My son hit 9 years old and started behaving like a teenager. Surly, moody, aggressive. I wanted to not be around him, but that made him more agitated. Strategies that previously worked to motivate and encourage him were greeted with ‘that’s not worth it for me, Mom’! I was horrified, and frustrated.
Turns out this is a recently studied phenomenon as the 8 or 9 year old boy gets a surge of hormones. ( 9 year old hormone surge) Girls seem to get it later, and are not affected like this at 9 years old.
What solved the problem was when I went towards him.
I deliberately spend more time saying goodnight and just lying next to him in his bed. We wasted time together doing nothing. I encouraged him to sit on my lap for a cuddle. The more time we hung out together, the more he started to share little bits of information that previously went undisclosed. They are minor and relatively unimportant tidbits for now, but crucially we are opening the channel of communication for when he’s older, and the information is more sensitive and potentially worrisome.
As a result, he’s much more relaxed, less desperate for attention. He knows he has my undivided attention in a way that he feels is enough. And the effects of the hormone surge seems to be more manageable… for now!