14 yr old son - we're in a mess!

(53 Posts)
Pennifer Sat 23-Jan-16 11:57:17

We're in a real mess with our 14 year old son. We have two sons, he's the younger by two years. Older one settled and seems happy with friends and college.
He hasn't had the smoothest ride into adolescence and senior school, both which came at same time for him.
He was doing well at school until senior school and then we started to see a slow decline. Last year his performance at school took a steep dive; poor homework, poor in class contribution, lack of respect for teachers.
Over the summer last year he started sleeping badly, eating poorly and self harming.
Coincidentally he had started seeing a girl, his first girlfriend, since May. She was new to the school and he chose not to share anything about their relationship and we didn't get to meet her before the Autumn last year.
The school telephoned me in Oct last year to say that they had noticed he'd been self harming and that a pupil, who wished to remain anonymous, had said she was worried about his wellbeing.
In December the school said that "they had come to the end of the line with him" and suggested a fresh start for him. This was in relation to his academic performance. By then the self harming (and damage to the walls in his room had seemed to stop).
When we told him at Christmas break that he wouldn't be going back in January he seemed shocked but over the next few weeks he seemed lighter and happier.
We decided to homeschool him as he was troubled and it seemed that by keeping him at home we could begin to understand what's been going on (he is a closed book).
The positive side is that, as I said, he seemed happier and lighter but the negative side is that he just can't seem to beat the "remains of the depression?" This is how I see it. He sleeps all day, still doesn't eat that well. We haven't started any of the GCSE packs I purchased. He seems to have dropped communication with his friends and seems to wait for any sort of communication with his girlfriend. It came to light on Weds that she gave him an ultimatum to "make your parents send you back to school or I'll split up with you". We couldn't understand why out of the blue he was crying and yelling to go back. He ran off out of the house and then came back upset to say his girlfriend had split up with him when he said he had failed to get us to return him.
It made me question as to whether it wasn't just his hormones and school causing trouble of last few months but also intensity of relationship with his girlfriend, all the ups and downs that go with relationships of that age.
Where from here though?!
Homeschooling, I can't get him motivated or out of bed. He just seems to wait for his girlfriend to come online at 4pm.
A different school. Feels a fresh start, but will he "self sabotage" because he wants to go to same school as his girlfriend.
Back to same school. Was private and very academic and think he was sinking there before girlfriend came along and may or may not have excacberated problems (self harming came after they started going out).
He is a closed book and I have no idea what's going on or how to deal with this. Any help, ideas, thoughts welcomed.

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LongHardStare Sat 23-Jan-16 12:02:23

Sounds so difficult to deal with Pennifer. I hope someone comes along with some ideas for you.

Pennifer Sat 23-Jan-16 12:03:49

Thank you LongHardStare.

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LagoonaBlu Sat 23-Jan-16 12:11:53

If he starts a new school and enjoys it, then he won't want to self sabotage to go back to the school where he was miserable. He needs to see there is an alternative, and he can be happy. And there are people who will be nice to him

Pennifer Sat 23-Jan-16 12:19:41

Thank you LagoonaBlu. There is a local school that I like and I have the details to arrange a two week "taster". My worry is that I didn't want him to blow it by only being able to think about his girlfriend at his old school. I like the idea of him seeing a better alternative where he can be happy.

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LIZS Sat 23-Jan-16 12:19:44

Has he seen a gp re possible depression etc? Fwiw I don't think returning is necessarily a good thing if that might trigger the issues again. Gf may well have moved on.

Pennifer Sat 23-Jan-16 12:24:09

Thank you LIZS. Certainly my husband is staying strong on the not returning, he can only see that as a bad thing. We're currently getting details on a local counsellor, specialising in teen issues, to give us a hand with the depression / emotional issues. So appreciate being able to talk on here.

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sooperdooper Sat 23-Jan-16 12:25:17

Has he spoken to anyone about the self harming? Have you been in touch with your GP for advice?

sooperdooper Sat 23-Jan-16 12:28:24

I think the not introducing you to his girlfriend is quite normal tbh, at that age I remember wanting relationships to be private and not up for discussion

Pennifer Sat 23-Jan-16 12:29:47

He hasn't spoken to us about it. He did tell his girlfriend and also someone at school was told or noticed as it was reported to them. When I raised it with him last year he swerved the conversation.
We have just found a recommended counsellor specialising in teen issues to go and see, as obviously some areas of this are beyond parenting skills alone.

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Pennifer Sat 23-Jan-16 12:32:04

Sooperdooper. Agree about the relationship / privacy thing. Makes it so hard to know how to advise them though. When I look back I didn't want to share with my parents about relationships.

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Pennifer Sat 23-Jan-16 12:34:05

Reason for posting is to share and discuss but also, quite often when you're an outsider looking in to someone else's problem it can be so clear what you feel they should do. Just hoping I can get some outsider looking in advice. I'm so close and emotionally involved I feel I've lost my way.

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sooperdooper Sat 23-Jan-16 12:37:03

I think the counsellor is a good step, does he know about it?

DogStuff Sat 23-Jan-16 12:40:00

As an outsider looking in, he seems desperate for some professional intervention and I would push really, really hard for counselling of some sort - going privately if necessary. I have just seen (skim read initially) that you have found someone - so I would get this started asap. Good luck x

Pennifer Sat 23-Jan-16 12:40:20

No, not yet. Will have to choose a very good moment.

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juneau Sat 23-Jan-16 12:40:22

I think you're doing the right thing by getting him a counsellor. He may feel he can open up to him/her in a way he can't with you. I'd have hated to discuss my teen relationship problems with my parents - cringe!

Can he have a session or two with this counsellor before you take him for the taster at school? The issues that got him into this mess should be dealt with before you add another school into the mix. You really don't want him failing to settle in another school, as that could knock his confidence even more. However, things need to move with some degree of pace if he's not to fall too behind academically.

Sallyhasleftthebuilding Sat 23-Jan-16 12:41:40

I suppose like most teens he felt invincible and that his actions wouldn't have consequences - so been expelled has been a huge slap in the face -

I think he needs to go back to a school - maybe the shock will make him sit up and behave?

How have you felt with his behaviour before?

AnotherTimeMaybe Sat 23-Jan-16 12:41:47

Really sorry to read what you're going through flowers
I wonder if this girl is a bad influence, if she's bringing out the worst in him.. You haven't met her so it could be the case...

Do you have at all any friends' daughters that he might be interested in? No kidding you his life could change forever if he's with the right girl, I've seen in happen before!

In the meantime yes pls talk to go about referral to psychologist asap

Follyfoot Sat 23-Jan-16 12:41:50

Wouldn't it be sensible for him to see the GP? Unless I missed it, he is yet to see a doctor. I think I would be doing that first before going to counsellors or arranging taster sessions at a new school. flowers for you

Pennifer Sat 23-Jan-16 12:42:17

DogStuff, thank you. I feel that he wants help too but it's coupled with a feeling of shutting us out also. I'm hoping that he'll open up to a counsellor and that will give us our way forward.

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AnotherTimeMaybe Sat 23-Jan-16 12:42:45

Sorry meant 'GP' not 'go'

Pennifer Sat 23-Jan-16 12:43:33

Juneau, thank you. Your reply resonates with me.

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Pennifer Sat 23-Jan-16 12:45:36

Sallyhasleftthebuilding. Yes agree that he obviously felt there wouldn't be consequences behind his behaviour at school.
He was all fine and happy before adolescence / starting senior school.

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Pennifer Sat 23-Jan-16 12:47:01

AnotherTimeMaybe, thank you. Agree about girlfriend complicating feelings and issues here.

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Pennifer Sat 23-Jan-16 12:47:41

Thanks Follyfoot.

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