How to Help When a Good Kid Goes To Bad Boy Overnight.
What Makes a Good Kid Become a Brat Almost Overnight
A thirteen year old son has gone from being a really good kid to being an angry, sullen brat almost overnight. He was achieving good grades at school, had lots of friends, played sports and was generally a happy,lovely boy to be around. Then, a few months ago he got into a fight at school.The other boy was blamed until his older sister told an adult he had been bragging about it to his friends and that he had hit this boy just because he felt like it. Then his father caught him wagging school and now he has been expelled for swearing and threatening a teacher. It is as if someone has kidnapped this boy and replaced him with an alien. His father has tried talking to him but it always ends in an argument. The school counsellor has offered to help but he refuses to go and see him.
Does this sound familiar?
Bad Behaviour May Be a Symptom
Most likely this boy is trying to get some attention by misbehaving. Obviously this has worked to some degree, however you might be only seeing his misbehaviour and not the reason behind it. There may have been a trigger, or a series of events that this boy is having difficulty processing. He may be embarrassed, ashamed or feeling guilty. He wants someone to ask him what has happened but he is afraid of how you will respond. His behaviour is his way of dealing with his conflicting emotions. Here are some things you could do.
- You could ask him what is troubling him. Do this with as much care as you can and with empathy.
- Prepare yourself, for not liking what he may tell you.
- Reassure him that you will support him through "it". That he can tell you anything and it will not change how you feel about him.
- Be positive about any foreseeable outcome and also positive about his abilities to overcome any problems.
- Boost his confidence in himself.
- Do not judge, criticise or condemn.
- Ask him if there is someone he feels comfortable with talking to, perhaps an uncle or older sibling.
- If he still says no, then do not give up. Always keep the lines of communication open and let him know he is loved unconditionally.
Hopefully, eventually his behaviour will get better and he will open up and talk.
A change in behaviour is not uncommon in teens and young adults but is always due to an event they find difficult to process. It could range anywhere from being afraid of failing an exam to being sexually abused. But whatever the cause, it needs to be discussed in order to find a solution.
Overall, as parents we tend to forget to praise our kids as much as we could and instead, often only see what they do wrong. Some children only receive attention when they misbehave and this can carry on into their relationships as adults. I am not suggesting this is your situation, however others will be reading this and it could be pertinent to them.