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Please help me to help this teen!

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Published: 11 years ago

Please help me to help this teen!

Hi there,

I have a child/teenager (13 year old) in my life that I am trying to help. He is a friend of my son, who is also 13. They attend the same middle school, but Isaiah was held back last year, so he is repeating 6th grade this year. He has spent a lot of time at our house, so I've become involved in his life and problems. He is coming from a difficult background, shows lots of rage and depression, and is failing in school again this year. His family is full of drinking, divorces, and too many kids from lots of marriages with too few (zero) responsible adults. None of the kids seem to be getting the care they need.

I went to the school and talked to Isaiah's teachers, who were all glad to see someone trying to help get him on track with his work. We got all of his assignments and started trying to get caught up. (My son has also been tutoring him after school.) Sadly, what we run into is a depressed lack of motivation and avoidance of the work. He will just put his head down and say he's too tired or hungry to work (even after I feed him). I think there are lifestyle problems that are causing him to be seriously fatigued and depressed, and maybe the school work is just too much for him.

I am starting to wonder if this situation is beyond my ability to help. I have talked with the mother, but I can't force her to feed him good food, make him go to bed at a reasonable time, give him love and attention, etc. Also, Isaiah flies into rages that have been directed at me and my kids (and even a neighbor child once!). Obviously I can't risk the physical/emotional safety of other kids, but I don't want to give up on him either!

Can anybody offer any advice on what might help this guy? I was sort of meditating on him last night and something popped into my mind...he identifies himself as Christian and seems to have a strong spiritual impulse. (We are spiritual, but not strictly Christian in my home.) He is also a good reader and loves to read! I am wondering if there are some books, perhaps with from a Christian perspective that might reach him? Since I'm not into this myself I don't have a lot of reference here...One friend of mine likes Joyce Meyer, but I think her stuff is more for adults/women (?). I am beginning to think that change is going to need to come from within him...that I can't really "fix" the school situation from the outside for him.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!!!


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