03-19-2022 11:01 AM - last edited on 04-13-2022 11:14 AM by Philippa-RO
Truly hoping I can find some clarity and support in writing this post. Sorry if I ramble a little. My brain is quite overwhelmed at the moment with everything going on.
Bit of background
My husband and I have just separated, he has always worked away so not around to support my parenting consistently and have different parenting styles.
My daughter experiences anxiety attacks, flashbacks, has self-harmed in the past due to bullying and is currently receiving MH support. She is obviously impacted by the separation at the moment also.
In the past month or two my daughter has been wanting to drink with her friends. We have had talked about my feelings on it - I started drinking too young, impact on her brain, addiction in our family, legal age etc. She had a friend sleep over last night and I noticed my daughter's behaviour was a bit more loving to me and chatty, and could smell a sweet smell. I chose not to say anything. This morning when I was getting dirty clothes out of her room I found 2 empty Cruiser bottles (not hidden very well). Now I am left with the issue of how to handle it on my own.
My biggest concern is not really that she was drinking but she was dishonest about it and even had the hide last night to say things like you can trust me. That is really like throwing salt on the wound. I now feel like I can't. We have always had a very close relationship. I know I need to talk to her about it when she comes home and there needs to be consequences BUT I am worried about the consequences of the consequences if that makes sense.
I am realistic that she will want to experiment and drink but right now I don't have the capacity myself to be confident in my decision making and moving forward with this.
Would love to hear any thoughts.
03-19-2022 03:42 PM
Hello @Ajsmumma and thanks for sharing what you have been going through with us. It sounds like you have been going through a lot lately as you have been supporting your daughter who has been impacted by the separation. Do you have many supports around you at the moment during this time too?
It is really great to hear that your daughter is currently receiving some support for her mental health concerns. It sounds like you are very supportive of your daughter and understanding of her and her needs. You mentioned that your daughter has self-harmed in the past, has she been self-harming lately? Do you have any concerns about her current safety at all?
Feeling like your daughter might not trust you must be a really hard feeling to sit with. You mentioned that you hope to have a chat with your daughter about it when she comes home, have you had the chance to chat with her yet? If not, it might help to talk to her about why she might have hidden the drinking from you and work with her to hopefully keep your relationship open and supportive moving forward (as it sounds like it has been).
I have had a look at some other threads from some of our community members and found this thread here that discusses underage drinking and some strategies to manage it. I hope you some of the advice in it to be helpful!
03-20-2022 01:05 PM
No it has not been a good 24hrs since I originally posted.
Firstly I believe she is safe. Just had another incident, against my better judgment I bought her some clothes under the understanding she could not have them yet and she was grounded for a week. Happy until we get out of the store of course and then attitude returns. "Well I'm not going to school then, ruin my social life etc". I am now triggered and hypervigilant that she might do something, BUT I do believe she is safe and past discussions she has made pretty big promises about it. She is in her room at the moment and I'll give her a bit of time to cool off but will be checking on her.
I raised the issue with her yesterday (not sure how, but calmly), she got out of the car and refused to get back in. Reasons being "why can't I be like everyone else's mums" yada yada yada. She spent the afternoon at my nieces, her dad was also talking to her - both understand and agree with my point of it not being the alcohol but that she did not care or show respect to me in my own home. That's what she kept saying - at least it was here and I wasn't hiding. I get it but NOT the point to me. What boundary challenge next?
I had a lot of time to reflect and have realised I am scared of enforcing boundaries and consequences due to two things. It's almost emotional manipulation without her doing it on purpose (sometimes like the school thing she'll say something but not about the two below.
We also talked about the separation and I know it is hurting her. So many layers to this. I feel so guilty about ruining her life.
The last 2 years was about the bullying and now this. I really haven't got anything left in my tank. I am getting support but it just doesn't help when things are not changing at home. I love her so much and feel really bad saying this but I am not "enjoying this" and I really don't feel like I want to be a parent anymore. Seems like there is just one thing after another.
03-20-2022 03:54 PM
Hello @Ajsmumma , thanks for updating us here on the forums. Sorry to hear that the past 24 hours have been tough for you. It sounds like the discussion with your daughter did not go as planned. Feeling triggered and hypervigilant about your daughter doing something must be tough feelings to sit with. You mentioned that you believe your daughter is safe and that you had planned to check in with her. How is she going at the moment? Do you have any current concerns for her safety?
It sounds like it can be hard to enforce boundaries and challenge your daughter for concerns of how she would react, which sounds quite understandable. It must be quite hard for you to manage this. You mentioned that your daughter is receiving some professional support at the moment, do they know the details of what she has been going through lately?
It sounds like things are quite overwhelming for you at times. Caring for others can sometimes take a big toll on our ability to care for ourselves. Do you have any professional supports at the moment? If you feel like you ever want to talk to someone about what you are going through there are services like Beyond Blue or Parentline that can support you through this .
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