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Teenage Son Cuts Himself, Hates Dad


My 14-year-old son has many anger issues, has been diagnosed with ADHD and ODD, yells constantly, cuts himself and burns things in his room. He sees a psychiatrist monthly but still has deep anger issues with his father, whom I divorced years ago. I want to help my son. Where do I go for help?


We want to make sure you, your son, and everyone else in the home is safe at all times. The first thing you may want to do is create a safety plan with phone numbers and safe locations in the home. Due to your son's aggressive and dangerous behaviors, if you have other children, they will want to know exactly what to do if an unsafe situation occurs. Once you see a threat occurring, you should be able to say one word that initiates the safety plan.

If your son is unable to keep himself or anyone else safe in your home, you need to call the police immediately. We know this can be scary, and most parents don't want to have to do this, but you can't risk someone getting hurt. Unsafe behaviors such as self harm, cutting, suicidal statements or threats, aggressive behaviors towards others or property are not okay and should not be tolerated in your home.
Being diagnosed with ADHD and ODD is a difficult combination. These two disorders cause a lot of defiant behaviors. You mentioned your son sees a psychiatrist once a month which is great, but unfortunately it's probably not enough. Our guess is that your son is struggling applying basic social skills like following instructions, accepting decisions and showing respect. Find a therapist who will work with your son on a weekly (if not more) basis.
We can only imagine how difficult this situation must be for you. We want you to know that our counselors are available 24/7 if you have any questions or just need to vent. We talk to parents every day going through similar situations, and we are here to listen and help.

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