I’m having trouble with my eleven-year-old son. He started middle school last fall, but he doesn’t like it. He’s very bright, but he’s isolating himself and struggling with making friends. At home, he’s easily offended. He cries and yells and says his feelings are hurt often and seems to be taking it out on us.
How can I handle these situations?
Parent of a Preteen
Dear Parent of a Preteen,
I’m sorry to hear about the struggles you’re having with your son. I know things feel incredibly difficult right now. I also know you are doing a great job as his parent. So don’t get discouraged!
My first instinct is something is going on at school that’s causing him to not like it and to act out and isolate at home. Maybe he’s being bullied, or he feels like his teachers don’t like him, but something there is the culprit.
I know he’s a good student, but he could have a learning issue such as dyslexia, a problem with math, or something else that’s making school feel uncomfortable.
Regardless of the underlying issue, it sounds like once he has one or two bad feelings, those feelings snowball, and the longer those feelings go unresolved the more he will dislike school.
Whether it’s a social issue—such as bullying—or a learning issue, once you get to the bottom of the problem, you will be able to better address his behavior. Here are a few suggestions to help you uncover what that underlying issue might be: