Teenager concerns

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-11-2003
Teenager concerns
4
Sat, 06-14-2003 - 9:21pm
Good evening,

I have become increasingly concerned about my teenage son(almost 16), lately. I think he might be depressed, among other things. He's a "good kid" and we have a pretty close(yet sometimes strained)relationship. He is well-liked by most of his peers and many adults. However,in the past month or so, I have noticed a change in his tolerance level for frustration and annoyances(he's always had a bit of a short fuse, but lately he's had no fuse). Additionally, a sport he's been involved with for the past seven years and in which he excels, has become a burden to him("It's no fun anymore" he has said more than once.) The last report card of the school year was quite poor and although his father,step-father and I are very disappointed in his grades, we have addressed it calmly with him. Since school has gotten out,he's been staying up late and sleeping in late the next day and doesn't seem real motivated to do anything, except watch TV, play Playstation, etc. I must add, though, he's never been a really energized/motivated/goal-oriented kiddo.

The top concern I have is something I discovered this weekend. Because of his behavior, I admit, I have been snooping a bit. I got into his e-mail and found one letter to a girl where he asked her "When are you going to let me hit it"? I assume this is a sexual term?

And in looking at the condom box we keep in our bathroom, I counted the # in there and I think it's lower than I remember. I don't know when the heck he's haveing sex, if he is, because we keep pretty close tabs on him. A week ago,I found some crumpled up papers where he'd written some song lyrics(or perhaps copied them from a CD he has) that were pretty violent and derogotory. I did confront him on this and he remarked "I'm bored Mom, it's no big deal".

Before he left for an out-of-town trip this weekend, I had a long talk with him and asked if he was sad or upset about anything. He said he was angry, not sad. I told him that anger is a sign of something deeper and that if he needs/wants to talk or I need to get him help, I am there for him. He seemed to be OK with what I was saying, judging from his body language, etc.

Mothers of teens, any advice or insight you can give me would be so appreciated. As I type, my stomach is churning and I feel very anxious/worried.


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-02-2003
Sun, 06-15-2003 - 4:06am
well. he *sounds* like a *normal* teenage boy. but you are right to be concerned. I went thru similar stuff with my son (minus the sex part) and he DID turn out to be VERY depressed and stopped going to school. I am not saying that is the story here. keep on eye on him. maybe his dad or step dad are the ones who need to talk with him - it might very well be sex/girl orientated and he might be embarrassed to talk with you.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Sun, 06-15-2003 - 6:35pm
I have a ds almost 16 (this coming Thursday in fact), too. And a 13yo ds. They've both gone through phases where all they want to do is sit in front of the TV or video games - when that happens their time gets limited. DS16 rarely plays video games or watches TV anymore but I still have to keep an eye on ds13. I'd give him 2 hours a day or whatever for 'electronic stuff' and tell him when his time is up he has to find other things to do. If he can't think of anything you can come up with plenty of chores I'm sure! Encourage him to get together with friends you approve of, take a class, join a group or team, etc. And you are wise to keep an eye on his emails - sounds like there is reason to be concerned.

What type of trip was he going on this weekend? Follow up on your conversation about his anger and hopefully if he's aware that you have concerns he will be able to open up to you.

Good luck!

Pam



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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-19-2003
Wed, 06-18-2003 - 8:46pm
Sounds like you have made a great start with your discussion with ds about what is bothering him. Keep reminding him that you are there for him and really want to see him happy and involved in life.

If his mood doesn't improve, take him along to the doctor just to either confirm or rule out depression. If he is clinically depressed there is nothing worse than for that to go untreated. (Be a little cautious of drugs though - see if the doc can recommend an organic or naturopathic treatment. Anti depressants have their place but are quite often over prescribed).

jlsjjsmom is right when she says it might be wise to get his dad/stepdad to have a talk with him about what might be the biggest issue for him. Men can be useful in times like this.

As for the "sex". I'm at a loss I'm afraid - haven't gotten to that stage with my two but I'll be keeping an eye on the board when I do. To be honest, I'd rather be missing a few condoms from my bathroom cupboard than find out I'm going to be a granny before my time.

Hugs and loves for you both,

Lynette

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-23-2003
Tue, 06-24-2003 - 9:33am
I have a son who just graduated from high school. Lately, he has seemed to be a little restless. He, too, stays up late talking to friends on instant messenger and playing video games. Also, he has made some poor decisions about behaviors and some other things--nothing really serious. I bought a book for him the other day by Jay Mcgraw (Dr. Phil's son), called "Life Strategies for Teens". I didn't know what his reaction would be when I gave it to him, but he surprised me by looking through it and saying thanks. He said he needed to get his life straight. I think his problem was that he didn't know where he was going. He had gotten to the point where his role changed from high school student to graduate and he wasn't sure what that meant for him. He's going to college in the fall, so he'll still be a student, but it will be alot different from the past. He's just a little lost now. I've seen him reading the book and I hope it will help him to find the some direction for his life. I'm not relying on the book to teach him how to live. I just know that, in his eyes, I couldn't know what he's going through (even though I've been there, too), but this young person who wrote the book is somebody he can identify with. I don't know if this will be a solution for your son. I don't know how open he would be to reading this type of thing. If you think he wouldn't read it, maybe you could read it and work the things in the book into your conversations. I hope it helps.