Thoughts and Opinions Sought

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by gclarke, Jan 16, 2009.

  1. gclarke

    gclarke New Member

    Hello -
    Wishing to be succienct here.

    I have a 12 year old son that I have been raising for the past 5 years on my own (post-divorce). Even well prior to the divorce and as very young child my son exhibited mild definance, negativity and judgemental behavior and comments. This is most often directed to women which is very disconcerting.

    When confronted with even mild, calmly delivered suggestions or attempts to discuss his poor judgement or action, he will simply begin to sob, silently and become very quiet.

    An additional behavior he has exhibited for years and now seemingly getting worse is a casual indifference or ambiguity. A simple shrug of the shoulders and "I don't know." is often the reply to questions about his behavior or action. This will often result in the quiet tears too if pressed to give me more of an answer.

    School, teachers and other parents love my son as a polite, well spoken, little bit flaky, highly intelligent young man. He loves animals. Has never been in any trouble, is a great student.

    Now, I have taken him to two different therapist over the years. One spoke with him for 4 sessions and the Dr. told me to go home, that there is nothing he won't outgrow. During the divorce I took him to another one. My son simply would not communicate to her. After four sessions her comment was, keep sending him until he speaks. I could not afford $150 a pop to have him sit for an hour while she did other things.

    Now at 12 and in the 7th grade I am increasingly concern about him and the future that he seems to be creating. So the question are; does this sound like something familiar to any of you? What did you do? Did it help?

  2. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    He seems extremely sensitive.

    If your son can't relate to this therapist, find another. Sometimes it takes a while to find the right fit between psychologist and patient.
  3. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Welcome Gary. I've never experienced that exact problem but I have gone through a divorce and I have seen the children react differently to the change. Was your son's personality generally the same prior to the past five years? Has the "sensitivity" heightened recently to the point of concern? Is his interaction with peers and others away from school the same as it used to be? Does he display the tendency to cry in front of others or only with you?

    Lots of questions, I know. Based on my experiences with children who tried not to show their sense of loss after divorce and my experiences raising a grandson who's Mom is in town but not reliable, I would guess that he may be trying to "**** it up" but is silently suffering the loss of his Mom...even if she is/was lousy.

    by the way, is it possible that he feels you are using the therapists to get an answer to your question "what is wrong?" If kids don't trust that their feelings will be held in confidence, they usually don't open up with the professionals. Often the goal is to protect the parents feelings.

    One other question comes to mind before I go back to bed. Does he have any other adult relative or close family friend? What do they think? DDD
  4. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Hi Gary, welcome.

    A few important housekeeping matters - you need to be careful to not use your real name here, because at some point you might want to complain about a therapist, a teacher, a doctor - who knows? And if you can be tracked through a simple Google search, than you can't feel safe enough to complain freely when you need to.

    Your son sounds like he has a number of problems which really need to be identified. Has he ever been assessed for ADHD or Asperger's? Sometimes an Aspie can present as "a little professor" with detailed knowledge and interest in a few very highly specific areas, coupled with apparent aloofness and condescending attitude to other people. They don't generally distinguish between themselves and other people (ie adults and children are all equal in their minds) and will treat other people in the same way those people treat tem. For example, a teacher or parent scolding or getting sarcastic, will find the child getting sarcastic and sometimes scolding, in return. They get very strong fixed ideas about what is acceptable, they are intense rule followers (as long as these are the rules as THEY understand them to be).

    Often as they enter their teens they can get very depressed, especially with the strain of trying to fit in taking its toll. You can also get a lot of problems with anxiety but it's not always easily recognised. Sometimes it will show up as anger, or rudeness, or impatience.

    How does he feel about himself as a person? What does he conceive himself to be? I suspect he would tell you that he hasn't got a problem, he just wishes everybody else would do what they should do, and stop bothering him. Or he might say that he just can't fit in, he feels always as if he's on the outside looking in. This is where they can get very depressed, as they begin to realise that no matter how hard they try, their efforts to fit in never seem to ber fruit or get recognised.

    I'm not saying thta this IS Asperger's, only giving this as one possible example that could readily explain things. There are other possibilities but it takes an expert to make a professional diagnosis.

    People here would recommend you begin with a neuropsychologist assessment.

    Also, in terms of managing his behaviour day to day, people on this site swear by Ross Greene's "The Explosive Child". It gives you a different and often more effective way of viewing your child's behaviour.

  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there. I feel for you. My daughter really didn't do well after my divorce and got into drugs. She was only 12 when she smoked her first joint. Do look into this. I never dreamed she would do this, but it escalated and she got very involved in drugs before she straightened out. Welcome aboard!
  6. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    Hi Gary and welcome.
    How does your son do in school?
    Does he socialize with peers?
    Does he have a good relationship with his mom?
    Are there any siblings?
    Does he participate in extracurricular activities?
    Is there anyone that he does open up with? friend, pastor, adult mentor etc.

    More questions than answers.
  7. cadydid

    cadydid New Member

    Welcome!!!! You have a great place here.

    I can only comment on the therapist part.. please do continue to try and find one that works. It took 3 different people before we finally found one that has gotten son talking.

    And as for cost, is there a county mental health center in your are? They often see patients on a sliding scale fee based on your income.

    I wish you the best of luck
  8. ML

    ML Guest


    My son has also gone through a divorce when he was young, around 3, he's 10 now and I am remarried. We've talked about it off and on over the years and I figured he was pretty much ok with things after all these years. Still waters run deep though. The other day in the car we were having a talk about why he felt unloved all the time. Specifically he swears his dad loves his friend "R" more than him because he lives with her mom (just as roommates). He was mad because he felt dad spent more money on her birthday gift. I said "manster, is it about money, would you feel loved if dad spent more money, please what is it? We love you so much, how can you not feel loved?" Do you know what he said? "yeah, you love me so much that a couple years after I was born you got a divorce" and started crying. Some of our kids are extremely sensitive, over the top so. It would help to find a therapist or someone that he feels comfortable enough to do more than grunt or shoulder shrug".

    I hope you find this board helpful on your journey to raise a difficult child. Hugs, ML
  9. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hi Gary, welcome.
    Your son does sound extremely sensitive, to the point where he has difficulty functioning. I am so sorry that you've had problems with the therapists. I would keep looking for another one. Keep looking until you get a good one. If your son doesn't respect women, look for a male therapist. He needs to be able to identify with-someone b4 he will open up.
    I've got my fingers crossed for you.
  10. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    ML, that is exactly what I was trying to share. My children and I have always been close and they felt comfortable sharing bad thoughts and feelings with me anytime BUT it took years before they let me know how much pain they felt from the divorce. Our easy child/difficult child has lived with us his whole life AND has had unlimited access to his Mom for the most part. His substance abuse counselors told us that the separation and sense of rejection that he got from his bioparents were huge factors in his poor teen choice making. It's really important that the kids have someone other than a parent to share their true feelings with so they don't have to tiptoe around the custodial parent in fear of hurting them or "adding to their stress". DDD
  11. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Your son does sound extremely sensitive. I have one of those, too, and he won't talk about it until he's ready and then it's like a dam has opened.

    The "I don't know" and his reaction to further prodding reminds me of my daughter, except she gets angry. The problem is she really doesn't know. At least, she doesn't understand the feelings nor can she articulate them. Feelings and experiences that happen young in life tend to stay that way emotionally, if that make sense. They couldn't make sense of them then and they can't make sense of them now because they still experience it the way it felt at the young age it happened. At 7 years old, he didn't have the insight to understand what he was feeling or the words to express it, just that he was feeling it. Since he didn't have the words then, he doesn't have them now either with regard to that experience. And at 12, insight is really just starting to take form.

    I think finding a therapist that understands that and doesn't try to force him to come up with words he doesn't have is key. You have to get into it via a back door, so to speak.