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joeym
joeym asks:
Q:

Fresh Start for a 14yo?

My world has just been turned upside down. My 14yo was leading a completely unexpected life without my knowledge. Drugs, sex, gay, sexting, sneaking, smoking, drinking, suicidal, etc. The lines of communication are definitely open and I think I now know TOO MUCH about my baby. I asked him to hit me with it all at once, instead of dragging it out, and I can honestly say I believe he's confessed everything. I'm not sure I'll ever sleep again.

1) How do I reconcile this new knowledge with "my baby" thoughts? I'm stuck in some sort of disbelief phase.

2) After his breakdown, we're looking at a new beginning. I need suggestions...
     a) What type of activities can help him resist peer pressure?
     b) What type of activities can help him build self-confidence and regain self-esteem?
     c) How do I learn to trust again?
     d) How do I provide a safe environment without imprisoning him?
In Topics: Teen issues, Teen sexuality and dating, Teen alcohol and substance abuse
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Wayne Yankus
Aug 13, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

Joey:

Congratulations on listening to him and not being judgemental.  When a young teen confesses sexual confusion or discovery, and the world he is forced to live in for his own safety at school, that is a large dose of reality to a parent.  First, stop calling him "my baby" He was once that but is now a young teen. Own up to his youth and embrace it.  Second, ask him to see his doctor for a physical examination who should reassure you and him of his health.  She/he should discuss with your son safe behavior.  Third, peer pressure is tough therefore keep the lines of communication open to him, his friends (get to know them and their families), and his school counselor.  Watch grades and any poor performance.  Talk, listen, and talk some more.  He opened the lines of communication and you accepted what you heard.  Declare your love for him and that as a parent you still plan to imposed house rules.  Ask him for his passwords to Facebook and his computer and check the history as well as his cell phone.  REmind him of  state and federal rules regarding pornography.  Attend a PFLAG meeting nearby and ask other parents how they handled this and remember that he may not have committed to a gay lifestyle at 14 but may just be curious.  You will trust him just keep your eyes open.

Wayne A. Yankus, MD, FAAP
expert panelist: pediatrics
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Additional Answers (2)

Loddie1
Loddie1 , Parent writes:
Well, it seems like he/she has experimented with way too much. I would first start by getting professional Christian counseling. Try your local churches. If there is ever a need to instill God in your life, it is now and your son's. My viewpoint is from a Christian stand-point. Teens today need God in their lives. They need to know they live for a greater spiritual purpose. The Spirit is within you, all you have to do is listen and follow it. I would also recommend that while it is good you know "everything", letting your child have some independence is very important. Just try to know where they are at all times and getting involved in a youth group is a plus too.
> 60 days ago

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Dell
Dell writes:
Hi,

I just wanted to offer you my encouragement and let you know it will get better. I know that this was a slap in the face for you as a parent, and it's not what you want for him but he can have a fresh start. My concern is that his suicidal thoughts need to be addressed ASAP! He needs to be able to speak to a therapist (without you being present) because believe it or not, he may not have told you everything. He needs more than just discipline and monitoring, he needs to feel better about himself and understand why he was/is being self-destructive. He may even need medication - but please, put aside your own feelings for now and just focus on geting him to a therapist and don't assume this talk you had is all that he needs. The last thing you want is for him to pretend that everything is okay and then kill himself. (Sorry to be blunt but teens will do this and I don't this happening to you.)
> 60 days ago

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