Hi, I have an 11 year old son who has some severe behavior issues. His biological father is not in the picture because he lives in another town and has not regularly been in his life, however I have a fiancee who treats him like his own and does many father/son activities with him. I am at a constant struggle with him about doing his daily chores, or doing homework. Worse, he has these tantrums when he doesn't feel like going to school, baseball practice, and now football practice. We have spent hundreds of dollars signing him up for football and he has recently decided he no longer wants to play. Just before practice, he claims to have thrown up (I have a phobia of vomiting, so he knows this will scare me), and/or throws himself on the floor and screams and cries and refuses to get dressed. He has previously done this with baseball practice, though he is going on his sixth year, because he keeps asking to sign up. I don't know what to do anymore. I am so frustrated. I feel guilty because I do not want to force him to continue things he claims to not like anymore, but I do not want to condone quitting when he asks for and signs up for things, and being that he does this with school, chores and other sports, I feel that he just wants to be lazy. He is much stronger than I am and I can't physically make him get out of the car at school or practice. I think the activity and discipline is good for him, but I don't want to do the wrong thing. Should I allow him to quit sports or keep trying to fight through the tantrums? How do I get control back in these situations? Please help...
I understand that you are trying your best to figure out your son's responses. But I suggest you scrap the notion of laziness as an explanation. It is hardly ever (perhaps even never) an explanation for such a chronic pattern of behavior. His profile is indicative of emotional disturbance, and invites evaluation by a mental health professional. If you need guidance about how to gain access to such an evaluation, check with his pediatrician or call the number you will find on the back of his insurance card.
Thank you Dr. Kennedy. I will definitely schedule him an appointment. I had taken him to a counselor in the past, who even came to our home to spend time with him. After a month or so, she said there was nothing she could do because he was fine, and did not make us another appointment. I will try a different agency this time.
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