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:
JustFabulous · 21/01/2013 20:16


OP posts:
Welovecouscous · 21/01/2013 20:39

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JustFabulous · 21/01/2013 20:46

Thank you Wlc.

OP posts:
ExitPursuedByABear · 21/01/2013 23:16

When I said I parent instinctively, I meant I just react to a situation - not necessarily in a good way, in a gut reaction way.

And usually quite shouty Blush

BloooCowWonders · 22/01/2013 06:03

Late to this thread but I've read it all through and I'm struck by one thing. OP would it be useful to spend more time reading the Preteens section? Not writing, not starting threads or commenting or anything else but just taking it all in. I read here a lot and am struck by how similar threads are. Some one puts forward a problem, loads of posters respond with similar problems and some offer solutions that work. None of us knows all the answers; most of us just muddle through and make it up as we go along.

On a more specific point, how often do you tell your ds that you're proud of him? He seems to be a great kid with his head screwed on right. Does he know that you think he's great?

JustFabulous · 22/01/2013 14:25

When he was smaller I used to tell him all the time but he seems Blush when I saw it now so I have been unsure whether to keep saying it. Maybe I was too over the top about my feelings for them Confused. There is no excuse for me not telling them I love them every day like I used too and I am ashamed of that. It certainly wasn't a conscious decision to stop and I cuddle them every day. I found it hard to say I love you when they were tiny (felt silly) so would say Mummy loves you instead.

We had a chat about the texting but he didn't say much. When I was taking the other children to school I realised I hadn't heard from him. I didn't like it but I didn't text him to see where he was. A few minutes later I heard from him and DH. He was on the bus. DH had had a text to say he was stuck in a queue so DH told him not to worry about being late. DS then texted to say he had arrived at school a few minutes later.

Good idea to look through the preteens topic, thank you.

OP posts:
TantrumsAndBalloons · 22/01/2013 16:46

It's hard being a parent, all different ages have different panic points.
Teenagers are hard because they want to grown up but they aren't. They want more independence and when you are used to making all the decisions it's hard to hand over that bit of control. It's scary.

I know nothing, to this day I read advice on here and sometimes think ok I guess I did that right and sometimes think, well that was a huge bloody mistake. Mine are 14 and 13. It's a nightmare.
My dd wants to go here and there and everywhere, parties, concerts.
It's hard to let her go.

JustFabulous · 22/01/2013 17:19

It really is.

DS was late home today. I was worried but I could hear collective MN voices saying he'll be fine. And he was.

I think I take the responsibility of having children a bit too much at times.

OP posts:
BloooCowWonders · 22/01/2013 21:24

Do any of us feel we're real grown-ups yet?!

Just muddling through til we either a) get found out or b) actually do it right...

And our dc amaze and thrill us with their grown-up-ness Grin

PacificDogwood · 22/01/2013 22:12

I think we, as a society, under- and overestimate our children at times.
They seems so grown-up in some respects, their familiarity with technology for instance, and so immature in other respects: more protected from adversity and danger, much less responsibility IMO.
I am not suggesting that children should be sent up chimneys again, but they need to be encouraged to become more and more independents. And getting himself to and from school is something your DS clearly can to competently.

Imagine a time before mobile phones: you'd've had to wave him off in the morning and cope with not knowing how he was until he came back in the afternoon. And he would still have been fine Grin!

Your responsibility is to teach HIM how to be responsible. And part of that is letting him fend for himself in some respects.
I think telling him you love him is subtly different from saying you are proud of him. And saying what you are proud of him for.

Mine have always been able to walk to school and in the last year or so have walked on their own, but as of the spring will have to take a school bus as their school is being decanted so that the old school building can be renovated. I am fine with that, but already getting twitchy that DS3 will have to start school in August by travelling by bus.
Yet, I know he will just love it! It's ME who is anxious about it, not him.
Ah well, I have 6 months to get used to the idea...

And btw, I am 46, mother of 4DSs, work in a professional job and am still waiting to feel 'grown-up' or as if I knew what I was doing Wink!

exoticfruits · 22/01/2013 22:32

I would suggest that you try parenting classes, I found them very useful. It seems that you had a difficult childhood and you are looking to your DC to fulfil your emotional needs, and it is too much for a child. They just go through different phases and you have to let them go and not cling onto the one that has gone. Be proud that he is getting more independent rather than seeing it as a threat that he doesn't need you. I'm sure that he could cope with falling over or the bus not arriving! Just apologise and let it go.

mirry2 · 22/01/2013 22:42

I remember trying to walk as far apart as possible from my mum when i was that age so i can understand your ds. My mother was very controlling and found it very difficult to let go of the apron strings.
The texting also seems unnecessay. Op - you need to let go.

ExitPursuedByABear · 22/01/2013 23:00

I still don't feel like a grown up and I am 53

I often try to remember what my mum was like at this age, and she seemed so, grown up.

marriedinwhite · 23/01/2013 00:46

OP - I'm up. I'm giving DS (18 and 6'2" moral support because he's finding his additional Greek a bit sticky Sad. Just going to pour another inch of wine to get me through the next 10 minutes.

You are doing grand. I posted a long post yesterday and lost it. My dad came to the UK on Kinder Transport when he was 10. He never quite recovered his soul. I never understood until my son's 10th birthday when I kissed him goodnight, fast asleep, very small and very vulnerable - and in that moment I understood what my dad went through - he had one aunt who survived and though the family who took him in cared for him there was no innate love. Sadly he had died three years earlier.

I think I understand what you feel - I wish my dad had been alive for me to tell him but I couldn't fully appreciate it until I had my own child and until he reached the age I knew my dad came to England alone with a spare set of clothes. I think I'm trying to say that everything goes in circles and everything comes out right in the end if there is love and that it will all be alright. In those days there was no support for people like my dad - they just had to man up, keep a stiff upper lip and get on with it. He was happy in the end, but it took 50 years and he didn't have much time left. You can work this through to make sure that it isn't too late for you and everyone else to understand.

You are doing a grand job and must have a lot of love left in you in spite of everything to care so much.

Good luck OP - with love x

CabbageLeaves · 23/01/2013 06:19

OP you say you never had any problems when they were babies. Yet you attribute the problems you have now, with your childhood. I think there is an inner voice pinning self doubt firmly on you because of your childhood when it's not the whole story

You knew how to parent smaller children and it was instinctive as a nanny. How many teenagers did you nanny?

Caring for other people's children is also so different to caring for your own.

You need to quell the inner voice blaming everything on a childhood and start having a different conversation in your head.

I saw a counsellor many yrs ago and my abiding memory is of one message he gave me (can't really believe a counsellor is supposed to say what he did but it was excellent advice). I sat there detailing bad experiences I'd had and explaining why I couldn't move on. I was attached to my sorrowful past. He said ok, so that's that now get over it. It makes me chuckle to think about it now because I was pretty affronted at the time. I went home and pondered and did realise dwelling was preventing my moving on.

Parenting is a mine field. Just when you think you have it sussed with DC1, DC2 trots along behaving completely differently and with different needs

Your DC need you to help them grow into confident fearless adults. The only way to do this is to hide your own fears, encourage independence and judge when it's right to change your boundaries. Always harder with your eldest

EugenesAxe · 23/01/2013 06:46

I think this is fair enough on your DS' part and a little over-protective on yours. I don't know if it's normal as don't have children that age, but I can imagine so. I am thinking of myself and what I was doing then, really.

Everyone loves their children and PFBs. You cannot be there all the time and allowing them to find out for themselves is a very important life lesson. I can see the effects of this in DH sometimes; he says himself that he wishes his DPs had been more strict with him in terms of making him do things for his own good that he was initially reluctant to do. He cites going to university - his DPs drove him and his stuff, then took him home for one last evening as he said he was apprehensive about leaving them... drove back next day. He said it was just because his DM wasn't ready and he thinks they should have said 'Don't be silly; you'll be fine!' (which of course he was). He has no ability to cope in a crisis. My DM let me travel alone from Bavaria to Lake Garda on the trains when I was 16; I said after years later that must have been a bit of a worry for her and she said 'Well, it was really' but she knew it would help me grow. Of course there's a balance... DH is much better than me about other things as a result of this early upbringing. Despite all the protection, DH has had two potentially fatal car accidents; it's just luck really, whether someone lives or dies before reaching a more measured age.

JustFabulous · 23/01/2013 09:08


To answer some points,

I guess I am looking to my children to fullfil my emotional needs but only in so much as having someone to love. The first person I ever felt I loved was a boyfriend and then a baby I nannied for. I hadn't received love, or had anyone to give it too, so that is what I wanted to have. I really hope that isn't seen as a failing.

I was fine when they were babies as they were always with me. Now DS1 is out in the big wide world without dh or I. And my difficulties with that come back to the responsibility I feel. I was fine when he started school as he had too. I had no choice in it so in a way it was a relief as I could let him go, legitimately. I know that sounds ridiculous btw. I can't think how to explain it. Maybe it comes back to my difficulty in making decisions sometimes as I am worried about getting ti wrong and messing them up.

marriedinwhite - I hope your son is feeling happier this morning.

I nannied from 0 to 11 years and of course it is different.

I nearly lost DS and he had to be delivered by emergency section, I have had a miscarriage, lost a twin and nearly lost DS2 at birth too and I think that is why I am convinced I am going to lose a child and never want a what if? situation so I have kept them close. Secondary school was a huge shock but tbh the thought of him going off was worse than the reality. He has been totally fine. I have kept those worries to myself and only spoken to DH about them when the DCs were at school. It isn't there all the time but now and then I have a panic about it.

I blame my childhood as I don't have anything else to compare too. I just know I was left alone at a much too young an age, no one was ever bothered where I was, I was often left alone with no food and I knew I wasn't loved. I just wanted to look after my children, keep them safe, feed them well and let them know they were loved.

OP posts:
TantrumsAndBalloons · 23/01/2013 09:14

I am sure they know they are loved.

But IMO part of looking after them is equipping them with the skills to look after themselves.Its bloody hard. Secondary school is the hardest time, thats when you really do have to let go a bit because they go to school with friends, go out at the weekend, do clubs etc.
And you dont know their friends like at primary school. I think in primary you tend to organise their social lives, but in secondary, you have to trust that they are more or less sensible and teach them what to do in an emergency, without worrying them.

You have to kind of wave them off with a cheery smile and then spend the next 4 hours wondering if they are ok.

The only thing i can say is the more you do it, the easier it gets. Until they get to 14 and want to go to parties that finish at 1am. But thats a whole other thread Grin

ExitPursuedByABear · 23/01/2013 12:15

JustFab Of course you want to keep them safe, but what Tants said is so true, you have to equip them to face the world without you, hard as that seems.

And don't forget, you suffered terribly as a child, but you survived. You will have passed on your strength to your DCs, plus they know they are loved and cherished - a fabulous combination Smile

timetosmile · 23/01/2013 12:20

OP, my PFB is just a few months older than you, and I do feel your pain!

There's a lot of good advice already on this thread so I will only add a couple of things...a book that hugely helped me was 'Teenagers' by Rob Parsons and I'd really recommend you get a copy..he's also involved with a charity called 'Care for the family' and they have a website with lots of useful advice on.

A question which I found amazingly helpful (though you have to be prepared for the answer!) was,
'Now you're growing up, I don't want to embarrass you or fuss about stuff if I can help it...what do I do that annoys you?'
I was amazed at some of the things he said, like don't hassle me about getting ready on time if the morning, but if I'm not ready then its OK for you to punish me..just stop hovering! and "I don't mind you giving me a hug when my friends are around, but not the 'smacky noise' kiss on the top of my head - that's just for home" Grin
And it meant we could talk about why I wanted him to text me at a certain time to see that he was ok/safe, rather than just me snooping.
It just helped to oil the wheels of the relationship a bit. x

littlemisssarcastic · 23/01/2013 12:26

OP, I mean this in the kindest possible way, but do you have anything in your life that is yours and yours alone? A hobby? Friends who are not connected to your DC? A career?
Are you a SAHM who finds your life is so full of caring for your DC that there is nothing left for you?
Do you share things with your DH which your DC are not involved in?
Or is there no time for that?

JustFabulous · 23/01/2013 12:46

The only thing I can think of that is just mine is I make cards and have a long term friend that I write too. We were pen pals for years and then met. I love to bake but I do that for the DCs. I used to volunteer at school but not since we had to take the children out of that school. I haven't worked since I had DC1. DH and I get very little time together. The best thing we do together is to sit together and watch stuff like Bones, CSI, etc. We don't go out together very often at all and never in the evenings (babysitter won't drive in the dark.)

OP posts:

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!

RandallPinkFloyd · 23/01/2013 13:56

IMO fab I think you need to move away from the reasoning that you are as you are because of your childhood and perhaps accept that it's just your personality type.

I think if you just think about it in simple terms of "crikey, I'm such a worry wart, I need to sort that out", instead of "gosh, I find this so hard because....." , it wouldn't feel like such a big deal.

What timetosmile said is a brilliant idea, I think if would be a revelation for both of you, but only if you really listen to what he says.

JustFabulous · 23/01/2013 14:09

I always listen to my children.

OP posts:
Pagwatch · 23/01/2013 14:12

I think that Littlemisssarcastic raises a good point.

When I was going through a particularly bad patch following ds2s diagnosis I threw myself 100% into trying to help him and to make life easier for DS1.

What I forgot in my earnest and sincere desire to give everything of myself in order to make their days easier, was that we are teaching our children what life is about via the lives we lead.

So I was teaching my children that they will grow up, have children and become adults who seem to have no fun, no joy, no hobbies and friendship. They will be alone and selfless.
What a fucking miserable example I was.

So I stopped giving everything. I started to make sure we had friends and family around, that I occasionally said - 'sorry boys, I am going out'

I want them to see adult life as a balance between joy and responsibility. To see parenting them as something that makes me happy.
I realised I was teaching my children that their existence made me miserable, lonely and a martyr.
It really wasn't good for any of us.

Please create an account

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