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Dealing with being shut out

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#1 SelceLisbeth

Posted 20 March 2017 - 08:50 AM

DS is now 16. We have had a reasonably close relationship and he will always talk to me when anything extra serious comes up, but he is increasingly private and closed off. I know its normal and his go-to people are now his friendship group who are generally good kids with close knit families.

I do worry a lot though as his social skills are not well developed and he can be very easily misled. He is also very caring and gets caught up in being everyone else's support.

He has depression and anxiety and PTSD (as well as his autism, ADHD and other behavioural and psychological conditions) and is recovering from severe illness, so he has some pretty serious risk factors going on and I do like to know a bit about whats going on for him at school and with his friends so I can guide and support him, but I try not to push it. He often says he doesnt want to talk about things at the moment and I try to leave it but then he is miserable a lot and occasionally will get upset that I have no idea whats going on for him. Well dude, I would if youd tell me. I ask. You say you dont want to talk to me about it.

I know there are things going on for him right now and he has told me he is not ok, but he wont talk to me or anyone on a professional level or outside of his friendship group (no family friends, other family etc). Its pretty difficult to see him so unhappy and be so out of the loop.

I also think its important to respect his desire for privacy and to let him know im there for him if he wants, but will give him the space he asks for. As an aside Im also just really sad to have lost my closeness with him. He doesnt really enjoy my company much anymore (he still comes out and shows me stuff but will chose not to do things with me). Im having trouble coming to terms with the change in our relationship dynamics but I know its normal and healthy and I certainly dont want a weird co-dependency going on. Its just a bit sad.

Any advice?

#2 marple

Posted 20 March 2017 - 09:16 AM

Take him for a long drive. Chat  casually whilst driving. Does he have his L's? That is a good chance for one on one time ( sorry if you don't have a car and this is completely inappropriate).
16yo boys IME do get pretty secretive. I wouldn't panic yet.
The thing I found the best was having the mobile numbers of their friends parents. You can do quick texts without causing any undue embarrassment to the teenager.
"Hi is it ok if x stays the night?"
"Hi is Ds at yours?"etc. Clears up a lot of misunderstandings and stress.

With regard to the MH issues I am not much help except to say that one of mine has a degree of MH issues and he was a lot of work through the teenage years but is improving slowly so hang in there.

Sorry if none of that is any help.

#3 SelceLisbeth

Posted 20 March 2017 - 09:42 AM

Thanks. I'm trying not to read too much ch into or take it to heart. He doesnt have his learners yet but hopefully soon.

Ds will always let me know where he is and what he is doing and always answers his phone and texts so that side is ok.

I guess I just want a bit of reassurance that it's ok to be a bit at the changes and that what he is doing is ok too.

#4 José

Posted 20 March 2017 - 06:04 PM

One of the ten tasks of teenagers is renegotiating their relationship with their parents. Google and stuff will pop up.
Youre right its normal
and normal to need some time to adjust

#5 Morethanmum

Posted 21 March 2017 - 05:09 PM

Sorry to hear you are going through this. I posted something very similar about my DD some months ago and the majority of the responses reassured me about how normal it is for teenagers to retreat and not need/want their parents so much.

Unfortunately it doesn't make it any easier for you, that feeling of being redundant in your child's life, and I can only imagine the added stress that you have with your concerns around  DS depression etc.

Just know you aren't alone in that feeling of loss of closeness, I am going through it, other mums will surely be going through it.  I try to remind myself that it is normal for my DD to seek support from her friends, prefers her own company rather than sitting with the family etc.  And the OP that mentioned talking while driving is correct, my DD has her learners so we spend a lot of time in the car chatting (as I hang on with all my might).

Good luck!

#6 Sandra

Posted 21 March 2017 - 08:41 PM

Getting information from boys is always more difficult than girls.  As a girl how her day was and you get every intimate detail down to who said what,  whereas boys tend to grunt an "it's okay" regardless

The best way I get my son to talk is to get him active,  even if it means walking, doing some rec activity, just something where they are physically active and they seem to open up a lot more.

We often take the dog for a walk in the evening and he will start chatting away after a bit, often starting on a subject I would not expect him to talk on,  This may not work for you but it is a known tool to use for boys,

Good luck  :)

#7 opethmum

Posted 21 March 2017 - 09:06 PM

Completely normal, teens want to figure it out on their own, they know you're there. Unless he directly takes it up with you then leave it alone otherwise he will further retreat. I was exactly like that. I was sick and tired of going to gp's, medical assessments and I wanted to see whether I did it better on my own. I was sick of being lectured to because I knew my parents could not relate to me even though they tried their best.

Unless he is doing major self harm or you have noticed a significant shift then you can escalate things but in the mean time you have to let them help themselves as hard as that might be.

Don't use the car as a personal interrogation room either, otherwise you will have a teen who won't want to go any where with you because he associates car trips with interrogations and rightly so.

Perhaps set aside some regular catch up time with no pressure of d&m, even be content to just sit there in silence over coffee and milkshake. You don't have to fill everything you do with conversation.

Your DS is growing up and it is natural for them to want pull back, they know you have their back and this is the biggest step towards independence. You're still close so don't be disheartened, this is a new close that is being defined. This relationship is undergoing renovation and it is ok, you have a solid foundation already and trust in that. You will be fine, just keep being who you are and I am sure you will both be fine and be stronger for it. Give him the space he needs to work himself out.

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