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Teens affecting your mental health?

(187 Posts)
KikiTheFrog Mon 28-Dec-15 19:26:49

So I am a worrier. Always have been but events this past year with dd16 have worn me down and I basically feel like shit a lot of the time, depending on the current state of play with dd. Nothing drastic or too bad has happened luckily, but Ive had days off work becsuse ive been too upset to go in, lost weight through not eating and sleep badly. All through dealing with her and sorting out her problems when necessary.
I suppose its not fair to blame her for how I'm feeling because its the way i react thats the problem, but if she didn't do, or not do, all those things or say all that stuff then I wouldn't be upset and anticipating the next disappointment. Yes I'm probably a bit depressed and have actually referred myself for therapy but am I the only one like this?

Beezles Mon 28-Dec-15 20:18:20

Hello Kiki,

No, you are not the only one. I have certainly felt myself drawn into worrying, obsessing and stressing over my kids. They are now 17, nearly 18. I am not sure when it started to happen, but I notice that their moods affect me and anticipating the next row or confrontation keeps me in a permanent state of anxiety. And they are not even that bad! I am a worrier by nature, and generally anxious so I think I am less able to be objective about it. Also I think the process of letting go of them is affecting me too, for all sorts of reasons.

If it helps, here are some of the things that I have been considering:

- I am over-involved with my child(ren) and so over-react to them and their situations.
- I am caught up in micro-managing their lives.
- I am afraid to let them experience failure or pain so over-control and supervise.
- I am a sensitive person and very empathic, so what affects them emotionally affects me.
- They are going through very turbulent times emotionally, physically and mentally. I feel that sometimes I am being used as a sponge to soak up their stress. In the same way that a toddler has a tantrum when it has gone beyond the ability to cope with a situation, so teenagers pick a fight (have a drama etc) to let off some of the emotional stress.
- I have not detached enough and got on with my own life and interests, which draws me into their world too much.
- I take it all too seriously. Every 'whatever' or eye-rolling sigh gets to me. There is masses of advice here to pick your fights rather than picking on every little thing, and also to let some of it go. Good advice here from MaryZ I think, was to 'ignore the attitude and pay attention to the action'.
- I get so caught up in anticipating the next drama, emotions, bad attitude etc, that I forget to like my kids.

These are just some of the things I am thinking about to try and help me see how to go forward with my life and let them get on with theirs. I still cry and feel stressed and anxious, but I think perspective helps. And I am sure therapy helps. I hate to say it, but getting the odd dose of advice here on MN helps, but probably not reading the Teenagers board too often (I find that just adds fuel to the fire of worry, comparison etc). There are some good books too. You probably know them, but 'Staying Connected to Your Teenager' is good, as is 'Yes, your Teen is Crazy' and the best one of all for me was 'Get Out Of My Life But First Take Me And Alex Into Town', although I know there are mixed opinions on it.

Good luck. Some take to drink, some have therapy and many will share that they had a really hard time being a parent to a teen. It is tough.


ssd Mon 28-Dec-15 20:23:27

God I empathise with this thread, will watch with interest.

ssd Mon 28-Dec-15 20:23:54

and my kids are good! but I worry for Britain!

3boys1girl Mon 28-Dec-15 21:42:17

Yep me too. Never feel 100% happy or content anymore always worrying about DD14 , honestly never expected the teen years to be like thissad

Hetty3838 Mon 28-Dec-15 21:47:36

Beezle- this is me down to a tee. I try not to interfere but with more life experience I see things unfolding and can't help but interfere. I know they need to learn by their own mistakes but it's just to painful. I feel more for DDs life than i do my own confused.

I agree 100% your not alone I have spent many a sleepless night stressing about DD , her friendship issues, her relationship issues. Again don't about my own and she sleeps just fine!!

MajesticWhine Mon 28-Dec-15 22:38:58

You are not alone. I have 2 teen girls and I am stressed out of my mind worrying about them. Various problems : bad behaviour, self harming, depression and that's just me. The reason I think the worrying is amplified is that I feel I am to blame for the way they are and the problems they are having. I am not sure if I am over involved but think I'm not. It is appropriate to be involved if they are breaking rules or struggling with mental health problems. It's so hard.

KikiTheFrog Mon 28-Dec-15 23:51:51

Wow Beezles. Thank you for that post. What you are describing is totally me. Its a comfort to know that I am not the only one struggling like this.
And thanks everyone else as well.
I need to detach and get on with my own life but I am so wrapped up in hers, and she quite clearly does not want me to be.
I hope I can toughen up and change my attitude coz I am sick of feeling like this.

Hetty3838 Tue 29-Dec-15 00:00:50

Same ! Are you a single mum? I am and wonder if I have forgotten my own personal life or to have one.

KikiTheFrog Tue 29-Dec-15 00:21:14

I am not a single mum but it feels like it. Dh does not have a good relationship with dd so has backed right off as he's sick of the arguments etc so I am dealing with everything. He thinks I am over involved with dd and says I should just let her get on with it. Wish I could.

PoppySeedRoll Tue 29-Dec-15 00:28:45

Oh yes yes yes. Horrendous year with dd14. School refusal, CAMHS involvement, trips to a&e with anxiety (theirs) and deeply unpleasant behaviour affecting the whole family. The GP gave me beta blockers as I was falling apart trying to cope and also recovering from being seriously ill. Some nights I can't sleep because I'm so angry with her and how selfish and dramatic she is.

Alvah Tue 29-Dec-15 00:57:59

Me too Kiki. Sleepless nights, weight loss as appetite is non-existent, adrenaline, constant worry. It is awful.

Just had a good couple of months where DS 14 has been so much better, but today the nightmare feeling reared it's ugly head again.

I'm a single mum of three and i feel bad for my other two when things are bad with DS, because I debilitated me (making me distant, stressed, tearful).

At least we are not alone star

KikiTheFrog Tue 29-Dec-15 02:13:55

Another sleepless night here again after "words" about turning off gadgets and going to bed.

Peebles1 Tue 29-Dec-15 08:35:39

This is an excellent thread, kiki. You are definitely not alone. I go to aerobics and rock choir once a week and it's something just for me, a little escape. It helps. Bezzle I think your advice was fantastic and I'm definitely going to try and follow some of it.

Peebles1 Tue 29-Dec-15 08:36:38

Beezles - sorry, got the name wrong!!

Peach1886 Tue 29-Dec-15 09:20:19

PoppySeed your comment about not sleeping because of being angry with how selfish and dramatic they are...I do that too and it makes me even more angry when I'm exhausted the next day, with a baby to look after...

I think leaving them to it is the only way to stay sane...that and very low dose ADs which I have found help enormously, as they stop me caring so much. Some things still get to me, but more and more I just watch from the sidelines. DSDs dad is still in the thick of it and wearing himself out running after her physically and emotionally 24/7.

It's not the sort of parenting either of us had hoped to be offering...but trying to be the sort of family we had hoped for (naively?) was just ripping us to pieces, I am incredulous how emotionally destructive and nasty teenage girls can be.

Nepotism Tue 29-Dec-15 09:49:25

Relate to all this and as of this month mine is no longer in her teens. To be fair, till mine were 17 they were an absolute dream. The eldest has turned into a confident, charming, driven young adult. The youngest has brought me to my knees with her mental health issues and self destructive behaviour.

YeOldeTrout Tue 29-Dec-15 10:45:28

No, I don't have this.
But I have decided that if DS's only plan with his life is to live in his bedroom playing computer games, I can live with it.
It's either that or my mental health goes down the pan. I've made my choice.

Not something I can talk about in real life, though! Sort of choice that attracts high disapproval on MN, etc.

t875 Tue 29-Dec-15 11:04:30

Yeah it's been a hard year here on and off with my dd social anxiety at school and panic! The school has been pretty supportive. Because of options she ended up in brand new classes and didn't know anyone and she hated her class and some of the boys wound her up.
She seems more settled now but she went down a unsettled path
I'll be watching this thread.
Survival stories of the wonderful 14/15/16 year olds would be good!
Hints tips to get through gcse's / studying would be great. Apart from booking myself into a spa every 3 months!

Heyho111 Tue 29-Dec-15 21:56:14

Please read ' get out my life but first take me and Alex to town'
The teen years were horrendous- my D was incredibly vocal, dramatic, rude, ignorant etc etc. Self harm, weed, falling out drama , alcohol etc. Her emotions became my emotions. This book turned it around. I really understood why it was happening. I followed what it said. The house became a home. Not solved but it changed. Please give it a go and believe what it said. Now I'm out the other side. We are really close and sometimes she gets upset about how she was.

ssd Tue 29-Dec-15 22:39:19

I hate to say it, and I know I'll get slaughtered for this, but I think teenage boys are a bit easier than girls on the whole? I don't think they are as emotional and dramatic as the girls, though my ds really doesn't share anything and thats hard too, getting any info is almost impossible when he's been in his room for years, or so it feels.

I know I'm generalising here, I'm just going by what I read on here.

Alvah Wed 30-Dec-15 11:51:06

After another night of adrenaline, no sleep, staring at the phone waiting for him to phone, I realised that I am going to have to find a way to use this fear/worry for something constructive. A way to strengthen my self, either detach or find ways to deal with my fears that can help me in the long run. I have a few years left of dealing with teenage years, with a 13 & 11 year old waiting in the I'm going to have to work something out.

My issue with DS, it is that he will do his own thing completely (go to parties, not come home after, drinking, smoking weed). I know as parents we cannot control completely our children's behaviour/choices, however I feel the freedom he is taking is hugely inappropriate for 14/15 years old. And my fear is around my inability/failure to stop him. Normal/common sense approaches such as grounding/removal of gadgets took us to a place I would never like to return to. But it makes me feel like a coward and an useless parent, 'allowing' him to go out drinking etc at this age.

How do you guys deal with fear/anxiety when it makes your brain all confused (running round in circles imagining the worst) and mushy (so that I am unable to think straight).

He always says I think the worst of him and that I should be happy with him because he stays away from 'bad stuff'....I said I wish I could be a fly on the wall so I could see what happens at parties etc. He said: You'd be happy with some of the things I do, and annoyed at some as well... All in all he reckons I should be trusting him to find his way through life. Whilst I struggle with that because of the availability of alcohol and drugs and my failure to 'manage him'. When given this freedom, he is a gentle, respectful, wise and caring young man. Just acting 16/17 instead of 14/15.

t875 Wed 30-Dec-15 12:04:19

Heyho111 I have read the get out of my life book is there another book which bolts on the bit about Alex going to town?
Get out of my life is a great book though and like you helped a lot to understand more.
The teenage brain is a great book too.
Ssd hello (()) smile I think you are right about boys. Although they are meant to get hormonal at 15 eldest was hormonal 12-14 worst. She def has calmed down at home.
Just the social anxiety and struggling on and off at school xx

thunderbird69 Wed 30-Dec-15 12:05:34

Thanks for this thread as I have previously thought that I am the only one that feels like this. Whenever I mention teenage issues in RL no one else seems to feel like I do, instead they roll their eyes and say 'teenagers ay?' with a smirk or they may be angry about their teen's behaviour (rather than upset or anxious). Further fuelled by FB posts by people on how proud they are of their children (cue photo of teenagers looking smart, sensible and loving) and also threads on here about teenagers that bear no resemblance to mine!

Some of what has been said above is exactly how I feel, the worry and anxiety, feeling their emotions, being over-involved etc. I often feel that I am not strong enough to be a parent.

I will definitely take a look at that book. Think I'll get it on Kindle so they can't see what I'm reading!

t875 Wed 30-Dec-15 12:07:14

Alvah I don't really know about this as my dd isn't for going out thank god I don't have that worry.

I guess make sure he knows boundaries and rules or say to him you won't be going.
I know probably easier said than done.
Does he text back when you text? Does he know about your worry/ anxiety? If he has an I phone you could track him just to see every now and then where he is x

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