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Advice for a Reader

This is a call for those among our readership who can draw upon their life experiences to share any advice or thoughts of comfort for Beatrice, who sent me the following note last week:

Hi Ben Kim,

Thank you so much for your unique posts. I have truly enjoyed all of them and always look forward to getting them.

I am a recently divorced mother who has two children ages 17 and 15, who are going through various phases in their lives. My son especially is taking it very hard and I need help on how I can best support him. He is not going to school regularly and has very little friends for he keeps to himself a lot. He sleeps all the time and has stopped going to Church with me.

Can you address Mental Health issues specifically for teenagers and how best to help him.

Thank you and have a wonderful week.

Beatrice

If you are moved to share thoughts with Beatrice, please use the Comment link in the Article Tools box below. Thank you so much.

 
 

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Everyone has their own approach, but what worked for me and my son was having him enroll in the Northwest Youth Corps. He spent the summer making improvements to the Pacific Crest Trail. By the end of the summer he had a completely new outlook on life. It was definitely the best decision that we made at that point in time...

When my son was about that age, he went through a period of depression. He was cutting himself and isolating himself, wearing all black and listening to very dark music. Though he didn't want to go, I took him to a psychiatrist because I wanted an anti depression drug to be prescribed for him. He started taking it, under protest, but it did help and after some time, he was able to stop taking it. His teen years were very difficult for both of us. At one time, I was so angry and upset that I shouted at him "I don't know who you are but someone took my son away and I want him back"
The good news is that he's now 28, married and very happy. I get 'I love you" and hugs every time I see him.

My advice is to follow your motherly instincts on how to help your son. And hang in there and just love him. Things will be better.

I hope this helps. My heart goes out to you and I will send much healing light your way.

Invite relatives and friends your son likes. keep a friendly relationship with his dad, invite the father round as often as possible, emphasize vitamin B rich food and extra vitamin B pills, give him inspiring things to reaf including articles that stress it's ok to be an introvert and encourage him to get a girlfriend!

Beatrice-my daughter was also in a very dark place in high school. She had very deep depression and severe pain due to endometriosis. We found, through natural healing (please don't discredit this), we were able to work her off all 12 medications (!) she was on and get her thru this difficult time. Her physical and emotional pain is tremendously diminished and, not only did we NOT use Meds, we eliminated them. Our "inroad" to starting on her issues was-honestly-Essential Oils of Lemon and lavender for her mood issues. At first she told me they stunk but two days later she texted me that they were incredible. This opened her mind to the possibilities of holistic healing. We worked with diet, acupuncture, supplements and the Oils for calming and emotional release. We also searched until we found a good counselor as that is vital as well. The key is to try until you find one your Son "clicks" with as that relationship will be vital to his improvement. At age 18 years old, our daughter was on 12 Meds and 4 failed surgeries with no hope for a future-no wonder she had Depression and an imblanced body. Have faith as we learned with prayer and working with the body, great things can be done. Blessings to you on your journey and on working to help your Son. It's not easy-it took time but know there is hope.

I feel that when I went into depression I was unknowingly grieving over where my life was and it wasn't matching up with my story I had going in my mind of how my life would be. I feel when we become aware that we are always writing a story of our life... we know to change it. When life deals hard things to understand... to be patient and know that our story has changed. To grieve is OK. To be sad over what you thought would make a happy life. Recently this really caught my attention. Life is an Ebb and Flow just like the tides. When the tides go out... they always come back. In looking back, I didn't trust the flow... that when something really hard, sad happened... I didn't trust that the tide comes back in. It always does and always will. Have faith in the strength your son and you have.. He does not know he has more strength.. and he is now beginning discover it.....

Dear Beatrice,
My heart goes out to you. I've been through a parallel scenario.
First put on your oxygen mask. Take excellent care of yourself no matter what.
Then you may receive the best insights around how to handle the circumstances you find in front of you.
Infinite Blessings for all three of you!

My son is a 'do-er'. During that time I had him doing things for the family and friends that were in his life. I let him spend extra time with the male role models he liked. I consider doing/helping others as service to God so don't worry about church and trust God will find him. My son had been to a psychiatrist earlier, but really sunshine in the ole eyeballs is very good for depression too. Take a walk with him in the park.

Hi dear Beatrice,
I just read your message and I felt compelled to write to you straight away. Sorry if you see any mistakes as English is not my first language.
I think your son is basically feeling very depressed at the moment and he might feel that nobody is asking for his opinion about your divorce. He might be feeling that the family is finally broken into very tiny pieces. I would like to express my deepest compasion for you and your family and I really hope that through the love that once you had for your partner you might find the energy to solve the situation. You both need to find the patience and the love inside yourselves to make your son understand that you and your partners ways are now taking different ways but you are still a family and you will always be.
Wishing you and your family all the best. Love and Light.

If I had it to do over with my daughter (she hasn't spoken to me in 2 years), I would begin practicing the processes and reading the book, "Ask and It Is Given" by Ester and Jerry Hicks, based on the teachings of Abraham. As you become happier and more in line with your vibrational, loving nature, your son will notice and want to know how you did it. You CAN force children their age and it CAN turn out well in the end, and maybe it would have worked for me at that age since my parents did NOTHING at all for us. But why should we have to wait until we're 62 years old to be happy and suffer for years beforehand? We can be happy now and it's just a decision away. This is what has worked for me and I have no more pain or depression about my daughter. I love her and wish her well on her journey. Finally, I love ME and my journey is unfolding in a most exciting way. I wish you and your son love, joy and peace.

Hello Beatrice,

My immediate thought is that he may be dealing with some inner conflict regarding church teachings and wanting to behave like a healthy teenage boy / young man. ie Guilt. I would make comments in general chat making sure to keep it light, and let him know that it is O.K. to act on his feelings, as long as he is careful with how he behaves for his own good and for others.

Regarding school: My son when age 16/17 stopped attending his classes at school for quite a while before I caught on. He spent the mornings in bed and seemed to be getting a little depressed.

Once I realised I spoke with one of the teachers that he liked and he suggested that my son would benefit from a gap year. His usual school friends had moved into other areas of study or taken jobs and the new classes at school were spead thinly throughout the week. He would have to travel though the Winter cold and rain for just a hours lesson. Also he did not like his new un-friendly teacher.

So I spoke with him about attending college the following Autumn. He spent the next six months staying with a family member living abroad enjoying himself and then returned to study at the nearby college and not the school. At college he was treated as a young man and the school had treated him like a growing child. He did very well, was happy and achieved good grades before going to study further at London University.

There are some excellent Christian residential treatment programs around the country.I would consider these options first before any main stream treatment.God bless

Dear Beatrice, I am a Christian counselor who has raised 6 children of my own. I sense your anguish over your son's condition. I am sure as a Christian, you are praying for him and I would not underestimate the power of prayer. I would encourage you to validate your son's struggle to him (i.e. "I know that this is a really hard time for you and I can see you are struggling). When we validate we make it possible for someone to open up and talk with us because it feels safe. If on the other hand we invalidate, saying something like, "its hard for all of us so you need to get over it," he will shut down. If his symptoms worsen or do not improve then I would consider a Christian counselor and frame my appeal to your son like this, I can see that you are struggling and I am concerned out of love for you that you have someone you can talk to about this, I would like you to go to (name)and try it for a few session to see if it can be helpful. By going a few times you give the counselor a chance to make a connection with your son and also assess the seriousness of his condition.

Dear Beatrice,
Assuming your son is aware that he is suffering from depression and is wanting to do something about it, there are a variety of options that will help him feel better immediately. First, get the endorphins flowing with some form of exercise. You could commit to walking with him at least one mile a day, to start. Endorphins will begin to lift the depression chemically, while the most positive, life-affirming effects come from the bond of LOVE that the two of you will feel simply walking together. Hopefully he already has an objective, relatable counselor, from church, school, or professional therapist who he can confide in. If not, that is rather important. Of course what he eats affects his moods, so excess sugar and junk food should be avoided. Do not let him wallow in lethargy, it will only get worse.
It sounds like the depression is not new at all, so it will not dissolve overnight. Be patient. Be positive. Do things together that are enjoyable. And pay attention to cues, both verbal and non-verbal, that tell you how he is feeling.
Let him know without a doubt that you are there for him.
(From experience)

Wishing you peace and joy,
Jessica

Hi Beatrice, the first 2 comments are right on. Teenage depression started for our son around 15 without us really knowing. He kept it to himself. He wasn't withdrawn like some boys get, not until more around 17. When he finally shared it with us, we let him know how proud we were of him for being so brave to go on with it himself and also for realizing he couldn't any more. We did bring him in for counseling but it wasn't for him. The best thing we did was just listen without judgment. I listened no matter what time of day it was. I dropped what I was doing and listened. Our kids just want to be heard. I hugged him every time I saw him. The days were brighter for him once he graduated high school and saw for himself that the stresses caused by high school life while a kid isn't how real life is as an adult. He could make his own decisions including if he was going to let life get him down. He had some stumbling blocks, but he's is now 23 & doing well. I do need to tell you that I put him on a fruit/ vegetable powder and asked him to get a power boost from the sun for 20 minutes every day. He's a longboarder, so he gets exercise as well, which lets off the good endorphins. His outlook and mood has changed so much, he's free. What a great feeling. Please be patient. He knows you love him even if he doesn't say so or say it to you. Your boy is in there, he'll be back.....

I also want to mention a book called " A Fine Young Man" written by Michael Gurian. There are not many books about boys going thru adolescence. We found this very helpful, especially me as woman who has no idea what it means to be a boy at any age. I strongly advise you to read it. He also wrote "The Wonder Boys". I hope this helps....

A friend of mine had similar experiences. This is why I recommended to her.
Pick a time when you DON'T have any kind of conflict or explosive situation at hand. In other words pick a neutral moment when your kid is around. Only do this when it's just the two of you. Most of all. DON't come up with suggestions. Let it come from them. Tell them you want to HEAR FROM THEM what they feel they need. If talking is hard, ask them if you write the questions down on a page, if they can than write their answers.
1. ASK your kid what he or she needs to get through this.
2. ASK your kid what is needed to feel better/happy again.
3. Ask your kid what they need from you to feel loved.

I saw my friend a few days later at Starbucks and she thanked me profusely. She said it worked like magic and she was amazed with how much he shared with her. She said it opened up a door to healing and they have a much better relationship.

Most of us know what we need to get through though situations. Having someone ask what that is is incredibly healing in and of itself. It let's us know that we matter.

Hope this is helpful :)

Be sure to get a complete and full blood test for your son. Then you will know if there are any underlying health issues that need to be addressed. Divorce is difficult. Be sure to keep your health intact as well. Good luck.

Dear Beatrice, My sons were 15 and 16 when my marriage broke down, and I know how painful that time can be. It would be strange if your son were not depressed. Do you share your own pain with him,so that he knows he is not alone? Does the school know and can they offer any counseling for him? Is he able to see his father? Learning how to cope with loss is one of the hardest lessons for us all. My sons adored their father, and still do, but in later years they were able to say, " Mum, leaving Dad was the best thing you ever did". Holding both the love and the hate together is a slowly developed skill which develops as we get older. What you can do is to support your son as he goes through this, accept his intense feelings and be positive in your love for him. Can you get support for yourself and spend time as a family with others who have been through this same process? Then your son will begin to see how others cope, and will begin to have hope that he too will come through the sad experience to another life. Be kind and gentle to yourself and then you will find yourself more able to accept your son's way of coping with his grief. I wish you a deepening and growing love for yourself and your children during this painful time. Val

I have a son who has suffered with depression for almost 13 years . It is very painful for parents to watch their children go through the struggles associated with depression. The most important thing we did was to find the right psychiatrist for our son . We went through three before we finally found a good one that really understood how important the combination of counseling, diet, lifestyle as well as medication was . Ironically, after striking out with doctors three times, I called our insurance in desperation asking for a recommendation . Although that wouldn't call it a recommendation, they did tell me who was very popular for children in my area . Then, when I called to get an appointment for my son , the insurance again helped me by getting him an appointment quickly . Hang in there, and understand that your words encouragement and understanding are going to help him through his struggles . Support groups are pretty good, as well, but of course, it depends on the individual . I wish you all the best and will keep your son in my thoughts .

beatrice, pick up "joel osteen meets cognitive psychology" amazon.. you will gain an understanding of a non drug depression treatment that has be proven with numerous studies.. it's an easy read & you will have the info you need to deal with your son's depression..

Hi, I have a few suggestions. My daughter was young when we went through this so we was spared some but not all of the difficulty. First, don't repaint your past as an ugly one. If you had a good marriage and a beautiful family while it was whole, cherish that and let the kids know they can cherish it too. Let them know they allowed to mourn. And be angry. Even at you. . It is the death of something. Get your son out of the house even for little things. Listen to him even if it's his silence. Tell him you love him straight up and in little ways too. I found cognitive behavioral therapy to be helpful (life saving actually) and it may help him. He needs to process this big event but it is also a relief to just stop thining negative thoughts as a practice and let other things or even nothing fill ones mind. Practice gratefulness as a family. Review for a moment each day what each of you is grateful for and let it blossom into conversation. I wish you well and hope you son and daughter will pull through as strong and loving adults.

I have two boys, the oldest is just entering the teen years and thus far I don't have anything related to him to share with you. But I was a teenager once and went through some dark phases. I was raised with my dad and having a man try to understand what a young female is or could be going through is quite the challenge. We definitely had our rough moments more often than not during my teen years. One thing my dad always said was that its during these dark times for all of us that we need to HEAR the love, not just feel it. So every day, without fail, I would hear "I love you" at least a dozen times. At the time I blew it off not realizing the very real effect that it was having on me. I think this is something teens need to hear as they begin to separate from their parents because while they may feel emboldened during this separation process its still really scary and I think that fear underlies most behaviors from our teenagers. So if you and your ex could agree that your son needs the "I love you's" more often than not right now it just might make an indent.

I also liked the suggestion for some kind of retreat or summer camp away in the wilderness as a form of therapy. Mother Nature can be an incredible healer and I think sometimes that boys/men get a sense of coming back to ones self in the outdoors and your son might find something within himself that is buried right now. Perhaps volunteering to help others, like a retirement home or something, would bring him out of himself to see other people's struggles in relation to his own. I've learned more often than not that the elderly have much to offer us if we slow down to listen.

Just some suggestions. Good luck.

Hi Beatrice,

I just want to say that your son is a teenaged boy and that's a very difficult time in life. His father and your recent divorce is another stressor that may be driving him into a dark place. He definitely needs help.

I would suggest that if there are healthy male role models at your church that he may have developed a rapport with that you should seek their guidance. Maybe one of them could chat with him and help him continue to grow. The sleeping part could be because of hormones. I remember my son back then and he slept quite a bit. A question for you how long have you all lived in the area where you currently lived? If you haven't lived there the whole time maybe he's missing friends that he grew with and feel that he can trust. I would gradually try to get him interested in having fun and doing activities that he would enjoy. You also mentioned that you have two sons, are they close? If they are close then try to engage them both in activities. Whatever you do don't forget about the son that isn't experiencing emotional challenges at this time. Also if possible have other family members interact and solicit advice from those who you believe that you can trust and who you believe can provide some helpful guidance as it relates to your son. Also, first and foremost pray to the Lord Jesus Christ there's nothing too hard for HIM and HE already foreknew what you would encounter...just know that this isn't the last of it and things will get better. If you can find great uplifting music play it in your atmosphere because it lightens the burdens and brings comfort to the environment. Also talk with you son and ask him how you can be of assistance. Let him know that you have his back and that you are his best friend. I know a lot of parents may say I'm not my child's friend, but it's important to be your child's friend as well as have a boundary as a parent. It's not good to put all the apples into one barrel. In times of crisis it's good to pull on all resources until they are exhausted. When you have done all that you can do to stand, then stand therefore. God bless you and yours Robin.

Hi,Beatrice. Although I was divorced many years ago, I found that my son, at the age of puberty (your son may also be in this season) began to experience what appeared to be symptoms of depression. This is a tender time for young men as they began to discover their identity. As he is additionally experiencing emotional challenges with the divorce, this hormonal imbalance could be multiplied. Anyone dealing with such a drastic life change would be affected, but before you attribute it solely to a mental illness, please educate yourself on personality temperaments and find an assessment to discover if his temperament may be a factor as he processes his grief. Also, please ensure that you are being careful to not discuss or paint his father in a negative light, as he identifies with his father, and if you have a overtly negative perspective and opinion of his father, he may me internalize get that, too. May I also ask you to examine the way you process stress, especially this situation because if you are dealing with depression, he may have learned that coping strategy. Overall, dear Sister, I want you to know that this season, too, will pass and you and your sons will be victorious and stronger as time progresses. Please seek the Lord for wisdom and comfort, as He has designed you and your sons for greatness. The Bible book of James may be a good place to start. Please maintain a positive perspective, and ensure that you are affirming him daily with plenty of love, but in a respectful way. Speak the truth in love to him about your concern, and assure him that you believe in him and will always be there. May God continue to bless and prosper you all through this challenging process.

dear beatrice, i raised two sons as a single mother...both of them went through rough patches at about age 15..they made it through. i think it is a puberty result and children do not share everything with their parents..you have to remain steady answer everything honestly and be available..don't let any truly bad behavior go without seeking professional help.

Hi, i write as someone who has never had kids (just 3 dogs). I was however a teenager. This is a huge opportunity for you and your husband to have caring conversations with your son about you and your spouse's relationship and why it did and did not work out. Tell him it has nothing to do with him. It is not the end of the world. Also tell him you LOVE HIM and ask him what both of you can do to help him. Start having regular conversations with him, CREATE A RELATIONSHIP,do things together, take walks, spend time together. Perhaps a counselor, perhaps joining a group for kids of divorced parents, pray that he is sent a friend who can help him who may have been the result of his/her parents divorce.
I LOVED MY PARENTS and know how important spending time together is, time and love are so overlooked by people in todays busy world. My parents were good people but lived in their own world, i advise you based on what my parents could have done and i now find sooo important. namaste', rachel

Two suggestions that could possibly assist your son:
His low energy suggests he could be very deficient in Vitamin D3 and the B-vitamins -(found in foods he probably doesn't eat.)
Suggest you add 40,000 IUs (l-mg) of D3 daily for at least two weeks then reduce to 10,000 IU's daily.

Check his sugar intake through candy, donuts, drinks, etc. Sugar is more addictive than Cocaine and available everywhere....causing fatigue and an altered value of self.

I worked as a Probation Officer for 20 years, authored 'Food & Behavior' and corrected behavior by correcting the diet. Adding B-Complex-50 with each meal can reduce the stress level your son is experiencing. Vitamin C - 1,000 to 2,000 mg daily also helps with his immune system and stress.

If you will share your physical address with me I will be happy to send you a copy of my book, 'Food & Behavior'. A hair analysis could reveal if he has a build up of toxic metals - including arsnic, which causes extreme fatigue.

Important to introduce him to whole, fresh organic foods as our foods are now high in GMOs - dangerous to our health.

My heart goes out to you -
Barbara Stitt, Ph.D.

Two suggestions that could possibly assist your son:
His low energy suggests he could be very deficient in Vitamin D3 and the B-vitamins -(found in foods he probably doesn't eat.)
Suggest you add 40,000 IUs (l-mg) of D3 daily for at least two weeks then reduce to 10,000 IU's daily.

Check his sugar intake through candy, donuts, drinks, etc. Sugar is more addictive than Cocaine and available everywhere....causing fatigue and an altered value of self.

I worked as a Probation Officer for 20 years, authored 'Food & Behavior' and corrected behavior by correcting the diet. Adding B-Complex-50 with each meal can reduce the stress level your son is experiencing. Vitamin C - 1,000 to 2,000 mg daily also helps with his immune system and stress.

If you will share your physical address with me I will be happy to send you a copy of my book, 'Food & Behavior'. A hair analysis could reveal if he has a build up of toxic metals - including arsnic, which causes extreme fatigue.

Important to introduce him to whole, fresh organic foods as our foods are now high in GMOs - dangerous to our health.

My heart goes out to you -
Barbara Stitt, Ph.D.

Hi Beatrice -
I am commenting not because I am a mental health expert, or because I have teenagers of my own (my son is 7), but because 30 years ago I was in the SAME situation as your son (with the addition of drinking and promiscuity). Since I don't know you or your son, I will simply tell you what I was feeling, in hopes that it might shed some light.

I was feeling:
• Angry and Resentful: without question, divorce causes upheaval. Teenagers are by nature self-centered (they are processing so much change at this time in their lives) and they are often incapable of feeling empathy for the parents because they feel like a victim. In my mind, my mother selfishly chose to ask for a divorce and ruined my life. I felt like blaming someone for the upheaval.
• Alone and Misunderstood: friends don’t want to hear about your family life and it’s embarrassing anyway to talk about it at that age. So you let it fester inside, and don’t feel much like being social. Parents are so caught up in their own drama and keeping their own lives together, that they are generally ill-prepared to help their kids through it. My mother’s coping mechanism was “keep control”, which meant she criticized me for everything I did. I was in a downward spiral of depression and not my best self, so the constant criticism just fueled my descent.
• Abandoned: By definition, one parent is “missing” in daily life. We lived with my mom, and went to my dad’s every other weekend. I was always a daddy’s girl, and missed having my dad around. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t just go live with my dad (especially since I was at constant odds with my mom). Did he not want me? My mom also worked a lot (we were having money trouble for the first time) and she was just not around or involved in any positive or meaningful way in my life.

What I wish my mother/parents had done:
• Informed my school: It may have been helpful if my teachers had known that I was going through some great changes at home. Instead I just got the same rude criticism that I got from my mom at home. I don’t think bad behavior deserves a pass, but I think that (a good) school can make a kid feel that, while they still have the personal responsibility of attendance and homework, the teachers are willing to help if they need it. Concentration is compromised in tumultuous times. If teachers know what’s going on, they can keep an eye on him and help when needed.
• Loved me unconditionally: You are the worst version of yourself when you are depressed. And often the best medicine is love. As a parent, even when you are mad, hug, hug, hug. It is the great diffuser. The more my mother made me feel horrible about myself, the worse I got. What I needed was some empathy. I needed her to acknowledge how crappy I felt, and show some desire to help in some way. To make me laugh. To cook my favorite meal. I needed her to be gentle and encouraging and hopeful.
• Talked with me openly: You have to work HARD to keep the lines of communication open with a depressed person. It’s much easier for them to go into a “cave” and pretend the world doesn’t exist. I wish my mom had put in the effort ("I noticed you're sleeping a lot. You must be very sad. Tell me about it."), and created an environment where I felt I could say anything, even if what I had to say sounds hurtful ("why did you ask for a divorce and ruin my life?").
• Shown vulnerability: I have a theory that teenagers will actually like their parents more when they understand they are not perfect. Divorce has shown them you are not perfect, and if you march forward like an invincible machine, I think they will not respect you as much. (I lost tremendous respect for my mother over this. To this day she does not admit weakness or fault.) I think in your conversations it may actually be helpful to your son to say you are sad too, you are struggling too, and you understand. You can be his stability, and also show you are human.
• Stayed neutral on each other: my parents bad-mouthed each other to us. Don’t do this. Kids should not have to bear the burden of parent’s resentments toward one another, because they can do nothing about it. It's just more toxicity.
• Gotten me professional help: my sister had a great group of girlfriends who helped her stay sane. I didn’t and was clearly in the throes of depression. Since my parents were ill-equipped to handle it, I wish I had been referred to a therapist who could at least understand, sympathize, and help give me confidence that things would get better. I learned in adulthood that I have a chemical imbalance which is completely regulated with medication (Cymbalta for me). I have zero depression. I think back and wonder if talk therapy (alone, not family therapy) in combination with medication may have changed the quality of my teenage years entirely. I am a firm believer in natural therapies, so obviously that would be the first path to explore.
• Focused on food and exercise: these can massively impact depression for better or worse. In a depressed state, many eat whatever junk they want (“why should I care?”), not understanding that it drags the mood down even further. Exercise helps to flush the toxins and boost dopamine and serotonin for mood improvement. Even if your son is not athletic, get him out for a brisk walk every day. Tickle him out of bed if you must. Do you have a dog? Or maybe it can be your talking time together.
This is turning out to be a VERY long comment. I have just one more thing to add: Take care of yourself. As a mother I know how easy it is to focus on the care of the kids and forget about oneself. But you will be a much better mom if you are making sure you are also properly supported. Divorce is a big, messy deal, and no one breezes through it. I’m sending you lots of love and compassion! And thank you for asking this question of Dr. Kim – just by caring enough and asking, you may be changing (or saving) his life.

Maybe he is feeling alone. Share stories about his relatives, his dad And mom to make him feel a part of a bigger picture.

Dear Beatrice,
My LOVE goes out to you and your son! Today's teenagers are having an extremely difficult time navigating through their feelings. The keys to helping him are 'communication' and 'Love'!! Please, ALWAYS (all-ways) keep a channel open for him! Let him know that you will 'all-ways' be there for him...whenever (and where-ever) he chooses to communicate his feelings....without judgment from you (or anyone else). Make it comfortable and easy for him to communicate his feelings. Perhaps, you can suggest that he 'writes' his feelings down, in a letter (to you, or your ex). Do not demand or insist that he shares this letter (until he is ready). ALL my Love to you and your family...

Hello! We have three children ages 17,19, and 21. Our son is the youngest. He has ADHD and has needed the most help. The past two years have been very difficult in our marriage and we discussed divorce. With the Lord's help we are still together. Our son was affected greatly during these times of trials. His grades went down and he struggled to have friends. He slept a lot also. One thing that is so important to him is to spend quality time with his dad. Is your son able to see his dad often? Since the boys model after their same sex parent it would be good if he could be with his dad or another reliable mentor. A couple of men from our church have helped a lot when his dad was away. I will remember you and your son in my prayers. I feel for you as these times are so difficult. Looking back the teen years were the hardest years I remember in my own life. You're a loving mom that truly cares about your children. Your kids are blessed to have you. Best wishes and prayers for success for your family! Beth :)
Romans 15:13 - "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

Depression and excessive sleepiness can be caused by thyroid disorders - hypothyroidism and/or elevated thyroid antibodies. Please ask your son's doctor to have evaluation of thyroid panel not just TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) which is most commonly used to diagnose thyroid disorders but sometimes is not sufficient. To get more information look up Mary Shomon and/or Izabella Wentz,PhD websites on internet.

You might try enrolling him in a martial arts class (get good references first because some are too macho)because they learn self defense and respect for selves and others in the class. Competition might inspire him to become interested in something outside himself. The sleeping so much sounds like a nutritional deficiency. How about a holistic health counselor and/or a personal trainer to get him physically active? How about getting him to volunteer at the local animal shelter?

I will pray to Jesus for her and her children, especially her son.

Beatrice,
I know how much we as mothers suffer when we see our teenagers suffer themselves. My own experience with my teen, who went through a trauma, and turned into herself, is to try a understand, not judge, be accepting, and offer help whenever they let you in. It sounds so easy but it can be so hard with a difficult or closed off teen. My daughter stopped going to school because she felt so different from her classmates. I am a mental health professional, (and I work with teens), and I felt that she was suffering from depression. It sounds like your son may also be suffering from depression. I convinced my daughter to go to a psychiatrist, and she has been taking mild anti-depression/anti-anxiety drugs for awhile now and she herself feels that they have changed her life. In general I am not a big believer in drugs of any sort, but if it helps so much, why not? There are also lots of other more natural things to help depression, but they involve effort, like exercise and diet, which most teens are not willing to try. She also went for counselling for a year, which was also helpful. So, try to be present for him, which is so hard when we feel their suffering! And if possible, I would try and get some clarification if he is suffering from depression, and if so, what can be done to help him. And don't forget to take care of yourself! You can't be there for him if you are not there for yourself. I hope this was helpful. My heart goes out to you.
Amy

Kidshealth.org has info for kids, teens, and parents
jw.org has Bible based info for couples, parents, teens, children and free downloads of books, videos and more. There are very specific articles for teens struggling with depression, loneliness, even parents divorcing.

As a teacher and mom I've learnrd that teens need you more as a friend and counselor rather than a mom. You need to keep on your knees and try not to judge, but listen, not to critizise or argue. You can learn good lessons with your kids. Spend special time with each of your kids and don't forget to hug them even if they don't want. Later it will.pay off. May God help you in this challenge

Hello Beatrice: What a heartache for you to see you son suffer so. I saw a programme on TV and it sounded sincere and good. It was from a Christian website - Seven Day Adventist (which I am not, although I am a Christian). Where they treat depressed people is at http://depressionthewayout.com/ I saw about this at the It Is Written video at https://www.itiswrittencanada.ca/tv-program.html. May not hurt to check it out as they mentioned a young girl suffering from depression among other cases. Take care and hang in there. I believe that he will recover.

It is so important to love your son conditionally, that means no judging,
critizing, analizing, fixing, but loving and accepting him for who he is.
He feels your pain and the division between his father and you. It is also
important that you speak kindly about his father even though you are
separate and apart. Children are extremely sensitive and need to experience
the love of parents, no matter what. Having an adequate nutritional program
for children also helps them cope with unforeseen circumstances,
The best advice, Eat good, pray lots, and love like you have never loved before and your son will bounce back.

Beatrice, it is possible that drugs, not divorce, is your son's problem. My advice: prayer, patience, prayer, nutrition, persistence, prayer, investigation, and prayer.

My dear Beatrice - My heart goes out to you, and your wonderful teens. I too am a divorcee, with one son. We went through the wars, and by the grace of God, have both prevailed. There is a way out, light at the end of the tunnel. It takes courage, determination, and a grown-up hero, to lead the way. You are the adult, and your children are looking for leadership. You have to have a plan - which can be hard, but take things day by day, hour by hour. Discuss what you can with the teens, ask their opinions, ask what their wishes would be, in a particular situation. HOWEVER, as sophisticated and intelligent as your kids may be, they are not adults, and you have to be. So do not involve them in decisions which should be made by adults - those decisions have to be made by the adult - YOU. In such situations talk to your adult, mature, experienced friends (not all of them - select those you trust, and are wise, and experienced in life!) Also, get professional help where appropriate, and before you involve the kids, talk to the counsellor/professional yourself, detailing the circumstances, and they will guide when, and how to get the children involved. They need that kind of help. Your son has gone into depression, and should see a professional for that, but check it out first before going to him for his involvement. The professional can guide you in the way ways to talk to him, so he will be receptive to going to the professional - boys are quite hard to convince sometimes, but if you go first, and then suggest all three go together that helps. In my case, my 14 year old son went into a serious depression when his
father died from cancer (10 years after the divorce)and left school, lying in bed, sleeping all day, not eating, not engaging. He would not go to the professional, so after I thought enough time had passed, and he could not continue to lie in bed, I gave him an ultimatum - he could go back to school, or go to work, but he could not disengage any longer, and needed to see our family doctor. After a little while, he emerged, went back to school, and studied really hard and left high school with flying colours. I tell you this to say you have to have the backbone to do what is going to bring the best results for your children - so, within reason, you have to toss them out of the place they want to go - the place of least resistance, which will only take them to a place of failure, guilt and regret. My son had been in the Air Cadets, and had stopped going, but he rejoined, and at 16 became a pilot, trained by the Air Cadets. It is important, therefore, for your son, and daughter, to find something, some passion, and do it. Sports, music, working with kids, or people, or animals, etc. The Cadets take men and women, and is a wonderful training ground for life, and also will walk them out of their current situation, as it builds confidence, skills, and friendships. That was the greatest and most lasting of my son's endeavours. Check it out!
For yourself, you need to take long bubble baths, (but watch the alcohol!) play a sport, find a passion, stay close to a few good friends,take care of yourself physically, mentally and emotionally. Find, and take, whatever help is available in your area, via community groups, friends, etc. Very important - get good financial advice, so you can secure yourself now, and for the future, as you are now the mainstay of your family, and what you do your children will emulate in the future. DO NOT BAD MOUTH THEIR FATHER - that does not mean you do not discuss him - rather, the opposite - speak about him as honestly as you can, because if you do not they will not receive it well, as they will always defend him - that is just the way it is. So, speak of all the good things, and times, you all had, and wish him well. They will need that. You do not have to hate him, because you do not want to live with him. Don't make him the elephant in the room, but rather, a friend who does not live with you, but you care about. These things are just things I learned, and used. Things will be up and down, because that is life, but you have to be cool, and calm, by determining to be - which will help them to do the same, and think and talk things through, because they are old enough now to learn about life, (but not about your adult things -children need to deal with children,s things not adult things). I am pleased to know that you are a Christian, because that lets me know you know where your true help comes from, and who your true Friend is, Who will never leave you, Who walks beside you, and Who will show you the way if you let Him. Pray with your children every day - thanking God for all His love and care, and most of all, for His Grace, and leading. They need to know you have the best help there is, which will give you all comfort and assurance. (Do not worry if they do not want go to church, etc., with you now - You go, and pray every day for what you want, including asking God to lead them - eventually He will bring them around to what is needed to be done, but you have to be patient, and let God do His thing!) This is long, but is only a tiny part of what I learned, what I found worked, and am only happy to be able to say to you you will survive this, and with a little thought, and care, and trusting God, it will all come to a good conclusion. Should you wish to contact me directly, I would be more than happy to "talk" with you - so you could ask Dr. Ben to assist you in getting to me. I will be praying for you three, and thinking of you, wishing all the very best for you. God bless and and keep you. Don't sweat the small stuff, and remember to keep looking UP - especially in the tough moments! Sincerly, Madge (Anderson).

If you suspect mental illness please get him to a doctor. I have 12 years of experience with my son. It is a difficult one and will not go away. It is manageable but a open dialogue is a must. You must make it your job to ask the hard questions and be understanding to the feelings he might express to you that you wont understand. Just remember that just because you might not have ever felt the way he is feeling doesn't mean it's not real to him. If he is Diagnosed with depression, sleep disorder, anxiety, mood swings or night terrors or obesity than please
get the GAPS Book by Natasha Campbell because this works and heals. If his problems are not depression but related to family issues.....family counselors are a good start.If you get a depression diagnosis and want to hear how to help him live a better life than he's living I can share our experiences with you. yojsylvester@aol.com

 

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