16 year old son is lonely

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Casual scribe

16 year old son is lonely

My boy has been struggling for a while now. In 8th & 9th grade (I’m in the US) he had a close knit group of friends. At the end of 9th grade they all started experimenting with pot. It turned into an addiction for all the boys. That’s all they would do when they would hang out. It scared the crap out of me. He stopped getting invites to hang out. Which I don’t understand. He was ok with staying home so he could smoke and play video games (he’s very social and happy when he plays online with various people). We dealt with this until about a month ago (grade 11). He came home from school and I could tell he was sad. He’s very open with me and we can talk about anything. I literally felt my heart break when he said he has no friends. He’s well liked, he’s funny, he’s a gentleman and very smart. He said he is going to quit smoking pot because when he went to take a math test he realized he knew nothing about it and he related that to his short term memory loss from smoking. He hates that he hasn’t been a great example to his 2 younger brothers, who are 14 yo twins. He hates sneaking around and lying to us. He has a job and all his money was being spent to support his habit, he is a saver mostly so this was a sickening feeling for him. He said “he has no one waiting for him when he gets to school”, “I’m lonely” and “I miss my friends”. He decided then and there that he was done and he’s been clean for 6 weeks. I’ve never been prouder. His attitude has improved 10 fold, he’s back to being my sweet lil man. He started a different job that pays very well. He works from 4:00-8:00 M-Th. He says he doesn’t have time for himself. He’s in college classes so that keeps him pretty busy as well. I’d hoped that starting a new job would bring him some new friends. He has a few female friends that he will hang out with every once in a while. I encourage him constantly to reach out to these boys from school he talks about but he says he “doesn’t know them”. I tell him that’s how you get to know them. His old friends are still heavily smoking pot and him, and I, don’t think that would be a good environment for him. He misses the memories with them which I can understand. When I see my son so upset I can’t help but cry and it feels like my heart is being ripped out of my chest. I wish so badly that I could fix this for him, take his pain. I seriously just want to get him through high school because college is a whole new you and new friends. You reinvent yourself. I don’t know what to do. I feel helpless. Back story: I am bipolar and depression runs deep in my family. He was on an antidepressant two years ago for 18 months. His dr felt that because he is still growing, emotionally and physically, we should wean him off of them and see how it goes. I think he is fine w/o it. It’s just these sad times that will hit him hard. He tries to have a good attitude and is mostly a happy kid. He’s not about joining clubs at school, we don’t attend a church if any kind so I’ve got to find another way to bring him out of his shell and put himself out there without fear of rejection. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Community Manager

Re: 16 year old son is lonely

Thank you for sharing your story @Momofboys77. Your love and care for your son shines through your post and navigating friendships, especially when you grow in a different direction from old friends can be really challenging. Does your son have anyone to talk to at the moment? A therapist or counsellor?

 

I'm sure other parents / members may have had some similar experiences and I'll tag a few members here for you @Sister @taokat @sunflowermom @Zoesplace @Schooner

 

Just a heads up, we are an Australian based site so we may not be able to assist too much with more localised services or supports. Also I've edited out your name from your post as we try to keep things as anonymous as possible. If you haven't already you can check out our community guidelines here Smiley Happy

Casual scribe

Re: 16 year old son is lonely

Thank you. Yes, he sees a therapist every other week. I understand that I won’t have the same resources in the US, I was just looking for some advice from other struggling parents 🖤
Community Manager

Re: 16 year old son is lonely

Then you've come to the right place @Momofboys77 Smiley Happy

 

That's great that he has a space / outlet to share what he's going through and he seems to be doing well in staying clean. You mentioned that he said he doesn't have any time for himself, is there room to encourage him to make some time for a interest or hobby? This might then in turn connect him with potential new friends? 

 

Prolific scribe

Re: 16 year old son is lonely

Hi @Momofboys77,

 

That's a good kid you have there. He is turning in to a young man that want to make good decisions - give yourself a pat on the back Smiley Wink

 

I think video games and drugs are very isolating. We moved my son to a school that does not allow portable computers or phones, so the kids have to talk and play at lunch and recess. He loves it, and it is so good to hear his stories about the silly things that happened at lunch time (ball on the roof, chasing someone, playing hide and seek). These kids are in year 10! Some parents think that is a return to the stone age, but they still get plenty of computer time, either in class or at home (well, I lock it down at home too, but that's because I'm a cave-man). We haven't had a problem with drugs (except for prescribed drugs, but that's another story).

 

At the old school my son would say the same thing: "I don't have any friends" (and yeah, that is heart breaking). He had a big group he used to sit with , but they all sat around staring at their computers. Now he has friends he talks and plays with, like kids are supposed to.

 

I asked my son before I wrote this, and he agrees. Computers stop kids from talking and having fun.

 

The way you talked about your son suggests to me that the group he is with are not right for him. I'm guessing maybe he is too smart for them? If you think moving schools is out (and it is a big decision) then maybe try a club? Or maybe he would like to volunteer somewhere? It sounds like he is already busy with work and school, but you might find he is happier to work a little less and do something he enjoys. 

 

Cheers

 

 

 

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Prolific scribe

Re: 16 year old son is lonely

Hi @Momofboys77

First of all you sound like an amazing caring mom!  It sounds like you and your son has some good communication.  I think that is key.  What an awesome smart kid to see the side effect of the pot and realize its not for him. I think that is such a rare quality in young people to get clean on their own.  I know you must be so proud of him.  You are so right when you say he just needs to get through high school and college will be a whole new story.  I guess I would just keep reminding him of that.  Does he have any friends from Jr high that he may have lost touch with or even earlier that he could possibly reconnect with? But that might be easier said than done.  It wont be forever- just keep reminding him.  But also ask him if he is doing anything to reach out to anyone new also.  Sometimes our kids don't even approach new friends due to anxiety or fear of rejection.

Hugs and good luck ! Please keep us posted Smiley Happy