20 answers

15 Year Old Is Showing Depression

I have a 15 year old son. His friends seemed to have abandoned him. I think they are going in a direction he chooses not to , which I am greatful for (bad choices). But now he has stuck himself in his room and has become withdrawn. When I talk with him he gets very defensive. He is a good kid and fun loving, but has changed as of lately. Please don't respond and say that he may be on drugs , because I know this is not the case. I want to help him. I know he feels abandoned by his friends which were not a group of many but they were all friends since 5 yrs old. Does anyone have any ideas how to help him or help me help him. I want my happy son back. Any places out there hiring where other teens he can get to know work at. Any ideas I am up for all. All of our friends have grown children and his older sibling is much older than him. My heart is aching for him and I don't know how to help him...

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What can I do next?

Featured Answers

If you can't find him a job, what about a volunteer position such as a library or food bank for the summer? He would still get to meet with other teens, but hopefully better influences. (plus it looks good on resumes and college applications)

3 moms found this helpful

Is he in a position to be able to get his first job? It sounds like he needs to be in a place where he would meet new friends - at this age it is tough to do that. However, getting a job would open up a new circle of friends of different ages, backgrounds and abilities, plus foster a sense of independence by having a little of his own money.

Just a thought :)

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Being sad is not the same thing as "depression." Sadness at the loss of his friends is a normal and healthy response. That doesn't mean there is something wrong with him. Also, a 15 year old boy not wanting to talk to mom about his sad feelings is normal as well, and doesn't mean he is "withdrawn."

Can you send him to camp? He'll be sure to meet some kids there. Find out what other activities are offered locally, where he can meet some new kids.

It is heartbreaking to watch your kids' emotional pain, but it's something we all have to endure from time to time. This too shall pass.

3 moms found this helpful

If you can't find him a job, what about a volunteer position such as a library or food bank for the summer? He would still get to meet with other teens, but hopefully better influences. (plus it looks good on resumes and college applications)

3 moms found this helpful

It was around this age that I changed my group of friends. Since I hold back more and my parents were more strict than others, I got left behind. It really seems to be around the time that everyone is starting to get their license that everything changes. My brother just turned 16 and he's had a change in some friends also. Luckily he still has a couple close friends to come over and go swimming. He also likes to ride his dirt bike and they go paintballing. For me though it helped a lot when I started working. I enjoyed my co workers more than the people at school. It's summer time, I would take advantage of that time for a job. Otherwise joining some kind of activity, but I would've been too shy for that.

2 moms found this helpful

this is difficult as teens are so emotionally fragile. you do want to give him his privacy, so that you can try to keep communication open, but we lose so many teens each year to depression and other mood disorders. it is important to suggest ways for him to meet new friends who have the same interests and focus that he does. it's a time to help him find the things that he is passionate about, so that he'll get thru the next couple years of hs and on to college or trade school as a happy teen. build his self esteem by asking his opinion and letting him know his thoughts and choices are important to you. talk to a counselor for tips on how to help him get through this. hug him daily. summer is in full swing, but a lot of park dists have summer programs, or even golf courses, with snack bars and such that can use teenagers help. you may have to get work permit, but if you can't get that done, volunteering for local events are a great way to get him involved and out of the bedroom. do it with him, so that he sees that you really want him to succeed in live. i wish you well in this challenge you have ahead of you. (in fact if you want, I have a volunteer opportunity for you both on 9/25...let me know if you want to hear more! I could use some good teens for an event I'm organizing at the Botanic Gardens)

Happy Fourth! L.

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Cud he be a box boy at a grocery store?

Could you encourage him to get out and about. Go to the swimming pool. Call up some kids that he knows even tho they didn't hang around together and go bowling, to a movie.

Do you know some parents of kids his age that you could invite over. Perhaps have a barbecue with their families.

He'd meet new friends hanging out at a Community Center. Our city has several centers that provide a work out room, gym, and pool with organized and drop in activities. They have classes to learn how to do different things. And in the summer they have a teen club that meets regularly.

Perhaps it would be good to get him started with counseling.

Also keep in mind that some kids have difficulty at the beginning of summer making the transition from a regular routine managed by others and making a new routine for themselves. He may not be as depressed as he seems. He may just need some down time to change directions. It will help him for you to encourage him to participate in some activities. Be his source of info on what to do.

2 moms found this helpful

I think it's probably just a phase, my son did the same thing about that age, it's when they really start thinking about what they want to do in their lives and the fun loving group doesn't always have the same goals. My son got really moody and withdrawn, he was the last one I thought would try any type of drugs, we found the remainder of a joint in our yard and really I attributed it to a neighbor. Later that evening he came in and confessed it was him, he felt his life was going no where, really it was the best thing that could have happened. I told him that because he came and told me he wouldn't be punished (hardest thing I ever did) and we got rid of any paraphernalia that he had, after that day he became more open and talks to us all the time now about anything, he'll be 18 soon and has a girlfriend he's dated for about 3 years, he's a different child. Also those childhood friends are still in his life, he's become really close with one and the others he's still in contact with.
My advice is to open yourself up to any kind of discussion with him and then take him to a councilor. Yes I know it's hard to do, but sometimes it's needed, we took my granddaughter to one and they played games, Monopoly, while they were playing they talked, she loved it and eventually got over her little panicky times we were worried about, sometimes they just need a neutral person to talk with, don't stress so much over it, if he gets defensive with you, it probably means he's not ready to talk with you about it yet, he needs to work through this himself.

2 moms found this helpful

Look at ur local parks some have teen programs.

2 moms found this helpful

Does he have hobbies?
There are even Lego clubs... which are a lot of fun and like minded kids.
Real positive.
Just do a Google search for your area.
Or if he does not have hobbies, then maybe nurture something that IS in his interests or talents. It will also enable him to meet other like minded kids.
Or just teach him, that "choosing" friends, is where it is at... not just being a "sheep" and blending in due to peer pressure. GOOD for him... he is not like the others. Focus on that and how great he is that he has his OWN mind... not just a "follower."

Joining clubs, sports, hobby groups, are real good for kids this age and fun. Just see what floats his boat... maybe even martial arts. My daughter LOVES her Karate classes. It is really great and for confidence too.

Instead of approaching him like something is "wrong" with him, just let him vent, and express his feelings... and concentrate on the POSITIVE aspects about him and how it is so great he is not just a mindless "follower" like his friends that abandoned him. Because, that IS a GREAT trait.... and real mature.
And if that were my kid, I would tell him/her how PROUD I am of him... give him a boost emotionally... and focus on how HE is great... and can think on his own. That these things happens sometimes, because something better is there for him.
Having his "bad" friends leave him, is actually a good thing.
I am sure he doesn't want to be a "loser" like them. That is not cool.

all the best,
Susan

1 mom found this helpful

Its natural for him to feel depressed if his school mates since 5 are out doing other things that he is not comfortable with. Perhaps have him apply at grocery stores in your area, even brining in the grocery carts, gas attendant. If there are any elderly ppl. in your area perhaps they may need their lawn cut or just some small jobs that may be to heavy for them. Some can be somewhat leary of a teenager asking but I'm sure hes' polite and friendly enough that I'm sure they will get to know him. Even taking their garbage out. If he's good at cleaning windows' perhaps put an advertisement at the corner store for doing windows, lawn cutting, heavy lifting, If he goes to a grocery store have him present to them a resume whether he has worked or not. He can put down his education, that he is able to work independently or as a team player, he is likeable etc.
Grocery stores don't expect you to have alot of experience but he should have a resume in hand, and hand it to either the mgr. or one of the staff.
I sure hope that he does get something so that his depression goes away. If you find that this is lasting to long have him see the Dr.
As for yourself, you can look in your local newspaper and see whats' in it for jobs', something that you can talk to him about, like hey I seen this job in the paper, I think you might like it. Don't make it sound like your babying him or you will be talking to deaf ears. Just keep your eyes and ears open and see if maybe you can help him get some employment. Again pls. watch this depression closely, I know hes' 15 but not a good age to be depressed and again he could also be going through some hormonal change as well.
Good luck mom, I know your looking out for his well being, between both of you it can be done.

1 mom found this helpful

I am very serious when I say this-if you can get some help. I went through something similar. Perhaps it is only about disengaging from bad friends, but I would still check out other things. I ended up letting too long of a time go, sort of denying to myself that there was anything up, and finally had to have my son spend a week in a hospital as he became more and more peculiar and angry. He may not be on drugs but there is a lot more that goes on at that age, too. And his older brother was gone and in the service for several years. He was also grieving
'That's some but Not to mention all of this cyberbullying stuff. If he is locked in his room with a computer in it I suggest you get it out.
Call NAMI and ask for locations where you can go talk. I see where you live as far as I know there are a lot of hospitals and programs in your direction. Or even you by yourself can talk to someone and see where to go. Make sure your insurance covers it. If you rule all of that out I am not sure what else to say. I used to think If only he had a job, if only he had girlfriend. so on and so on he'd be better.When he finally went to the hospital he had those things but it had gone on too long. It has also recently come to my attention that I did not know of some other horrible things happening in the locker room. My son was bullied and did not reveal this until a couple of years later.
I really hope it is as simple as getting a job. So keep your eyes open in your neighborhood, but if not please listen even if you do not follow my advice. It is very important.

1 mom found this helpful

Is he in a position to be able to get his first job? It sounds like he needs to be in a place where he would meet new friends - at this age it is tough to do that. However, getting a job would open up a new circle of friends of different ages, backgrounds and abilities, plus foster a sense of independence by having a little of his own money.

Just a thought :)

1 mom found this helpful

I do not know it it will help, but when I was talking to my much younger brother when he was going through something similar I told him the following: High school and childhood friends is like the people you ride the bus with. You all get on together and then everybody alights on the different station. You have to accept that as a fact of life, something you cannot change of fight or get mad about. You can make friends with new people that board the bus, you can always remember the friendships you had. Everyone has THEIR destination. Some time in the future you will exit the bus as well - when it comes to your station (I hope it is a good one) and start your adult life then.
It worked for my brother, may be it will work for your son.
Another thing, just try to be his close friend, do some stuff tigether that you and him enjoy, it will help him to feel less lonely.
Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

You are such a good mom for seeking help and trying to get involved. Note that depression is a normal reaction to any traumatic event and that he is not unusual. If you want to help, it may be a good opportunity to teach him to search within himself for contentment. Recognize your son for the great things he does -- big and small -- and, together, maybe you two can discover some of his untapped talent. As well, I highly recommend a vacation from his daily routine. Have you looked into Outward Bound for some ideas? It's an opportunity of a life time!

I hope your son finds happiness within himself and that you soon have peace.

K.

15 years old is a difficult age. Look at some park district activities, see if he is interested in any of the programs as a counselor. Many day camps would appreciate him setting himself apart from the usual irresponsible type teen. He could learn leadership skills as well.
This is not an isolated case, so to speak,15 is a very emotional time and a time privacy becomes a huge issue, so tread lightly and respect his "finding himself" stage. Since he is separated from his lifelong friends, he may be going through stages of loss, kind of mourning. Everything will get better when he gets to the replacement stage.
Look at the older siblings as an advantage, they have circles of friends that may know of other 15 yr olds. If he is the industrious type, look for a Junior Achievement group in the area this would be a great place to develop social and inivational skills.
Make sure you are not sending mixed signals that you want him more active, he is your youngest and you may have some underlying issues of
releasing the apron strings.

Hi,

My advice is from being the depressed 15 yr. old. I suffered depression in Jr. High and High School and first KUDOS to you Mom for recoginizing and wanting to help your son.

I too had issues with friends and it hurt alot. I think if there is a way to let your son know what a good person he is for making the decsions that he did. It is hard to be different and not be the follower. Sometimes I don't think we even understand why we are being different when it hurts to be so. But there is something inside him that is telling him that that the direction his friends were going is worse than the pain of loosing a few friends and I say that takes a strong and authentic person to make such a hard decision.

I know it is hard for him to listen to you right now because he probably does not fully understand what is happening or understand what a better person he is for his decsions. Right now he feels lonely and like something is maybe wrong with him.

I think all you can do is be there for him and let him know in small ways how wonderful he is and as much as it hurts to see friends go another way some times it is for the best and it is ok to be different. It is ok to do the right thing, it is ok to not follow your friends when it doesn't feel good. It is more than ok, it makes him the special guy that he is. Maybe he won't be able to sit and talk, maybe a letter to him would help so he could read it when he chooses.

If he can't pull out of this on his own than help is a good idea. The farther you go into depression, the harder it is to pull yourself out on your own.

How about some volenteer work with a homeless shelter or something of the sort. Something helping other people, elderly, children, etc. It is so rewarding to help others when you yourself don't feel good.

It is a hard time for teens especially when they make the hard but rewarding decsion to not be like everyone else. As hard as it is to watch your son right now at the same time be thankful that your son is strong enough to different. I would say he probably needs a bit of space to sort out his feelings but also the encouragement to get the feelings out rather than hold on to them. With boosts to his self esteem and recognition of the good choices that he did make.

Best of luck!

I LOVE what all the other Mom's have suggested! Good for you for noticing and being an involved concerned parent! My daughter went through the same thing 2 years ago. She chose a different path than the partying/smoking/drinking crowd and joined a theater group. It has changed her life! She's always been interested in the theater, so it was a perfect solution for her. She met her boyfriend in this group, he's the light and sound guy. There are so many things that your son can get involved in! Maybe he'd be interested in "the sound and light" gang rather than acting, (just an example) but he wil find kids with similar interests and feel like part of a group! Feeling that he belongs is important at this age. I also raised 2 sons. Good luck!

Is he close with his older sibling? Maybe they can talk to him and he would feel less defensive. I would suggest if you really think he is suffering depression you seek medical attention for him. It is a horrible thing to suffer from and you wouldn't want him suffering when he can get help. As far as friends going in different directions - that sure is the age that it happens. I would suggest looking into something he is interested in and find friends that share that interest. Camps, sports, computers, environmental groups, volunteering, art classes, things like that. When you become a teenager it becomes easier to have friends that live a little spread out and I know when I was a teenager I really liked having friends from different towns and schools. Then when one group of friends was getting under your skin you have friends somewere else that you can go and hang out with.
And now that I am thinking of it, if he can't find a job- maybe there is a volunteer opportunity out there for him. Willowbrook Wildlife Center in Glen Ellyn used to have a teen volunteer program. Volunteering itself is a great mood booster. Good luck. You are a great mom to look for ways to help him. Good for you.

My 15 year old girl is going through the same thing. The group of girls she has always been friends with are going in all directions, one is focusing on her band lessons and is very involved with her church choir, one is more interested in boys and paying attention to her appearance, etc...and my girl is a little behind in that and feels left out. Although, she is into art and drawing so I try to focus her that way and look for opportunities for her to go see art, or go to the bookstore for more books on art and other topics. Do you go to church? There are a lot of different churches and almost all of them have active youth groups. Look in your local paper too for things to do. Find out what he is interested in and look for activities locally that go in the same direction. Encourage a hobby. Good Luck. This is a rough age and we all have to just get through it.

Maybe it is time for a check-up with his Dr. Maybe, if this continues he should see a counselor. The teen years are very hard and kids don't always see things as temporary, before they do something permament. Be safe and not sorry.

Take care
J.

what does he like to do? is he part of a team? find something that he can join to make new friends. the best thing is something he really likes. Heck, even xbox live is something that, while they are alone, they really aren't alone because they are talking to others. it might be a good place to start.

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