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Nightmare 13yr old - help needed!

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Nightmare 13yr old - help needed!


Nightmare 13yr old - help needed!

My stepson has today been dropped on my doorstep as his mother (who he sometimes lives with) and nana (who is lives with most of the time) cannot handle is abusive behaviour anymore. He used to come to our house every 2 weeks but since having my baby he is not interested in coming to his dads. Now he is living with us as his family do not want him back. We’ve been dealing with this behaviour for 3 years now and are desperate for help. Can anyone please suggest any counselling or social services that could help with anger management for a 13 year old??

Parent/Carer Community Champion

Re: Nightmare 13yr old - help needed!

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I am sorry to hear you are going through this. Teens are hard work, especially as a step parent. 


Have you considered Headspace or maybe a GP referral?  There are some great writers out there on teen anxiety which leads to trauma and anger.


I will think some more on this. Sending big hugs. 


Re: Nightmare 13yr old - help needed!

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Hey @AliAli89

This sounds super tough on the whole family, my heart goes out to you Heart 

As @JAKGR8 has mentioned, a GP can be a great first point of call for getting support for your child, does your son have a regular GP? 

We have an article here about teens and anger which you might want to have a look at. It has some info and tips which could be useful.

Managing anger in teens can be so tricky and become very draining for parents, if you are interested in getting supports for yourself and your partner let us know and we can chat about that.

Parent/Carer Community Champion

Re: Nightmare 13yr old - help needed!

Sorry to hear about your situation. I don't have experience with blended family situations. However, I have serious health issues which flare up at times and our son has had some anger issues at times. I am not a trained psychologist. The approached which was used with our son was called the Zones of regulation and it was done through an occupational therapist but psychologists also use it. Here's what their web site says: 

The Zones of Regulation® is a framework and easy-to-use curriculum for teaching students strategies for emotional and sensory self-management. Rooted in cognitive behavioral therapy, The Zones approach uses four colors to help students identify how they are feeling in the moment given their emotions and level of alertness as well as guide them to strategies to support regulation. By understanding how to notice their body’s signals, detect triggers, read social context and consider how their behavior impact those around them, students learn improved emotional control, sensory regulation, self-awareness, and problem-solving abilities. Learning activities and visual supports are included on a USB for easy printing.

I liked the colour-coding with this system as it's visual and straight-forward. 

Whenever I tell my Dad our son's had a meltdown, he says: Have you asked him what's wrong? Quite often, I haven't. 

Finding an activity that you can do with him and build some bonding is good too. Our son thinks he's a wiz at making sauces so I always get him to try the sauce in the stir fry and I let him do his thing without interfering. This makes him a bit of an expert which he likes. Exercise is good for regulating emotions and getting in a good head space. That frustrates me as it's not my favourite activity but every check list I come across about any  area of well being includes regular exercise. You could also find out his favourite foods and cook or buy that to help him feel valued and special. I bake and that cheers people up a lot. 

I hope that helps. None of these things are an instant fix and our son barricaded himself in his room the other night so we're not out of the woods either. However, he was approachable when he came out and the frequency has reduced dramatically. Hang in there and also take care of yourselves and find ways to de-stress. 

Star contributor

Re: Nightmare 13yr old - help needed!

Hi @Birdwings , 


Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with your son, it is so valuable to hear from other parents in similar situations. Learning techniques for emotional regulation and sensory regulation can be such an important skill for teenagers to add to their toolkits, and it's great to hear that you found seeing an OT to be so helpful. 


Do you mind if I ask how old your son is? 


I think the idea of finding an activity that you can bond over is a fantastic one - I cook with my kids a lot as well, and I often find that we're able to have better conversations while we're doing something else than we are when we sit down and talk face to face (the same thing goes for the car - I find we have a lot of great chats when we're driving somewhere). 


What you've written about caring for yourself and finding ways to de-stress is also so important - it's so easy as parents to put ourselves last. What activities do you enjoy for self-care? 

Parent/Carer Community Champion

Re: Nightmare 13yr old - help needed!

Hi Janine,

Our son is currently 16 and in Year 11. I've been seriously ill since he was two and we've had varying degrees of support since then, and I've often had to nut things out for myself. I think we first did the Zones of Regulation when he was in Year 2 and the OT did some sessions with his class as well. This was before NDIS. 

My self-care has a few different aspects. Through this time, I took up the violin and I recently took up the piano again. I don't like making mistakes and am trying to improve so I wouldn't call this relaxing but elf-development is also part of self care. I also am deeply engrossed in researching WWI soldiers' biographies. Our son was supposed to be going on a school history tour through Europe in April this year and spending ANZAC Day at Villers Bretonneaux. I wanted him to know about what our family members had experienced in WWI and it started from there into a monster project. This research project helped get me through being shut inside due to the intense bush fire smoke (I have 50% lung capacity) and lock down and isolation during Covid. It's something I can easily do from home. I'm also very into writing and photography. Photography is really good for getting me outside and focusing and enjoying something else. Went for a bush walk this week and photographed the wildflowers and listened to the wind blow through the trees after a trying time with our son the night before. I blog a lot and have friends from there who have been great through Covid. I also go out for coffee with a friend once a week. He's the same age as my parents and has a good perspective on things. I also try to keep an eye on my breathing and slow it down when I'm stressed. My parents, especially my mum was very involved with our family until a year or so ago. They live an hour away and we're careful about getting together during Covid. 

During Covid, I've become quite conscious of all the extra thinking, processing and planning that's required and have been overwhelmed a few times either because I'm struggled with where to pay etc or people getting too close and not social distancing. So, I've put together a bag like the nappy bag I used to have when the kids were small with mask, gloves, hand sanitizer etc. 

That's taken us way off the original topic but I hope it's helpful.