Hi @Poppy4105 , and welcome to the ReachOut parents community.
I think that's a really interesting question.
I know that different parents take different approaches depending on their situation, and on how much their young adult kids at home are earning themselves. More and more young adult kids are now living at home, and a lot of parents think it is absolutely reasonable for their adult children to contribute financially to the running of the household, or buy groceries, or cook meals, for example.
Is your daughter working at the moment, or studying, or a combination? It's hard to give an exact amount as that really depends on your circumstances and expenses. But I think it's a really good question, and by asking her to contribute to some expenses (or at least considering it) you can also help to teach her skills in financial literacy like budgeting and knowing how much life costs - which is an important part of becoming an adult!
I'll tag in a few parent community members here for their input too :) , @Dadof4kids , @sidneysdad , @compassion , @Faob_1
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Hi @Ellewantshelp ,
That sounds like an incredibly frustrating and heartbreaking situation for you to watch unfold, it is very hard when somebody refuses to get help. Sadly it's not uncommon for people to resist getting help.
It looks like you're in the USA, is that correct? Is the child attending school at the moment? Sometimes school counsellors, if they have one, can be a really good way for people to access different support services. Does she also display this kind of behaviour at school? I know it can be more difficult to access support services when you live rurally, but sometimes counsellors and other therapists do visits at schools. Do you think this is something that might be possible for them?
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Hi @Bungarra ,
Thanks so much for posting here - the HSC can be an absolutely massive year both for kids and for their parents, and you're definitely not alone in feeling worried, and wanting to help your child find the best strategies to help them through the year.
ReachOut have actually put together quite a lot of resources on coping with exam stress, time management, and shared stories from other young people about what's worked for them, I've linked to the main page above, and there's also a page here
which has some great, evidence based suggestions as well as apps that your son may find helpful
Like you say, breaking down big goals into smaller, achievable steps is a big part of studying successfully, and can also help us to feel less out of control overall.
It's also really important to schedule in time for enjoyable activities like seeing friends, or sport, or exercise - as you say, it isn't great if he is feeling like every spare minute has to be dedicated to school . The resources I've linked to above have lots of ideas about time management and goal setting, but if his worry is starting to affect his enjoyment of life, it could also be a good idea to look at some professional help. Do you think he would be open to having a chat with your GP to get a mental health plan, or visiting headspace? Both are affordable and accessible options for kids to find extra support and build the skills to help them to manage stress successfully.
You sound like a really wonderful parent who cares about your son's mental wellbeing, which is so important - and I'm sure with you on his side he will be able to get through the year ahead.
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Hi @Maine127 ,
I've just been catching up on this post, thanks for posting to the community here :)
I think you're probably right when you say that this is only the beginning - watching our teens starting to navigate romantic relationships is another really big shift in parenting. I just thought I'd share a few resources from our ReachOut parents page in case they're helpful to you - there's one that I really like about helping your teenager to develop healthy boundaries in romantic relationships . I think it's totally fine for you and your family to have discussions with her around your boundaries, as well as have an open chat with her around her own boundaries - the article goes into a lot of different types of boundaries, and has some really good ideas for how to start those conversations.
" Ask your teenager to think about what they are comfortable with in a romantic relationship. Not just in terms of sex, but also in terms of how independent they want to be, displays of affection, what they would want to share with a partner. Give them some examples."
There's also a fact sheet on teens and romantic relationships that I thought might be useful.
As you say, it's not great for anyone if other people are feeling uncomfortable when they're around them, it's a really common experience when hormones are flying though!
I hope that some of the materials I shared might help a bit, thanks so much for posting here and please keep us posted with how you're getting on :)
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Welcome to the Community Champions team @sidneysdad , I've changed your status over today. Thanks again for all of the fantastic support you've been giving. You'll now have access to the Parents Community Champion boards, so you can have a look around there :)
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Hey @sidneysdad ,
Just a quick note to let you know I made a small edit to your post - just in case it could be upsetting or triggering for other users.
Thank you so much for sharing your experiences, and I think your advice about seeing a psychologist under a mental health plan is a really excellent one :) I think that parenting, especially parenting young kids, can be a really stressful time in a lot of people's relationships, and working with a professional to communicate with each other through these challenges and strengthen that relationship is a really great idea.
Thanks so much again for all the amazing advice and support you give here .
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Hi @thomaswomas ,
Just catching up on this post, and I can really relate to a lot of what you're saying. I'm also the parent of a toddler, and dealing with challenging behaviours is definitely one of the most challenging parts of this (also delightful!) stage.
I'm hearing from you that you don't feel like your wife and yourself are on the same page when it comes to approaches to discipline, is that right? It's a really common experience for parents of young kids, especially if you have different family backgrounds, expectations of acceptable behaviour or parenting styles.
i have found the resources on the raising children website to be really useful for different ideas for behaviour management, and I thought I'd just share this link here in case you find it helpful , it's full of different articles and ideas on toddler behaviour and common challenges.
One thing I've found helpful is to try and discuss general boundaries and parenting decisions with my partner at a time when we're both calm, and child free -it can be really hard to have those discussions in the heat of the moment, with a screaming 2.5 year old!
I hear you say that you feel like your wife doesn't trust your parenting decisions, and you feel like her PA - that must be really painful and upsetting as a husband and dad. Do you think talking about these feelings with her could be helpful?
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Hi @Maggiecoco ,
It must be incredibly concerning as parents to see your son going through this, especially when it's been a relatively recent and sudden change. From what you've said, it sounds like he's a good kid with a lot of skills and interests - is he still playing any sports?
You mentioned that he'd had an admission to Emergency with a a Xanax overdose, I'm just wondering if he was linked in with any drug and alcohol support services when he was there? As you say, it's really difficult to convince people to seek help when they don't think they need it, or don't want to engage with counsellors, but there's a lot of support services that you can access through local area health services (I've linked an example here https://sydneynorthhealthnetwork.org.au/mentalhealthtriage/alcohol-and-other-drugs/)
It's great that he has ambitions for future training and going to TAFE, and hopefully that can be a motivating factor for him to change his behaviour - do you know anyone who's already in that line of work? I am wondering if having someone else to talk about his future interests could be helpful at all, and give him a bit of motivation to get back to school so that he can enter TAFE when he's old enough .
I can't imagine how frustrating and worrying this situation must be for you and your family- I hope that things improve for you all soon.
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Hi @Stacey1982 ,
Welcome to the ReachOut Parents community, and thanks so much for sharing your story here.
You are definitely not alone - starting a new relationship with someone when you are already a parent, and navigating the new boundaries, and how you both want to co-parent together, is a huge challenge, and represents a real shift in your relationship with your partner. You sound like a really thoughtful and caring person and a dedicated mum, and I can really relate a lot to so much that you've posted here - I was also a sole parent for many years and lived in a one parent household with my child, before meeting my new partner 4 years later.
ReachOut have a resource that I really liked about becoming a step parent that I thought I'd share here, I honestly wish I had read it when we first went through it! While it's written for the new step-parent, I think it's a great read for both people.
You say that you're worried that you've rushed into things, and I'm wondering if you're feeling like your partner is stepping into a parental role too quickly? My personal experience was that it took quite awhile for us to feel like real co-parents, both my child and myself needed it to be a fairly slow transition. What that looked like for us initially was organising activities like going to the park, the beach, and having fun activities together, and sometimes just the two of them, so they could build up a connection.
As far as discipline and house rules, while it's important to have an open discussion with your partner about boundaries and acceptable behaviour at home, it can also be confusing for kids if a new partner immediately wants to introduce a lot of new rules. So we didn't change 'house rules' immediately. However, things like not going through your partner's personal possessions may be a boundary that you both agree needs to be followed straight away.
From what you've written, it sounds like navigating boundaries is something you're finding difficult - and that is totally understandable. It's a big transition for you, your partner and your daughter.
Sometimes, families can find it helpful to chat with a professional as they navigate these transitions - Relationships Australia offer low priced counselling, do you think this is something the two of you might find helpful? There's also a free one: one parents coaching service available for all parents and carers of kids in Australia through our website here, if you think you'd like to chat through these issues some more.
I'm also just going to tag in a few of our active parents community members here, there's a lot of parents with a wealth of different experiences who may have more advice to add :) @sidneysdad @Dadof4kids @compassion @Faob_1
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Hi @CBlovesherboy ,
Welcome to the ReachOut Parents Community, and thanks so much for sharing a bit about what's going on with your son. It sounds like it's been a pretty challenging time for both you as parents, and your son. It must have been really disappointing to have your son come home high, when you thought that his friend had stopped using cannabis. I hope you don't mind, but I'm also going to tag in two of our community members @Keddie and @Maggiecoco , who have also recently posted about their teens and cannabis use.
I can hear your uncertainty about banning your child from seeing his friend, and to be honest I suspect that your instincts may be right - if this boy is your son's best friend from primary school, and you say he's one of his 2 really close mates, then I imagine that not being able to see him at all could be a really big loss for your son. And as you say, sometimes when we ban things entirely, it can make those things seem more attractive.
I'm wondering if engaging your son and this friend in a supervised activity that can't involve substance use could be a middle ground? Does your son have any interests like sports, or hiking, or gaming that he enjoys?
ReachOut Parents page also has quite a few resources that have been written in consultation with experts as well as parents who've been through it, and there's two articles in particular that I thought might be useful for you - promoting positive risk taking with teenagers, and and risk taking and teenagers . Peer pressure and risk taking with teenagers can often go hand in hand, and there's some good ideas in these articles about ways to encourage risk taking in safe environments.
You sound like a really caring parent who's been able to communicate really well about boundaries, and explained to your son the reason behind your decisions - hopefully other members of the parents community can share their perspectives and experiences too. Thanks so much for posting here - how are you coping with it all? Parenting teenagers definitely isn't for the faint hearted :)
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Hi @Maggiecoco and @Keddie ,
I'm so sorry to hear that you're both going through similar experiences with your sons and their cannabis use.
@Maggiecoco I can imagine that it must be intensely frustrating as a parent when you can see your child in trouble, but they refuse to accept help, and you can see that their behaviour is causing harm.
I'm not sure if you've seen the articles on the ReachOut parents page, but I just thought I would share this one on teenagers and risk-taking, there's also quite a few resources on drug abuse that may also be be helpful. Basically, teenager's brains are still in the process of developing, and in a way they are wired to take risks, and seek out approval from their friends rather than their parents. This can make these years really hard to navigate, especially if they're experimenting with drugs in a way that's causing harm, like your son's is.
Your local community mental health service could be a good place to start to get advice on drug and alcohol misuse, you can self-refer to those services.
You say your son doesn't see a problem, have you talked to him about the consequences of missing school, and sleeping in parks? Does he have any hobbies that he enjoys, or ambitions for any further training or work he would like to do when he leaves school?
Thanks so much for reaching out here, I hope that the community here can be a good support for you. It's great that your wife has seen a psychologist, it can take a huge toll on us as parents when our kids are having a difficult time, and it's excellent that she is seeking support. You sound like great parents.
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Hi @HoosierBoiler ,
Thanks so much for your post - I think you raise a really interesting issue here, and I hope you don't mind but I'm also just tagging in a few of our active members with teenage kids, who may be able to speak more directly to this from their personal experiences with their kids @compassion , @Dadof4kids , @JAKGR8 , @Faob_1 .
I think you are absolutely spot on, and that part of talking to our teens about respectful relationships also needs to include how to sensitively communicate to people when they think that they may not have the same level of interest as someone else, or if they want to move on from a romantic relationship.
From what you've written here, it sounds like the relationship between your teen son and his girlfriend is still in that grey area between a friendship, and a romantic relationship, is that right?
Our ReachOut Parents site has a resource that I thought you may find helpful, on helping teenagers to navigate and form respectful relationships, which I've linked to here for you. I think it's excellent that you're thinking about how to help your son build these skills, forming healthy relationships can be such a huge part of the teenage years.
Do you think his girlfriend is wanting more from the relationship than he is at the moment?
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Hi @bulldog332 ,
Thanks so much for your reply- and I'm so sorry - I should have written caring and sensitive parent, and will edit my response!!
It's good to hear that your son has found professional support helpful in the past, hopefully seeing someone else now can give him the extra support he needs and help him build up that toolkit of coping skills. Starting year 7 is a huge adjustment, especially when you don't know anyone, and hopefully having that extra support can be a really positive thing for him.
That's great that he has his music, does his high school have a band or other extra-curricular music activities that he can get involved in? Those programs can be a great place for kids to find "their tribe", and will hopefully be an excellent outlet for your son. It's great that you've been able to touch base with your son's homeroom teacher too. It sounds like you're covering all of the bases to make sure he is well supported :)
Thanks so much your message, and please keep us posted on how your son gets on.
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Hi @bulldog332 ,
Thanks so much for posting here, I hope the community here can be a helpful place for you. A lot of other parents (myself included) are parents to kids with anxiety, so you are absolutely not alone. You sound like you have a lot of empathy for your son, it is really hard to see our kids having a tough time.
You mention that he seems anxious, doesn't want to speak to other kids, and is lonely - the transition to high school can be a really challenging time, especially for kids who are prone to some social anxiety.
ReachOut have quite a few resources on helping teen kids who are struggling with anxiety, which I'm linking to here in case they are helpful for you. If the feelings that he's having have persisted for more than two weeks and are interfering with his ability to enjoy life, it might be a good idea for him to talk to a professional, do you think he would be open to this?
You mention contacting his school, and that could be another good starting point for you, as most schools should have access to a school psychologist or counsellor who can help him confidentially. I don't think it's too early to contact them, I know that schools often value parents being proactive, and if he can get some help earlier rather than later, it could help make the transition to a new school a more positive one for him.
Depending on where you are, organisations like headspace can also offer help for kids who are experiencing anxiety - the teen years are often a time when anxiety first becomes apparent, but the good news is that there are a lot of different types of help available out there. headspace offer free mental health support for youth aged 12-25.
Another option is programs like Cool Kids, which started at Macquarie Uni but is now run by other psychologists in other locations, which is a great, evidence based program which includes group programs for kids with anxiety .
I'm also wondering if there's anything outside of school that your son enjoys, like music, or sports?
You sound a caring and sensitive parent, I hope that your son starts to settle in to school soon, please keep us updated on how you are both going. I'm also tagging in a few more members of our parent community here, who may be able to offer some of their experiences @compassion , @sunflowermom , @JAKGR8 , @Dadof4kids
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Hello to all of our amazing Parents Community members!
We are currently undertaking a review of our Parents Community Guidelines, to make sure that they are relevant, user-friendly and help to make our community a safe and helpful space for parents and carers. Our current community guidelines are here
We would love to hear any feedback from our users about our guidelines - I've attached a google form here for you to give any feedback/ input into the current guidelines and what you think could be improved.
ReachOut Parents Community Guidelines Review 2020
We will be collating the responses at the end of next week, so if you could respond by Friday, February 14th that would be fantastic!
I'm just going to tag in a few of our recent active members, but anyone is welcome to give feedback. The more community input, the better! @compassion , @sidneysdad , @annoyedmumma , @Seeker , @melinee , @Faob_1 , @Dadof4kids , @Meemoo , @MrsBear74 , @mugs1170 , @JAKGR8 , @ELLEJAY1982 , @MumofTwo2020 , @WAMUM , @zoetee , @Zayray
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Hi @Seeker ,
I just wanted to check in and echo what @Taylor-RO has said - I'm so sorry to hear that things haven't worked out as you may have hoped. It sounds like you did exactly what you needed to do in terms of keeping appropriate boundaries and keeping yourself safe, I imagine it must have been a very stressful time for you. It's incredibly hard when somebody that we love behaves in a way that means that we have to detatch for our own safety. It sounds like you have been a really important person in his life, and I hope that in the longer term he is able to make the changes that he needs to make in his life.
Wishing you all the very best, it's great that you've been able to see your therapist to help you through what sounds like a really tough time.
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Hi @annoyedmumma and @sidneysdad ,
@annoyedmumma thanks for checking back in with us, it sounds like it's been a really tough journey for you. From what you've said, it sounds like you made the right decision reporting to child protection, as you say it does at least mean that there's a paper trail.
It must be very challenging to be worried about your child's safety, and I know how stressful going through famliy court proceedings can be. Are you able to find time for some self-care for yourself, or chat to a professional if you feel like it would help you?
@sidneysdad thank you for sharing your experiences, it sounds like you've ultimately been able to come up with an arrangement that works for you, your ex, and your child, which I think is a pretty amazing achievement. It can be incredibly hard to navigate joint custody situations, but it sounds like you have your child's best needs at heart, and it's great to hear from another parent who's been in a similar situation.
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Hi @melinee ,
Thanks so much for the reply, I'm glad the information was helpful for you :)
The traineeship sounds like a really positive thing for your son - hopefully it will be a great opportunity for him, and like you say, give him something positive to focus on (as well as keep him busy, which can be helpful!). Communicating over text can sometimes be a great way to broach those tricky topics with teens - it gives them a safe space to think about their responses, and can sometimes be less confrontational than speaking face to face about difficult topics. My daughter is a bit younger and has just got her first phone, and I'm actually already quite surprised by how she will sometimes open up about things over text that she doesn't necessarily want to talk about in person.
Reluctance to seek professional help is very common in teenagers - there are options like text-based services, that can be helpful for some kids who don't like to talk face to face. Or he may just not be ready to take that step yet- the fact that he's communicating with you is really positive though, and having that line of communication open with him is a really protective factor for him. Keep us posted on how you're going- I hope the traineeship goes well for him :)
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Hi @holdingpattern ,
Thanks so much for posting here, I hope that the community here can be a helpful and supportive place for you.
There's quite a few other members here who are either step-parents themselves, or are co-parenting with a step-parent. Moving into the step-parent role is definitely a huge change, and I hear your fear and uncertainty around it. I can also speak from some personal experience as well, I was a sole parent for 4 years, and then met my partner, who has now been my daughter's step-parent for nearly 7 years.
Whilst step-parenting is definitely a huge adjustment for everyone involved and can certainly come with a lot of challenges, it can also be an incredibly rewarding relationship - it sounds to me like what you've read on r/stepparents has left you feeling like there are a lot more potential negatives and pitfalls than there are positives, is that right? My impression (which may be wrong!) is that a lot of people post in that community when they are experiencing difficulties, which means that the overall impression that you can get from the community is a pretty negative one. My experience has been one that is a lot more balanced - while there has certainly been challenges along the way, it has also been a relationship that has enriched all of our lives so much.
This resource on our page has some really good advice about how to navigate becoming a step-parent
I will also tag in some other members who can speak to their own experiences .
The fact that you're reaching out here shows that you care about this relationship ,and your future relationship with your partner's son, which is a great foundation to build a respectful, caring relationship. The one piece of advice I would give is to speak openly and honestly with your partner along the way, both now, and in the future as you start to navigate things like discipline and boundaries, and the way you want to ultimately co-parent. Building a step-parent relationship is something that takes time, patience and kindness. Your relationship with his child can also look however you want it to look - there are so many different types of step-parent relationships, and your role can evolve slowly. Young kids can sometimes feel worried that a step-parent is going to want to replace their own parent, so it's important for everyone to take things slowly and keep the lines of communication open.
You say that your relationship is messy - do you think having a chat with relationship counsellor together could be something that might be helpful for you both? Sometimes it can help a lot to talk over these issues with a professional, to help you both communicate your expectations, fears, and any concerns you might have about how your lives together with his son will look. It's natural to feel anxious when a big life change is on the way - the community is also here to support you in any way we can.
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Hi @Seeker , and welcome to the ReachOut Parents community. You're definitely welcome here, it sounds like you are a pretty amazing person taking on a caring and supportive role for a pretty vulnerable young person :)
I don't know if you're aware of the Community Restorative Centre - they provide a lot of support and advocacy services for people who've been released from prison, as well as their families and friends. I've linked to a page here that has a number of specialist services linked to it, I thought some of the services listed under family and community and support and mental health services may be helpful https://www.crcnsw.org.au/get-help/getting-out-of-prison/.
It's unfortunately very common for people who've been in and out of corrective services to also have experienced mental health problems and substance abuse - a lot of the services I've listed above are specifically designed for the needs of people who've recently come out of prison, and can hopefully help them adjust to normal life and reduce the risk of re-offending.
Having conversations about mental health and substance abuse can be really tough. This resource on our parents page has some really good, practical advice about ways to talk to teenagers about mental health, especially when they may be resistant or not wanting to seek help.
Your needs and boundaries are also important, however - it sounds like you are an incredibly generous and supportive person, and I hear you when you say you feel upset, manipulated and let down. A lot of parents and carers find that talking to a professional can be really helpful for them to feel supported, there is also a free, 1:1 support service that you can access through our website for phone or online counselling.
You sound like an amazing person, who is making a real difference in this young person's life - thank you for posting here and I hope you find it helpful.
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Hi @Zayray ,
Firstly, thanks so much for coming to the ReachOut Parents community. I hope this can be a safe and helpful space for you. I hear your concern for your daughter, and it must be really challenging trying to balance your need to protect your daughter, and maintaining the trust between you. You sound like a really caring Mum - and it's excellent to hear that your daughter has already had professional help from a counsellor.
I am hearing that you are concerned for your daughter's emotional well-being when she is with her dad, especially when he has been drinking, is that right? Can I ask, do you share physical custody with her dad, or is she living with him all of the time?
I see from your post that you appear to be in the UK - I found this website, which has a lot of links to different services for children of separated and divorced parents. If you are concerned about your daughter's safety when she is with your dad, there are helplines listed there that you can contact for advice and support that is specific to where you live.
It sounds like you and your daughter have a really trusting and open relationship, which is wonderful, and I imagine it must be so hard as a mum to hear her calling you in distress. Do you think seeking some form of counselling for yourself might be helpful? Taking some time out for self-care is also really important, is there anything that you enjoy doing for yourself?
I have also tagged in some other parents who may be able to offer advice and support based on their own experiences. Ultimately, your daughter's safety is the most important thing (both physically and mentally), and we are here to support you.
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Hi @melinee ,
Thanks so much for posting, and welcome to the ReachOut community. You're definitely not alone - a lot of parents have posted about their concerns about their teens' mental health and using cannabis. I will tag in a few other parents here who may have been through similar experiences as you and your family.
I hear your concern and love for your son in your post, it must be a really helpless feeling as a parent when your teen doesn't want to engage with you like that. There's some good resources on the ReachOut parents page which I've linked to here in case you find them helpful - it includes some ideas for ways to talk to your son about drug use (cannabis is the most current illegal drug used by Australian youth, although rates of its use are falling at the moment), and ideas for how to communicate non-judgementally, to try and keep those lines of communication open.
Is your son at school, or engaged in work/ other study at the moment?
It sounds like this is really taking a toll on you, which is understandable. It can be easy to let looking after ourselves fall by the wayside when our kids are having a tough time, but it's important to remember to take care of yourself.
Sometimes, parents find it helpful to find professional counselling for themselves - there is a free and confidential free and confidential 1:1 counselling service for parents available here , which may be helpful? You sound like a really caring and supportive parent, and that is also a really protective factor for your son as he navigates these tricky teenage years
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Hi @annoyedmumma ,
Welcome to the ReachOut parents community, i hope you find it a useful space for you. You're definitely not alone in having challenges with co-parenting, it can be an incredibly stressful situation, especially if your ex is doing things that you find unacceptable.
I can hear your frustration and concern for your 8 year old, which is totally understandable, as a parent of a child who's only a little older myself, I would be incredibly frustrated and angry in that situation. I'm glad your child is OK - as you say, that is a potentially dangerous situation. I just wanted to make you aware (you may be already), that if you're ever concerned about your child's safety, you can always report to child protection in your state.
It sounds like a really tricky relationship to navigate with your ex, especially if he reacts with anger and defensiveness. I found this resource on the ReachOut parent's page to have some really helpful, practical information about ways to handle conflict with an ex when you are having to co-parent.
I am wondering if you currently have a parenting plan at all with your ex, or if you have already been through mediation? Some people find mediation (I know Relationships Australia offer this service) to be helpful in setting clear expectations and boundaries around co-parenting with an experienced mediator. If you have tried some of the techniques outlined in the article I've linked to above and they aren't working, or if you're concerned about your child's safety, then mediation can be a really useful step.
You sound like a very caring mum, and dealing with this kind of stress can really take its toll on us as well - are you able to make some time for self-care, or even speak to a counsellor if you think you need to for some extra support?
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@Swanee I don't know what it's like these days but I do know a few people who have ended up getting married to people that they met on RSVP - I've been to a few weddings of people who met online (though I'm sure there's a range of outcomes!!). I hadn't heard of the other one linked myself.
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Hi @jbrowne ,
I really related a lot to your post - I am also a parent of a child who can be quite anxious at times. It can be hard as a parent knowing what is just someone's personality and temperament, and not wanting to push them into being someone they are not, and knowing when to intervene.
One piece of advice I was once given was that if things are affecting their everyday life, or interfering with their ability to do the things that they want to do, then it could be time to get things checked out.
Some kids may just be naturally more solitary, or kids may be wanting to play with other kids but feeling really anxious about it - you say that he has a beautiful, caring nature - those are wonderful things, and he sounds like a lovely kid.
In our case, professional help has been really valuable in helping our child to build a toolkit to help them with some social anxiety and general anxiety that a professional assessment picked up. There is so much more awareness these days around anxiety in kids, and programs like "Cool Kids" can be really helpful
Do you think that is something you'd be comfortable to look into?
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What a fabulous resource @bloomer , thank you so much for sharing that. I love the idea of watching some of these movies with a teen who's having a tough time, do you find this is something that has worked for you? Do you have any favourites that you can recommend?
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Hi @Emzopima-4 ,
Thanks so much for your post. I've copied it into the google form so that your question will reach our Ask A Professional night, and we will tag you when the response it up. It can sometimes be a bit of a wait depending on how many other questions are waiting, so I'm also moving this post to it's own thread on the forums, so that you can get more advice and support from our parents community. I hope that's OK :)
I can really hear the weight of responsibility in your words, and I feel for you - I am also a working mum with two kids, and it can definitely be a challenging juggle at times! I think it's something that a lot of parents struggle with, and I'm really glad you've come here for support.
One thing I find really helpful is remembering to ask for help when I need it, and remind myself that I am not superwoman! It can be really easy for us to put ourselves last when there' s so many other responsibilities - but I find I'm a much better parent when I'm able to take some time to look after myself. Things I find helpful are getting exercise and listening to podcasts, having time to myself (even if it's just a hot cup of tea on the deck before the rest of the family is awake), and making sure I book in time to spend with my friends.
Sometimes, it can be helpful to speak to a professional to help learn ways to manage our stress - do you think this is something that could be helpful for you?
There is a free service available for 1-1 support if you think that it would be helpful to talk these issues through https://parents.au.reachout.com/one-on-one-support
Thinking of you - thanks so much for reaching out here.
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Hi @1garden ,
Welcome to the RO forums! I hope you'll find it a useful and supportive community.
I'm just going to tag in some of our active parent community members here, because I know quite a few people have a lot of knowledge about support services available in Australia, and a lot of wisdom that they can share! @PapaBill , @Dad4good , @JAKGR8 , @Faob_1
Hopefully I can be helpful too - I also have a child who's a similar age who's recently been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. You sound like a really proactive parent, and it's fantastic to hear that your son has had so much professional support.
Do you know what school your son will be attending in Sydney? Most state schools should have access to a school counsellor or psychologist who may be at the school part time or full time, depending on the size of the school. Your school principal should be able to let you know, and should be able to work with you to formulate a support plan that indicates how best to support your child at school. Depending on the size of the school and needs of the individual student body, some schools also employ learning support assistants, who work in partnership with the classroom teacher to support kids who may need some extra support.
Your local Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) are a good first point of contact in the public system to access support for your son, the link is here https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/mentalhealth/Pages/camhs.aspx.
Most community health services employ clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, OTs and Speech Pathologists who work in multidisciplinary teams, you can self-refer to these services but waiting times can be long, depending on how severe your needs are. My understanding is if you're from NZ you do have access to these services- but that's something you should be able to confirm with them pretty easily.
The Cool Kids program may also be of interest, they run programs specifically for kids with social anxiety and generalised anxiety.
I hope this is helpful - how are you feeling about the move?
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Hi @c_east ,
We are really glad you have found this forum, and hope that you find this a safe space to talk through your feelings and concerns.
As a parent, it can be really challenging when our kids are going through changes that we may be taken aback by, and I can imagine hearing that your child tell you that they think they are transgender could come as a really big shock to you. You say that you are highly against letting children transition, especially her; I thought it might be helpful for you to see some other posts that parents have made on our forums about children who are going through the process of questioning their gender identity. You are not alone in your feelings of uncertainty. One post that i thought was really helpful was this thread I'm linking to here -
" My step-daughter has told me and her dad (my fiance) that she feels more like a boy. My partner is scared of loosing his little girl. How do I support them from here?"
If you have the time, I'd really encourage you to have a read through the thread - there's a lot of parents who have been through similar things.
One other parent, @provincetown , is the parent of a child who did end up transitioning, and made this comment, " As a parent of a transgender 20-something, it's important for your partner to recognize that he doesn't have little girl. He never did. There may be a place for some grief, which isn't shared with your trans son, but there is a strong need to accept and support them. Unfortunately, society is against them and they need their parents in their corner to make it all work.
To keep the door open, let your son lead the way. Ask for the ways that you can support him. Tell them that you are probably going to make mistakes. Be curious about the trans world, and learn about the kinds of joys and challenges trans people face.
Is your son visibly transitioning yet? Go clothes shopping. Celebrate their strength to truly know themselves."
For some kids, questioning their gender identity may be something that passes, for some, they may decide that they do identify as transgender - this does not necessarily mean that they will decide to medically transition (e.g. through surgery or hormone replacement), some people find social transition to be enough to relieve their feelings of dysphoria. I hear that you're at your wits end, and it's normal to feel some feelings of grief and confusion. I think it's really positive that you have reached out here, and if you are able to listen as openly and non-judgmentally as possible to your child, you may be able to find out more about their feelings around transitioning. There's some really good resources available online for parents of children who may be questioning their gender identity too, as well as gender clinics where you can both speak to professionals about these feelings .I noticed from your IP that you appear to be in Canada, here are some support services that are available for you and your family Please let us know how you go, it showed a lot of courage being willing to open up about this here and I hope the community can support you.
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Hi @zoetee ,
Thanks so much for reaching out to the parent community here - we are really glad that you have found us, and hope that you find this space helpful. I can imagine that it must be incredibly distressing for you to see your son self-harming. The fact that he isn't hiding it from you, and is still open to talking to you about his passions, is really positive - it sounds like you're doing an amazing job at keeping calm, and holding space for him, while still offering him help. That can be such a difficult thing to do, and it sounds like you are doing a wonderful job keeping home a safe, calm space for him. The fact that you're assisting him to take care of himself physically with bandaids and antiseptic is also excellent. You sound like a caring and engaged parent, and that is a really protective factor for your son.
Self-harm in teenagers is not uncommon, and we have a lot of different resources on our website that you may find helpful here https://parents.au.reachout.com/common-concerns/mental-health/self-harm-and-teenagers.
They range from reasons why teens may be self-harming, to self-help strategies to try with them, to suggestions for professional help.
You mention that he didn't have a good experience with a psychologist when he was younger, it can take time to find the right mental health professional and build a trusting relationship with them, and I'm sorry that his first experience wasn't great. Do you think he may be open to trying to see someone else?
It also could be helpful for you to see a mental health professional to help you with further strategies to help your son. ParentLine
is another free resource for parents where you can talk things over with a counsellor.
Thank you for reaching out here, and I hope the parent community can give you some further advice and support. You're not alone, and we are here to support you while you support your son.
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