Home > Kids > Behavior and Discipline > Behavioral Problems > Anxiety > Teen Reports UFO Sighting
|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Teen Reports UFO Sighting

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: What do you tell a frightened 14-year-old who claims that he saw a UFO at his grandparents' cabin while they were asleep? He is not prone to weird behavior...no drugs involved....and actually believes he saw this thing fairly close up.....He seems different since he has spoken of this...is refusing to see a doctor,too! It is affecting his life...what do we do?

A: First, I would not treat him like he was mentally ill. He clearly had an experience that was all too real for him. You say he is frightened since he had this experience, not excited or intrigued. I am concerned about why he is frightened and what can be done to put this experience into a perspective that will gradually lessen his fear.

He does need to tell his story in as detailed a manner as possible. Even if he has told it to you in some fashion, ask him to tell it again and while he is telling it ask him questions (what color was it? how long did you stare at it?, etc.) in a very matter of fact manner. I would also raise the possibility of going with him to this cabin (he could take anyone else along too that he chooses) to see if anything happens again.

Kids are growing up today surrounded by a national belief in UFO's and by a constant barrage of TV shows, movies, books, newspaper accounts and religions that treat the existence of aliens among us and alien abductions as fact.

I also have to question your son's motives for both reporting this sighting and for acting (I'm not saying he's faking fear necessarily) frightened. He certainly is getting a lot of attention, isn't he? Is anything else going on in his life that would suggest a desperate need for attention?

Tell him that he can interview any counselor he wants (I wouldn't suggest a psychiatrist at this stage) to see whom he could trust with this information. I would also offer him an opportunity to talk with a university astronomer/scientist about this; I bet you could find a compassionate academic who might give this the right spin without making your son feel stupid.

More on: Expert Advice

Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

highlights

Special Books for the Kids You Love
Celebrate 20 years of sharing love to the moon and back with the anniversary edition of Guess How Much I Love You, one of the world’s best-loved picture books. Plus, search our Book Finder for more great book picks. Brought to you by Candlewick Press.

Vote Now for the Children's & Teen Choice Book Awards
Voting is open now through May 3 for the Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards — the only national book awards program where the winning author, illustrator, and books of the year are selected by young readers. Encourage your child to vote for his favorites today!

Top 10 Math & Science Apps for Your Whiz Kid
Looking for the best math and science apps for kids? Check out these cool apps for all ages, which will grow your child's love of the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math).

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Wondering what to do now that you've signed your child up for kindergarten? Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks