Saturday, March 12, 2005

Not a Happy Chappy

Before I left the house to get my hair cut the other day, I received a phone call from 13's maths teacher...he was talking quite assertively and had obviously been shaken up. There had been an incident at the school that involved my son and a very nasty outburst in class. He was told perhaps it would be a good idea to go outside and cool down for 10 minutes. 10 minutes later the teacher went out to see him and talk with him about what had happened.

At this time, 13 told the teacher he just wanted to be left alone, and as the teacher was trying to encourage him back to class, my son actually stood there punching his fist into the other hand and telling the teacher to leave him alone...the teacher said "are you threatening me?" and 13's response was "I wouldn't care if I killed you". A statement like this, besides shaking up the teacher and making my heart stop beating when I heard it....has serious consequences. He's been stood down (suspended) from college for 2 days, Friday and Monday.

This decision came about after 13, his father and I, met up with the teacher and the deputy principal and had a long discussion about what went on and where this horrible burst of anger came from. There was another teacher in the class as well that period and 13 had felt she'd treated him unfairly by telling him that he was up to no. 6 in his task book wasn't acceptable "well, that's not good enough" is what he was told. After hearing both sides of the story, I have to admit, I would've been a bit pissed by hearing that too, but not to such a drastic extent. The teacher told me 13 was visibly shaking with anger.

Unfortunately, 13 has been known to have angry outbursts like this in the past. They happen at a rate of maybe once a year. He tends to bottle things up and then blow with the straw that breaks the camel's back. Usually he's a placid child, but when that valve blows, it blows big time. It's like watching a Dr Jekyl and Mr Hide. There is a lot of anger built up in this young man....where it stems from is something I've been trying to find out for years. And none of it used to happen, until after his father and I separated (he was 8 then). Which makes me feel I'm responsible for this change in him.

I put him in counselling after Dad and I split....that was when the anger was boiling up regularly, and he seem to settle for a while. A few years later at Intermediate he started up again....so I put him back in counselling. Interesting, although maybe not unexpected, his father never saw this side of him. Not until a couple of years ago. Dad's girlfriend and I had of course seen it, but never Dad. So when he witnessed his son go off his rocker for the first time he was shocked. I'm glad he got to experience it only because prior to that, he must've thought his girlfriend and I were exaggerating.

After the second lot of counselling, same thing happened, he settled, seem to have control of it and life continued it's usual path, until now. Besides being stood down for two days from school, being grounded at home for the week and having to write two letters of apology to both teachers, he will start seeing the college counsellor. First thing Tuesday morning. I also took him to see the doctor yesterday as he'd been experiencing headaches the past week....doc says he's been having migranes. I wanted to eliminate the possibility of it being something in his diet that was having a reaction. Unfortunately after sitting there calmly to have his blood test and just before the nurse was about to start taking blood, he stood up and said he couldn't do it, he refused. Course she can't take it from an unwilling patient, and as she tried to encourage him, he yelled in his face and told her to stop talking about it. So, no blood tests yet.

This had me back in the car later in tears of frustration. What on earth is happening to the sweet child I used to have? What sets off these incredible bursts of anger? One day he'll do it and someone is going to pummel the crap out of him. I do hope the school counsellor has some good methods on how to help him deal with it as well as find out what's causing it so he can extinguish them altogether and feel free of them. He's very remorseful and embarrassed after they happen. Says he feels stupid for doing them. It appears he has a mighty big chip on his shoulder....the trick here is to figure out how to knock it off.

The one thought that keeps coming back in my head is, if we don't get this sorted soon enough, what if he harms himself? The statistics of teenage suicide in New Zealand frighten the hell out of me. I hate even writing that down, it screams at me from the page and makes me want to vomit.

My apologies for the depressed rambling today, that last paragraph is not something I've voiced out loud but it eats at me and I just felt the need to say it 'out loud' to somebody.
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