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Jen Helant
Jen Helant, Child Care
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1386
Experience:  I have my bachelors degree in psychology. I worked with children. Since then I have raised and still raising 3 wonderful boys.
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I have a 16 old son, he is depressed because of lower self

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I have a 16 old son, he is depressed because of lower self esteem, social anxiety, which he believe is caused by our poor parenting, critizing him. He was A stundent, play music and some sport but not anymore. His interest, release or happy thing is play game and game discussion on internet. set limit on internet or video game make him sad, anxious, huge angry. because he fights to death, there is really no rules at home, even though we keep asking him to reduce and to stop, time for do homework. internet plus video time is over 6-7 hours on school day, only 5-6 hours for sleep, no time or very little time for homework. He said we only care about academic, not his happiness (need on internet or play game). We just want him limit time, then have time to do homework and sleep. How can we help him but get out of internet game discussion and game playing without making him more anxious.

I am sorry what you are going through. I would like to try and help.

How long has this been going on?
Does he have siblings and if so do you have similar issues?
Are both parents involved and what is the involvement?
Did he ever have rules?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

for over year and more and more serious. Yes, he has a 14 half old brother, he strongly feel his brother is favored, the older one is an experiement and victim. Both parents are fully involved. He think we are strict to him and loose to the second child. He obeys rules at school with other fine, shy, modest, only against us since he truly feels we ruined him. he can be so emotional, he hurts himself. we are afraid he expodes, and hurts himself, not being emotional, he can talk ver reasonably.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

He is extremely bright. He has high potential and was a very nice boy. Still very nice young man. just feel strongly parents faulty. We admitted we are not patient enough, frustrated. Should limit critize, more encourage, however, health/sleep and school are important. life can't just be internet and game. should learn to make friends, he sees friends and social are very important. We promise to change.

Thanks for explaining. There are certainly more issues here that just my answer can help, but I hope I can help put you all in the right direction and give you encouragement to continue on.

He is obviously hurting and you seem aware of your faults and willing to change. The fact is no parent is perfect and there is always that line in regards XXXXX XXXXX and fun. It is easy to cross it since we want them to enjoy, but also want them to have their priorities in order. I think by you wanting him to get his sleep and school work done is no problem at all. This is the correct thing to do and it may be time to get stricter and set a limit as well as a bedtime. Also, think about not letting him play if his schoolwork is not done. He will say things such as he is not happy and etc to play on your feelings make you feel bad and give in. He is a very smart boy and knows what he is doing. He knows not to behave this way in school, but does it at home because he knows he can. You still have a few more years to help him get on track before he can pick up and leave, so my advice to you is to make each day count. Don't give in to his comments and guilt trip. Know that by setting goals and limits you are doing the right thing to him even if he does not realize it now.

Now one things that needs to stop immediately is the name calling and criticizing. There is no need for that. That will just push him more into his depression and make him feel worse. It will not help nor motivate him. I know it is frustrating and difficult to control in the moment, but it is important that you try your very best to do that. He says that his brother is favored I would analyze within yourselves if you feel this is true. If it is because his younger brother behaves and he does not therefore he gets treated differently then that would not be considered being favored and I would try to have a private talk with him to explain this. However, if you feel you are treating the other son differently for no reason at all then this may be something you would want think about. Now it is true that every child has a different relationship with their parents. Your other son may not have these issues, so you may have a good relationship with him and your older son sees it as favoring him meanwhile it is your son that prevents you from having a closer relationship with him. In this case it is no fault of your own, but since no one is perfect it is always good to stop and check from time to time.

I would also try getting on your son's level. Try spending one on one time with him. Ask him if you can join him with his video games or ask him if he would like to go somewhere. Spend some quality time just the two of you. Maybe both parents and him as well as each parent and him. Try to get on his level to see how he thinks and what he wants, so you can better be there for him and talk with him. Explain your concerns for him. Just talk positive with no judging, criticizing, comparing, or pointing fingers. When the time is right explain that you are not perfect, but express your feelings for him and why you worry and want the best for him. Let him know you are sorry for any mistakes, but you discipline and set limits out of love. Express how you want to be even better and sorry for not having patience and not always talking correctly, but you are not sorry for trying to teach and discipline since that is what a parent should do and it is love that makes you do that. Ask him to think about what he would want for his son when he is a dad. See everything needs to be talked about at the right time. The moment needs to be positive, but remember get on his level spending time without even talking rather just enjoying.

Also, never give up even when things seem like they will never get better they will. Many children go through rough patches, but they still have everything within. All the good can come out after the phase and he will remember and appreciate all that you both have done. Just don't give up and always do your best.

I wish you all the best and please let me know if I can be of further help.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

We did have nice talk time and spend time for game, also asked the question how his parenting will be. Mostly he can't keep his promise. Because the root cause, no other interests appeal him. Also he feels other teens are happy not him, everyone has friend not him. I tried to work with his school to find partner for him, it did not succeed. His brother is in boarding school since Sept, he should too. When he applied, he did get highest scores but did not succeed because applied the top school, we did not have that much experience and advice, only after he failed, we learnt a lot, again benefit his brother. He should apply again, he did not want since his school grade is sliding. Now even more. He applies again. He has plenty of experience that we are counterproductive. Are you aware of any mentor/coach after school and weekends available who comes to our home and get his trust, go out with him? I can find in our town. Thanks.

I understand. That is good what you have been doing. It is always like that with the first child. Don't blame yourselves for that. Everything is new and the first time with the first then we learn from our mistakes and learn new things, so we can be better with the others. It is normal and many eldest children experience the same issue. I would be more than happy to research some mentor in your area if you let me know where you are located.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

But he feels he is unlucky one, another reason for depression. Not accept by top boarding school was the start of his depression. Tough love and dicipline, consequnece do not work in our case, let fail is not an option. We live in Manchester Center, Vermont 05255. Thanks again.

I understand. That must have been extremely hurtful when he did not get accepted. I would try explaining the reasons to him and encourage him to not give up and to continue on. This can be an obstacle that can be overcame, but if he gives up completely then he would never know what he could do and his full potential. It sounds like he just gave up after that. This can be changed and he can get out of his depression. I will research this for you in order to find something in your area.
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