Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

What were your loved ones like as kids?

Hi! To those of you who’s loved ones went on to develop schizophrenia in their teens or adulthood - what were they like as children? (At school, socially, interests, personality etc.)
Are there any things which on reflection you feel may have been indicators but did not appear particularly strange or a big deal at the time?
Also, from age of diagnosis, how far back were you able to track back abnormal behaviors or a marked changed in your loved one?
I am curious as to whether any patterns emerge on reflection of people pre-schizophrenia as kids.
Thank you!

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My son was a shy but happy child.

Looking back, I remember he was fairly outgoing & willing to make friends in kindergarten, but somewhere along the way, by the time he was in third grade, I could see him get more anxious around the other kids. When I asked him if he was making any friends each new year, he’d tell me no because he had nothing in common with them.

Granted, my son was always very sensitive and he liked things like art and science much more than sports and cars. Before that, in daycare, he had made really good friends with a little girl and the other kids teased him so much about them being boyfriend/girlfriend that he didn’t want to be overly close to the girls either.

About that time, a new kid moved here and they became really close until after they graduated, and he picked up one more close friend in high school, so I didn’t worry about it too much.

I might be making too much of one thing in my mind, but when he was still young enough to be in a stroller, I was shopping in Penney’s in the clothes section, so he was surrounded by tall racks of clothes. A man came through and surprised him because he couldn’t see him until the last minute, and it scared him to death.

So, strange people - or even people he knows but isn’t comfortable with - has always been a problem for him.


My son from being a baby was happy, bubbly, sociable , friendly and confident.
He never caused any trouble, always had nice little friends and never was involved in usual childhood fights, he would run from that. He was however very sensitive.
Popular at school and loved swimming, he swam at 10 for cancer relief charity here in uk.

Secondary school from aged 11 was tougher, going from little school to this was a big adjustment more than most I would say.
It wasn’t unt maybe 15-16 he started detachment from friends, finding faults with nearly everyone he met, almost justify him isolating himself. He had a few part time jobs that he hated as worked with public. He just found normal things so tough by this age.
It wasn’t however until his last year of university that we noticed rapid change and bizarre thoughts etc. Interested to hear others stories.

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You might be interested in what is known as “The Dunedin Longitudinal Study” where a group of kids born in the 70s are tracked throughout their lives to evaluate various things. One of those things is sz indicators.

" The Dunedin Longitudinal Study asked participants whether they had ever heard voices or seen things which were not there. The participants, born in 1972-1973, were asked this question at the age of 11 years. Twenty-five years later, it was discovered that, of those participants who said they had heard voices or seen things which were not there, half had then gone on to develop schizophrenia. "

"Aside from anything else, study findings show that “The Forever Years” (childhood) really are years which affect us for the rest of our lives not only mentally, but also physically. "

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My son was very bright and active as a child. He was a good student but had difficulty with focus and attention. He never took medication and maintained good grades but it always took him a long time to do homework. He was on the swim team and later a gymnastics team and always 3-4 good friends. However, right before his freshman year, 2 of his best friends moved out of the area and he struggled to connect with others at school. He began to be very self conscience around age 15 or 16. I thought maybe he had a mild social anxiety. He seemed distant. He graduated and went to college, had his first girfriend, and seemed to be more confident but there were still strange behaviors that I wondered about. After his 3rd year of college, he came home and said that he had failed some classes. He took summer school but failed those too. At the end of summer he developed motor tics and seemed very anxious. He was eventually diagnosed with sz about 6 mos later.


My brother, who is one year older than me, developed schizophrenia when he was 18. Growing up with him he was my best friend, I followed him around everywhere. I was a total tomboy because I wanted to be just like him. I used to copy his style and it would drive him nuts! Personality wise he was always so tough!! Of all of our friends everyone knew my brother as the leader. He was strong and wise. He was so protective of me as his little sister and so loyal to all of his friends and family. But he was also very sensitive. When our parents separated at 13, he found it very hard and being a teenage boy didn’t expressive his feelings to anyone. He has always been quite nostalgic and sentimental at heart and hangs on to the good times we had as children and when our parents were together.
Around 16, he started smoking marijuana and not getting much sleep. The early signs of his breakdown were that he cried constantly which was distressing as he rarely cried when he was younger. I think this was through fear, as he first started hearing the voices in his head. In the early stages he became even more nostalgic for childhood and spoke often about old friends and regrets he had, he became even more sentimental. He initially had some aggressive out bursts but on a whole has become more soft since. He’s very within himself and finds it hard to talk to even our closest family members. I’m grateful everyday for my parents who help look after him. He has also always been very artistic both before and after developing schizophrenia. Although since developing sch his art is more abstract and specific.

Thank you for this question! It was so nice to think back and remember Lucas as he was before all of this happened! He’s changed a lot but he’s still the brother and son we have always loved.


Looking back now, I noticed my son was very violent and had little remorse for the things he did. My husband, now passed on, and I thought it was adolescence. While in school, he had more anger management meeting than I can count. After praying that he finish high school,which he did, he took off on his motorcycle and went to California. We didn’t hear from him for 3 years. He was diagnosed as clinically depressed. He came back east and after loosing job his original birth certificate and friends, he stood on the back porch on telling me he was homeless. Within 24 hours I was calling the police because of his violent attack on his father.


My son did very well growing up. He was a straight A student in high school. He was in college for two years when he was diagnosed. He started using drugs in high school (pot).
I had no idea at the time that he was into drugs. When he was diagnosed it was a shock for everyone in my family. He played sports, played video games, etc. Now he does nothing at all.


My son was a happy kid but a bit of a dare devil. He had signs of being different from kindergarten on. In kindergarten he started having phobias of flees. He also was not interested in learning letters, he just wanted to know the whole word.

As he got older he would end up getting in fights and ultimately was expelled from high school. He was called a bad kid and put in continuation high school but he was afraid of the kids there and would jump the fence and come home.

He was a lazy learner. He didn’t want to do the work. He just wanted to know. He also had a temper with me Angus sister. He thought he knew better then we did.

Around 15 he started saying things that didn’t fit.
By 17 he had gone into a psychotic break.

He’s 25 now. He’s mostly on meds and stable bit of course he has his bad days.


My daughter was always quirky. From a very young age, she drew a lot of attention wherever she went because she was so theatrical and a bit odd. She would tell stories and sometimes drew crowds around her as she told them. I often found it embarrassing.

Around third grade she went through a strange depression where she had weird perceptions of events and didn’t remember things the same way that I did. She obsessed about a little girl from her previous school who had been mean to her, and all of the sudden this girl had been her best friend and she missed her so much that life wasn’t worth living. Odd things like that. I chalked it up to her being dramatic and her intense imagination.

After a couple years, she snapped out of it and became her old quirky self, but around age 13 she withdrew. She hardly ever came out of her room and she stopped smiling or making many facial expressions. My theatrical, imaginative daughter became very monotone and neutral. At 15 she confided that she had been hearing voices and seeing things.

Looking back, those times that I thought she was intensely imagining and making up stories, I think she may have actually been hallucinating.


@roseo, I think we have the same son. Mine was an honor student, was in his first year though @ the U OF U, he has been smoking pot on and off for years. He was smoking it the weekend of his 21 birthday December 2016. He went delusional 3 days later. They never went away. Now the drugs make him do nothing. It’s heart breaking. My husband says at least it’s better than the alternative. I hope things get better for you and your son. It hurts, but it’s going to be OK. :heart:


I really wanted to write that my son was loving and fun and a joy to be around. But looking back he wasn’t, until he was really out of high school. I would pay him to watch his younger brother (4 yes difference) and pay his younger brother to stay away from him. He was diagnosed ADD when he was in 2nd grade. He was so intelligent, and manipulative. Headstrong and argumentative. I remember pulling off a freeway exit and having him get out of the car once. I didn’t leave him, but I’m sure I wanted to. He was difficult. But at the same time he was warm and loving and funny. I remember crying to my husband when my son was around 15 or 16 that I loved my son but didn’t really like him. ( I was very stressed out with him at the time). The older he got the negatives seem to get better, but they were replaced with the schizophrenia. Which he says he’s felt it there a little his whole life. Yet he was an honor student. I don’t understand. But that sums up my now 21year old.

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My son was diagnosed at age 23 with schizophrenia. As a child, he was happy, sociable, and had many close friends. He was and still is interested in art. Looking back, I remember that he was obsessive about lizards and later on, it was aliens. When he reached puberty his personality changed drastically. He became much less sociable and had no interest in seeing his friends. He also became irritable and argumentative with me.


My son was my first child & the first grandson for my parents.
He was an adorable child & never had any behavioural problems at all.
He was always polite & well behaved. He did resent his younger brither a lot who was born when he was 2y 9mth. He was never very into achieving top grades at school bug he seemed to enjoy his time there & I never had complaints about him at all.
He was not keen on being comforted if he hurt himself, prefered to go off on his own.
I think his behaviour changed when he started to smoke weed at age 12. I didnt find out until he was 15 he was smoking it.
I feel so guilty he had the need to smoke it.
His father was a heavy drinker & was not a good role model.

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He was a very self-directed kid, never bored always off doing an art or music project. He got into drugs in high school and started hanging out with people who did bad things. He took off for California at 18 after graduating and we didn’t hear from him for 3 years.
Later found out he was diagnosed with clinical depression, then paranoid schizophrenia.

When he came back east, he was in and out of jail ,the State hospital, and the county mental health providers didn’t know what to do for him.

He was very violent. He was
sexually aggressive towards his sister and father.

Many many time he’s had his hands on my neck.

Sad to say that my son sounds more like “himself” on current meds and is not violent, but is very unmotivated
to exercise, do his music and art work or anything.

I wish I could be more help to him.

I feel very relieved when he’s not violent. He seems slow and dumb on meds that finally work after a 20+ years struggle.

He’s currently in the State mental health facility that is the next “step-down” out of the hospital. He was in the State hospital for 2 years because he assaulted an M.D. and a staff member.

Ugh, so very sad!

Maple Woman

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The Dunedin Study is very interesting because my son who is now 17, started out with a diagnosis of severe ADHD at age 6. His kindergarten teacher said he was very sensitive to sound during class parties (Valentine’s Day, etc.) and would go into the corner and put his hands over his ears. At about age 7 1/2, he started coming downstairs at night after bedtime and saying there was a man in his head. He was hearing voices at that age. The p-doc we were seeing then was reluctant to put any kind of diagnosis in his chart, so she simply started him on anti-psychotics. He told me that the man in his head went away a few years later. About a year and a half ago, after one of his teenage meltdowns (cursing, the equivalent of a toddler tantrum), he admitted that the man in his head had never gone away, but he was afraid we wouldn’t love him if he told us he was still hearing voices. He’s very smart, so even at that young age, he recognized there was a stigma attached to a mental illness. My son isn’t particularly artistic as many others describe, but highly intellectual. He can carry on a discussion about world events, religion, politics, whatever, that some adults wouldn’t be capable of. He has always had an amazing ability to memorize things. At age 7, he memorized all the planets and the facts about them (temperature on that planet, distance from the sun, whether they have moons and if so, how many moons, etc.) He would recite these facts to anyone that would listen. People would be stunned that he knew all this info. As a toddler, he was like the Energizer Bunny, ran everywhere, very energetic. Now, with this illness, it’s like he moves in slow motion. He has no motivation. It’s very sad to see such huge changes in him.