Any ideas how to respond when a 12 year old says things that are not appropriate in most contexts (for example, calls me "bad mom" or "mean")? He does this often when we have alone time together, and not really in response to a recent situation, as far as I can tell. If anything, he is just generally resentful of perceived slights or times when he feels like I favored his sister. When he says these things, on the one hand, I know there are feelings under there that I am curious about. On the other hand, the words he uses do not help me understand what he is trying to say, and he keeps using them instead of trying to explain. I don't want to shut him down, but my attempts to get a better understanding don't work ("I hear you're upset about something and it's not okay to take it out on me. However, I am here if you want to explain what's going on.") I think he's not fully in defense mode, but I think he may be incapable of saying what is wrong. So sometimes I will just ignore the words he is saying and respond to the feelings I am getting from him "I am here for you when when you don't have words to explain what is going on. I know we'll move through whatever this is together.") With this, I am trying to show some empathy and soothe. But often the situation just escalates, which I guess makes sense as a response to empathy. But there are times when I feel the need to have a boundary of some sort around this, so I take a break in another room. Should I just accept that he is at the edge of his capability right now and I can't really do much more than attempt to emphathize? Should I hold a boundary? Or is there a way to get us out of this rut?

Posted by sophieno at 2023-11-27 05:00:13 UTC