Big step backwards...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by JulieMarshall, Apr 14, 2011.

  1. JulieMarshall

    JulieMarshall New Member

    This afternoon I got a phone call from one of the counselors at Leo's school (the school and the head counselor were told about Leo's hospitalization). She wanted to let me know that she heard these nasty, damaging rumors about Leo around school, and were so bad that one of Leo's friends actually went to her to talk about it because Leo was reacting so badly.

    Somehow it's gotten out that Leo was at an adolescent psychiatric hospital. Both Dr. Wonderful (his psychologist/therapist) and I urged him repeatedly to tell people, if they asked where he was, that he had been in the hospital and leave it at that. I'm not sure if Leo told someone where he actually was and they decided to spread it around, Leo accidentally let that information out, if one of my younger kids told one of their friends (my daughter Sophie goes to the same school as Leo) and it got out that way, even if it got spread around by our neighbors, who are known to be gossipy and have kids that go to Leo's school.

    The worst rumor, I was told by the counselor, was that Leo and his friend were gay lovers and had a suicide pact. Now, I myself would not be upset if Leo was gay but I know these insinuations, as a teenage boy, are really embarrassing him.

    Leo's a popular kid, very concerned with his image. I'm afraid this is really going to hurt him, because one, boys are supposed to be these emotionless creatures and Leo being "weak" will probably be looked down upon; two, there's a ton of stigma around mental health issues, especially in teenage boys; three, his masculinity may be questioned because of all of that, and since he values himself as a manly man it could be damaging. Also, he's on the varsity soccer team and some of the boys on that team, excuse my language, are the biggest, douchiest, as*holes on the planet. I know they're going to bring hell upon Leo.

    In a lesser issue, Leo missed a week and a half of school and was there at school physically but definitely not mentally the three weeks after his friend's suicide. He's in mostly AP classes and the AP exams are in three weeks. Leo is definitely NOT prepared for these at all after missing basically a month of school, and if he does take the exams, he says that he'll get very low scores on them, which would ruin his college applications and scholarship opportunities. I know he's really stressing about this and Leo does not do well under stress at all.

    The result of all of this is not good at all. I rolled up Leo's sleeve as he walked past me at dinner and sure enough, he's been cutting again. From what I could see in the second or two they are very fresh and recent, but he's been known to cut all over his body and so I don't know if there's more, older ones or how long he's been doing it again.

    I'm tentatively saying he's not in immediate trouble because he's nowhere near the catatonic state he was in when I made the decision to admit him to the psychiatric hospital and he's eating normally. But I am doubting myself because Leo has HAD to be affected by all of this and since he hasn't shown any outward signs of it, he's had to have been internalizing everything, which is how we got to the whole awful hospitalization situation in the first place.

    And we also had to put our dog to sleep on Tuesday--none of us are doing well with it, Leo especially, because of the loss of another close and special friend. Dr. W said they talked about it in their Monday session, but I don't think Leo was really prepared for it.

    What is your take on this? Leo doesn't have another appointment with Dr. W until Monday, which is when his spring break starts (which is also good because he'll be able to get away from the rumors and the people). Should I try to reschedule it for a closer day? What should Leo himself and me as a parent do about all of this?

    I knew that Leo's journey in recovery wasn't going to be bump-free but I didn't imagine that an outside force would be the thing to start a downwards spiral.
  2. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Is Leo at all capable of "playing it off"? I know the type of guys you mean, and if he could play it up, i.e. when one says something he slings an arm around their shoulder, does obvious eye-batting, and says something like "Did I ever tell you how cute you are?" in an over-the-top performance that makes it clear he doesn't take it seriously and looks like it doesn't get to him? Most of those guys will back down after that, but if it's obvious it gets to him they'll up the ante.

    *hugs* and wishing the best for you all. Sorry for the additional loss to your family.
  3. Jena

    Jena New Member


    i'm sorry and i've probably never even welcomed you welcome! :)

    We just went through similar thing due to our child's hospitalizations and we're trying to undue some damage done by my stepson not meaning to.

    does he use facebook?? it sounds odd to say yet if he has an acct and it's set to the child safety thing just friends on it. have him start un doing the damage via facebook and contacting friends that way. might be a good idea. it's not in person and he can handle it in the comfort of his own home as opposed to in the face at school. that's what we did so far it's working. she isnt' back in bldg. yet though but has ran into kids from school.

    this way maybe via that type of outlet and resource he can smooth it over and it'll be yesterdays news by the time school rolls back around again.

    'id reschedule sooner due to the cutting. cutting always makes me nervous because besides that high the feel better their looking for they could accidentally hit wrong area.

    i'm sorry your dealing. it's so hard. anyway those are my thoughts. i get your point for a guy it's harder because of the image their "supposed" to have and all.
  4. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member


    I'm sorry it hasn't been a smoother ride. Kids are such aholes. Spring break is definitely what is needed. Is there any kind of summer school option thing for Leo? You might want to keep in the back of your mind that you would probably have an option to go to homebound instruction for the rest of the year is necessary but I suppose at some point Leo will have to face up to other kids. ARe the counselors trying to do anything?

    Your instincts your should trust--they were pretty reliable before. Maybe a call to to Dr. W in the morning with a message just to tell him what is going on? But I think I would be keeping a pretty close watch on him. I would be asking him to think about whether outpatient day treatment might be in order.

    I have no idea whether school is just terribel for him, or he likes school not just the kids right now.

    Let us know how it goes. I have been thinking about you all.
  5. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    If Leo is not a senior, I would take a pass on this year's AP tests. Let him take them next year.

    If he is a senior, have you considered having him do a PG year? That would allow him time to recover from this and then he can delay taking his APs until next year.
  6. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member there a chance that Leo is gay and this was more than a friend??? If the rumors touch on a sensitive truth, he may be even more hurt. Can you have a few of his friends over for the weekend??
  7. Jena

    Jena New Member

    thats' a good idea. it'll help him feel better about it and regain his confidence within himself a bit. kids are a nightmare they really are. they sniff out someone troubled or a bit different and they go for the juggular.
  8. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    First off, thank goodness for the friend that spoke to the counselor. That is friend worth keeping. Next, {{{Hugs}}}. Very seldom does someone bounce back without any sort of backsliding when they've had such an acute emotional trauma.

    I think I would alert his therapist about the cutting, call him in the morning. Maybe he'll have a chance to touch base with Leo before Monday. Also, my advice is to encourage Leo to stay off the social networks... kids often pass rumors and gossip there. He definitely isn't in a position to defend himself right now. Also, I'd give him a "get out of school free" card tomorrow. Let him (or his sister) pick up his assignments. He's being damaged by the other kids right now. You may want to consider a change of schools or placement if it continues much longer. Unfortunately (or not), someone new will probably come along with something to become the gossip mill's new target.
  9. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Ugh! Ugh! Ugh!

    Kids suck! (sorry censors)

    Leo was a strong person, and he will be a strong person again....he is just going through a rough patch - but he definitely needs an outlet for these feelings.

    My feeling is that perhaps now is a good time to get him involved in something completely new, that he has never done before - something challenging. Maybe some kind of outdoor adventure - kayaking, mountain climbing, flying lessons - something. Something to get him completely away from that school and those people....if only for a short while.
  10. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    This is the biggest thing I despise about the upper 6 grades. The rumors, the half-truths, the comments meant to hurt (it does not matter if they are true, if they hurt they hurt).

    Sticks and stones, yada yada. BOVINE MANURE. I'm sorry to say Onyxx is one of the ones that starts things; many of the kids who do are trying to make themselves look better. As adults, they just end up looking pathetic.

    I agree with the out of school card, and calling Dr. Wonderful for a heads-up. Is there any chance that, if the other kids aren't around, Leo would talk to you?

    About your dog. Right now, everyone is hurting about the pup - but Leo, worst of all because of his friend. We had to put my cat to sleep about 11 days ago, so I understand. Do you still have the dog's tags? I have my cat's on a necklace that I wear. Sometime soon, I hope to be able to take it off; but for now, it helps with the pain because I can "hear" her. Just a thought.

    I wish I had some answers, and yes, it's a long, hard road. But kids are horrible.

    Oh - those AP tests? They do have re-takes later if there is a good reason. I'm pretty sure Dr. Wonderful would be able to write a note for Leo requesting AP test postponement. in my opinion, this qualifies as a good reason.
  11. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Julie- Did Leo make it through today okay?
  12. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Oh, dear!

    I am so glad that friend told the counselor.

    Wish I had some advice. But I can send hugs.
  13. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I hate that teenage boy "gay accusation" thing! For decades it has been apart of the maturing process Perhaps Dr. W can discuss the issue and role play appropriate responses? So much depends on the personality of the boy. One thing is for sure it can't just be ignored as that is seen as an affirmation. Darn kids! Hoping Leo gets along well and that the Monday appointment. helps.
  14. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Well, I'm kinda thinking along the lines of JJJ.

    So if it's just an accusation thing - then it is cruel. Anything done in meanness and spite? Is cruel and bullying. If it's a truth thing, and Leo is hurting and confused? He should know there are people out there who won't judge him, and won't condem him, and will understand him without bias. I would think a lot more than he would realize. I don't know if he's gay or not. I don't care. I do know that there are organizations for helping gay teens who are struggling with their identity. Please don't get angry, but if there is a chance that he is, wouldn't it be better to know there is help and support for him rather than misery and lonliness?

    If he's not and he's being accused of it? I can see where it would send him over the edge even more, and leave an open wound even more open. This is a really difficult situation, and I'm only even posting this because at one time we had suspicion that one of our sons might be gay. Pretty tough situation to be in as anyone missing a friend, but harder I would think for a young person with limited coping skills.

    As far as going back to school and telling anyone? The times my son was in the hospital for suicide attempts? yeah - well he didn't tell anyone either. So I dont' think Leo is going to tell anyone, but now that the cats out of the bag as it were? He's going to need to say something, so my advice would be to ask the therapist what would be some good comeback lines. An older person is usually pretty good with role playing bullies on some great comeback lines if Leo cares to banter.

    Hugs -
  15. Mamaof5

    Mamaof5 Guest

    Absolutely the best way to deal with a days people take it badly and call it "sexual harassment" (pfft...okay..whatever..I don't believe it is personally). I'd still recc doing this though but being careful how he plays it up and how much he does.