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At my wits end and helpless to help my 14 year old daughter(9 Posts)
I am new today, so I am sorry if this has been covered somewhere already.
My daughter has always been such a lovely girl, a real delight. However when she started secondary school, she started to be bullied. She then got in with the wrong crowd and started smoking. Then she got her first "boyfriend", who was 2/3 years older than her and forced her to perform a sexual act upon him at school and then told everyone about it. She started to self harm, I am lucky that she told me about it afterwards, I think if she hadn't she would have killed herself. This all happened over a year ago and she is now mixing with a much nicer girl, doesn't smoke, stays away from boys. All good, well no she is still being bullied, in fact much worse now because everyone knows what happened to her. She only self harms very occasionally. There days that I am scared to walk into her room in case I find she has killed herself, because of the bullying. She feels very insecure and thinks everyone hates her, when in fact I am sure they don't. I try to help her to be more positive and she is generally a lot more positive.
I feel very guilty as I feel I took my eye off the ball, as we were going through our own personal hell, losing our house, bankruptcy and my husband was severely depressed and contemplating suicide. Obviously this had a huge impact on my daughter, even though I tried to hide it as much as it was possible.
I don't know where to go for help, she did see the school counsellor for a while, but she didn't feel that it was helping. I would like her to see herself for the beautiful, caring, wonderful girl that she is.
Sorry that this is very long. I am just hoping that there is someone out there that has been there and been able to help their child and be able to guide down the right path.
Firstly - its not your fault
Secondly - get the school to deal with the bullying, they need to be held accountable for this and stop it. Every school has a bullying policy, find out what there's is and make them adhere to it for your dd.
My suggestion to you would be to get a private counsellor and some cognitive behaviour therapy for your dd. my dd who's also 14 has had a hard time of it lately and she's been given a counsellor at school. Dd thinks she's totally ineffective and doesn't respect her and therefore doesn't think she's helping so won't open up to her.
I'm currently in the process of trying to find a specialist bereavement by suicide counsellor/therapist for dd who specialises in teenagers as well as cognitive behaviourhal therapy. I would encourage you to get CBT for your dd because this trains them to think differently. Put quite simply it teaches them how to turn the negative thoughts into positive thoughts.
I notice you've had some financial problems, quite a few counsellors offer reductions for people on low incomes. Try searching counsellors in your area on google and take it from there.
You can go through Camhs And your GP but waiting times are often upwards of 6 weeks. Even if you can go privately in the interim then move over to the nhs when it becomes available.
I blog about being a mum to teens cos it can be such hard work, often because of the things that happen to them. Basically I blog to get it all out of me or it would drive me nuts, writing it down helps it make sense in my head.
Please know you're doing a good job, you're a great mum who is trying to support your dd in some very difficult situations. Teenagers appreciate being supported, they appreciate it when they know you're behind them and you'll fight their corner and you'll do anything to help them.
PS Personally I wouldn't hide household problems from my teens. Teenagers are pretty astute, they know when theres problems and if they don't know what's going on then they worry unnecessarily.
You don't have to tell them everything just enough to put their minds at rest. I'm always honest with my teenagers, and they've said that means they know they can always trust me to tell them the truth.
If she is still being bullied you need to raise a stink at school. It shouldn't be happening and they ought to be shocked and eager to stop it.
And your support will help her. When I was 14 I never really felt anyone at home had time for me. Even if she doesn't show it, your daughter will really be benefiting. You sound a great mother.
Blueberrypie, my heart goes out to you. I joined mumsnet recently as my dd is in a fragile state of mind, self harming with suicidal intent being part of the issue. She is currently an in-patient on a CAMHS ward - I tell you this just to give some background!
Self harm is a sign that your dd is not able to express her feelings and what is going on for her, she does need expert input, ideally from CAMHS. Yes, this does take time, but the sooner you get a referral the sooner the process can start. School counsellors may have limited experience of dealing with self harm issues, it is important that she sees someone who is experienced in dealing with teens who self harm. The fact that she does self harm means that talking about her feelings is hard for her and I would guess that no matter who sets out to support her, she will find the process difficult.
Does she want to be helped? If you can talk with her about getting a referral and she is on board in a positive way, that would be a significant step. If she is a reluctant participant, it will be a harder process all round.
Bullying in school is unacceptable and it is important that you make school aware that this is an on-going issue and the consequences for your daughter. If the school are not listening, contact the chair of the governing body directly - the school have to provide the contact details for this person. The role of the governing body is to ensure that the school is adhering to its procedures and policies amongst other things, and there will be a behaviour/anti-bullying policy as by law there must be.
It sounds like you too have had a tough time. Take care & stay strong.
I agree with the above, I think some counselling for yourself would definitely help. Your daughter does sound as if she needs professional help. Also have you considered changing schools? I know it's a big move but a new start may be what she needs.
I am now a parent of a teen and starting to find out exactly what I put my parents through! I was a nightmare, i was drinking at 13, had bf's from 14 and was also smoking. i was never happy and my weight went up when I went on the pill at 15. I wasnt bullied but I hated school, and at 15 started to self harm. If my bf finished with me or I got grounded I would find some glass and slit my arms till they bled then id feel ok like id had some sort of control over what I did. I would say just be there when she needs you but never make her feel like she has done something wrong, change schools or home school her. it will get better but what it is thats making her like that has to be taken away from her life so the school need to do something and quick before the whole of her childhood is ruined xx
Thank you everyone for all your advice and support. I have been back to school again, trying a different approach, by going through a learning mentor. Changing schools is unfortunately not an option as this a very rural area. I am looking into CBT, if anyone could suggest one in the North Yorkshire region I would appreciate any recommendations. Thank you again.
I can't recommend a counsellor using CBT in N Yorks, but I can give you some other bits of info that might be useful:
It is quite likely that any counsellor your GP would refer you/your daughter to would use CBT - it is widely used in the NHS now.
Meanwhile, this free online CBT 'MoodGYM' welcome might be useful. It says:
"MoodGYM is an innovative, interactive web program designed to prevent depression. It consists of five modules, an interactive game, anxiety and depression assessments, downloadable relaxation audio, a workbook and feedback assessment. Using flashed diagrams and online exercises, MoodGYM teaches the principles of cognitive behaviour therapy a proven treatment for depression. It also demonstrates the relationship between thoughts and emotions, and works through dealing with stress and relationship break-ups, as well as teaching relaxation and meditation techniques."
There are more FAQs here and there's also a Facebook group with more info. I haven't used it, but I've heard a couple of other people recommend it.
Last but not least, do you know about Horton Women's Holiday Centre? It's near you, and it's a beautiful relaxing place where women and girls can go for a short break or longer hols. There's a sliding scale of charges depending on income (£10-30 per night including food) and there are some special activity weekends (eg art in April, walking in May). I know a lot of women/girls who have been there over the past 30 years or so, often at times in their lives when they have been very vulnerable and really needed some peace and relaxation... Maybe you could have a short break with your daughter? website and FB Group here.
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