13 March, 2012

9 y.o. mood swings?

We had a pretty dreadful time with our middle son on the weekend. But it wasn't an isolated event. He's never been an easy child, but lately we've had some nasty mood swings and outbursts of anger. He's become very picky about our words (i.e. if we aren't 100% accurate, or use metaphors). And a few other things. But Sunday he was looking slightly OCD on one particular issue and we began to become concerned. 

As I often do when I'm puzzled, I did a quick Google search, typing "9 year old boy mood swings" and found this article. It seems to describe our son fairly well on many counts. I've heard of Terrible Twos, and even the word "tween". But really, is it true that this is a difficult age? If you've been there, please let me know! 

It is tricky in our job, with lots of transition it isn't easy to pick out the "stages" in the midst of life's upheavals. So at this age our older son had different "issues" and we must have missed the "tween" age as a distinct stage. At this point, though, our lives are relatively stable and this behaviour just seems unreasonably extreme. But then, this boy has tended to "unreasonably extreme" most of his life (but not in the Manic-Depressive way). The oddest thing to us is that his teachers don't know a thing about it! He keeps all the ugly bits for us at home.

To be honest, I'm not sure that teenage challenges are going to take us much by surprise, we've been dealing with those sorts of issues for a few years now, even though we're still a few months short of having an official teenager.

But, please tell me, are 9 y.o.s really prone to mood swings and angry outbursts? Or are we going crazy?


Meredith said...
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Meredith said...

Here's a couple of thoughts that might help you though. Firstly I remember as a teacher of nine year olds (and later of pre-pubescent 12 year olds) describing to parents how wonderful their children were at school, at which point they would be reaching for their wallets to show me the photo of their kids to make sure we were talking about the same person...that I hadn't mixed them up with someone else. And we all agreed that if a child was going to "cut loose" somewhere, better it happens at home rather than in the public domain. When they are out, that is when you want them to shine.

The other is that we have a saying in our house, my husband and I. We read in some toddler or 0-6 year old how to raise kids book at some time that children need to stretch their wings, explore, push the boundaries...and they will do that in the place where they feel most secure. If they are scared of their parents, they will test the boundaries away from them. If they feel most secure at home then it will happen at home. So we often look at each other and say, "Good to see he is feeling secure!" Helps us to laugh.

The other thing (did I say just a couple of things...) is that I have a theory about teenagers based on when I was reading my toddler taming books with our toddler boys, watching my sister raise a teenager. It seems that 12year olds are a more sophisticated version of two year olds...testing new found independence. Three year olds and 13 year olds are testing more and pushing boundaries. Think about how you treat the 0-10s and do it all again, in a slightly more ramped up version - the cycle of finding independence seems to repeat itself.

Go well. And take good courage from that article.

Footprints Australia said...

I don't remember specific examples or ages from Mr 17, but there were a couple of stages like that when he was younger.

I was assured by others that boys experience a "testosterone surge" at certain ages (around 5 was one, perhaps the tween stage the other?) and that's what is causing it. So take heart, you're not alone!