03-30-2019 07:58 AM - last edited 3 weeks ago by Janine-RO
My daughter is 14, for the past 3 years , since moving house, her going up to high school and her older brother going to uni she hasn’t wanted to be left in the house on her own.
she is now seeing a counsellor but we don’t seem to be making much progress. I can leave her on her own for approx 20-30 mins but have to phone regularly and can only do it when I have given her at least 24 hours notice.
i am finding it increasingly frustrating and feel trapped. I go from being supportive to telling her to sort it out. I just don’t know where to turn and would really appreciate some advice.
03-30-2019 02:46 PM
Hi @Debsy7680 ,
Firstly I'd like to warmly welcome you to the community, asking for help can always be difficult, and so you're very brave to have made the step forward to get support.
The situation you've described about your daughter's separation anxiety sounds incredibly difficult, it's completely understandable that you are feeling trapped and frustrated. It's important to remember that therapy is often a very slow process and it can take some time before we see any results. In the same way that it can take a long time to break any bad habit (like smoking or eating unhealthy food), therapy works to help minimize or undo any bad habits that have formed around our mental health.
It might help to ask your daughter's therapist about trying exposure therapy. It's a technique often used for specific phobias, where a person is gradually introduced to the thing they're frightened of in small, safe, increments. It could help to see if you could try an extend the amount of time that you're away from your daughter bit by bit, and doing this with the guidance and support of a therapist is something that could be very helpful.
I also strongly recommend do some things to help benefit your own mental health. Talking to someone about these issues regularly, or engaging in your own self care might really help your own mental health, and reduce some of the stress and frustrations you might be experiencing.
Hopefully you found this helpful!
03-30-2019 07:29 PM - last edited on 03-30-2019 07:51 PM by TOM-RO
Thank you Andrea , I will ask her counsellor about the exposure therapy next time I see her.
I feel controlled by her and trapped so know what you mean about looking after my own well being.
I talk to friends and family often but thought maybe on here I might find someone in a similar position to talk to
Thanks for your help
03-30-2019 08:03 PM - edited 03-30-2019 08:03 PM
Just letting you know that I edited your post to remove your first and last name as it breached our guidelines (which can be read here) which ask all users to remain anonymous & not post any information that could lead others to identify you. I can see you're a new user which explains why you might not be aware of the guidelines, so feel free to have a read when you have some spare time.
You mentioned you wanted to see if any other parents have any advice for you, so I've tagged some of our lovely users for their awesome input and support! Hopefully they can help.
03-31-2019 02:09 AM
03-31-2019 09:28 AM - edited 03-31-2019 09:29 AM
Thank you for that support and advice @mrskode. That is really insightful and helpful. I imagine it must have been a really difficult time for yourself and your family. Your son is very lucky to have such a persistent, caring and patient parent
03-31-2019 10:29 AM
03-31-2019 10:31 AM
03-31-2019 11:12 AM
Oh @Debsy7680 I hear your trouble! We just want it to be over and they are living day to day. Big hugs.
I still have to give my 19 plenty of notice about big changes in our routine. Guess what? He is now living 1800km away on Uni campus (wouldn't cope with independent living yet) and loving it. I still get 1am phone calls about exam time but everyday is better. When I think back to what he was like as a toddler to where we are now we should be calling ourselves miracle workers. Having said that, at the time, at the worst times, we couldn't see an end and if someone had told us how long it would take we would never have made it this far. My message? Every day is a little better or different. Sometimes the goal posts move. They can move back. And it doesn't last forever.
Another thing to consider is that girls are 'copers'. They manage to get through childhood because they have higher emotional intelligence than many boys. So it might be worthwhile having a full medical check. Hearing, vision, psychological. What are they looking for? Auditory or other processing disorders, executive functioning skills, giftedness, allergies/intolerances, higher functioning autism. Our eldest was informally diagnosed as high functioning autistic and gifted. We didn't share that with others unless it impacted his day. As I have experience with similar behaviours we didn't need to get him coaching etc and he was very high functioning. He actually turned to me the other day and said he could have Aspergers and his sisters basically laughed and said duh! Where have you been? How does this apply to your daughter? Girls are often diagnosed in their teens with autism or similar and anxiety is one of the bigger signs. Now I am not saying your daughter has autism just that there are other reasons for mental health to take a nose dive. It can't hurt to consider and look into it.
Also if the counsellor isn't making much progress maybe she could change to another one. Is there one close? Maybe online. We have had great results with EMDR.
If you can't get away to look after yourself take can you take her with you? Talk about why you need to go for a walk, gym, shopping, book club, coffee. She can sit in the corner and read, or take part, especially the walks. One day you might hear, "Do I have to come?" It is the certainty of where you are and that you definitely coming back that gets reinforced this way. Has she lost connection with someone recently?
Giving her fewer choices while at home can also help. In a reverse psychology sort of way. She can only watch TV shows you like, listen to music/podcasts/radio you prefer, use certain websites, do extra chores around the house, reduced access to social media etc. This can have two outcomes - it can help reduce anxiety as she doesn't have to make these choices or she can start to say this sucks and get out more. Not my first recommendation but it might work for you.
You could verbalise your thinking about things so that she can hear how you work through your own struggles. Man did I get a reaction when I sat down at the table for breakfast and went through all my thinking for the day and that I didn't want to go to work! There, there Mum don't catastrophise, you'll get through it. Now get ready. That came back to haunt them But seriously, it helps to know they aren't the only one and it means she might share more with you.
You have found a great forum for support and ideas. Some days I just visit to know that my day isn't as bad as I thought it was. Take care and good luck.
03-31-2019 07:14 PM