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Hi all, my name is Jen. I'm not new to JM but this is my first visit to the teen/preteen mommy board. I'm not a huge poster online, and mainly lurk around, but I do post on the High Risk board which is kind of my home board I guess. I have a just turned 12 year old son, a 4yr old DD, 2yr old DS, 1yr old DS, and a surprise #5 cooking. There's a huge gap between my oldest and the rest due to fertility issues and losses. I think that's hard on my oldest.
Anyway, he's a pretty 'typical' boy. He has his moments, but he is normally quiet, thoughtful, shy, relaxed, and happy. He is so relaxed at times that he just shows no real drive for anything which can be a problem. He is extremely bright and smart, enrolled in the advanced classes at school, but frequently just doesn't use his brain for common sense. (that's normal right) His main interests have always been mechanical or electronic. Planes, trains, and automobiles, was our joke related to his interests; now we have to include computers, video games, handheld gaming gear, and most things tech related. He's always said he wants to go into the military and always had a fascination with the trappings of military; planes, helicopters, tanks, weapons of all sorts, military/war related history, etc. He moved all the way through Cub Scouts and is currently a Boy Scout. He has a few close friends, but doesn't seem to make really good friends easily. Another note, he started going through puberty last year in 5th grade. Really early, his voice changed, he grew like heck, he started sprouting body hair all over, including in those embarassing private places. He also started plucking it out all over. We ended up seeing our doctor due to it, because he was pulling it out all over his body including his eye lashes and eye brows, which is how it was discovered he was pulling it from EVERYWHERE. It's a nervous disorder, and the conclusion was that it was due to his hitting puberty and changing before any of his friends were and he was feeling self conscience about it and that was his solution, to pluck the offending hairs. The pulling his eyelashes/eyebrow hairs, became his version of twisting a lock of hair, something that he did unconsciencely (excuse the spelling, I've always struggled w/ that word). He has gotten better about it, there's been lots of talking, and on again off again, but lately it's been good.
Anyway, let me seque into my problem. Yesterday I was called to his school by the guidance counselor. He had an unsual PE class, with multiple issues, and it culminated in him saying to a friend that everybody hates him he just wanted to kill himself. I've got to say, we have had very few to no serious discipline problems with him, he's never been in real trouble for anything, not at home, school or any where else. The one time he got in trouble at school, it was for getting into a fight by stepping in to protect a boy being bullied. My son, who I thought I knew so well, has now shocked and scared me into wondering if I really know him as well as I thought.
So I run to his school, and I'm thinking on the way, is this our first occurance of teen anst? Was it spur of the moment, I'm having a terrible day, and I've said this flippantly? Is it something he's actually thought about, and I need to be really worried and the next step is counseling, what in the world do I do??? UGH!! So I get there, and I'm sitting talking with him and the school guidance counselor. The basics are that they're doing running drills in PE, he starts off running, then slows to walk, and multiple classmates yell at him to keep up. He does not like being yelled at. Next he's in line joking with a friend, and puts his hands on his friends neck pretend choking him for yelling at him (but both he and his friend say it was joking and playful) and the teacher comes over blowing a gasket in his face yelling at him that it is never OK to touch someone like that or put your hands at someones throat, and whatever else was said. He broke down into tears (my boy never cries), and the teacher tells him to go sit next to the wall instead of participating in the activity. At this time he tearfully tells his friend that everybody hates him and he just wants to kill himself. The friend tells a different assistant in the gym, they send for the counselor, and here we are.
So sitting with the counselor she says she's been talking to DS, and here is what she now knows. He doesn't seem to be depressed or upset about anything in particular, he can't actually pinpoint why he's so upset. The incidents in gym are the only catalysts that he is voicing. He says that his home life is good, he has lots of possessions, family, friends, and activities that he likes and enjoys and nothing that he can come up with that he hates. But, he worries that people don't like him, hate him even, and that no one would miss him if he was gone. However he has never thought further than that to formulate any sort of plan of action, or what would happen afterwards. In fact, he says it's silly really, he has so many other things that are worth living for. So... she's actually not very worried about this incidence, or worried for his safety, and says that he should talk this out with me and his dad. So we pack up his things, and leave school.
This is SO long, I want to thank you if you are still with me!! Last part coming, I swear.
We go and have ice cream, and talk before we have to pick his little siblings up from daycare. We talk about what exactly happened, how he feels now about it, what he was thinking then, etc. These things I was asking for again from his own mouth w/out the counselor present to listen to anything else he may have to say about it. We talked about lots of things, what things bothered him, why, how much, how important they are to him and in life in general. We talked about being a teenager, the hormones, the changes, the changes in his classmates and friends at school, etc. We talked about how he's treated at home, and by his father and I. How loved he is, how much he WOULD be missed if he was gone. We talked about if he REALLY meant those words or not.... In the end, it sounded like he didn't. He doesn't really want to kill himself, it was just a bad day, a bad class, and he was having a 'freak out.' It was just said in the heat of the moment.
So, I feel oh-so-much better, but... I'm still worried. Any thoughts on this from other teen/preteen mommas? I just had a conversation with a friend of two teen/preteen boys and she was worrying about this very thing (although her son didn't say the actual words, he was going on about how his life sucked). I told her it's just teenage angst, it's hormones, just talk to him. Now here I am. Anybody else been here? I really hope somebody has some words of wisdom. I don't worry about him actually hurting himself, I don't think. But I'm still worried about just... what to do now.
I just wanted to say that I was similar when I was in school. I always wondered if anyone would miss me. It was more of a case of the "I wanna disappear into nothing" rather than actually die - I just didn't want to deal with the teenage crap and wanted it over already. BUT my mom took something I wrote the wrong way. I was actually talking about running away in my poem (it was hastily written and tear-stained and shoved in a notebook that I had hidden) and she took it to mean I wanted to commit suicide. What a mess that was trying to explain what I meant and why I was just a hormonal mess but yet not share anything that was really bothering me.
From what you wrote about the incident that set off the statement - my gut says it was more of something like that rather than actually contemplating suicide. I get horrible ante-partum depression (depression while pregnant) and I have contemplated suicide during that time (it was being pregnant that saved me yet the same thing that caused the deep depression at the same time) ... so I know the difference between "wanting to just disappear" and "wanting to kill myself."
I hope that helps you!
Mama to a few:
L (5-21-88); Mi (dn, 8-29-91); A (10-27-91); I (10-2-92); Ma (dd, 4-17-94);
N (10-29-95); S (10-13-98); Le (10-28-00); C (3-7-03)