisions, and feel like he has some control, rather than his mum having the control. You need to start now. Things I would start doing straight away:

  • stop asking him to text you every day that he's got to school safely. He's been doing it for three months now. He knows how to do it. Make sure he knows what to do if he ever misses the bus, and then leave him to it. Remember (I'm a teacher, and this is true) that if he doesn't turn up to registration the school will automatically contact you to notify you he's absent.
  • he definitely doesn't need you to walk him to the bus stop in snow. Worse-case scenarios are he misses the bus (so he comes home) or he has an accident (extremely unlikely to be bad enough that he couldn't phone you).
  • let him decide for himself whether or not to wear wellies/coat/hat/gloves etc. You can make a toddler wear these; you can't make a 12-year-old wear them. He's old enough to understand that actions have consequences, and if his decision not to wear wellies means he spends the day in wet feet, tough. It won't kill him, and he'll have to decide what matters more to him - looking cool in front of his mates, or having dry feet.

    It is really hard being the parent of a teenager, but now is the time to start gradually introducing small freedoms into his life. Honestly, he will want to spend time with you more and be more open with you if he feels like he has a bit of independence too.
lljkk · 21/01/2013 09:22

Parenting is a muddle-thru job for all of us.
Does your son know about your background, OP? It might help him to understand, too (yes he is old enough to learn something about it).

JustFabulous · 21/01/2013 09:24

No one ever cared whether I got to school okay and certainly didn't care that I had no suitable footwear or my coat was too small. I am so annoyed with myself today. I am like a flipping dishrag.

I spend hours cooking for my kids as half the time I wasn't fed.

I spend ££££ on their shoes as I remember mine hardly fit.

Thank you LL. That helps a lot. I am also very receptive to people telling me what to do in a explanatory manner.

The reason for got to school texts also stems from the threat my mother has made to get my kids. If I discover at 4 they never made it to school I am hours behind. If I don't hear my 8.30 I can get the necessary wheels in motion.

I expect I am still thought of as an idiot though.

I want to ease off a bit as I know he wants it. I just don't want him thinking I don't care.

I didn't know that the school would ring if he didn't make it. That helps, thank you.

OP posts:
pictish · 21/01/2013 09:26

Op - I have a 5 yr old and 3 yr old, as well as our 11 yr old son. I find the opposite is true - I find that I view ds1 as being more mature and more independent and capable, rather than bunching him in with the tots.


Don’t want to miss threads like this?


Sign up to our weekly round up and get all the best threads sent straight to your inbox!

Log in to update your newsletter preferences.

You've subscribed!

pictish · 21/01/2013 09:27

The school would definitely ring if he didn't make it, rest assured.

piratecat · 21/01/2013 09:33

take it as part of a learning curve, we've never mothered before, and when they get to each stage, we have to look at how we are parenting.

Just like when they were at each little stage as babies, toddlers, starting school etc...

My dd can hurt my feelings, she is nearly 11, BUT you, like me are recognising this, at least as a stage now. If i had some littler ones I'd love to transfer some of the nurturing on to them, it's just time for you to take a step back. He's still dependent on you!! but not for quite the same things anymore. x

jessjessjess · 21/01/2013 09:34

He isn't treating you like nothing. He is treating you like you are his parent!

Think of it this way: one of the things you need to give him is the ability to strike out on his own and not be rejected.

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.