14 min

EP 19 - Letter to a Struggling Parent The Parent & Teen Toolbox

    • Parenting

EP 19 - Dear Parent of a Struggling Child

They do say :

“You are only as happy as your saddest child”
When your child is struggling, as their parent, it can occupy your every waking thought.
 
I get it.
I was that Mum.
 
So, I have written you a letter.

Dear Parent of a Struggling Child,
It’s hard isn’t it?
Watching your “baby” struggle.
 
It’s hard isn’t it?
Seeing your once, happy go lucky child, morph into a confused and anxious teenager; lashing out at any of your efforts to look after them.

I know that you too struggle, bewildered and unsure of what to do for the best.
 
It’s hard isn’t it?
All you want to do is wrap them up in your arms and protect them from ‘the big wide world’ – and yet they resist any of your attempts to bring them close.
 
Parenting a teenager is hard – It’s damn hard.
 
“But Mum! You just don’t get it!”
As their parents, we feel that it is our responsibility to keep them happy and safe – we are supposed to have the answers – and yet we continue to feel powerless in this fast-paced world. A world of school league tables, cyber-bullying, gun & knife crime, climate change, and gender fluidity…

Much of this is alien to us – and it is hard to keep up.

So you see – I get it.

I was You.

I see You: Tiptoeing around the house – treading on eggshells trying desperately not to upset the temporary peace that has finally settled.

I see You: Looking at your daughter as she slopes out of the door - hoping she won’t be treated as cruelly today by her mean-girl “friends”.

I see You: Driving around the block again - clutching at the conversation - as your son slowly opens up to you.

I see You: Witnessing their anxieties - terrified that if it gets too bad they might think of doing something stupid.

I see You: Worrying perhaps, that they think you don’t love them because all you seem to be saying is NO.

I see You: Sneaking into your daughter’s room - hoping that late-night hot chocolate will alleviate her anxieties as she struggles with the mountain of schoolwork she is tackling.

I see You: Deflecting the verbal abuse as you try and reassure your son that you want to understand his struggles - all the while watching him withdraw further and further into his own tormented mind.

I see You: As your child collapses into the car, appearing to have the weight of the world on their shoulders? And all you can think of to say is “How was your day?” Desperate for connection, desperate for confirmation that this time, today was perhaps a good day.

I see You: Lying in bed in the wee small hours - beating yourself up that another attempt at support was misconstrued, ending with shouting and tears.

“Mum! You just don’t get me!”
I see You: Collapse in a heap at the kitchen table wondering where on earth you went wrong - and how on earth you can drag you and your family out of this mess; desperate for the laughter and calm to return to the home again.

You see, I understand your fake smiles when someone asks you how you are; pretending that everything is perfectly fine. The alternative would be confessing that you feel you are letting your child down. You and your child are both struggling, but what’s even more upsetting is that you are suffering separately. Alone.
I know that feeling of despondency when you look into the mirror and catch a glimpse of the truth behind your own eyes.
 
Every day there is sadness and hopelessness. You see that your child is in anguish - but it feels like there is fuck all you can do about it.

And then there’s the guilt - oh my goodness - the GUILT. Because you have absolutely no idea how to mend your fractured family.
How can you share these feelings with anyone else?
 
Speaking your fears and worries out loud would be admitting that you

EP 19 - Dear Parent of a Struggling Child

They do say :

“You are only as happy as your saddest child”
When your child is struggling, as their parent, it can occupy your every waking thought.
 
I get it.
I was that Mum.
 
So, I have written you a letter.

Dear Parent of a Struggling Child,
It’s hard isn’t it?
Watching your “baby” struggle.
 
It’s hard isn’t it?
Seeing your once, happy go lucky child, morph into a confused and anxious teenager; lashing out at any of your efforts to look after them.

I know that you too struggle, bewildered and unsure of what to do for the best.
 
It’s hard isn’t it?
All you want to do is wrap them up in your arms and protect them from ‘the big wide world’ – and yet they resist any of your attempts to bring them close.
 
Parenting a teenager is hard – It’s damn hard.
 
“But Mum! You just don’t get it!”
As their parents, we feel that it is our responsibility to keep them happy and safe – we are supposed to have the answers – and yet we continue to feel powerless in this fast-paced world. A world of school league tables, cyber-bullying, gun & knife crime, climate change, and gender fluidity…

Much of this is alien to us – and it is hard to keep up.

So you see – I get it.

I was You.

I see You: Tiptoeing around the house – treading on eggshells trying desperately not to upset the temporary peace that has finally settled.

I see You: Looking at your daughter as she slopes out of the door - hoping she won’t be treated as cruelly today by her mean-girl “friends”.

I see You: Driving around the block again - clutching at the conversation - as your son slowly opens up to you.

I see You: Witnessing their anxieties - terrified that if it gets too bad they might think of doing something stupid.

I see You: Worrying perhaps, that they think you don’t love them because all you seem to be saying is NO.

I see You: Sneaking into your daughter’s room - hoping that late-night hot chocolate will alleviate her anxieties as she struggles with the mountain of schoolwork she is tackling.

I see You: Deflecting the verbal abuse as you try and reassure your son that you want to understand his struggles - all the while watching him withdraw further and further into his own tormented mind.

I see You: As your child collapses into the car, appearing to have the weight of the world on their shoulders? And all you can think of to say is “How was your day?” Desperate for connection, desperate for confirmation that this time, today was perhaps a good day.

I see You: Lying in bed in the wee small hours - beating yourself up that another attempt at support was misconstrued, ending with shouting and tears.

“Mum! You just don’t get me!”
I see You: Collapse in a heap at the kitchen table wondering where on earth you went wrong - and how on earth you can drag you and your family out of this mess; desperate for the laughter and calm to return to the home again.

You see, I understand your fake smiles when someone asks you how you are; pretending that everything is perfectly fine. The alternative would be confessing that you feel you are letting your child down. You and your child are both struggling, but what’s even more upsetting is that you are suffering separately. Alone.
I know that feeling of despondency when you look into the mirror and catch a glimpse of the truth behind your own eyes.
 
Every day there is sadness and hopelessness. You see that your child is in anguish - but it feels like there is fuck all you can do about it.

And then there’s the guilt - oh my goodness - the GUILT. Because you have absolutely no idea how to mend your fractured family.
How can you share these feelings with anyone else?
 
Speaking your fears and worries out loud would be admitting that you

14 min

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