Hi. I have a 16 year old son who was very happy up until 2 years ago when he started 9th grade in a new school (he chose the school) and last year he switched to a new school again.
In the 9th grade year he had a lot of trouble making friends and he didn't fit in so he started to bottle everything up inside.
This year, 10th grade, he has a ton of friends at his new school but he still bottles everything up inside.
He has always been on the quiet side, cool and reserved and nothing ever really fazes him. Now, however, he states that he doesn't care about anything (except his drums which he plays about 3 hours a day). He can't seem to get emotional about anything. He doesn't mope or act sullen at all, he just doesn't seem to care about anything.
I took him to a counselor for the first time yesterday and he told the guy that the reason he was there is that he doesn't care what happens about anything. The counselor concluded the appt by telling me that he didn't see anything really wrong but that if my son ever wanted to talk to someone that he could come to him.
I know in my gut that there is something wrong. He has absolutely no motivation for anything. If we punish him for something and take away priveledges it doesn't change anything -- he could care less.
Is there a way to get those bottled up feelings out? How do we get him to see that zero motivation and no feelings for anything is a problem? His grades always go into the toilet by the time spring comes around because he decides he doesn't care about school at all. We take away his priviledges until he does his homework but he'll sit there and do nothing instead. We won't take away his drums because that is his outlet and the only thing that seems to spark him.
Right now he has no phone, no computer, no games, and he seems unfazed. His girlfriend is very worried about him too.
I know for me, the first time I see a cousoler I build up a wall and say very broad things so first time talking is never really help and they may think there is nothing wrong. Maybe your son needs to see someone to talk to without you being there for many many sessions untill he can tell his real struggles inside to someone. It takes time to trust also or else I wouldn't tell my thoughts either.
My brother was exactly as you describe during his teenage years. No one could talk to him and he did what he wanted no matter what the consequence ( he wasnt doing anything that bad, just never coming home on time and doing as he pleased) Unless there is a reason that you can think of suspect smoking weed?? relationship breakup?? death in the family?? I would put it down to male hormones, honestly my brother was the same!
Hi Bread and Jelly,
How long did it take you to open up? I wasn't in the appt with my son. I waited in the waiting room. Did you find it helpful? How do you know if you have the right therapist?
That's a good question but with everyone it is different. And only the person themself will know if the therapist is the right one for them so I guess being the parent is hard because it is really out of your hands.
Took me for some issues, months to open up and confess about it to my counsoler. But to me, a good therapist is one that encourages and helps me see the distortions in my thinking and the veiws I have that are wrong many times. A good therapist is one that sees clearly what I cannot. And most importantly the trust that my therapist will not spill everything to my parents to know. Maybe you can talk with the therapist on days your son will not be there at all so that he will never know. Otherwise he might not trust the therapist to tell him anything without it leaking to you. But that's what I would feel, your son may be different. hope this helps.
Being a 19 year old and im exactly the same as what you described except i draw instead of playing drums, Its not that he just dosent care, it that he dosent know how to care. He probably finds it hard expressing his emotions and when you ask him questions will find it hard to talk about himself or just give a rush answer to get you away such as 'Im okay' or 'im fine'. Possibly Hyperthymic temperament minus a few symptoms. My advice would be to get him to be as emotional as possible and let him realise what emotions are making him feel what. By taking away his privilidges its not going to bother him in the slightest as he has an inteligent mind and in his head can keep himself amused for hours. He probably feels that his tests are nothing and that he dont need them to proove how clever he is. I think that you need to spend some alone time together perhaps get him to teach you to play the drums and during ask him what he wants to do with his life (Show a genuine interest in what he wants to do) and exagerate the fact he needs to try hard in school to do it.