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How Do You Get Through To A Teen That Says, "I don't care if I live"

by Tina
(Texas)

My 14 year old doesn't care if he lives or dies always saying life isn't worth it, or what good is life anyway.

My husband and I are going through a change. He has been verbally mentally and sometimes physically abusive to me and has used my son at times to manipulate me.

I refuse to let it happen any longer and am in the process of leaving him. I feel so bad for my son as he has no basis to form an opinion of what life should be like. His fathers manipulative behavior is very much showing up in him also. A trait he's learned.

I have just purchased your Super Skills For Kids, hoping it will afford some answers. I refuse to let him look at life this way! Is there any way I can get this whole program through the mail and not the downloaded program?

Comments for How Do You Get Through To A Teen That Says, "I don't care if I live"

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Helping Teenagers See A Brighter Future
by: Annie Desantis

Hi Tina,

I'll answer you question about Super Skills 4 Kids first - At this stage I don't have it set up to print and post Super Skills 4 Kids - I am trying to keep the cost down for parents, plus I am in Australia, so the postage would be a bit high. Most parents print out the workbook or the parts they are working on, some get a folder and just print off what they need and refer back to the PDF files. Saves trees!

Now to talk to you about your son. First of all the best thing you can do is look after yourself and get yourself set up in a loving nurturing home. That way you have an alternative to offer your son. He will soon feel the difference in you and also the difference in how your home environment feels.

Well done for deciding to end the abuse, you are worth far more than that, and really the more you model to your son that you are worthwhile and that you have a vision of a future for yourself and him that is healthy, happy and contains good stuff, you will start to open doors for him.

It is terribly hard for parents when teenagers get depressed and don't feel life has much to offer. But you can't expect him to change until you do. As long as he is in a toxic environment, as you say he is just learning all the negative ways of relating.

He won't change because of what you say, but he will change when he sees you start to be happy and free and relaxed. The amount of tension he has grown up with has taught him his world is not a happy world, and to get what you want you have to hurt or manipulate others. As you say he has not had much of a chance to experience other ways of living.

The more you build new friendships and join supportive and fun groups, the more you show him there are other ways of relating and behaving. He may need some counseling or therapy himself at some stage, but until he is open to listening to you, I doubt he would entertain it. You might find it helpful to get some counseling or therapy yourself to help build resources to get free and move into your new future.

Part Two Follows . . . .

Helping Teenagers See A Brighter Future - Part Two
by: Annie Desantis

I also doubt he will go through the Super Skills 4 Kids program with you at this stage, but there are heaps of tools and techniques in the course, that you can use for yourself. Then when you find something useful, you can share it with him. Sometimes it can just be dropping a few simple statements into a conversation without making a big deal about it.

For example, if you build your own super hero, guide or internal wisdom - and learn to stop and ask for help or guidance - then you can simply say to him sometime, "you know, I have recently learned something that really helps me when I feel stressed or start finding myself feeling negative about stuff." "I've learned to imagine a wise person (super hero - whatever you want to call it) inside me, and I ask what would they do to help me feel better or help me deal with this tricky situation." "If I listen carefully to the answer, it can be really interesting." "I've found it much easier to cope with the tough times now I've learned to stop and check in."

Get the idea? Don't get into lecturing him about changing, it will simply reinforce his belief that he is not worth much. Instead show him how you are using tools that help you to cope better, or things you are doing to make a better life for yourself. He is going to want what you have, when he sees you relating differently to your world.

The other thing that is important, is start building a vision of him as healthy, whole, happy and productive. If you put a lot of energy into worrying about him and trying to change him, you are actually adding to the vision of him ending up just like his father. Find all the good things about him, maybe the ways he is like YOU! and then build on those. Imagine him learning to relate in more positive ways, imagine him being excited about life, being enthusiastic about learning new things.

The more you can build a vision of him emerging like a butterfly into a much happier life, the more you empower him to take some steps. It can be amazing how much a child can change, not because of what we have said - but because we start to see him differently.

Just be very mindful that you will also be seeing him through the filter of your unhappiness with his father. When you notice him being like his Dad, you are most likely loading that with a lot of stuff that is really about his father. Use those times as the reminder to kick in your new vision of him. Inside he is a loving, intelligent sensitive boy, and he has layered lots of protection around himself to cope. The more you see the "real" loving boy that you gave birth too, the more you allow that boy to emerge. If you constantly see him through the filter of his father's negative traits then that is actually contributing to him staying negative.

Part Three Follows . . . .

Teenagers See A Brighter Future - Part Three
by: Annie Desantis

The next thing I am going to suggest, is even harder to do. In no way am I suggesting you stay with his father, I think it is important for you to create a wonderful future for yourself, and his behavior to you is not acceptable.

But the more you can try to hold a vision of his father as a better person, the easier it will be for you and your son to move into a brighter future. There will be things about your husband that attracted you in the first place. There will be aspects of him that you can even love a little. They may be buried beneath years of manipulation and abuse, but try to hold a vision of him in a way that is more positive for you.

Maybe you can see the hurt little boy inside of him too. Maybe you can remember the times early on in your relationship when he did something special for you, maybe you can bring some compassion in for someone who is so damaged, they have to hurt those closest to them. I know it is easier said than done when you are hurting and angry, but the more you can bring in positive aspects the easier it will be for you to heal.

You may need to do some clearing of your own hurt and anger, and writing and burning the pages can be a great way to clear some of it. Simply write all the yuck, hurts, anger and disappointment down - let the feelings come up, and then when you feel you have got to a point where you are ready, burn it all and imagine all that stuff transforming into your strengths and resources. Then go and do something that is nurturing for you, take a walk in nature, visit a friend, listen to some uplifting music.

The other thing that will really help with your son, is try to spend positive quality time with him. Get him out of the environment, and go do lots of things together. Getting him out in nature would be great, but really just focus on building fun times together and sharing activities. The more you build positive experiences with you the more he will trust you and may start to open up. The more fun you have, the more you are shifting the negative stuff and starting to lighten up his world. It may just be something simple like sharing a burger together, or going for a walk.

This is a time for you to grow into being the wonderful woman you are. Breaking free from an abusive relationship is a huge step and learning to believe in yourself again, and opening up a new and exciting future will be wonderful, even though scary at times.

I'll most certainly hold a vision for you, seeing you and your son (and even your husband!) as moving into a brighter more loving future,

Wishing you JOY and new beginnings,
go gently,

Annie D

Thank you
by: Anonymous

Thank you Annie

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Do you have a question or want to send a submission to Annie? Simply click here to return to Parenting Questions About Teenagers.

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