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'Teen behaviour' OR mental health issue?

(11 Posts)
Madbess Wed 20-Nov-13 15:11:22

How does one decide where the line is between 'teen behaviour' and an actual mental health issue? My DS16 is extremely hostile and rude to both me and DH pretty much all the time. He says he has decided to behave like this as we will not give in to his demands for later curfews ( he says 2 - 3 am is fair, we do not!! ) We have no positive relationship with him at all, he is increasingly mean and manipulative (EG yesterday I was in a ( calm) conflict with him and his dad walks in, DS16 says to me - 'you are looking more confident now that dad is here' - I find this a v manipulative/ threatening comment from my own son.
My DH and I stand as a united front which is good but DS16 is constantly trying to divide us. I know he smokes weed at the weekends and I wonder if this is making him paranoid, am very worried at his thought processes which are typical teenage stuff but more extreme ?
He is dreading parents evening at school next week already as he says we are so embarrassing ( no we are not, we are boring and ordinary ) - he feels he will be teased about us- I said if his friends are rude about us he should reconsider his friends but he says it's 'everyone '.
He goes out at weekends and appears to have lots of friends although we are not allowed to meet them. - he seemed to function well out of the home.
Any ideas ?

DaveBussell Wed 20-Nov-13 17:05:57

From your op I don't see any signs of a mental health issue or even that his behaviour is particularly extreme for a teen. Many people on this board will be able to report far more extreme behaviour eg aggression, theft, school-refusal etc.

He is attending school, socialising normally with friends and able to articulate his reasons for being angry with you even if they are unfair. I agree that 2/3 am can hardly be described as an acceptable 'curfew' but then again he has reached an age where many of his friends will have a lot of freedom and consider themselves pretty much an adult.

flow4 Wed 20-Nov-13 17:24:21

I think this sounds like pretty normal behaviour for an angry, bright, articulate teenager who wants to be nasty. I have certainly experienced much worse, including some truly odd behaviour like barricading me out of the house, and hiding on a small shelf in the fridge-sized airing cupboard when he wanted to avoid me.

I'm afraid that if he is smoking skunk, some of his behaviour will be erratic, and I personally found it made my own DS paranoid and aggressive, to the point where I also wondered about psychosis. Particularly, he flew into violent rages, smashed stuff up and threatened me, especially on Monday evenings after a heavy weekend taking a lot of skunk and perhaps also M-CAT, that I think would have got him sectioned if he'd done them in public rather than at home.

The good news is, lots of them seem to grow out of it. Two years on, my DS is not violent, rarely angry, and back on track.

Madbess Wed 20-Nov-13 17:30:52

I have yet to meet anyone who thinks 3 am is a reasonable curfew for someone in year 11. Except my DS who feels SO strongly that we are incarcerating him that he has totally withdrawn from the family. ( since the start of term )- this is the only reason he is giving for his anger.

Are other teens also so embarrassed and ashamed of their parents that they start worrying about parents evening at school a week ahead of time ? ( he gets good reports so he isn't worried about that, he can't bear for us to be seen by his peers ).

Madbess Wed 20-Nov-13 17:32:19

Flow4 I fear you are right ( skunk) Monday was awful.

cory Wed 20-Nov-13 18:02:28

To me, worrying about parents being embarrassing makes him sound very immature for his age: that is the kind of behaviour I would expect around the age of 12 rather than 16.

(When ds was 11 he didn't want to be seen with me in public if I was wearing my oldfashioned winter coat and tried to ban me from speaking English in public "because people might understand what you're saying".)

Most 16yos I know have moved beyond that stage and treat their parents with slightly patronising tolerance. So highly unlikely that his friends would be teasing him over something as remote as that. Possibly skunk induced paranoia? Or just being very immature. Do you think he could be struggling socially?

summer68 Thu 21-Nov-13 00:46:07

Madbess, I think your question is a reasonable one. When your child acts in a way that's difficult for you to understand its natural to question if it's normal. I have a ds16 too and its not easy to maintain a good relationship.
"Hostile"is a good description. Sounds like your son is pushing boundaries ( at least he's respecting your curfew, even if he's having a tantrum about it) it's like a older version of the terrible twos, pushing you to see how far you'll go, then get angry when they don't get their way - and there's no room for reason. Don't over worry about him being embarrassed by you, he probably used this as another stick to beat you with. Good luck.

MrsBright Mon 25-Nov-13 09:09:39

The bravado and confidence in insulting you could be fuelled by weed. Thats part of the appeal of smoking. It increases you sense of self and ability to 'do anything' - btw, that includes dangerous stuff involving physical risk.

Where is he getting the money for weed from? If its you, then can I suggest you stop that right now. By effectively paying for it you are condoning its use - not a clever position for a parent to be in.....

Madbess Mon 25-Nov-13 09:19:49

I don't give him any money. I don't know how he funds it. I have asked but he won't tell me, obviously.

MrsBright Mon 25-Nov-13 09:35:38

How do you know he's smoking?

Madbess Mon 25-Nov-13 09:48:52

Over the years we have found paraphernalia in his room, papers, tobacco, bongs so we have talked to him about it and he sees a drug counsellor.

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