Hi Uncle 75, Welcome to our Reach Out Parents Forum. I'm a parent with a 16 year old son and 14 year old daughter. In many ways, our family seems incredibly sorted out because my husband and I are still together and our kids are doing alright but not without challenging phases and moments. However, our kids have been through fairly extensive trauma due to my ongoing health issues which can be very dramtic, intense and terrifying and have been that way since our second child was born. So, we've had to deal with trauma, the threat of them losing their Mum, none of us coping and then landing back on our feet again as though nothing has happened. Security has been a big issue for our kids through this, anxiety and at times needing to take responsibility beyond their years. Without meeting your niece, I can imagine some of the trauma and serious disappointment she has experienced and how she might view her role in all of this. Much of the response to this does belong in the realm of professionals and there are professionals who are well trained and experienced in this area. However, there's so much you are already doing by gaining custody and bringing her into your family and you evidently love her very dearly and are very concerned for her welfare. Please don't underestimate what you're already doing and how you being her uncle and family is making such a difference to her. One of my kids has had some very dark moments where I've had to talk them through. One of the things I used there was having something to look forward to say like a bushwalk, ferry ride, movie. Craft is a good outlet for this age group and colouring in. Find out what she enjoys and is good at and encourage her there. We've been members of scouts for years and that's been fantastic.I would also make contact with her school. It's a bit hard at the moment with covid, but you could at least chat on the phone. The other thing with self-harm etc is that it does make you worry, stress and even freak out as a bystander. Try to look after yourself and destress, slow your breathing and do whatever it is which helps you keep a level head. I hope this helps, and it's really good that you've come here to touch base and share what's going on. I've found it's really hard to connect with my usual friends due to covid and I also like the anonymity of this forum. Best wishes, Birdwings.
... View more