The combination of having to accept his father's absence, followed on by resentment and a feeling of being judged by others (for his father's actions) can lead to some deep insecurities. There's will also be a feeling of envy at having to be amongst others who will be talking about their fathers in a more positive light. This can result in a young man feeling bitter and becoming very angry. It's difficult because it's as though you are serving a sentence as well. The worry is placing a burden on your shoulders because you seriously fear that the lad will follow in his father's footsteps. Your are a concerned parent, trying your hardest to direct a young adult away from a life of crime. Are you punishing this young man for his fathers mistakes? The answer is....No....You are punishing him because you fear he'll do the same. Deep inside, you fear the prospect of him following in his father's footsteps. You are trying to help and there's no straight forward way of handling this. What can you do? There is an option worth considering. This young man may share the same characteristic traits of his father. A reason for your concern. The anger, the frustration, the lack of trust, the yearning for adventure and a hidden intellect. There's a constant desire to express that 'pent up' energy. What happens to a bored, frustrated young person who can't channel that energy into something constructive? With time on their hands, a mixture of negative emotions and boredom can lead to behaviour that is not always in their best interest. Does the lad have a job? Go to college? Do sports? Night classes? Have other hobbies, interests? If the young man shares the same traits as his father, boredom (due to lack of stimulating activities) will be a considerable enemy in your quest to help him. Tell the young man exactly why you are imposing these restrictions on his freedoms and explain to him your fears. Try not to be threatening or 'giving an ultimatum' just yet. The temptation to say...."If you want to live under my roof, then......" Will only result in him storming off in a bad mood. It's worth raising the issue of counselling for his anger. Though it may be a challenge encouraging a sixteen year old to agree to this. An option worth considering. Try to encourage the lad to do activities outside of home to encourage focus and channel that energy towards positive goals. This could be an incentive to relax your restrictions and allow him more freedom. The young man will soon become a fully fledged adult. In future. He'll be responsible for his own decisions. Whatever anyone else says. It's a huge worry for you. However. There's only a certain amount of help and encouragement you can give. Whatever help you provide. However many different suggestions or sources of help you turn to, there's only one person who can really help. That's himself.
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This unusual request was quite a shock for you. A misunderstanding? Getting those 'wires crossed'....? Or....Something far more serious? This incident has left you worried with questions regarding your son's behaviour.
Perhaps it was a 'one-off' encounter. A confused fifteen year old may not think of the devastating consequences a simple incident like this can have. The internet and 'social media' may have contributed because everything imaginable - and unimaginable - is available for all to experience. It's only fair to say that your son could have been influenced by something online. Access to any form of 'adult material' is straightforward enough to navigate for today's high-technology conscious, computer literate teenagers. Combined with their mixed emotions........ There could be the possibility that someone had 'dared' your son to do it. The Covid-19 pandemic means more time spent online.
Conversations about sex - physical or online between teenagers - may have instilled a sense of sexual insecurity within your son.
There could be something deeper going on for your son to make this unusual request and it's a problem that will need to be addressed. It's going to be important for your son's welfare to deal with this now - rather than wait for another 'incident'.
It's concerning he didn't understand why you were angry at him whilst not knowing why he did it. This is a point that could be worth investigating. There's the question of how he'll be with other people. It may help to discuss with your son the possibility of undergoing counselling. Your son is very upset over this matter and may be willing to seek help.
Is the lad dealing with any issues that you are unaware of? Has someone been talking about their own experiences? Has your son experienced some kind of undisclosed trauma? The full realisation of being told to stay away from his sister will impact upon your son very hard.
Is he upset because he understands what he said was wrong?....Or....Is he upset because he doesn't understand? This is awkward for both you and your son. There's now the issue of how to re-build the relationship with him.
It's understandable to feel anger and disgust. You don't want to touch him at all because of this incident and you've told him to stay away from his sister. Perhaps an alternative would be to work at getting closer to your son whilst allowing close - yet supervised - contact with his sister. Feeling supported and valued by the family will hopefully instil a sense of security for your son. Your son will need to understand why you feel he should not be left alone with his sister. After this incident, he needs to be told that it's only fair that you don't trust him to be alone with her. Underneath all of this, you may be wondering what has gone wrong. It's a situation no-one can really understand until it happens to them.
There may at least be something positive to come out of this incident. Both you and your son have identified the problem early enough to address this and make amends. Coupled with the good fortune for this to happen in the privacy of your own home. It's not much consolation for you, but this could have been worse. It could have happened elsewhere and in public. At least you can deal with this privately.
There are permissions and personal boundaries involved here. Your son did ask permission.....Yet he crossed a boundary. It seems your son could be dealing with something deeper, as this incident is unusual and disturbing. Is it a case of teaching your son that what he did was wrong? ....Or.... Let him explore why he asked you to do this for him? This is where the counselling can help.
This must be very difficult for you. Although there's a part of you that wants him to stay far away from both you and your daughter, now is the time to keep your son very close.
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From what you have written about your husband, leaving him was a difficult decision and you had the children to consider. Alcohol dependence, combined with his narcissism will have caused your husband inner self-conflict. A man who cannot face his own challenges and conflicts will choose an option that will be easier than confronting himself. He'll take his psychological aggression on someone else. Sadly it is those closest that bear the burden. Your oldest may have been affected more deeply due to his sensitivity - making him more vulnerable. There's even the possibility that your husband saw something in his eldest son. A man your husband felt he couldn't become. A young man who may have brought about feelings of his father's insecurities. One way to deal with that potential threat. Slowly erode his son's self-esteem in order to feel that power, that control over the household. People often make the mistake of questioning why someone in your situation does not leave. There are the practicalities such as finance, accommodation and organisation of the family. You blame yourself for staying with this man and using your children as the reason. However. Your husband will have been extremely clever at manipulating and controlling you. Underneath it all, you were hoping for a loving, fulfilled family life - just like anyone else. Your own childhood experiences - together with your husband - will have re-enforced that inner belief you were not worthy of more. Your husband will have instilled a belief that leaving wasn't an option. Where else would you go? You were under the influence of a person who was in psychological control. A man who exerted power over you. A bully is stronger when they believe their target cannot escape. Your son may blame you. However. Blaming you won't help. You stayed by your husband's side because you believed you were doing the right thing. You stood by his side for the sake of your marriage, family life, cultural reasons and to support the children. Your eldest son may feel unable to forgive. He may feel angry at his father - yet more angry at himself for allowing this to happen. Some of this anger and disrespect may be in part a reflection upon how he feels about himself. Just like you, he needs to accept that he was not to blame either. There's some light at the end of the tunnel in the form of your younger siblings. Perhaps a little young at the time to understand the situation, they certainly have sensed what was happening to the family. Their patience and understanding shows. There may be an opportunity to encourage the younger siblings to talk to your son about trying therapy. They both understand that their older brother is in need of some help. Although it is going to be difficult for you to discuss therapy with your eldest, the time has come for your son to accept he needs it. Therapy will help to overcome the effects of your marriage experience. It's now finding a way to encourage your son to try counselling. There are likely to be many mixed emotions in a situation like this and although your son may be laying much of the blame on you, he may feel some anger towards himself. Counselling will help him to address this and the deeper anger towards his father. Over the years, your son has unlikely been able to confront his father and express this buried anger. Talking things through with a counsellor will help to unburden the build-up of these suppressed emotions. You also write that you will be having counselling/therapy yourself. It may help you to re-connect with your son. It may be worth researching advice on financial help. In a way - you're having to start all over again. Although your son may acknowledge that he needs the therapy, he may need gently encouraging. Underneath it all, your son may really want to re-connect with you. Yet he just can't find his way through all those mixed emotions and past memories. You used to wish you had just driven away and not returned to this man. Well, you have eventually achieved that goal. Without your husband's presence - over time - you'll carve your own lives as a family and this will hopefully help both you and your son re-connect, then move forward.
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Your daughter's situation is progressing but you are not getting any real answer to the problem. Tackling the situation is going to be another challenge altogether - and this is what you need. Reading through your post, there's not only the issue of your daughter's misdiagnosis, there are other issues that are delaying her care. Your daughter is displaying a variety of behavioural symptoms which you discuss in full detail. The time has come for her to receive the appropriate psychological help that can pinpoint the root cause, then address the behaviours involved. Ideally - one way or another - your daughter needs the services of a counsellor who actually understands her condition. At the moment, your daughter appears to be having consultations with professionals, yet not really getting any positive results that can help her to move forward. Does the social worker understand your daughter's condition? Did the professionals who assessed your daughter understand her condition? The social worker and counsellor were only working with her virtually. Let's be honest. Your daughter can't be overly inspired by these consultations if she's missing the appointments. People with mental health issues do really need a physical, trustworthy 'one-on-one' or 'group' interactive approaches to their treatment. Sadly. The Covid19 pandemic has caused problems here. Your daughter is now in need of regular counselling with someone that understands and can meet her psychological needs. Firstly. The appropriate counsellor - whether working alone or with other professionals - will want to fully understand your daughters behavioural routine. Counselling will help your daughter to explore why this is happening to her, such as looking into when it all started in the first place. That is one important area to be explored in counselling. It's looking much deeper at the 'root cause' and also exploring the emotions surrounding the condition. At this point in time - and best to be honest - your daughter is not really being dealt with by people who actually understand her condition. This is where she now needs a professional who is qualified to understand her needs. Even without an official medical diagnosis, your daughter will still benefit from counselling. Her condition may not have an explanation and certainly it will not be cured overnight. However. Her condition can be managed with the appropriate professional care and advice. She could also learn some 'self-help' techniques through counselling, health services or further reading. There may even be group meetings available. Another area that will need to be addressed is your daughter's aggressive behaviour toward you. She is taking out her anger and frustrations in life out on you at home as though it is some form of emotional release. From what you have written, your daughter seems to have difficulty when it comes to interacting with people. Every time your daughter feels offended by anyone she'll express this frustration when she returns home. This could be another area that can be explored in counselling, such as learning to understand that people can behave in different ways and it may not be a personal affront to her. Your daughter may benefit from further reading on being more assertive and building confidence with other people. At this point in time, your daughter is benefitting from being a fifteen year old girl, living at home with you. Incidents such as the 'face mask scenario' will be tolerated for now. However. As your daughter gets older others will not be quite as tolerant. This may be worth bearing in mind the next time you help her with something like taking the face mask off. Politely remind her that she may be able to do that herself from now on. It may also be borne in mind that your daughter appears to be in control of how she behaves and is able to consciously make decisions before acting upon them. You could well be assuming rightly when you believe that she tells people what she believes they want to hear. Deep down inside. Your daughter does appear to lack self-confidence with people. When people behave in a way that she feels offended, she 'brings those emotions home' and then releases her anger upon you. She claims to be able to change who she is. This could be a way 'masking over' her true self when dealing with people. It can be a way of 'hiding'. When also dealing with health professionals, her behaviour is likely to be quite exemplary. From what you have written. It's also likely that your daughter tells you (even blames you) about her frustrations/disappointments with people such as the counsellor, youth pastor, social worker and so on. Any frustration with her fellow class students will be 'brought home' to you as well.....And so on...... In all fairness....There is the question....Do the health professionals really know how your daughter behaves at home?...... The doctor at the hospital wanted a word with your daughter alone. Fair enough. However. Your daughter will have been 'a different person' with the doctor. This will also be with other professionals and people in general outside of your home. There seems to be an issue here. How your daughter behaves at home differs greatly to her behaviour outside. Does she tell the social worker/ counsellor about this behaviour? It's easier for her to miss an online appointment with the social worker by turning the 'off' button, then tell you about how the social worker isn't helping. This could be the reason for her aggressive behaviour towards you. This anger and frustration that builds up inside her, is caused by her difficulty in dealing with people outside the 'safe' boundaries of home. Sounds harsh, but it is much easier/safer for her to be aggressive towards you. She knows this as well. This may also be the reason for her 'hitting and banging herself'. How can she express those inner frustrations?.....This is another area where your daughter could benefit from a trustworthy counsellor who understands this. Your daughter is very conscious of other's behaviour towards her - or what she feels is toward/about her - yet at the same time cannot express herself to other people, other than yourselves. At the moment, your daughter is only fifteen years old. One downside as she gets older will be the realisation that her behaviour will not be tolerated by others. Though the chances are, she knows this already. The time has come for her to at very least co-operate with the social worker and be available for all appointments. Your daughter seems to be very intelligent and may benefit from channelling her energy into her schoolwork. Could she be encouraged to join an after-school club if available? Encourage her to continue with any hobbies such as the piano, as this could be another way of helping her to focus her intelligent mind on being productive. People such as your daughter can have the ability to be creatively talented. It's a difficult situation for you here because the problem seems to lie at the fact that you are not really getting the appropriate professional help for your daughter. Everything you describe in your post could really benefit from the help of a psychological professional who can understand and work with your daughter. You seem to be dealing with people who are not able to work through the problems your daughter has and appreciate that she is in need of this help. Although repeating this, your daughter is now in need of regular counselling in order to work through her issues and also needs to build some confidence/assertiveness when with other people.
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Your daughter may be feeling resentful toward your current wife because of her mother's treatment of her when she was younger. In a way, your daughter may be expressing the anger that she harbours for her mother and 'taking it out' on your wife. Your daughter may have been very deeply affected by the mother's treatment and her behaviour may be the result. Being just you and your daughter will mean - for her - a feeling of stability and safety as she seems to only trust you. There's also the opportunity for your daughter to bond with you and she may feel that your current wife (her step-mother) will interfere with that. You could arrange for your daughter to see a counsellor. It may appear a lot for a 14 year old to undergo therapy and face her past childhood traumas. However, your daughter will be able to explore and come to some understanding with professional help. Your ex-wife's behaviour towards your daughter will have been a result of her own psychological issues. You mention your ex-wife's alcohol misuse, which seems to have been ongoing for many years. Although a separate situation. Your ex-wife does appear to be in need of psychological support herself. Her alcohol misuse and suicide attempts will need to be addressed. This will be essential if she wishes to re-connect with your daughter. Although your daughter is only fourteen years old, she will need to accept the harsh reality of what has been happening in her own life. At the same time she will need to accept and understand the difficulties that you and your current wife are facing. Your present marriage is under immense strain because your daughter and her stepmother are in conflict with each other. You say that you let things go a lot of the time or just handle situations by yourself. In all fairness, you are doing your best to try and 'keep the peace'. You say that your present wife 'picks' at small things which - in all fairness - doesn't help your situation. You can continue to handle certain aspects of this by yourself. You can explain to your present wife the difficulties that your daughter has experienced during her young life. You may want to look into couples counselling or even family counselling. This may help you all to live together more peacefully and enable you all to resolve any conflicts more amicably. Your daughter needs to understand that your present wife is a valued part of your life. However bad her mother treated her, your daughter now has the opportunity to re-build her life in a healthier, more secure environment.
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It's a matter of personal opinion and debatable whether you should 'check in' on your son's social media accounts. It's thoroughly understandable that you want access in order to see what he is writing on it and with whom he is communicating. One problem.....OK....A couple..... Do you tell him that you have accessed his social media content or do you wait for him find out from an email/text telling him that someone 'logged in from a different device'. Will he know you have accessed his computer? How will he respond when he finds out? There is a risk here. Especially at a time when you need to get as close as you can. You say that his friend informed you about his talk of suicide. It's unfortunate that the friendship had to end because of this. It seemed that she was really trying to help. Could you connect with her yourself? It's only a suggestion but it could be a reasonable option for you to find out what your son is getting up to regarding his social media activities. The friend may be a good source of information. Following people....Timelines....Friends.....Groups and so on....With her being better connected to your son's peer group, she will more likely be able to find out what is going on in your son's life. Even if not directly communicating with your son. You may feel that you are going 'behind his back'.....However. It's safer than accessing his social media account. This could follow on with trying to make careful conversation with your son about how he is feeling when you notice he appears 'down' or anxious. Or you may feel that he may want to talk but don't know how to start the conversation himself. Sometimes, we can notice when someone wants to say something but is 'holding back'. It's trying to tactfully ask how their day has been or if there is anything on their mind at that point in time. As you are concerned for your son's well-being, you could speak to your local doctor and enquire about counselling for your son. You could ideally benefit from some professional advice regarding how to tackle this situation in order to communicate with your son about this. There are the advice lines available for a start. You could also speak with a counsellor/therapist in order to get some advice on how you could deal with this situation. It's finding a way that will carefully and slowly encourage him to communicate with you. Would he consider his friend if you explained that she was only trying to help and was concerned for his safety? He may consider talking to her again. Is there any chance that he'd consider talking to a helpline/counsellor himself? Another option is going to counselling sessions together. Admittedly. There is the issue of carefully trying to encourage him to do this. Whatever choices you make here. It is justifiable to want to know exactly what your son is getting up to - especially online - because you want to help him.
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It does appear that your daughter is struggling with very low self-esteem. The incidents you mention with the drugs and alcohol will - sorry to say - escalate if not kept under control. This is a very difficult situation for you because your daughter is now becoming an adult with her ideas about how she chooses to lead her life. You feel powerless to help yet you are witnessing what is happening to her. Wanting to move in with her father is her own choice. However, he is man who has his own mental issues. You are very right to be concerned about the effect on your daughter. Your eldest daughter decided not to live with him anymore and you say he emotionally abuses his girlfriend. From what you say about the guy, he is a man that will emotionally belittle anyone who is vulnerable. You say that you can't reason with her father due to the emotional abuse he inflicted on you. This is a really difficult situation. Will he treat his daughter the same way he did you and his girlfriend? Although her father is not going to be the best influence in her life, it's going to be easier for you to accept that she is going to live with him. Understandably this is upsetting for you. One practical way to deal with this would be for you to keep encouraging your daughter with her work and studies whenever you can. This could help your daughter to feel better in the company of you and your present partner. Your ex-husband is an emotional abuser because he needs to bring down vulnerable people in order find his own place in the world. Your situation is very frustrating and the only thing that you can do is keep encouraging your daughter by praising her for all the positive things she does. Make sure that she is welcome to your home at all times. This will enable you to continue your relationship with her. It is very difficult because you need to be careful not to cause any upset. She could easily side with her father. There is also the risk - from what you say about him - that he could encourage your daughter to become more distant from you. You just need to keep a balance between understanding what your daughter believes she wants, provide as much encouragement as you can and hope she realises that her dad's behaviour is not in her best interests. Again....It is a problem for you because much of this is out of your control and you know that if you are too forceful, you'll create a wider rift in a fragile situation. You could also consider seeking advice from a local health centre or drug/alcohol clinic if possible. They may be able to help and will understand the difficult situation you are in. She is struggling to complete a college course. Could you suggest some form of extra/private tutoring? There may be extra college resources if she seeks help. She could seek advice on courses/programmes that could be an alternative to this TAFE programme or some form of further work training. You are certainly worrying about the alcohol and drug exposure your ex-husband will bring upon your daughter. You say that she is already smoking weed and drinking alcohol. In all fairness, she will need to get help if this progresses further. An alcohol/drug clinic could offer her advice. The problem is speaking to her about it without causing offence. Your daughter could benefit from counselling/therapy in order to explore her own low self-esteem issues. You say she already has been to counselling whilst at school. Returning to a counselling/therapy programme could be worth her looking into. She will certainly benefit from looking after her job. The regular work pattern and money will encourage her to take responsibility. Would it be possible for her to hand over a set amount of money for you to put into an account on her behalf? This could reduce her spending on alcohol or drugs. She does seem to be a girl who genuinely wants to help herself but will easily be distracted by influences elsewhere. Your ex-husband needs help as well. His drinking and drug use will spiral even further out of control because of his own mental health issues. OK...Although it may be hard to suggest....Could your ex and daughter attend a session at one these clinics/help groups together? Your position in all of this is very difficult because you want what is best for your daughter but can't force her to take help. All of this is her decision and she will accept help only when she is ready. It's hard. In the meantime. All you can do is continue giving her as much positive encouragement as and when you can.
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