This Parenting Gig (cont'd)....aka Tomorrow is Another Day....


It's been an enormously challenging week. Or three....

I'd like to say that I've got a handle on it now....but actually I haven't.

I wrote just a couple of weeks ago here about how my parenting journey has been a relatively easy one, it all seemed to just flow so smoothly....it was straightforward.
I've always known the answers.....until now.

Suddenly, I'm in unfamiliar territory, somewhere I've never been & somewhere I really didn't want to ever go.

Every day at the moment at some point, I wonder to myself if it's just me....
am I worrying too much, over-reacting or over-thinking things. 
But....I'm not a worrier, this is a really tricky & unhappy situation & it's not just going to go away without some intervention and some work.

My daughter is struggling....and we are really struggling to help her.

We've needed support & we need more.

It is impossibly hard to see your precious child unhappy....
to see their personality changed, at times beyond all recognition.

I honestly cannot bear it.

I've had to share information that I didn't really want to share....
in order to get help that I didn't think I/we'd ever need.



I've cried. A lot. Yesterday I even cried into my coffee in the middle of coffee shop.
Thankfully I was literally surrounded by a group of the best possible girlfriends at the time.
They asked if I needed to talk or just change the subject....
and change the subject they did immediately until I was composed enough to share.

When you're a parent at school, you maintain some kind of facade, we all do to some extent....
I think I wear my emotions on my sleeve but actually I also smile easily, laugh & also often talk about the other person rather than myself.
A "playground persona" takes over.

As I say, I have been forced to ask for help & had to share private issues....
and, perhaps unsurprisingly, friends in response shared with me....
their experiences, their wisdom & their secrets.

I don't generally reveal deeply personal information about my family on my blog....
I do talk about myself sometimes though & have occasionally shared a few difficult times.
And I'm definitely all for talking about it - even when you don't quite know where to start. 

My daughter went to a new school last September.
It all started really well.
She was happy.

Six months on....she unhappy. A changed girl.
She's lost old friends & she's in with the wrong crowd. people who are doing her no good at all.
I'm not sure if one has been the result of the other.
My sense is that she's stuck & can't get herself out of this situation.

I can see how hard it is for her.
She's a pleaser, she's a fixer & she's a follower.
But she's in over her head, she doesn't want us to fix it & she's not responding that well to support & concern from us or her school.

It's affecting her enormously.
She's showing emotions & behaviour we've never seen in her before.

Many people have told me it's just pre-teen issues, this particular school year is always hard and next year, friendships shuffle around again & so much settles down.
Starting secondary school is a huge challenge.

I've also had to consider that I'm a role model for her & shared with her so much of what I have learned....and yet she has still now made some bad choices.
Her mistakes are surely my mistakes too?

It is heart-breaking stuff though....
baffing, confusing, so hard to observe....
it keeps you from eating, thinking straight, functioning - it's paralysing.
You just want everything to be right again.
Life to resume as normal.

But, as with anything like this, when you're in the midst of it, you feel as though it will never end and life never will actually be the same again....

A huge amount of hope & a lot of support from some great friends is what is keeping us going.
Tomorrow is another day.

    

18 comments:

  1. Oh Simone,
    Difficult times ....... transferring to Secondary school can bring many challenges but, you really mustn't beat yourself up about it. Our children can be given all of the right advice and information from us BUT, they really do have to make their own mistakes although, it s very difficult to watch. I know that you will be doing everything in your power to put everything right and, in time, things really will turn around.
    Try not to worry too much ........ they have to make mistakes to then realise what is right. It would be very strange if our children did everything right without putting a step wrong.
    Take heart .... you are definitely not alone and things will get better. Thinking of you. XXXX

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  2. Ohh simone! This sounds like the trickiest situation! I feel like I cannot relate at all which frustrates me because I want to help so badly! I hope it all settles down soon! Im thinking of you guys xxx

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  3. Sweet Simone...I can almost feel your angst come through from what you have written. Jacqueline is right (as she is always is on these matters) and it will pass. I know how hard it is to watch and for the first time not be able to influence or help. It's also so hard to see character traits that you don't recognise - and to know how to react to them. I can so relate to that. Having an 11 year old girl is NOT easy at times! I really do hope that things ease and that whatever help you can secure works. As you always say to me: go easy on yourself. This is not your fault.

    All you can do is imagine she is walking across an icy path and you must be the steady, out-stretched hand that she reaches for when she realises she has lost her balance. Lou x

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  4. Dear Simone,

    I understand only too well what you are feeling... Parenting is the toughest, least rewarding... and most rewarding job in the wold. Our children can become unrecognisable over night... say and do thinks that are unthinkable to us... they can disappoint and give great joy within a 24 hour period.

    Know this... You are her role model and even if she is not following your lead right now... she will... I know this to be true. She may be in with a bad group who are making her assert herself in ways that are difficult to understand... and it may continue for some time... but deep down she is your girl and she will come back to you.

    At the same time... and at the risk of sounding hard... there are times when you need to stay firm, to reinforce what you believe to be right... trust your own instincts and never, ever be afraid to say 'no'... the truth is you do know best...

    I could talk about this for ages... so sorry to go on... but I really am so upset that you are unhappy... I know this place so well... and there are no quick solutions or easy answers...

    If you feel like chatting... just drop me o line... I am always there... xxv

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  5. Simone,

    I'm sorry that you are having to struggle through this. My oldest son provided me with a few years of fear, frustration, joy, terror, and everything in between. I didn't think I would survive those years. (Or him) but we both came out ok. I shed too many tears and yelled things I can never take back. But I also told him that no matter what his choices were, I loved him with every pour of my being. I told him what I approved of, and what I didn't. I even had to kick him out at 17, and then worry for a year about what he might do and how it might affect me and my other kids financially.

    While being a mom is my favorite job and has given me joy like nothing else, it has also given me moments of the most pain and fear. Loving a child does that to us.

    I made my own mistakes with my son, and some of those allowed him to make his poor choices much easier. If I had to do it all over again, I would totally trust my gut, and be a bit tougher. Of course it's always easy to say that after the fact.

    Trust your instincts, and continue to show and tell her how much you love her. I'm sure you know all these things already. I am regularly amazed by my kids and often think "where did that idea/personality/attitude come from. It isn't "me" or their dad. Then I remember that even though I gave birth to them, they are each an individual and I just get to fall more in love with them as they grow. Blemishes and all.

    My kids went through my pretty rough things and I finally put all of us in counseling, and even my son in a drug program (he used marijuana). They were so angry with me, but I knew I couldn't solve all the problems by myself. I didn't have the training to do that, and I didn't trust that I could be tough enough to be sure we worked through all the pain.

    I guess I'm just saying that while I understand you wanting to keep your family safe and private, it's ok to share to and know that others have had the same challenges, and to know that you are not alone.

    Hugs to you!

    Mikal

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  6. The high school where our boys went still has a memorial plaque 'honouring' them over the Time Out room door......& the last one left 12 years ago!!!! We had to intervene with our Rebel With A Cause (Son #4) when he got caught up with the wrong crowd & it was really, really hard for all of us. Now at 30 he often says it was the best piece of tough love he ever received. I won't give advice as I'm not familiar with parenting girls, but Vicki is right. Stay true to your family values & gently remind your daughter of those at any opportunity.

    I tried to ensure that our boys always felt comfy about bringing their mates home, even if things became a rabble with the noise & language. I figured better they were at our place causing pandemonium than somewhere else. Your daughter is testing the boundaries at the moment, try to relax a little & keep your sense of humour.
    Millie xx
    PS I had our family motto tattooed into all our boys forehead - 'Family first, family last.'

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  7. Simone. I'm so very sorry to hear how hard it's been. I really had no idea and I can see how my last reply might have really missed the mark. I've read your post a few times and there's not enough specifics to provide you any direction, other than the reassurance that this is a time of great change for girls. Physical, emotional and hormornal. And it's common for a young girl's emotions to get amplified. Everything becomes so huge for them. I know as a mother, it's hard to see your child suddenly expressing intense feelings, especially unhappy or confusing ones because we want to 'fix' things. Do something. But perhaps if you see this difficult time as a chance for your daughter to develop herself. To learn how to put her feelings into words. How to say "no" to bad situations. How to make sense of social dynamics. How to deal with mean girls etc..these are lessons that help a little girl develop a healthy sense of self.
    Possibly that may help you feel calmer and more reassured. But please realize, I feel for you Simone. I also went through a heart wrenching time when my son was thirteen and became a target of a jealous, cruel peer. I know the pain that a mother can feel for her child! (just don't let them see it,--the worst thing is if they believe they should hide their feelings because we can't handle it)
    One day at a time my friend,
    xo
    Leslie (Gwen Moss)

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  8. Sorry to hear you are having such a worrying time. I have 2 teenage daughters and the highs & lows are quite exhilarating & exhausting. My only advice is to always keep communicating & hugging. Even when they hate it!
    All best wishes.

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  9. Dear Simone,

    I have been through exactly what you are going through....with my own daughter ten years ago when she first went to secondary school. It is the hardest time! She went from my lovely sweet girl, to this monster who was in with the wrong crowd - I was devastated. At the end of the day though, you have to just ride the storm. This painful, horrendous stage moves on and I can report back that my daughter is the sweetest, kindest, most loving young woman today and we look back at those times and laugh about it. It is so so hard, but they have to make mistakes, sometimes BIG ones, to discover who they are and what is the right path for them. Your love, strength and friendship as her mother and role model will win the day.....

    Take care,

    Sophia x

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  10. Dear Simone, I can only echo the other comments. I remember only too well the transition from Primary to Secondary education with my daughter. The natural instinct of any parent is to protect, but sometimes we have to stand back, the hardest thing.
    Your daughter is finding her feet and place, the dynamics of her world have changed. I am sure it will be fine, you have taught her well, the values and guidance she has learnt will stand her in good stead for the choices she will make. This situation will only strengthen your relationship and teach her valuable lessons and life skills for the future.

    Keep Smiling. xx

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  11. So sorry to hear that you and your daughter are having a hard time. It's times like this that you feel a bit helpless as a parent. I can't get from the post whether or not she shares her fears with you, so what I will say remembering what i was like for me as an introverted with is that perhaps if there is someone else in the family or a friend of yours that she can talk to, perhaps you get talk to them. Its not that you are relinquishing your role and duty as a parent but some times its hard to talk to your parent for fear of disappointing them. And of course always let her know she can come to you with anything and you will help her find a way. That said if the situation is beyond you and her to fix that by all means reach out to people or an organisation for help knowing that she has to want the help before anyone can move forward. I hope you find a way out sooner rather than later.

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  12. Oh sweet girl ~ challenging times for sure and it is so hard watching them grow up and face these difficult challenges. You are an awesome Mum and although I have no advice I do know how hard it is to see your little girl go from a confident preteen full of promise and knowing who she is to a teenager that is just not happy with herself or much about the world. I am going through this with Sam and although I am just an aunt and do not have her full time it breaks my heart when I see her posts on FB and she calls me to tell me about the latest drama. Sending lots of love and hugs to you and that sweet girl of yours. xoxo

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  13. Hi Simone,
    Yay!,it's the weekend!!
    I took a little while to send my reply, as I didn't feel qualified to advise - having two boys myself (although they come with their own problems)
    The advice you have been given above is so heartfelt and I hope has given you a little encouragement that this phase won't last forever, and with luck you will all be able to look back and laugh. Although at the moment I totally understand how it's the only thing you can think of.
    With a good family at home and teachers on board at
    school, your daughter I'm sure will work her way through this.
    It's soon half term too, and I always found that's the time I 'got the boys back' for a bit of a re-group.
    Hope you have a great weekend Simone,
    Lots of love,
    Liz x

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  14. Hello Simone

    So sorry to read that you are going through this testing time with your daughter. I gave me mother a horrible time when I was this age. I remember she took me out of school and the two of us went away for two or three nights. We took a train and stayed with her sister who lived by the sea in a remote place. We walked the beach, went for long walks in the country, skipped rope. Her sister told family stories and history. I think I grew up or had time to dwell on my behavour during that time.
    Is there an Aunt or someone you respect and trust that you could send your daughter to, without her cell phone? A kibbutz or a stay with a mennonite family also comes to mind. I would like to see her separated from the bad apples even for a short period of time.

    Keeping you in prayer

    Helen xx

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  15. Simone, I am so sorry to hear you are going through such a difficult time. Even though I can't relate to what your going through, making sure she knows that you love her and will be there for her no matter what, is sometimes all you can do xx

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  16. If you're talking to her and you're there, I think ultimately she'll find her way out of this mess. It could very easily just be a phase. You've raised her right. She's a smart girl. Remember that. And, if it comes down to it, you'll just have to break out Tough Mom.

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  17. i hope it all settles down and sorts itself out and that you get your little girl back.

    just let her know you are there for her and love her whatever and she will come to you when she is ready.

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  18. I dont know what to say. But when I was a teen I used to hate my mom. Now that ive matured I somehow understand her now. And even love her. So dont worry. Just pray. Everything will be okay. :)

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