07Jul

how to help a 12 year old boy that is depressed

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My younger brother is really depressed. He used to play a lot of sports like hockey and soccer but he stopped recently. When he was in like grade 2 he did gymnastics and he was REALLY good at it. He was on a competitive gymnastics team with kids 4-5 years older than him. He started getting made fun of for doing it like kids calling him gay. So he stopped doing gymnastics and my mom was super upset cause she used to love watching him. Now he has like 2-3 friends that he talks to and he’s not really that close to them. He eats A LOT and is getting pretty chubby. All he ever does is play Call Of Duty. He said he wanted to start playing piano so my mom put him in piano lessons but he would never practiced so we stopped them. He doesn’t show interest in anything else and we don’t know what to do. Please help

Give him a hug, and find some sport for him to do. He seems to love sports and getting out. Get his rear outside and play some sport. Any sport. More than likely one with a team at his school would do him good.

Basketball? Baseball? Soccer or Hockey again? Even gymnastics. Or some martial arts.

He just needs to get outside with some friends and have fun..

Oh! something to boost his self esteem would greatly help him.

Encourage him to go back to gymnastics. If he was good at it then he’s probably physically a lot stronger than any kids that are going to call him gay. He could challenge them to a L-sit or straddle hold competition, preferably with lots of girls as spectators who will laugh at the bullies when they fail miserably. I bet that will put paid to their taunting. If you can’t get him to go back to gymnastics he might like taekwondo. It has a certain commonality in that it is very much about controlled movement but being a martial art probably won’t encourage the same displays of woeful ignorance from his peer group. Cross-fit might be worth a try too. It combines running, power lifting and gymnastics (mainly the conditioning type stuff.)

Also you may need to consider that given he was so upset by this mindless homophobic name-calling he possibly actually IS gay and that is why it got to him so much. In that case you need to find a way to let him know that it is OK, the world won’t collapse and the kids who were calling him gay probably just have small brains and a limited sense of humour It probably never even occurred to them that he actually might be gay and they probably won’t hate him for it if he is. I was looking after a group of kids once and one called another “gay” because he wouldn’t give him a tennis racquet. I was about to intervene when the first kid looking really puzzled said, “There’s nothing wrong with being gay you know.” The second kid said, “Yeah, I know,” and backed off. It was brilliant.

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