How Can I Help My Child When Her Friends Tell Her About Issues?

cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Reply
Casual scribe

How Can I Help My Child When Her Friends Tell Her About Issues?

My 12, nearly 13 year old daughter recently went to her teachers about a friend who was repeatedly self-harming due to stress.  We were so proud she stepped up and asked for help - at the risk of potentially loosing her friends.  She was incredibly upset by the situation - the thought of her friend hurting herself hurt my daughter too.  Now another friend has texted her saying she wants to kill herself and has it all planned because she received a C on her last assessment.  I believe it was sent as an attention thing and our daughter says now everything is fine.  My question is how on earth can I support my daughter to deal with these kinds of things?  Are they just words or something more serious?  Should she go to the teacher for every text?  She was very upset by it all and I'm at a loss at how she can respond other than what she did - said I love you, don't do that, we can go talk to someone together.  How do we build the resilience of these little people to deal with such major issues.  Has anyone else experienced a similar situation?

Mod

Re: How Can I Help My Child When Her Friends Tell Her About Issues?

Hey @MBParent welcome to RO Parents. I am so very glad you've raised this I think this is a conversation we need to all start having. Suicidal Ideation is on the rise amongst adolescent's, some institutes stating it has doubled in the last decade, but of course much of the research is still underway.


I think it's important to equip her with a self-care routine, as well as link her in with appropriate resources. For example Suicide Callback Service and Kids Helpline can actually help to support people affected by suicidal ideation and self-harm, and counsel these individuals on how to manage and strategise loved ones who come to them during a cry for help. Both these services are free and could potentially help your Daughter, and even help give you some advice around supporting your Daughter. It sounds like you're a very loving and caring parent which is incredible, it means she knows she has a support system to turn to at home.

 

What are some activities that tend to really help your Daughter relax? Things she enjoys? Wondering if she can turn to these as self-care strategies after supporting her friends. Keen to hear what the rest of the community thinks - 

 

@Sister @taokat @Schooner @sunflowermom

Highlighted
Prolific scribe

Re: How Can I Help My Child When Her Friends Tell Her About Issues?

Hi @MBParent,

 

You and your daughter seem very caring. The fact that you have asked for assistance in this forum and your daughters' concern over her friends is commendable.

 

It seems as though a lot is going on with several of your daughters friends and I would be inclined to speak with a head teacher (if at high school) about the messages your daughter has been receiving.

 

Perhaps there is a counsellor who could talk with these students or possibly the principal could organise for a mental health worker to talk with the class as a whole?

 

Your daughter is probably concerned about the confidentiality of her friends information, however as safety in these situations is number one, either the parents of the students and/or the teachers need to be made aware of the content of the communication. The main thing to ask is "would I want to know if my own teenager was self-harming or suicidal?"

Prolific scribe

Re: How Can I Help My Child When Her Friends Tell Her About Issues?

@MBParent,

 

PS. I also agree with @Breez-RO, that self-care for your daughter is important.

 

Importantly, I would praise your daughter for doing the correct thing (by telling you) and you staying calm will help your daughter to not focus on the situation too much.

 

If you have any concerns, the school counsellor could help support your daughter by just listening and providing your daughter with reassurance that there are adults who can now deal with the situation.

 

Its a lot for a 12 year old to take on alone.

Mod

Re: How Can I Help My Child When Her Friends Tell Her About Issues?

Also @MBParent I forgot to mention earlier (apologies) I edited your initial post to remove method of self-harm, just changed the wording slightly. You can read further about why we do this in the community guidelines Smiley Happy 

Parent Peer Supporter

Re: How Can I Help My Child When Her Friends Tell Her About Issues?

Hi @MBParent, welcome to the forum and thank you for sharing your situation, as I agree with @Breez-RO that this is an important conversation that we should be having more. 

 

Your daughter is obviously a very caring and empathetic girl which is just lovely, but it's a lot for her to have on her young shoulders. I'm so glad that she's come to you and isn't trying to cope on her own. 

 

This is topic we've been on both sides of - my daughter's sent those texts, but also received them. I had the principal of another school contact me concerned as her best friend had gone to them with a couple of texts. I'll admit I found it confronting initially, I think because it was something I had no idea about. Ultimately I was grateful though, as I could then address the issue and give my daughter other avenues for support. 

 

My daughter is older now and she and her friends talk quite openly with each other but my daughter has found that often her friend will say to her that she is sorry but she's unable to deal with my daughter's stuff, which has upset my daughter as she's always there for her friend. I totally get that, however I have explained to my daughter that her friend is actually taking care of her own mental health, and sometimes we need to do that when we are struggling ourselves. There are times when it's best for us to reach out to professional services as they have the knowledge to help us help ourselves. She comes to me when she's feeling overwhelmed with her friend's problems and I'm trying to teach her, as is her counsellor, that it's ok for us to put ourselves first and say when we are unable to be the support. In the meantime, I'm always here for her to unload on and throw around ideas on how to help or how to manage, which is where her own self-care comes into play.

 

I think self-care plays a big part in building resilience, but really keen to hear others thoughts as well.

Prolific scribe

Re: How Can I Help My Child When Her Friends Tell Her About Issues?

 Hi @MBParent

Your daughter sounds amazing and sweet.  Its sounds like her friends turn to her for answers and support but that's a lot to put on her.  I agree with @taokat if her best friend didn't say something to her Mother 6 months ago about my daughter I would have never know about the self harm.  I am forever grateful for her bravery even with the fear of my daughter getting mad. But also, with what my daughter has gone through, she sometimes has friends reach out to her with their own suicidal ideations.  Its too much for her to try and handle with her own stuff but she really wants to support them. I wonder if your daughter has the number handy for suicide prevention that she could give them.  Actually this site probably has some great ideas for your daughter to steer her friends in the direction to get some help. Sounds like your daughter is a good friend and her friends must really love and respect her to reach out to her.  Just keep talking to her about how it makes her feel and make sure it doesn't effect her own mental health.

Casual scribe

Re: How Can I Help My Child When Her Friends Tell Her About Issues?

Thank you to all of you for your amazing words of support.  It was so fantastic to log in and read all this.  So nice to know we're not out here alone!  Your advice and support have done wonders for my heart.  Growing up in this era seems so much more difficult than when I was a teenager.  Issues I'd never of dreamed of seem to be commonplace these days - no wonder so many of us feel like we are frantically swimming upstream just trying to keep our heads up.  

 

Thank you for updating the post - apologies for including information not allowed. 

 

A bit of an update. Our daughter has an amazing school where she feels comfortable and nurtured.  There are many adults there she can turn to and, upon further discussion discovered she has spoken to one of these about the texts as well.  In fact, the reason I'm on this forum is because this wonderful teacher reached out to me and provided the link to the site.  We are also having a meeting when school resumes to discuss in person. 

 

In the meantime we have focused on congratulating her for standing up and looking out for her friends.  We have also used some of the advice around different strategies for both managing in the event something happens again, and ways to hopefully stop the behaviour.  Showing kindness, fun, empowering behaviours to build each other up and develop confidence.

 

Once again, thank you all so very much.  It's great not to feel so alone.

Casual scribe

Re: How Can I Help My Child When Her Friends Tell Her About Issues?

Thank you for that. I've re-read the guidelines so won't make the same error again. Appreciate it!
Prolific scribe

Re: How Can I Help My Child When Her Friends Tell Her About Issues?

Hi @MBParent,

 

That is a wonderful outcome for you and your daughter. Also her friends.

 

What a blessing for your daughter to attend such a caring school. What a difference also to have an interested teacher who reached out to yourself.

 

Congratulations for being such a special mum. Your daughter is very fortunate.