Hi @Stinkerella and welcome!
It's lovely to read about your family and can quickly tell that you really care about them.
Great to hear that you are getting support from a therapist and you're looking to connect with other parents going through similar things. If there's something you'd like to chat about you can do so here.
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Thanks so much for sharing your experience @KeepSmiling - that sounds like a really helpful solution to call in friends and family to help when your kids were struggling with separation anxiety.
Were they happy to accept support from other people?
I imagine it would help with your stress levels to know you had help too.
Is there anything else you found helped to reduce your kids' anxiety over time?
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This is really tough and seems to build conflicting emotions for you. I figure you mum thinks she is helping you which probably makes her feel good. It might be time to have the "You be the grandparent and I'll be the parent" chat. This is not an easy conversation. You might want to take her out for coffee - somewhere public - if you think it could get heated. It is important for you to remind her that she is living in your house because she needs to. You can acknowledge her love, experience and contributions to the household. You value her suggestions, however, that is all they are, suggestions. You can say things like; that's good idea i hadn't thought of that i'll think about it yeah but nah Than have a consistent and clear set of expectations for the household where everyone knows their rights and responsibilities AND consequences. A mature teen should just need a verbal reminder, redirection and then a follow through. Also, she isn't going to be around forever so ask her to be the fun one. Ask her to be the one her grandson wants to go to for help and advice - your backup adult. Ask her to be the 'good' guy for a while and see how their relationship changes. He might do more for if she changes tack. Unless their being in cahoots leads to more trouble for you of course. Both my parents and in laws are going through health crisis' at the moment and they are so glad they took the fun role. Good luck. I'd love to know how it goes.
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I hear you. Unfortunately, this is going to happen. It sounds to me like you doing a great job. He is only a toddler. It is important to have rules and routines and follow through. Children need to learn self discipline skills before they start school or they rarely do. By lecturing a parent takes that away. By reminding and redirecting you are giving them some of these skills. There will be time for both. Now, how to stop your mum...You can listen and acknowledge her thoughts and experience. You could even do lots of nodding and smiling. Thank her for the suggestion and tell her you'll consider it. Then say you use it some of the time and your way the rest. She is still parenting you btw otherwise she wouldn't be telling you what to do. Funny isn't it. Maybe you could tell her that and ask her how it is working for her Also I used to tell MIL that the doctor said blah blah blah. She just didn't know it was Dr Bill Sears, author and parenting expert on the internet. Never met but loved his books. Good luck and keep up the good work.
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This sounds like a really tricky and complex situation you're in, sorry you're going through this and it's bringing so much turmoil and distress. It must be so tough having to keep your relationship a secret and having not had the chance to apologise to your step son. It sounds like the opportunity to apologise is really important to you in moving forward, is that right?
Is this something that could maybe happen through a letter or email? Sorry if that is a silly suggestion, I'm just wondering if there is a way for you to talk to your step son about what happened.
I'm wondering as well if your partner has any suggestions for ways of reconnecting with your step son? Is it a subject that perhaps he could broach with him?
I understand this must be incredible difficult for you to go through, and wanted to suggest if you were interested in getting some one-on-one support that Parentline could be an option to look into. They provide counselling so parents can chat about what their going through and get some direct support.
I hope this helps, let us know how you go
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Oh this is a big question. Within learning by experience or instruction there are many branches of learning. I personally learn mostly through instruction but also observation of other people's experiences. I love avoiding mistakes this way. My son loves to learn through reading. He remembers nearly everything he reads and loves explicit instruction. One daughter has always been a "Me do it!" kind of person. She can't be told anything by family however responds well to teachers and videos. She likes to teach herself stuff. The other daughter is a combo plus of both. I see so many different approaches in my job but would avoid the word instruction most of the time. I use guidance, facilitation, showing...words that make it sound like a partnership.
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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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These are very good words! When I look at how my children are not afraid of difficulties, it inspires me. They are very surprised when I get upset about my work, they see no point in being sad. I think we have to learn such things.
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Hi Janine, Our son is currently 16 and in Year 11. I've been seriously ill since he was two and we've had varying degrees of support since then, and I've often had to nut things out for myself. I think we first did the Zones of Regulation when he was in Year 2 and the OT did some sessions with his class as well. This was before NDIS. My self-care has a few different aspects. Through this time, I took up the violin and I recently took up the piano again. I don't like making mistakes and am trying to improve so I wouldn't call this relaxing but elf-development is also part of self care. I also am deeply engrossed in researching WWI soldiers' biographies. Our son was supposed to be going on a school history tour through Europe in April this year and spending ANZAC Day at Villers Bretonneaux. I wanted him to know about what our family members had experienced in WWI and it started from there into a monster project. This research project helped get me through being shut inside due to the intense bush fire smoke (I have 50% lung capacity) and lock down and isolation during Covid. It's something I can easily do from home. I'm also very into writing and photography. Photography is really good for getting me outside and focusing and enjoying something else. Went for a bush walk this week and photographed the wildflowers and listened to the wind blow through the trees after a trying time with our son the night before. I blog a lot and have friends from there who have been great through Covid. I also go out for coffee with a friend once a week. He's the same age as my parents and has a good perspective on things. I also try to keep an eye on my breathing and slow it down when I'm stressed. My parents, especially my mum was very involved with our family until a year or so ago. They live an hour away and we're careful about getting together during Covid. During Covid, I've become quite conscious of all the extra thinking, processing and planning that's required and have been overwhelmed a few times either because I'm struggled with where to pay etc or people getting too close and not social distancing. So, I've put together a bag like the nappy bag I used to have when the kids were small with mask, gloves, hand sanitizer etc. That's taken us way off the original topic but I hope it's helpful.
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Sorry to hear your frustration. I understand it as my son who has an IEP also has the same frustration sometimes. He does not like to complete school assignments but would do online program such as Kumon and Beestar. He likes how the questions are breaking down there. He would use text-to-speech and speech-to-text to answer and complete the questions.
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Hi @Teen15 It can be really hurtful when our children get angry, especially when it's aimed at us. We only want the best for them, right? I'm not sure if I can offer much as my kids tend to do the silent treatment when they are angry. @Janine-RO is so right about their emotions being very strong. It can help to remember that teens have similar brain growth to a toddler. If a toddler was having a melt down we'd give them a hug. Not sure that could happen but I do find just a simple pat on the back can reset my son's feelings. I couldn't believe how effective touch was. He will also just come and lie on the bed next to me because he hates touch but knows it helps him. The middle girl won't let me touch her but she talks to her dad so that's ok. Also 15 yo boys are notorious for this type of behaviour then they turn 16 and can just suddenly change. The other thing we do is encourage them to go for a ride or walk - get out of the house. Not that they always will but we can hope. A thought about excessive freedom, have you considered using a bartering technique? You know when you negotiate the price of something you always go to the extreme so you can meet in the middle. For example, I will turn of their device access to our modem for the whole day and they come back with what hours they need and when and we go from there. And if it stuff we are not comfortable with we treat it like introducing solids (like weaning on to something) so if they want to be allowed to do something it might be under a strict time limit or check in process the first few times. A way to show they can be trusted to make good choices. And we use that exact phrase 'good choices' as it promotes a positive negotiation. It would be nice to know what 'excessive freedom' means for your family. Hope things get better soon.
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Me and my son started doing some activities indoors and in the garden. I have recorded them on youtube, guys have a look at the video and let me know what you think about it https://youtu.be/WGJMGja5HBU
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Hi Dexter, there is no really parenting book guide we can use as each individual has different personalities. What is good to mine might not be good to yours. However, I would like you to know that basically I am also a nagging mom. A single parent now. There dad used to spoiled them with material things before. He would constantly oppose my decision in favor of what my kids want, notwithstanding if it will be good for them or not. He is competing with me for my kids attention. I have to discuss with him the consequences if the kids grow up not taught on how to be responsible and independent, how they gonna become a problem not only to the family but to the society if proper discipline won't be instilled to them at an early age. I suggested to make the kids feel that we as couple are one in our decision when it comes to their welfare. In cases, never contradict the other in front of the kids, we can talk always talk about it in the absence of the children but never to argue in front of them. There are times that I feel like they my kids are keeping their distance from me because of my nagging. What I did is, I still keep with my rules inside the house but I see to it that I would also be spending quality bonding time with them after the house chores, an hour or two. Along, I would gently explain to them why mommy nags. I would kiss and hug them, making them feel that despite my nagging, I love them so much. I will also cook them food and sometimes I will just get home with an aquarium, a puppy or a pizza, telling them that I have seen their effort to help me and I am giving them what they want as appreciation for being industrious. It was a struggle, but after a year or two, here they are, they have grown to be responsible kids. For a year of my son is taking care of washing the dishes, mopping the floor without complain. My 10 year old daughter knows her regular task and that is to feed the dog, clean the table, refill the water jugs. I show them that I am doing my part of course, I clean the bathroom and bedroom. Planning t surprise them of a pet cat soon, or a buffet dinner outside when this pandemic crises is over, that is how I reward them. I rarely reward them with money.
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It sounds like the whole family is suffering from the anger and animosity between your children. Some sibling rivalry is normal and even character building, but it sounds like your kids may need some intervention. Have you got a partner or strong adult to support you? Could you sit down with your teens (preferably separately so they don’t start a fight) to discuss the negative feelings and actions you have been witnessing? On a good day, mind you! It might require a lot of fore planning and thinking. Be prepared for the backlash. It’s important to remind your eldest he is actually an adult now and you might be expecting more adult actions from him. Don’t worry - this will take years. You could explain that you understand feeling frustrated and angry in response to various situations, but that you will not tolerate them engaging in constant battles and hateful fighting in your home. Maybe you could start a peace policy in your home, but I couldn’t do this because then that means I have to be peaceful 😊 You can let your kids know that anger is a reaction to hurt or fear. Acknowledging the underlying feelings is always more effective to diffuse anger than simply labelling the anger, which just seems to reinforce it. “I hear you're very angry at ________. I wonder if you're hurt that he called you a liar.” Try not to get dragged into the argument. Only engage when they are not being negative. Actually, with teens that might be a lot of the time. Hmmm It can help to have very clear expectations, chores and boundaries. For example, my kids are not allowed to use the word stupid or similar put downs. We don’t have family rules but values so we might say that a behaviour is helpful or kind and considerate. Means we can change the rules a bit without them realising because our values are the same. I can’t emphasise enough how well this has worked since they were very little. Values may include things like; honesty, kindness, helpful, respectful, trust etc. Have consequences and follow through on them. If your son isn’t contributing to the household bills – as an adult then he is relying on you for food, shelter, clothing, electricity, internet etc. Daughter too. So, privileges can be outlined clearly, like using your power to charge his phone or internet to play games. Life sucks when you can’t find your phone charger… It helps if you explain clearly why the privileges have been lost and be prepared to negotiate. “This seems to be becoming a habit. I can’t allow people in our family to treat each other so disrespectfully, so if I see that again, there will be a consequence.” I am always prepared to negotiate. I will ask how they are going to fix/repair the damage done. Maybe talk about the values they ignored. You mention that your son wants you to punish your daughter. What does he consider suitable consequence? Is he also aware that she isn’t responsible for his ‘friends’ horrible behaviour? Should he also be held accountable for his actions? Should they have a chat to the shared friend about breaching their trust (a value)? There are lots of behaviours described by you that theoretically could be punished. Where would he draw the line? Continue to foster a strong relationship with both teens with one on one time. This can also be a good time to model how to react to conflict. You can remind them that they will be siblings and (hopefully) friends forever in a quiet way when they are on positive days not when they are in the middle of it. You can still empathise with both children and respect their feelings while disagreeing with their behaviour. It can be very powerful to have someone say “I can see how upsetting that was for you…” Even more so if they can eventually bring themselves to say it to each other. There may never be an apology, but this comes a close second. They are entitled to their feelings but are still responsible for their actions. So, he is allowed to hate the boyfriend but why does he get to ban the boyfriend from the house? That is a lot of power for a 19-year-old to have. If you are finding your son is a dominant force in the house, and believe me I know about that, maybe its time for you to get help reasserting yourself as the adult in charge. That’s a tough one. Once again it can help to focus on adult choices and actions. Maybe working on a big project together or volunteering could help them bond over something positive. After all that I can strongly recommend counselling. I have personally had success with EMDR: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing which is a psychotherapy treatment that was originally designed to alleviate the distress associated with traumatic memories or PTSD. My psychologist uses it with ex service people. I have had a great turn around in my relationship with my eldest sister not that she was aware there was an issue. I just hated living in her shadow. Now I call her and chat with her freely and without feeling obligated as family. Apparently, they can even do it via online vid chats. I know this is heartbreaking to watch. Hopefully, you will see a slow change. Big hugs.
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Oh this is a big one! Sounds like there is a lot more going on between the lines. I haven't got much time but will try to come back. Boys in early highschool can be very contrary then they can suddenly blossom. Boys respond to praise, praise, praise. Describe every little thing he does that you value or admire. "I like the way you asked your teacher about that problem. You're very good at finding solutions to these sorts of things. I like it when you apply yourself to your homework it makes my day so much easier..." Lay it on thick but try not to patronise. You might find it sounds false or you are overdoing it but it becomes more natural. It might help to write down the behaviour you want to see and then some phrases you could use so you don't have to think on the spot. Good luck.
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This is so hard and heartbreaking to think your child is lonely or struggling. It is ok for your boy to be alone - not lonely- but solo. Our's didn't prioritize friendships until senior years and still doesn't have a strong group of friends but we encourage him to be strong and happy to spend time with himself. At times, it worried him, but he can still fit in when needed and loves time to be alone as well. Remember, even loners can change the world. We did ensure he always had a handball or basketball to take to school and a book to read. We didn't push sports but it is important for boys to be part of some sort of team so ours did scouts where he learnt group skills but could still work at his own pace. Ours is anxious and struggles with change but we did a lot of work on social expectations/etiquette, explaining the difference between shy and rude. It helps to know what the social routines are so they come automatically and boys can spare thinking for the big stuff. Everybody excels at something. Everybody needs to excel at something. So maybe you can find something that gives him joy or a feeling of success. Music? Art? Volunteering? Writing? Animal Shelter? Kids want to feel valued not only by their families but by the greater community. This will help him find positive ways of building self-esteem and exploring self-identity. It gives him a topic of conversation and positives to build on. Sorry I haven't got time for more but wish you luck. It does get better. We never imagined our son would be where he is today. Big hugs.
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I remembered his younger brother mentioning something to me about how the buyer was not happy, which actually led me to go into the older brother's messages. So I asked the older brother what happened and why the buyer wasn't happy and he confessed that the buyer was not able to use the disc reader on the gaming device and asked for the money back, he told me he refused to give it back to her. I told him to think about that and how he would feel if he purchased a defective device and could not get back his hard earned money. He came to a bit later and told me he offered the buyer her money back but she told him not to worry because she got a new disc reader and was going to fix it,, told him not to feel badly about it an everything is good. I was very proud of him for doing this and as a reward,, took him out to dinner (which is one of his fave things to do). Thank you for your reply...I am happy to know he is becoming a good soul as I adopted him 3 yrs. ago and back then, this would have had a different outcome. I don't view his messages unless I believe I have good reason to...I like him to have his privacy but this was just tickling at the back of my throat and I had to scratch it.
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Just reading back through your posts last month, I wanted to link you a response from one of our Child and Family Professionals last week talking about supporting a teen with employment.
How is your daughter going this month? Sending our wishes your way!
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Hi @WAMUM ,
Welcome to the parents community, I'm so glad that you've found this space. You sound like an incredibly strong and caring parent to your daughter and other kids, and it sounds like you have done a lot to find different supports for your daughter. Supporting a child through complex mental health issues, especially when you have other kids involved, is an incredibly challenging thing, so I just wanted to acknowledge how much strength and courage you've shown posting here. I hear how much you have been doing for your daughter, and your worry about the safety of your other kids.
@JAKGR8 has given some great advice and support, and I know that we have quite a few other members here who have supported their kids through complex issues, you're not alone, and the community is here for you.
It's great that your daughter is attending CAMHS, it sounds like the kind of multidisciplinary team that they can provide might be helpful for your daughter, but I can understand how frustrating it must be when diagnoses and treatments/ medications keep changing. It can be a challenge finding the right combination of medication/treatment approaches that work for the individual. You also mention that she's attended a number of schools, is she currently engaged with a support team at school for the upcoming school year?
I hear your frustration about a lack of supports for the rest of your family, and I'm wondering if the rest of your children , and yourselves, have been connected with a mental health professional or counsellor to help equip them with tools to help them manage the situation at home? Do you think seeing your GP for a mental health plan for your other children could be an option that could be helpful for you?
In terms of their safety - I agree with you, that they need and deserve to feel safe in their home. Has your daughter's mental health team suggested any strategies for when she is becoming physically violent?
Thank you for reaching out here, I can imagine that all of this must take an enormous toll on you as a parent - we are here to support you.
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Dear @Adorable80 How are you going? It sounds like you feel very isolated and unappreciated at the moment. Children can be very challenging at the best of times and it is even harder when our partners aren't able to share the load. Your husband may just find it easier to deny the problem with your son. He may find it confronting that his child is not perfect. I wonder if he would respond differently if other family members or friends told him the problem, especially if they were male. Sometimes those outside the issue have a better picture anyway. There is a great article Behaviour management for boys By Ian Lillico, who is a boy whisperer, I reckon. He says; The behaviour of boys should be modified through praise - never through sanction or punishment. Punishment may contain a boy’s behaviour but not modify it. Punishment can actually be a reward for a boy as this can secure his prestige in the eyes of his peers. We must endeavour to catch them doing the right (nearly right) thing and try to ignore when he does things wrongly. Many parents fall into the trap of continually chastising boys and punishing them when they misbehave. However, in order to have a less stressful family life, and to change his behaviour, we should concentrate on positive reinforcement when he excels at being good. Boys who misbehave can often become heroes in front of his immediate peers. Boys who are publicly chastised both at home, in the neighbourhood or at school, often have a high peer esteem and their poor behaviour often continues to give them feedback - even if we see it as negative. Boys should never be publicly scolded as this tends to raise their peer esteem and, hence, their poor behaviour continues. Public reprimand also severs relationships between the scolder and scoldee as boys are shame-phobic. When it comes to boys, consistency and kindness are your best weapons. As I have said in other posts it is important to prepare for what you want to do. Read, talk, observe information that is relevant. Make a plan (with your partner if possible) and pick a date when you think you will find it the easiest to address your concerns and make a plan with your son. This will also give you time to practise what you want to say, maybe write it down and phrase it in a positive manner. Set realistic, short term goals and be prepared to negotiate. Take time to ensure that you are strong enough to deal with whatever comes next. It might help to keep in mind your husband is also male so he will respond to positives as well. Maybe you can put him in charge or (predetermined) rewards or praise. Nothing over the top but along the lines of, "Your mother tells me you were great at...today. Well done." That way you are all involved and your husband might start to notice when you have nothing good to report although as Lillico suggests it is important to find 'something' worth praising in the early stages. Good luck and big hugs.
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Hi, @20201361 , I just wanted to check in here, and also thank @JAKGR8 for the excellent support and advice.
I also just came across this website which may have useful information for you and your son, it's Young Carer's NSW and has a wealth of information, resources, and peer support for carers aged under 25 https://www.youngcarersnsw.org.au/
ReachOut also has a list of resources for young carers, with a lot of different services listed, and a bit about what they can all offer - if that's something you'd find helpful for your son, the link is here
I can completely understand your concern for your son, particularly with the school holidays coming up, and I think that @JAKGR8 has also offered some excellent suggestions for ways for your ex-husband to get more support for himself, so that the burden isn't falling so heavily on your son. Do you think your husband would be open to looking into these services?
In terms of the holidays, is spending some time with you so that he can recharge a bit an option that would be possible for you?
We are glad that you came here for support, you are not alone, and I hope the community here can be helpful to you
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Hey @Lovingmom0812, That's a really great conclusion, and we are really happy to hear that the conversation went so well! The conclusion you both came to sounds really healthy and well balanced, and it is amazing that you were able to use our community's support in a way that was so beneficial for you and your family.
Keep us updated!
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@lookingforhlp28 Oh, sweetie. I hear your deep love and concern for your daughters. I will come back, write a longer response, and check in with you soon (it's night time in my part of the world), but I did not want you to welcome you to this community of great folk. Your pain has been heard. It is very, very difficult being the parent who tries to 'hold the no'/keep boundaries for the safety of your gals, as well as the well being of everyone else in your home. From what it seems, your husband may have been trying to reinforce the rules of your home as well? No abusive language and so on. If that is the case, then I wouldn't have him apologize. If things were said in addition/in heat that that warrant an apology, sure...maybe an apology on his part is warranted. But, I wouldn't dwell on his behaviour as his actions seem like a bit of a 'red herring' in all of this. Do the girls receive counseling at all? Do you receive counselling as a family (any combination of family members)? What about you? Do you have a counsellor that supports you? I get your worry that you will never see the girls again and that they might never go to your home again. It sounds like you and your older daughter have recently transitioned back to having a relationship again and I imagine the fear of losing her again seems very close and real. Plus, your fears are further magnified by the absence of solid parenting at their dad's house. I get that. Is there the opportunity to meet with them somewhere else? Take them for lunch or another outing? Yes, to some it might seem that you're rewarding their behaviour, but perhaps the goal is to just make a little bit of contact again. If they will meet you, then maybe the message is that their behaviour towards you has been unacceptable *and, at the same time, you will always love them. One of the future goals might be too call them on their behaviour and establish some home rules, but perhaps the focus now, when things are more tenuous, is on 'connection' over 'correction'? Are they still engaged with/attending school? Is there a school counsellor there that can be of any support? Initiate contact with them etc.? Again, welcome to this forum. Please send an update or more details when you can.
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