Active Member
In general, my difficult child has been doing pretty well. But, it's two steps forward, one step back--always.(He has bipolar disorder.) And I'm tired. I feel isolated. I feel unreliable--both socially and with other commitments. My husband and I are basically on the same page when it comes to parenting him, but I'm a bit more of a hard ass.

Sigh. I'm just feeling sorry for myself today. Like I said, he's been doing really very well. He's been in school almost every day for two weeks. We put him back on adderall to address the ADHD and it's helped him with concentration (but made his evenings when he comes off the medicine a bit more unpredictable).

So that's my difficult child--DS#3. Now, on to my "normal" child--DS#2. He's 13 and in 7th grade.

I'm looking at him differently these days. He's been a fairly happy-go-lucky kid for most of his life. Made friends easily. Was able to laugh at himself early on and not take things too seriously. When he hit 5th grade I noticed that he was hanging out with a boy that I didn't really like. Not because he was a bad kid, as they say. But because this kid didn't want my son hanging out with anyone else. And my son slowly stopped being friends with other boys. Now he's in 7th grade and his friend circle is really small. All the kids have "issues" of some kind or another. And my son is becoming more isolated, less interested in doing any kind of physical activity, is definitely experiencing anxiety from ... something. And his grades just plummeted this year. He went from As to Cs. Drugs are not involved. But he is clearly miserable. I've reached out to the guidance counselor so that she can coordinate with his teachers to get a read on what they think is going on with him. Honestly, I think he's just not doing the work. Or his doing the minimal work. It's just not his usual behavior. I'd like to know why. Asking him gets us no where.

I'm thinking of having him do neuropsychological testing. I'm sure it will show that he has strengths and weaknesses all in the normal range. It will also probably show that he has issues with anxiety. My greatest fear, however, is what happened to my nephew (my brother's son). When he turned 16 he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. He went from a pretty normal, happy kid to a very disabled one.

What would you all do if you were DS#2's parent? Neuropsychological testing? CBT for anxiety? Force him into some kind of sport or physical activity?

I'm not interested in social engineering the friendships. I think his friends are all socially awkward and because of that look like snobs to other kids. But short of sending him to a different school, this is his set of friends.

Like I said, I'm feeling sorry for myself. I just wish my kids were all OK. I'm worried for their future. I know that things could be significantly worse. But this is my reality and it's hard to watch my kids struggle :(


I think that I would look into counseling for the anxiety and definitely encourage him to explore new hobbies. It does not have to be sports per se but could involve some form of physical activity which is good for anxiety, like dance (hip hop maybe). Skate boarding, skiing, acting. Or music. Hobbies give him a friend group plus a sense of accomplishment which I believe makes a huge difference.


Well-Known Member
I am proactive so that I can find if there is anything psychiatric or neurological going on and get help. So Id do ( and have done) the neuro psychiatric testing first. A counselor is not trained to really figure out disorders, and just pushing him ito into activities...that doesnt explain or help the grades and sadness. Although new interests/activities are always a good thing!!!

With a history of schizophrenia and other mental health issues on the family tree, if I were his mom I would want him evaluated and watched. Early intervention is a winner.

You need to know what you are treating before you can treat it. Thats how I feel anyway...

This is always soooooo hard and Im sorry. I hope you can resolve this very soon!! When our kids suffer, so do we!
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pigless in VA

Well-Known Member
JRC, please don't go there with the schizophrenia. I have that same fear with Ferb, because his father was diagnosed with it when he was a young adult. I'm not sure that diagnosis was correct, but I will never know for sure. Cross that bridge if you get to it, but don't even let it enter your mind at this stage. If your son has it, you will know. You can always read about it if that helps you.

I work at a middle school, and I think it is pretty typical for boys to let their grades slide. I'm not thrilled with your son's small friend group, but he does have friends. Do you think your son is depressed? Middle school is a stressful time for kids. They aren't sure who they are. There is a lot of pressure to perform well. They're all awkward to some degree. I think if you believe he is depressed enough to be on medication, then you should pursue that. Ferb probably should have been on medication sooner but was adamantly opposed to it.

I like Maisy's idea of encouraging him to try something new. I tried very hard to get Ferb to play sports, do kickboxing, do karate, do anything. He did take guitar lessons but would never join a band. Ferb was too attached to the Xbox to try anything else.


Active Member
Thanks everyone for your thoughts. Pigless thank you for saying not to go there with the schizophrenia. I know I shouldn't. It helped to have someone say it though. I do enough worrying about it with DS#3.

Maisy he does have hobbies i.e. we ski on weekends, he plays drums and likes theatre. BUT the problem is that he's pulling away from them: i.e. wouldn't do the musical this fall. Didn't do jazz band this year (I only found out weeks into school starting that he'd dropped it). He'll ski with us but won't interact with our friends when they come with us. He's slowly isolating himself.

Do I think he's depressed? Yes. And Pigless you're right, middle school is tough. And *this* middle school is tough. Lots of type A parents with type A kids all on the ivy league track. There is a joke in the school system that if you're getting Bs your failing. Not too much pressure, huh?

SWOT I'll reach out to ds#3's therapist and get a referral and also ask his opinion (he's actually a psychiatrist but is DS#3's therapist). But I'm worried that he'll be one of those kids that won't participate and won't open up.

Hopefully this is all a phase and he'll be fine in 3 months. Little :censored2:. He's supposed to be my easy child!