If you have older kids who have already gone through this phase, you might already know what to expect. If not, you might be confused about why your son stays locked in his room all day. Perhaps you’re worried about him and are hoping that everything is alright in his life. Fortunately, teenage withdrawal is often a healthy coping mechanism for dealing with the overwhelming aspects of life.
At Sundance Canyon Academy, our therapists have helped countless teens overcome mental health problems associated with depression and anxiety. Many parents are uncertain of what to do when their teen sons spend most of their time locked in their room. While some families are tempted to be heavy-handed and demand that their son spend time with the family or else be sent to a military school, that approach rarely works. It is essential to understand why children withdraw during their teen years and when to seek outside help.
Why do teens stay locked in their room?
There are a few primary reasons why teens like to spend so much time alone.
Teens are developing into adults and need time to process their new feelings and actions. During adolescence, teens need to learn how to navigate the world on their own apart from their parents. As your son starts branching out on his own, he will need more time alone to feel independent.
However, teens still need the love and support of their parents as they move through this phase in life. Though they’re becoming more independent, they still want to know that their parents have their back. So even if your son stays locked in his room all day, utilize small moments throughout the day to let him know that you still care about him.
Spending time alone provides important downtime for teens who need to escape the stress of day-to-day life. Between school, friends, home life, and extracurricular activities, teens have a lot going on! Teens need to have some time alone to take a break from life and process everything that’s going on with them.
If your son is spending most of his time alone, he might be utilizing solitude as a coping mechanism for dealing with stress. Teens need to develop healthy coping mechanisms that they can use as they continue into adulthood. Otherwise, they could develop unhealthy habits like smoking, drinking, or using drugs to destress. As a parent, it’s tough when your son stops coming to you with his problems, but he needs to learn how to cope with them independently.
When teens spend time alone because their peers are rejecting them, there’s cause for concern. If teens spend a lot of time alone because they want to, it can benefit them. But when teens spend a lot of time alone because they don’t have friends, it can be detrimental.
As your teen moves through middle school into high school, it’s tougher to keep track of their friendships. They might not get along with the same people they did when they were younger. If they’ve changed schools recently, they might be struggling to make new friends. In either situation, your son might be hesitant to bring it up to you and might resort to withdrawing to his room.
Teens who are isolated from their peers when they would rather have friends are more likely to develop depression. If your teen son is staying locked in his room all day, keep an eye out for the signs of depression.
Signs of depression in teens
Some common signs of depression in teens include:
Isolation from people they used to like
Not wanting to participate in activities they used to enjoy
Change in sleep habits, including insomnia or sleeping more than usual
Change in eating habits
Not following through with responsibilities
If you see the warning signs of depression in your teen son, it’s time to get professional help. Teenage depression is serious and can lead to lifelong problems if not addressed.
A therapeutic boarding school’s supportive environment is beneficial for many teens struggling with depression and social anxiety. Contact us today to find out if our school could benefit your son.