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17 yr old has no focus - stuck in limbo

(12 Posts)
tinyshoes Thu 19-Sep-13 10:38:58

Any idea? After a year of my son ( a very intelligent able person) being at home having had a close breakdown - doctors say he didnt actually have one - instead was a severe dose of 'teenagerism' with some issues that were helpd a bit by 2 lots of counselling and that if he wanted to go back to school he would and he'd be fine. Well he's gone back and by week 2 has got into trouble and is now excluded for 3 wks.Still having said he wants to go back to school he is not doing any of the school work that he needs to. He simply isn''t applying himself - at anything -school/home/fun- I mean anything -except surfing the net. He tunes out /looses concentration - even on ordinary family chat. We are turning of the internet and are speaking to him frankly - detailing his options - school / ano type f school/or go to work - sitting/dossing around at home doing zero is not an option. Short of throwing him out of the house / sending him on a boot camp, we are bereft of any solutions.We have done everything the doctors, therapists etc have told us. He does not make the connection that effort is required and can't see the point of anything and is critical of the world and the way it functions. Part of me continues to think he is depressed and I know he is very very angry - his lack of action being a form of restraining himself from lashing out. Part of me thinks he has become just plain lazy.I know some of this is teenagerism. but his twin brother is not like this neither the 1000 boys in his school - it's not normlal, although I know it happens. Pl can anyone help with any ideas? We are at the end of our tether.

TheRoadHome Thu 19-Sep-13 13:36:49

Hi tinyshoes. Sounds to me like you may not be able to do a great deal in this limbo time except try to make sure he doesn't get excluded again.

As it is the beginning of the school year he may be able to make up a bit of the lost time. Might he respond to a private tutor? He may enjoy the one-to-one relationship working on an academic subject he enjoys?

tinyshoes Fri 20-Sep-13 07:12:31

Thanks for this - will explore.Challeneg is to get him to take a real enaged interest .... lets hope today a better day!

flow4 Fri 20-Sep-13 09:36:10

Can you get him to take a real, engaged interest in anything? I mean not necessarily in school, but perhaps some other passion... IMO some kids lose their interest in school - it doesn't suit them, they're bored, they're in trouble a lot, etc. - and there's not much you can do about that, because it's to do with the school and the national curriculum, not you. But the kids who 'keep their passion', so to speak, seem to do ok: their other interests, whatever they are, help them tolerate school, I think. The ones who really struggle are those who don't have anything else, who lose all memory of what it's like to feel excited by something and to really want to do it. These kids (IME) not only switch off from school but disengage in other ways, presumably because they can't see the point in anything. My DS1 was one of them: it took him two years to 'recover' from school and find something he actually wanted to do again... Now he's re-engaging in education, and positive life... With hindsight, the problem with him 'failing' in school was not underachievement, or even bad behaviour; it was this disengagement; that he learned to stop doing and to accept being bored... Rather than trying to force him to re-engage with school, which he really didn't want to do, I wish I'd helped him find something else he did want to engage with, so he didn't forget how to engage... I wonder if this approach might be useful for your son too, tiny?

Renniehorta Sat 21-Sep-13 16:46:42

I have been through this with my own son. I would totally agree with finding out what he is really interested in. Forget about school if that does not seem relevant to what interests him.

My son had a kind of breakdown in Y10 and never really got back into school wholeheartedly. He walked out of college after his AS year, when he did not do himself justice. He had met an American girl online and was desperate to visit her. So he worked really hard in a fast food joint and saved up. I was terrified of him going but it was the making of him.

He returned from the USA with a new found focus. He signed up with the OU and got into a Russell Group Uni that way, i.e. he did not have any A Levels. He has just finished an MA and got married to a different American girl.

I tell you this to show that there is light at the end of the tunnel, you just need to find something that is meaningful to your son. With mine it was wanting to learn Spanish.

headlesslambrini Sat 21-Sep-13 16:59:29

what type of things is he looking at on the internet? maybe that will give a bit on insight eg if he is gaming then possibly look at computer games design courses at college, if it's cars then any local car shows going on which you can take him to, if it's facebook then is he talking to local friends or overseas? if overseas then maybe talk about taking a gap year to go travelling or hook up with charities which look for volunteers to work overseas

Chrissy60 Sun 22-Sep-13 08:07:41

Have you thought about looking at an apprenticeship instead of college? I know it's difficult with teens to engage in conversation, I have a 16 year old who grunts at me every now and again! So having the chat about this may be difficult, but I know someone who's son did this as college was not for him and he emerged a completely different person. It must be very difficult for you as I also worry about my son, he doesn't engage much with the outside world, not many friends , but he does study for which I am grateful, But I worry about his lack of social life/skills. I read an article once about male teens and it said that during puberty their brains shrink to rewire for the adult stage, so maybe he can't actually help the way he is at the moment. It also said that instead of telling your teen to do things, you should ask them to do you a favour! This actually works with my son! I asked him if he could do me a big favour and help unload the dishwasher and bring in the washing whilst I was at work, and to my amazement he did it, and now I always use this phrase when I want him to do something, I always say thanks that's a big help, I know it's a small thing but for me it's a way of getting my son to engage in some small way. Anyway - I hope things improve for you.

tinyshoes Sun 22-Sep-13 15:09:18

This sounds pretty much like my son , especially the stopping doing and to accept being bored. He has dis-engaged with life – infact he says he’d be happy to be dead (don’t be alarmed- the psychiatrists says he’s not going to do anything). We had hoped that he’s find something last year when at home. The doctor probed what had made him happy and that lead to thinking around park keeping/ being a ranger – it actually needs qualifications eg bio sciences/ environmental science degree and the A levels he started are great for these courses. My son showed some interest in the meeting but has since shown none at all. This is what keeps happening – he ‘goes’ along with stuff then does nothing about it. How did your son find something he could get passionate about again?

tinyshoes Sun 22-Sep-13 15:11:48

Thanks for this - I had been doing this but then it stoped working - got lots of bacjchat. I guess I am getting worn down by it all .You've reminded me to keep trying - the little things will help make the difference.

tinyshoes Sun 22-Sep-13 15:19:10

Thank you for this - how did you keep sane in this period? I find myself crying so much ( out of sight). I know I mustn't be sad for what might not now be and to love the child not to just want him to live my dreams for him .But I can see him throwing away so much and out of naivety just doesn't get how hard life can be. I have to keep strong, controlled and smiling.If it wasn't for my mum who listens and has great ideas plus my sister and friends I think I may have given up.I am finding this so so hard, its stopping me in my life including work. Any tips welcome. I am certainly hanging onto your good news and light at end of the tunnel.

tinyshoes Sun 22-Sep-13 15:21:52

I am looking at other education solutions just incase these might engage him - I doubt it but I am trying to look at anything and have the info to hand just incase. Does anyone know of any home tuotoring /online schooling so he can engage with other pupils as well as teachers? I have heard of

Chrissy60 Sun 22-Sep-13 17:41:11

You sound like a lovely caring mum, and I know it's hard to try and enjoy your own life when your son is in this current situation, but, it won't last forever, it will pass and he will come out the other side. I know because I have worried myself silly about my sons lack of social life/ friends, and I still do , but you should give yourself a break and try and do something that you enjoy which can give you a bit of release from worrying. Also have you been in touch with young minds? Have a look on their website, it may help or provide some information for you on where to get appropriate help/support.

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