12 Year Old Behavior, Manners
My son just turned 12, is in 6th grade, and seems to be slipping backwards in terms of how he relates to us and his friends. He's generally been pretty socially savvy, pretty confident, and has a good group of friends, has always been liked by boys and girls, etc. I'd also say that he's usually averagely polite to us parents - not often rude, and enjoys a close relationship with both his dad and me. (But he is a talkative, noisy, funny and slightly smart-alecky kid - which seems hard-wired, so we generally accept it.) He's an only child. But in the past few months he's become MUCH mouthier and talks back in rude and aggressive ways fairly often, especially to me, his mom. His dad isn't here all that much and doesn't see much of it, so to a fair extent, I am the primary parent and have to figure out how to deal with it. He's also becoming quite rude on some playdates and seems to have "forgotten" how to treat guests in our home. He and other boys get into arguments, he tries to demand his own way, he sulks, refuses to participate in games he doesn't want to play, gets furious if he gets physically hurt by a friend (which is 95% an accident, but he often assumes it was intentional). All these behaviors seem normal to me for a kid of 6-7 or younger, but unacceptable at 12. I didn't see much of this the past 2-3 years, that I can recall. It feels like it's ramped up to become the "new normal" just in the past 3 months since MS started.
Is this typical? I am getting seriously tired of all of it. I've said I will not host more playdates if his behavior doesn't way improve immediately. I flatly do not want to see this self-centered nonsense anymore on playdates, and his rudeness to me needs to end now. I am exasperated. But my question for you wise parents is, am I missing something? Is this a 12 year old thing? Am I being fair? Is my parenting lacking? Are there any books or sites that have helped anyone dealing with similar issues?
I'm sensitive to all this partly because I really worry about the coming teen years, and partly because as an "only" child, I think it's super important that he have great social skills. Anyway, thanks in advance!