Ten Year old Anger

by Mary

I left my husband when my two boys were 5 and ten months. Now they are ten and five. We've always had a friendly, fun relationship, despite the fact they miss their dad who they see once a month and on breaks. They are great boys despite the situation. But my ten year old and I have been getting in heated arguments, usually when it's time for bed. Something doesn't go his way and bam, it's a screaming match. The most recent exchange, I tried not to get wrapped in argument, said in not talking anymore, going to bed, headphones on, cried myself to sleep just to keep from saying things I'd regret.
And of course, each of these arguments leads to wanting to move in with his dad 600 miles away. I know he misses him, and has definitely fallen into the "Disneyland Dad" trap. I left his father due to physical and verbal abuse which my son doesn't really remember, and I'm kind of glad, but man, it's so hard being thrown under the bus for that.... A-hole! Excuse my French, but no other word describes him. And back to the loving place lol.

I feel like our relationship is damaged, and that someday soon he may actually make that decision to move to his dad's. Or worse, make me out to be a horrible mean screaming mess when all I want him to do is follow rules.

When I try to vent to friends and family, they say oh he'd never do that. But I'm still scared! He has no idea what I'm protecting him from, and even more scared of what his dad told me - they'll hate me for this. Hate me for leaving. Hate me for breaking up the family, which was him not me. It's my worst fear.

I am doing my part to control my anger and frustration, and we talk and discuss after, but then the next night when everything is going great, something erupts! Please help me maintain my loving relationship with my son.

Comments for Ten Year old Anger

Click here to add your own comments

Boys Who Are Ten
by: Ask Sara

Dear Mary,

I remember it well!!

At around the age of ten, boys start to change a bit. Truly, we don't talk about it, but boys get the same moodiness with hormones that girls do.

It is important to give your son space to both grieve the loss of a strong male role model (ten - twelve is when they start doing that) and to ride the wave of changing hormones.

It is very likely he doesn't understand and/or can't communicate his feelings. Encourage journaling, drawing, painting, anything that may help him express his feelings.

Give him an opportunity to talk and to connect. Have meals together at the table, go for a walk, etc. He may be resistant at first, but if you continue to offer the opportunity, this will improve with practice. (I swear the only that got my son and I through this time was his ability to communicate his thoughts and feelings. My resources page has 50 Conversation Starters for Teens. Give 'em a try.)

Help him to connect with other boys who have similar interests.

Create predictable structure and expectations.

Seek professional help if you think it's needed.

Get a photo of when he was young and sweet looking. Keep that photo near and remember to speak to that child, not the one that is grumpy.

Don't worry about him living with his father. You are the parent, and you are going to say 'no' if the topic comes up.

Hang tough. He will test you to make sure you aren't going anywhere. Pass the test.

My best,

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Ask Sara!.