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Question
Posted by: berlig | 2003/03/03

Help for a 10 year old

I have a 10 year old son who is becoming more moody, uncommunicative and irresponsible. Marks at school are 20% lower than last year, and he is battling a bit a school which he never did before. He is easily irritated when reprimanded for losing school items or money. He does homework under some duress and has already been placed in detention by school teachers for incomplete homework. I have tried talking reasonably, I have tried punishing and unfortunately have also lost my temper. I am really very concerned that he doesn't want to discuss any issues with myself or his dad and worry about the underlying reasons and also how he will deal with his emotions in his teenage years. We are a close family and he has a younger sister (5 years old). There are no causes for stress at home e.g. no financial worries, no fighting amongst parents, etc.
Please help - we are at the end of our tether.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Dear berlig,
This must be a very worrying and frustrating time for you. As you recognize, talking about the problem will be the key to solving it. Sometimes the problem is that as such a problem starts to become obvious, it becomes the focus of attention. so all attempts to talk to the lad tend to become focussed on problems. It may become uncommon to simply chat about this and that, and whatever you used to be able to chat about. There may be a whole variety of other issues troubling him --- maybe bullying at school, whatever --- things which he doesn't find it easy to talk about.
Try to spend more time chatting about neutral toppics, to re-develop the custom of he and you talking about things, before turning back to the puzzle of this fall-off of his performance at school. Is there some other adlt he does still talk to ? Maybe a trusted teacher at school, a grandparent, maybe a school friend's parent. Whoever --- maybe such a person can raise the topic with him more neutrally, and find out what's troubling him.
Then, too, counselling can help, as shrinks have more experience at finding ways to make it easier for a young fellow to talk with them about how things are going in his life.

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