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14 year old boy has run off the rails - needing suppport

14 year old boy has run off the rails - needing suppport

Prolific scribe

Re: 14 year old boy has run off the rails - needing suppport

The intervention we had with True North achieved some improvement. 


The worst of our sons behaviour improved substantially. 

This is in the context that we were on the verge of throwing him out. 


It did not achieve the great turn around I had hoped for. That is not reflection on the program. It is a reflection of a boy that is very stubborn and self centred. 

I would recommend you talk to True North about your specific situation and decide from there. 

Casual scribe

Re: 14 year old boy has run off the rails - needing suppport

Hi Orbit64,
Just wondering if you have a more recent update. My son has just turned 15 and sounds so similar to your son it's uncanny. We're in the 'used up all police cautions, heading to court and youth conferences, being fined almost daily' phase of the process. I'm wondering if you've seen any positive improvements yet and what if anything worked for you.


Super frequent scribe

Re: 14 year old boy has run off the rails - needing suppport

Hi @Bolesygirl
Has your son been assessed for any disorders or mental health issues? Just wondering as underlying ASD (autism), and within that ADHD can be a huge trigger. Especially ADHD if they need medication, or anxiety. Bad behaviour comes from somewhere. They don't just decide to be bad. Quite often they haven't been diagnosed and treated for something, and they are frustrated and tired of trying to fit into neat little boxes they can never fit it. Hormones tend to pop the lid and exacerbate the problem, that maybe wasn't ever a problem Smiley Wink Neither is it likely your fault at all. Happy to stay in this conversation if you want. Been through alot, and have come out the other end so much better. I would also be interested how @Orbit64 went. Haven't heard how they all ended up Smiley Happy
Casual scribe

Re: 14 year old boy has run off the rails - needing suppport

Hi @Designed,


Yes, definitely. He's been seeing a psychiatrist twice a week for a while now and is on a raft of medications. He does have ADHD and also severe depression. But our biggest problem is that he developed PTSD from years of bullying and overly zealous disciplining at a private boys school that he used to attend. Despite our psychiatrist advising against it, the school essentially expelled him (and a number of other boys) over a couple of relatively minor incidents and at the time painted him to be a sociopath. The parents of his friends subsequently forbid their sons to associate with him and his self-esteem and depression plummeted even further. He now sees himself as a 'menace to society' and is on a path of self-destruction. He has completely lost his sense of identity and has befriended all the other kids in the area that display antisocial behaviours. He's easily led and now regularly trespasses, shoplifts and smokes cigarettes and marijuana.

My husband and I are still doing our absolute best to support him but obviously there is a limit to what we can do if he isn't willing to change or accept help when it is offered. We haven't been able to have a normal conversation with him for quite a while now and more recently he has been going to great lengths to avoid going to his psychiatric appointments. As I mentioned in my first post his crimes are starting to catch up with him and he's now being formally charged for a number of misdemeanours. So we need to find a way to break through and at least talk to him fairly soon.

As many others have eluded, there really isn't a great deal of practical support for people in our situation - believe me, we have tried everything. I personally have contacted dozens of agencies and charities. We've considered boot camps, wilderness programs, overseas therapeutic boarding schools, even relocating the entire family interstate or overseas. So far though we haven't found a single person that has had success (other than Orbit64) with one of these and some of them the psychiatrist says could be even more damaging to his mental health. Hence why I'm always interested to hear what, if anything, others have found successful.

It sounds like you've managed to get through a rough time. I'd love to hear more about your story and what finally turned things around for you too if you can spare the time.

Thanks so much for your message. Smiley Happy

Community Manager

Re: 14 year old boy has run off the rails - needing suppport

Hi @Bolesygirl 


Thank you for coming to ReachOut and reopening the conversation in this forum. It sounds like your family have been through a lot. I'm sorry to hear about the experience your son had at school - being bullied and being expelled. I can't imagine how hard it must be yourself and your husband to see him associate with this new group of friends. 


It's not easy but I can sense that you are doing everything in your power to steer him in the right direction. I'm sure there are other parents here that can relate to what you're going through. 

Super frequent scribe

Re: 14 year old boy has run off the rails - needing suppport

I am not really able to share our story on here as such, as this can be read by anyone. But looks like you have done so much for your son already. Well done. It is NOT easy. I assume he is on anti-depressants along with a stimulant?
Only other advice that I found to be priceless:
1) love him love him love him with no strings attached. That does not mean be a punching bag, allowing him to destroy property, or that you stay in a room when he is verbally abusing you or other siblings. Nor does it mean having no boundaries. Just means do your best to speak calmly, don't say things you'll regret, tell him you love him and he'll get through it...even though he says he doesn't care or that he hates you. He STILL needs to hear he is loved. He hates himself enough and believes the lies...he has to have love given to him. And acceptance.
2) Find him a brilliant mentor. A young adult who is PASSIONATE about young people. And especially passionate, compassionate and COMMITTED to him. Someone who understands how his character is wired (good chance he is a feeler-thinker), and can speak understanding of that character back to him...positives and why he is struggling with the weaknesses....all the while they shoot hoops, hang out at Maccas, go for a run, watch a movie, go for a hike...whatever. THIS is the biggest point that saved our son. Finding these special people are like finding a needle in a haystack, I know. But search high and low through headspace/social work, mentoring in school programs, churches...wherever you can think of. Interview people. If you can help it, get the right one first off...the kids get sick of 'another person to help me'.
3) If that mentor doesn't do personality stuff, find someone who connects well with young people who does. It is terribly freeing for a young person to feel okay in their own skin and differences in personality how they tick process the world. IDENTITY!! Psychologists can be great, but sometimes so technical, send them away with excercises to do that for an ADHD boy is over their head impossible. BUT someone telling them that they feel deeply and that is great, that others might not understand them because they can't feel as broadly, that they have amazing compassion for others, that their thinker magnifies the problems, but can be great for solving problems...whatever. But just speaking into WHO THEY ARE in a positive sense, instead of telling them what to do, or how to behave, or how to fit into another box...which is incredibly frustating for them. Honestly, my son's mentor taught him all this while chilling doing fun stuff. AMAZING. And my mentor teaches me the same + my younger kids. I have only given a very brief overview. Google "findingspace Sophie Camac". Read through their stuff. Exactly what I mean.
4) Keep yourself healthy - have your own mentor, psychologist for stratagies self-care, excercise, eat well etc. ACCEPT the support of GOOD friends - they are invaluable. Your friends will sure be sifted Smiley Wink
5) If he is trashing the house, voilent & abusive, put him in the back porch or give him a tent to sleep in outside. Give him meals & LOTS of kindness. Allow him to access a shower/toilet if there's one near the backdoor that be cut off from the rest of the house with a new lock installed. TV can be faced toward a window, comfy bed, warmth, have family meals outside so he can be part of you all, play games out there...whatever. I know this is controversial. I've heard it all. But funnily enough our social worker, psychologist, police all said it was a good idea. We kept safe (including younger children), he wasn't 'kicked out of home' sent to a youth shelter where they make worse friends, all his needs were met. We were fortunate to have had a seperate building, so was still secure for him. In saying that, it didn't make much difference re his sleeping arrangements, as he chose to sleep in town over summer in carparks etc. sometimes which is worse than we provided. If your son has even ONE good, healthy friendship and their family is very balanced and loving and happy to have him stay there on and off, that is the best help. Our son NEVER misbehaved at his second home. They were truely a god-send. Still are Smiley Happy
5) Pray & have real relationship with God. Not sure what can be said of faith in God on here. But without God's love, grace, guidance, peace & protection I'm sure things would have been way worse. And I always had Someone to sob with, tell Him I was angry, and rejoice the small wins with. I was never alone.
Hope these things help or inspire you in some way. Keep going. But take care of YOU. I'll be praying for you Smiley Happy
Casual scribe

Re: 14 year old boy has run off the rails - needing suppport

Have you considered that your son might have PTSD? if you can get him to talk to a professional you might want to have them looking for the signs of post-traumatic stress disorder.

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