7th November 2017

My 12 Year Old Son is Driving Me Nuts!

Five Things I Know My Son Needs

I’m not even sure if I’ll publish this post. I’m currently sat writing this without any idea of what direction it will take and with the only hope that writing it will help me see things a little clearer.

I also said in my previous Blogging Journey post I would be writing more honest stories about my life as not everything is always as rosy and easy as it appears. Social media doesn’t share the flipping great big stand-off Coby and I had last Saturday night does it. It doesn’t show the struggles and confrontations we sometimes have to go through.

Teenager driving me nuts

So, here you have it, total transparency on what’s it like when you’re 12 year old thinks he rules the world!

My son, Coby, who I have spoken about quite a few times on my blog is driving me insane right now. Does that make a bad parent to admit that? I’m hoping it’s just a stage – people say that it is with hormonal teens right? I’m desperately praying this doesn’t last until he is 18 either. I may just end up losing the plot if it does. It’s gruelling.

He doesn’t scream or shout, in fact it’s quite the opposite. He just shrugs his shoulders and says “I dunno” quite often. My handsome loving son, the boy who has always been so open with me about most things won’t talk and it’s making me feel like a bit of a failure. Sad right. I know that as parents we’re not perfect, who is? And I’m well aware I’m not alone and we all feel like this at some point through our children’s lives regardless of what age they are.

But how do you fix it? Can it be fixed? Do we just ride it out and follow the ‘choose your battles wisely’ option? I honestly don’t have any answers, but if you do – please enlighten me!

The issue

It’s mainly his attitude. With me, his Dad, all of his family really. He’s great at doing his homework, he doesn’t swear and his manners have always been lovely. He does backchat his teachers sometimes but generally his attitude towards us sucks. That’s our challenge.

I know I’m not alone in this situation. Parenting teenagers makes even the most sane of us act nuts…right? Please agree with me here…ha!

Have you also found yourself horrified when stood in front of them arguing reminds you that you used to act or say exactly the same things? See, even most of us parents acted the same when we were at this age too. Don’t deny it 😉

We usually have the most lovely days out together, our holidays are always exciting and we have the best of times. I’m scared that those moments are gone. I’m scared my kindhearted, sensitive, funny child has disappeared. I miss him. He still luckily tells me he loves me and we always have a hug before he goes to sleep every night so I know that we’ll be okay, and I know he does care, he just doesn’t understand how to express that right now. I’m the adult in the relationship and I still have to guide him on the right path.

I need him to understand the consequences of his actions and behaviour. What do you think he was bothered about when I took his phone off him at the weekend? It wasn’t that he’d upset me, it wasn’t that he was in the wrong and he certainly wasn’t sorry. Looking at me like I was some sort of zombie one eyed cyclops his only concern was losing his ‘streaks’ with his friends on Snapchat!! It’s bizarre. He was being very self-centered and I’m not going to feel ashamed by saying that about my own child either.

There are two ways I think about Coby.

The first is that I can see the person that he eventually will grow to be – smart, funny, caring and I know he’ll fill me with pride and admiration. He does that already and we make sure he knows this. He’s a good person.

Croatia holiday - Mum & Son time - Part One.

The second is what I’m writing about now and the side that makes me….want to…. punch him in the mouth.

Can’t believe I just wrote that and for clarity… I obviously wouldn’t 😉

What next?

Maybe we’re just having an off week? But it’s been building up gradually over the last year so I don’t think it is. I wrote a post once about knowing what he needs and I’m reading it back and reminding myself he needs alone time, he needs patience and he needs boundaries! Setting reasonable limits are important because eventually, he’ll need to be able to set reasonable limits for himself. He’s got to learn about self-control.

I have to remind myself I’m not his friend, I’m his parent. He doesn’t need another friend, he has plenty of those. I think a bit of ‘tough-love’ is in the pipeline.

Determined not to lose the communication link we’ve always had, and always treasured, I’m hoping to have some one-on-one time with him this weekend so we can be together and re-connect. Part of me sometimes feels guilty for when I’ve been so busy with work and other responsibilities that I worry he needs me more than I’ve been there lately.

There’s nothing that a little love and fun can’t heal.

Boca Boca, Salou

Monday to Friday Xbox is now banned. I truly believe the games he plays change his personality. I recently noticed he’d rather spend time playing Xbox and chatting to his friends through his headset over spending time with me, and his family. Without me even realising Coby’s gaming time has slowly increased. It’s time to knock that one on the head and I would highly recommend doing this to anyone struggling with their teen as I’ve noticed a pretty big change already.

Time out is good. I went to a spa on Sunday and as much as my thoughts were mostly around the situation with Coby it did give me time to reflect. It also gave us a little space from each other. Self-care and concentrating on ourselves sometimes helps to see things a little more clearly.

Parenting is tough. But it is also a unique gift that I love and treasure wholeheartedly. I love being a parent, it’s my number one responsibility and we love our children unconditionally. Through their ups and their downs. Through their worst and their best parts. This is my first real testing time with him as when he was a toddler he was pretty easy! Maybe that’s what is making this stage feel worse than it really is?

God, I hate hormones!

After The Playground

13 responses to “My 12 Year Old Son is Driving Me Nuts!”

  1. mackintoshtravels.com says:

    I totally understand! We have 2 teenage boys and 1 has been having a bad attitude (selfish) so we have pulled back the plug on videogames and screen time in general. It’s amazing how much more they interact when they’re not on their phone or in front of a screen 24/7. But I wanted to tell you that you’re a good mom and you’re doing your best. I’m just praying that one day they will understand why we do the things we do now. We are helping them become responsible, proactive, engaging young men. Good luck to you! I subscribed to your site! 🙂

  2. Shutterbug Sage says:

    With three kids older than your son (and one right about his age), I have this to share for what it’s worth:
    1) You seem like an amazing mom. That gets you 90%+ through this!
    2) Middle school sucks. There’s no sugar coating it. Ask some one who is in their 80s or 90s even THEY thought middle school was the worst.
    3) Be glad you don’t have pre-teen daughters. (I’m really only kidding a teeny, tiny bit with #3…

  3. You are a year ahead of us Natalie and I think that probably makes a big difference. We had this in Year 6 and the start of Year 7 and secondary has been like the welcoming back of all of the dearest things. You know this right, I’m guessing same for you? I’m also guessing that there is a just you wait until next year coming and I know that it is. I’m milking this period and I totally identify with what you are saying. Feel your pain and I’m guessing, like you, we have to ride these years. I’m also remembering the lovely solo trips you have done with Coby and I totally know that, like everything else, this too shall pass. In the meantime, take comfort from knowing that we are all in the same boat with this next chapter. I’ve certainly been in your shoes and will be again. Thanks for sharing with #tweensteensbeyond

  4. Hang on in there Natalie. The onset of the teen years are the toughest bit, as you say all those raging hormones. Plus there is their quest for independence, their need for you to recognise their maturing status and their emphasis on their mates as the centre of their world. You have a lovely relationship with Coby and that and your open communication with him will carry you through the rough and the smooth bits. I promise! My eldest returned from uni for a break last week and we have been through a lot of ups and downs together over the years but our bond is as strong as ever. You are right too about sticking to being the parent not the friend and also taking time out of the situation every now and again. We all need space sometimes – even our teens! Thanks for joining us again. Always lovely to have you. #TweensTeensBeyond

  5. You pull out a lot of important issues here Natalie. Firstly, no you are certainly not a bad parent. This post shows that you are a very caring and proactive parent. Secondly, you are so right when you say that you are his parent and not his friend. They are VERY different things. Also, this is a period of such rapid change and there are up and down days. It does pass though and if you can survive (and I know you will!) you will have a fab relationship with your lovely son once he hits 19 or 20. Thanks so much for sharing with us at #TweensTeensBeyond

  6. Michelle says:

    Been there done that and survived. I used to think the aliens took my sweet daughter and replaced her with a pod person. Luckily they brought her back at about 19 or so. It will get better.

  7. rainydaysfun says:

    My son is nearly 4 and there are days when I think gosh is this the most difficult job in the world or what?? Very tantrumy (especially when hungry) and absurd. I dread teenagehood though :))) Thing is I think we shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves and not too hard on them either. Indeed it is very tough, how do you carry on giving them unconditional love and support while also guiding them – as like you say over using technology damages them and changes their personality. Or even who they make friends with and their influence. I think taking time to reconnect is quite important. Having been a relatively troubled teenager myself I realise now that all I wanted was to be accepted for what I was (or am) and I think this is an important aspect in our relationship with our children.

  8. henweb says:

    Sounds like he has become an a-typical, standard teenager, albeit a year earlier. I don’t think you have anything to worry about, and in your son’s defence it doesn’t sound like you’ve got it that bad – if it makes you feel better, it’s what I was like as a 12 year old, if memory serves, and I grew out of it (eventually!)

  9. I have all this to come, my 8 year old daughter has a complete personality change at home compared to school, there she is the model student and at home i get ignored, rolled eyes and shouted at for making her brush her hair etc- I have talked to her and she knows what she is doing but can’t help it, there are definitely hormones in play. It sounds like you are doing a great job, keep having fun together and doing what you are doing and get that me time you need too!

  10. Ahh I’m sorry you are having a tough time at the moment, I think it’s very common at this age. My eldest is 13 and I have been INCREDIBLY lucky that we have always had a really close and easy relationship, I think perhaps due to the fact it was just he and I for so long. I know friends with children the same age are losing the will to live over their childs attitude, so you are definitely not alone!

  11. Vicky austin says:

    I just found your article as I searched the exact title of this. Thank you for sharing, I have a 12 year old boy who is driving me to my entire disfunctional self (if that’s even a thing). Need inspiration and comfort to know this will end with a hopefully lovely bit at the end, at the min I could easily say I’ve failed as a parent! 🙁 x

    • hellocuppies says:

      Hi Vicky, its funny as I rarely write about parenting stuff but this post has ended up being one of my popular ones! I think that says for itself how many of us go through this with teens/pre-teens and we’re definitely not along! I often have to remind myself that my son does love me, this is temporary and I’m very much living by the ‘choose my battles’ moto. My son is 13.5 now and whilst I wouldn’t say it’s stopped, he has matured a little and I do at least get an apology now and still have the nice days. His mood swings are still surprising, but it’s definitely a little bit easier… and maybe I’m a little more used to it now?

  12. Denise Merkle says:

    My son turned 12 in April and for the most part, he’s a good kid, but he asks me (when HE’S being bad or disrespectful), why am “I” being such a bitch to him? I told him, “for one, calling me that is unacceptable – we treat each other with love and respect in this house… and “if you treat me nice, I’ll treat you nice, if you show me respect, I’ll show you respect – it works both ways”. No matter the situation, I am always the one who “starts it” he says. He NEVER takes responsibility for our disagreements – it’s always MY fault,no matter what… I’m hoping this will pass. I’m a BIG fan of respect. It is just him and me and its very difficult. I’m not one to take his crap, nor be walked all over and he knows it. If that makes me a “bitch”, so be it. No matter the issues during the day, we NEVER go to bed mad – always hug and say “I love you” and “sweet dreams”.. but it’s really rough. I feel like a prisoner in my own house most days, a constant maid, waitress, go-pher, etc. etc.. I suffer from chronic pain due to several Scoliosis surgeries too and take major medication daily for pain, but I get up every day and go to work, I work hard and never stop. I don’t sleep well at night, sometimes ranging from 3-4 hours a night, IF THAT, but still go go go. This year, he fought me to go to school, EVERY DAY. I would wake up and “dread” getting up. School has come to an end for the year and I am very thankful for that. He passed and did very well, but it was a very difficult year. He just doesn’t like school. Period. He doesn’t get bullied, he’s liked by most everyone, the teachers and principal love him. They see him coming and friends RUN to him calling his name, but he’s just realizing it’s more work, the older he gets and wants no part of it. (school). Getting him to do things is like pulling teeth, but if I nag enough,he’ll finally do it. I had him at 42, I’m not young. I’m not old either, but I often feel like my life is winding “down” and I don’t need or want the drama or stress.I love him to pieces and he has MANY great qualities – if we can make it past this stage, it will be a miracle. All you can do is take one day at a time and DO NOT let them walk all over you. I’m not a big woman – he is actually as tall as me now and strong! But he knows who the boss is… and it’s NOT him… it’s me and I make sure he knows it. Like everyone says, you have to be their parent first… it’s great to have a good relationship, which we do for the most part. We fish together alot, go to nature parks, to the beach, the movies, etc… I’m his friend too, but most of all his parent and I am very open with him and do not shelter him, but It is my responsibility to guide him and protect him and be there for him, which I am. He is the MOST important thing to me in this world.. now… if we can just get past this pre-teen / teenage stage and I still have hair (from pulling it out), life will be good… LOL.

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