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High school and bullying

Discussion forum for parents in Australia


High school and bullying

I'm a mum to three beautiful children, Son 13, 2 daughters 8 & 4. We also have custody of our 12 year old nephew who has severe behavioural issues. He has been neglected and abused for years and was removed from his mother by DHS 4 months ago. We knew that she has a problem but were not aware of the severity or the impact on her child. He has developmental delays and lacks any real social skills. My husband & I disagree on how to handle his behaviour which causes further tension in the home.

Not much laughter in our house at the moment I am sad to say. 

I work 2 jobs & run around after the kids & their various activities. When I get a spare moment I like to disappear into a good book. 

ReachOut was recommended to me by my sons school as he is struggling with the first year of high school & some bullying. I am so worried about him as he has been telling another child at school that he wants to hurt himself. He seems fine at home but I don't know what is going on inside him. He is a very private person much like me. I don't know what to do to help him?

Weekends are a very stressful time in our house. I try to get our kids some space from the unpleasant environment whenever I can. 

Just a Struggling mum at the end of her rope!


Super contributor

Re: High school and bullying

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Hi @Picklemum, welcome to ReachOut! How lovely that you found us. Here on this forum, we are anonymous so I had to edit your post to remove any names. It sounds like you have got your plate full with a whole lot of things and I can imagine how tense things must get. I am sorry to hear about the struggles you have been having and it isn't easy to bring another child into your house. The community will comment and provide support but we also have the coaching program  which I think would be most useful to you given your situation. It is a free session with an expert where you can develop action plans. This would be an awesome place to start if you are not sure what to do. Have you spoken to him about him wanting to hurt himself? If he might not feel comfortable talking to you, is there another trusted adult he might prefer to talk to instead? A counsellor or teacher? If you ever feel like he is about to hurt himself, then it is best to engage with 000 to ensure his safety.  I also wanted to say, I moved your post into the discussion section of the forums so that more people will see it to offer support like @taokat @sunflowermom @Tully99, let me know if there are any issues Smiley Happy 

Frequent scribe

Re: High school and bullying

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Hi @Picklemum,
I would also like to welcome you to ReachOut.
You and your family are so kind to open your home to your nephew. He has gone through so much and moving in with a new family with new rules can make them to feel anxious,
Regarding your sons intention of hurting him self, I would encourage you to chat to him about it. Somewhere private where there wont be any interruptions, like going for a walk! I get the most out of my teenager whilst we're walking.
I encourage you to listen without judgement, this is where active listening is great. Ask loads of questions and let him know he can always talk to you.
As @Taylor-RO suggested, the coaching program will be useful. I will also suggest the Parent Help Line, they are full of great tips on how to manage child and adolescence behaviour.
All the best and please keep us updated.

Parent/Carer Community Champion

Re: High school and bullying

Hi @Picklemum

My heart goes out to you!  I am so sorry your family is feeling so much tension right now.  I agree with @Happy about getting some alone time with your son.  Even if you ask lots of questions after listening you may not get too much info since kids bottle stuff up.  Just being available and maybe setting a weekly date for just you and your son he may open up a little bit at a time.  Let him know how brave it was that he confided in someone at school about hurting himself.  That's the first step, reaching out is a very hopeful sign that he wants help.  Even if its scary right now.

Sounds like your get stuck doing a lot of the parenting since you and your partner don't agree on consequences for your nephew.  It sounds very frustrating and a lot of pressure for you.  Please remember to take care of yourself during this difficult chapter. Hugs- 

Active scribe

Re: High school and bullying

Welcome Picklemum,


What a beautiful soul you are, my parents neglected me as a child, I lived with various family and strangers. I finally found my tribe in my teenage years as it sounds like your nephew has. Life sounds busy for you with little time to rest yourself, in a good book. It's so important to have a ritual for yourself to relax. I highly recommend a book called "The Shadow of the wind" Carlos Ruiz Zafron- be prepared to get lost in its pages.


In the afternoons one of my Dads used make afternoon tea and get me involved, he worked out when I was busy with my hands and not making eye contact due to the task at hand, I'd open up and actually speak- I now use this with my own kids either in the car, gardening or making food. I hope something like this help your nephew open up to you.


You're not alone, you're amazing taking on this boy and all of the issues that come with him. To me you are a hero just like my Dads, had they not taken me on- not sure Id be here to tell you how important you are! Jump onto the coaching program and arm yourself with support x Beemum