Discussions By Condition: Mental conditions

Teen: strange "social" behavior in high school

Posted In: Mental conditions 13 Replies
  • Posted By: Anonymous
  • December 22, 2007
  • 09:51 AM

We have been notified that my stepson is having some problems in HS. His principal called to say that teachers and students have complained about him. The teachers say he acts oddly and comes really close to their face to talk to them, acts out, etc. and is a complete loner. The students say that he follows them around if they are nice to him, then they can't get rid of him. He doesn't seem to "get it" when people don't want him around. He also acts really strange when he's at school and kids don't want to hang out with him. We've heard this but its hard to understand when he's completely normal at home. He gets along great with adults, never has a problem. Adults always say that he is such a great kid and they had a great time with him. Its weird. When he's around other highschoolers he tries to be cool or fit in and he just pushes them away. What i'm confused about is why can't he see that he is scaring people or that people or avoiding him? He tells us he's friends with all these people when in actuality they are just classmates. Why does he call someone a "best friend" when he just talked about a math class with them once? Is he in denial? Is he in trouble? Should we be really concerned or is it just awkward behavior?
He has ADD, but I don't know if that has anything to do with it.
We've never had any problems with him. He's got two loving parents and two step parents that also love him. He is a normal, well-behaved teen at home. Other than the expected teen angst you get like some back talk which is totally normal, i've never seen any raised flags. Its hard picturing that this is the same kid the teachers/principla/students are describing.
Has anyone ever gone through anything like this with their child or heard of such a situation?
Thank you for listening!!

Reply Flag this Discussion

13 Replies:

  • Hmmm, this is a difficult situation to be in. As a psychologist, I would definitely be inclined to make my own observation of the teenager at school - and interacting with friends. In my opinion, the behavior you described could be ascribed to a number of "concerns." Since the boy has a previous diagnosis of ADD, I would not rule out attention as a culprit. In fact, successful social reaction requires intense detail and descrimination attendence as well as self-regulation. I would encourage you to seek an outside opinion - or as the very least try to observe some of the behaviors that the teachers report yourself.
    equestrian 14 Replies Flag this Response
  • I had trouble with that in grade school at first. Too much time with adults, and then I didn't know how to behave with other kids. My overbearing mother added to that drasticly with strict rules about behavior. I wasn't allowed to run and jump and play, the normal things kids do "because I could hurt myself"-when I got to gym class even the teacher would laugh at me because I was so clumbsy. I couldn't even do the goofy walking backward races or catch a ball because it wasn't allowed. I was accustomed to watching other children, not interacting with them. Never been able to totaly get over the clumbsiness, but about sixth grade I realized my parents were not the authority on the world and went my own way. Probably the only thing that saved me from such social problems. Makes me think that a kid who never misbehaves at home isn't going to end up fitting into "the norm". Because that was me. Too scared of the consequences to test my limits--and there were far too many of them. I had only one friend till highschool, and she was another social outcast in the same position.
    chromegirl666 101 Replies Flag this Response
  • His low social functioning does not sound intentional. It seems to me that it must be an outgrowth of his ADD. His perceptions, regarding social situations, are not accurate. Basically he is not fluent in body langauge, social cues, and things like that. This could be simply because he does not pay attention, his attention is either on himself instead or on other distractions. Or, his mind is not introspective enough to really calculate what a given tone of voice or other social cue might mean - he takes things at face value too much. A person is polite and he thinks it means they truly like him as a friend. He may have trouble interpreting euphemisms, sacrasm, and similiar complex linguistic devices. So basically what we have here is a deficiency in perception and a learned skill known as social intelligence. The good news is that it is not any sort of mood or personality disorder, or cry for help, or other form of "crazy."
    Non Servium 85 Replies
    • September 19, 2008
    • 00:42 AM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • I am probably wrong, but it is possible that your stepson is doing that for attention. Some kids think that acting out will help them gain attention, but it only harms them in the end. If it is possible, try talking to him. Just ask if there is a reason that he acts so different at school from home. Of course, if he doesn't want to answer, don't pester him. Just let him know that you are there to talk to if he needs someone. Now, I know it might sound a bit commanding to say 'don't pester him.' but this is coming from a 13 year old. Sorry it's odd, but I kinda know that pestering doesn't help and if you give them the option to talk later on, they probably will. Good luck with helping him! ~D.M.K.
    depression.my.killer 11 Replies
    • September 19, 2008
    • 09:14 PM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • I have a child in my classroom displaying the same behaviours. He has been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome; although, his parents insist that he does not display the signs at home. According to the pschologist, the reasons he does not appear to display these tendencies at home is because: a) his family is so used to his eccentric behaviours that they cannot see anything unusual (he is also an only child); and, b) he is predominantly around adults at home and the way that adults interact is different to the way adolescents interact - adults are (usually) less impulsive and socially sensitive. Please seek help for him. The parents of the child in my class ignored his teachers' expressions of concern for years and the poor child has never been helped to develop his social skills. We are working hard to help him "read" social situations better now and he actually has a couple of friends!
    missy_higgins 1 Replies
    • October 9, 2008
    • 10:35 PM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • I don't want to sound rude to you as a mother, but the way you talk about your step-son sounds really demeaning of his personality. Kids are weird, and a lot of the time they are experimenting with their peers to see what works and what doesn't in social situations.To be quite honest my brother was a total psycho as a kid, and with no medical or psychiatric intervention he turned out to be a totally normal kid, and do you know how? He found a peer group that he felt comfortable with. He joined marching band and totally lost all of his anger, temper tantrums, vindictive personality and just became fun loving.It sounds to me like he is TRYING, and if adults find him pleasant I cannot understand why you would feel like there is something wrong with him? Perhaps he is too serious and mature for the peers in his school? Perhaps he is just very intelligent and finds it hard to behave in a manner that is not natural to him?It may sound like I am making excuses, but I am totally serious that kids today have an incredibly difficult time with adults, teachers and psychiatrists. Everyone in the world is looking to jump down their necks about whether their behavior is normal or needs to be medicated. Please watch some videos about psychiatric treatments on kids that I hope will help to open your eyes, kids need to be weird, if they don't then they just get sicker and sicker. PBS Frontline: the Medicated Childhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmP_finlbEwhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7G-UkLmG_Mhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9x9d9rDFschttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zz-fluvjjFUhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrqIEVkChlkhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LqmLZ7xnRAkIf you tell a child he/she is sick, or mentally ill or that something is wrong with them chances are they will believe it and it will become a self fulfilling prophecy. 99% of the time a psychiatrist will tell you/them it is a life long condition and that they will never lead a normal life as well. This is so terribly wrong I cannot begin to explain here.I can't imagine how he must feel based on some of the things you have said, if you could put yourself in his shoes, and try to see what it feels like to be rejected, alone, or out of place, then perhaps you might be able to treat him with sensitivity and offer suggestions on how he might better approach situations or peers without "scaring" people as you put it. Perhaps suggest he join some activities, youth group, band, science group or whatever his interests pertain to. If he doesn't have any serious hobbies then suggest some that he can try. Medication is not always the answer, nor is a psychiatric diagnosis, especially if you are looking for one or the other, I question your motivation as a parent.:(
    wildhare 7 Replies
    • October 19, 2008
    • 02:53 AM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • I see most of the same things with my son in grade9.His teacher in grade 6 and this year both say he seems to be autistic.Their biggest concern is the social issues. Things like saying and doing inappropiate things. Also with motor skill issues. !4 yrs old and can't tie his shoes even tho we have tried everything we can think of to help him. Not sure how to help him but it sure is sad as a mom to always see him standing on the sidelines when it comes to groups of his peers. Any suggestions on ways tohelp him??
    karent 1 Replies
    • November 13, 2008
    • 02:20 AM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • I can see where they are coming from. I tried as well as I could to feel that I had some friends or people that I could say hi to and talk with at break, just so I wouldn't feel alone. The strange thing is though the only time that I ever really felt like me and relaxed was when I wasn't around anyone, just alone, walking or sitting somewhere, this as well made me feel left out and lonely. I like people, I am one of the friendliest people you could meet, but I hate being around people, I get scared and freighted of what to do, but I guess these things take time. I am in college now and trying to work things over. What I think I need to do soon is to get all of my credits done with and transfer to a school where nobody knows who I am, this is where I can start over as a new person, my own person, my self. peace
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • November 24, 2008
    • 06:02 PM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • I know exactly how he might be feeling in this way.I actually have Asperger's, but I have found some similarities there with me.Anyway, he might not have Asperger's, but for sure something very similar to it.For ASD it's characteristic to have "social problems", mostly with peers. But there is not excluded that ASD and ADD can appear together, sometimes it is also that ADD might be a part of symptoms of ASD in some ways.I dunno, anyway there is important to help him, to teach him how to behave with peers and what to do. To me it seems this is the biggest problem.
    Anasthasia 22 Replies Flag this Response
  • Aspergers. But at the same time its suprising he hasn't been diagnosed yet. So if he hasn't had any difficulty before this it could be outgrowth of ADHD.
    davidmt2 18 Replies Flag this Response
  • We have been notified that my stepson is having some problems in HS. His principal called to say that teachers and students have complained about him. The teachers say he acts oddly and comes really close to their face to talk to them, acts out, etc. and is a complete loner. The students say that he follows them around if they are nice to him, then they can't get rid of him. He doesn't seem to "get it" when people don't want him around. He also acts really strange when he's at school and kids don't want to hang out with him. We've heard this but its hard to understand when he's completely normal at home. He gets along great with adults, never has a problem. Adults always say that he is such a great kid and they had a great time with him. Its weird. When he's around other highschoolers he tries to be cool or fit in and he just pushes them away. What i'm confused about is why can't he see that he is scaring people or that people or avoiding him? He tells us he's friends with all these people when in actuality they are just classmates. Why does he call someone a "best friend" when he just talked about a math class with them once? Is he in denial? Is he in trouble? Should we be really concerned or is it just awkward behavior?He has ADD, but I don't know if that has anything to do with it.We've never had any problems with him. He's got two loving parents and two step parents that also love him. He is a normal, well-behaved teen at home. Other than the expected teen angst you get like some back talk which is totally normal, i've never seen any raised flags. Its hard picturing that this is the same kid the teachers/principla/students are describing.Has anyone ever gone through anything like this with their child or heard of such a situation?Thank you for listening!!Before you read remember that I am in JR. High school, and have aquired an interest in social behavior.I was researching social behavior of people my age group and thought it may be of some assistance for you to understand my situation.I recently moved to a new area and was placed into a very localized school.In a few weeks I realized that the many ''cliques'' were displaying shared negative attitudes towards myself.I also noticed that many students in my grade were very immature compared to other children I had known before.I felt very out of place, and resorted to sinking to their level, which drastically affected my learning and focus.A teacher later confronted me about my change in behavior, and caused me to think more in depth about myself.I gradually restored myself and my grades and behavior began to improve.It is now two years since, and I now have many friends that I met in my extra curricular, and after school activities.so the ending solution to my problems was a concerned teacher gently confronting me about my past problems. I hope that even if my story does not exactly completely solve your sons predicament, but maybe give you an idea upon what to do =] (you may want to consult the professionals though, I do not fully understand everything on this subject)
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • January 7, 2010
    • 05:29 AM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • Complications of Crohn’s Disease

    Recognize the risks associated with Crohn’s disease.

    8 Surprising Facts About Cholesterol

    Did you know that one in six US adults has high cholesterol?

  • It's not uncommon for ADHD and Asperger's to co-occur. But ADHD alone can cause trouble in social situations. Emotional maturity is slower to develop, and it's harder to pick up cues from other people.People with Asperger's have much more trouble recognizing facial expressions & tone of voice, and naming emotions. If he does well in social situations with adults, I doubt that's a problem.On the other hand, if he can recognize peoples emotions fine but doesn't notice them because of an attention problem, he might keep getting overexcited, fall behind in a conversation, butt in to a group, talk out of turn, talk too loud or too soft, etc. Adults may not notice because they'll just react as though he were a slightly younger kid, but he'll stand out among kids his age.A lot of ADHD books are written for parents, about kids, but "What Does Everybody Else Know That I Don't?" by Michele Novotni is for adults with ADHD to read themselves... and as a teen, it's probably time for him to come to grips with this stuff himself. Encourage him to research ADHD, figure out how it affects him, and how to cope with it. Don't make him feel like he's "broken" because he isn't -- he functions differently from others, and has unique strengths and weaknesses.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • January 10, 2010
    • 07:55 PM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • My son has behavioral problem. After the doctor confirmed that he has behavioral problem, I sent him to a well known boarding school in US. Right now, I could see the improvement of his bahavior. If ever one of you has the same problem as mine, try sending him to any boarding school. Of course, it would still depend on the performance of your son but it is still worth the shot.
    jbarefield74 4 Replies
    • January 20, 2011
    • 04:36 AM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
Thanks! A moderator will review your post and it will be live within the next 24 hours.