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Communicating with my self-isolating teen

Discussion forum for parents in Australia

Communicating with my self-isolating teen

Casual scribe

Communicating with my self-isolating teen

Hi there
I’m concerned about my 16 yr old Son.
He says he has lots of friends at school but he spends hardly any time with them at all outside of school.
He doesn’t play sport anymore.
Does anyone else have this problem?
Wh n we ask him he says his friends drink and do drugs!! And is that what we want him to do too!
He has a lot of screen time too but we’re trying to manage that.
I’m just worried and wanted to know if anyone else is in the same situation or just me!

Prolific scribe

Re: Communicating with my self-isolating teen

Hi Mumser,

I know how you feel. We have a 17 yr old son who goes to school but when he comes home, he spe ds all his ti e until 9pm on his computer..either youtube or computer games. He has a great bunch of online friends but never goes anywhere with other kids in real life. He seems happy enough doing his life this way. He says the kids at school dont have things in common with him like his online friends do...I have struggled with this idea of spending so much ti e online but now I think my husband and I have realised we need to adapt. I

I think your son is looking for ways to still be sociable without people who are doing things he knows is wrong. Wow! Congratulate him for making the mature choice of npt choosing drugs...thats remarkably awesome to have the confidence and the guts to say no. To me, your son sounds happy. I know it seems to us that they cant possibly be happy without real friends but, I genuinely think this generation ARE. Theyre in a new era. One that we are all struggling to get used to because kids are communicating so differently. But how wonderful that your son knows right from wrong. If I were you, Id keep inviting him to get out and about with you...even if he says no..just keep inviting him. Its important for him to feel that he is still loved and wanted even when he declines your offers. I think these boys want independence from us too but at the same time they want to be close to us. Just love him..let him know hes doing great and take an interest in him..he will come good. 


Star contributor

Re: Communicating with my self-isolating teen

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Hi @Mumser,

Thank you for telling us about what is happening for you and your son- social isolation and social media use are big topics of concerns for parents. We hear on the forums very frequently from parents of young people who have become recluse from socialising. I hope that @hippychick's post shows you are not alone in this experience. 


It sounds like your son is very self aware of the impact of spending face to face time with the school friends, and is really great that he is not interested in doing drugs and drinking with them. Does he have online friends or any hobbies where he can meet people? Was sport originally one of these hobbies? 


ReachOut has some great resources for parents on supporting your child with friendship here and here including some practical actions you can take. You also might be interested in ReachOut's 1 on 1 phone support program for parents (called Parents Coaching) which will support you to tackle this issue and come up with the practical actions. 




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Casual scribe

Re: Communicating with my self-isolating teen

Hi Hippychick
Thanks so much for your reply. Great advice and good to know I’m not the only one! He’s a good boy and I’ll keep plugging away and invite him to do things with us as you suggested.