Almost 13 year old - Jekyl & Hyde?? - FamilyEducation
Almost 13 year old - Jekyl & Hyde??
02/27/2008 at 11:13 AM

I am in need of both reassurance and advice.

I am mom to an only child - my son, who will be turning 13 next month.  Over the last 4-6 weeks we have noticed some changes in his demeanor/attitude and behavior.  It is almost at times as if we are living with Jekyl & Hyde never knowing what type of "mood" he will be in.  I feel as if I am walking through a mine-filed with him never knowing what it is that I might say and/or do that will set him off.

He seems to want to have more control and/or say over his world and I am hearing "no" or "later" more often when I make a request of him or suggest he do something say like brush his teeth - shower or lights out at a certain time for bed.

This is all new to my husband and I and we wonder where are sweet compliant child has gone.  Even when trying to engage him in conversations he is less conversational.  He loves being with his friends and that seems to take presendence.

Is this normal behavior and would love suggestions on how to get him to be more compliant to our requests and/or suggestions.

He certainly asks me to do many things for him and was thinking of using that as my leverage letting him know it is hard for me to do the things that he asks of me when I do not get that in return.

Your insights & thoughts are so welcome  -thanks





Mood swings are common, as is what seems to be an inordinate dependence on peers. I think it is important to teach him how to negotiate with you in a respectful way. I would also watch his blood sugar, make sure he gets snacks with protein and fat to even out the troughs. It amazes me how often bad behavior and low blood sugar occur simultaneously.

That doesn't sound like "mood swings." your son is a teenager now; not a child anymore. You shouldn't expect him to be "compliant" all the time. It sounds pretty normal really -- like he wants independence but still needs supervision. You say he 'loves being with his friends.' That is great as long as they are decent kids. I worry more about kids who want to be alone. I would say let him grow -- he's your only child -- are you holding a bit too tight? Maybe try to be more "hands off" but there for him still. Your "sweet compliant" child is becoming a teen -- he won't be quite as compliant much longer as he has his own opinions, etc. That's the reality of children getting older. It sounds perfectly normal to me. Someone once said to me that teens are like sand; the more you try to grab hold of it, the more it slips through your hands. Hold them loosely and lovingly! He still needs you and will for a long time. But don't confuse need and love. He can still love you but not need you as much.

It sounds like your son is just going through puberty. He seems to be in early stages of maturation. He is going to be consumed with his friends more than family at this time period. This is normal. Potentially the way to make him listen or comply is to treat him more like an adult. While he is not an adult, if he feels like you think he is, maybe he will act more like one. Don't worry though this is definitely a normal part of your son growing up!