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"Mummy, I don't know how to smile"

(20 Posts)
Llareggub Thu 07-Mar-13 08:52:02

Thank you for sharing your story, MiaSparrow. I am sorry you experienced that. It wasn't an easy thing to escape from and I can understand your mother staying. My friend is in a very similar position and she is torn between doing what I have done and supporting her husband, who she loves. There is a lot of pressure on families to stay together for the sake of the children and it is tough being a single mother. Having heard your story I am sure I have made the right decision for my children but I do understand why others might choose differently.

MiaSparrow Thu 07-Mar-13 08:19:00

OP, I have no specific advice but I just wanted to say bloody well done on getting out of there! As a child of an alcoholic father whose mother DIDN'T escape I think that whatever went on in the past you've given your kids the best possible chance at a normal life now. (My father eventually dropped down dead when I was just 18. And I had to witness his slow, horrible death). I have to admit I was quite seriously fucked up for much of my childhood, teens and 20s but I think that's because I didn't get any help until much later. Things are different now. Much more open, and I think there's less shame in asking for help. Your boy sounds like a lovely, sensitive soul and maybe that's partly because of what he's already seen but I bet he'll turn out to be a brilliantly empathetic, caring grown up. Good luck! You're a survivor. X

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 06-Mar-13 17:03:16

OP I'm glad he's opening up to you, that is really good to hear smile

SirEdmundFrillary Wed 06-Mar-13 17:02:49

Hello Llareggub,

That's good.

pamelat Wed 06-Mar-13 16:57:33

What everyone has said, but also to add that I think we sometimes read too much in to what our children say.

My dd started school in September and came out with "mummy I don't know how to make friends" which broke my heart, but a few months on, settled and more confident, ibwonder whether she meant it more practically than I took it?

Obviously I don't know as your son has gone through a lot of upset, and I don't have that experience, but sometimes they are more robust than we think so try not to feel guilty. I know I felt heart broken about the friends comment, but sometimes they're just being children.

Llareggub Wed 06-Mar-13 16:55:39

Just to update you, I've been doing Lego modelling with him this week during the evening so we've chatted over Lego building. He has responded really well to the 1 to 1 time and he has told me that some of the boys at school are a bit rough and we've chatted through how he might deal with it. He's also tired, and I think some early nights are in order.

Djwkin Wed 06-Mar-13 16:22:20

Great news about the award though, and of course it is normal for all children (well, all of us!) to feel sad sometimes.

Djwkin Wed 06-Mar-13 16:20:50

You could ask your doctor to be referred to CAmhs (child and adolescent mental health services). It could enable you to access more support, both for your son and the whole family.

SirEdmundFrillary Wed 06-Mar-13 15:55:27

What can I say?

Llareggub Mon 04-Mar-13 20:08:06

Thanks all for your input. He is brimming with confidence today after winning a prize at school. It's lovely to see.

SirEdmundFrillary Mon 04-Mar-13 14:49:33

It's shitty from everyone's point of view, really.

Good luck.

Llareggub Mon 04-Mar-13 14:44:58

Thank you. It makes me so cross that my ex gets so much help and support from the Crisis teams, the hospitals, and all of the other agencies yet he won't stop drinking. All the while, my poor innocent children get nothing obvious. It really, really sucks.

SirEdmundFrillary Mon 04-Mar-13 14:26:23

I know when I've been depressed I've later realised I didn't smile for a long time too. At the time you don't know.

Exercise is a good idea.

It's not a matter of you having the skill to draw it out or not - you're here, asking about it! You can see he's worrying. You have, by what you've written, shown you have the skills.

When he brings his drawings back, if they're very black, that shows he's got an outlet and is good. He needn't try to make a nice or good drawing, he can use them to show what he's feeling. Maybe say, 'I can see you used a lot of the colour black in this picture', or 'I can see you have drawn some unhappy people in this picture,' and see what he says.

Llareggub Mon 04-Mar-13 14:07:30

Alibaba, I'm not sure. I laugh with boys but we spend a lot of time on our own and sometimes we are all quite serious. I laugh with my friends when I see them and at work I am smily. I have to be, really.

Hmm, lots to think about here. I will make an appointment with the GP.

Llareggub Mon 04-Mar-13 14:05:24

He does smile, I think. I have photos of him smiling which I have shown him. I take them out and about doing things they like to do and when he is in a talkative mood I take the opportunity to try and talk. He absolutely hates talking about his father though. Both boys refuse to talk to him on the phone.

I don't have any help for me apart from the ADs. Counselling would probably work but I want to try exercise before talking as it will help in more ways than one.

My son is very bright and capable of complex thought processes. He is a thinker and it worries me that he might be internalising all of this without me having the skill to draw him out.

Having said all of this, he plays happily with others. I get a bit scared when I see his drawings from school. They are sometimes very black. Both boys latch onto any older male that comes their way and it makes me very sad to see how much they miss having a dad. I have a friend who is marvellous with them but he isn't ever going to be permanent in their lives and this worries me too.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Mon 04-Mar-13 14:00:22

Have you been to talk to the GP?

I think it is really possible that he is experiencing depression sad Poor little mite, I really feel for you all.

If you are struggling with depression, do you smile much OP? I had PND when DS1 was about 6 months and I wasn't really better until he was 18 months. When I look at pictures and think back I realise that I was very serious, not all that much smiling - and consequently he didn't smile all that much either. He is a lovely smiley chap now at 4, so the effects haven't been long lasting.
I really hope me saying that doesn't upset you.

SirEdmundFrillary Mon 04-Mar-13 13:58:25

Llareggub, I'm so sorry. I'm no expert, but: I think you've had an awful lot to deal with. Are you getting any help for yourself also? If you can (easier said than done, I know), that would be a good thing for you all.

You say you've tried talking to him when he raises the concerns about smiling. It might be an idea to discretely create opportunities when he can talk about this without him having to raise it, as that's putting the burden on him, a bit, and he's only small. Does he like drawing or making things? Maybe doing very angry and upset drawings or models might help, which can then be talked about, so he knows it's OK for him not to smile if he's not feeling like smiling.

HollaAtMeBaby Mon 04-Mar-13 13:56:50

I am sorry too. Children can get depression but I don't know much about that.

Does your DS ever smile? it's not clear from your post whether he doesn't smile, or whether he just can't consciously do it.

Doogle2 Mon 04-Mar-13 13:48:53

I didn't want to read and run. I'm sorry you've been having such a tough time. I think I would ask the GP/ health visitor for advice.
I hope that you get the support you need.

Llareggub Mon 04-Mar-13 13:45:16

My 6 year old son has said this to me twice. As background, I separated from his alcoholic father over a year ago, when DS had just turned 5. Sadly, he had become all too aware of the implications of his father drinking or not drinking.

Since then, we have moved 150 miles away to a much cheaper area so that I can be sure of being able to support us all financially if I need to. My ex is in and out of psychiatric hospitals due to a cycle of ODs, binge drinking etc. I suspect he will die soon.

We are surrounded by my family and I have encouraged contact with the paternal grandparents, with whom my children have a good relationship. They are torn apart by their son's drinking.

My DCs appear to be coping well with the changes in their lives although my older son's teacher has said he is quite reserved at school. He has also told me that he does not know how to smile. He is quite a difficult child emotionally. He has tantrums, finds it hard to express affection and now tells me he does not know how to smile.

I really want to support him as best I can but really don't know where to start. We get as much one to one time as I can manage (I work part time and the boys are 6 and 3) and I've tried talking to him when he raises concerns about smiling etc. I just feel helpless.

I am on antidepressants so it isn't inconceivable that my sons might be experiencing something similar. I have discussed things with my older son's teacher and she has mentioned getting the SENCO to talk to him about his feelings. I'd be very grateful for other suggestions.

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