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Toxic relationships

Toxic relationships

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Toxic relationships

My 14 year old has been in and out of a relationship with a similarly aged girl. My son has depression and anxiety. The first 8 months of there relationship were like a rollercoaster. Most of the disagreements are because of her flirtatious behaviour online and in public with other boys, especially with her ex. They would have a disagreement and my son would would take his frustrations out on whomever he could find in the family home. Attacking his siblings, causing arguments, and being verbally abusive towards me. It is helpful to note that this behaviour is very seldom displayed when his father is home. When he is dating this girl he is constantly on trouble at school for fighting in her honour. They broke up 3 months ago. She insists that they still be friends. My son is heart broken. He has tried blocking her on his phone and social media but then she insists on seeing him in person. She is still governing him and he gets abused if he even spends time with female friends. The girl keeps telling him that she loves him but can't be with him. Every time he starts to get over her she reels him back in. This week I have had 2 phone calls to pick him up because he can't face her in class and yesterday she turned up at my home. I have tried banning her from the house but this just causes my son to become aggressive. In his mind she is the love of his life and I am trying to destroy any chance he has of winning her back. She wants my son to be at her beck and call and expects him to be faithful to her whilst she plays the field. He is already on suicide watch. I fear that if this doesn't stop it may eventually push him over the edge. I feel powerless.
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Re: Toxic relationships

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Hey @Mumof5boys

 

It sounds like you’re going through a difficult time with your son at the moment. It must be hard to see your son go through (what seems to be) a rollercoaster of emotions with this girl, especially at the vulnerable age of 14.

 

It’s difficult to know what the next “right” step to take might be. If you’re in Australia it might be helpful to call a parenting helpline for advice. This website may help you find the right one for you.

 

Aside from Suicide Watch, has your son got any other supports?

 

I’m sure there are many other parents out there who can relate to your situation.  I’ve tagged them here for some more support: @JAKGR8  @sunflowermom @Faob_1 

 

Sending you our love during this difficult time Heart

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I have been thinking about you all day. I’m not sure I can offer much. I did comment about a cheating gf yesterday. 

 

“Heartbreak is tough and Dr Ian Lillico, boys expert, says it will hit boys harder than girls. Girls tend to have a bigger support network for this sort of thing. Your son just needs your love, attention and a good listener. Maybe some gentle questions but no statements. 

A couple of links that might help,

https://www.livestrong.com/article/63440-effects-teenage-breakups/

https://youngmenshealthsite.org/guides/relationships-how-to-deal-with-a-break-up/

 

Boys wear their hearts on their sleeves. 

 

It sounds like you’re trying to support your son while respecting his wishes. Your poor son. Something I find that helps in these situations where we parents “know better” is to talk to my kids about my heart parent and my adult parent. I explain how I understand what they want (heart) and want to respect that but as the adult in this relationship I am going to do/decide something else (they probably won’t like). That’s why I am the adult. I explain how teen brains are going through so many changes and tend to make “emotional” decisions and that’s why I, as the adult, have to step in. You might need your partner’s support to get through that though. You can still talk to your son about what is happening, what he can do and what you expect. 

 

Now, not knowing how you parent, the tough love side of me would cut off/restrict his internet privileges and maybe change his social media accounts. Talk to his teachers about keeping him separated from her and insist on no unannounced visits from any friends for while. They can be invited, call, text, parent arranged but this way you can deny access to her under a blanket rule not just because it’s her. You may need to apply this to the whole family. You could insist on an open door policy in the house. (Mine try to use air con as a way out of this but I just suggest they move to the lounge room if that’s their problem). You can turn on Do Not Disturb on his phone and customise it so only certain people, like family, can get through. 

 

I am not sure any of that is helpful but I did find a couple of sites you might like. 

 

peers-friends-frenemies

 

psychologytoday

 

Minefield relationships

 

Another consideration is, does the girl know how unacceptable her behaviour is? You might not be able to address this but your son or his friends can. That’s another chat altogether but maybe the school counsellor can help. 

 

Sorry for the rave but my heart goes out to you. Sending heaps of positive thoughts your way. Big hugs.

 

JA
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Thanks for your support. After reading through a few articles yesterday I spoke to my son using the parent heart and parent head. He became very defensive and defiant when I told him I was banning her from my home. We returned from his headspace appointment and she was at our front door. Whilst he was on the phone arguing with his father about her being banned I asked her to leave and politely told her that she was not welcome in our home and why. Needless to say that the fallout was so epic that I locked him out of the house for my own safety. It took a few hours and we texted back and forth. His texts were vile. Mine were more along the lines of I love you but the rule is for your benefit and our home is a safe place not a place to facilitate negative drama. After about 2 hrs he came home and all seemed well. Unfortunately he went to school ok today but has since been abusive to teachers and is now suspended. He is overprotective of his phone and it is the crux of his problems at school. I have been struggling with him for over a year now and I think it's time to take a harder stand on disrespect. We will be disconnecting his phone today. Wish me luck. I know the fallout from this is going to be really bad and it is against advice from headspace but I have tried everything else.
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Re: Toxic relationships

Hey there @Mumof5boys  - what a difficult and painful situation. Must be so hard to know what  to do . 

What was the advice of headspace? 

It sounds like you've tried lots of different strategies, and you have to take different approaches now. 

 

We're here to listen, and thinking of you today . Let us know how the phone disconnection goes - I hope the fallout is manageable. 

Heart

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OMG you’ve had a tough day. It’ll really help if you and partner have a united front. I love how calm you have stayed/pretended to be. It’s a big step. It might help to remember there is a difference between needs and wants. I use that on my kids a bit. Keep us posted. Love your work.
JA
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Re: Toxic relationships

Hi there
I'm a single mum of a 14 year old boy. Your son & my son react quite similarly to things going wrong - with anger.
My son recently told me he has been feeling depressed & thought about self harming many times.
Anger in teens can be a sign of depression.
My son recently commenced antidepressants & is finally talking to someone - the guidance officer about stuff (not everything but at least opening up).
Do you think your son may have depression?
Will he talk to anyone? You mentioned headspace. I would like my son to give them a go but he won't.
My son has admitted to anger management issues. He's been told things like leave the classroom, get a drink, wash his face. Does your son have the option to do this at school?
I completely understand the defending in her honour - my son has been in fights over now ex girlfriends, friends & himself - defending honour.
A psychologist I spoke to said that when teens are over come with anger, the anger takes over & that can't rationalize or think clearly.
It's so hard to get them to understand they need to walk away, not get involved, let things go.
Then stuff is posted on social media.
My son is also attached to his phone like yours.
It's so hard to know what you do & how to help them.
When they are angry they take that anger & frustration out on us.
I feel helpless a lot.
Wondering where my parenting went wrong.
How my child has changed so much since high school.
I wish I could offer something more helpful. I truly do understand how you feel & what you are going through.
I hope & pray that our boys come out of this soon & become the respectful young men we raised them to be.
I'm sorry you are going through this difficult time.
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Re: Toxic relationships

I'm so sorry, I just realised after posting that yes your son has depression & anxiety - exactly the same as my son.
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Re: Toxic relationships

Wow you are so brave taking the step to disconnecting his phone.
The only semi control I have over internet is that my son has to hotspot off of my phone. We don't have nbn or ADSL at home.
He has unlimited call & text but only gets 1gb on his $10 amaysim plan. Sometimes I don't recharge if behaviour has been bad.
I wish we could take our kids back to the 1980s. No smartphones, tablets, unlimited internet.
It's an addiction.
I hope you are managing ok.
Thinking of you.
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Hi @Mumof5boys,

 

How are you going this week after taking the phone away- we would be really interested to hear how these first few days went and how you are holding up?

 

There are some really great insights here from @Nikkita and @JAKGR8. On thing that resonated with me in reading through all the posts here is the anger teens are feeling and struggling to manage these big emotions. I am wondering if you would find these articles helpful too: ReachOut Parents have a resource here about unpacking anger and things to try. 

 

When teens are unhappy with the outcome of a situation, I can imagine that is a really challenging position to be in and wear the brunt of the anger. You are doing a good job @Mumof5boys - trust your gut because you know your kids better than anyone and have their best interests at heart. Even though they push back now, you are making decisions that will help them in the long term Heart

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