A continued frustration in our family is Cole’s unwillingness to step up his communication at home. He’s frequently moody and unhappy about his choices at home either during the early evening hours after school or on weekends when we’re trying to balance getting errands run, taking care of little home projects, homework, and fun. He’s often whiny and angry and rarely willing to take the time to try to communicate exactly what it is that is bothering him.

I understand that running to the grocery store and Target to stock up for the coming week is not the ideal way to spend weekend time for a thirteen year old boy. I do. I also understand that hanging out with your parents may not be the end all be all either. However, whining, teeth grinding, and angry grunts are no picnic either. The fact of the matter is that we’re frequently bound together on the weekends even for the fun activities and when one of us is non-communicative weekends often become unpleasant.

The frustration for Dan and I is that Cole has means to communicate, beyond his ability to convey things without words, he has his Tobii (eye gaze voice output device). Of course, he refuses to use Tobii at home. I don’t know if, by the weekend, he’s just cooked from the effort output all week at school, or if he’s just stubborn. Well, he is stubborn, but I’m not sure about in this circumstance. The trouble is during the weekends, he also boycotts answering questions even those requiring a simple yes or no, two words he’s mastered.

His refusal to communicate makes all of our home time more stressful and anything but relaxing. It makes everything we attempt to do somewhat unpleasant. Even when we successfully do something fun or accomplish an errand without this behavior, it reappears as soon as we leave something and head home. It’s like he hates home, except I know that’s not the reality. I understand he’s sometimes sad that something is over, but it doesn’t warrant the behavior. We try so hard to illicit answers and to try to make things all right, but lately it rarely seems to work.

Nothing is more heartbreaking than seeing your child unhappy, and nothing is more frustrating than seeing that he’s not willing to help himself. His stubbornness and misery get in his way and he just can’t seem to shake it. I don’t know if it’s a teen topsy turvy mood thing or if it’s more endemic than that. I wish he would let us in on the secret. I wish he would trust that if he tried to communicate with us we’d listen.

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