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Share your stories with MyFampal of how you deal with behavioural/mental health issues with your DCs – £300 voucher to be won NOW CLOSED

(155 Posts)
EmmaMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 22-Sep-16 10:05:29

To coincide with the launch of the MyFampal new app called MyFampal Parent, they have asked us to find out how you deal with behavioural and mental health issues with your children - whatever their age. The new app is designed to help parents to check, monitor and help take control of their family’s emotional wellbeing - by enabling families to identify, monitor and pre-empt issues before they take root.

Here’s what the team at MyFampal have to say: “Whether their children’s behaviour is considered ‘normal’ or healthy is a concern for all parents. Behavioural, emotional and mental health issues affect many families and vary hugely in form, often making them difficult to spot. It’s difficult to know for sure whether children are just going through a rough patch or struggling with something more concerning. MyFampal Parent is an easy-to-use app that helps you monitor how well your family functions as a unit and then lets you compare your results against others. In the same way that we take exercise and manage what we eat to maintain fitness, MyFampal Parent is here to help you with your families’ emotional wellbeing. Do download the app, try it for yourselves, and let us know what you think.”

MyFampal would love to hear your views on their App, but also how you have dealt with any potential behavioral, emotional or mental health issues your children have struggled with. At what age or development stage caused you the most concern? Do you have
an approach or method that allowed you to remember the key issues as they happen and keep dialogue open with your children so that they can communicate their emotions to you? Or do you have any techniques for how best to handle continued behavioural issues?

Please share your stories below of how you discovered and got through any tough times with your children - from toddlers to teens or even older adult children. Whether you have helpful feedback on the app or stories of how you got through it all to the other side, or if you are only just beginning to understand whether your DCs behaviour is healthy/’normal’ or they are struggling, MyFampal want to hear your thoughts.

Everyone who posts below will be entered into a prize draw where one Mumsnetter will win a £300 voucher of their choice (from a list).

Thank you and good luck!


Standard Insight T&Cs apply

pinkunicornsarefluffy Thu 22-Sep-16 11:29:20

I am struggling with DD at the moment and have had the doctor refer her to CAMHs. The school were helpful last year but not any more. We had very good support from a family support network but lack of funding means that has stopped now.

The best thing is to hug your child when they are angry and acknowledge their feelings, but it is not always possible!

I don't see how an app can help a family function though and I honestly don't see what good it would do comparing yourselves to others as each family is different.

mouldycheesefan Thu 22-Sep-16 12:15:39

Sibling rivalry is our issue as we have twins and one feels the other is favoured over silly things like if her twin is injured and getting a plaster she will complain she is getting more attention! Spending time 1-1 and being really " in the moment" and mindful,listening helps. Like all kids it's not all the time. Recognising difference helps as well , two different people who happen to be born at the same time.

sharond101 Thu 22-Sep-16 12:40:19

My ds does't have any diagnosed mental health condition but I do and it's worrying for me that I may be a bad influence on him. I seek advice from my Health Visitor and keep myself well in every way I can.

Cambam2010 Thu 22-Sep-16 13:24:13

When my DS(6) is having a bad time behaviourly I have to remind myself that he is only a child. He doesn't see things through my eyes so may not even understand what he has done wrong. Instead of blowing my top I have to take a few minutes to compose myself before I put my self down on his level - sitting on the floor so that I am not intimidating, enabling me to look him in the eye and to reach out to hold him. I try to talk through what he happened, why it is wrong and how he could respond in the future if a similar situation arose.

TheDuchessOfKidderminster Thu 22-Sep-16 13:58:44

My eldest has just started school and I was worried that he would miss us all during the day. So, I've told him if he misses me (or his dad, little brother) that he should send me a kiss and it would find me and let me know that he was thinking about me. I said I'd do the same whenever I was wondering what he was doing. I then ask him how many kisses he sent me when we're on the way home from school and talk about anything that's bothering him. Yesterday he said he didn't have to stand any at all!

Mycatsabastard Thu 22-Sep-16 14:04:11

My teenager has been diagnosed with social anxiety and depression. This is mainly due to the mental abuse her dad was giving her when she was seeing him on contact weekends. I have helped her get a referral to CBT and been there to listen to her on many occasions. It's been tough, really tough. But she's coming through the other side slowly and feeling more positive about life. She no longer sees her dad.

My youngest is going through assessments for ASD. Life with her is like a rollercoaster and you never know when she will just flare up or go into a complete meltdown which can last for over an hour at times. We (dp, me and teen) have learned lots of coping mechanisms with warning times, lots of visual aids and ensuring she has her own space downstairs as well as her bedroom. We've done another parenting course which helped but mainly I have learned through trial and error.

CopperPan Thu 22-Sep-16 14:17:49

DS1 has ASD and has associated anxiety issues. He finds social situations very difficult and can be withdrawn. He's been involved with CAMHS and has had specialist counselling and has been on antidepressants for three years. I've used lots of strategies like visual reminders, advance warnings and clear, structured language to help him deal with anxious situations. We make the most of opportunities like autism-friendly events and special needs sessions, where things are likely to be quieter and more accepting of his difficulties.

foxessocks Thu 22-Sep-16 14:22:46

My dd is a typical 2 yo right now so we've been dealing with tantrums and found the counting to five trick works really well especially now she knows we follow through with the threat if we get to 5! All normal behaviour for her age of course but hard work nonetheless

FreckledLeopard Thu 22-Sep-16 14:26:19

Having a long history of depression and assorted mental health issues, I've always been conscious in case DD shows any signs of clinical depression. I was depressed from the age of twelve, but it took until I was nineteen to be put on medication. I've therefore always been very aware of DD and her feelings and moods in case she ever showed any signs of being depressed. She's fifteen now and thankfully no sign of any problems at all, but having experienced the realities of having a parent with MH problems, I think she's aware of how serious it can be.

FlouncingIntoAutumn Thu 22-Sep-16 14:35:09

I found myself very suddenly as a single parent when my elder two were 1 and 3. My eldest had significant behavioural issues. His biological dad just upped and walked after 11 years marriage.
When he started school a few weeks after his dad left (at 3 in Wales) it felt as though school had labelled us as a nonfunctional family, poor, ill-disciplined children, single mum not coping, lack of routine, poor diet etc. None of which was true. The lack of support by the system and accusations left me, as with many others I now know, very deflated, depressed, less able to put a brave face on and made pushing the medical profession for real help even more challenging. My son was referred by school for further assessments at 3.5 following many meetings of me facing accusations of his behaviour being a result of poor parenting. I had to sell myself to the school as a parent, become heavily involved and prove myself in front of them, for them to look beyond behaviour and realise that there were triggers, he wasn't trying to be naughty. He was just anxious and frustrated.

At close to thirteen my eldest is now flourishing. He has an Autism diagnosis that he's comfortable with. He's top flight maths, science, geography and history. He manages those lessons amongst main stream peers without any behavioural issues. He self-manages his anxiety the majority of time in the school environment (with support from a fabulous school team).

It has been a very long journey to get to this stable stage and over the years all of our mental health has suffered. My younger son has often had to be patient and wait for his brother to calm down after meltdowns, he's had to forfeit going to events because logistically his brother wouldn't cope and we can't get him there, he's had to put up with remarks (mainly from adults) about our family dynamic.

We keep behavioural records. We monitor our diet, we watch for triggers and behaviour patterns all the time so that we can learn to minimise future stresses. This helps keep things calm but no one can protect against every eventuality.

I've remarried and now have a third child just entering year one of primary. She is a wonderful addition to our family and thrives on the routines we have. She struggles with change and whilst her core behaviour is far nearer typical for her age group she has a few very extreme behaviours that have caused us again to have psychologists, community paed and speech and language therapists involved.

One psychologist once said behaviour is behaviour. It doesn't matter whether that behaviour is a result of Autism or something else we need to have clear and consistent boundaries and clear and consistent consequences for each of our children. This has always stuck with me.

My consequences vary by child and their ability but I do have consistency. We do reward, we do acknowledge when things haven't been acceptable.

The same fab psychologist said that even if you give him 100% of you, it wouldn't be enough. Keep a bit back for you, for your other children, for your marriage. This is tough but true. DS1 is phenomenally expecting, in a very polite way. He just wants everything just so and expects me to spin all the plates all the time without any grasp of just how many plates their are.

Another favourite of mine was from a midwife before my eldest was born. If it gets too much (she was talking about colic/ screaming babies) think are they safe? If yes, then you can step away for a moment - make a brew, take a deep breath, have a few sanity seconds. It's the same now when we hit melt down (fewer in my eldest now he has more control, but my tired from the stimulation of school youngest has all too many at present) If they're safe, even if kicking and rolling around on the floor, stepping outside a breath of fresh air and I'm able to come back in and focus on handling the situation in a calm manner without losing my cool.

There is no such thing as a normal family. Every family has its challenges. That oh so perfect family you see picnicking in the park, may have had screaming children on the way there or ten minutes after you leave. You can't tell from a tiny snapshot. The grass isn't greener it's just a different type of grass.

ouryve Thu 22-Sep-16 16:32:06

My 12yo has ASD and ADHD and we've had a very bumpy ride, over the years. He doesn't form relationships easily - has no one he could call a friend and he is very mistrustful of professional input. He's trust is very hard earned. He doesn't "do" talking about stuff. Certainly not in a way that wins favour with people. He doesn't hold back with his opinions, when he finds an outlet, though.

I've found it helpful, over the past year or so, to pick up on his interests and find a way of joining in with him. The most obvious one, right now, is playing Pokemon Go! together. He's so much more relaxed when he's travelling around in search of new spawning and nesting sites. He enjoys being outdoors and getting some gentle exercise and he's not brooding and obsessing over all the nitpicky things that wind him up, while we're out together.

GetKnitted Thu 22-Sep-16 22:03:32

My kids are still quite young, I try to bring up mental health issues in a sensitive and practical way with them when we see or meet someone who has a particularly obvious issue, I haven't broached depression with them though, because children are so suggestible and I don't want them to confuse sadness with depression.

JenBehavingBadly Thu 22-Sep-16 22:12:59

I've just been to read your website. What an utter load of bollocks. Seriously now. Christ.

JollyHockeyGits Thu 22-Sep-16 22:20:39

DC is only one. He is just starting to 'rage' to let us know he isn't happy about something. His speech hasn't developed well enough to let us know by any other means, so I'm not concerned just now but will monitor it in case it starts to develop away from the 'normal' toddler tantrums. We do however try to make sure he knows we understand why he's upset, in the hope that might help him be less frustrated about his lack of communication skills - we can only hope! Failing that distraction techniques are a Godsend!

In a sort of broader sense though I'm trying to help him grow with a sense of self-confidence and respect for others, both of which I think are important to mental well-being.

voyager50 Thu 22-Sep-16 23:42:41

It can be a struggle at times as he frequently has 'meltdowns' , partly due to being on the autistic spectrum - distraction often works though - usually a phone call to his favourite auntie!

Memoires Thu 22-Sep-16 23:48:48

I don't want to register, I don't want one month free. I want to see what they're offering, not read para after para of sincerely insincere blurb. Sorry.

ButterflyOfFreedom Fri 23-Sep-16 06:45:34

I have OCD and worry that I may somehow pass it on to our DC so am very mindful of this.

In terms of this app, I find it hard to see how it could help. Yes there's an app for mout things but when it comes to mental health issues, I'm not sure this is the answer.

youarenotkiddingme Fri 23-Sep-16 07:20:40

My ds has MH problems related to his ASD. He struggles with anxiety. He is under Camhs.

I help by keeping rules and boundaries clear, giving him space when he's upset and speaking it through later. We discuss how his body and mind felt, what he can do when he feels that way and how we can make changes to stop him feeling that way.

We use mindfulness apps, have a calm space In the house and ensure he gets enough excercise.

As I parent I have to remember to take a deep breath and remind myself it's harder for DS than me.

Sellotapewillfixit Fri 23-Sep-16 10:42:47

My DS has outbursts of anger we are trying to help him with. Generally we try to get him to calm down with breathing exercises.

And now a bit of feedback about this app. I clicked on the page. As others have said, I don't want to need to register to find out what it is all about. I have a few basic questions.

1. HOW MUCH IS IT? If I am being charged for something, I want to know how much it is. Straightaway. Preferably in the blurb on this page. If not, immediately I click though. 1 month free and then how much??

2. I am sceptical about how this is meant to help. I have read the blurb and am still sceptical.

3. You appear to be able to record how your child is doing. And then compare this to something. But surely you either need to record (say) only bad points, and compare the frequency, or maybe record every hour, and so compare day to day. But to be quite honest I would be sporadic (and it doesn't appear to give firm guidance) and so the outcome would be meaningless - rubbish in rubbish out.

Lulabellx1 Fri 23-Sep-16 12:37:53

Communication, communication communication!

WowOoo Fri 23-Sep-16 13:09:28

I don't want to repeat what youarenotkiddingme has said but I was going to say that I have to remind myself how much harder it is for my child to deal with expectations and rules at school and at home.

I also have had to accept over time that my way or dh's way is not necessarily the only or the best way for him. My son is capable of making decisions and will learn from dealing with the consequences.

I try to be patient, to listen and not get frustrated (or at least show it) when I have to go over things again and again, step by step. I learn something new every day!

insan1tyscartching Fri 23-Sep-16 14:23:27

It's all a bit rubbish isn't it? Surely the best advice for a parent struggling with a child's behaviour or mental health is to contact your GP. Seriously who in their right mind would subscribe to something like that hmm

defineme Fri 23-Sep-16 16:14:20

My family have had a lot of help from child and adolescent mental health services. My eldest, who has asd, has received counselling for inappropriate behaviour and anxiety. We also accessed a siblings of children with asd course for his brother and sister that helped them a lot through meeting other siblings and play therapy etc.

Memoires Fri 23-Sep-16 19:09:32

So they're going to compare my results with all you lot's results? OK, but I imagine that most people who use this regularly have a child whose behaviour and emotional state are causing concern. So the results will be skewed, because if you're not worried about your child, you won't have any interest in this site, will you?

Where is the data coming from, if not the users?

In which case, this place, MN, is a much much much better resource.

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