MissGold asks:

Is extreme silliness normal for a 13yr old boy?

My son is a good kid. However, he can be extremely immature. Sometimes he acts like a 2yr old. Making silly faces  and noises. He plays to much. When it comes to dealing with his 8yr old brother he becomes almost hostile. In school his teachers say he has a bad attitude and can be quite disrespectful. I am currently separated from his father, who lives over 200 miles away, so he dose'nt get to see him that often. I don't think that bothers him, but he does seem to be in need of attention. He is the middle child, his older sister is 15 yrs old. I equally share my attention with all three of my children. He just seems to lack self-control and I am embarressed by his behavior sometimes.  He is a smart kid as well, and he his on a local basketball team. Is his behavor normal or are there steps I need to take to help mature him? I'm a single mom and my son has no males around him at home to help him in "becoming a man".
In Topics: Cognitive development, Discipline and behavior challenges, Single parent families
> 60 days ago



Oct 27, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

You have presented an interesting question.  The simple answer is that silliness is normal for 13 yr old boys, and girls too. The more complex answer is actually embedded in the rest of your question and in the word "extreme."

Besides normal silliness you say your son has a "bad attitude" and can be "quite disrespectful."  You also say he can become "almost hostile" in dealing with his younger brother. These are not attributes of silliness, but rather point to the possibility of underlying emotional issues that may exist.  

You also point to a couple possible stressors for your 13 yr. old son--you and his dad are separated, and he does not see his dad.  Also he is a middle child, and sibling order does have an impact on kids.

As a single mother you are doing an unbelievably difficult job, and good for you for becoming aware that perhaps there are some steps to take to "help mature him." Some degree of maturation is just the normative process of development over time, but that being said, I do think there are some steps parents can take to insure that the child's development to maturity is optimally successful.

I think you hit on something important, in that your son has no males at home.
You might want to consider a "big brother" or a "mentor" program, if one exists in your community.  You might explore those options through the guidance department at your son's school. In addition, I might recommend that you have your son evaluated by a professional social worker or psychologist who can help sort out what is normal development from what might be the developing nature of problems.  If the assessment determines there are underlying stress issues, then a course of treatment can be recommended.

Take heart. You are an observant parent, and that is good.  Seek some solutions that address the "extreme" nature of his behavior, and rest assured that some of it is, indeed, normal.

Let us know how it goes.
Bette J. Freedson, LICSW, LCSW, CGP
Clinical Social Worker
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