Mental Health Support
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My 16 Year Old Son Hasn't Left The House For 18 Months What Can I Do?

My son age 16 and a half will not leave the house, not even to the garden any advice would be much appreciated. He hasn't given me a reason why and avoids all questions with a daft joke when asked. Its been approx 18 months now, he has 2 older siblings and 2 younger siblings.

I really appreciate any responses to this entry ❤

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Oh Crikey! I don't know how to respond ! Clearly he must be troubled by something though I don't know how you can get him to open up or anything. Boys tend to "clam up" at the best of times. No doubt he is going through something; could be just teenage angst but it sounds more serious than that as not leaving the house even to go in the garden is not normal teenage behaviour.

What does he do? Some teenagers get addicted to computer games. Does he just lie in bed all day and what is his frame of mind like when you do talk to him? Does he look depressed or does he look normal? What's his diet like? Do you feed him and does he eat it or does he not eat or go and get the food himself? What was he like before this ? And can you think of anything which MAY have set this off? Did he just leave school, or split up with a girlfriend or have a bad experience somewhere? What is his relation with his other siblings? Is he talkative and normal with them or has he withdrawn from social contact even with his family?

Maybe if you can give us more information then we may be able to help further.

Gemmalouise X

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Good morning Miss Nason, Welcome to our community. Hopefully you will begin to find how wonderfully supportive and empathic are the members of our community. In the first instance, have you thought to have a chat with your GP/doctor about your son? Maybe you could encourage your son to have a chat on his own or with you present with the doctor. It may well be that he is struggling with some mental health issues such as anxiety, panic attacks, social phobia, agoraphobia, or depression to name a few. Is there a trusted adult that he is at ease with for him to talk to? The pressures on teenagers today are immense, and social media can exacerbate things. Take a look at the Childline UK website which has a range of information for young people:

childline.org.uk/info-advic...

Take a look at our list of free mental health guides in the pinned posts section. Here's a couple for you:

shawmindfoundation.org/wp-c...

shawmindfoundation.org/wp-c...

shawmindfoundation.org/wp-c...

Hope this helps. Ok folks it's over to you for more ideas!

Take care,

Keep in touch and let us know how you get on.

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Does he go to school? Does he go to the doctor? I think it’s important that you get him to a therapist as soon as possible. I first thought that he may have been abused by someone. Of course there are a million reasons he may not want to go out. Keep the lines of communication open. Make sure he knows he can tell you anything. Try to get him into counseling ASAP! If he literally never leaves the house not even to go to school or anything it’s not right. You know that obviously. Offer a trip to go somewhere alone with you

like a new movie he’s interested in or dinner at his favorite place etc. If he agrees take it slow. Don’t scare him. He may regress more.

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Hi MissNason, Did something happen to him in that he lost someone or is afraid of losing you? Separation Anxiety can cause a child to want to stay where he feels safe. A familiar homey safety zone. Even though you work, being in that house allows him comfort in knowing you will return. I had a foster child who was like that. Didn't want to go to school. Wanted to be home where she felt safe.

It takes therapy to get through this before it goes any further. I more recently went through 5 years of Agoraphobia myself and never left the house in all that time. Doctors, nurses, therapists came to me. My suggestion is to not allow it to become too easy to stay in. Ordering what we want and need from the internet just feeds into our anxiety issues. Finding a therapist who may be able to home visit for a while would be a start. They would support him in getting out little by little until he feels more secure. Finding out the deep reason for his not wanting to leave his home at 16 will help in going forward. I realize you have your hands full in working 3 jobs and having 5 children but somehow his behavior needs to change. This is no way for a young teen to live his life. What about schooling? How is that attended to. My foster child never went to high school and had to complete her GED when she was 19.

I wish you well. Let us know how he does and if you can get the help he needs. Take care of yourself too. We understand and are here to support you :) xx

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Have you spoken to your other children?

I have 4 boys, and we didn’t always get to eat together when they were older but I tried to make sure we had a Sunday dinner around the table.

What is discovered was the banter between the boys at the table was very enlightening about what was going on. I discovered they had all tried cannabis via this method and it was quite a lovely conversation, but I also found out they didnt really like it....

It was a safe place to do what I call “ side talking” to teenage boys. Don’t ever sit them down for a “talk”....scares the shit out of them lol.

It may take several meals, or a change of routine in the house. But I would urge you try it.....you will discover a lot of other stuff too lol

The other thing that occurs to is that this isn’t your sons problems, it’s the whole family’s. And the the whole family should be Involved in the solution.

Take care

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Take advantage of him being at home and get him organised to clean the house. Do not ask him if he wants to go out, but keep him busy. Eventually he will start to talk, or decide to go out to avoid the work.

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If talking is hard which it sounds as though it is, given his age this may be the case. He may not be able to put it into words, and I suspect there is pressure on him to get out, open up etc.. please please please don't think I am apportioning any blame to you. I am not, and I have absolutely not doubt you are an amazing Mum doing your very very best. It is a worrying time for you about you and your son.

What about asking him to write to you about what is happening for him, in his words and what would help him? This may be easier than talking. You would need to accept what he says, not be alarmed and calm in the responses he gives to you if he can do this. They would be his thoughts, he would be looking for support rather than a highly emotional reply. Again I am just saying, and in no way judging you.

Young Minds offers Mental Health support to people of his age. Good luck xxx

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In my humble opinion this needs careful unpicking. And as this has been going on for sometime it could a wee bit painstaking. Whatever this is big stuff for him. Slowly, slowly and see he can write it to you, then you have something to work with. At 16 he may not have the words or maturity to understand what is going on in his head. Hence his retreat. Sorry for reply number 2. What activities will he and won't he do?

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Does he have any hobbies? Even in house hobbies like video gaming? Try to use this time. Don't force him to go out, that'll end poorly even if it works, as it'll put a barrier between the two of you. Don't try to trick him into going out, or opening up and don't make a big deal of sitting down to talk. Try to just see what he's getting up to and then just... get involved with it. If he watches a lot of TV, sit with him and watch TV. Try to find a show you like watching together. If he's into video games, see if that player two spot is open. You'll be surprised how much gets shared casually when talking on an equal level. My mother with me, went to various websites and things to work out ways to help me when I was about his age (None of them apparently mentioned to delete the internet history, which is evidence they're not even the same generation. Any teen knows how to delete the internet history with his eyes closed) and all these websites were, frankly, terrible. They'd give advice like showing assertiveness, creating a family activity and forcing them to go to it with you, organising family meals out so they're forced to go if they want to eat etc. The sort of things that make a child hate their parent, or even be afraid of them.

DO NOT DO THIS.

If there is something wrong with your son, this'll only make it worse, and if there isn't anything wrong, there sure as hell will be once you've done it.

You cannot order someone to be happy.

So to reiterate, 'cause I went off on a tangent... Stop thinking like a mother, and engage him like a friend. You can even try talking to him about things. People open up more to people when those people are also opening themselves up.

But, if my tactic doesn't work, the worst that has come out of it is a better relationship with your son. It's always best in my opinion to go with the option that doesn't do damage first, over the one that does.

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