Help! My 14 Yr Old Son Has Rages...

Updated on March 02, 2012
K.D. asks from Buffalo, NY
14 answers

Hi. Im a single mom of 3 teens. My youngest,nick, is 14. All of my kids have gone thru the "having rages" phase. But the older two have stopped. Nick is getting them daily. Sometimes 2-3 times a day and I am at the very end of my rope and patience. I font know what to do. When he gets into a rage, he will not listen to anyone. He is extremely disrespectful to me, throws things and pretty much will destroy anything. I need help in dealing with this. Maybe suggestions on how to de-escalate the situation.he will say very hurtful and mean and things to me and anyone around him. When he isn't having a rage he is very loving and a mamas boy. He's very clingy to me. He'd outgoing and everyone likes him. But it's the rages that I cannot deal with. He is around 5'9 and 200 lbs. There's no way I can hold him down. Or send him to his room as he will not go! A little history, his father and I were married for 9 yrs and his father was very abusive to me in front on the kids, verbally and physically. After 9 yrs I am thankfully out of that situation. And I know all of my kids have been angry. Nick always wanted a man to look up to. He is the typical Alfa male. But the men I've dated were never interested in being involved. They only would stay with me for a few months then leave. Which is why I gave up on dating. I haven't dated anyone in 4 yrs. (when I would date someone nick would be very jealous.) but now that he's older, I figured his rages would be starting to end. They're not. They're getting worse and worse. He is in counseling and sees a psychiatrist. The doctor has him on celexa and now seroquel. I don't want him on meds. They don't seem to help much. Does anyone have any suggestions? I would really appreciate it. Thank you.

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So What Happened?

Thanx for the responses. No he is not on any illegal drugs. He doesn't go out hardly at all with his friends. The friends he does have are really anti drug and alcohol. They will spend the weekend with us. And they're all involved in a church group and they want nick to go. He did a few times but doesn't seem too interested in it. I am hoping this will calm down soon. I worry a lot. About all my kids but especially nick. And I agree about the meds. For now. I never wanted any of my kids on meds and all three of them are. My daughter for depression, oldest son anxiety, and nick for both depression and anxiety. Their father is bipolar and has been hospitalized for that. I have depression and anxiety. I am totally new to this site and didn't realize you can message ppl on here :-) nick is on celexa and klonopin. the psychiatrist gave me a script for seroquel today which I will give to nick at 9 tonight. His counselor is a female and they have a great repoire. He sees her once a week. Hopefully the seroquel will help. There is nothing that really triggers the rages. Im thinking maybe boredom? He likes to destroy things. Already has destroyed 2 old boomboxes I had by hitting them with a shovel.. Stuff like that. As long as it's going to go in the garbage I let him get his anger out that way. Or the rages could be triggered by something as simple as he wanted me to take him to the dollar store and I said no.

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answers from St. Cloud on

I definitely think you need to get more help than counseling and a psychiatrist. Medication can be very helpful in mellowing them out enough so they can work to control themselves better and one day wean from the meds. If he's getting worse then this is a sign he needs more help. The best mom's know when to ask for help in doing their job better :)

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answers from New York on

If things are getting worse, it sounds like the counselling and meds are not enough. Speak with his doctor, a.s.a.p. You shouldn't be held prisoner and not able to date or have peace in the house. He is too young to be an "Alpha Male" and needs to unlearn this behavior. Has he actually been screened for emotional disorders? I would have to agree with Toni. Rages are NOT normal. It's abnormal behavior. While your older kids may have gone through them, most teens do not act out violently. He may need more serious intervention. This may be beyond a parenting issue.



answers from New York on

I had a 14 year old and when he turned 13 he become very angry. We have been doing counseling. I am also divorced but that happened 7 yrs ago. The one Dr said all boys get such a rush of testerone at this age they are all very confrontational. We have had a little destruction. It is calming down now after a year.



answers from New York on

It sounds like your DS has picked up your DH's bad traits. My DS is doing that too; however, it's more of temper tantrums than anything else. It took me a long time to realize that when DH goes through a tempertantrum, I'm better off just leaving the room so he doesn't have an audience. It's not as bad as what you're going through, but I find stress has a lot to do with it as well as attention. I leave the room, there's they don't get any attention. I'll admit that there are times I automatically yell back, but I'm learning. Another thing you might want to do is to try a psychologist instead of a psychiatrist or at least a different psychiatrist. Each one has a different style and that style just might not be working for you and your family. Some offer anger management, others offer drugs, others just sit there and listen, and other offer advice and solutions.......*** Just read "what happened." That's it! Misplaced anger. Not just anger management. There's so much tension bottled up that your son can only release it through distruction. He needs a better psychiatrist that can teach him how to focus his anger/tension in a more possitive way. (No, I'm not nuts.) He needs Kung Fu, Tai Chi, Musical instrument, painting, building....some sort of hobby to train him to focus his tension and release it slowly....Self-control.



answers from Colorado Springs on

You're both doing well to be in counseling. If the meds help your son get through this without doing violence to you, himself, or anyone else, they're GOOD. There's not a chance that he's on illegal drugs, is there?



answers from Louisville on

Is his counselor male or female?


answers from Providence on

Does he take any PRN medications when he is going through his rages. I know with the clients I would work with we would request a prn ( an medication used only as needed for specific symptoms). Especially for when they get an increase in agitation, and anxious thoughts. I would talk with his psychiatrist about having a medication to help counter the episodes to help calm him down for the moment. If he is getting them daily, I would talk with his treatment team( counselor and psych) in maybe putting him in a temporary hospitalization. It might be that he needs intensive therapy and medication management to work on controlling the frequent outbursts and episodes. It isn't safe for him to be at home when having these , and it isn't safe for you as well.
I have worked over 10 years in a residential program for the dually diagnosed. I have a lot of experience in crisis management. You are free to message me on here.



answers from New York on

Try to find a positive outlet for his rage. Get a boxing bag and let him wail into it; take him to a gym where he can learn how to box. Or even better, get him into martial arts which teach self discipline as well. There is also classes on Non-Violent Communication; search that term for your area to learn more about it. He needs to learn self awareness and faith. Show him the movie "The Secret" and another movie "What the Bleep do we Know" is also good for learning the effects of our thoughts on reality. Good luck!



answers from San Francisco on

If you are not "yanking our chains", your child needs to be hospitalized because based on your current state and the state of your older children, Nick needs help that your or his father can not give him at this time.


answers from Hartford on

If this counselor isn't working then you might want to consider a different one. Is this "just" a counselor or an actual child psychiatrist? I would get him into a new child psychiatrist and request to have him evaluated. He's at a prime age with hormones, teen angst, being a child of divorce, school stress, and other issues teens face where if he's dealing with something innate emotionally to begin with it could be manifesting ... this way.

The medications do concern me because they can be unpredictable in teens, especially if there's an underlying condition. Are there any mental health concerns on either side of the family?

Does he recognize there's a problem? What does he think is going on? Does he talk to you? How much one on one time does he get with you? How well does he get along with his siblings?


answers from Biloxi on

I have a 15 year old son - single parent his entire life.
His father has been inconsistent and noncommittal with him from day 1.

In 7th grade he had huge issues - I took him to a psychiatrist. Got him on Zoloft and into therapy with a licensed clinical social worker.
He was also diagnosed with inattentive ADD at that time - which I had suspected for a few years but was in major denial about.

He began taking focalin for the ADD, but stopped the zoloft as his depression was not organic, rather environmental, and with therapy no longer needed the mood elevator.

Fast forward a couple of years, therapy has ended with the "blessing" of the therapist, and he begins to have major mood swings and rages. At the end of my rope one weekend I pop a Zoloft into him. By the end of the week both he and I notice a considerable difference in his behavior and emotional control. Off to the doctors we go to get their "blessing" to put him back on the Zoloft.

He is now 15, and takes 50 mg of zoloft daily. This past summer he wanted to try a lower dose, so we did that, and after three weeks, he choose to go back on the 50mg. In his words "I like myself better when I take it; I feel better". See, depression and bi-polar run in my family - though I have "escaped" the loop, I am not sure that my son has - I think he suffers from a mild organic depression that manifested itself when puberty hit full force - his doctors agree.

For us, therapy helped him deal with the feelings of loss, and abandonment, and all the other icky stuff his miserable father gave to him and medication has helped him deal with the inherited organic depression.

Talk to the therapist that he seeing - it may be time to find another that your son will relate better to. Explore group therapy for him - sometimes realizing that peers have the same issues helps. Make the doctors do an evaluation and ensure that he is not developing any inherited bi-polar issues as they usually manifest during the early/mid teens.

If the meds he is on now are not helping him - talk to the doctors about trying different ones. If you decide to take him off medication entirely, be sure you do that with the doctors guidance and some of these drugs you cannot just quit cold turkey - they have to be weaned off them.

Medication works to a certain extent but sometimes it just masks the problems. Getting to the emotional root of the problem in order to get it out is the long term solution.

I wish you luck - it is so hard when our children are hurting.



answers from Chicago on

How long has he been on the meds? Sometimes they take time to work. Does his counselor know about the rages? This may sound like a small thing....but have you ever looked into yoga/meditation? It sounds like he has alot of anger. Maybe it is something you could all do together. If it continues, I would consider talking to the psychiatrist about changing his meds. There are so many out there. Depakote is one you could research. Good Luck!



answers from Detroit on

Domestic Violence is a learned behavior so taking prescription drugs most likely won't help him unless he is depressed etc. I suggest you contact your local safe house/domestic violence shelter and see if they can suggest a therapist that specializes in Domestic Violence. He most definately has learned it from his Dad. I am so glad you got out of the situation the aftermath is worse. I think when your son gets like that and is having a fit of anger it is probably best to just walk away from him. People (teens) do things for attention so if he gets the results he wants he will keep doing it. Also if you could keep a diary of what is happening when he gets angry that would help address the issue when he is in therapy. I don't blame you one bit for not wanting him on medications due to so many side effects and since most just mask the symptoms. Don't get me wrong there are some people that really need to be on meds but I honestly think that meds like this are over prescribed. I think the best thing is to find a good therapist and just hang in there. If he gets to violent you can always call the police if you are in danger. I feel men (people) that use domestic violence as a solution get away with it so they just keep doing it. You also should consider getting therapy for yourself it will help you understand it isn't you it is him and you are not the cause. Good Luck



answers from New York on

See about Big Brother organization, they have people who can be a mentor for him and along with the psychatric help this might be a positive situation. Depending on your area the YMCA out of Middletown NJ has a Counseling and GFAmily services who also has a wonderful mentoring program. If youy are in that area give them a call. Good luck.

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