Thursday, July 22, 2010

My teen isn't making friends something is wrong!

Knowledgeability Clarity of Response Timeliness Politeness
10                       10                           9              8

Comment: I appreciated your candor. It must be difficult to offer advice in such a limited form; I found it difficult to give a cliff notes description of my situation. I was impressed you were able to offer such sound advice-to help me see perhaps I had lost sight of the fact that as I was trying to let go and allow Sean to find his autonomy, I was in fact still being a bit controlling. Thanks. I will probably try this service again if the need arises. 

Questioner: Anonymous

Question: It is 1:00a.m.on a Friday night and I am searching for answers for my senior son. Unlike most parents, I am worried because he was home all evening. He can't seem to connect with other kids. I see him call boys to go to a movie, etc. and he is always rejected.

During football season, he went to the games alone. Now that he doesn't have a school activity to attend, he has nowhere to go. I am aware of the different cliques at his school and understand why he would fit into their groups, but in a large school, there should be one person he connects with. Since I don't see him in the school setting, I don't know what role he plays in his problem.

He is a good student and never in trouble. He has a great sense of humor, but something happened around age 13/14 and he went from outgoing to shy. He refuses to talk to us and pulls away if I approach the issue. I worry about saying the wrong thing, but at the same time I want him to know that I care that he is lonely. I tried to talk to his counselor, but that was unsuccessful.

I am looking for any way to help him and simply do not know where to turn. Thank you in advance for any advice you may give. I sent a similar questions to a high school student hoping for the teen perspective as well.

Answer: Dear Anonymous:

Unfortunately schools are a war zone for children these days. I was utterly shocked as a teacher trainer and when visiting my own son's school to find out how rough and violent our schools really are and the reality these children face everyday.

You mentioned something happened at age 13/14 and I would really get to the bottom of what that something was as many times parents want to respect a child's privacy however, if that somethine was violent or sexual in nature, YOU NEED to know and HE NEEDS to know he is okay!

It is not uncommon for children expecially teens to pull away and not want to talk about traumatic events as they think they are suppose to be all grown up and taking care of themselves, as well as they may blame themselves rather than placing the responsibility where it belongs.

They also want to protect you from pain. I would talk with him and let him know how much you love him, how concerned you are about him and how many changes you have noticed. Tell him you want him to be able to talk to you and you will not judge him for anything he says to you.

He needs to know you are a safe person for him to talk with about whatever happened. THEN you need to be quiet, quiet and more quiet so you can hear, really hear what he is telling you. He may not respond at first and maybe resistant however, keep repeating the message on a regular basis and if you notice anymore changes contact a counselor.

Teens reclusing and not connecting with anyone else is never a good thing. Even if they connect with teachers or other older people in their lives this is better than no connection. Encourage him to seek out counseling if he cannot talk to you about what is bothering him.

Realize this is not a reflection on you it is all about him getting what he needs to find himself and feel good about himself.

Best wishes!


M Kay Keller

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