06-05-2018 11:39 AM
I need some guidance. I am feeling completely out of my depth and don't know what to do. It is a complex situation with many layers and I am really scared that I will do something wrong.
My daughter's friend is currently in a mental health facility as she has been suffering with depression and has self harmed. My daughter and her girlfriend have been visiting her most days which I am very supportive of.
My daughter's girlfriend's parents do not agree that they should be visiting and they have some very strong views about that mental health that are quite dismissive of it as a serious problem. The other thing they have strong views about is sexuality. This is a problem as they don't know that their daughter is in a relationship with my daughter (they have been together for over a year now). This also causes a lot of stress as her parents are openly opposed to gay couples even making rude comments some of their other friends that are also gay.
My daughter is caught in the middle of all of this. Wanting to be supportive of her girlfriend and their friend but also feeling worthless and wrong in her choices. I am so proud of how supportive they have both been of their friend. My daughter has also reached out to another girl (younger) who is also very close to their friend. She is also undergoing treatment for depression and drug use. This younger girl is also my son's girlfriend.
My problem is that I know so much about my children's partners that they have not told their parents. I am trying to be supportive of all of them but when does it become important that I share information with their parents if I am concerned about their well being?
I don't want to break the trust of my kids (we have a great relationship) or of their partners/friends but I am concerned that this could effect the well being of my kids (and to be honest me too).
I am a single mum (the children's father was the cause of my depression - which is currently controlled) and have no one to bounce this off as I don't feel I can talk to those around me about this as they may know the kids involved.
I am sorry that it is a very confused post. Thanks for reading.
06-05-2018 04:02 PM
Thank you for coming onto our forums and sharing - that sounds like a really difficult situation to be in , and as you say, very complicated.
There's not going to be a "one right answer" for what to do here.. and it certainly sounds like you're being incredibly supportive, and loving towards everyone involved.
How old is your daughter and her girlfriend?
I'm wondering what support you have for yourself as well, as all of this must take a toll on you too?
06-05-2018 10:15 PM
Wow it sounds like you have a lot going on. Firstly, I cant help noticing how every one involved must feel incredibly comfortable sharing some very private, controversial stuff with you. They obviously find you very open-minded and non-judgemental and you deserve a lot of praise for that. I can understand how you must feel being caught in the middle of it all and how you feel a degree of responsibility to tell their parents.
I wonder if it would help to talk to the kids about how you are feeling. That you feel the things you are worried about are pretty serious and you think they are serious enough to tell the parents. Ask them what they think? They may not see the issues in the same light as you. I would say to them that you are prepared to keep all of this confidential and between you all if that is what they would rather.
I think it might be a betrayal of trust if you share with the parents. And then you may risk losing all communication.
You are obviously someone they can trust and as long as the lines are open between you and them I think you can be safe knowing they wont do anything stupid. Its when they stop telling you things that you worry the situation may be getting worse.
As hard as it is, if it were me, I would just be the listening ear. Keep your radar up for signs of things intensifying. You've been chosen for a reason...
06-05-2018 10:17 PM
06-06-2018 07:23 AM
My daughter is 18 this weekend and her girlfriend is 17.
I guess this is what I am finding difficult - I don't have anyone to bounce any ideas off as I am a single parent. I don't want to discuss this with friends as they may know the other kids involved.
06-06-2018 12:54 PM
You situation makes me recall an experience my younger sister had at 16 years old. She was having a relationship with another girl at school (Boarding house). The other girls dad was a Doctor and gave her a script for the Pill for her 16th birthday. He had no idea that his daughter had no interest in boys at all. Also, to my knowledge my parents were and are completely unaware of her experience to this day. They were not equipped to deal with this knowledge then or now.
Several years later, I was in a share house with 4 of us. One the guys in the house was gay. He as quite particular in saying that he would let others know when he was comfortable with it himself. None of his family knew about his sexuality. All of us respected this and let him communicate what he wanted to in his own time.
I guess from these and other experiences, my conclusion is that letting the individual have the opportunity to decide who and when they tell the people closest to them is a choice they need to be able to make.
06-06-2018 04:24 PM
Thanks for your comments. I would never breach any of the girl's trust but I am just totally out of my depth with how to be supportive. I listen (and read) and try to help them look at the issue from both sides (mother - daughter) as I can understand how both must feel. I have suggested that if the girls don't feel that they can talk to their parents that they write a letter to them so that they can read it and have time to process it before talking with them but other than this I am all out of ideas. It has to do with sexuality, drugs, alcohol and school not just the fact that some of the girls are gay. I don't want to tell the parents but if I feel that the girls may be in danger I am not sure what is the right course of action.
Thanks for telling me about your sister. I do understand that people need to 'come out' in their own time.
06-06-2018 04:48 PM
For my sister it was a short experience as a teenage girl. I always remember the guy I shared the house with. He was there for 12 months and near the end said that I was the only straight male he had formed a genuine friendship with. That always made me think, as that comment genuinely surprised me. He talked to me a lot about the risk and fear that his group of young gay men experienced. One close friend had told his family. The result was understanding followed by excommunication. This confirmed to the others in the group that remaining silent was the better path for them. They did not want to risk telling their families for fear of loosing them.
I always hoped that with time and understanding, no teenager (or adult) would have to feel like that about their sexuality and family. There are no right answers in so many of these complex areas. Just getting a few ideas to extend our own thinking into an aspect we had not considered or making us more certain we are on the right track with support and ideas from others is sometimes enough.
06-06-2018 06:24 PM
@Wonderous I really think just listening is working well for you. Maybe thats all they need..just to feel validated and not judged. Perhaps talking to you makes them feel kinda normal. I really feel that you are doing great right now...just keep listening and being a friend. Thats what I think
06-06-2018 07:39 PM