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How to persuade DS (17) to see a counsellor

(6 Posts)
WornOutAndUseless Wed 17-Oct-18 11:14:59

I've had a call from school today to say they're having difficulty dealing with DS. He always struggles at this point in the school year; I think it's because it's a new school year and it takes him a while to settle into changes of staff etc. He's been rude and aggressive, isn't handing in work etc. and they feel he would benefit from some professional help.

I have wanted DS to get some help for years. I took him to see someone for a taster session when he was 10 but he didn't like the counsellor and told her he was perfectly fine and that I was the one who needed therapy which she took very seriously. I've said it can take time to find the right person to talk to so it's worth trying again but he remembers this session very clearly and flatly refuses to consider seeing someone different.

He won't see the school counsellor because he doesn't want to see a counsellor and because everyone at school would know (he says everyone knows who's having counselling).

I don't know what to do with him. He can be absolutely lovely but he can also be thoroughly vile. He says the worst things he can possibly think of to say to people and really upsets them and yet he's very sensitive to the slightest thing that is said to him. He can also be very kind and loyal, it depends what mood he's in. It's impossible to actually talk to him about his behaviour or to find out what's really going on his head; he just walks out of the room and refuses to talk.

Yesterday morning he was really awful to me and it affected my whole day but when I picked him up from school he was quite happy and seemed to have forgotten anything had happened. After tea I attempted talking to him by saying I'd felt terrible all day because of the way he'd behaved that morning he just walked out of the room and went to bed, I didn't see him again until the morning. If I'd tried to persist he would have got aggressive and I would have got nowhere. He's impossible to reason with.

He'll be 18 in a few weeks time. I'm really worried about how he'll cope next year when he's supposed to be off to university, I just can't see him managing.

I suspect he's got Aspergers, he even says this himself. I think he gets depressed too. However, if he won't get help from anyone what can I do?

OP’s posts: |
Weezol Wed 17-Oct-18 11:32:06

The truth is, you can't persuade anyone to go to a counsellor. For counselling to have a chance of working, he has to want to engage.

I think you need to take care of yourself. You must be emotionally exhausted and stress can take a physical toll.

I'd suggest that you go to a counsellor - a good counsellor can give you coping strategies, let you vent and may well help you find a way to manage your responses to his behaviour (and thereby elements of his behaviour) - without him being aware that's what you're doing.

You can change the dynamic between you with the right help. That will help him, so it's a win win.

And taking a hour a week just for you can be incredibly empowering - I speak from experience! I went to counselling and then for a nice coffee afterwards. Realising that I deserved and could carve out 90 minutes a week with the phone off and being unavailable to the entire sodding world was a revelation.

WornOutAndUseless Wed 17-Oct-18 11:45:19

Weezol Thank you, that makes a lot of sense. I went to see someone for one session a couple of years ago. It was someone I'd tried to persuade him to see as they'd been great with a friend's teenager but DS refused to go so the counsellor suggested I went on my own. I just cried throughout the hour and it cost me £60. I should have persisted but didn't feel strong enough to go through it at the time. I think I can face it now.

I've gradually become numb to him.

My Dad died a few weeks ago and when DS is having one of his 'moments' he says things to me like, "I hope you die too. I hope you have a painful death". The day after my Dad's funeral he said he wished it was my funeral today. What had I done to provoke this? I'd asked him to get out of bed so we could leave for school on time. He's been really difficult about getting ready on time for years and it's so embarrassing as we have a liftshare to school (we live very rurally so no way of him getting there on his own).

Then at other times (most of the time) he's been really supportive about my Dad's death. I know he only says the horrible things when he's at breaking point but he can't keep behaving like this as it's really nasty and will affect every area of his life (and other people's lives) in the future.

OP’s posts: |
Weezol Wed 17-Oct-18 11:56:55

I think realising that you haven't done anything to provoke this is important. Learning not to engage/respond could be helpful.

I possibly wouldn't tell him I'm going to counselling. Some separation of your lives at this age is natural - it's time to be less 'on tap' for him. If he wants to stomp off to his room let him. Put the kettle on and leave him to it.

In short, pick your battles.

I have little experience with ASD, so I'm wary of suggesting anything further - I couldn't guess how much of his behaviour is related to that and how much is just being a typical seventeen year old stressing about exams and the big changes ahead because the world revolves around them.

WornOutAndUseless Wed 17-Oct-18 12:03:00

I've emailed the counsellor to see if she has any availability. I definitely won't be telling him (or anyone else) that I'm going, I want it to be my thing.

Thanks Weezol, can't tell you how much you've helped. Perhaps I should have listened to DS all those years ago when he said it was me that needed counselling! grin

OP’s posts: |
Weezol Wed 17-Oct-18 12:46:44

Good for you. I don't know anyone who has not benefitted from counselling. I think at some point in our lives, everyone could use it.

I think of it like swimming lessons and the counsellor as the teacher - life can drown us if we don't learn to swim, especially as life seems more complex in the last 40 years than ever before.

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