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Separatist son

(18 Posts)
GeraldineGransnet (GNHQ) Tue 14-Jun-11 21:05:44

(This is another Ask a gran question sent in by readers of the Radio Times.)

My 15 year old son has, for the last six months, stayed in his room most evenings. He eats with us, but apart from that likes to stay in his room, listening to music, playing the guitar and talking to his friends on Facebook. He seems perfectly happy, goes out at the weekend, but has no interest in coming out with the rest of his family! Is this normal? We miss him.

mollie Tue 14-Jun-11 21:45:47

Sadly, I think it is quite common...just keep up the dialogue, keep inviting him to join the rest offthe family particularly big 'dos' and hopefully, he'll join you sometimes...otherwise, I think he sounds a typical teenage lad!

suehi Tue 14-Jun-11 21:54:39

Hi Geraldine,I'm sorry to hear how you miss your son. But honetly leave him to his peer group and continue to be the nice, funny, loyal and of course embarassing parents that you have probably always been and he will be back.......but not for a while.
Teenagers live in their own orbit and anybody who isn't in it is totally disregarded, but it doesn't mean he loves you less , its just that he doesn't even think of you. And yes that hurts like hell. I have 3 children and my first two are sons and they behaved just like this from 15 to 20-22 . They laughed at me not with me, they thought I knew nothing and barely tolerated my presence, and this from sons who used to seek me out and boast about me to their friends.
There were lots of rows and boundry pushing and so much door banging I thought the house would fall down.But I learned to choose my battles and not rise to much of the bait and as the years went on I most definately got my boys back. They are 27&28 now and their sister is 23 and a nicer group of people would be hard to find, and at last we laugh about their various teenage angst. I hope this helps and wish you all the best.

harrigran Tue 14-Jun-11 23:01:18

I should say perfectly normal for a 15 year old boy. The fact that he eats with the family is a bonus and shows respect for family life.

janthea Wed 15-Jun-11 10:28:23

At least he eats with you. All teenages are like this and the majority of them turn into lovely people. My daughters certainly did.

supernana Wed 15-Jun-11 15:41:41

To the parents of Separatist son You say..."He seems perfectly happy..." Congratulations on your splendid parenting skills. Your son sounds super. My advice is, continue to eat together, listen to him with yours ears and heart, and permit him the space in which to mature into a fine, well-balanced adult.

Cressida Thu 16-Jun-11 10:56:40

Sounds perfectly normal for a 15 year old boy. If he acttually talks to you at mealtimes that's a bonus as many of them simply communicate by grunts. He'll eventually grow out of it and start communicating again although you might wish he wasn't if he's living away from home and decides to phone Mum in the early hours of the morning after one too many drinks which is something both my sons did.

Elegran Thu 16-Jun-11 11:35:34

suehi - Here is a quote :-

"When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years."
— Mark Twain

Time educates us all !! Eventually most of us become bearable company.

AmberGold Thu 16-Jun-11 14:30:23

Could you string out mealtimes? Instead of everyone jumping up and clearing away, watching TV etc you could sit around and ask him about the music he's listening to, can he keep you up to date on latest groups and maybe even bring down his guitar and play you something?
He sounds fine but if you want to see a bit more of him, you may have to work harder so he wants to stay around.

Moulinmary Thu 16-Jun-11 16:32:10

Sounds perfectly normal to me, both my sons behaved like this at that age and as others have said are now--aged 33,and 30--- very caring and good people. I did insist on a three line whip for big family occasions for which I gave plenty of notice and didn't call on it except for important occasions they respected this and behaved at them usually with great charm.Then reverted when they got home! Moulinmary

Myfanwy Thu 16-Jun-11 17:42:29

I think this stage is a natural loosening of the bonds between parents and child. He is training you to live without his constant presence and teaching you to respect his privacy. I knew my teenagers lived in the same house as me only by the empty fridge and the mounds of abandoned/dirty clothes. Sports and music lessons meant we ate together only a couple of times a week. He's preparing to leave the nest. Gulp!

GrannyTunnocks Thu 16-Jun-11 18:27:07

He sounds like a normal 15 year old. Just like everyone else was saying keep talking to him at mealtimes, be there if he wants to speak to you. He will come back to you eventually.

GrannyTunnocks Thu 16-Jun-11 18:28:32

He sounds like a normal 15 year old. Just like everyone else was saying keep talking to him at mealtimes, be there if he wants to speak to you. He will come back to you eventually.

Lynette Thu 16-Jun-11 19:23:15

Hang on in there; be aware of possible soft drug situation.

If you know his friends' parents have a chat with them. See what they are up to. Personally I wouldn't let it go on. The internet- if he is on his computer - is a serious problem for teenagers so see how much time he spends on it - some sites out there are bad.

Faye Thu 16-Jun-11 23:44:56

I actually think it is very unhealthy for a 15 year old boy to be sitting in his room with a computer. This is often where boys and girls get themselves into trouble and the parents are oblivious until its too late. He is part of a family and he is only 15 and you really should make sure he and his friends don't get the job of finishing raising him to adulthood, this is your job.

Last year I read a really fascinating book called Raising Boys, by psychologist Steve Biddulph. I have recommended it on Gransnet before and I believe it is well worth reading.

I can see that most people on here say let him go, but I have read what was said and some of them did have their children attending family occasions, sport and music lessons. Children that are now in their late 20s and early 30s might have had computers but it was different then, there was no facebook, etc, things are changing and its not all good. Best to have the computer set up in the living room, then its under parental supervision.

montymops Fri 17-Jun-11 00:11:55

I think it's quite normal for teenagers to separate like this - but the computer age has probably engendered more 'secrecy' which could raise potential problems as the last person has said - drug taking also may begin or be continued in a bedroom, as a dear friend of mine discovered to her cost, with her son. I would say - keep an eye and ear on the situation.

grandmaagain Fri 17-Jun-11 17:13:37

we call it the twilight world of the teenage boy, they emerge only to eat, grunt and return to the dark recessess of their room where things fester turn green and grow furry!! A friends son kept a snake in a tank in his room when I inquired "what about the smell?" the father replied "the snake does"nt seem to mind" it would seem it is a stage boys go through and usually metamorphisise into beautiful creatures...... eventually!!!

HildaW Fri 17-Jun-11 18:56:00

I do agree thats its perfectly normal for teenagers to withdraw for a while and it can not lead to any particular problems. However, if there is a problem its going to be difficult to spot if you dont keep up some relaxed line of communication where you can pick up hints of something else going on, whether it be worrying about exams, love lives or something even more difficult like drugs or unhealthy peer pressure. Let them have their space, try and let them think its on their terms but at the same time try and ensure there is always a chance for the odd chat with a parent. In my experience they keep very quiet then suddenly, when its least convenient, launch into a worry they have had and you just have to stop and listen. With girls it could be a shopping trip with Mum, with boys its a hobby of somesort with Dad. Just make sure that there is some regular way that works for your family of spotting anything early on, because its so much easier to help them then.