Starting high school can be stressful for young people (and their parents!)- ReachOut have recently released some new tips to help everyone through the transition!
If you think this would help a young person in your life you can share our video here!
We also have some great resources for parents, including this interview with a school psychologist , how long will it take my teen to settle into high school?
There's also a range of other great, practical resource and strategies about how to approach the transition to high school that you can read about here.
We'd also love to hear your experiences!
Do you have kids who are starting high school or changing schools this year?
What did you find the hardest about the transition to high school?
What would be your number one tip to other parents?
... View more
Hi @Mouton1971 ,
That sounds like such a difficult situation, I'm so sorry to hear that the relationship with your daughter has been rocky. Do you and your ex-partner have a formal shared custody arrangement, or is your daughter living with her mother full time? Separation and negotiating the different rules and boundaries across different households can be so stressful - unfortunately we are an Australian service so I don't have a lot of knowledge about support services where you are, but talking things through with a mediator or someone who's removed from the situation can really help a lot - I did find this service in South Africa if you think that would be helpful?
We also have some great resources on our website on how to help your teen through a family separation, including separated families sharing what's worked for them - you can check those out here i
Phone conversations can be really hard, it can be easy for things to escalate when emotions are running high - do you think you'd be able to see your daughter in person, or write her a letter to let her know how you're feeling?
I'm also just going to tag a few community members with similar aged kids who can hopefully share their experiences and advice as well :) @Birdwings @Isblind @Babymomma
... View more
Hi @gumleaf , thanks so much for sharing your experiences and giving support here. Just to let you know, I had to make a small edit to your post just because we don't allow people to share names/dosages of medications on the forums :) It's so good to hear that medication was helpful for you, and you're spot on - very important to have a chat with your doctor before you come off medication and do it slowly :)
... View more
Hi @Isblind ,
That sounds really tough - can I ask, is your daughter aware that you and your partner are in the process of starting to separate? Do you think that some of what you are sensing from her might be her feelings about the changes that lie ahead? It sounds like you and your partner are making a big effort to keep life as 'normal' as possible, and I'm sure that will be a hugely protective factor for your daughter as you go through these changes. It's clear how much you love your daughter and how much you are putting her well-being at the centre of how you're approaching everything.
ReachOut have some great resources on our website to help parents and their teens navigate separation, it includes videos of parents sharing what worked for them, and some really practical tips on how to have those difficult conversations, so I've linked to those here in case they're helpful.
It sounds like having a chat with your daughter about how she's feeling could be a good idea - I know as a parent myself, I often find those tricky conversations are easier when we're also doing something else, like going for a drive, or having a walk . Open ended questions are a great way to start!
It sounds like you've had a lot on your plate, it's great that you've been able to successfully wean off your antidepressants - are you having any support from a psychologist or counsellor at the moment?
... View more
Hi @Desparatemum ,
That sounds like an incredibly difficult situation for you and your family, I can imagine that it would have been an awful feeling having to call the police when your son became abusive like that.
There's some great support services that will be able to give specialised advice around a FVRO :
In Western Australia, the Domestic Violence Helpline gives specialised support, you can contact them on 1800 007 339- because the specifics of domestic violence orders are different between the states, they're probably in the best position to give you specific advice about the implications of taking out the order, and can also refer you to other local services that can give you some more support.:
The Domestic Violence Helpline is a state wide 24 hour service. It provides information, support and referral for people experiencing family and domestic violence as well as for those who are concerned about their violent and abusive behaviours. Help can include phone counselling, liaison with police if necessary, support in escaping situations of family and domestic violence and referral to safe accommodation.
This service can also provide information about accessing legal advice, accommodation and other support services for people who have been served with a violence restraining order. (https://www.dss.gov.au/women/help-is-here-campaign)
1800 RESPECT are another excellent service who are available 24/7 with specialist counsellors who are really skilled and knowledgeable about family violence.
I can imagine that it must be such a stressful experience for your whole family, you deserve to feel safe in your own home- do you have any other children? Is your son still attending school at the moment? I'm also wondering if your son has ever seen any mental health professionals at all?
We have heard in the past from parents who've been through similar experiences with their kids - I just thought I would link to this thread here, in case it's helpful for you to read about other people's experiences. Thinking of you and your family -please keep us posted on how you're getting on.
... View more
HI @L-R75 ,
Getting some support sounds like a great idea- Headspace can be an excellent place to start, they offer free mental health and other support services for young people. This page gives a bit more information about what they offer, and links on how to find your nearest centre, they also offer phone and online counselling services if your son would prefer that. Your GP can also be a great starting point- they can help him put together a mental health care plan which gives access to medicare-subsidised sesssions with a psychologist, and GPs will often have recommendations for good mental health professionals in your area.
I also just thought I'd share this chat from other parents on our forums, sharing their experiences with their kids and using online porn - you're definitely not alone in grappling with this, and I thought it was really interesting chat with a lot of differing perspectives shared.
Wishing you and your family all the best - how is your son doing with it all?
... View more
Hi @L-R75 ,
I imagine that must have come as a pretty big shock to you and your husband- $10 000 is a lot of money to have spent in a year, and I'm guessing your son may be feeling pretty ashamed and embarrassed about it as well.
Viewing online pornography is something that's pretty common among young people, and it can be a really hard topic for parents to broach with their kids. We have a guide here to talking to your teen about pornography that I thought might be useful for you, it has some really practical ideas for how to talk about this with kids, and other issues to consider. In your son' s case, I'd imagine there might be a fair amount of embarrassment having his parents know about it, as well as shame for having spent so much money.
Do you think it might be helpful for you and your husband to chat with a professional about ways that you can approach this with your son, to hopefully help break that cycle of blaming each other? We do offer a free one to one support service for parents that is run either online or over the phone, they are really experienced family professionals and can help you come up with a plan of action.
Is your son still living with you at home at the moment?
... View more
Hi @Dad2a17y_o ,
You're definitely not alone in having problems navigating boundaries around screen time with your teenager- we hear from a lot of other parents in similar situations. It sounds like it's been a pretty tough time with him moving in with you so recently and being kicked out of home, I'm so sorry to hear that.
The right solution with screen time can look different for each family. I think the concerns about excessive screen time, especially at night if it's interfering with sleep, are really valid. A lot of families have boundaries around the use of phones at night - for example, some families might agree to leave their phones in the kitchen overnight, or have no phones after 10pm etc.
However, it also may be worth looking at what your son is using his phone for- is he gaming? Chatting with friends? Using online forums? etc. Technology can also be an important medium for social connection for young people - a lot of mental health services have online support options which are really popular, for example, so I would be a bit cautious about removing his digital access more permanently. From what you've said here, it is hard to know what the relationship between your son's screen use and his mental health is, and it could be a really good idea to chat to a professional to unpack this.
However, I can completely understand the need to have boundaries around this. ReachOut do have some great resources on helping teens to navigate technology use here that might also be helpful.
We've also had a lot of parents who've had discussions around this, so I just thought I would link to a range of those here in case that's helpful :)
You mention that your son is showing some irritablity, anger and depression as well as threatening suicide- that sounds very concerning, and it's something that should always be taken seriously. Has your son ever seen a mental health professional for support at all? Your GP can be a good first point of contact to have a chat and get some more support.
It's really important to get help if your son is at risk of harming himself- for immediate support, these services are available 24/7:
LIfeline: 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service
Support if you, or someone you know, is suicidal (15 years and over)
1300 65 94 67
Online text chat
To talk to someone about anything that’s going on in your life (5 to 25 years).
1800 55 1800
Online text chat
WIshing you all the best - I can imagine that this is an incredibly tough and stressful time for you as a parent and I can hear how strongly you have your son's best interests at heart. please keep us posted on how you get on
... View more
Hi @Fran37 ,
Thanks so much for sharing your experiences here, it sounds like you've done a wonderful job in advocating for your daughter and helping her to find the right supports. I'm sorry to hear that this journey has sometimes been an isolating one for you. I know that ASD can often be diagnosed later in girls, and I hope that having a correct diagnosis helps your daughter to get the support she needs. I love what you say here: " It hasn't fixed things but what it has given us & even more importantly other people (teachers, peers, extended family) greater perspective & a deeper understanding of the why. We have a long journey ahead of us but it feels right & we now no which path to follow" - this is so incredibly valuable for other parents to hear.
How is your daughter going with navigating school now?
It's wonderful that you were able to get some support and organise a diagnosis through Aspect, they're a great organisation! I've heard from other parents of kids with autism that they've found some of these resources really helpful as well so I just thought I would share them here in case you'd like to check them out - apologies if you're already aware of them!
I Can Network are an autistic run organisation who deliver school based programs and online mentoring programs for young people with autism
Reframing Autism is an autistic led organisation who provide education for families and support ; "
Are you ready to celebrate Autistic identities, embrace the Autistic community, and empower Autistic individuals?
Join Reframing Autism as we work to change the world to achieve respect, acceptance and citizenship.
Yellow Ladybugs is an organisation that supports and celebrates autistic girls, women and gender diverse individuals
Thanks so much again for sharing your experiences, it's so valuable for other parents to hear. It sounds like it's been a really challenging journey for you at times, have you been able to access support for yourselves?
... View more
Hi @George96 ,
My heart really goes out for you reading this post- it sounds like you and your little one have both been through a lot in the last 12 days, it sounds like an incredibly challenging period. I'm a mum of 2 myself, and I know how hard the early weeks can be even without those kinds of complications... a 21 months is a delightful but sometimes very challenging age as well! It is completely understandable that you'd be feeling drained and exhausted. You say that you feel like reaching out to your doctor is admitting defeat - I think it actually shows a huge amount of strength and courage.
I thought this program might also be something that you could find helpful - the Gidget Foundation specialise in perinatal mental health and anxiety, and they offer a video counselling service called Start Talking - it's free with a GP referral and lasts for 10 sessions, I've just linked you to some info here in case you'd like to check it out.
Do you have any friends or family that can give you some practical help when your partner goes back to work? Sometimes even having a few frozen meals that you can throw in the microwave, or someone to take the baby for a walk so you can nap can make a huge difference.
Thinking of you- you sound like a strong and loving mum, and there is absolutely no shame in asking for help when you need it
... View more
Hi @Mumrun3 ,
I just wanted to check in , and see how you and your daughter are getting on?
As @TOM-RO said, there's definitely a lot of different options out there. We have a great collection of resources on our page that she might find helpful about life after school, with young people sharing the different paths that they have taken, and ideas for what to do if things don't go as planned.
Has your daughter looked into TAFE at all? I know several people who've started out as enrolled nurses through studying at TAFE, and then progressed to studying a bachelor of nursing to become RNs. There's some good information on studying nursing at TAFE in QLD here, if you think she'd be interested in looking into that at all. Most TAFEs will also have career counselling services, so they could also be useful people to chat to - we have an article about the benefits of studying at TAFE here
The HSC definitely isn't for everyone, and a lot of people take a different route to uni or further study! How is your daughter feeling about it all?
... View more
I think that most of us can agree that 2020 has been a bit of a wild ride - I know that I relate a little bit too strongly to this GIF!
It's been an unprecedented year in so many ways, and the end of the year can often be a pretty stressful time for parents ! We also recognise that the Christmas period can sometimes be a really challenging time for families - financial pressures, tricky family relationships, the pressure to make everything 'perfect', not being able to be with loved ones, loneliness - there's a lot of different things that can play on our minds at this time of year. ReachOut have a great article that looks at coping with the stress of Christmas that you can check out here.
We would love to hear how you and your family are getting on as we approach the end of the year!
Do you have any celebrations planned? What are you looking forward to over the end of year break? Do you look forward to this time of the year, or does it all get a bit overwhelming? The forums are here 24/7, so please feel free to use this space to share and vent whenever you need to.
... View more
Hi @aprilrnga ,
It sounds like a really difficult situation for you, your husband and your stepson to navigate - establishing a blended family can be really challenging. I'm hearing that those difficulties are starting to cause issues in your relationship with your husband, I'm wondering if the two of you have ever tried seeing a counsellor together to work through some of these concerns? Sometimes it can help a lot to have a neutral third party involved, especially when emotions are running high.
It looks like you're in the USA, is that right? We are an Australian service so unfortunately our local support options won't be suitable - I did find this service that looks like it could be useful if you ever feel like it would help to talk to someone
We also have some great resources on the ReachOut Parents page on navigating the dynamics of a blended family and building those relationships - you can have a look at those here , they include videos from other families sharing their experiences.
On your weekends with your stepson, I'm wondering if you have any activities that you enjoy doing as a family? Does your stepson spend much time one on one with his Dad? I'm wondering if it might be helpful to focus on some activities that can help you to bond as a family unit, while also giving your stepson some alone time with his dad. I do think that @OutOfOptions makes a good point about how much children can absorb people's behaviour and attitudes towards them, and I imagine if your husband feels like his son isn't been treated fairly, it would make him feel really protective and defensive towards his son.
@OutOfOptions thanks so much for sharing your experiences here, it sounds like you and your family have been faced with some incredibly challenging circumstances, and I can hear how much you've done to try and support your stepson. It looks like you are also in the USA - I'm sorry but I'm not overly familiar with the law there around emancipation and what that looks like for a young person. Were the police able to give you any suggestions about any support services that might be able to help your stepson? Is your stepson interested in doing any further education, like community college?
... View more
Hi @concerned09 ,
I'm really sorry to hear that your daughter has self harmed, I imagine that would have been a really confronting and upsetting thing to find out, and we're glad that you've come here for some support
We have some great resources on the ReachOut Parents website to help parents understand the reasons why young people may self harm, and some strategies that may be helpful for them which I've linked to here. A lot of the time, young people self-harm to cope with painful thoughts, emotions and memories- the physical pain can often provide a sense of momentary relief, and it's something that can often become quite compulsive. For most young people , it's a way to cope with difficult emotions rather than an attempt to end their life, though some young people may also be experiencing thoughts of suicide.
Has your daughter been able to tell you why she harmed herself?
Do you have a GP that you have a good relationship with? Getting some professional help is really important if your daughter is open to it - a GP is a great place to start. Services like Kids Helpline and Headspace are also great places for your daughter to access support from a mental health professional. If your daughter is more comfortable talking to a school counsellor or psychologist, they may be another good person to approach for support. A professional can help a lot in both looking at the underlying reasons for self harm, and helping your daughter to develop coping skills and strategies to avoid self harming behaviour.
You're definitely not alone in having a young person who is experiencing self harm - if it would help to read other parent's experiences and hear what worked for them, this thread has a lot of parents sharing their experiences of supporting a young person who is self-harming.
It's also really important for you to get some support for yourself if you feel like you need someone to lean on - supporting a loved one who's experiencing challenges like this can definitely take a toll on your own well being. We do offer a one to one parents support service in partnership with the Benevolent Society that you can check out here - it is free and confidential, and is run over the phone or online.
I hope that these resources are helpful for you- do you have any friends and family that you can lean on for support? This is a really friendly and safe space- you don't have to cope with this alone. Please keep us posted on how you and your daughter are getting on - wishing you all the best.
... View more
Hi @LPrice93 ,
Welcome to the ReachOut forums! We are targeted at parents of young people aged 12-18 years so we may not be best placed to answer your question, I'm sorry. As a parent myself, I'd definitely recommend having chat to your GP if you haven't already - there can be a few causes of kids having accidents (such as chronic constipation), and a GP can be a great starting point for working out what might be going on, and treating any underlying problems .
Raising Children also has a great resource on faecal incontinence in children here . As they say, it can definitely be challenging and upsetting for both the parents and kids, but there's a lot of strategies that you can try to help, once the cause of it has been narrowed down.
I hope this helps a bit - wishing you and your 6 year old all the best.
... View more
Hi @demelza ,
It sounds like such a difficult situation for you, and for your daughter. Setting boundaries in these types of situations can be incredibly hard, but it sounds like you're setting a really good example for your daughter there. Pregnancy can be a really vulnerable time, and it's great that you are encouraging her to set firm boundaries with her father and giving her support when she needs it.
If your daughter feels like she could use some extra support, PANDA are a great organisation that specialise in supporting women's mental health during pregnancy and they have a free helpline, you can find their website here.
I'm sorry to hear that your ex partner's behaviour continues to take a big toll on you, it sounds like you have been through a lot and that's really understandable, it sounds like counselling could be really helpful in giving you some extra support
If there's ever times when you feel like you are in crisis and are wanting to talk to someone straight away, there are some great free helplines that you can call - Lifeline is on 13 11 14, and they also offer online chat services here, the suicide callback service is also a great one, you can find them on 1300 65 94 67 or at https://www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au/
... View more
Hello Parents Community members!
Just a quick note to say we have just completed an update of our Community Guidelines, you can check out the new version here!
Thanks to all of you who provided feedback earlier in the year, and the guidelines have also drawn on the input from past members of the community . We hope that these guidelines will help keep the community a safe, supportive and helpful space.
Just tagging some of our recent active members here: @Birdwings @sidneysdad @Coops @Gebadia @gaityland @upsetmum @Holola @GreenB @AmberP @Beebaloolah @serenity2b @Mamma3 @Yoonmama @MumOfThreeTeens @Nitro @SophStressed @AvenueTribe @Sil77 @ChloeBeau @Teensthesedays
... View more
Hi @Gebadia ,
That's great news that he managed a full day of school and being on time as well - definitely a win to celebrate! It can be a really tricky situation to sit in as a parent when your young person doesn't want to seek counselling- the online options that @Hannah-RO mentioned are meant to be great, and if you think he'd be interested, we do also have an anonymous online forum for young people here.
I hope your week continues to go well!
... View more
Hi @upsetmum ,
I just wanted to check in and see how you're doing today. Did your daughter end up coming home?
I think that @Birdwings 's advice is fantastic , and I know that as a parent myself I definitely identify with the pain that we go through when our kids are suffering - I remember reading a quote from Elizabeth Stone that really resonated with me; “Making the decision to have a child - it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.".
If you think getting a bit more support for yourself at the moment would be helpful, we do offer a free one to one parents support service, where you can have 4 free sessions with a child and family professional either online or over the phone - you can check that out here.
We also have some resources on the ReachOut parents page on drug and alcohol use that you might find helpful- the right approach is different for every family, and you need to do what feels right for your family, but I did really like some of the practical tips shared here, and there's some great other resources including a video of different parents sharing their experiences here.
@Birdwings I'm sorry to hear that the weekend was a rough one for you and your family - that super hot weather can definitely add another layer of stress and make it much more likely for tempers to fray. Have things settled down now?
... View more
Hi @Skip2 ,
Thanks for sharing your experiences here, what is right for each family in terms of boundaries around nudity and privacy varies widely, but it sounds like you and your sister have a very open and respectful relationship with each other and with your parents. It's good to hear that respect and appropriate behaviour remains at the centre of your relationships with your kids and each other now as adults.
... View more
Thanks so much @Birdwings and @Beebaloolah for your thoughtful and insightful comments. @Gebadia I'm wondering if your son would be open to having a check up with your GP at all, or if he's had one recently? I know it may be tricky if he's not keen, but I'm wondering if it could be worth ruling out any physical causes of his low energy in the mornings? Obviously we can't give medical advice here, but it can often be good to have a chat with a GP as a starting point.
I really love what you say about celebrating the small wins @Gebadia - I think that's such a good approach, progress can often be slow but it's so important to celebrate those wins. How are you coping with everything?
... View more
Hi @Yoonmama ,
Welcome to the forums! It is so nice to have you here :)
Moving to a new country with 2 kids must have been a huge challenge, you definitely do sound like a very strong mother- do you have any family support in Australia?
It sounds like your daughters have a really strong and supportive relationship which is really wonderful, I always think it's fascinating how different siblings can be.
I'm wondering if your younger daughter has always been afraid and nervous in school life, or is this something more recent? Experiencing social anxiety, and anxiety around school, is something that's quite common for young people- it can be a really isolating experience, but it can often help a lot to know they're not alone. We have some great tips on coping with social anxiety here, with some really practical information as well as a video from a young person who's been through it themselves.
Chatting to a professional can also help a lot to work on ways to overcome the anxious feelings, especially if it's starting to feel like it's interfering a lot with how she wants to live her life. Do you have a GP that she would be comfortable talking to? Headspace centres are also another great place to start, for young people who'd like to chat to someone about their mental health ,and their services are free and they also have internet based services- you can find out more about those here
Do you think your daughter might be open to chatting to someone about how she's been feeling?
... View more
Hi , I hope you and your family are going well - I just wanted to let you know that our resident psychologist, @Linda-ROPro , has also answered your question here. I hope you find it helpful!
... View more
Hi @Teensthesedays ,
My heart goes out to you reading your post - it sounds like it would be so distressing and frustrating as a parent and I'd imagine you might be feeling pretty helpless at the moment.
I think that @Birdwings has given beautiful and compassionate advice - and I did want to echo what she said about trying to maintain the connection with your daughter as being so important. I'm sorry to hear that the police weren't able to help you much. Another option could be to contact your local child protection in your state, especially if you're worried about your child's safety where they are living. Do you know the parents of the friends that she's staying with at the moment? If your daughter is still going to school, another option could be to have a chat to the school about what is happening.
It's really important for you to have support as well - if you think it might help to chat to someone, we do offer a free one to one parent's support service that you can access here.
... View more
Hi @Mattnjos ,
Welcome to our forums, and thanks so much for sharing a bit about what's happening for you and your family here. You and your husband sound like you're supportive and loving parents to your child and it's great that you've reached out here for support. The fact that they've been so open and honest with you about where they are at with exploring and understanding their gender identity shows that you have a really trusting relationship, and that is such a protective thing for them.
It's really common for parents to experience mixed emotions when their chlidren let them know that they are gender diverse, and there is no 'right' way to feel - a name is a really personal thing, and I can imagine that it may feel quite upsetting to hear that your child wants to choose a new name.
It sounds like chatting to someone might be really helpful for you and your husband so I thought I'd share a few services that may be able to help-
Qlife offer free phone counselling services, support and referral for LGBTQ people and their families- they might be a great place to start in recommending support services for you in your area
Parents of Gender Diverse Children is an Australian organisation who can give support, information and contacts for supports, I have linked here to their inquiry page for parents.
Transcend is another group who offer advice and support for parents of trans, gender diverse and gender questioning kids.
ReachOut also have a lot of resources on supporting your teen as they explore their sexuality that you can check out here
It's a few years old now, but there's also a great thread here from other parents sharing what helped them in supporting their transgender teen .
It sounds like it's been a pretty overwhelming time for you, how are you feeling today? We are always here if you want to chat.
... View more
Hi @Dadof3boys ,
ReachOut Parents is aimed at parents of young people aged 12-18, so we may not be the most useful forum for your question I'm sorry. As a parent of a preschooler myself, I can definitely really relate to your post though - your son sounds like a lovely, gentle, and caring kid, and you're clearly really switched on, responsive and caring parents.
One resource I've found really helpful is the Raising Childrens Network site, which goes through all of the different aspects of a child's development, I've linked there page on 4-5 year olds here in case you find it helpful. There's also a great article on temperament here. Role playing with your son about being assertive if other kids are doing things that he doesn't like might be something that could be helpful... it sounds like you're doing a really great job at talking to him about his emotions, and helping him to feel safe and secure.
Do you have access to an early childhood centre/ early childhood nurse? They can be a great place to start to chat about any concerns you may have, and they may have some suggestions on how to help your son to build on his social skills. . Parentline is also a great resource if you want to get some advice on different approaches from an experienced counsellor :)
... View more
Hi @mumto3 ,
That sounds like such a difficult situation, dealing with conflict between teenagers can be incredibly challenging- and I can completely hear you with being unsure of how to handle things if you're not sure who's telling the truth about what's happened.
I really like this video that Clare Rowe, a family psychologist, did for ReachOut talking about family conflict - one thing that she suggests is a family contract, where everyone sits down as a family and draws up a contract, where you set out expectations for how people will treat each other (for example speaking to each other respectfully, not swearing at each other etc) , and the consequences if those expectations aren't met. If everyone is involved in making the agreement, it tends to make it more likely that young people will buy into it- do you think something like that might work for your family? Are there any things in particular that often seem to cause conflict with your kids?
If you're interested, we do offer a free one to one support service either online or over the phone, with a family professional who can help you come up with an action plan - it can sometimes help a lot to talk things over with someone else! You can read more about the service here. It's completely understandable that you feel like it's taking a toll on your mental health, do you have people in your life who can help to support you? Is there anything that you enjoy doing for self care to fill your own cup? Being a parent can be exhausting and speaking as a parent of 2 myself I can definitely say that self care is often kicked down to the bottom of the list for me - but it really is so important. We are always here for support or if you need to vent.
... View more
Hi @Susana ,
I'm so sorry to hear that you're having such a tough time with your son, seeing a loved one go through addiction must be incredibly distressing and frustrating. Addiction can be a really complex problem, and helping someone through that while also respecting your own boundaries and protecting yourself can be so challenging. ReachOut is aimed at young people aged 14-25 and our parents service is primarily for parents of young people aged 12-18 so we may not be able to provide the most relevant support for you- I did find some services that might be helpful, though:
Family Drug Support Australia offer 24/7 telephone support to families of people who are experiencing drug or alcohol addiction.
Counselling online also offer confidential, free counselling, and they also have an online peer support forum that includes a space for friends and family of people who are experiencing addiction here., it looks like it's quite active and I'm sure there will be a lot of people there who've walked similar paths with their loved ones.
Thinking of you, and I hope you find some of these services helpful
... View more
Hi @Birdwings ,
I'm so sorry to hear you've been having a tough time with your daughter. We do often hear from parents that years 9-10 can be particularly tough with some young people, in terms of pushing boundaries and experimenting with risky behaviour. As you probably know , the frontal lobes of our brains (specifcally ,the prefrontal cortex) which govern executive funcitons like impulse control, risk taking and the ability to plan and think about the consequences of our actions, is still developing in teenagers- it doesn't fully develop until the age of 25 or so. I really like this article on Raising Childrens Network on brain development in teens here for a bit more detail... but basically, this means that teens can be more prone to impulsive and risky behaviour, or may act without fully thinking through the consequences of their behaviour.
It's great to hear that you found the ReachOut article on risky behaviour and positive risk taking helpful, and it's wonderful that you've continued to focus on reconnecting with your daughter. I suppose another side that might be worth considering, is the role of consequences in helping her to understand the effects of making poor decisions. I'm wondering if you've had a chance to look at this article here? I really liked the way it frames using consequences as a way of helping to teach teens about risky behaviour, and the importance of using meaningful consquences:
Give your child every opportunity to learn this life lesson successfully by considering the following in setting meaningful consequences.
What’s important to you? Help your child understand the values that are important to you and that your job is to keep them safe. If they do something that is in conflict with those values, or is a risk to their safety, there are consequences. For teenagers, using privileges can be effective in setting meaningful consequences.
Make a list of privileges. What activities or privileges does your child value? Agree on privileges that will be given up as a consequence of poor behaviour. Will there be an expansion of privileges in response to positive behaviour? Privileges may include access to technology, spending time with friends or doing a favourite activity,
Agree on consequences together. By talking through your values, expectations and consequences you are allowing them to take responsibility for their behaviour, the decisions they make and the consequences of not living up to your expectations.
Consequences should relate to the behaviour that you want to change. Consider consequences that give your child opportunity to exercise better self-control and judgment. For example, if they stay out past curfew, the consequence may be that they don’t get to go to the next party they are invited to.
Consequences should be consistently applied, and fit the issue. There shouldn’t be room for debate, particularly if the consequences were agreed beforehand. They can be scaled up for repeated misbehaviour or the seriousness of their actions, or scaled down following good behaviour. Consequences should also happen soon after the behaviour, and have a limited timeframe that is clear to everyone."
I can completely understand your feelings about a suspension feeling like a bit of a reward for the student (and one that places a burden on parents!). Is there an expectation from the school that she complete work that she's missing while she's away? Or alternatively, are there any jobs that she could help with around the house while she's suspended, so it's clear that the expectation is that she doesn't treat it like a holiday? I can hear how empathetic and compassionate you are towards your daughter, which is a wonderful thing - and I think you're right, time with friends is definitely incredibly important for teens, so I'm wondering if losing some social time could be a consequence that has currency with her, what do you think?
How is your husband feeling about the situation?
Apologies if you've already seen this (I know I've mentioned it in other posts) but we do offer a one to one parents support service which I've heard great things about - sometimes it can help a lot to workshop issues like this. It's a free service, and you can find out more about it here.
You give so much wise and generous support on these forums, and you're also deserving of that kind of support. Thinking of you and your family - it sounds like a really challenging time for you and we are always here to listen.
... View more