Hi @Birdwings ,
Thank you so much for your compassionate response- I have to say I kind of love the idea of you and @JamOnToast sharing a coffee at sailing! Maybe this can serve as a bit of a virtual equivalent..
The late teens/ transition between high school and whatever comes after that can be a really tricky time for young people and their young people, and I think you are so spot on when you say it can be so hard for young people when some of their peers seem to be sailing through all of those milestones (knowing exactly what they want to study at uni, getting their driving license, moving out, travelling), while they're still not quite sure what the future holds for them. We definitely hear this a lot on our youth forums (we have a youth forum for 14-25 year olds) - 2020 in particular was such a rocky and uncertain year, and I think that a lot of young people can experience anxiety about finding their purpose in life/ finding work/ what to study/ what adult life holds for them.
@JamOnToast I'm sorry to hear about your son's accident, that does sound pretty nasty and I can understand if his confidence has taken a bit of a knock, especially with the setback of failing his sailing exam. It sounds like it might be all about encouraging those baby steps for now, as frustrating as that may feel at times. Hiding away from the world can become a bit of a viscious cycle, but making small changes can hopefully have an incremental positive effect and help him to break out of the cycle of avoidance.
I also love the idea of talking via text- another strategy that has sometimes helped me when I'm having curlier conversations with my daughter has been talking while driving/ bushwalking etc - there's something about having something else to focus on and not being directly face to face that seems to help.
It sounds like you are doing an amazing job and supporting and encouraging your son, I hope that things start to turn around for you all soon.
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Hi @JamOnToast ,
It can be so hard for parents when we can see that our young people are struggling, but they don't want help, or aren't ready to talk to a professional for whatever reason. I'm wondering if your son has always been more on the introverted side, or if you think he's become more withdrawn lately?
Does your son have any other hobbies that he enjoys, that may be an area where he could do some volunteer work or join a community organisation? Do you think he has any ideas of what kind of work he would enjoy doing?
It sounds like you're encouraging, loving, and supportive parents, which is hugely important- being able to keep the lines of communication open with your son is fantastic. This article has some good strategies that may be helpful as well- I can imagine it would be a pretty helpless feeling seeing your son not doing so well, but not being able to take steps to improve things, but continuing to be patient and offering your love and support is one of the most important things that you can do.
If you think your son may be more open to chatting with a mental health professional online, it may also be worth letting him know about eHeadspace and Kids Helpline online services (despite the name, they offer support to young people aged until 25)- sometimes that can seem less confronting than talking to someone in person.
We recently had another parent sharing a somewhat similar experience, and I thought it may be helpful to read the advice from our resident psychologist Linda here.
I'm also going to tag in some other parents who may be able to share what's worked for them - @Birdwings @LIALIA @Dadof4kids - you are definitely not alone.
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Hi @D-Rock ,
You sound like such a switched on and loving dad, and I can hear how much you want to be a great dad and partner- parenting small kids is exhausting, and I can completely understand why you'd be feeling drained (I also have a very early waking small child and I feel you on the exhaustion there!). Finding the right balance between looking after ourselves and being a present and loving parent can be so hard, but it's also really important to look after yourself.
Our service is mainly for parents of kids aged 12-18 but I did find some support services for dads that look like they could be helpful:
Dads Group is all about connecting Aussie dads, they run in person and online groups for Dads to catch up with their kids
This page has a list of different support services for dads across Australia
Mensline is another great, free service that offers support and counselling as well as heaps of information on different services around for men
I hope some of this helps, I hope that some other dads in the community will also jump in. I can hear how much you want to do better than other people in your life who don't make time for their families, and I think that is huge- and something that will mean so much to your family in the years to come. But it's also OK to take time for yourself, and the things that make you happy.
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Hi @Exhaustedmom17 ,
That sounds like such a tough situation for you to be navigating- I'm hearing that you and your husband have really different approaches to parenting as well as different family backgrounds, and it sounds really difficult when you have different ideas about what's appropriate in terms of discipline, sleeping arrangements and also quite different parenting styles. It also sounds like it's been pretty difficult for you and your husband to discuss these issues, which I imagine would be very frustrating for you.
Unfortunately our service is aimed at parents of young people aged 12-18 and we are based in Australia, so I don't have a lot of knowledge about support services available where you are. It's great to hear that you're on some waiting lists to get some professional support, I'm sorry that things are so hard to access at the moment. It sounds like you're doing all of the right things in terms of looking for a professional to help you work through these issues - here's a few other resources that may also be helpful for you/ helpful for you to share with your husband
The Raising Children's Network has some great, evidence based content on parenting young kids, and i thought these resources may be helpful:
Preschoolers: Behaviour Management Tips and Tools
Preschoolers and healthy screen time
Preschoolers: Family relationships
This program may also be helpful - it's a positive parenting skills program that is run across the USA by the American Psychological Association
Wishing you and your family all the best- it sounds like you are a switched on and loving mom who wants the best for her child and family, and I hope that things start to improve for you all soon.
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Hi @Rachel12345 ,
I'm so sorry to hear that you and your son have been going through such a hard time recently, I can imagine that it would have been incredibly distressing for both of you to find out that your husband had attempted to take his life.
I hope you don't mind, but I just thought I would list a few other support services in NSW that may be able to help you and your son find the right support- apologies in advance if you're already aware of any of these:
Family Connect and Support can help to connect you to a range of services and supports in your local area, including helping to co-ordinate services, and they can also refer on for more complex needs. The link I've attached here has an option for you to enter where you live, so you can find your local provider.
Mental Health Line can be contacted on 1800 011 511 for advice, assessment and referral- it is staffed 24/7 by qualified professionals, and can refer on to the most appropriate services under the Child and Adolescent Mental Health teams in your area. They have multidisciplinary teams of psychiatrists, psychologist, allied health professionals, counsellors and mental health nurses.
One program it might be worth asking about is the Whole Family Team
Whole Family Teams
Families with complex needs often risk falling through service gaps, often missing out on services due to access and support issues. The Whole Family Team helps to prevent vulnerable families from falling through service gaps, helping them with complex mental health and with problematic alcohol and other drug use that impact the safety of their children.
Your Service Hub (family drug and alcohol support services) : this government site lets you search for support services for families affected by alcohol misuse..
I'm also wondering if the hospital where your husband has been admitted has referred you and your family on to their social work team at all? They may also be able to help in finding some good support services for your son and your family.
Do you have any family or friends helping to support you at the moment? It sounds like an incredible stressful and difficult situation for you, we are here to listen.
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Hi @OhGosh ,
I have to say my 11 year old has also sometimes expressed that they preferred online learning in some ways - they really liked being able to work at their own pace, not being distracted by "annoying kids" (as they put it!) and having that freedom to plan their own time. It's definitely a been a big adjustment going back to in person learning so I can really feel for your daughter. It sounds like the school are really willing to work with you and the model of half online learning/ half in person sounds like it could be a good fit for your daughter - it's really good to hear that they're willing to be flexible, and work with you all to find the best outcome for your daughter. I hope the school counsellors are helpful as well.
If you/ your daughter's supports think that anxiety about school may be part of the puzzle here (just thinking about the upset tummy etc), Cool Kids Online is a fantastic program that's free of charge - it's an evidence based program run by Macquarie Uni and can help a lot to give kids strategies to help with their anxiety.
It sounds like you definitely made some progress with the school which is great, I hear that it's all taking a toll on you and your other kids, that can be so tough. Do you think you can do something nice together on the weekend? It can be really hard on the whole family when someone we love is struggling
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That sounds like such a tricky situation - weed is the most common drug that young people experiment after alcohol, so you're definitely not alone. We do have some good resources on our parents page about cannabis, its effects on the developing brain and ideas for how to approach those conversations with young people here, interestingly the academics that ReachOut talked to for this piece found that talking about brain development was one thing that really resonated with older teens like your son. We also have an article here about talking about drug use more generally - it can also be helpful to know why your son is smoking. Is it for enjoyment, to cope with other stuff going on, or a mixture of reasons?
I also really like @PapaBill 's advice above about involving your son in discussions around boundaries, and consequences for when they do get broken.
Do you think your son's anger and shutting himself away are a sign of a bigger issue for him at the moment? If you think he would be open to chatting to someone about what's going on for him, Headspace centres and eHeadspace can be a great place to start.
Keep us posted with how you're getting on :)
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Hi @hairbyme ,
The teen years are a pretty common time for young people to start exploring romantic relationships, and I think that a lot of parents find that quite a confronting and nerve wracking time! Parents are often concerned about several different aspects of relationships, is it the prospect of your son getting involved in a sexual relationship that worries you? Or is it navigating other aspects of relationships?
Does your son have anyone in particular that he's interested in, or is it more about him being interested in having a girlfriend in general?
Is your son active in the deaf community? We are based in Australia so I don't have in depth knowledge of services in the UK but did come across this resource for deaf young people that looked pretty interesting, it has a lot of opportunities for young people to connect here
We have a few resources on our Parents page that may be helpful in terms of talking to him about relationships and helping him to build skills to form respectful romantic relationships.
You know your son best - it's great that he's open to talking to you about what's happening for him, and I'd really encourage you to build on that and maybe have some discussions around relationships - I would imagine that at 16 it may become difficult to stop him from having a girlfriend, so could be good to help him build those skills in having a healthy and respectful relationship, as well as having conversations around sex and consent if you think he's considering becoming sexually active .
Wishing you all the best- please feel free to keep us posted on how you're getting on
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Hi @wantbalance ,
That sounds like a really tricky situation, and I can understand why you'd be pretty frustrated. Being a single parent can be really tough, especiallyif you're not getting a whole lot of time to yourself to get out and meet other people. Do you have any family, or friends with kids who are a similar age who might be interested in having your kids over for an occasional sleepover?
I'm hearing how frustrating it must be for you not having a lot of time for yourself, as well as having to do the brunt of the shuttling kids around/ feeding extra kids. Are there any activities that you could do on the nights that you don't have kids that are something just for you? Do you have any hobbies that you enjoy?
It looks like you're in the USA, is that right? Unfortunately we're based in Australia so I don't have a whole lot of knowledge about how co-parenting mediation works there, but the other thing I'm wondering is whether or not it could be worth revisiting the custody arrangements with your ex husband- it sounds like a really tricky situation for you.
I'm also just moving this post to our single parenting board so you may get some more support from other parents who've been through similar things.
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Hi @OhGosh ,
I'm really sorry to hear that your daughter is going through this, we hear about school refusal quite a lot on our forums, and it' s such a tricky thing for both parents and their young people to navigate. It sounds like you're doing all of the right things by being proactive and getting an appointment to see a psychologist, as well as making an appointment to talk to the school, which is really wonderful. I'm sure it will mean a lot to your daughter knowing that you are there to support her and advocate for her needs, and hopefully the school will be able to help to support her in transitioning back to school.
While you're waiting for your appointment with the psychologist, there's also some free online services available if you think she'd be open to having a chat to a counsellor or psychologist about what's been happening for her Kids Helpline and eHeadspace are both great places to try, you can speak to counsellors either online or over the phone.
Has your daughter been able to talk about what is happening for her at school at the moment ? You mention she's 12, has she recently started high school, or is this her last year in primary school? These transitional times can be especially tough for young people, I have an 11 year old who's experienced some social anxiety, and we definitely found seeing a psychologist really helpful in helping her to build her toolkit in managing those feelings . The disruptions and uncertainty around covid last year have been an additional challenge for a lot of young people. Apologies if you've already seen this, but we have an article for parents on ways to help their kids manage school refusal which might be helpful, you can check that out here.
We also have another thread where some other parents have been sharing similar issues that might be useful for you here- it can be so helpful to hear from people who are travelling the same path.
It sounds like mornings are especially rough for your daughter, how does she go as the day goes on? Is starting school a bit later on rough days an option for her in the short term?
If you think it would be useful for you to get some more individual support and advice, we also offer a One to One Parents Support service, which you can check out here., there is currently a pretty high demand for this service but you're very welcome to register if you think that might be helpful.
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Hi @Jiindah1 ,
I just wanted to touch base and see how you're doing today - I can imagine this would feel really disrespectful and inappropriate as a parent, I think that I would also be feeling pretty appalled that other parents felt it was appropriate to give my child money without discussing this with the young person's parents. It's pretty shocking, and I can imagine you would feel incredibly disrespected by that- and I'm so sorry that you've experienced that. It's not respecting your boundaries as a parent, and that's really not OK.
Do you think you'd feel comfortable approaching this family and letting them know how this makes you feel, and the impact it's having on your relationship with your son?
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Hi @Nanna1925 ,
That sounds like a very confronting situation face as a parent- I imagine that would have come as a pretty huge shock to you. Online safety and young people being aware of risky online behaviour is something we hear quite a lot about from parents- and given our kids are now growing up in a world where they're increasingly expected to be online for school and use online platforms for staying in touch with friends, knowing how to help our kids to stay safe online is incredibly important.
I can imagine that this would be a really difficult situation to navigate with your daughter, but it may also be a good opportunity to have a discussion about online safety, and setting boundaries around what is and isn't safe online. ReachOut Parents have some good resources that can help you to have those chats - this article looks at a lot of different aspects of how to help your young person use technology responsibly, which can include being aware of the risks of some kinds of online behaviour, and being aware that people aren't always who they claim to be online. You could use this to set some boundaries around what is acceptable behaviour online: for example some parents won't let their young people use chat rooms at all until a certain age, some will allow social media but will only allow their kids to add people who they know, and some parents let their kids know that they will monitor their behaviour online for unsafe behaviour. My daugher is slightly younger (will be turning 12 shortly) and has access to a phone and laptop, but we do check it regularly and have also set up family filters for inappropriate content. One strategy that some familes find useful is keeping the computer in a common room of the house (e.g the living room), so that you can be somewhat aware of what's happening with your child's online activity. The right approach to this will look different for every family, but it's great that you are aware of what's happening and open to having those tough conversations with you.
This article also has some simple tips for looking after your safety online.
It's an awkward discussion to have, but if someone has been exchanging inappropriate messages and/or photos with her, there's also some really good resources on the eSafety Commission website about how to talk to your young person about sexting, nudes, and the potential for people online to be grooming young people- if you want to learn more about these issues, this is a really excellent place to start. The second resource I've linked here also has some great, practical advice for parents on how to approach these issues with their kids.
If your daughter needs to be using her computer for school, it may also be worth letting the school know what's happened - without naming her publicly, it could be a good opportunity for the school to have a discussion with the kids about online safety. The eSafety Commisioner is another great resource for parents and schools
I'm hearing that the other aspect of this is your daughter is devastated at the loss of the connection that she thought she had with this person - I'd imagine that she will need a lot of extra love and support to help her cope with that, and I'd definitely encourage you to have a chat to your GP if you think that she could benefit from chatting to a mental health professional about how she's feeling.
I'm also going to tag some of our Parents champions @Dad4good @Birdwings @eitak1 - there's also some threads here and here that may be helpful to have a read of, from parents who've been through similar things.
Finally, if you think it would be helpful for you to chat to a professional one to one about this, we do have a one to one support service, which is a free and confidential service for parents and carers of young people in Australia - you can access that here if you're interested.
Wishing you all the best - how is your daughter doing today?
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Hi @Ryebread ,
Welcome to our forums. I can completely understand your exhaustion and frustration, parenting a 4 month old baby is challenging on its own, let alone balancing that with working full time from home at the same time and also working nights. I have two children myself, and can't begin to imagine how exhausted you must be. Are there any affordable daycare options that might might help take the pressure off you and your wife? Do you have any support from family?
It looks like you're in the USA, is that right? Unfortunately we're an Australian based service who focuses on parents of young people aged 12-18 , so I don't have a lot of knowledge about support services available where you are. I did find this list of resources for families in the USA which looks like it might be helpful, at national parent helpline.
It sounds like you are doing an amazing job balancing so many different commitments, how is your wife coping with the current set up? My heart really does go out to you both, that sounds pretty overwhelming and exhausting.
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Hi @Bacardi ,
It's so wonderful to hear that the conversation with your daughter went well, I can imagine that would have been such a hard one to navigate as a parent.
ReachOut have a few resources around sexting that I thought might be helpful for you and your daughter- they also outline some of the potential long term/ legal consequences to keep in mind (especially if she's underage), and has some good ideas for how to approach those chats
How to talk to your teenager about sexting
Looking after privacy online
Things to think about: sending nudes (this one is aimed at young people)
It sounds like you've done such a good job having a really tough conversation with your daughter - I hope you can do something nice for yourself in the next few days too, I imagine that would've been a pretty confronting experience for you.
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Hi @Bassam99 , I'm so sorry to hear that your daughter is also having such a tough time at school - it sounds heartbreaking as a parent to see your child suffering like that. Mary has shared some great ideas and resources above- I'm also wondering if your daughter would be open to chatting with a counsellor or a psychologist about what she's going through?
Headspace are a great place to start - they offer free services to young people aged 12-25, both in person, over the phone and online. You can find out more about them here.
Kids Helpline are another great service, or a local GP can also be a good place to find out about local supports in your area and get a mental health care plan.
Keep us posted with how you're getting on - we are always here to listen.
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Hi @whirly ,
Thanks so much for sharing your experiences here, how is your daughter doing now? The transition to e-learning was rough for so many young people, has your daughter returned to school in person now?
@hk012 I'm so sorry to hear that your son also had such a tough time, how did he go finding work? Has he had any professional support to help him with his mental health at all? I think you're spot on, supporting young people with their mental health truly is so important - and I'm sure he will find his path with such supportive people in his life.
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Hi @ruined4life ,
It's so wonderful to hear that you've found the support here helpful
You sound like you are such a caring and compassionate mum, I also have a three year old (and was a sole parent until my eldest was 4), and I can understand how lonely and challenging it can feel sometimes - but you're clearly doing a wonderful job making sure she feels loved, supported and secure. And I think that every single parent out there can relate to sometimes feeling like they're doing a bad job, even when we're not! Another thing that was a bit of a lifesaver for me was community playgroups, it meant that I was able to meet other parents and have some adult conversation, which was a huge win for me! Do you have any playgroups near you at all?
It's great that your parents are able to help you out with the course fees for you to get back to work. I'm also wondering if you are being paid child support by your ex partner? There's a list of really good resources here with some information on how to access financial support including child support, and Relationships Australia can also give low cost support in things like mediation with your ex partner.
I did also want to mention some other support services, including some services that are there to help you if you are ever having those feelings of wanting to go to sleep and never wake up. That can be a really lonely and scary feeling - Suicide Call Back Service and Lifeline are both available 24/7 to help you if you're experiencing thoughts of suicide.
There's also some great Parents support services available, like Parentline and Parents Beyond Breakup-
It's so good to hear that things are feeling better for you - you're clearly a strong person and loving mum, and the community is here any time you want to vent or get some support.
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Hi @Lolos , I agree that building trust with young people is incredibly important - are there any things that you've found helpful in helping to build that trust in your own family? Would love to hear about your experiences :)
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Hi @eitak1 and @Lolos
Thanks so much for sharing your advice and support- @eitak1 I couldn't agree with you more, shaming mums especially when they're already feeling vulnerable is never helpful, and humour has definitely been one of the things that has helped me to survive the darker moments of parenting!
The support services that you've listed are all great ideas, sometimes it can feel incredibly overwhelming when we are in the thick of things, and it's so good to remember that there's help out there. Thanks so much for your kind words
@ruined4life how have you been over the last few weeks?
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Hi @Holly_p ,
I'm so deeply sorry to hear that your daughter has been experiencing this sort of bullying and harassment. Cyberbullying can be especially cruel, when it's something that also follows the young person home with them, and I'm so sorry to hear that your daughter is having to deal with this.
One thing I'm wondering is if your daughter has any friends or other social networks that she can turn to outside of school - is she involved in any sporting groups, volunteering, or organisations like scouts? Building more social connections outside of school may be something that helps her to feel less isolated; bullying like this can have a massive impact on a young person's sense of self worth.
It's great that you've spoken to the school, though I can understand your daughter's hesitation in putting forward a formal complaint if she's worried about the repercussions. Do you know if the school has had any conversations with the student body more broadly about online safety, and the impacts of cyberbullying more broadly? The eSafety commission and Kids Helpline have some great resources on online harrassment - what your daughter is experiencing does sound like it may have gone beyond bullying to online harrassment, and this is something that is against the law. The eSafety commission do have cyberbullying team where you can report online harrassment, the link I've included here explains how that process works.
I'm also wondering if your daughter has spoken to a mental health professional to get some support around what's been happening with her? Kids Helpline counsellors could be a good option to try if she'd be open to it - they are really experienced in helping young people who are dealing with cyberbullying, and could be a really good source of support for her. Your local Headspace, or eHeadspace is another great option to get a bit more support, and they may also be able to help her out with some strategies to make going to school easier for her.
It must be so hard as a parent to see your daughter going through this - how are you coping with it all?
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Hi @mia123 ,
Thanks so much for sharing your experiences here - single parenting can be incredibly challenging and you sound like a strong and resilient person - I love what you say here especially: . I know this of your situation, because I've been through this experience, is that you're stronger than you think and coming here is proof of that.
I was also a sole parent for several years, and I agree - it can sometimes feel like every day is a battle, but it also showed me that I was stronger than I realised. I think what you say about having to help yourself before you help your children is also such an important thing to realise. It's sometimes easier said than done though. It's great that you have been able to give yourself space and find support to grieve the end of your marriage- and I agree, there's something about getting to the beach or out in nature that can be so therapeutic and calming. How are you and your family travelling at the moment?
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Hi @sparkles21 ,
I am so deeply sorry to hear that your stepdaughter lost her mother, that is tragic news. It must have been incredibly shocking for you all, and traumatic for your stepdaughter to discover her mother. It sounds like some professional help from a grief counsellor or psychologist could be really helpful for your stepdaughter, to help her process what has happened and start to heal. The grieving process can look different for every body, and professional guidance can really help in starting to work through her feelings, especially given the traumatic circumstances finding her mother. Peer support groups can also be really helpful for some people- being able to talk to people who 'get it' can help a lot, and it looks like there are groups both in person and online near where you are. Do you think your stepdaughter would be open to any of these options?
Sometimes having little rituals as a family can also be a nice way to help keep a loved one's memory alive, and keep on talking about them - as you said, you don't want to act like it never happened. Do you mind if I ask how old your step daughter is? Is she living with you at the moment?
I am so very sorry for you and your family's loss.
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Hi @sparkles21 ,
I'm so sorry to hear that- that is really appalling behaviour, and your daughter sounds like she's shown a lot of strength in telling you what has been happening, and reporting the behaviour to the school. Are the people sending her threats people that she goes to school with?
Have you had any contact from the school about what's happened?
We do have some articles on ReachOut parents about sexting, including conversations about consent. We're an Australian site and it looks like you're in Canada, is that right? Unfortunately I don't have a lot of knowledge about relevant laws there, but I know that in Australia it is against the law to harrass or threaten anyone into sending nudes, I would imagine that would probably be the case where you are as well.
It sounds like your daughter has done absolutely the right thing in reporting this to her school, and hopefully they will be able to follow it up with the people involved and the police if appropriate - it also sounds like a broader conversation about sexting and consent could be helpful.
How is your daughter coping with it all?
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Hello, I'm just tagging some dads/ active community members who may be interested or know somebody who is! @PapaBill @Dadof4kids @Birdwings @blueskies @posimum06 @OutNumbered1-3 , @still-learning @Thisisnew @Murphy192 @mia123
Feel free to share this with anyone in your networks who may be interested as well :)
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Hi Parents Community!
ReachOut Australia is currently recruiting for our next group of parents to help us review content for the ReachOut Parents site before it's published!
We want to represent our audience as best we can, and we currently have an imbalance between Mums and Dads, so we're looking for dads. We would love to hear from any dads, or male carers, of teens aged 12-18 who'd be interested in giving us their opinion on new content for ReachOut Parents.
If you are a dad or know any dads of teenagers who would be interested in helping us improve the wellbeing and mental health of teens and parents around Australia then please pass on this post, or send them to the link below to submit an expression of interest!
You can also contact Anna at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Submit your expression of interest here
A little bit more information about the Advisory group:
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Hi @Overitmum ,
That sounds like an incredibly challenging situation to have to navigate, co-parenting when the other parent has such different ideas about what's appropriate in terms of discipline, expectations for behaviour and daily routines must be so difficult. It must have been really concerning and frustrating to find out that they hadn't been given dinner, and it sounds pretty concerning that they're not allowed to communicate with you as previously agreed.
I'm just wondering if you have a parenting plan with your ex partner, and if it specifies things such as communication with the other parent when you're not together, and appropriate discipline methods? We are located in Australia, so our parenting plans and support services around separation may be slightly different, I did have a look at resources for separated parents in New Zealand here though, if any of the services here might be helpful.
You've mentioned that you've involved social workers in the past when you were concerned about them being smacked repeatedly, do you still have support from them at the moment? Did your ex and his partner ever have to complete a parenting course at all ? It sounds like a really difficult situation, and I would definitely urge you to reach out for support if you're worried about your kids' wellbeing at all.
I can imagine that this situation would also take a toll on your wellbeing, do you have any support for yourself?
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Hi @AnnieNew ,
I can relate very strongly to this post! I am also the parent of a very bright, loving but spirited 4 year old - it can definitely be incredibly challenging sometimes! ReachOut is aimed mainly at parents of young people aged 12-18, so this forum may not be the best place to hear form other parents of young children I'm sorry - but I'm sure a lot of parents here would be able to remember the challenges of trips out with young children!
One thing I've noticed about my son is that he can really struggle with transitioning from one activity to the next, which sometimes results in a lot of defiant behaviour around getting dressed/ meal times etc. Giving him an idea of what we will be doing, and when, has been really helpful with this - talking to him about expectations and consequences before we do an activity also seems to help (sometimes!).
One resource that I've found really helpful is the Raising Children's Network, they have some great materials on typical preschooler behaviour and different strategies that may be helpful- I've linked to some of them here.
I've also found Janet Landsbury to be a really great resource who talks about toddler and preschooler behaviour in a really respectful, gentle and evidence based way, are you familiar with her writing at all? It sounds like her approach may align with your values as a parent, here's a link to some of her writing about challenging behaviour if you find it helpful.
I'm also wondering if you've ever discussed your concerns about your son's behaviour with your famliy doctor at all? It looks like you're outside Australia, so I'm not completely sure on what resources are available in your country, but we also have early childhood centres in Australia which are a free service for parents to talk to health care professionals about their children's development up until school age - they can be a great place to get some more support, and also get advice about whether it might be helpful to have your child seen by another health care professional like a speech pathologist, OT or child psychologist, to see if there's any underlying issues that might be causing the behaviour.
Wishing you all the best - parenting small children can be incredibly demanding, and it's clear that you are an engaged and loving parent who wants the best for your kids I'm also wondering if you have any support from family and friends when you need downtime? It can be easy to forget as parents but looking after ourselves is also incredibly important.
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Hi @Mrsb115 , welcome to the forums. It sounds like it would be so hard as a parent to be worried about your son becoming isolated from his friends - the early years of high school can definitely be times when friendships shift and change, and it can be so hard when the dynamics of those long-term friendships start to change.
It looks like you're located in the UK, is that right? Is your son attending school in person at the moment, or are you still under restrictions? Often it can be really helpful for young people to get involved in other activities like scouts, sporting groups, volunteering or music groups outside of school, to widen their social circle and meet new people - but I can completely appreciate that could be really tricky at the moment if you're still facing restrictions due to covid. Does your son have any hobbies that he enjoys? Does he enjoy gaming at all? A lot of young people may also connect with friends online, especially at the moment when seeing people in person can be hard.
We do have an article here that might be helpful, about how to help your teen to make friends - it's got some really practical strategies to try that might be helpful.
It must be so hard to see your son so upset, but on a positive note it is fantastic that he feels comfortable opening up to you about how he's feeling, you've clearly done a great job at establishing a really trusting and safe relationship with him.
This is definitely something that we've heard about from other parents on the forums, I'm also just going to tag in a few of our parents community to see if they can offer some advice or support on this one too @Birdwings @blueskies @Anniesmum
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Hi @BeansBeansMagic ,
I can hear how much you love your son, and it sounds like it would be incredibly painful and frustrating for you not being able to see him. I have small kids myself, and 20 months is such a delightful age
You and your son definitely deserve to have meaningful and regular time together, there's a few services that should be able to give you some assistance and support through this time, and hopefully help you and your son's other parent work out the arrangements that are best for all of you.
Family Relationships Advice Line is a free phone service that helps families affected by relationship or separation issues, including information on parenting arrangements after separation. It can also refer callers to local services that provide assistance.
Relationships Australia can also support you both in helping to work out a parenting plan - this a written agreement between you and son's other parent, that covers everything from how you communicate, how you share the care of your son, putting your child's best interests at the center of all decisions. I've just attached a copy here if you think it would be helpful to have a read through.
Parenting plans are generally a first step that doesn't involve the legal system, there are mediators who can help to support you through the process, and there's also a new digital service that might be helpful for you called amica .
Relationships Australia can also help out with support and mediation services - I've linked to an information place that shows you where you can find those services near you.
I hope that's not too much information overload!
Do you have family or friends who can help support you through this time? Family separation can be an incredibly stressful and lonely time, it's really important to reach out for help and support if you're struggling. Please keep us posted on how you get on - thanks so much for reaching out here.
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