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Old 10-07-2018, 09:16 AM
Maastricht Maastricht is offline
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How to be more relaxed around my 10-year old son?

I got divorced a year ago, and most things couldn't be better.

For those who want an update: My ex and I haven't had a fight since the divorce talks started. We had a quick , easy and cheap divorce; shared mediator, everything arranged in 6 weeks, total procedure cost of 1500 euro's. Neither of us asked for, or pays the other money or alimony. No fights about stuff, on the contrary we both liked the fresh start and the chance to declutter the house. No fights about custody.

Ex and I are on friendly terms; we feel more like family then exes. It is almost shocking how little we miss each other; the worst of that was over in a month. We co-parent, each of us half the week, and kiddo has settled in nicely. Fortunately, I could afford to stay in the house ( it was mine), and ex bought a pleasant little house withing biking range of the kid's school.
Ex got a new lady friend soon after the divorce. I took my sweet time dating for 11 months or so. And I got lucky, with a guy I already knew from a nerdy hobby we shared twenty years ago, and who had kept in contact via Facebook. All of the new partners have kids in the same age bracket.

And yes, money is tight, very tight, I had to work more, and most of the luxury is gone. But so is much of the stress and mutual annoyance. Overall our divorce has been a good thing for all concerned.

So... Now that I can contrast my child free weekends with the ones where I have my ten-year old son over, I find that I'm relapsing into old patterns around my son. I see three things I'm doing wrong:
  • I still try to arrange much of his time for him, with activities. I fear that if I don't, he just going to be glued to a screen.
  • I also try to concentrate on stuff I want to do, only to have him barge in with nonsense trivia, as he is quite the chatterbox. I gently remind him to consider if his remark will be interesting to his audience, several times a day.
  • I find I'm too impatient, to teach him to do chores around the house. I should do that, but it is just easier and quicker to do it myself, even if that makes me resent the kid just a little. We fall into old patterns too easily.

So: anyone have any insight on how to reset the relationship with my son so that I can be more relaxed around him?
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Old 10-07-2018, 11:30 AM
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I find your first two points contradictory. On one hand, you want him to not be glued to a screen, which includes interacting more with people. On the other, you only want to hear him talk about things you're otherwise interested in. Remember this contradiction the next time he wants to tell you about something you couldn't care less about. If I only talked with The Niece about the things we both care about, we wouldn't go beyond "good morning" and a bit of music!

And as for the third, yep, that's how we end up with 40yo people who can't figure out how to buy the makings of a ham sandwich: doing it yourself is easier, quicker, and produces better results in the short term. If you want him to be able to take care of his own grown-up butt someday, you'll need to load up on patience and accept that the path to learning goes through beds with ugly corners.

Last edited by Nava; 10-07-2018 at 11:33 AM.
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Old 10-07-2018, 11:36 AM
DavidwithanR DavidwithanR is offline
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Your first of three items: You said you're arranging activities because of your fear. He's not stupid - he will be aware of your fear. And it will show, in the way you do things. Can you change the situation so that fear is replaced with something better?

Your second item: I'm not convinced that he should consider whether his remark will be interesting; rather, maybe he should know whether it's a good TIME for his remark. Can you tell him which parts of your time are free?

Your third item: Well, it's your choice. Slow and frustrating now, or no results later? IMO, teaching him so that he knows how to do it is valuable, even if he doesn't do it on his own yet. I don't think there's a right and wrong answer, other than don't let anyone's emotions become the crux of the situation. I mean, as far as possible, let chores be just chores, not an emotional minefield for either of you.
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Old 10-08-2018, 12:18 PM
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Depending on how annoying 2# is, I would recommend that you just put up with his bringing up trivia talk that is interesting to him, because at that age, maybe he lacks peers or friends who would want to listen to something he has to say or what is on his mind. It is possible that you are the only person who'd listen to him. If he is put in a situation where he has to bottle up all of his inner thoughts because nobody wants to hear them, that can lead him down an inner mental echo chamber or make him clam up socially in a bad way long-term - possibly morose, unable to express himself and socially inhibited for decades. He's still in a developmental stage and it's important for him to have an audience.

Now if it's unbearably annoying, then that's one thing, but otherwise it is important for a kid that age to be able to express himself and give-and-take conversation.

Does he have friends? What kind of friends?
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Old 10-08-2018, 12:25 PM
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Also, Maastricht, I don't mean to make this a personal slight, but there is a consistent "domineering" theme in your posts about family matters - whether it is your son or the threads you used to write about your husband/now-ex-husband - a theme of "I want things done my way, now how can I get other people to accommodate me?"
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Old 10-08-2018, 12:47 PM
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My son, now 24, just got married a few weeks ago. Reminiscing, he asked me if I remembered when he was 10 or 11 and I took him out to a bar. I did all sorts of activities with him, but he has a crystal clear memory of this one event.

A blues band from Canada (Anthony Gomes)was in town, playing at a friend's bar. I'd given my son a few of his CDs and he wanted to hear them live. I got the bar owner's blessing, then convinced his mom. It was a pretty cool night. The band played from 9 to 11:30 on a Friday night. After the bar closed down, the band hung out drinking and chatting, everyone going out of their way to interact with my son.

So, I guess my advice would be to take him out to a bar.
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Old 10-08-2018, 01:13 PM
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As a Mom of 3 adults I have listened to way more pokemon, minecraft, various movies and other kid shit than I could ever tell. Now I am on to grandkids. My grandkids like me because I get down on the floor with them and LISTEN. I have heard about barbies, my little pony and candy crush til I turned blue. You don't have to be interested in the subject matter to make the kid feel cared for and heard. It will only help him in the future if you do. If you don't, I assure you he will find someone to talk to. You may not approve of who he's talking to. I have seen many teens who are free agents and are bad news. It's not pretty.
So, get in there and do the heavy lifting of parenting, it's your most important job, ever.

Last edited by Beckdawrek; 10-08-2018 at 01:15 PM.
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Old 10-08-2018, 01:23 PM
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Listen to the "uninteresting" chatter from your son. If he can't speak to you about unimportant things now, he won't speak to you about important things later. Also, in the not too distant future, he'll likely find that you are the uninteresting one and you'll wonder "why doesn't he want to talk to me anymore".
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Old 10-08-2018, 01:51 PM
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I'm not sure this board is the best place to ask for advice on how to stop someone barging in with nonsense trivia...

When I was a kid, I actually remember the person who taught me to wash up dishes after eating wasn't either of my parents, it was, weirdly, my Great Uncle, when staying at his house. We started doing it there because he asked nicely and was the Fun Uncle, then carried on when we got home, to my parents' total confusion. It doesn't always have to be you that teaches him basic stuff like chores, and sometimes kids listen more to adults they don't see so much.
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Old 10-08-2018, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by FloatyGimpy View Post
Listen to the "uninteresting" chatter from your son. If he can't speak to you about unimportant things now, he won't speak to you about important things later. Also, in the not too distant future, he'll likely find that you are the uninteresting one and you'll wonder "why doesn't he want to talk to me anymore".
This is so true.

You are also teaching him that other people's value in what he has to say is more important than his value on what he has to say. The idea of him finding a good ďtimeĒ to interrupt rather than if itís worth enough to you to interrupt is a better guideline.

But be generous with your time with him- itís probably what he'll remember most about his childhood.
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Old 10-08-2018, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by FloatyGimpy View Post
Listen to the "uninteresting" chatter from your son. If he can't speak to you about unimportant things now, he won't speak to you about important things later. Also, in the not too distant future, he'll likely find that you are the uninteresting one and you'll wonder "why doesn't he want to talk to me anymore".
Thirded. Your son has never been an adult, how could he possibly know what an adult may or may not find interesting? He is still discovering "new" things at an astonishing rate and wants to share that with someone. Feel fortunate that person is you. It won't always be this way. You, OTOH, have presumably been a 10 year old, don't you remember the sense of wonder and wanting to share?

I have 3 kids, all grown. One has a husband and kids of her own. My wife and I are most humbled by the fact that our kids still like to hang out with, talk to and ask advice from us. I hope they always do, and I hope many of our conversations continue to revolve around "nonsense trivia".
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Old 10-08-2018, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Maastricht View Post
  • I also try to concentrate on stuff I want to do, only to have him barge in with nonsense trivia, as he is quite the chatterbox. I gently remind him to consider if his remark will be interesting to his audience, several times a day.
  • I find I'm too impatient, to teach him to do chores around the house. I should do that, but it is just easier and quicker to do it myself, even if that makes me resent the kid just a little. We fall into old patterns too easily.

So: anyone have any insight on how to reset the relationship with my son so that I can be more relaxed around him?
Forgive me for saying this and I dont mean to be rude, but kids sometimes need to just talk. And be damn glad it is with you. Learn to like or at least tolerate what he is talking about. And dont be judgemental or throw out your own dislikes. I remember my mother couldnt understand my love of skateboarding and football.



And again, I dont mean to be rude, but could the patterns you are talking about such as not wanting to listen to your son, also be something you were doing to your ex which helped to drive a wedge between you? Did you ever tell your ex to "consider your audience" about the things he wanted to talk you about or were upset if he didnt want to talk about things you wanted. Did you get impatient with how he did chores?



This isnt meant to be rude. My wife and I often have trouble finding common subjects to talk about. We are all human and have our negatives.
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Old 10-08-2018, 03:03 PM
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Maybe if you took up an interest in parenting and child development, his novice attempts at conversation and chores would be less annoying. Read up a little and maybe they will start to be interesting personal examples of what the process is rather than annoyances.
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Old 10-08-2018, 03:22 PM
Dendarii Dame Dendarii Dame is offline
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Go for walks with him, and let him talk about whatever he wants to talk about during those times, at least.
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Old 10-08-2018, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Maastricht View Post
[*]I also try to concentrate on stuff I want to do, only to have him barge in with nonsense trivia, as he is quite the chatterbox. I gently remind him to consider if his remark will be interesting to his audience, several times a day. [/LIST]
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Originally Posted by Nava View Post
I find your first two points contradictory. On one hand, you want him to not be glued to a screen, which includes interacting more with people. On the other, you only want to hear him talk about things you're otherwise interested in. Remember this contradiction the next time he wants to tell you about something you couldn't care less about. If I only talked with The Niece about the things we both care about, we wouldn't go beyond "good morning" and a bit of music!
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Originally Posted by Beckdawrek View Post
As a Mom of 3 adults I have listened to way more pokemon, minecraft, various movies and other kid shit than I could ever tell. Now I am on to grandkids. My grandkids like me because I get down on the floor with them and LISTEN. I have heard about barbies, my little pony and candy crush til I turned blue. You don't have to be interested in the subject matter to make the kid feel cared for and heard. It will only help him in the future if you do. o he's talking to. I have seen many teens who are free agents and are bad news. IIf you don't, I assure you he will find someone to talk to. You may not approve of wht's not pretty.
So, get in there and do the heavy lifting of parenting, it's your most important job, ever.
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Originally Posted by FloatyGimpy View Post
Listen to the "uninteresting" chatter from your son. If he can't speak to you about unimportant things now, he won't speak to you about important things later. Also, in the not too distant future, he'll likely find that you are the uninteresting one and you'll wonder "why doesn't he want to talk to me anymore".
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Originally Posted by IvoryTowerDenizen View Post
You are also teaching him that other people's value in what he has to say is more important than his value on what he has to say. The idea of him finding a good ďtimeĒ to interrupt rather than if itís worth enough to you to interrupt is a better guideline.

But be generous with your time with him- itís probably what he'll remember most about his childhood.
These are very true and very important observations. The chiding you mention, it is a damaging and bad habit.

I have a son of the same age, and yes he is a chatter box and talking about things which I do not find interesting myself. They are little boy things which he finds interesting, so I pay attention and try to learn what is the thing he finds interesting and ask him the questions about it. I learn about aspects of his life besides me that I would not know and it is also the teaching of the communication as a two way flow.

Barge in with nonsense trivia is a phrase that carries a heavy judgement on a ten year old.
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Old 10-08-2018, 04:13 PM
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I also try to concentrate on stuff I want to do, only to have him barge in with nonsense trivia, as he is quite the chatterbox. I gently remind him to consider if his remark will be interesting to his audience, several times a day.
I'd like to focus on one point.
Be grateful your son wants to talk to you and don't discourage him with relentless criticism.

The reason I say that is because I'm autistic (Asperger's Syndrome;not diagnosed until I was 55) and so I didn't talk at all when I came home from School.
I was totally absorbed in chess (which neither of my parents played) and reading science fiction (which they weren't interested in.)
I find it incredible that my parents put up with all this and still gave me a loving and secure home.
I am so grateful to them.
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Old 10-08-2018, 04:38 PM
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Nth-ing the suggestion to listen to your son, no matter how uninteresting and nonsensical you consider what he's saying.

I have a ten year old niece right now who is much like your son - she will talk relentlessly about what she's into, and nothing makes her happier than someone taking the time to listen and engage with her about those interests (I spent literally five days discussing Minecraft with her and watching her play. She was thrilled. I am now the Fun Uncle.) Her mum, my sister, finds her to be a "difficult" child - she's really not - and I see some of the intolerant, annoyed behaviors she tends to aim towards my niece in your post.

Engage with your son. Listen to him. Pretend you're interested (even if you're not). He's at a very important age for that sort of thing - he needs to know he can talk to you and you'll hear him.
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Old 10-08-2018, 06:25 PM
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It never ceases to amaze me when parents think parenting is all about themselves.

For crying out loud, would you ask your new honey not to bother you with nonsense trivia, and to consider whether you would find what he has to say interesting? No, of course not, because that would be cutting and rude, and enough of that kind of talk would make him dump you.

And you may just find your kid dumping you when he grows up, just when you need him most, with that kind of behavior.

Christ, my parents did a lot of things wrong, but at least they never told me to not talk to them because I was boring them. Unbelievable!
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Old 10-08-2018, 07:29 PM
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I also try to concentrate on stuff I want to do, only to have him barge in with nonsense trivia, as he is quite the chatterbox.
Just try to remember... it's not nonsense to *him*.
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Old 10-08-2018, 08:57 PM
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Teaching your child that their thoughts and opinions have value is one of the most important things a parent can do.

If you teach him that his interests and topics he’s excited about are boring and stupid, he learns that he is boring and stupid.

It’s nice that you’ve found a new man, but if you treat spending time with and teaching your son how to be a reasonable person, like a monumental chore, I expect that soon he will just choose to spend more time at his dad’s house.
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Old 10-08-2018, 10:38 PM
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So: anyone have any insight on how to reset the relationship with my son so that I can be more relaxed around him?
No, I've not got any good suggestions. Like you, I was hoping that someone here would have something to offer. I thought it would be interesting to see what people had to say.

I'm truly sorry that instead, all you've got is people repeating your self-criticism, as if that helped you or validated them.
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Old 10-08-2018, 10:53 PM
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Maybe this is a language barrier, but regarding your son "bothering you with useless trivia": Do you think everything you say to him is totally fascinating to him? Betcha it isn't.
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Old 10-09-2018, 02:05 AM
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Trying just to limit myself to answering your question about resetting your relationship with your son:

You probably have already thought of this, but does your nerdy hobby potentially hold interest for him? If it was something you can do together or that you can teach to him, that can be a really good thing. Can you find a new hobby that both of you will enjoy? If he is a bit aspergery about trivia, can you get him interested in trivia about your hobby or something that does interest you?

The thing you mention about chores, maybe have a discussion with your ex and come up with a common set of chores that your son is required to do regardless of which of your houses he is at. You will *have* to do some teaching along the lines of (for example) "This is how we put away the laundry in this house," but if you and your ex have generally the same expectations for him regarding chores, the consistency will make it easier for him to learn and develop the habit of helping out. Consider the time spent teaching him as an investment in your son's ability to take care of himself in the future, and in getting some free labor around the house.

Set your expectations conservatively for how much teaching of chores you will have to do: for example, tell yourself upfront "I'm going to have to tell him how to do this 20 times over the next five months before he gets it." If he gets it faster, yay, and if he still doesn't get it, he is either screwing with you or he has some sort of learning disability. If either one was the case, I'm sure you would have figured that out by now, though.

You probably are aware that a ten year old is right on the cusp of starting to become a more interesting conversation partner in terms of understanding complexities and nuances. So the next time he bothers you with uninteresting trivia, start a more interesting conversation about some aspect of his subject, or something else, and thereby model your concept of more interesting conversation, instead of basically telling him, "be more interesting!" Delve into complexities that interest you a bit; if he doesn't understand, it is at least exposure to more complex thought and will start to give him a framework to work with in the future.
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Old 10-09-2018, 03:48 AM
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I only skimmed the thread, but I am in a situation somewhat similar to yours.
With my son, I have a loose, but rigid structure for home life. We take turns deciding the evenings entertainment. He has chores, some of which I help and or directly supervise, some I don't, they get done weekly regardless of which day, his choice of day. He helps me plan and prepare meals amd clean up after. I encourage jim to go play with his friends and to take his phone with. If the street lights are on before he gets home, he should be calling and is late. I'm pretty firm with the rules, he has to have a good reason if he slips up, but talking about first time violations so far has been good enough to prevent more.
I'm always open for his hugs no matter what, and if I'm busy and je wants to talk about something, at most I ask for a moment to get to a good spot to stop whatever I'm doing.
It's all about mindset, really. This is your child, and he is a child, learning by watching and emulating you. And the lessons you teach, mostly the ones you didn't know you were teaching but also the ones you intended, will manifest in his adulthood in ways you will never expect or predict, but you owe it to him to teach the best you that you can.
And that is what works for me, hope some of this helps
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Old 10-09-2018, 07:56 AM
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No, I've not got any good suggestions. Like you, I was hoping that someone here would have something to offer. I thought it would be interesting to see what people had to say.

I'm truly sorry that instead, all you've got is people repeating your self-criticism, as if that helped you or validated them.
Really? When I read the thread I hear, over and over, this advice:
1) listen to your child, even when what they say is not in your area of interest.
2) let the child learn to do chores, even if they don't at first do it to your standards

IOW, don't expect the child to be an adult. Sure, teach them to be an adult, but don't expect it to happen at 10 years old. The parent, who has much more life experience, is in a better position to accommodate the child's needs and abilities than vice versa.

You may not agree with or like the advice, but it's here.

Last edited by Doctor Jackson; 10-09-2018 at 07:56 AM.
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Old 10-09-2018, 11:54 AM
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I am 61 and in my 3rd round of mental therapy. The biggest issue in my life is that my voice is not heard. One of the reasons? My parents didn't listen to me when I was a kid. So start listening to your kid's uninteresting chatter and hope he turns out o.k.
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Old 10-09-2018, 12:32 PM
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[*]I also try to concentrate on stuff I want to do, only to have him barge in with nonsense trivia, as he is quite the chatterbox. I gently remind him to consider if his remark will be interesting to his audience, several times a day.
When I was a kid I loved baseball more than life itself (not much has changed) and no one else I knew did. My Dad wasn't interested in baseball, and I wished for more than anything else in the world that he would be. I felt really alone in that.

Figure out one or two things your kid's into and talk to him about it. It'll be the best gift you ever gave him.
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Old 10-09-2018, 03:54 PM
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Really? When I read the thread I hear, over and over, this advice:
1) listen to your child, even when what they say is not in your area of interest.
2) let the child learn to do chores, even if they don't at first do it to your standards

IOW, don't expect the child to be an adult. Sure, teach them to be an adult, but don't expect it to happen at 10 years old. The parent, who has much more life experience, is in a better position to accommodate the child's needs and abilities than vice versa.

You may not agree with or like the advice, but it's here.
Yes, those were two of the three things that the OP identified as needing change.

Now, have you any insight on how to reset the relationship with [the] son so that [op] can address their self-identified problems?
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Old 10-09-2018, 04:02 PM
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The advice is solid, but the tone of the thread feels kind of harsh and at times a bit too personal. Those of us who are parents have likely all struggled at one time or another, after all, and I think it's commendable that Maastricht is asking for help.

Maastricht, I'm guessing that you're an efficiency-oriented sort of person, and you're trying to train your kid toward the same goals. There's nothing wrong with that on the margins, but overall, you just have to keep in mind that what you want is impossible.

Seriously, though -- and I'm sure you know this intellectually -- kids literally don't work that way, and it wouldn't be developmentally appropriate if your son did. He is having to learn about the world from first principles, and to make connections between events, actions, and consequences that you figured out long ago. That is necessarily going to involve a lot of false starts, rambling thoughts, and what feels to you like wasted time. You know the quickest way to wash dishes, but he needs to dawdle and to learn what happens if he does it one way, then another. And it's exciting for him to talk about all the new and experimental thoughts he's having.

Indeed, your point 3 made me laugh, because I found that to be one of the paradoxes of parenting that no one tells you about. When my kids were babies, and I was putting their shoes on, or washing their dishes, or stuffing them into a car seat, there were times when I would long for the day when they would do these things for themselves. Then when they reached the ages where they started doing those things themselves, I found myself chafing at how long it took, and mentally shouting "Just let me do it!"

Try to take the long view. It feels like time-wasting in the short term to let them dawdle through a task, but in the long term it's to your advantage to let them figure these things out. Moreover, if he digs in his heels over something and resists you, then you're really wasting time. It's ultimately more efficient to tolerate some inefficiency.

On point 1, I have found it helpful to set a rule for the screen, that he can only have it for a period of X minutes, no more than Y times a day. Then warn him a few minutes before time runs out, so he knows it's coming, and it's not a surprise when you take it away. For my six-year-old, I can still cite to the Rule as something external, so in some sense he doesn't see me as being a bad guy myself; we're both just a couple of people following the Rule, and what else can you do? That may not work so well on your son, since he's older, but maybe you can say that these are the screen-time limits that the doctor says is best, or that the government recommends. Use his Stage 4 moral reasoning to your advantage.


Quote:
Originally Posted by peedin View Post
I am 61 and in my 3rd round of mental therapy. The biggest issue in my life is that my voice is not heard. One of the reasons? My parents didn't listen to me when I was a kid. So start listening to your kid's uninteresting chatter and hope he turns out o.k.
Blah blah blah.

Kidding! I'm just kidding! I actually wanted to mention that yours is a username that I recognize and follow. There is someone out here who values what you have to say.
  #30  
Old 10-09-2018, 04:25 PM
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Ramira Ramira is offline
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Yes, those were two of the three things that the OP identified as needing change.
She identified as needing to change? No not in the content it very far from clear that the real problem of the not listening and valuing is what is the subject, not really. The advice of virtually all on this is in any case is exactly the proper advice, that the attitude about the son's chatterboxing is a core problem and she must change her way of looking at it - Embrace the minecraft .

It is also of course in remembering these threads that one can take away the strong impression over years that the self presentation she makes has very strong blindnes to her own behaviours similarities with one of her parents and what she criticises of that parent. It is not shocking, it is a frequent blindness among people of course. But for me it seems - and it is not a new impression but I am moved by the comment on the son to write it, that she uses her professional training and the phrasing in a certain kind of transactional way.

It is perhaps a blindness and one does not open eyes to blindness from the cheerleading.

The insights on changing the relationship by changing the approach to the son by listneing to the boring and engaging, this is the very core and the very most important advice.

strange to miss it.

Last edited by Ramira; 10-09-2018 at 04:26 PM.
  #31  
Old 10-09-2018, 05:14 PM
Tom Tildrum Tom Tildrum is offline
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Maastricht, one other thing as to point 2 that I think you're overlooking: The fact that your son wants to talk to you so much is a big indicator of your success thus far at parenting. He likes you and trusts you! It's not the measure of success that you're looking for in the moment, but it's huge! Besides, that's how parenting goes; one constantly has to revise or set aside one's expectations as events develop.
  #32  
Old 10-09-2018, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Maastricht
I also try to concentrate on stuff I want to do, only to have him barge in with nonsense trivia, as he is quite the chatterbox. I gently remind him to consider if his remark will be interesting to his audience, several times a day.
A lot of posters have advised being a listening ear to your son, and at the risk of being contrarian, I’m going to differ a bit.

Your son needs to be heard and appreciated, yes. But he’s of the age where he should be learning how conversation works. It’s not just one person talking at someone; there should be sharing on both sides.

If he comes to you talking about minutiae, try to engage him on the topic. Act interested, throw some questions at him, get him to explain. And then try to shift the topic to something you can both relate to and have interest in. Lecturing him about knowing his audience might feel like rejection; steering the conversation to mutually agreeable territory will allow him to learn how to have a 2-sided dialogue. You want to listen to him but the ideal is that he does the same for you.

Conversational skills can make or break a person socially, particularly among the talkative. If your son is showing weaknesses in this area (not just with you but with others) it’s your job to help him.

Last edited by you with the face; 10-09-2018 at 06:47 PM.
  #33  
Old 10-09-2018, 09:52 PM
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One thing about the talking that several people have mentioned, and which links with you with the face's post: timing.

Listening to him is super important; learning when and how to engage someone's attention is important too. About anybody from my hometown who's got memories from 1990 remembers my Abuelita, it's amazing how many people have mentioned to me her "is anybody bleeding?" If she was doing something, talking to someone, whatever, and you went to her with something supermegaurgent (as things children want to talk about always are), she'd ask "is anybody bleeding?" If the answer was no, then you waited until she was done and could give you her full attention. And if the answer was yes, whatever she was doing got dropped barely slow enough to keep it from breaking. Teach him how to interrupt and to accept delays; try to be as accurate as possible when indicating how long the wait will be (is it "just a moment", or should he go back to what he was doing and you'll come get him?). This will be an important skill for him to have, it will make his interruptions less irritating, and it will make it easier for you to engage with him.

And of course, when you interrupt him, the same rules apply! "Lunch is on the table" is an order and it should be fulfilled before the meal gets cold, but if you want to talk with him about... dunnow, whether he would like to go to the movies on Saturday or Sunday, that can wait until he's done with the current game-task. He needs to signal/tell you how long that's going to be, he's to pause the game / close the book /whatever quickly, and you've got to wait patiently.
  #34  
Old 10-10-2018, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Melbourne View Post
Now, have you any insight on how to reset the relationship with [the] son so that [op] can address their self-identified problems?
IMHO, one does not "reset a relationship". In order to change the nature of a relationship, one or all parties must consciously change/adapt conflicting behavior(s) and, over time, the relationship evolves accordingly. In this case the advice to the OP is that the onus of change is primarily on the adult.

No one is compelled to take the advice offered in this discussion and it may well be dead wrong, but it is here.
  #35  
Old 10-10-2018, 09:03 AM
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Left Hand of Dorkness Left Hand of Dorkness is online now
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I'm gonna differ a bit, too, from the general thread: at ten, a kid needs to know how to tell a story and how to play verbal tennis.

A lot of kids tell stories in a stream-of-consciousness style, just throwing out fact or event or detail or feeling without hierarchy, order, or punctuation. You don't know what's important about what they're saying, you don't know where your focus should be, and you don't know whether the story is going to end in five seconds or five minutes. And it can be exhausting to give that sort of storytelling your full attention.

I work with my fourth grader on this. "What's the most important thing about this story?" I'll say. Or, if I've got something to do, "Can you finish this story in the next thirty seconds?" It sounds harsh, but she doesn't resent it (believe me, I'd know, that kid has a glare like Cyclops), and it helps her figure out how to structure her stories.

The other thing we work with our kids on is taking turns in conversation. Dinnertime can turn into a contest of who's going to talk the most, telling the plot of the book they're reading, or what they played at recess, or what their thoughts about farts are, or whatever, and they can get angry at their sibling who's talking, or who's interrupted their 3-minute-monologue to say something of their own. As parents we try to model asking one another, and the kids, questions to elicit elaboration and to show interest, and we encourage them to do so.

This is, of course, very different from how adults treat each other. That's okay: I don't expect to be teaching my wife basic social norms, nor do I expect her to be teaching them to me.

What's key to this isn't a blithe acceptance of however a kid tells a story; what's key is a genuine interest, expressed through teaching the kid how to tell the story and to carry on the conversation well and interestingly. Given the right skill set, they should be able to talk about nearly anything they want.
  #36  
Old 10-10-2018, 11:59 AM
glee glee is offline
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Originally Posted by Maastricht View Post
I got divorced a year ago, and most things couldn't be better.

For those who want an update: My ex and I haven't had a fight since the divorce talks started. We had a quick , easy and cheap divorce; shared mediator, everything arranged in 6 weeks, total procedure cost of 1500 euro's. Neither of us asked for, or pays the other money or alimony. No fights about stuff, on the contrary we both liked the fresh start and the chance to declutter the house. No fights about custody.
Just to start another point - I'm glad you had a peaceful divorce.

However (based on my decades as a school teacher), any divorce is hard on the kids. They may not show it, but usually they feel they are at least partially to blame.

Something to bear in mind.
  #37  
Old 10-11-2018, 09:30 AM
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Kiber Kiber is offline
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I find tremendous gratification from interacting with my kids and their cousins. However, it's often not in the moment - but later on that I realize the true value. Perhaps an example will illustrate. Last week we had a family gathering including my 3 kids and their 3 cousins. After cleaning up dinner, everyone gathered in front of the TV to watch playoff baseball. The adults were interested in the game, the kids were just there. In the moment, I would have preferred to sit down and watch the game as well. Instead, I grabbed a football and asked one of the cousins if he wanted to throw it around. Within a minute or two, all 6 kids were out in the yard throwing the ball with Dad/Uncle Kiber. We had a lot of fun and I did enjoy it, even if it wasn't my selfish first choice. Looking back, it reminded me of times when I was a kid and adults showed interest in me - not just other adults. And now I realize that I don't miss having watched the game one bit. Instead, I'm grateful for the time spent with the kids. As I get older, I'm realizing how quickly those moments will vanish.

I try to build and maintain connections with each of my kids. Since they're each so different, no one size fits all. It means discussing what interests each of us. Sometimes there's a common interest that makes these connections easy and natural. But sometimes, it involves spending time hearing about their interests, which often seem foreign or strange to me. I find that I often don't really care about the topic itself. But because I care about the person, I'm grateful for the interaction.

On re-reading, I guess none of the above is really advice. But I typed it so there it is.

In the end - you want to do better. And that's probably the most important part. All parents screw up. A lot. The ones that recognize it and try to improve - they're the better ones.
  #38  
Old 10-12-2018, 09:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melbourne View Post
Yes, those were two of the three things that the OP identified as needing change.

Now, have you any insight on how to reset the relationship with [the] son so that [op] can address their self-identified problems?
There is never a magic reset button.

One must simply begin to change their actions. Begin listening. Begin directing the child to do chores. Once the status quo inertia has been overcome, it will be easier.

One has to do the work.
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