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Looking after ourselves


Re: The Virtual Village - a space for parenting 'stuff'

Hi @CheerBear What a great thread. It's hard enough raising kids when you have mental health issues and even worse I imagine to do it on your own. You're a champion.I think I'd go mad or madder 

I am struggling at the moment and wondered if you might face the same issues.

I always wanted a family and I love them. I didn't know I was mentally ill until just before my last child was born and I was having halluncinations. I ended up in hospital and I can't remember what happened. I took medication but I also drank and didn't perform at my best. as a mother. Now the guilt is killing me and I've given up drinking. I've been thinking about my middle son who is a twin. His brother is autistic. He is very gifted and i knew about it when he was a toddler. He got bullied at school. I let him down and now he dropped out of uni and is a dishwasher. He rarely hangs out with friends although he did this week and he plays computer games. I have tried to stop him but he gets angry and punches walls. He plays guitar and talks to us though and we have good times and a laugh though.He  boxes at the local PCYC. He has a psychologist who is trying to help him. Maybe he'll get better. Anyway got any advice about helping him reach his potential. It seems a little late. Do you have any experience in this with your kids?

Re: The Virtual Village - a space for parenting 'stuff'

Hi @utopia 


Feel guilty - no - I think you need not. You cared for your son alone for a long time and during the time I have known you - there was a lot of time for you in hospital and your son lived with your mother - that was okay then I think and now - he is 17 - nearly of legal age - and he can make that choice


My son was only 12 when he went into foster care - I couldn't manage him anymore and it was not just my decision - a lot of people were involved - I remember the first morning - standing in my kitchen feeling this incredible relief - and although those years were hard I didn't feel guilty - I stuck by him as much as I could which was a lot considering the circumstances


So now your house is tidy, quiet - no dishes left around - no wet towels - the floor is clear.


Feel guilty - no - I don't think that's necessary - I think I've been there and I'm with you



Re: The Virtual Village - a space for parenting 'stuff'

Hi all

Sending hugs @eth and @Dec, for the huge challenges you've both faced. Understandable to feel stirred up after sharing parts your experiences and trauma which you've both had a lot of. ❤ to you.

Hi @utopia. I can understand the feeling of peace that might come from having your son stay with your mum. Parenting in general can be tireless, exhausting and draining in so many ways and I think single parenting can really take that up a notch. I feel a bit funny at times thinking about my kids growing up and feeling kind of excited about it. I find there are some really off and unhelpful stories around about how we 'should' feel as parents, including how we should always enjoy and appreciate them as younger ones because 'they grow up so fast' 🙄. Honestly, I feel like I will have well and truly done my time by the time they're bigger. Sometimes I find myself looking forward to moving away from everyone (in a tiny cabin with lots of cats in the bush) and having some space and a break from it all. Sometimes it feels like there's something wrong with me for feeling like that. It's nice to know you're appreciating the peace.

Re: The Virtual Village - a space for parenting 'stuff'

Hi @Sweet_cheeks

That mum guilt - it's so hard I think no matter what we do as parents there are times we can be flooded with unhelpful guilt. Hindsight hits me a lot. It's hard looking back with what I know now but didn't know then, and how I might have made different choices if I could have seen the way things would work out. We can only ever do the best we can with what we have, but sometimes sitting with that can be really hard I find. Hearing you ❤

I don't have any advice with your situation, I'm sorry. My kids are still youngish (young enough that I have just had to break up a "she put unicorn glitter all over me" big fight while they were getting ready for school 😑) and I haven't had experience with what you are going through. I don't think it's ever too late for anything though. Maybe your son is going through a bit of a finding himself stage and this is part of his journey? I went a bit (a lot) off the rails as a younger person after having what others would have said was potential. While I'm not where I maybe could have been if I had stayed on the path I was on, I'm somewhere different doing some things I am proud of and that bring me meaning and purpose. All my experiences so far have led me here and I'm OK enough with that.

In saying that, getting so angry that he's punching walls doesn't sound good at all. Do you find that scary to be around? It's so great to hear that you're able to talk with each other and have a laugh. From my experience so far, kids do well with someone to love them through the good, bad and ugly, and it sounds like you show him a lot of that.

@Shaz51, @eth, @Teej and others have experience parenting older kids. Perhaps others have some more thoughts to share.

Re: The Virtual Village - a space for parenting 'stuff'

@CheerBear Thanks, Unicorn glitter that gave me a laugh.

Re: The Virtual Village - a space for parenting 'stuff'

Hi @Sweet_cheeks 


Some of my five kids are gamers .... primarily the boys, but the girls are too.  It worried me for a while how much time they spend on gaming, but it’s only one who is really struggling who is sort-of overdoing it, and I can clearly see that they are using it as a coping mechanism.  The others have moderated their use, pretty much, and are achieving, some at “high potential” careers (they are all adult now).


I hope this helps.


The wall punching I would take to be frustration.  My kids would have registered as oppositional-defiant, probably.  If you look that up, as I did, it might help you, as it did for me, to see what these kids need to be able to manage their frustrations.  


Generally it’s about control.  They need to feel in control of their choices and their environment, so as much as you can enable their choices , I found anyway that it helped to reduce the baby-dragonfire behaviour and produce some calm communications.


Rather than trying to control their technology use, I would call “family meetings”, asking for us all to sit around a table for 20mins (with chips or ice cream) and have a chat about things.  I would provide pamphlets and things that talked about boundaries on internet use, screen time, etc, and ask them what they thought about it, and did “we” need to put some structure into our household tech use.


Of course they didn’t want any restraints, but we ended up making deals about things, reaching general agreements, and having made those general agreements, they retained a sense of responsibility and control over their own choices.


Occasionally when things turned a bit problematic, I would ask casually whether we needed to revisit boundaries, but that was enough for them to revisit how they were conducting themselves for themselves.


Incidentally we have also talked about perfectionism and other things at a more adult level, and they are pretty good at recognising and managing their own pitfalls.

Re: The Virtual Village - a space for parenting 'stuff'

👋💕🌈 ..... @CheerBear 

Re: The Virtual Village - a space for parenting 'stuff'

@Faith-and-Hope Thanks for that advice. I think having a family meeting is a good idea. It sounds like the Brady Bunch.

. My husband plays board games with them which is more social. My son doesn't really want to but ends up enjoying himself. Anyway I'll look up anger oppositional defiant and see what I can do to help him. He's a great kid.

Re: The Virtual Village - a space for parenting 'stuff'

We have family games nights too @Sweet_cheeks and the kids love them.


All the best with it.

Re: The Virtual Village - a space for parenting 'stuff'

Hi @CheerBear 


Challenges - yes - although I didn't get fazed with the hard work that came with the babies their individual early life issues were totally unexpected. And I was unable to breast-feed - my son being adopted meant it was impossible but my daughter just refused the breast - and the bottle - and I was frantic - but she's okay now - she always has been the rose of my life


And guilt - totally useless and a huge problem - we feel that anyway but it's amazing how people can gather around and heap that on us


Let's dispose of guilt - easier said than done - but it is useless - we only need helpful emotions


All the best CheerBear



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