Advertisement
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 12
Like Tree2Likes

Teen boy and attention seeking behaviors

Parenting Teens and Young Adults - Parenting, Children, Teens: I will try to make this short, but still give enough info to describe the scenario. I am a step ...

 

  1. Teen boy and attention seeking behaviors

    I will try to make this short, but still give enough info to describe the scenario.

    I am a step mom to a 16 yr old boy. I married his father when he was 3, so he's known me most of his life. Until he was 14 I only saw him a few times per year since he lived with his mother quite a distance away.

    While living with his mother he failed 3 grades in a row in school, had numerous behavior problems in school, suspensions, etc. He is very ADHD and has been on a variety of meds, currently on Focalin. He has come to live with us, something we have been working towards for many years. We felt he was headed to big trouble if he did not get out of that environment. He hated his mother's new husband. The new hubby was very partial to the new baby (who is now about 7) and showed immense partiality.

    He's been with us now for a year and a half (after finally getting his mother to agree to this). He was socially promoted (due to his age) last year into 9th grade. He finished the year with a 3.4 GPA and was not in trouble at all!!! He is still very ADHD, but it is pretty much controlled with meds. Living with us he has responsibilities and chores, things he did not have living with his mother. He has adapted very well. He tells his father and me that he loves us, and we are "perfect parents" and he loves being with us.

    So... what's the problem, right??? His attention seeking behaviors drive me nuts!!! We have had emails and conversations with his teachers that he is a good kid, very smart... but wants to be the class clown, center of attention, etc. He will sometimes need to be taken in the hall and told to settle down. We adjusted his meds to include a noon dosage (with his doctor's approval, etc) and that helped some. He wants to dress for attention, have hobbies that seek attention (fire breathing, unicycle, glass blowing, etc).

    Although he tells me he loves me, and I love him dearly - he says that I'm too "OCD" and require too much of him, as far as the cleanliness of his room, his area of the house, etc. He's very much one to leave stuff every where, etc.

    So... in the scheme of life... I have no big problems, right? I need to "suck it up" and move on???

    I guess my question is... WHY must he have all these attention seeking behaviors now? He gets one-on-one attention from us! He's the "only child" now!!! Is he so warped from the time he lived with his mother (one of many children, step-siblings) when he got no attention and was "bad" for the negative attention, since he got no positive attention from her? What can we do to stop this?

    He recently got an award at an evening ceremony at school for his grades last year. We talk him up to friends, grandparents, etc, that we're so proud of him, his grades, how well he's doing.

    Sorry this is so long. Anyone have any advice, opinions?
    thanks!

  2. Advertisement
  3. #2

    Re: Teen boy and attention seeking behaviors

    He's in a new family after living primarily in a family where in all likelihood he felt rejected and/or felt that he didn't get as much attention as he needed. He's also in a new school where he is trying to fit in as a teen.

    I'd say that his behavior is probably to be expected, espeically for a teen with ADHD.

    Although he tells me he loves me, and I love him dearly - he says that I'm too "OCD" and require too much of him, as far as the cleanliness of his room, his area of the house, etc. He's very much one to leave stuff every where, etc.
    That also sounds pretty normal to me. It's a rare teen who isn't that way.

  4. Re: Teen boy and attention seeking behaviors

    Thank you for your response. I guess I just try to view the situation "rationally"... thinking he gets tons of positive attention now... from us, his grandparents, siblings, etc... good grades, good behavior... WHY does he need to "act out" and seek more attention? Why can't he be content with praise, recognition for the good things???

    On the other hand... his older brother (age 23 now.. a good "kid"... not in trouble, etc...) has gauged his ears HUGE - which he started at age 16 when living at home with his mom, and has 14 tattoos now... same thing? Need for attention from suffering from lack of attention in the formative, growing up years??? Interestingly.... the 23 yr old did come to live with us for 2 years, when he was 21-22 and we thoroughly enjoyed him being there.

  5. #4

    Re: Teen boy and attention seeking behaviors

    Anxiousmom,

    First of all, welcome to Psychlinks

    I just wanted to say that I think it is great that you are loving and caring towards your step-son and are trying to be attentive to his needs. I agree with David that he is probably acting out now because he didn't get the attention when he was living with his mother.

    I can tell you that when I entered my teenage years I began to act out in a major way even thinking that negative attention was better than no attention at all. Looking back I realized that I did a lot of the acting out because I didn't have the attention that I needed when I was younger.

    I can tell you that my acting out did diminish as I got older and I hope the same happens for your step-son.

    Take care

  6. Re: Teen boy and attention seeking behaviors

    Thank you, Dr. Baxter and Halo!

    I just want to tell him.... STTTOOOOOPPPPPPP!!!!!! Quit begging for attention!!!

  7. #6

    Re: Teen boy and attention seeking behaviors

    H! anxious mom, I do not have any advice but I can just tell you a few things I did about messy bedrooms. Mostly I just shut the door and try not to think about the mess behind it. Painting the room is helpful because it gives them a chance to choose something they can be proud of and keep clean (at least temporarily). Each bedroom also has its own laundry basket and garbage can. Someone also told me once that when I am feeling tense try and rearrange their age so that I can realize they are not as grown-up and responsible as either they or I think. This means that you would temporarily think of your son as six instead of sixteen. Six year old children still need at lot of attention and assistance as they move from their imaginary world into reality. Good-luck. Mari

  8. Re: Teen boy and attention seeking behaviors

    Well....it's me again. Boy... it was a long time ago when I posted asking for help. A lot has happened. Not that you all care, but in case someone wants something to read - here's the "rest of the story". I had posted previously in Oct of 08. "John" went to see his mom at Christmas that year. After he returned, things continued to go downhill as far as his behavior. He still did well in school with grades/behavior, but he started to be less respectful, courteous at home. We'd catch in him a few lies. Still not big deal stuff, right?

    He finished the year with a 3.0 GPA - still ok. This was with us putting him on restrictions for grades of D or F and making him study for x number of hours per week until the grades were brought up. We also stayed in communication with all his teachers (which he hated).

    He went to see his mom for a month in the summer. When he returned, it was like WHO ARE YOU? He had changed. Rude, disrespectful, etc. He would leave the house when we got home from work and not come home until we had gone to bed. That lasted a week until he told us he wanted to move back with his mom, that they had been planning this since Christmas. She promised him " no rules" - come and go as you please as you are "almost an adult".... Ok... on a plane he goes. We would not "make" him stay with us.

    To summarize... the next school year he was a junior in HS. Remember, he had finished the first two years of HS with over a 3.0 GPA. The junior year he finished with a .9 GPA. The next school year - senior year - he had 2 car accidents in 2 wks, was arrested for pot in his car, kicked out of school. He was allowed to go to an alternative school. He BARELY graduated. They allowed him "extra credit" and retaking final exams 3 times (????? huh???) to graduate. So.. now he's working part time, living with mom and step dad. Every other word out of his mouth is profanity... even tells his mom "F You".... His older siblings have pretty much written him off as they are so disgusted with his behavior. His mom told the older siblings that she was going to "talk" to him.. but has not had a chance as he comes home DRUNK and goes right to bed! HELLO??? He's 19! He's gonna kill someone and himself!!! Is she STUPID???

    As far as our relationship with him... there isn't one. We've not talked to him in months and he didn't even call his dad on father's day.

    I know.. I know.. it could be so much worse.... it just hurts because he HAD so much potential.... and has thrown it away. He's 19 and headed nowhere.

    Thanks for "listening"... I'd love any words of wisdom...

  9. #8

    Re: Teen boy and attention seeking behaviors

    Hi,

    I think you'd be surprised at how many families can relate to what you've been through / what you're going through. When I was reading your post, I was wondering a few things: whether John is still medicated for ADHD (or anything else), whether he's ever had the opportunity to talk to someone who's not linked to the family (like a psychologist / school counsellor etc.) and, maybe even wondering why his mom is allowing him to continue living with her under the current conditions.

    Words of wisdom? I'm not convinced he's lost the potential he once had. When I read your posts, this one and the last ones, I felt like this was a kid who was in emotional pain. But only he can answer that one truthfully.

    Can you and your husband talk to him (by initiating a visit / a call) ? Can you talk to him openly ? I guess I'd be tempted to be really candid with him about your fears for him.

  10. Re: Teen boy and attention seeking behaviors

    Quote Originally Posted by Displaced View Post
    Hi,

    I think you'd be surprised at how many families can relate to what you've been through / what you're going through. When I was reading your post, I was wondering a few things: whether John is still medicated for ADHD (or anything else), whether he's ever had the opportunity to talk to someone who's not linked to the family (like a psychologist / school counsellor etc.) and, maybe even wondering why his mom is allowing him to continue living with her under the current conditions.

    Words of wisdom? I'm not convinced he's lost the potential he once had. When I read your posts, this one and the last ones, I felt like this was a kid who was in emotional pain. But only he can answer that one truthfully.

    Can you and your husband talk to him (by initiating a visit / a call) ? Can you talk to him openly ? I guess I'd be tempted to be really candid with him about your fears for him.
    Thank you for your post. If we call, he won't answer. I hope this is a temporary thing.

    When he was with us he saw a therapist monthly (required to get the ADHD meds). He always said he didn't want to tell her (therapist) anything.. it was "stupid" to go, etc. As far as I know, he continues that. He supposedly sees someone where he lives now. His mom said he's also diagnosed bi-polar too, and is on meds for that. Hum.... interesting.

    I think his mom "needs to be needed" in a big way. She goes to church and tells her tales of woe (poor me, I've got it so bad) for the attention herself. She thrives on how "hard" she's got it. And, she's always wanted to be a FRIEND to her kids, not a parent. This is why she is not parenting him, in my opinion. She always told him when he lived with us that we were too hard on him, and we were not fair, etc.. and she would be so much easier on him. Well.. look at what that got him.

    sigh.... thanks again.

    ---------- Post added at 08:17 AM ---------- Previous post was at 08:13 AM ----------

    Oh... I forgot to add.. his mom said he's also now diagosed with IED (Intermittent explosive disorder)! I know I didn't make any brownie points with her when I told her... "really... and to think he had no symptoms of that for the 2 yrs he lived here.... interesting..."!!

  11. #10

    Re: Teen boy and attention seeking behaviors

    Quote Originally Posted by anxiousmom View Post
    To summarize... the next school year he was a junior in HS. Remember, he had finished the first two years of HS with over a 3.0 GPA. The junior year he finished with a .9 GPA. The next school year - senior year - he had 2 car accidents in 2 wks, was arrested for pot in his car, kicked out of school. He was allowed to go to an alternative school. He BARELY graduated. They allowed him "extra credit" and retaking final exams 3 times (????? huh???) to graduate. So.. now he's working part time, living with mom and step dad. Every other word out of his mouth is profanity... even tells his mom "F You".... His older siblings have pretty much written him off as they are so disgusted with his behavior. His mom told the older siblings that she was going to "talk" to him.. but has not had a chance as he comes home DRUNK and goes right to bed! HELLO??? He's 19! He's gonna kill someone and himself!!! Is she STUPID???

    As far as our relationship with him... there isn't one. We've not talked to him in months and he didn't even call his dad on father's day.
    anxiousmom, I read your posts from the begining .... and my heart goes out to you. Clearly you love this young man - as if you had raised him every day since he was a young boy . Clearly you are worried about him. However, based on what you have written about his bio mom, I wonder if the initial divorce between your husband and his first wife was ... highly hostile. And am wondering if, even 16 yrs later, there is still hostility between his bio parents. (Pardon my directness, but your hostility and distain towards her comes thru loudly and clearly). Any child (even adult children) will "side" with the parent who they perceive to be weaker .... in danger of crumbling. When that is added to the clear options as you have described them (accountability and responsbilities vs. freedom and unconditional acceptance), not many people would choose the first, harder path.

    Even if I am close to the operating dynamics, it still doesn't directly help. Except .... it might help if you could somehow swallow all your opinions (or find another outlet for them) and find a way to support your son in what he is doing. If I am correct, your son will do everything he can to prove that his bio mom is "right" in her opinions and ways of having reared him. So why not find a way .... any way .... to help him understand that there are things he is doing and not doing that you are proud of. You might consider low-key texts / emails .... general chit chat .... tell him about your life, and inquire (non-judegmentally) about his. What does he do for fun? What captivates him? Friends? Music? .... As to "... he won't respond ....", given what you have said, I wouldn't expect him to. At least not until you have tried contact for, say, once a week for a couple of years. ....

    So, basically, I am wondering what would happen if you take the high road. The mature road. Put your hand out to your son. Let him know it is him that you are interested in - not in criticizing his bio mom. Let him know that you have (almost) infinite patience until he is ready to respond. Then, and only then, he might choose to look at the world from your value system.

    Best wishes & please let me / us know how it goes.

  12. Members who thanked Dragonfly for this post:

    David Baxter (June 29th, 2011)

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Teen Brains Not Ready to Assess Risky Behaviors
    By David Baxter in forum Parenting Teens and Young Adults
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: April 6th, 2007, 07:42 PM
  2. Negative Attention Seeking Behaviour
    By just mary in forum Psychology, Psychiatry, and Mental Health
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: June 18th, 2006, 05:39 PM
  3. Negative self-image of teen fosters damaging behaviors
    By David Baxter in forum Parenting Teens and Young Adults
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: July 27th, 2004, 11:15 PM
  4. Attention seeking behaviors?
    By BC in forum Parenting Teens and Young Adults
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: June 8th, 2004, 02:38 AM

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

PsychLinks is not responsible for the content
of posts or comments by forum members.
This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify. Psychlinks complies with the HONcode standards
for health trustworthy information: verify here.


Additional Forum Web Design by PsychLinks and Wilder Tweedale Web Design
© All rights reserved.

HOSTING BY




PSYCHLINKS RECOMMENDS