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Parenting --Teens/18yr old boy no social activity


Dear Kjirstin,
My 18 yr old has been in his bedroom mostly for the past three years. He has a stepfather and a younger brother who is now 5 . We moved to australia 7 Years ago. He does have a good relationship with his stepdad and has chosen to work for him- even tho we agreed to this as it was that or nothing !
Over the past year this are some of the things that have happened :
Poor grades at school
Lack of respect for others in the family
Punching holes in walls at home
Minimal social activity - even tho has friends
Lack of respect for house - bedroom full of litter and wrappings from food
Now has lefts school has not been out for two weeks - just to work for his stepdad not seen any friends over Christmas
Was bought A car in august to try and get him to drive but now can't be bothered
Has seen a local counsellor after having Anxiety and panic attack whilst we were away for a week in June
We did sit down and offer a working holiday to Uk if he wanted but he chose to work for stepdad
His attitude was so awful to the rest of the family anger a d resentment being rude mainly to me his mum - and wagging most of his last months at school
Blamed parents for not paying for an expensive schoolies holiday to Thailand with some mates - Had no job to help pay for it and does not even go out at night here ??!!
And now has not been out over Christmas - just at home in his room . We are just so worried and want him to be able to enjoy his life - he plays indoor soccer once a week and loves it - he manages the team- but that is al he does.
He got to a third interview-stage to join the navy but then dropped it as we were making him do it ??!!
How can we e courage him to be more social ?
Hope you can help

I am not a doctor and cannot guess what is up, but his issues seem much more severe than a counselor can help. He needs a competent psychiatrist. Soon.

His anxiety and panic attacks can be helped through good therapists who will ask, "What would be the worst thing you can think of that could happen, and what would it be like if it did happen?" Working through these issues, he will be able to see that even in a worst case scenario, he can cope with whatever happens.

Many his age feel entitled to everything with no work on their part. It seems to be a sign of the current times, and is very sad. Kids are growing up without a work ethic, feeling free vacations and good paying jobs should simply "be there" for them, like the ice cream after dinner, or birthday presents when they turned a year older. Many feel more joy from advancing a level in an online game than meeting face-to-face with friends, and there is unfortunately not much we can do about it. You can't force a child who is technically an adult to "go out and play" with his friends.

I understand you buying him a car to encourage him to go out, but it is excessive, and suggests perhaps you may have tried to purchase his behaviors. It doesn't work, and he may resent it and you even more, and become angry over the way you try to help him.  

Do you have "House Rules" he is required to follow, such as doing dishes, vacuuming, taking out the trash? All of us should help in maintaining a home. That he has such filth in his room is not a good sign of his attitude toward himself, or his respect of his home and the others in it.

Boys this age often have big questions, like where they came from, and where they are going after they die. If raised without religious beliefs, these can be overwhelming as they face adulthood.   

Something you might look into as a family is a working vacation. These are structured to help others, often in foreign lands. They can be very eye-opening for adolescents as they recognize the greater needs of others, and develop an appreciation of what they have themselves.
Here are a few I pulled from the web after a quick search. I cannot endorse them, but this is a way to show how you might do a search yourselves. Travel as a family would benefit ALL of you, and help your son get outside himself, which is his greatest need right now.

Hope this helps.

Good luck as you forge ahead, and hope you have a Happy New Year.  

Parenting --Teens

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My own dysfunctional youth in an alcoholic family helped me decide to raise my children with love, acceptance, and honesty. It must have worked. We`ve got terrific kids. Those I've answered on this site usually feel I've been helpful in their unique situations. Our world is so much better when we lift instead of crushing. Every child is worth more than any bank can hold. If I can help at all, it will be in teaching both parent and child of their own personal value to humanity, and how to punch through the noise of the moment to find their greater purpose. Together, we can all make a better world.


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