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Bronte2

Lonely teen

Hi everyone, I have an 18-year-old son who has no real friends and makes little attempt to put himself in situations where he will meet people. He started at a new school this year but struggles with social anxiety and then we were in lockdown so he hasn't connected with anyone.
I know he's lonely but he won't see a psychologist and he won't talk to us about it - he seems ashamed whenever we try to suggest joining groups or contacting old primary school friends. I'm just so worried that he won't know how to form a close relationship with someone in future.

Mod
Kathleen_RO

Re: Lonely teen

Hi Bronte,

 

Thank you for sharing your experience. It sounds like you care a lot about your son, and it must be difficult to see him feeling this way. You’re doing a fantastic job with reaching out for help.

 

This past year has been a difficult year with being in and out of lockdowns. Also starting a new school can be very daunting. Combing these two experiences together could be very overwhelming experience for your son.

 

I would suggest continuing to support your son by checking in on him on a regular basis and keeping those communication lines open and regularly discussing how your son feels. In regards to his new school situation, I would suggest giving it a bit of time as it takes time to make new friends and to settle in within a new school.

 

Does your son have any hobbies or interests outside of school? Maybe it could help with taking the pressure off your son with social anxiety. I have found with my own experience If you’re doing something that you love to do this can sometimes help alleviate anxiety and naturally attract other potential friends who like to do the same thing.

 

Also, another helpful resource is online support such as groups, forums, and live chat. Sometimes this can help with getting support online if an individual is experiencing social anxiety or struggling with asking for help in person. This also might be helpful to recommend to your son.

 

It's wonderful to hear the level of care that you have for your son and the efforts that you have made to support him. Have you been receiving any support yourself?

 

We're here for you and think it's wonderful that you're seeking help.

 

Look forward to hearing more about your situation.

 

Casual scribe
Bronte2

Re: Lonely teen

Thanks so much for your response Kathleen. He does have good hobbies in tennis and music, but he seems unable to push any potential friendships to the next level.
Scribe
meg1208

Re: Lonely teen

HI there! I just joined this forum and saw your post, I have a 16 year old son, turning 17 end of January.  He has never had an issue with making friends before until we moved about 2 years ago and throughout this pandemic.  He started a new high school and has really struggled connecting or finding other students who are open to meeting new peers.  My son is a gentle giant, at 6'5" , the most empathetic, sweet kind, open young man, loves swimming, being outdoors, loves gaming too.  Just started a new job, outside of school, its not that he isn't open to new friendships but for the first time in his life has experienced rejection in high school and has just not been able to connect with other students or kids who are just open to engaging in new friendships.  He is on swim team, just started a new after school job this week, and really wants to connect with other people his age again, but just hasn't found other kids his age that he really connects with.  We've tried other avenues but he just has really struggled to find other teens that are genuinely interested in having a friendship that means something.  If you want to connect let me know.  

Mod
Kathleen_RO

Re: Lonely teen

Whilst we wait for others to contribute their experiences, I just wanted to know how you are coping. Are you receiving enough support yourself whilst assisting your son?

Scribe
Nico57

Re: Lonely teen

Hi, did you ever find anything to help your son? I am in the same position with my son (16.5). I live in the US. It looks like this is an Australian forum?! I have been looking for years for some way to find help with my son to talk to others who feel the same way. It’s so painful as a parent to see your kid want to have what others have and can’t get past just being an acquaintance. Just wondering if anyone has suggestions for a kid that says he doesn’t fit in and sits alone at lunch (he has been to three different schools and it happens every time) . Thanks
Community Manager
Portia_RO

Re: Lonely teen

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Hi @Nico57 ! You're correct, we are an Australian organisation but we welcome parents from across the world to our online forum. I'm sorry to hear that your son is struggling with loneliness, too - it can be unbearable to see your teen in pain, particularly when you have so little control over the situation that's hurting them. You mentioned that your son has been to three different schools, but that he's struggled to cement any strong friendships in any of these places. Is your son shy or anxious in social situations?

I'm also curious about what your son's interests are. Is he involved in any school sports, clubs or teams? 

It sounds like you're trying to support your son as best as you can while he's navigating this rough patch. As someone who struggled to make friends in high school, I can assure you that having a safe place to land at home when you're feeling lonely and isolated at school can make a huge difference, so keep in mind how much you're helping him already. If you think it might be helpful, here's an article on supporting your teen when they're feeling lonely that might be worth reading. 

If your son wants to talk to someone who understands what it's like to be a teen who is struggling, Teen Line is a US-based helpline that is run by teen counsellors who are trained in supporting their peers. They have a phone line and a text service, so if he is keen to talk to someone his own age, this might be worth exploring too!

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