12 yr old son suddenly out of control

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by strongmanslady, Nov 4, 2009.

  1. strongmanslady

    strongmanslady New Member

    I need to start out by saying that about 5 wks. ago, I found out my H had an affair. This hurt me terribly and nearly had a breakdown. I'm afraid my 12 yr. old son may have heard us fighting and might have an idea as to what happened. That being said, in the last couple of weeks, he has been acting out terribly. He has no problem now getting in our faces, speaking over us, shouting at us, getting angry, hostile, defiant, etc. One day 2 wks. ago he said he was "leaving" and tried to walk out the door. My H had to physically hold him down and keep him from leaving. He had such a tantrum that day, which he has never done before. Last night, again, he said he was "leaving". He demanded that I give him his cell phone but I didn't. He ending up going into his room and ripping books apart, tearing up a hat, etc. Prior to this, his behavior was "normal". I don't know if he is acting out because of the tension in the house or if there is something else going on. Also, he is constantly telling me how his friends "get" this or "get" that and how they have more "freedom" than he does. He's been kicking doors, slamming doors, knocking things over, etc. It gets so bad now that my H was about to call a cop friend of his to come over and talk to our son. I was hoping someone here could help and "point" me in the right direction.
  2. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hi Strongmanslady, I am so sorry about you and your husband.

    I am sure your son feels the tension in the house.

    You all need to go to family counseling. You and your H need to be there for your son, no matter what pans out in the end with-the affair. Your H is still the dad and you are still the mom. Period.

    Do you think your son has had access to drugs? That can acct for major behavior changes.

    If not (never assume; just keep your eyes open) hormones could have hit, bigtime. The next time your son wants to run away, I would let him. Since he's only 12, he'll end up going to a friend's house, right? Maybe you could actually do a pre-emptive strike and let him stay with-a friend for a wk while you and your H hash out your relationship. Pick a home where he had a "good" friend, and talk to the parents first. Do not let him go to any old friend's house, as that's where kids can get into trouble on the internet or with-drugs.
    Or you could send him to his grandparents or an aunt's house. Somewhere close enough so he can't skip school.

    Make special time just for him. Take him to a movie on the weekend. Watch a TV show with-him. Play a board game. Go for a walk. Take him out for ice cream. He's just a kid, with-raging hormones in an almost-adult body.

    by the way, are you sure he's been "perfect" up until now? He walked and talked and hit all of his milestones on time? Sometimes we gloss over things and make excuses for our kids when they're cute toddlers, and then when they're older, we come out of denial.
    Just a thought.

    Best of luck.
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member


    Ohhh....my son was almost 11 yo when he learned something that broke his heart and he turned into a different person and started acting like you are describing your son. My best recommendation is to make sure you don't focus on negative stuff right now or that he doesn't feel like this is his fault. But more than anything, get him to a therapist who will do something other than behavior modification as fast as you can. I could not find one that would work with a child that young for anything other than behavior modification and my son still has problems. (He's 14 yo now.)
  4. strongmanslady

    strongmanslady New Member

    My son was definitely "on target" as far as milestones (walking, talking, etc.). He is a kid who always seems to need attention though. He will say something silly, or do something silly, just to get people's reactions. He is like this in school and at home (especially when we have company). He seems to "feed" off of the reactions he gets. My H and I give him loads of attention at home so I can't understand why he does this. We recently took his Xbox Live priviliges away as he was on that way, way too much. He would get angry while playing the games and we finally had to take it away. This may be one of the reasons he is acting out also. He feels his friends get way more "stuff" than he does and how their parents "don't care" what they do. He tells us he hates his life, hates our house, hates that he doesn't have more freedom, etc. Basically, he is pretty much making comments to us that he KNOWS will hurt us. He tells us to "shut up" now and even told my H last week to go "F" yourself. He has never, ever said that before. I am working on finding him a therapist but want to be sure I find the right one. My H and I are currently in counseling because of his affair so having my son acting out like this makes things even that more stressful for me.
  5. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    He may be acting out to try to keep you together.

    Or depression in children often presents as anger.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Did you ask him if he heard you?

    I'm very into honesty. Doesn't mean you have to TELL him what the yelling was about, but you can ask him what he heard.

    You say he was never like this before at all?

    Is your husband your son's biological father?
  7. strongmanslady

    strongmanslady New Member

    I never asked my son if he heard his dad (his bio father) and I fighting, or what he heard. I don't think I want to "go there" right now. I did tell my H that we need to sit down with son tonight and try to get it out of him as to why he is so angry. This behavior just came on so suddenly - in last 2 weeks. He was never, ever this defiant with us. His dad and step sister are both bipolar and I am worried that my son might be also. Should I call his primary doctor and ask for an evaluation, or if I take him to a therapist, will the therapist evaluate him? I am so lost right now. I don't know where to start. Do bipolar symptoms just "come out" suddenly? I feel scared and confused. Thanks for everyone's help!!

    AC :(
  8. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Yes, they can. It is called adolescent onset bipolar and that often starts with something triggering depression. This is exactly what was/is being looked at for my son. in my humble opinion, your son is depressed, confused, and angry. I would recommend handling your talk with him with support and compassion- a tough love sort of approach, rather than fussing over the anger and disrespect you've been seeing in him.

    It got so confusing trying to figure out if my son is bipolar or not that we have opted to take him off medications for it and try to address the initial issues that triggered the first depression for a while and teach him better coping skills and see if that works. If it doesn't I guess the conclusion will be that he is bipolar. But, the reason I recommended going the therapy route first is that if you just go with medications it could take a long time to get them right and chances are your son will still get worse before he gets better and the waters keepp getting muddier. At least this was ouir experience over the past 4 years. And we ended up right back where we started, yet my son now has a record with Department of Juvenile Justice and the negative feelings have not been helped yet. So, try dealing with those first. And I honestly think it will not be helped by behavior modification, at least not that alone.
  9. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Bipolar sx can also come on suddenly in adults. I was depressed and had Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) for many years.

    When husband died, my cyclic depression turned into full-blown bipolar. I was 42 at the time.

    As a side note. I had to get stabilized on medications for the bipolar before I was able to think clearly enough for therapy to help.

    I gather this is not uncommon.
  10. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Any chance he's using drugs? I would be wondering about that as well.