Is there something wrong with my son?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

My son is now 13, ever since he was in 4th grade he began having behavioral problems. He was diagnosed with ADD but refuses to take medication, honestly I think it is more than that. He has 2 sisters and a brother. Im going to list the things that he does just to give you an idea.

He has horrible mood swings, if one thing goes wrong he is upset for the rest of the day and takes it out on everyone in anger.

He steals and lies all the time. Im not sure if he has ever stolen from a store but he steals from us and even if we catch him he will deny it and he never feels sorry for it.

No matter what he does, it is always someone elses fault.

He constantly is swearing at his 6 year old brother and calling him names.

He steals food and hides it throughout the house, not just snacks but whole packages of hot dogs and things out of the ordinary.

He urinates in places he shouldnt, in his room behind the dresser and will even go to the bathroom but will urinate in the bathtub or on the floor.

He does not like authority and always has an additude and always says he didnt do anything evne if you just watched him do it.

He lived with me all his life and just recently lived with his father for a year because I thought that would make him happy and thats what he wanted to do, but while there he got in trouble and had to go through a court program for drinking on the bus. He lives back with me now.

He fails at school and never does his homework no matter how hard I try to keep up with him.And when he is in trouble at school its always the teachers fault.

He always has to win, at everything and if he doesnt, watch out!! Either he will be grumpy all day or you smeohow cheated. He has to be the best all the time.

I need help, I love him to death but its very stressful and I have 3 other children that have to deal with his wrath as well..

A: I’m sure this is heartbreaking for you and terrible for him. Thank you for writing. As much as you love your son, you can’t go on this way. Your son can’t grow up to be a fully functional man unless we get to the bottom of this. And your other children can’t get the childhood they all deserve with so much general chaos in the house.

What concerns me the most is that all this started in the 4th grade. That makes me wonder if something happened to your son – either inside his body or brain or in his environment – at that time. There are many things that can cause the kinds of things you describe. It would be a mistake to jump to any one conclusion.

Please. You owe it to yourself and all your kids to get a complete and thorough evaluation done on your son. That means seeing first a medical doctor and then a child psychiatrist.

Be prepared for these appointments. Write down a complete description of the last 3 years as accurately as you can. In addition, keep a very careful diary for at least a week of what your son does that is disruptive, what seems to set it off, and how it ends. This information will help the specialists get a bigger picture than what they can see in an office visit.

Your boy is deeply troubled. I hope you have some good friends and family members around who can give you the support you need while you work on figuring this out. If you don’t (and even if you do), you might want to find a therapist for yourself so that you have someone in your corner who can both give you support and help you decide on next steps.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 27 May 2009

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2009). Is there something wrong with my son?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 31, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/05/27/is-there-something-wrong-with-my-son/