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troubled 13 year old son
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troubled 13 year old son

I have a 13 year old son, a 3 year old son and two step children, a boy 6 and a girl 4.  My 13 year old has progressively gotten more and more negative with his words and actions.  He is very intelligent, however some of the things that he says and does tend to lean more towards ignorant.  He scores highly on aptitude tests and does well on his homework, yet often times turns his assignments in late or not at all.  He loses things all the time and seems to not care about anything.  He used to be very active and social, but lately he just sits around and plays video games or watches TV.  He plays with his younger siblings often, however he tends to get too rough and loud sometimes coming across as more immature than I believe he is.  He also tends to be fairly verbally abusive to his youngest brother, who is his biological sibling.  He gets really rough with him and even though my 3 year old usually laughs I believe he is being borderline abused, often times falling face first because he is triped or flipped over.  My 13 year old is fairly short and was always fit, exercising daily, (running, weights, boxing, push ups, pull ups, etc.) He now is not active at all.  He has put on about 20 lbs in the past 6 months, eating anything and everything he can.  He is not technically overweight, however all of his weight is in his stomach.  I don't know what is going on with him.  I have tried to talk to him and his response is always negative.  He says we don't care about him and that we only put him down.  We love our son and want what is best for him.  I cannot allow this negativity and bad attitude to continue.  It is not healthy for him or the other 3 children in our home.  I welcome any advice I can get.


This discussion is related to 13 year old with an attitude.
13 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_m_tn
When is his birthday and what grade is he in?
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Avatar_f_tn
hi i know it must be difficult..but without sounding obvious..he is a teenager..who in fact sits on video games...and does what every other teenager does in the country now...hormones and everything...your not alone and he is most definitely the only teenager with attitude...,hope this helps...and hope you dont feel your alone....teenagers are tough...its so hard to deal with as a parent....wish i could be of more help..but sometimes you have to ride it through...keep posting and best of luck ..
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973741_tn?1342346373
Hi there.  I would talk to his pediatrician.  He sounds like he is depressed to me.  He has many things going on that would be considered symptoms of depression.  Lots of luck and remember, depression is treatable.  
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Avatar_f_tn
His birthday is October 12th and he is in 8th grade.  He is younger than everyone else in his class, as he began Kindergarten at 4 due to the fact that he was reading and writing on a first grade level and above.  He has had problems in the past with being bullied for his height, however with us being in a new school district this has subsided significantly.  He still hears comments on occation but he doesn't seem to be bothered.  We have told him that just like his father he has not hit his growth spurt yet and probably won't until 14 or 15.  His father is tall and did not really grow until then, this seems to make him feel better.
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Avatar_f_tn
I understand teenagers sit around alot these days and play video games but my son has always been very social and active.  In fact, it's just in the past 6 or 8 months that he has changed.  He used to get up an hour early M-F and run 2-3 miles, he would do 100 sit ups, 100 push ups and 50 chin ups then go out in the garage and hit the reflex bag for about 15 or 20 minutes.  Now it's like pulling teeth to get him to take out the trash.  I have to remind him every night to set his alarm 30 minutes early just so he can do some exercise.  He argues every night and says we are calling him fat.  My son is not fat and that is not why we require he work out.  He has put on about 15 or 20 lbs in the past 6 months or so and his appetite has increased.  He has not grown much and I think the weight is a sign he is hitting a growth spurt but his father used to be fit and work out daily and now unless he is at work he sits around and eats and does nothing to stay healthy.  He is now very overweight.  I do not want this to happen to my son.  The past few days he has complained of alot of stomach pain and pains in his bones.  I don't know if it's stress or growing pains or something more.  I told him I would give it a few days before I call his doctor but I don't know how else to handle it.  
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you, I promised my son I would give him a few more days before I call his doctor but depression was my guess.  I am not very knowledgable on depression.  I am confused on how it could happen.  He was always such a happy kid and I don't know what changed that.
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973741_tn?1342346373
Hi there.  Well, depression can be triggered by situations and is often chemical in nature and has 'nothing' going on different in a persons life at times too.  It's important to distinguish between the blues and clinical depression.  Many people get the blues and I've had bouts of that myself.  Clinical depression has a diagnositic criteria that a doctor will talk to you about.  One of the parameters of depression is that it has existed every day for at least 2 weeks straight.  So waiting a few days is fine.

I do want to comment on one thing.  What you mention regarding his being younger really can take an emotional toll and a social toll.  It can be subtle but during those young teenage years when a child is feeling at all 'different' and especially physically less developed than their peers, it can make them withdraw a bit.  And kids are cruel.  so, I'd question without being to obvious to see if anything has happened---  any locker room stuff or comments made to him, etc.  I sure hope not but that stuff sadly does happen.  

In a few days if he still seems down, then yes.  Talk to the doctor. When you talk to your son about it---  don't make it punitive (you aren't like your old self, so we are going to the doctor!) but rather present it as something that is going to be great for him.  (saying things like '  we want you to feel good again and want to make sure that we cover all our bases to make sure you can. doctors are great for helping with that and you feeling your best again is the only goal.)  

good luck
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Avatar_m_tn
   Yep, couple of things going on here I think.
One, he is definitely young for his age group.  And intelligence is not going to change that.  If he was highly motivated and studying was his life, then it might not be a problem.  But it sounds like this is a new school district which means he has no old friends around and that is hard on a child of his age.  How long has he been at this school?  Its tough on a kid being the new one.  I taught 8th grade long enough to know.
   In terms of depression, it certainly is possible.  I would definitely (on the quiet) talk with a couple of his teachers and see how he is in class.  That will give you a good feel for where he is at mentally.
   I also think that part of this is typical for a 13 year old.  And by the way, a growth spurt can be painful.
   But something else to consider.  He is the oldest child.  You have a 3,4 and 6 year old.  They require a lot of time. Also a dad that "used to be fit and work out daily and now unless he is at work he sits around and eats and does nothing to stay healthy.  He is now very overweight."  So I get the feeling that there is not a lot of father/son bonding going on (and its his stepdad?) when your son gets home and I am pretty sure you are very busy with the other kids.   Add to that your fears of your son becoming overweight like your hubby and you requiring him to get up 30 minutes early to work out and I think I can understand why he says, "He says we don't care about him and that we only put him down."  I'm betting he feels that way about the whole world.  Which is another reason why talking to his teachers is important.
   By the way, sleep is extremely important for kids of his age.  I'm not sure that getting up 30 min early is a good idea (but I don't  know what time he falls asleep).  Lack of sleep will make you moody and depressed.  I would certainly think about him working out after school.  And that is a time when he probably needs it.   Actually what he really needs to get involved in something like wrestling where is size would be an advantage.  Being involved in anything after school would be really good for him.
   Finally - how do I put this nicely? - I think you may need to back off a bit.  Well, maybe not back off, but pay more attention somehow.  And I do say somehow because this is an age that is hard to deal with.  I just get the feeling in the family dynamics that he gets left out - understandable.  But combining that with the school situation may be just a bit much.  Try and look at this through his eyes too.
   I think you obviously care or you would not have taken the time to write.  Care enough to talk to his teachers or maybe even his counselor.  See if they have any ideas.  Does he have friends?  He needs to find some involvement somewhere.  Hope this helps a bit.  If nothing else, it certainly will give you something to think about.   Best wishes.
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Avatar_f_tn
He does have his friends still.  We live close to our old neighborhood and we tell him all the time that he can hang out with his old friends.  In fact we sometimes question why he choses to hang out with his younger siblings rather than his friends.  He is spending this weekend with his friends and I am trying to get him to do this more often, even if it's just hanging out at the mall or grabbing dinner and a movie.  When we do things with the kids we try to do things they all can do.  We go skating, movies and play video games with them.  We often times have nerf gun wars and things like that, which he really enjoys.  I know the younger kids require more attention, that is why we try to get our oldest to socialize more with his friends.  When we were his age we were never home, we spent all our free time with our friends and I guess that is why we don't understand why he is chosing not to do that.  His step father is not the unfit one, his biological father is and he lives 350 miles away.  I have tried for years to get them to spend more time together but his father chooses his job over time with our son.  His step father tries often to spend time with him, he is so negative though and after a short time usually makes a smart comment or becomes disrespectful of me and they end up arguing.  Also, every other weekend we only have my oldest son so he always has our attention then to decide what he wants to do with just us.
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Avatar_m_tn
depression often develops during puberty, and bi-polar depression can often be confused for typical teenaged behavior. sometimes it is a subtle line, but talk therapy, irregardless of what he may or may not have, can be very beneficial. it sounds like group therapy would be good for him considering he isn't very social. medication could be helpful, and there are a few over the counter treatments for depression that could be used if you don't want to try a prescription medication.

as for talking to him about it, i wouldn't. i would just make the appointment, and take him to it. when he is there just tell him you just want him to talk to somebody. the most important thing he needs to understand it that it isn't his fault, there isn't any reason why it is happening to him that isn't purely in his brain, and that it can get worse if he doesn't get it taken care of.
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Avatar_f_tn
hi..how are things going?...
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757137_tn?1347200053
As to his overeating, that is in your control. Don't keep junk food or sweets or sodas in the house. And don't give him pocket money to buy the stuff. Let him have as much fruit, nuts, seeds, etc., as he wants.

Yes he is a teenager and I suspect his immaturity might mean he is late going into puberty, but that is something you would know. But that would explain why his father continued to grow past the normal growth spurt. Another problem is that the other children in the home are much younger than he is. They do not offer the companionship he needs. Why not have him bring home a friend now and then.
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757137_tn?1347200053
I just read your entry about his preferring his siblings to his friends. Again this may have to do with his friends being further into puberty than he is. My son lost interest in his best friend and I was much surprised. As it happened my son preceded his friend into puberty by a year or so. It does make a difference.
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