help for my 13yr old son

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SJP | 18:52 Fri 18th Aug 2006 | Parenting
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i need to find out if there are any sort of camps out there that can help my son.We are struggling to cope with his behaviour and he getting more and more aggressive towards us.
Social services say that they wont take him in to care and we don't have any family or friends to take him in.America seem to have a lot of these camps to help children,does anybody know of any in the uk?


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Have you contacted your GP? Your son sounds like he could do with additional help (and the family). He can be referred to CAMHS (the child and adolecant mental health service).
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Thanks tigerthecat but i cant even get him to come home,he just walks the streets at night.I went after him yesterday and he started squaring up to me,pushing me until i fell over and banged my head.I had to call the police.
I think if it was me i would leave him to it if he was treating me like that!

Poss contact social services again saying you will not allow him to live with you and if they dont do anything i would take it higher with them, and well done for getting the police involved!!

Good luck i hope things work out!
sjp - do you know why he is acting this way - is he being bullied, is he taking drugs, does he have learning difficulties?
In cheltenham they have community projects that can help deal with these problems (they have counsillors and a buddy system so that problems can be talked through. they also have things like anger management and training courses and such like, so worth looking in to see if there is one in your area. If you find no joy from social servies look into the youth workers with the connexions scheme - they are not your typical youth club worker, they are trained to help you and the child when social services wont help, they can often get the help from social services that they say they wont provide.

Hope that helps

Sounds like some "Brat Camp" tough love is needed her in that he needs to understand that certain rules need to apply in your home. How does he manage to get out of your house to walk the streets. Does he have a key? Can't you literally lock the front door once he's inside so that he can't leave the house. Is he on drugs which is making his behaviour worse? Are you giving him pocket money?
I'm tempted to suggest that you give him an ultimatum about what behaviour you expect and that if he doesn't start to conform you just leave him to it for a while with no meals when he comes home and he finds the front door locked. It's terribly to have to do this to a 13 year old but it sounds as if he's turning into a little thug and needs a dose of his own medicine. Meanwhile, I'd talk to your GP and go back to Social Services. Can he be referred to a probation officer? I think it was the BBC who ran the Brat Camp programmes and at one point there were asking for parent volunteers to find more children to take part in another programme. Im not advocating the publicity would do him good but the discipline certainly might, and the BBC website might have further contact details whereby you can contact other organisations for help and advice.
Also, keep onto the police, saying he's out of control and ask them to keep a look out for him on their patrols and bring him home. You don't want to be accused to neglecting your son, even if he is currently a trouble maker. Maybe if you complain enough to the police they can put an Anti Social Behaviour Order in progress which would then be monitored by the Courts.
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Thanks wendyS for your advice,i think i will contact the bbc.
We last had contact with social services on sunday when we had to call the police out again because he had gone mad,throwing shoes,punching his computer moniter and just going mad.
Social services basically told us that all they can do is advise us on how to deal with his behaviour,not take him away from the family home.Don't get me wrong we don't just want rid of him we want help for him.The problem is that with this country you can't get help until it's too late!
We've told social services that we don't want their help anymore because i can't wait and won't wait until it's too late.
i agree with tigerthecat go and make an appointment with your son to get a referral to cahms to get him assessed to see if there is a problem.
Maybe there is a medical problem for his behaviour, Social services dont usually do alot unless there is a specific disease or problem. Go speak to your gp and explain your sons behaviour and see what he says.
This post is in three parts because this forum won't accept more words....


Brat Camp was produced by Twenty Twenty productions for Channel 4. The next BC series (4) is being broadcast in October and I believe they may be looking for families for the next series (BC5) soon. You'll find an application form on the 20/20 site. Courses at camps like those at Aspen will set you back around �30-40K for the program which can last up to 3 months or more.

I totally understand how you must be feeling and I hate to say it but there is little to no help for teenagers in the UK and certainly nothing like the help available in the US. After exhausting every route we could possibly think of, my daughter, who also went off the rails at 13 (now 16) went to brat camp (featured on series 3) and for us it has been a success.

Could you try to get to the bottom of why your son is behaving the way he is � there will be a reason in there somewhere. Have you tried any type of therapy? The school may be able to help, although probably have very limited resources � we tried Connexions too � useless. As others have suggested, have you tried speaking to your GP to see if he/she can help you on the National Health or if you can afford it, go privately? We did both family therapy and my daughter had individual therapy too � both before she went to Brat Camp (didn't work) and upon her return from Utah.
Can you talk to your son and more importantly LISTEN to him. I know how difficult it is to get the communication going. Is his self esteem rock bottom? frustrated? angry and/or depressed?� and why? Has anything changed in your family that could have affected him? Is school a problem? Does he know the reason he feels the way he does? Can you listen to what he says about his life and show him that you are listening and care? Is your reaction to his
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Have you tried writing a behavioural contract? Write it with him and any other siblings and all agree on what is to be included with rewards for good behaviour and consequences for bad (let the kids come up with the consequences -they're much harder on themselves then you may expect. All sign it and stick to it. The contract should include what is expected from each individual and what they can each expect in return . Include chores, what time he has to be back home weekdays /evenings, homework, who he can see and who he can't � kids WANT boundaries. Reward him � pocket money, computer/television time, trips out, whatever turns him on. Consequences for bad behaviour � remove computer games etc. for a given time limit. Explain that he is responsible for his own actions and their consequences, both positive/negative � encourage him to take ownership of his behaviourand how he feels. When he has been responsible for an action with a postive result give plenty of praise. At Brat Camp the children were taught to express their feelings in a certain way which parents had to learn too. We had to show that we have LISTENED to each other properly They work something like this�

'I feel sad/angry/frustrated [an emotion] when you swear at me/are aggressive [an action], I imagine I feel this way because it belittles me/is hurtful [how it is affecting me] and I hope in the future I will understand why it affects me this way to enable me to handle my emotions better. [something that I can do, which puts me in control of my future and change things for me].
The person responding goes something like this�.
'I HEAR you feel sad when I swear at you. You imagine you feel this way because it belittles you and you hope in the future that you understand better how it affects you. Do you feel heard?' and then the person who said the I feel statement must say, ' I feel heard'.
� hope that makes sense. I know it is
Both 'I Feel' statements and behavioural contracts are covered on This is not a free site � you have to subscribe. All the parents at BC were given access to this site and my family found it very helpful. Again, lots of Americanisms that can be irritating but much of value too. We were also given some CDs to listen too � available from this site � which were absolutely excellent. Common sense most of it � but hearing how to deal with specific problems and being given the actual words to use really helped and we used what we learnt on my daughter's return.

As parents we made lots of mistakes with our daughter�. even though the same parenting skills have worked well with our son .. who's a breeze! I wish I had taken parenting classes or sought professional help much earlier when my daughter was 13 - it may have halted the esculation and armed us with the tools we needed to bring harmony to the family.

Aspen are aware that there is nothing available in the UK and they were looking to open something here � may be worth talking to them � telephone and e-mail is listed on their website above. They really are very, very helpful and absolutely understand the problems and emotions you are feeling.

Hope this helps and much luck.

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