Our expert says:
During early adolescence it is very common for young people to become quite insular, and in particular isolate themselves from their parents. It is part of the developmental process of beginning to think about who they are especially in relation to their family. Peers become the main focus, and often there is a feeling that friends understand more than adults. Many young adolescent boys also experience an upsurge of aggression which is partly linked to the hormonal changes and in particular the sharp rise in testosterone which is linked to aggression. The anger is also about dealing with the dramatic changes happening during the early teen years, and a frustration in how to manage this.
What can be helpful is not to insist on engagement, but to make it clear to your son that if there is anything bothering him that you are there for him and will help. This leaves the door open to communication, rather than insisting on it. The flip side of this is of course that as his parent you deserve to be respected, and that there are limits of acceptability in terms of his behaviour towards you. As the parent you still have the right to have boundaries, but that these will need to change over time, and become age appropriate as he develops.
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