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Howard Wise
Howard Wise, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 650
Experience:  Counseling with a compassionate ear and a loving heart.
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My 17 yr old son is struggling making and keeping friends.

Resolved Question:

My 17 yr old son is struggling making and keeping friends. He is friends with mainly girls, but there is nothing serious between him and them. He has a friendly and caring nature, but I think he just doesn't know where to start and is confused by the hype of sexual relationships that he sees his school friends involved with. I have wondered if he's depressed. I also wonder if he's still yet to mature. He is quite intelligent and studying health science at uni. Not sure how to help him develop meaningful relationships.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Howard Wise replied 4 years ago.
Hello, this is Howard,

Your son is fortunate to have such a caring parent as you. I was very shy when I was his age. My shyness made it a lonely time for me. In thinking back to my youth, I would have to say that I would not have wanted either of my parents to intervene. There wasn't anything that they could have done to help me.

By the time I reached age twenty-one I had overcome my shyness, for the most part. I suggest that you allow your son the space he needs to mature and become more comfortable in his own skin. I'm sure that he will appreciate you for that!

Please free to post a follow-up question if you like. I am here to help!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I don't think its shyness. I considered depression. He also has questioned his sexual orientation. But I think its more about being confident to make friends, and to understand what 'friends' are. I think he is comfortable around 'non threatening' people - such as older people or to new people to a group (church, school)

Expert:  Howard Wise replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for the additional information.

If your son is questioning his sexual orientation that would most certainly be a factor in how he interacts with other people. It's also likely that he may feel depressed because he realizes that he's different from his peers. This is a very challenging period in his life. Your son will need as much support as possible to move ahead with a healthy adjustment to adult life.

I would recommend, if this is something he would be willing to consider, individual psychotherapy with a therapist who has experience working with issues of sexual orientation. You might even seek a therapist who is gay because he can serve as an excellent role model for your son. Another option would be to find a teenage group for kids who are experiencing similar issues. Here in the states this type of group is not unusual, however, I'm not familiar with the situation in Australia.

Lastly, I suggest that you continue to be the loving and kind parent that you have been to your son for all these years. He needs you now more than ever!
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