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Teen is lonely and depressed

Teen is lonely and depressed

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Casual scribe

Teen is lonely and depressed

Hi, I'm new here and could use some support. My almost 17-yr-old son is very depressed and lonely. He had two best friends who are brothers since age 3 and they seem to be drifting awY from him. Nothing happened, may be due to other interests and getting older, but my son, as an only child, has considered them family and now they never reach out to him and don't respond when he reaches out to them. He had friends in school who he no longer heard from because he now goes to a different school. The guys he believed to be his friends at his new school have only included him twice in get together outside of school and they don't respond when he texts them, yet they all hang out at school. I've always encouraged him to reach out and try to get involved in activities in or out of school but he is very shy and unfortunately his dad has set a terrible example of just sitting around with his iPhone and rarely going anywhere or doing anything or reaching out to people. Tonight my son really opened up about his loneliness and feelings of rejection but became frustrated when I tried to make some suggestions. He's so lonely and depressed and has no interests other than video games and Netflix because that's the way he comforts himself--by retreating. I just don't know to do and I'm so sad and worried for him...

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Mod

Re: Teen is lonely and depressed

Hi @Teensmom, welcome to ReachOut. Thank you for sharing your experience with us all. Just so you know, I have moved your post into its own section and created a title. This means that other parents will be able to find your thread more easily Smiley Happy I hope you don't mind.

It is a shame that your son has lost connections with some of his childhood friends. As you mention, this could simply just be drifting apart as a result of age and time. It must be heart breaking for you to hear your child discuss how lonely and isolated they have been feeling. It is such a difficult space to navigate because it can be a very sensitive area and it may explain why your son became frustrated. A lot of people just want to be listened to and heard.. and sometimes suggestions can cause people to feel pressure. I am not sure if this is the first time you have chatted about this with your son.. but bringing up the situation a few days later may help. You could start by asking your son how you can best support him through this.

We are an Australian based website, so unfortunately we have no local services to offer for your country. Usually we recommend a Parent Helpline. Perhaps there may be one that exists in your country? Please keep us updated, we are so glad you have reached out for help Heart
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Parent Community Champion

Re: Teen is lonely and depressed

My son isn't a teen so my thoughts are based more on my teen years . It is good that your son opened up to you but also not surprising he took some of his frustration out on you when you offered suggestions. My father didnt have technology to hide behind but instead would come home tired and hide in front of the TV. There was a 1/2 hr or so window of opportunity for 4 kids to try and discuss anything during the evening meal. Needless to say I never really communicated with my father until I was in my forties . My thoughts to you are try to convince your husband that his help is needed with not your, but, our son. That it isn't acceptable for him to put his head in the sand or phone in this case, that your boy is hurting and needs help from his family.It sounds at present it's a case of like father like son, I have been guilty of similar due to a total lack of parenting input from my father in my personal relationships due to poor communicational skills. In fact I am seperated and divorcing largely because of it. I have had to really retrain myself so that I dont also ruin my relationship with my 10yr old son. I now make time for the 2 of us , to chat to read books, and I make him go camping and fishing, he makes me play video games.We both are learning from each other. I was lucky growing up in that my mum tried hard to be both parents but you are not and I was not part of a single parent family. Both you and your son deserve better. Speak out for both your sakes.

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Casual scribe

Re: Teen is lonely and depressed

Thank you, I just saw your reply and appreciate it. Very complicated situation in my home and marriage. I have spoken up many times, respectfully, to my husband but it hasn't helped much. Now with covid, it's a nightmare but my son is already so used to being home with just me or both parents in the house. It's very concerning to me that now 17, he is missing out on vital opportunities for connections but I have to be thankful we're all healthy. Hope you and your family are well. Thanks again.
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Casual scribe

Re: Teen is lonely and depressed

Thank you, I appreciate your reply which I just now saw. It's complicated, but at least we're all healthy now that we're forced on lockdown. Hope you and your loved ones are well.
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Community Manager

Re: Teen is lonely and depressed

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Hi @Teensmom , 

 

Thanks so much for updating us on how you're going. I'm sorry that covid has been hard on your family. I think a lot of people have had similar experiences, the added stress and pressure of people being at home all of the time, and all of the other changes in our lives that have come with this pandemic, have been incredibly tough to cope with. It is great to hear that you are all safe and healthy, though. 

 

You might have already seen them, but I just thought I'd share some resources that ReachOut have developed to help parents and their families cope with these weird times, you can find them here - they include articles on helping to cope with study stress, but also on coping with the covid pandemic in general. 

 

How is your son at the moment? I know in Australia we have quite a few online options for counselling, do you think something like that might interest him at all? 

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Scribe

Re: Teen is lonely and depressed

I can relate to what you are experiencing.

My daughter is 16 and recently her teacher called to inform me that she has reached out to them as she is experiencing issues. I was shocked as she looks happy and her normal self. This led me to uncover more of her writings about not being included in group chats, friends whom she thought were her friends are in fact, not that close at all. She has written she is lonely and depressed. Much like what your son is experiencing. She spends more time in her room, more so now with COVID and online learning.

 

We are a stable and supportive family but it seems that this does not fill the void of a firm and stable friendship group at school. My daughter joins lots of activities in and out of school and it seems this could be part of the problem. Her sister's advice is to stick to the same group of friends rather than be a 'floater' with no firm friends. For your son, perhaps enrol him in a sport that he likes?

 

If the place you reside has Headspace, give them a try. They offer counselling and some activities for teens during school holiday. Hope that would help.

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Re: Teen is lonely and depressed

Hey @MelbourneMum, welcome to ReachOut and thanks for sharing your experience. It sounds like it was a quite a shock to uncover that your daughter is feeling lonely and depressed. Please feel welcome to make your own thread if you would like to. You can do this by clicking 'Start a topic' in the top right hand corner. Once again, thanks for sharing your insight Smiley Happy