09-06-2021 10:31 AM - last edited on 11-17-2021 03:56 PM by Philippa-RO
Hi, I'm really looking for some advice. Our family is going through a bit of a crisis regarding our 15-year-old son and I have no friends or family I can talk to about it. Our son's had a history of being in trouble at school, diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder & ADHD. He's been violent and intimidating at home and has been expelled for fighting. We have tried getting him professional help from multiple psychologists throughout his life. We have tried everything - removing privileges, involvement in sports, so much love and support. Now he just flat out refuses to attend school and so he is now removed from that school. He disappears most nights and stays at anyone's house who will have him, he takes drugs and gets drunk in parks with groups of teenagers. Right now I don't even know where he is and the anxiety and pain for my husband and I are extremely distressing. We are always letting him know we love him and trying to take the advice and work on our connection with him. The police say unless he commits a crime, they won't/cant do anything. I can't even talk to him as he just blocks my phone calls/texts and when he is home, there is no way he wants to discuss anything. So now, even if I just want to have a quick chat saying anything at all, he won't talk, not even to a casual hi- nothing. I don't know how to keep up trying to be a supportive parent when everyday , he's either not home, or the few times he is, he's aggressive and helps himself to anything he wants. He doesn't want help from anyone anymore. I don't really know what it is I'm asking, I'm just feeling desperate as it's such a painful situation and I feel quite isolated and hopeless. Im constantly fearfil the police are going to knock on the door saying he's hurt someone or has been hurt. I dont understand how any of this has happened, I lack so much hope as he had so many struggles during childhood and now this is how he's coping to feel better. we are a loving supportive family.
09-06-2021 04:37 PM
Welcome to the ReachOut forums @Abby91
I'm so sorry to hear of all that your son and your family are going through - that sounds so difficult.
I notice you mentioned that your son had a difficult childhood and this is how he's coping - I really admire your empathy and compassion for his struggles.
It's so obvious how much you love your son and how worried you are for him - it also sounds like you're feeling pretty overwhelmed in terms of knowing how to support him.
Do you have much support for yourselves?
It sounds like your son hasn't found psychologists to be helpful in the past - I'm wondering if you've connected with any other services as a family, whether for him or to seek support for yourselves?
For example, there are services like SMART Recovery, the Alcohol and Drug Foundation, Alcohol and Drug Counselling online or Family and Drug Support Australia.
These are just a few starting points of organisations that may be able to offer support, or to point you in the right direction of other supports in your local area.
Please feel free to post here any time for support as well - we're here for you.
09-06-2021 11:24 PM
Welcome to the parent forum. I've been coming here for about 18 months now I think since we first went into Covid lock down last year. I'm married with a 17 year old son and 15 year old daughter. Our situation has been complicated y my chronic health situation and we've each had times where we've been angry about that. However, aside from that we'd had issues with our kids too. A lot of teens lock themselves away in their rooms, and I did the same as a teen and spent hours on the phone talking to friends about goodness knows what. I didn't get on well with my mum either. However, there's the zone of the "normal teenage behavior" (as the school put it and it had quite a broad spectrum in there) and then there's the more concerning behaviours.
School is a difficult place for many people. Our son left as soon as he could the day he turned 17. He's young for year 12 and we've been in lock down for much of the time since he left, and so he's treading water. I can't ask him about study, getting his L's or just about anything without him blowing up so I've gone with just trying to keep the conversation going. We like Scrabble, but we had one game of that a few weeks ago. His sister is also locked up in her room much of the time and I get attitude if I mention school with her, or missing her extra-curricular dance classes and get told to leave her alone. I start wondering whether I should just leave her well and truly alone and then she'll start chatting to me about clothes or something as though nothing ever happened. Hello! Fortunately, my husband and I are on the same page and we're pretty much treading water during lock down. I'm saving my energy for when we open up and there's a point to being more confrontational.
The thing I have noticed with my kids is how important their friends are to them, and they will have much more influence about getting them back on track than we do as parents. However, they can also lead them astray as well.
Do you see a psychologist about your son's behaviour? I see one for our son and an OT although he hasn't seen them in awhile and lock down isn't helping there either. I have found this quite helpful and at least I have someone I can talk privately with.
My other question would be whether there's a family member he connects to?
I hope that helps at least a little.
09-08-2021 09:16 AM
Hi, thanks for your message. I'm sorry to hear about your health situation and struggles as well. It's not easy, is it! We are pretty isolated where we are from family so unfortunately there's not really anyone around for my son to talk to. I think you're right though, it probably would be a good idea for me to get some personal help as this is way too stressful and I have constant anxiety. Especially as my son refuses to face things and no longer wants any help. There's a possibility for him to do a course now and he seems far keener on that than school, so I'm hoping this could help. Hoping lockdown ends soon for you makes everything so much harder. Thanks again for your message, it has been very helpful
09-13-2021 04:52 PM
Seeking some support for yourself sounds like such a positive thing to do @Abby91 - I find when I can't seem to do much to change our circumstances, support for me at least makes things feel a bit more manageable.
I really hope you find it helpful.