I think you are right to be concerned, and it sounds like you are ontop of finding out if your son's mood is in the "typical" range. Exercise is great for boosting mood, along with a proper diet and plenty of sleep.
Keeping track of his mood could be helpful also. Each evening you could write (privately) in a journal and list the "highlights" of the day. It doesn't have to be super involved, just a quick blurb like:
Had a good morning, got up easily, ate a good breakfast and seemed pleasant all day - - no negative, angry outbursts.
OR something like this: Didn't want to wake up after sleeping 12-hours. Was irritable and crabby when I gave him a ten minute warning to finishing up X-box. Was in an "off" mean mood most of the afternoon.
By keeping a journal, you can look back over the week/months and see how he is doing. That way, if you do decide to take him to a Dr., you can review how its been going in a more accurate light then just relying on your memory.
Hi, It must be difficult for a child to "lose" a parent - such as her mom moving out of town, and I don't think this should be taken lightly.
If this were my child, I would find a qualified, smart (preferably female) Child Psychologist for her to see and build a trusting relationship with. A good Dr. will help your Step-daughter, give her coping skills and help figure out why she is not caring about school.
I would interview perspective Psychologists, set up an appointment with them (just you and her father at first), and decide if the Dr is a good "fit" for her.
Usually when a child (especially teenager) is struggling, taking things away can back-fire. Limiting time on her phone may be a good place to start. Something like taking her phone away at 9pm and keeping an eye on her texts (if possible). She can "earn" more phone time by keeping her grades up (or working on getting them up), and showing you she is putting in effort at school.
I never took away the ipod, I always thought music therapy was a good thing : )
Searching her room ?? Yes, I have done that often, but I'm careful to not let my daughter know. It is our home and I am responsible for what is in it. Once I found alcohol hidden in her closet and I put it on the kitchen table and confronted her. Obviously then she knew I searched her room, but I have done it many times without finding anything and she never knew. I believe its being a responsible parent to try and keep our kids on an even path as we possibly can.
Lastly, I would have her Dad do all the directing and discipline (even if you find stuff, give it to her Dad to deal with), as it is not uncommon for the child to get angry and resentful of the Step-parents position and blame you.
I would call and talk to some of these organizations and ask where to find a good Dr. to evaluate your son and get some help with in-home services. You can't do this alone.....you need support, good Dr.s and a plan for your son.
Write back anytime, I check the board often. Take good care ((((Hugs)))) -KathleenView Thread
I by no means am saying your son is bipolar, but rather would like you to explore if this a possibility.
You shouldn't have to live like this, and your son is suffering also - with proper medication and therapy, life can get a lot better. Keep searching for answers and don't give up. I know how hard it is to have a child that doesn't fit the "typical" model, so I really feel for you!!
I have some resource pages if needed - just let me know, and I'd be happy to pass them along. You can write back with your City / State of residence and I will send along as many as I can find.