DD 14 is so lonely and often sad. I don't know what to do...

(75 Posts)
badasahatter Mon 01-Jun-15 14:06:43

My girl was great at primary school. There were always people around, always things going on. She got split up from her best friend when they went to secondary schools and the girl she was paired up with wasn't well suited, so they spent little time together. Gradually, she has become more isolated and I'm worried about her.

12 months ago she said that she was always sad. I know she's making a bit of a thing about it, but I also know that she's getting increasingly isolated.

All she wants to do is listen to songs about death and suicide...songs she says make her feel happier. I've tried to engage more with her and we have got a great relationship. I go to gigs with her, because no one else likes he music, but I'm her mum. She needs friends.

The six weeks holiday is coming into conversations and his year she doesn't want to do anything or go anywhere and I worry she'll be even more isolated. I've tried to encourage her to do activities, to join clubs, to have friends round, but she's having none of it. What can I do? Or should I leave her to it? Let her sort things out herself and just stay supportive? Any advice appreciated.

shadypines Mon 01-Jun-15 15:11:19

Sorry to hear your DD is feeling sad OP. Does she have any friendships at school then, I wasn't sure from your post.

Is it necessary to give her the choice of going anywhere over the six weeks, if she has the option to say 'no' and she is in a mind to then you get to a dead end. Perhaps you should present a trip or day out as a done deal? I don't suppose you can force the issue with her choice of music but it doesn't sound like the best stuff to listen to, hopefully her choice of music will broaden.

Does she have any interests besides the music? Anything at all that might mean she can join something or do something to meet like-minded?

My DD 13yrs gets lonely and it is very hard to watch, there are no young people for her to meet where we live, thankfully she is involved in a sports club which she enjoys.

I hope others will be along with more advice OP. You're not alone!

Leeds2 Mon 01-Jun-15 15:15:19

Would she be willing/able to invite her best friend from primary school over for the day? Or meet her for lunch at Pizza Hut, so that it is a relatively short meet up in the event it doesn't go well, but with the option to go shopping together afterwards if it does?

honeyandfizz Mon 01-Jun-15 15:19:08

what about of school? Does she have any other hobbies or interests that she could meet people through? I think the thing with teenagers is that they don't like to be pushed into doing anything they don't want to. It sounds like your a great Mum and all you can do is keep being there for her.

sweetheart Mon 01-Jun-15 15:24:51

Sorry to read you rpost - how heartbreaking it must be for you. My dd is nearly 15 and I know how awful it can be for them to have friendship issues etc. My dd 's school has a fabulous pastoral team and when dd has issues with a friend about 18 months ago I went in to meet with them and discuss what could be done to help dd. There was another child involved who they helped establish new friendship bonds with kids they knew were well suited.

It's such a tough time for them and I really hope you find some help. My dd also has friends from outside school as she plays sport for a team - could your daughter do something like this. Perhaps the school could help you find something she could do that is music orientated and would look good on her CV when she finishes school and applies to college - my dd is doing a sports leader qualification and duke of edinburgh for example.

badasahatter Mon 01-Jun-15 23:27:17

Thank you all for your kind replies. Dd does have a few friends at school but no one she really connects with. Her hobby is music. I'm trying to encourage her to write her feelings down. I've said they might make great songs one day. She is trying to start a band and we are hoping to fund singing lessons for her. She has never sung so doesn't know of she can. I said lessons would swing things or one way or the other. The girl from primary school has joined the band and they have had a couple of practises. I think the thing she misses is the day to day contact you get with a best friend. I can't help with that so I'm just going to gigs with hertil she gets a friend with the same music taste as her and encouraging her to talk to people at school.

I made a rule last year that she couldn't stay in her PJs for more than two days at a time. Even of she just came on a dog walk with me. That woorked a bit but she later said that was her saddest period on life. I need to sort out something cunning I reckon for this year. I'm sure she'll be fine. It doesn't help that she's an only child...lordy....this parenting lark is a bitch at times. Thanks for the support xx

badasahatter Tue 02-Jun-15 07:49:37

Sorry for the typing errors. I did this in the car last night...I had intended to reply at tea time but DD's grandma tuned up so that didn't happen. Her school is the local comp. Pastoral care was good in Y7 but has deteriorated this last couple of years due to funding cuts. Also, she would be mortified if anyone knew she was struggling. She likes to look like she has everything together...even though she clearly doesn't. I spend so much time lately telling her she's good enough and playing down anxieties but she worries about not being perfect. I've told her, if perfection is where the bar's being set I'm stuffed and so's everyone else in the world, cos there's no such thing. Might be why she's so reluctant to engage outside of school.

cdtaylornats Tue 02-Jun-15 08:54:16

Is her music more Leonard Cohen or Death Metal?

PeaceOfWildThings Tue 02-Jun-15 08:58:15

Take her to a doctor. Please. She should at least have a MH assessment for depression..If it turns out that back is her favourite colour and she thinks skulls are pretty, no harm done. If she is being left to struggle with depression alone, then that is potentially life threatening.

PeaceOfWildThings Tue 02-Jun-15 08:58:55

^black, not back.

twentyten Tue 02-Jun-15 09:00:34

Does she play music? Could she set herself a project over the summer to learn? Fab guitar stuff on the net. Volunteering?

shadypines Tue 02-Jun-15 15:21:26

Hi again, yes singing sounds like a good idea, lots of people seem to say it helps them and lift spirits. Even if you can't afford singing lessons what about joining a choir if possible. Church?? Opportunities for singing and playing an instrument there maybe?

I know what you mean about the day to day thing though, just someone to hang out with and chat to, this is something my two have never had. I know how hard it is believe me Badas

Anyway sounds like you are doing well , keeping talking and encouraging her.

badasahatter Tue 02-Jun-15 22:46:33

I suggested GPs when she said she had been sad for a long period of time and she point blank refused. She likes to be in control and has never been one for the doctors. I don't want to force her in case it damages her relationship with me. I know that might sound a bit controlling from my end, but right now, I'm what she's got. Friends at school? Not so much. I worry that if I do the wrong thing now and lose her trust, I won't be able to influence her positively or have any input to her moods, etc. She has since said that she feels better now, but I've told her that if she struggles again, she needs to go to the doctors and get sorted out properly.

We've talked about mental health a lot. I made sure on Mental Health Awareness day a while back that the topic was broached over our evening meal. I talked about how common it is...how sad it is that there isn't more support for children. How we all struggle at some point during our lives. I try to normalise it. Make it so that she isn't afraid to talk about it. And I've stressed that we all need an outlet for it.

A few days later, I told her that if she was ever struggling she should talk to someone at school. She says school have no counsellors, no one she can go to. I talked about anonymous, web-based services and I said that she could talk to me as a last resort...or that her friends at school might help. She's a sensible girl in a lot of ways and doesn't always do what we want her to do, but she does always give things a lot of thought. In a way that's half the problem. Too deep!

She wouldn't go to a church choir shady. I'm half convinced I gave birth to the antichrist as she's insanely anti-religion. I used to have a very deep faith, though I'm what you'd term a lapsed Christian of late, so I find it quite hard to take her stance, but she's like her dad but a teenager too. Dreadful combo! Lol.

Her music is less Leonard Cohen, more Pierce the Veil and My Chemical Romance. Her latest favourite is Twenty One Pilots (and you have to spell out the numbers or you're not doing it right!) and every song they sing says something about suicide. When I've talked to her about this, she says her music is the only thing that makes life worth living. A band called All Time Low feature a lot too and their lead singer is a big advocate in terms of encouraging young girls NOT to self harm. His big slogan is 'wrists are for bands, not cutting'. I take solace in the fact that most of her bands have been depressed but have recovered and talk/sing as much about the recovery side as they do about the depression side.

I also think that there's a catharsis, sometimes, listening to the dark stuff. Maybe it's in the blood. I'm sure it's not anything abnormal, as such, it's just that my cheerful, laughing girl has turned into an anxious, sad little teen.

I think I'll just keep pointing out her good points. When she says she has no friends, I always point out that so many people get on with her. She just hasn't found that special friend yet. And that means that person is out there waiting for her somewhere. Or even better...lots of those kind of people are out there. I also point out the successes when she talks about failure, so when she says she's awkward, I point out how assertive she is when she collars rock singers at gigs for photos. Insanely assertive then, she is!

Deep down I think she'll be o.k. I watch out for signs, though and am ready, in case things get worse. She's becoming an adult and I'm trying so hard to embrace the young woman she's become. It's just a bit hard at times letting go of the girl she used to be. But I'm guessing that's parenting?!

Thanks again for the help.

twentyten Wed 03-Jun-15 09:19:03

Oh badass it sounds like you are doing a great job. It is really tough trying to step back from wanting to fix everything. In some way she is finding out who she is. And my dd who felt a lot like yours has found good friendships with different people- but not the best friend-? Keep talking, try and get her outside and do some excercise, and hang on. Good luck.

ExitPursuedByABear Wed 03-Jun-15 10:31:37

I am so sorry you are going through this OP. It is so hard to see our children unhappy. My DD has always struggled to maintain a BFF. She is always the one who is overlooked in favour of a more popular person. And I often blame myself for having made all the wrong choices for her, wrong house, wrong school, wrong sport, wrong horse etc. But it sounds as if you and your DD have a fabulous relationship and at least she talks to you, which to my mind is the most important thing.

flowers

badasahatter Wed 03-Jun-15 10:39:25

Thanks twenty and Exit. I thought I'd get murdered for saying I wasn't going to take her to the doctors. It's such a fine line.

And I think we all go through that stage where we worry about the choices we made. I wonder if I should have stood up for her more during primary, rather than letting her make her own way with it all. I'm so conscious of not being a helicopter parent, I wonder if I've gone the other way and have become a lounger parent...one that lies back and watches telly or mumsnets whilst she struggles through things and I shout over occasionally, 'you're big enough to sort it out yourself now' and 'your instincts are good...go with them!'. Lol.

We do have a good relationship. I'm just anxious that she doesn't lean too much on that and avoid the friendship thing because it's too hard. And with me she can strop and sulk and pout and I won't fall out with her (well, not for long). She knows she can't do that with others. Maybe that's her worry??

It's horrible when your kids aren't popular, because you can see them for who they are. You can see how funny they are, how kind they are, how much fun they can be. Why can't everyone else see that? And mine has great taste in music...why doesn't someone else at school like it too? I'm 50...I'm getting way to old to mosh.

Fingers crossed, at some point she'll realise it's not cool to be accompanied by your gran-aged mum to flea-pit gigs and will reach out to one of the kids that likes the same kind of stuff as her, but is in the popular crowd. Fingers crossed it's soon. I swear I'm getting arthritis in my feet from bouncing in a confined space twice a month.

Thanks for the responses. It does help.

ExitPursuedByABear Wed 03-Jun-15 11:43:08

Sheesh I admire your stamina! I spend most weekends freezing my arse off at horse shows!

Springtimemama Wed 03-Jun-15 11:51:20

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Springtimemama Wed 03-Jun-15 11:51:40

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Howcanitbe Wed 03-Jun-15 11:55:06

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badasahatter Wed 03-Jun-15 12:41:36

Exit every week? You are truly hardcore! Thanks springtime. We got her a dog a few years ago. Unfortunately, she never bothered much with her, so she's my dog now. I love the idea of the courses/activities of her cv. I'll have a quick look and see what's happening locally. With the swimming, she generally likes to go with friends (the old catch 22 comes in here), but I can often talk her into asking friends if it's activity centred, so swimming would be a good one. Her old best friend lies swimming so much. I'm sure she'll come with us.

In terms of menu planning, I have another issue, as DD is a restrictive eater. There have been times we've pushed the issue, but not lately. Too much danger of triggering a full on eating disorder.

She did piano lessons for years and stopped recently as she was losing her passion for it. I didn't make her carry on. She's got enough stress with GCSEs this year, next year and then the full on year 11 experience. I might look for the singing lessons or some kind of band activity for the summer though. That seems like a key idea.

Howcan I did try the school choir/band idea a while ago, but it was a while ago. I'd forgotten about that. I might flag it up again, now she's older. I'll explain how it might help her ee what she says.

In terms of the climbing/outdoorsy weekend, we had to buy a tent for Leeds/Reading festival, I'll tell her we need to test the new airbeds, tent, etc, and that it would be great to go to x location to do it. I'll have a look round to see where I can find that's interesting.

This really has helped me to focus again on what options I have. Thanks for all the advice. Off to do some googling right now smile

ExitPursuedByABear Wed 03-Jun-15 13:15:30

What about DofE? Do the school not participate? My DD volunteers with a local youth group as part of her activities and really enjoys it. She even walked round with them on Whit Friday!

Horse shows are not every week to be fair, but if not a show then a riding lesson, mucking out etc.

badasahatter Wed 03-Jun-15 14:04:59

I'll ask her about DofE. I wasn't a great mixer at school and I remember doing the DofE with fondness. Thanks Exit.

5446 Wed 03-Jun-15 14:50:16

I really do sympathise as I was quite similar as a 14 year old. Everyone else seemed to have a BFF and I never did, always felt like I was on the outskirts of friendship groups and people were humouring me rather than wanting to be my friend.

Things massively changed when I went to sixth form where I met a group of amazing people, again at university and more recently when I moved abroad.

I've come to terms with the fact that I don't have a BFF that I can reminisce about school with etc but I do have a good group of friends who I trust and can rely on for anything.

Do her favourite bands have forums where she can talk to other fans? Or a Twitter account where she can speak with other fans? Obviously these would need to be guarded and to approach these carefully, but could be a way of meeting people her own age with similar interests.

ExitPursuedByABear Wed 03-Jun-15 15:15:08

That's good to hear 5446 We are moving DD from a small private school to a large state sixth form (hopefully) for A Levels and I really hope that she meets a more varied bunch of people and makes some good friends.

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