07-26-2016 04:27 PM - edited 08-16-2016 12:52 PM
Just wanted to check in with all of you - and in particular a few parents from the intro thread who seem like they might have some wise words on how they have supported their teens so far...
07-26-2016 07:14 PM
ooooo, now this is a good topic.
our daughter is 15.5 (emotional age somewhere between 3-21 depending upon the situation that day, ha!) and our son is only 11.5. we havent yet had to deal with anything too catastrophic so not sure how good any tips i have are.
i guess for me (and i dont manage to do this often but i do work on it) the best tip has been about me maintaining my equilibrium & not buying into the drama/angst of the teen. i try not to get wound up or let it trigger me, as i said easier said than done sometimes.
that is not to say i dont show empathy (and plenty of it, validation is soooo important, no belittling or trying to smooth things over, no solutions immediately offered) but i believe we all need whomever we are talking to about things that are important to us to 'hear' us and to 'be' or 'sit' in that space with us. this helps to calm both of us down and then we can re-connect and get to the heart of the matter.
sometimes this doesnt happen immediately, but after some time apart acalmly bringing up the issue again can work.
am not sure i have articulated this very well.
as i said this is more about day to day stuff not the really big stuff. it must be really hard to go through long term issues and maintain your emotional and physical health, not to mention supporting a teen who is doing it tough. honestly i think parents that can maintain a connection with their teen during these times are amazing and i admire you so much
i would love to hear from those that have negotiated this longer term tougher terrain!
07-26-2016 08:21 PM
07-27-2016 11:04 PM
The internet - Dr Google - is both a blessing and a curse. If my son asks for advice, I offer it if I have experience in that area. Otherwise I might say let's ask the GP or the school counsellor.
There's just the two of us. When my son was around 8 and I started working in the city, he developed severe separation anxiety. I'd drop him at a neighbour's place who had a son in the same class at 8am and he went to OOSH after-school care. Quite often I would be held up at work or delayed in transit and find him nervously sitting with his bag at the centre, the last kid to be picked up. He started asking me things like "Mum if you die, how will I know how to pay the gas bill?" Also my mother stressed the importance of explaining that sometimes I would be a bit late - whereas I just said "i'll be there at 5". So when 5.15 came and I wasn't there, my son literally thought I might be dead.
One morning we were running late, I saw the bus coming and asked him to run up the the neighbour's house while I ran for the bus. Ten minutes into the journey I got a call from our corner shop saying Josh had come there because he couldn't get the neighbour to answer. Got off the bus and hailed a taxi home.
Mother's guilt out the wazoo. Comflicted because (a) angry at other mother (b) proud of son's common-sense problem-solving despite his fear and (c) angry at self leaving an 8-y-o alone instead of ensuring he was safe.
I asked his school if they could help us and they recommended CAFE (Child and Family East) part of the South-Eastern Health Service. The strategies they gave us were a huge help. Also my mother stressed the importance of explaining that sometimes I would be a bit late - whereas I just said "i'll be there at 5".
The simplest fix was getting him a mobile phone. I know! I thought it was outrageous and pretentious for an 8-y-o to have a phone too! But the difference it made to him, knowing he could send a text and I'd reply was HUGE.
I also became a crusader (with a cape!) for family friendly work hours. My neighbour? Sadly it evolved that she had schizophrenia so I became a sometime surrogate to her son as well and helped find local mental health services to support his mum.
07-28-2016 07:48 PM
Good job! @Mitzi for sharing your experiences. Yes, I do think the school can be a good resource for help when the children are younger. But when they are in high school, is it still ok for parents to seek help from school? do we have to do it secretly? Some children might not want their friends to know that they have problems.
08-01-2016 03:32 PM
08-02-2016 05:59 AM
Well ,I will admit it was not easy .My first instinct was to yell or judge her choices and react ,but then I remembered how my parents done that and never listened.All I ever wanted was them to listen to me ,So I would try to reserve my judgemental face and my razor sharp comments and listen to her .It was never easy but it made a difference in that moment.