Hi @LaoHa ,
It's great to hear that Brian has that relationship with his cousin, having someone else in his life that he can open up to and go for a walk with every week is really positive. I can hear your concerns about how to approach challenging someone who is depressed - it can be pretty frustrating when someone constantly says that they'll do something, but doesn't follow through. A lack of motivation and follow through is definitely common when you're depressed, but equally I think it's ok to gently encourage him to do a task or 2 a day, especially if he can gradually build up his level of activity.
To answer your question, I think that most counsellors can definitely do some family therapy with just one parent if that's what will work best for Brian. It might be helpful to talk about those things and the expectations of family therapy with the counsellor- they should be happy to answer any detailed questions about their usual practice, and that way Brian can feel involved in the process. What do you think?
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Hi @Teensmom ,
Thanks so much for updating us on how you're going. I'm sorry that covid has been hard on your family. I think a lot of people have had similar experiences, the added stress and pressure of people being at home all of the time, and all of the other changes in our lives that have come with this pandemic, have been incredibly tough to cope with. It is great to hear that you are all safe and healthy, though.
You might have already seen them, but I just thought I'd share some resources that ReachOut have developed to help parents and their families cope with these weird times, you can find them here - they include articles on helping to cope with study stress, but also on coping with the covid pandemic in general.
How is your son at the moment? I know in Australia we have quite a few online options for counselling, do you think something like that might interest him at all?
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Hi @ceskia22 ,
It's so lovely to hear that you found the resources helpful for this strange world we find ourselves in at the moment :)
It's wonderful that you are seeing some positives in the current situation and that you were able to share those moments with your son. I have an 11 year old myself, and we have a new routine of having a walk together at lunchtime whenever possible, we seem to have much better conversations when we're out going for a walk than we do at home, and I am also really valuing those little moments.
How are your kids finding the transition to learning from home? I have to admit it's had its ups and downs for us. But you're spot on when you say that if something doesn't work, you just have to pick up and try again. Great advice in general for parents, I think!
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Hi @Dexter1 ,
Some great advice from @JAKGR8 and @IppyMum4305 here, you're definitely not alone in feeling like it's very hard work convincing your teenager to pull their weight around the house, but as @JAKGR8 it's such an important part of helping them become a responsible adult. It may not seem like it to them now, but nobody wants to move in with someone at age 19 who has no idea how to clean a loo, cook a meal or clean up after themselves!
I really feel for you when you said that you're the only adult who's working at setting expectations and following through on this, with your husband wanting to be the "fun dad" more. That sounds really tough on you. I'm wondering if you've ever brought this up with him? I imagine it would make it even more difficult for you to set reasonable expectations, if your son then sees Dad treating it as a joke and accusing you of nagging.
I also hear you on how hard it is to remove screen time in these times - my oldest child is slightly younger than yours, but we do remove 'recreational' screen time privileges from her if basic chores aren't done once we've asked a few times - so she can still complete school work, but can't watch Netflix or look at Tik Tok for example.
I also found a list of chores to be ticked off on the fridge to be something that was helpful for my family - both as a visual reminder, and a way for us all to see that there's a certain amount of things that just have to be done as part of running the household. I think at 15, it's pretty reasonable to expect a certain level of contribution to this side of things and a visual reminder can be a helpful way to remind people, to reduce the need for verbal reminders.
I hope you're getting on ok with it all, please keep us posted on how you're all going :)
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Hi @LaoHa ,
I just had a play with the search function on the APS website - if you search for a psychologist by your area first, you will then get another menu on the left of the screen to "refine results". One of the options is "filter by language", and you should be able to select Cantonese :)
It's great that Brian is already engaging with Headspace, hopefully this will continue to be helpful for him. I have a few links that might be helpful for him to learn more about family therapy - this resource from ReachOut is written for young people, and mentions family therapy as one treatment that can be really helpful for depression, the link is here .
Basically, family therapy can help to repair relationships with people, and help to give you all the tools to work through issues like depression, with someone who is skilled at helping people to talk through their problems, and help to resolve any conflict that comes up. It can help a lot in giving everyone a safe space to talk about what's happening for them and hopefully then repair those relationships.
I can hear your worry about how Brian will cope if he moves out, especially if he continues to go back to the coping mechanism of hiding away in his room. Has he discussed moving out with his Headspace counsellor at all? They may be able to help him build up the skills that he will need like conflict resolution, and talk about the practical things he'll need to do once he moves out.
Do you think he'd be open to take on more tasks at home, like starting to prepare a meal at home for your family, helping with grocery shopping and doing laundry , as part of starting to become more independent and building his confidence for when he does move out?
You sound like a really caring parent, and I imagine that it's been really stressful seeing your son quite unwell. Do you have people in your life that you can turn to for support yourself?
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Hi @nik_579 ,
I imagine it must have come as a pretty massive shock to you and your wife to find those videos and messages on your daughter's account. I can hear how much you both love and cherish your daughter and how important your relationship is to you - those are all wonderful things, that will help you to navigate these really tricky conversations and topics with her.
ReachOut have developed some resources to help parents have these tricky conversations with their teenagers- we have a great article about talking to teenagers about pornography here .
Pornography use is pretty common among Australian teens - a 2016 study found that 44% of kids aged 9-16 in Australia had viewed some form of porn in the last month. Kids will often look for porn for a range of reasons - to satisfy their curiosity, explore feelings about their sexuality, learn more about sex, and so it's important to be able to have an informed, open and honest conversation with your daughter about it.
If she is using a tablet to message boys from school and send sexual content, it may also be wise to have a chat with her about the potential risks that come with that - like people saving her messages and images if she's shared them, and sharing them on without her consent. We have an article here about teens and sexting which gives a good run-down on a lot of those issues.
You mention that your wife also saw your daughter naked and touching her body while watching a video - I imagine that would have been incredibly uncomfortable for your wife! It does sound like your daughter is beginning to explore her sexuality, and though I appreciate it might be uncomfortable it could be a good time to start having more conversations with her about sex, sexual health, and consent. Kids will often look at porn partly because of curiosity about sex, but it obviously isn't always the best or most realistic way to learn about safety, consent, and what realistic intimate relationships look like. A lot of kids will start to explore their own bodies well before they become sexually active with other people, and it can be a safe way for them to learn about their sexuality.
These are all massively tricky conversations to have - I have a child who's only 2 years younger, and I can't quite imagine how I would feel in your situation. If you think it could be helpful for you/ your wife to chat to a parenting coach/ counsellor about this, we do offer a free one to one service where you can talk to an experienced counsellor. You can find out more and access that service here.
Your daughter sounds like a lovely kid, and you sound like really switched on parents - good luck with it all, and feel free to check in here any time.
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A lot of us have had to face some major changes in the last few months with COVID-19, from restrictions to our day to day activities, to possible loss of work, financial insecurity and adjusting to having our kids now predominantly learning from home.
ReachOut have developed a range of resources to help kids and their families adjust to the very different challenges that come from a move to online learning from home - you can find all of those here
Teenagers in particular are reporting that they're feeling pretty stressed out at the moment, especially kids who are in their final years at school. As parents, it can be really challenging knowing how best to support them, both in terms of helping them with school work and helping them to look after their physical and mental health in such unprecedented circumstances.
Parents of younger kids are also coping with a lot - the primary school syllabus has definitely changed a lot since a lot of us were at school ourselves, and it can be overwhelming knowing just how to best help your kids. Especially for parents who are also juggling working from home themselves, trying to keep kids occupied, entertained, and helping them with their schoolwork and the many new forms of technology that go along with that can be a massive challenge.
On the other hand, some parents report finding it a relief to have a break from the usual busy-ness of the day to day school routine, and are loving not having to rush from activity to activity, and enjoying being able to spend more time at home with their kids.
So, with all of that in mind, we thought it would be good to do a check in with our parents community here.
How are you and your family coping with kids learning at home?
What is the biggest challenge you're experiencing at the moment?
Has anything surprised you about how the move to spending more time at home has affected your family?
Are your teenagers feeling anxious about their education?
We would love to hear about how you and your families are going - I'll just tag a few of our parent community members to get things started. Looking forward to hearing from you, and hope that you and your families are staying safe and taking care of yourselves.
@Dad4good @JAKGR8 @sidneysdad @compassion @Faob_1 @sunflowermom @PapaBill
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Hi @Ammcg74 ,
It sounds like it's been a challenging couple of years with your daughter, and I can imagine it must have been incredibly hurtful for you to feel like she didn't care when you were so unwell. I'm so sorry you went through that. Having verbal abuse from someone that you love, let alone your own daughter, is an awful feeling.
You mention that your daughter has OCD, I'm just wondering if she's seeing a counsellor or a psychologist at the moment? While it is normal for teenagers to have shorter fuses than adults (our brains don't finish developing until we're 25, and unfortunately it can be pretty common for teenagers to have some times where they have bad impulse control and seem to go from 1-100 really easily), a counsellor or psych can help them to develop strategies for managing their anger, and learning to self-regulate. We have some good resources plus some apps that can be helpful here, if you're interested.
It sounds like you've had to deal with a lot in the last couple of years, do you have a good support network/ people who can help you when needed? I know that as a parent it can be really hard to put ourselves first (I have 2 kids and I'm definitely guilty of this), but it's so important to take care of yourself. We do have a free one to one service for parents in Australia if you ever feel like chatting to someone, they're all experienced counsellors with a lot of experience helping parents with teenage kids. That's here if you'd like to check it out.
Sending lots of well wishes your way, you sound like a really resilient person and we hope that things improve for you soon.
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Hi @Caroline ,
That sounds like a really challenging situation to be in as a parent, do you mind me asking how old your daughter is? Do you know if she's been prescribed the Xanax by a doctor, or is she obtaining it through friends/other means?
It sounds like there's definitely some signs that her use of Xanax is negatively impacting her life and contributing to high risk behaviour, having her involved in a car accident like that as well as then sharing it on social media must have been pretty confronting for you. The fact that she's using it at home alone is also concerning. We have a great article here written by a clinical psychologist about Teens and Drug Addiction that you may find helpful.
It does sound like she may benefit from some professional help, do you think she would be open to using a service like Headspace? They also offer online counselling.
I can completely understand you feeling like she needs to face some consequences for her actions - one natural consequence could be that she loses use of the car. Was she driving the family car, or was it hers? Has she been able to afford to get it repaired or replaced?
Sorry for all of the questions - I imagine it would be both really stressful and frustrating as a parent to see your child making some pretty dangerous decisions without any apparent remorse. It's also really important to look after yourself if you're feeling stressed about it all - we do have a one to one parenting coaching/counselling service that is free of charge, you can access that here if you'd find it helpful to chat with a professional about what's been going on for you.
Wishing you all the best, please keep us posted on how you're going.
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Apologies for the delay in responding to your post!
It sounds like you're a really thoughtful and respectful stepmother, and I imagine that differences in fundamental things like religion and belief in God must be especially tricky to navigate in a blended family type of situation.
Personally, I think it's completely okay for your stepdaughter to be aware that you may have different belief systems to her mother, as long as one guiding principle is being respectful of the other family - and it sounds like you are definitely doing that. You can do that in an age-appropriate manner- for example, once your stepdaughter is a bit older, say 10-11, she will probably be aware that people have really different beliefs about the origin of the world, and not everyone believes that Jesus/God created everything. I would be led by the kind of questions that she asks, and keep the level of detail age-appropriate.
You could also have discussions around things like the origins of Christmas and Easter, without necessarily talking about whether you believe in those stories yourselves.
You say that your husband never had a discussion with his ex-wife around how they would bring up their child in relation to religious identity - I'm wondering if they've ever discussed it since they separated? Does organised religion play a big part in their life now?
You sound like such a committed stepmum, and I really admire the thought you're putting into this with your stepdaughter's wellbeing at the centre of it.
You may have already seen them, but ReachOut have quite a lot of resources on blended families here, in case any of that is also helpful.
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@nics69 it sounds like you've had a lot on both of your plates, juggling full time work and study is definitely full on. It sounds like you've been as supportive as possible, I hope that some time to think is helpful for both of you.
Are you staying with your son at your parents' place now?
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Hi @nics69 ,
I'm really sorry to hear that things are so rough with your partner rob at the moment. It's been a pretty stressful time for everyone at the moment dealing with the changes that the coronavirus has brought to all of our lives, plus dealing with the challenges with your son.
Do you think that he means that this is a permanent break, or could it be a chance to take some time apart and see how you're feeling?
It sounds like it's been a really rough time for you. Do you think it could help chatting to a counsellor at all to help you through all of this? We're also happy to listen any time here on the forums, but sometimes people also find it helpful to speak to someone one to one.
Thinking of you.
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Hi @Jimmy ,
It sounds like a really tough situation with your step-daughter, and I can imagine that hearing her say that you were one of the reasons for her considering suicide must have been a huge shock and really distressing for you. You sound like a really loving and involved stepfather and father, and I can really empathise with the challenges involved in blended families, as a mother who re-partnered and had a second child after many years as a sole parent myself. It's a huge shift in family dynamics, and takes a lot of patience , communication and goodwill from everyone, especially when you hit the teenage years.
It sounds like you and your wife have been really responsive to your step daughter in terms of seeking professional help when she first started self-harming, which is really positive. Is she still seeing her psychologist/ counsellor now?
I'm not sure if you've seen them, but we have quite a lot of resources on our ReachOut Parents page here for parents of kids who've expressed thoughts of suicide. I imagine it must be incredibly scary as a parent to hear a teen expressing those thoughts, and there's some different strategies to try there from ideas of how to have those difficult conversations, to ways to look after yourselves as parents.
We also have a free one to one support service for parents and carers available online, if you'd like to have a chat with a professional to get some more support for yourselves - it can help a lot to talk things through with someone else sometimes. Thoughts of suicide aren't as uncommon as we sometimes think, and the fact that she is being open about what she's feeling to you guys shows that there is a level of trust there.
I also wanted to reassure you that it's unlikely that you are the cause of what she's going through - sometimes it is easy to lash out at people when we are in a lot of pain, especially given the conflict you've described- but you sound like someone who really loves and cares for her.
How are you and your wife feeling today?
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Hi @Stepmumma4 ,
That sounds like such a difficult situation for you to be in, blended families can be really challenging - but on the positive side, step parents can truly be such incredibly important figures in kids' lives, and you sound like someone who is dedicated to being the best step parent they can be.
I'm curious as to how your husband is dealing with these issues, and specifically if he is also there when your stepdaughter is being openly defiant to you? Have the two of you been able to have a discussion about how you want to respond to her when she makes these comments to you?
How old is your step daughter?
ReachOut have some great resources on how to navigate being a step-parent here ,
and we also have a free one to one support and coaching service for parents if you think it might be helpful to chat about these issues one on one with a professional, you can access that service here
My own two cents as someone who is in a blended family myself- it can be really hard being a step parent or adjusting to parenting with a new partner, and it sounds like you are a thoughtful and committed step parent.
Kids will generally get used to having two different sets of 'house rules' in different families, and if you can remain as calm and consistent as possible with maintaining boundaries that you feel are important in your own home, that will be really helpful. Just a simple "oh, okay, well this is the rule here", is really the only thing you need to say about the different rules to mum's house. And try and embrace as much love, fun and affection as possible in your own home- it sounds like you're doing a great job at trying not to say negative things about her bio mum, and that is a really important thing to do.
Hopefully some other parents can also chime in here - but it sounds like you are doing the best you can in a really challenging situation. Kids will always push boundaries, and having the complexities of two households can make that really hard.
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Hi @Polly15 ,
That sounds really tough with your son. When you say he's left school, is he still doing school work from home, or has he decided to leave schooling all together?
It's been a really tough month for so many teenagers and their families with the uncertainty and stress around the coronavirus, and the impact on teenagers of schools closing and a lot of employment opportunities being lost. Was your son working before all of this happened?
ReachOut have put together some resources for parents on how to help their teenagers cope with coronavirus
We also offer free one to one support and coaching for parents, if you think it might be helpful to chat this through one on one with a professional, you can access free support here
It sounds really exhausting arguing with him all the time, how are you coping with it all? Thinking of you, it is a really challenging time for so many parents at the moment, and you don't have to go through it alone.
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Hi @Macca ,
I'm so sorry to hear that you're having such a tough time with your 16 year old. I can hear the frustration and exhaustion in your words, and it sounds like you've tried a lot of different options to try and get some help for your family.
I'm wondering what your support network looks like at the moment? Do you have any friends or family that are able to help out at all?
I'm sorry that you didn't find the counselling helpful, that must have been really tough. Have you had any one on one support just for yourself, so that you can have somewhere to unload and unpack some of the stress and distress this is causing you? We do have a free, confidential parent coaching service that is done either online or over the phone with a professional parenting/family coach, if that would be helpful for you? Alternatively, you could have a chat to your GP and get a mental health care plan for some sessions with a psychologist - it sounds like you've really been through a lot.
In terms of practical advice, ReachOut do have some guides about talking to kids about abuse that might be helpful for your other kids - here is one on domestic violence and teenagers , and one on managing conflict in the home . In terms of safety, do you feel like there's any risk to you or your other kids at the moment?
In terms of support for your son , I'm also wondering if your child has been connected up with any mentoring services at all? They can be a really good way for young people who aren't necessarily receptive to some kinds of intervention to find some more support. Your local Family Referral Service (This is the NSW link but there are equivalents in other states http://www.familyreferralservice.com.au/) may also be able to help out with other support services that might be able to help both you and your son.
1800 RESPECT is another really helpful service, who can give advice and counselling on abuse and violence within relationships.
How are you feeling today? It sounds like you've been travelling a really rough path, I hope the community can help to support you through this. It can take a lot of strength to post about these kind of issues, we are glad you were able to reach out here for help and I hope the community can be a helpful, safe space for you
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Hey, parents! I'm just tagging a few parents who've been active recently and may be interested in this opportunity, I hope that's okay. Feel free to pass this on to anyone you know who may be interested, too.
@Mother_of_teen @Thereshopeyet @JAKGR8 @sidneysdad
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We are looking for parents to be involved in a new video for ReachOut Parents, about how parents can help their teens with depression. This will be a personal story and you'll be interviewed about your own experience.
Please apply if you:
Have experience caring for a teen who has depression
Have supported your teen to manage or overcome depression
Are comfortable being interviewed and filmed. This video will be published on the ReachOut Parents site and promoted on our social media channels.
Are happy to join us for 2 hours in March for video shoot (date and time TBC).
What you'll get out of it:
Share your story to help other parents around Australia, who are going through the same thing you have
Offer some insights you've gained from your experience, so other parents can try some strategies that worked for you
Help us on our mission to improve the mental health and wellbeing of young people and their parents, all around Australia.
This is a voluntary opportunity but we will offer a gift voucher as a token of our appreciation.
Please submit an expression of interest here. Feel free to contact Anna (email@example.com) with any questions or pass this onto anyone you think would be interested!
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Hi @sunshine51 ,
Thanks so much for updating us on how you're going with your daughter. It's great that she was able to open up to you, and that you're getting her checked out by the doctor. Those things can be so embarrassing for teens, especially at that age, and it's great that she's going to get it looked in to. Hopefully there's a straight forward solution for her :)
You sound like a really switched on and caring mum, she's lucky to have you.
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Hi there @Seraphim - I noticed that you posted this in the Ask A Family Professional part of the forum, so I've also copied your question into the google form above so that it will go to our amazing partners at the Benevolent Society, who post our Family Pro posts. I hope that's okay - keep an eye out in coming weeks for a response :)
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Hi @Fleurry ,
I just wanted to check in and see how you are doing with your son, I was just catching up on this thread. It sounds like you have both had a huge amount to deal with and some really complex problems, especially given the added factor of your son having possible cognitive and memory issues from his leukaemia treatment.
You mentioned earlier that he's at his happiest when he's on his computer with his mates, and that he also loves gaming and digital design. It's great that he does have those passions and has a social outlet and support network online, but I also hear your concerns that he's not getting out much and enjoying the world. Does he have any friends that also enjoy tinkering in the shed?
It sounds like your son went through a really traumatic time at his old school, and school refusal is a problem that isn't uncommon, especially when there's been a history of bullying. It sounds like the new school are pretty on board with trying to help your son get back to attending school , how is that going at the moment?
I came across this resource on school refusal which links in to some different services, which I thought may be helpful for you?
We also have a page on ReachOut parents which includes videos from people who've been through the same thing, talking about what's worked for them.
Thinking of you, please keep us updated on how you're going. It sounds like it has been a really rocky road for your son, and he's lucky to have such a switched on, caring and committed mum in his corner. I hope this term is a better one for you all.
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Hey there @Parent007 and @dylan_dadof2 ,
I just thought I'd quickly share another really great resource for this, it's actually one that ReachOut host in partnership with the Benevolent Society, and it's a one on one coaching service that is available free to any parent or carer in Australia.
It's free, confidential and it's available either online or over the telephone, so it can be done at a time that suits you and there's not those barriers of trying to get to appointments etc.
Here's the link, feel free to pass it on to anyone who may be interested!
I have to say, speaking as a parent myself, I'm so glad that services like these are starting to become more popular. Parenting is absolutely one of the toughest, yet most rewarding, things I've ever done, and I do really believe it takes a village to raise a child. So I'm really happy to see services like these starting to spring up for when parents need another virtual 'village' to lean on.
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Hi @Thereshopeyet ,
Welcome to the ReachOut parents forums, and thanks so much for sharing a bit about what's going on for your daughter at the moment. I also just wanted to let you know I've moved your post to its own thread, just so it can get the most support from the community :)
You sound like an amazing mum, and it sounds like you've seen your daughter through some really tough times. As someone who spent several years as a sole parent myself , I can really empathise with how heavy a load that you must have been carrying, juggling working in a demanding field and helping your daughter through some tough times with anxiety, depression and an eating disorder. I can hear your exhaustion and frustration, you sound like you have been an amazing support for your daughter and I can completely understand feeling like the workload at work and home is becoming unbearable.
The period of recovery from serious mental illness can be a difficult one. It sounds like it's been difficult to re-establish reasonable boundaries and house rules with your daughter, is that right? It sounds like she's doing much better, so I think it's completely reasonable for your daughter to start to step up in terms of her contributions to the household, looking for work, and generally contributing as a fellow adult in your household.
We have a resource here that i thought may be helpful in starting some of those conversations around setting boundaries with your teenager
There's also quite a lot of really practical advice (I suspect you may be familiar with a lot of this already!) about how to actively encourage good behaviour.
Encouraging good behaviour teens
I am also wondering if your daughter might benefit from some practical support in helping her join the workforce, if that's what her goal is at the moment? Community mental health centres and specialist job seeking agencies for people living with , or in recovery from, mental illness can offer practical help for her to re-join the workforce. Has she been connected with any services like these before?
It also sounds like you are, quite rightly, pretty exhausted. I'm wondering if you're able to make some time to do something nice for yourself, or speak to a counsellor if you think some extra support for yourself might be helpful? It can be easy to put ourselves last at times like this I know, but you are also important and deserve support and care.
Please keep us posted on how you're going, thanks again for joining the community here :)
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Hi @spiderman6 ,
Welcome to the ReachOut Parents community forums, it's really nice to have you here.
You're right when you say there's a huge amount of different views about teenagers and drinking alcohol. It's great that you and your daughter have an open and honest relationship and that she feels safe telling you what she's been up to.
This page has a lot of evidence-based information about how to deal with risky behaviour in teens, along with some ideas of how to talk to your teen about setting acceptable boundaries, and most importantly staying safe. Though it is really common, it's also important to remember that alcohol use does carry a lot of risks for teens, both in terms of the damage that can occur to their body if they drink too much, and risks that come from having lowered inhibitions and taking place in other high risk activities when affected by alcohol. The second page I've linked to also has a lot of information about why teens drink, and how to set reasonable boundaries with them around them drinking if it doesn't seem likely that they will abstain altogether.
Risky Behaviour in teens
Alcohol use and teenagers
I hope you find the information here helpful - this is a really common concern for parents of teenagers, and it's fantastic that you have a strong relationship with your daughter where she's been honest with you around what's happening.
I'm also going to tag in a few of our parent community members - you're definitely not alone in questioning how you're going to deal with teenagers drinking and hopefully some more input from other parents can be helpful too :)
@Dadof4kids @compassion @sunflowermom
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Hi @stolen ,
It does sound like an incredibly complex situation, and I'm so sorry that the DCP and police haven't been able to provide any easy solutions for you and your family.
We're really glad that venting here helped a bit, feel free to come back any time, we are here if you need support or just somewhere to vent to. Thinking of you and your family.
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Hi @Lanny81 ,
It sounds like such an incredibly challenging time for you as a parent, seeing your child in a relationship that you can clearly see is unhealthy, but also having to respect the fact that she is an adult. You sound like such a switched on, and caring parent. I'm sure that in the long term that will serve you and your daughter well.
I just thought I would link you to a few resources that we have about recognising signs of an abusive relationship, and helping teens to set healthy boundaries in their own relationships. Even if your daughter isn't ready to read those things now, I thought they may be helpful resources for you guys to have- unfortunately unhealthy relationships aren't uncommon, and a lot of other parents have been where you are at the moment.
Signs of an abusive relationship
help your teenager to develop boundaries
It sounds like you and your daughter have a strong relationship, which is something that should be really protective for her. I'm also wondering if you're getting some support for yourselves at the moment? It must be an incredibly stressful time for you as parents.
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Hi @stolen ,
I'm so sorry to hear that the police and the DCP weren't able to help you in this situation . I can't imagine how frustrating it must be for you to feel powerless and I can hear your concern for your son in your words.
I am wondering if you've been able to be in contact with your son at all while he's living there? In amongst all of this, having him know that you are still there, still love him, and will welcome him back if and when he decides to do that, is important.
I'm also wondering, is your son still attending school? Are they aware of the situation?
As a parent myself, I can't imagine the toll this must be taking on you. Have you been able to get any support for yourself during all of this?
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Hi @WorriedAuntie ,
Thanks so much for posting here with your concerns about your niece, I hope the community can be a helpful space for you.
I can hear your concern for your niece in your words, and I can understand why you and her grandfather would be concerned about who she's taking to online, especially when he's found some concerning messages. It can be really tricky teaching teenagers to navigate the online world safely. It sounds like her grandfather has been really proactive in talking to her about some of the pitfalls and dangers of interacting with people, especially people she doesn't know well, online. That's really excellent.
This link has a lot of resources and information about risk-taking in teenagers, including online behaviour, and has some great ideas and videos that might be helpful.
There's also some really great tips about online safety here from our ReachOut Parents page.
I hear your concerns about her being obsessed with male attention - teaching our kids about their self-worth, consent, and being respected in their relationships is really important. It can be really hard in the teenage years though, especially when a lot of people do crave attention from the opposite sex.
I'm wondering, have you had any conversations with her about what healthy relationships look like, or about how to set her own boundaries in her relationships with boys?
I'm also going to tag in a few of our active parents community members who may have been through similar with their teens @compassion @Faob_1 @Dadof4kids
It looks like you're in Canada, is that right? I came across this service which might also be helpful, if you'd like to chat over these issues with someone.
Thanks so much for posting here, and please keep us posted on how your niece is getting on :)
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Hi @Veronica ,
I've just been catching up on this thread, my heart really goes out to you. Feeling unappreciated by your family along with everything else that you have on your plate sounds really exhausting, especially if you're not feeling supported by your husband.
I'm wondering if you ever get any time to do things that are just for you? I have friends in similar situations who've joined book clubs, or community choirs, or taken up running - something that is just for them, and also gets them out of the house occasionally and lets their family fend for themselves! One piece of advice I was given early in my time as a parent was "put your own oxygen mask on first" - when we catch a plane, we're told to put our own masks on before we put them on our children if there's an emergency, because we can't help them if we haven't already been able to help ourselves. Yet as parents, it can be so easy to put our own needs last.
@sidneysdad 's post also gave me a lot to think about - I think that making time to recharge our own batteries is so important. @sidneysdad I'm really sorry to hear about your marriage breakdown, that is really hard. It was really wonderful to read that you've found being on the forums helpful - you are always really generous with your time and sharing your experiences, and we really appreciate it. It's great to hear that reading and replying has helped you in your own life :)
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Hey @sidneysdad ,
Thanks for sharing what you've found useful with your son and your experiences. It sounds like you're such a caring and engaged parent.
I think your advice about finding the right psychologist for your child is also spot on - having someone who they 'click' with is absolutely vital to the whole therapeutic process, and what works for one kid may not work for another. I also have a child who's struggled at times with high anxiety, and sometimes it has felt like a lot of baby steps, but looking back I can really see how far she's come.
Does your son enjoy school overall?
I think a true parenting for dummies book would probably make billions of dollars ! But to be honest, I also think that parenting strategies can be so highly individual, and what works for one child may not work for another - which is probably why so many books continue to be written!
I do find some of the material on the ReachOut Parents page really helpful, and the Raising Children Website has been really helpful for myself with slightly younger kids - I have the preteen page bookmarked at the moment !
But I also learn so much from other parents, and I wanted to say thanks so much to you for all of the advice and support that you provide to our community :)
@jbrowne please keep us posted with how you're going with your son - it sounds like seeing a psychologist will be a really positive step for you all. It's so hard when we're worried about our kids :( I know several people who have ended up moving their kids to a different school, and though it's not a simple fix, in some cases I think that having a child in an environment/ peer group that's a better fit for them can be a really good move :)
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