My husband and I are trying everything we can to help our 13 year old son. We know he ruminates a lot. He often gets into a state where he says his life is horrible and it's all our fault, that he has no friends, etc. objectively, this is not true, and he doesn't always feel like this, but he does go into this state very frequently. Any time we say we are going to turn off the Internet, he says this, but there are plenty of other times as well. We know things that help him get out of defense mode: taking him out to eat and organizing other activities with family and his classmates, spending lots of time outside, one on one attention, lessening the demands that we can while structuring others so that he can accomplish them. However, he still spends long periods of time in the basement on devices, and this might help him decompress temporarily after school, and it might help him connect with peers, but most of the time it seems to leave him much worse off because afterwards he is angry and starts to rant about how bad his life is. He does not want to talk about the connection between devices and his quality of life.. He is bright and on some level, he probably does realize there is a connection, but he probably also does not think he can do anything to change his life any way. We are really stuck between a rock and a hard place. We know he will need some help to get out of these states, but he doesn't trust therapists or therapy right now. We can only get through to him in very limited ways. Much of this work will have to come from him. We have worked a little with him to get at his internal motivation for things that he wants and that might help him get out of the basement. He really wants a new bike, and he has enough money saved, but he insists we need to buy it for him because "that's what normal parents do." We have also given him ways to earn money, and we are trying to sell his old bike and give him money. He has several big items that were purchased and are sitting around unused, so we would really like him to buy this bike himself. When there is a behavior that is hurtful, we try to give him a chance to work with us on a plan. For example, if he refuses to share the TV with his sibling. If they can't work something out together, then we ask him for his ideas. And only when he has none or they don't take into account his sister's needs, we tell him the plan. Sibling has TV at such and such time, you can stay as long as you are not yelling at her or hurting her. If you are, then we will remind you to leave the room and take two minutes elsewhere. If you can't, it will go up to three. If you can't do that, there will be a consequence of doing a chore. And the chore needs to be done before privileges (which means devices). The only way to actual enforce this is to turn off the Internet. If I even speak out loud about turning off the Internet, he starts to go into the rant about how we are ruining his life, and he can go really dark. I realize there is something there, something akin to a trauma. I don't know how to look at it exactly. He doesn't seem to be manipulating us. I dont know whether to look at it as we need to keep exposing him, in little ways, to this concept that he is so scared of (the concept being turning off the Internet) until he is desensitized, or until he grieves? I feel like he cannot feel safe with us if he can stop us from doing what we need to when he is being really harmful or inappropriate. Or do we look at it as he is not capable of handling is turning off the Internet, and he is just going to fight back viscously until he gets to control it? Ideas?

Posted by sophieno at 2024-05-19 23:37:40 UTC