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My 17 Year Old Son has completely changed and I'm struggling

My 17 Year Old Son has completely changed and I'm struggling

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Mon_265

My 17 Year Old Son has completely changed and I'm struggling

Hi I'm knew and this is quiet a big step for me to be putting this onto paper so to speak but I am really struggling and I'm not coping at all. My 17 Year Old son (only child) has up until last year been an amazing funny loving and caring human being and the two of us had a special bond full of love and good memories we have never!! had any issues. He was always enthusiastic always wanting to achieve well in both school (his above average)  and outside activities had dreams and great friends never angry ( and I can honestly say never) wanted to go to Uni was already thinking about his future.      

 

Last year he changed he just became a lost soul hated school no longer smiled wouldn't talk to me or even socialise with me or anyone else, told me he had no friends was never happy he made it all up . We knew something was wrong and we did try and psychologist, but my son said that didn't help. It was the worst few months of my life the pain of it all watching him suffer broke me .

 

As time passed he got a bit better started socialising again with friends then got himself a girlfriend. Things have been say 85% better the last few months (school was still an issue he just gave up and didn't care which still wasn't him ) and he had the odd bad day but I was relieved and glad to see we have come out of what was a very traumatic period for all of us I kept saying I couldn't go thru that again and was thanking the stars thinking we had made it thru.

 

Then about 3 weeks ago it started again. He told me he could feel it creeping up. He has since split up with his girlfriend and was devastated. But now i think he is worse than last time , not only has he stopped talking, he is now showing anger he gets easily agitated he won't even come out of his room to eat with us and his is becoming defiant.(He is still socialising and going to gym) I can see he is in pain and yes we have booked an appointment with someone but we literally after ringing 20 people couldn't get in till next week.  But my heart is broken and I am trying everything to help but it literally keeps getting shoved back into my face,  I am very patient I do listen and I don't tell him to fix himself, I tell him I love him every day and that I am always there, I think I have read every article I can read. I can't function I am a person that carries the weight of other people and I am trying to be so strong so I can help him but truthfully I am slowly fading and can hardly get thru my day without crying. I'm not sure what I can do but i thought maybe actually saying it loud to other people that may have experience at this might make me feel better?? I'm so sorry such a long post.

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Courtney-RO

Re: My 17 Year Old Son has completely changed and I'm struggling

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Hi @Mon_265 

Thank you for reaching out to us about this and sharing your story. I'm sorry to hear that things have been so hard recently with all that has happened with your son. I can only imagine how difficult this must be for you.

 

It sounds like you have tried a lot of different things to try and address the change in your sons behavior. I was just wondering if anything changed after he saw the Psychologist last year?

 

I am also wondering how you are looking after yourself during this difficult time? It's important to practice some self-care to make sure that you're getting through this too. If you have not already spoken to a professional about this, I would highly recommend speaking to a professional to get some support and advice around what your next steps should be. One helpline that you can call for advice is Parentline. You can call them to talk to a trained counsellor and get some advice around what you can do.

 

We are all here to listen and support you.

Parent/Carer Community Champion
Birdwings

Re: My 17 Year Old Son has completely changed and I'm struggling

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Hi Mon_265,

Welcome to the parent's forum, and I encourage you for getting out of your comfort zone and sharing your concerns or your son's wellbeing. We have a 17 year old son too, as well as a 15 year old daughter. 

We have had ups and downs with both of our kids, and times where each of them has withdrawn, turned off school or been hostile and I've needed to have my thinking cap on and that's also what brought me to Reachout and the also the parent forum here. 

One of the things which I mention frequently in here and has been covered on a Reachout video is the effectiveness of connecting with your teen in the car. While we've been culturalised to make eye contact, that can also be confronting and ii can actually be quite effective to be sitting side on when talking to your teen so situations like driving, fishing, walking. It's worked well for us, although my son often criticises my driving which isn't appreciated. 

You didn't mention whether your son has career aspirations and this can be a motivator, but if there is something that he's interested in, or used to be interested in, that could be a good starting point. 

Of course, some of this is all wishful thinking and perfect world sort of stuff. Our son had been really keen to get his L's and all of a sudden refused. Then finally we booked a time and he failed one question and stormed out. Was absolutely devastated and hasn't been back. He also left school early into Year 12 and while I was devastated at the time, as the year's gone on and we've had the dreadful four month lockdown, I'm glad he left. He's at the younger end of his year and really should've repeated years ago, but they don't do that anymore and he's academically bright. 

Our son has had times where I'd say he had suicide ideation and he tried to hurt himself once in front of me and I called 000 and took him to hospital after that. There was another time he had a massive meltdown and we took him again then. 

What's probably helped our son most was being part of our Church youth group and being mentored by the leaders there. He has been part of scouts since he was seven and is now in Venturers and that's been a fantastic thing. 

Have you been in touch with school and the school counsellor? That can be helpful to see if he's being bullied or having trouble fitting in. 

Try going driving or bushwalking with him where you can talk without direct eye contact. Sitting alongside someone can be less confronting. 

Also, I wanted to ask you whether you've been experiencing extensive lockdowns where you are as that's affected a lot of people and in quite complex and unpredictable ways. 

Meanwhile, I encourage you to take care of yourself and get out of the house, go for walks, get some sun and do something you enjoy each day - a treat. This will helped keep you fueled for the road ahead. You're no use to anyone if you run out of petrol. 

Take care and best wishes,

Birdwings

Casual scribe
Mon_265

Re: My 17 Year Old Son has completely changed and I'm struggling

Thank you for your support. Last year he wasn't keen on a councillor and said it was no help. He didn't click . This year he has asked to see someone (anyone was his words). But as everyone knows so hard to get in. So 1st app is this week. And yes I have come to the realisation for me to cope I too would need to seek help with I have just started as well.
Casual scribe
Mon_265

Re: My 17 Year Old Son has completely changed and I'm struggling

Thank you for your kind words. Yes we too have been in lockdown for 4 mnths. It definitely made matters worse . He does have certain future aspirations and we have started asking wether he would like to start thinking about maybe acting on these. I honestly think he doesn't know where to turn atm as in leave school and yes he has just started yr 12 or leave etc I have offered a nice road trip some days of school or anything else he might like to do ..and Counsellor app this week so let's hope baby steps may help . Thnx
Parent/Carer Community Champion
Birdwings

Re: My 17 Year Old Son has completely changed and I'm struggling

Hi Mon,

That's good he's agreed to see somebody. Has he had a look at any of the fact sheets on Reachout? I managed to mention them to my daughter today. We were parked in the driveway and having a really good chat where she mentioned that her friend's mum who has been a good friend of mine has a drinking problem and I had no idea and it's affecting the kids and they're getting pretty high level intervention apparently. Anyway, my husband sticks his head out and then her brother. Oh golly. These things are difficult but it's all baby steps at least at the beginning and t's very very slow to get her to open up. She doesn't go well with professional help so I see them and get ideas. And I come here. 

While professional help is good, I also think it's important for people to feel empowered to make changes themselves and to have some faith in their own capacity. This is actually what good professionals do. They will ask what has helped in the past to get him back on his feet, or help him feel better and hopefully he'll remember how he got through and that he can do it again. there are also a lot of seemingly simple things which make a difference. Going for a walk, run, having regular showers, getting sunshine, writing, painting, gardening, singing, listening to music. However, I know myself that inertia, shutting down, denial can be very alluring. I get into my work and hours go by. It is a constant effort to reach a balance, and I find I get away with it for a few days and then the reminders come back. 

I hope that helps.

Best wishes,

Birdwings

Parent/Carer Community Champion
Birdwings

Re: My 17 Year Old Son has completely changed and I'm struggling

I just noticed this reply. The lockdown has had an impact on your people and their aspirations. Hopefully, this is temporary. If we can stay out of lockdown and keep the numbers down (perfect world I know) hopefully we'll all start to right ourselves. Our 1 year old son wanted to be a sound engineer and had a part-time job starting just when lockdown started and now has tinnitus. It seems very hard for him to get a break. Meanwhile, our 15 year old has started working casually at McDonalds and that seems to be doing her a lot of good with getting back on her feet. She loves having her own money, and is meeting new people there and plenty of stories when I pick her up. It's about 5 minutes drive from our place but these quick conversations make a difference and add up. They also seem a bit forgiving at Maccas and are used to working with lots of young people. That sounds like it might be down the track at the moment for your son and we're moving slowly with ours but I try to scout around and get ideas. 

Lastly, I don't know if you know many other parents of teens or his friends' parents. I used to go out for coffee with them somewhat regularly when they were younger but now most parents are working and covid just shut things down. I particularly used to talk to the parents at the dance studio and get a feel for what was going on. It was losing these networks which brought me to the parent forum here. I hope this helps. 

Best wishes,

Birdwings

Active scribe
NM74616

Re: My 17 Year Old Son has completely changed and I'm struggling

I have been going through this with my son for a year now. He is 18 and now in college and everything seems to be getting worse. I had him in counseling but now he refuses the help.
Like you I stay supportive and tell him I love him every day. I look online daily for tips on what to say or do.
His moods switch quick. And when he starts spiraling it goes on and on.
Reading your story and others makes me feel less helpless and less alone.
It’s a very scary battle to be in when it comes to your child. Especially as they get older and more out of reach.
Like you I cry daily. Any time I’m alone. I’m not sure what way to turn or how to help when my son is against any help I can get him.
I feel your pain. And I feel so alone in this
It has changed my life over this past year. I won’t leave the house if he’s home, I can’t focus at work because all I do is worry and just one text from him will have me out the door running to figure out how to help him. I don’t feel safe making plans with friends in fear that I won’t be reachable or be able to leave quick enough to get to him.

Your post made me feel less alone. Thank you for posting

Community Manager
Philippa-RO

Re: My 17 Year Old Son has completely changed and I'm struggling

@NM74616 it sounds like you are such a caring and supportive parent, and I'm so sorry to hear how much stress and worry you're going through. 

Do you have support for yourself or people you can talk to?

I'm so glad that reading about others' experiences has made you feel less alone. Heart