07-11-2016 01:36 PM - last edited on 07-25-2016 02:04 PM by Sophie-RO
Hi there. I'm new to this forum, but i can't tell you how timely (and relieving) it is that i came across it.
I'm hoping for some wisdom from fellow members.
My 14 year old son spends his life in his bedroom. Whatever we do to try to get him out, to engage with others, to show enthusiasm for anything, to simply participate in life, hasn't worked. If we go away for an outing, he will come along because he isn't given the choice, but he will sit in the back of the car and drift off into his own little world. We get one answer replies, or simply "When can we go home?"
He doesn't see the need to shower. When he comes out for meals, he won't talk, simply eats and leaves, mostly without a thanks unless prompted.
He is obsessed with his playstation and phone, but even if i ban them, it doesn't make much difference. He stays in there.
I am also told that his friendships at school are changing too. He has removed himself from his long term friends too.
A quick background: I separated from his father (Controlling and abusive) 2 1/2 years ago. He has weekly visits with his dad. Recently we moved into a new home with my new partner, who is a very supportive guy form me and my 2 boys. There is also a 16 year old brother in the picture who is doing extremely well fo himself.
Initially i thought it was just a 'Teenage' thing but now im become more concerned that it might me something more like depression.
Would love to hear ANY snippets of wisdom and ideas...
07-11-2016 05:02 PM - edited 07-11-2016 06:31 PM
HI @vallyval - glad you found us and I hope we can offer you some comfort and helpful advice. My first thought after reading your post was to think that maybe your 14-y-o is struggling to adapt to the family changes -- he's no longer "the eldest" so he's not sure where he fits in? This could also be why his friend group has changed. Manyr teens try on new friends/ideologies/interests like an overcoat to see how they fit. I remember at 14 deciding to become a Communist.
My gut feeling is to take him and spend a day together, just you and him doing something where you are together but not forcing the other to talk. For example, could you take him bushwalking? Peace and nature? Or what about a car drive with something like a museum at the destination where you can be together, just the two of you. Even spending the day together planting a garden. Just be there for him and with him so he knows he's special to you and you love him.After a few hours of grunts, he might even reveal something to you.
He's at the age where he's leaving childhood and becoming a young man. It's hard as a young man to hear your mum complain about your personal hygiene but I totally get it. With my son, I bought him a cool aftershave by some freakin rapper. Then explained it only worked after a thorough shower.
If you can, get him to check out http://au.reachout.com/ - there is such a wealth of experience and peer support there.
If he is suffering depression that's not the end of the world. Many of us here have teenagers with depression and anxiety, or have suffered it ourselves, so we can help you through it.
07-11-2016 06:47 PM
07-12-2016 11:03 AM - edited 07-12-2016 11:06 AM
What do you think @vallyval - any of Mitzi's thoughts strike a chord? I also wanted to suggest that you have a read of these 'things to try' to help boost communication with him and also have a browse of this info about depression - no one but a doctor can diagnose depression but it might help for you to have a read of the information to understand if his behaviour might be indicating something more serious going on....
Do you have any thoughts about what you might try next? You are not alone, we are here to help, keep us in the loop about how things are going....
07-12-2016 06:20 PM
Thanks for reaching out. I really feel for your son - he has a lot going on.
I feel for you too - not knowing how best to respond - I think we all realte to that dilemma
It could be depression and it certainly shouldn't be ruled out. Good on you for being alert that it might be depression. My daughter suffered (and stil does) from depression and I've kicked myself for not recognising the signs earlier.
A separation and a new partner is difficult for kids and especially teenagers, so this could be a reaction to that. Perhaps he is just processing this in his way?
On the other hand, he could just be a normal teenage boy. A friend of mine who taught at boys schools for most of his career, used to call it the "tunnel" that teenage boys often go through - when they don't speak, just grunt and pretty much keep to themselves, often for years! He would also say that when they come out of the tunnel, its like it was yesterday that they disappeared! A good analogy I think
How do you know if its more than a reasonable teenage rection to everything thats going on? Can you encourage him to speak to his teachers or school counsellor or family doctor to assess depression?
Best of luck - hopefully he'll come out of the tunnel soon
07-13-2016 09:04 AM
I tried talking with him yesterday again. Well, I talked and he replied in grunts and monosyllables. I thought it went ok, and with my questioning, i think i might have discovered that he's struggling with the changes etc but he won't elaborate on what exactly.
So last night, things were ok. He came out of his room for a while which is quite rare and engaged in some conversation.
And then there was this morning. I discovered that he had been on his PS4 all night. He lied and told me he went to bed at 11, which is what we agreed on, but i've since discovered that he was up at 2, 4.30 and when i woke at 6am. I was so mad that he lied to me. I feel so let down, that i'm letting him down too and so so lost.
I will look over the links you sent re the depression and communication and hopefully find something from that.
07-13-2016 09:21 AM
Thanks for your input and ideas @Mitzi
Yes, i've made several plans and opportunities to go bush walking,have a movie day together, go for a drive fo lunch fo his favourite meal etc. It takes some coaxing to get him out, and not always successful. I can't make him. But when it does happen it's lovely. And i know he enjoys it, but it's like he just can't make himself or can't be bothered.
Seems that the the moment its 2 steps forward and 3 steps back.
07-13-2016 11:09 AM
It sounds to me like you're making progress. I understand your disappointment with him lying about staying up all night on the PS4. Certainly if he's suffering from lack of sleep that's not going to help his energy levels. Have you also ruled out other possibilities like iron deficiency etc? Nah, probably not, but just in case.
Did you hear him on the PS4 or did he admit it to you? Because it determines whether you confiscate the PS4 power cord from 11pm each night or whether you discuss trust and responsibility and honour codes.
07-13-2016 12:11 PM
Hey @vallyval - just wondering if you've attempted setting the scene for a productive conversation, and then had a heart to heart with him about what he feels is going on? There is info here about how to ask questions that will encourage him to talk.. But it's definitely worth digging a bit deeper than just looking at the behaviour/what he is doing.. what's behind it? It could be a wide range of things but it'd be great to address the cause, if there is one.
And if you have done something like this already, what did he say - what does he think is going on for him?
07-20-2016 04:55 PM
Hey @vallyval! Just checking in again, have we identified anything that'll work for you yet? Or have we not quite hit the nail on the head- so to speak?