Counselling a Year 9 boy - need some ideas .

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Prolific scribe

Counselling a Year 9 boy - need some ideas .

Hi all , I have a teen in Year 9 who I have started counselling and I am not sure what to do with him ! 

I have seen him twice  His  parents say he is not motivated to get out of bed in the morning , says he's tired  and does not like to do his homework on time . He watched TV from 4pm to 11pm plays no sports and is very overweight . 

He says he hates , competitive sports , doesn't like walking . It's boring . Doesn't like reading , drawing or board games . Boring .  Every option we came up with together to get him out of the house he says no he's not interested, tried that , ( primary school mind you ) or he doesn't like it .  He says he's not depressed , unhappy with his weight , or has any negative thoughts . He says he's fine with school , family , friends and body image .  I sugggested to him that maybe not getting in to sports might mean that he did not have to have expections of himself and  did not run the risk of failing or letting others down . That staying at home being an observer was the safe option . He said ""probably" 

 but he still does not want to change anything . He said he is fine with the way things are . He sees his friends sometimes and likes video games and TV . That's it . 

They only improvement was that he will try to get to bed earlier so he is not so tired in the morning but he said he can't sleep even if he gets into bed earlier and the TV helps him to relax ! He said he will also use sticky notes to remember his homework . 

I feel completely stumped ! 

Can I find a way to dig deeper here ?  I know that his self esteem must be low even if he says he's fine . There are some blocks there to him living a balanced life and he has many excuses . I just don't know how to get him to be honest with me . 

Should I refer him to a male counsellor ? Appreciate all  your thoughts on this . 

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Super frequent scribe

Re: Counselling a Year 9 boy - need some ideas .

Sounds like you have a tough one there @motherbear. Definitely sounds like has a lot going on he doesn't want to share yet, and as you say, he might be more open talking to a male counsellor about what is happening.

 

Just a question, does he actually watch the tv, or is it more of a background noise thing. I mention this because for the entire time I have been married, my husband has listened to music while he sleeps. It started with a radio going all night, but this disturbed me too much, so now he listens to his ipod with earbuds. He has gotten so used to having the noise while he sleeps, he doesn't sleep properly without it.

 

I know the 'Pokemon Go' revolution got a lot of kids out and walking about including my computer game oriented son Smiley Happy Has he given this a go? 

Prolific scribe

Re: Counselling a Year 9 boy - need some ideas .

Thanks for your response @Big_Crab. He does watch the TV . His watches YouTube and movies he likes . 

I think a male counsellor may do better than me . I must be asking the wrong questions in the wrong way . Thx 

Casual scribe

Re: Counselling a Year 9 boy - need some ideas .

Its almost like we have the same son. Good luck with that.
Parent Peer Supporter

Re: Counselling a Year 9 boy - need some ideas .

Hi @motherbear, this does sound challenging. You seem to have a lot of patience, which will go a long way to building rapport with him Smiley Happy

 

By the sounds of it, I'm guessing he was made to come and see you, as he seems a little reluctant to any suggestions and doesn't see what all the fuss it about.  Would smaller steps work now? By this, I mean, rather than focus on trying to get him to do something outside for now, perhaps focusing on doing other things inside the house could be a start?  What kinds of things did he use to do when he was younger?  What about cooking, anime, video making, creative writing, garage band, reading??? Does he have any pets? You mentioned that he likes playing video games -what are some of his favourite video games? What is it about them that he likes? Does he have any favourite you-tubers? Maybe exploring some of his current interests might lead to inspiring or developing other ideas?? Sometimes it just takes one little thing to start to unlock other things.  I'll be interested to hear what he comes back with. 

 

 

Prolific scribe

Re: Counselling a Year 9 boy - need some ideas .

Hi @motherbear. It is always hard to understand the whole situation before commenting, but here goes. That sounds to me like the parents need to get involved and get their son on the right track. They could use the TV/computer as an incentive: you walk around the block [whatever], I'll give you some time on the TV. They can turn the TV off at 9 pm. That sort of thing. Yes, I know, I'm a dinosaur Smiley Wink

 

I don't think being either male or female counsellor makes a difference. I am certain that some counsellors will "click" with a kid, others never will. I don't think that is necessarily a comment on their quality as a counsellor, it just happens. I also know that it takes time to build a relationship and get through.

 

Cheers

Prolific scribe

Re: Counselling a Year 9 boy - need some ideas .

He sounds like he is completely depressed and mentally exhausted and obviously unable to verbalise his needs. How often do we see the teen who tells us they are fine with the world and are wonderful when we know what they say is completely the opposite, It's confusing for us.

Just a few Q's. Why are you counselling him? Is it the parents choice because of his somewhat normal teen behaviour and he isn't responding because they want him to and they want someone else to fix their issues?
We don't want to be hassled as parents and particularly neither do our teens who are in their own little world. They get angry, we get upset and thus it goes.

He needs boundaries and he needs routine. Of course you get tired when you are doing basically nothing - I could sleep for years sometimes if I had the choice!!

Of course things are fine because he doesn't want challenges. His parents are preventing him from moving forward. Teens are not that different from a toddler. They can't communicate their needs and scream in return for control and security. Teens scream, they demand control but no longer think it fine to communicate as they know it all..

I also listen to music at night - it is soothing when the rest of the world is quiet. It calms me down - something we humans don't do enough of...

My girls are the around the same age - stubborn and yet when they eventually crack and break down - RARE they cry for hours and release the teen pain.

Excuses are so easily given to put parents off track, if we are really listening we can catch a whiff of something not quite right.

I would give him the choice of counsellor so he has control. Honestly is not in his vocab atm. And absolutely remove IT stuff with consequences.

He is controlling everyone and everyone is losing the plot.

Sighhh, doesn't life as a teen parent just irritate us beyond words.

Hope my raving has been a little helpful..
Active scribe

Re: Counselling a Year 9 boy - need some ideas .

One thing I’ve done that has worked really well is to use resources with my kids.  They are 12 and 16, and they don’t always want to listen to their parents.

 

Sometimes I’ll find cool videos on YouTube that we can watch together and talk about.  Other times I’ll find video lessons.  I find videos work the best because we can all watch them together… but I think you have to find videos that are funny and short so that your kids can relate.

 

I use a lot of videos. My kids always like those videos because they’re funny and the topics are usually right on with what my kids are going through.

Parent Community Champion

Re: Counselling a Year 9 boy - need some ideas .

YouTube is a brilliant idea. Could you post a couple links and topics you have used? I could use this with a kid I teach who is challenging to deal with.
Parent Peer Supporter

Re: Counselling a Year 9 boy - need some ideas .

Hi @motherbear as this child is 9 years old the reason he may not be able to sleep could be food related.  If he is eating high sugary foods or drinks or caffeine this could give him a spike in energy.  If you are thinking a male might be more helpful I would try this.  I know my son had issues with female authority and a male psychologist engaged differently.  Good luck and keep us posted.