First of all, can I just say how great it is that you're here seeking some support for your son? It's pretty clear how much you care about him and his wellbeing, and that is so wonderful to see.
I also know how terrifying it can be to take that first step towards help - mental health stigma is real and I think it's so natural to want to protect your son from that. But I do want you to know that we've come a long way even since RO was founded twenty years ago. Many people will seek help from a psychologist, through a GP referral, and never even be given an official 'diagnosis'.
Those who are given a diagnosis often have to explain it to each new doctor or psych they speak with - a fact that can be frustrating all on its own. In my personal, anecdotal experience, it's a lot more likely that he'll get really bored having to explain to each new doctor why he's on that medication (if he chooses to take meds!) or what kinds of therapy he's been to.
Finally: If you do get a diagnosis, you will still be the same amazing advocate for your son you are now. You can totally use that 'official' name to access the supports he needs, but still refuse to let anyone use it to pigeonhole him or what he can do.
I also want you to know: if you go see a psych and your son doesn't like them, take him to a new one. Try two, seven or fifty until he finds one he's comfortable with and has a rapport with. With the right psych, it's going to be all about finding the best strategies to help your son live his best life.
Still, take your time figuring out what support is best for you both. Headspace and eHeadspace are a great start. This stuff isn't easy, but you're already taking some amazing steps towards what you need.
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Hey @Kiwiinoz - first of all, can I just say how awesome it is that you're here on RO Parents?
I can hear how much you care about your daughter and how important it is to you to help her work through this tough time. It sounds like you have really great instincts and so much compassion. She is lucky to have you.
I really want you to encourage your daughter to come have a chat with the amazing community over at ReachOut Youth Forums. There are some great fact sheets for her on the main site, and I know all the people over there can relate to losing friends, conflict with friends, and some of them have made big moves themselves. She is so welcome there and might find it a bit of a relief to have somewhere anonymous to unload everything she's carrying right now.
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Hi @joanne -
I'm hearing a lot of concern and worry for your daughter's situation right now. I can only imagine how exhausting it must be for you to be trying to navigate what is an extremely complex and personal issue. I'm so glad you came here and that you're getting some extra support. We're here for you, and for your daughter.
It must be really scary to be facing the reality that your daughter, who is so young, is now charging head-long into adulthood in the hardest way possible. The reality right now is that her doctor is correct: at 16, all decisions regarding her medical care are hers alone, and legally she gets to decide what information you get and when you get it. That's a really wonderful thing to protect her privacy - but I totally understand how anxious you must feel to be excluded from a conversation and a decision that also has an impact on your life.
I'm wondering a few things right now, because this is a really complicated issue:
Does your daughter have any support, like a counsellor, for her suicidal feelings and urges to self-harm? Do you know if she has hurt herself, or does so regularly?
It sounds like you're really struggling to communicate with her. Have you looked into strategies you could try to help improve communication with both her and her sister?
What is her relationship with the baby's father like? Are they still together, and is that relationship steady?
Take your time with all this. What you and your daughter are dealing with is huge and stressful for anybody, and it's so normal to feel overwhelmed, anxious and depressed. Hopefully over time we can find some strategies that see the two of you facing this as a team and supporting each other.
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@Aussiemom, it sounds like your family is having a really hard time right now. I can only imagine how frustrating and worrying this must be for you. It really sounds like you've been fighting quite a battle for a long time and I'm hearing that it's been really exhausting.
I'm wondering if you've talked to your son about why he doesn't want to get up for school? Is he having problems with the work, social issues (like fights with friends); or is he struggling with his sleep or moods? That might help us all here on RO to give you some more targeted ideas for how you can support him to either get to school, or find something else that will suit him better.
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I was just reading through your most recent post. It sounds to me like your daughter is curious about the ins-and-outs of sex, perhaps more than she is looking for sexual gratification. At her age it is very common to have this kind of curiosity, and equally as common to feel very embarrassed talking to your parents about it. It makes sense to me that if she's embarrassed, she might be seeking education from some less-than-ideal sources in an effort to learn without having to have a tough conversation with you guys.
I'm wondering what kind of conversations you've had with her regarding sex and her body? Is that something that you feel comfortable talking to her about, and are those conversations in line with the values you're working to promote in your home? I understand that as faith is very important to both you and your daughter, sex could mean very different things for your family whether it's within or outside of marriage, which I totally understand. Do you think there is a difference between exploring sexual content because of curiosity about how bodies work and what marriage will be like, and exploring it for sheer gratification, or in other contexts which might go against your faith?
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