Amber P, I'm glad you mentioned how influences outside the family home, particularly at school also affect our kids and can be behind what our teens are getting up to. That thought crossed my mind later. It can be easy to forget how intense, challenging and stressful things at school can be and our kids are also interacting with their friends and going through their situations as well. There's a lot of people interaction and school work and capacity for things to go well and equally pear-shaped. When it comes to your own son, my feeling would be not to ignore what's going on but not to get all heavy about it. Maybe go on a few drives with your son and just have some good chats and maybe mention how you feel in a non-confrontational way. I think at 12 you're starting to build towards getting through the teenage years and ways of keeping communication open and connecting. Finding some activities you both enjoy such as board games, family computer games, bushwalks, movies just some way to stay connected and talking. Some how you need to know if your teen is getting into difficulties and keeping that communication open is good groundwork for that. There are times where it is quite difficult to reason with your teen bt if you have this good grounding, it makes the more difficult times much easier. Running away has always seemed like a good option and a bit of a utopian thing for young people. The grass seems so much greener and maybe utopian. We live near the beach and one of my daughter's friends is homeless and sometimes sleeps in a tent at the beach. It seems like bliss to our daughter and that has made it hard for me to take a hard line with her. However, I think she has enough sense to stay put and has turned a corner recently. At least, I hope she has.
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