13 yo boy can't say anything nice! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 07-29-2014, 10:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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13 yo boy can't say anything nice!

Hello wise mamas,
I guess I'm mostly hoping some of you out there have had kids go through a similar stage, and lived to tell the tale!

13yo DS is my second teen, but of course dd had her own awkward stage that didn't look anything like this! DS criticizes Everything and Everyone, Constantly. He has to know more about any subject of conversation than anyone else, and he's getting to the point of issuing put downs to the other kids.

I kind of get it, I know this has something to do with trying 'manliness' on for size. He's such a sweet, empathic boy. He takes the role of peacemaker, almost too much (or he did). I love to see him break out of childhood, and frankly it's a relief to know that he doesn't feel like he 'has' to be the sweet kind one all the time.

So I do realize this isn't the end of the world, but it really pushes my buttons and I think I need a mantra to get through this without hurting his feelings. I've met so many grown men who seem to be stuck in this exact stage, and I'm guilty of panicking that might be him! I don't want to unleash that on the world!

I need to hear some wise words from mamas who have escorted their sons through this!

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#2 of 9 Old 07-30-2014, 05:29 AM
 
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Oh wow. You could have described my son! He is 13 now and went from being this sweet kid to being this ultra critical kind of, sorry, but a jerk a lot of the time! I saw that a bit tongue in cheek but he constantly tells his sisters they are wrong about things. He criticizes everything everyone does. He is especially hard on his 9 yr old sister. I mean, she said the other day how much fun somewhere was that she had gone. My son had been at a friend's house when she went there. His response to her was "You're so stupid. You've never been there! How would you know how fun it was?" It was really difficult not to get angry with him and we had to explain to him that she had, in fact, been there and she DID know what she was talking about. It's like right now everyone is always wrong and he ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS has to have the last word.

I have no advice. Just commiseration. Right now we remind him (sometimes gently, sometimes firmly) that he is not allowed to call people stupid.. or idiot and that he needs to think before he speaks. We've also let him know that other people are allowed to have an opinion that differs from his and that they are NOT WRONG. And I make sure not to get caught up in his emotions and I really try to allow him to have an opinion about things without judging his opinion (you know setting a good example).

All that said, we really do have a good relationship and I look at the times he is awesome more than the times he is being 13. He is passionate about many things and is an all around good, kind person. This just seems to be some phase he is going through. I'm sure it will pass.
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#3 of 9 Old 07-31-2014, 04:18 AM
 
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I haven't been down this path, but I have a feeling it might be In my future. Sigh.

Just an idea, and I am going to use the example above with the sister. I think this is a time when they need to be accountable for their behavior. So what if rather than explaining to him that the sister was in fact at that place (and you end up in a situation where you need to be able to defend everything that comes from your mouth ) that you address the actual problem, his rudeness. What if you just called him out and reied with" why are you being mean and rude to your sister?"

He could have expressed all that he said in a different way, it was in his delivery. Go after the behavior, the desire to hurt others feelings. I imagine he is sensing some power and control over others emotions now that he realizes how easily words can sting at his whim.

Just a thought. Hope it helps.
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#4 of 9 Old 07-31-2014, 05:24 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Miss Muffet View Post
Just an idea, and I am going to use the example above with the sister. I think this is a time when they need to be accountable for their behavior. So what if rather than explaining to him that the sister was in fact at that place (and you end up in a situation where you need to be able to defend everything that comes from your mouth ) that you address the actual problem, his rudeness. What if you just called him out and reied with" why are you being mean and rude to your sister?"

He could have expressed all that he said in a different way, it was in his delivery. Go after the behavior, the desire to hurt others feelings. I imagine he is sensing some power and control over others emotions now that he realizes how easily words can sting at his whim.
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Yes, we do this, too, except without the why. He often doesn't know why and he knows he shouldn't speak this way, anyway. It's like he blurts things out before he thinks about them. Saying "WHY are you acting that way?" is usually met with I don't know. In the situation I posted I did say "How do you know your sister wasn't there?" and he couldn't answer it and I said "Maybe when you don't know something you could rephrase your words. What's something else you could have said?" and he was grumpy and he grumped, "Well, I could have said that I didn't know she had gone there and asked her when she went." And I agreed that was good and told him that in the future if he didn't know the answer for sure then he should ask rather than state a fact that wasn't true. And that it was never okay to be rude to someone when he didn't have the facts. So that's actually how that conversation went (I might have been irritated, too, and asked him if he was a mindreader, too. heh). I don't really see his attitude as a problem as much as a part of growing up. This is the same kid who just now got finished playing Minecraft on the Xbox with this same sister he was rude to and the same kid who gives his sisters piggyback rides in the pool and makes cheesy movies with them with the video camera and plays soccer with them. I like to look at the overall picture rather than focus on one specific event as a defining characteristic of life.

I also had a talk with him outside the situation when everyone was calmer because his overall attitude at dinner had left much to be desired. It was becoming a trend to come to the table rude, to grump at everyone and ignore his dad- who hadn't seen him all day. My son and I chatted about that and, out of the moment when there was no strong feelings, he gained some perspective. I also realized that we were eating too late, when he was starving and subsequently grumpier. We eat earlier now and that helps. He makes the effort now, too. It doesn't mean he isn't still a grumpy guts, though. He's still 13, after all. heh
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#5 of 9 Old 07-31-2014, 09:59 AM
 
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Originally Posted by singin'intherain View Post
Hello wise mamas,
I guess I'm mostly hoping some of you out there have had kids go through a similar stage, and lived to tell the tale!

13yo DS is my second teen, but of course dd had her own awkward stage that didn't look anything like this! DS criticizes Everything and Everyone, Constantly. He has to know more about any subject of conversation than anyone else, and he's getting to the point of issuing put downs to the other kids.

I kind of get it, I know this has something to do with trying 'manliness' on for size. He's such a sweet, empathic boy. He takes the role of peacemaker, almost too much (or he did). I love to see him break out of childhood, and frankly it's a relief to know that he doesn't feel like he 'has' to be the sweet kind one all the time.

So I do realize this isn't the end of the world, but it really pushes my buttons and I think I need a mantra to get through this without hurting his feelings. I've met so many grown men who seem to be stuck in this exact stage, and I'm guilty of panicking that might be him! I don't want to unleash that on the world!

I need to hear some wise words from mamas who have escorted their sons through this!
Totally going through that right now with my own 13-year-old boy. Like you, I have an elder DD so have been through this age before but not with a boy. It has been quite different. My DD was hyper-critical at that age too but not nearly as abrasive and out-right argumentative.

I know it's the age, the growth spurt, the hormones. DS has grown 5 inches since Christmas. He's 5'10", getting hairy, starting to break out a little. His feet have outgrown dad (who is 6'4".) All I have to do is invite his friends over to see that this is pretty normal. Last summer I couldn't imagine my little boy heading off to high school this fall but now, he's going to fit right in!

It can be really tough, particularly for me, because he has always been by BABY.... my little buddy. The first to volunteer to head to the store with me. The kid who noticed when I was down before I even realized I was down. So sweet and empathetic and patient. He still is those things but out of the blue, we get these aggressive outbursts that make no real sense. Something that he's fine with one minute, can have him slamming doors the next. We continue to expect respectful behavior but we also try to remember that he isn't actually trying to be a jerk. His body is changing drastically and he's learning how to cope with it all.

Hugs to you! Just keep positive. Encourage exercise. My DS has started an exercise regiment the this last year on his own and I can really tell the days he works-out hard because he's WAY nicer!

Married mom of two, DD 17 and DS 13.
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#6 of 9 Old 07-31-2014, 10:39 AM
 
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I agree with meowmix - there's no point in asking why, because he likely doesn't know. And Why isn't the issue - it's how, when, and where!

Talk to him about how his behavior affects others. Acknowledge that it can be amusing to pick on siblings or try to get a rise out of them, but there is a limit. Ask him to pay attention to how his friends or non-family members react to his criticism. Kids that age are incredibly self-centered, and don't always notice what's going on around them - but can learn to do so. Ask about his favorite person - friend or family member - and ask him to describe how that person treats others.

Being obnoxious is a habit. We all know how difficult it is to break habits, and it only works if one wants to change. Reducing the annoying behavior now - even if it's just to declare the dinner table a no-jerk zone - will make it easier for him to develop new ways of interacting with people when he's ready.
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#7 of 9 Old 07-31-2014, 04:46 PM
 
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It can be really tough, particularly for me, because he has always been by BABY.... my little buddy. The first to volunteer to head to the store with me. The kid who noticed when I was down before I even realized I was down. So sweet and empathetic and patient. He still is those things but out of the blue, we get these aggressive outbursts that make no real sense. Something that he's fine with one minute, can have him slamming doors the next. We continue to expect respectful behavior but we also try to remember that he isn't actually trying to be a jerk. His body is changing drastically and he's learning how to cope with it all.

Hugs to you! Just keep positive. Encourage exercise. My DS has started an exercise regiment the this last year on his own and I can really tell the days he works-out hard because he's WAY nicer!
It's so nice to read your experience! I feel the same way you do. He's my baby. My tiny kid who still is so awesome but sometimes I hug him and he'll have none of it and be like "Ugh, mom. Stop." I have also noticed that exercise helps a lot, too. Kind of like a tired dog is a good dog.... a tired teenager is a nicer teenager (and a teenager who isn't hungry is a much nicer teenager, too!).

Married, part time work from home mom to DS (13 and homeschooling), DD1 (11) and DD2 (9) and a giant dopey newfoundland, a crazy border collie mix, 3 black cats and a cute rat.
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#8 of 9 Old 08-01-2014, 02:27 PM
 
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Ugh, this is my son. He's been so nasty with his 10 year old sister that on a few occasions we've left him at home when we went swimming or shopping, just to give her a break. I've flat-out told him that I don't want to be around him because he's been so rude and mean.

For the know-it-all thing, it's going to work itself out. Like about a month ago my son and his dad were at the table and he had his wallet out. His dad told him to be careful of something because of the magnetic strip and he was like "Just because it's black doesn't mean it's a magnet! It's just a black line." and I was like "No, Dad is right, it's not very strong, but the strip is magnetic." But he was adamant that it was just a black line. He even called his dad stupid. My husband was like "Okay that's enough, but don't whine to me about it when your card stops working." Then my son, to prove us wrong, flounced over to the fridge and slapped his gift card onto the surface. The look of horror on his face as his hand came away and the card slid slowly down the fridge, clearly attached by magnetic force was hilarious. There was nothing he could do but admit he was wrong about that.

~Teresa, raising DS (Jan. 02) and DD1 (Jun. 04) and DD2 (Dec. 11) with DH.

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#9 of 9 Old 08-01-2014, 02:57 PM
 
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I don't want to hijack this thread but I guess all the talking we did worked. This morning my son came up to me and asked me to talk to him in private in his room. I said okay so joined him in his room. He said "Well, I guess I have been thinking about it and I *have* been really mean and rude to my sister lately. I really want to make it up to her. She REALLY likes Minecraft and I was wondering if you would drive us to the store today so I could buy her Minecraft." (they had a trial version or something on the xbox they had been playing) It was so sweet and he totally surprised DD2. She was so happy and gave him a huge hug in the middle of the store and he was suitably embarrassed. He's definitely been making an effort to be nicer to everyone. We'll just keep up our talking and modeling good behavior and praising him!

Talking to him outside the situation does help a lot. Then the emotions aren't so high and both of us are able to be rational and discuss things.

Married, part time work from home mom to DS (13 and homeschooling), DD1 (11) and DD2 (9) and a giant dopey newfoundland, a crazy border collie mix, 3 black cats and a cute rat.
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