ZocdocAnswersAre adolescent issues the reason my son is acting out?

Question

Are adolescent issues the reason my son is acting out?

My son won't talk to my husband and me. He's in trouble at school and he won't say why. What should we do?

Answer

I am sorry to hear that you are having trouble with your son. The teenage years are a particularly difficult time for both parents and children. At this time, your son is experimenting with independence and learning to be autonomous and to have his own sense of self identity. Obviously this can create conflicts between what he wishes and what you as parents think is necessary for him. The most important strategy is to make sure that you do not close off any lines of communication with your son. In particular, make sure that you give him space to talk about any issues he is facing. Ask open ended questions and if he chooses not to disclose any information, do not feel rejected but rather let him know that you are always there to talk whenever he needs. At the same time, if you have serious concerns about your son's school performance, or any possibilities of bullying, substance abuse, or other serious problems you may want to discretely talk to your son's school principal or main teachers to see if you can gather any additional information and see if they also have concerns. If you need an advocate or someone to help you think through these issues, talk with your son's pediatrician. Good luck.

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