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It just breaks my heart that he won’t open up...

Just wondered if you have any ideas about this. Our 17 year old son, D___, is silent about things that bother him. He won’t say anything about what is going on inside of him. He just got back from a week at church camp. Last year he came back all fired-up and ready to face life. This year he came back no different than he left. Only thing different is he is making an effort to get a normal sleeping pattern. He was staying up till like 4 AM, then sleeping to about 2 PM. So far he has been going to bed at around 12 or 1, and getting up at around 10 or so. He still has no job either. I don’t know what he is interested in other than computer gaming and youth group on Tuesday nights. He doesn’t hang out with friends much though. He does talk to them a lot on the phone and text, of course.

Maybe a little background will help. First off, we home school. Have done this since D___ was in the 5th grade. We are from Illinois but moved to Kentucky 4 years ago. He was very upset with this. Our other son will be 13 next month and didn’t want to move either. We got thru it but these 4 years have been the toughest I have ever faced. Also, our boys are adopted. They are half-brothers (have different fathers). We have had D___ since he was 3, and Jared since birth.

Is there any way we can help D___ open up? I never degrade my boys or anything like that. I don’t know why he won’t talk. And he says he don’t and won’t talk to anyone else about it either. He has always been the quiet type.

One other thing. A year or so ago I read a post on his MySpace where he mentioned that he came close to committing suicide once. He had the knife out and everything and then his cell phone rang. It was a girl he cared much about and that stopped him. I spoke with him about it later. He said it happened not long after we moved here. I asked him if he had looked back and realized all he would have missed if he had gone thru with it. He said yes and “That would have sucked!” So that is a plus. I told him that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. I encouraged him that when things got rough he needed to get with someone and talk it out. If not me then find someone else he could trust and confide in. Just talk it out. I assured him that I loved him very much and that I would never laugh at him about anything he had to say. I know the story he came up with could be fabricated just for MySpace but D___ isn’t really like that. He almost always tells the truth and when he doesn’t he eventually gets around to it (usually soon).

It just breaks my heart that he won’t open up. And at times I get a bit fearful when he is depressed but yet won’t talk. He has something against me. I tried to find out what it is but he won’t say. And I don’t know if he would go with me to see a counselor if that is needed.

He is a really good kid. Both of them are. But teens are so hard to figure out. I don’t remember ever being like this myself.

Anyway, would appreciate any comments you might have.


Hi D.,

We could spend the rest of the afternoon trying to figure out why your son is in a shell. His behavior is multi-factorial (e.g., his genetic make-up, his personality make-up, environmental factors, etc.).

The bottom line is that he will grow out of this -- and there isn't much you can do in the meantime (other than to simply reassure him that he is loved).

Don't take this behavior personally.


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