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Holding on to the end of the rope; life in the bunker with the Po Ts, where parenting a teen is having an adverse effect on our mental health

(998 Posts)
Pegsinarow Mon 13-May-19 08:31:14

With thanks to Billybagpuss for inspiration for the title and to Ticklingcheese and many other parents of teens who are emerging from the worst, or currently going through it, this is a support thread for parents who are being driven to despair by their teens. It is a continuation of this previous thread where many of us clubbed together to exchange experiences, possible strategies and understanding of what can be a very draining, isolating and distressing time for all!

Tin hats on everybody for round two! smile

Waterandlemonjuice Mon 13-May-19 15:54:53

It was nakedscientist on the other thread who said “I feel like the strain of teens make me fall apart a bit each day” - that’s how I felt in 2017 and a bit of last year.

Nakedscientist, personally I’m zero tolerance on NOS. I’m fairly relaxed about weed (while rolling my eyes and worrying about skunk etc) but I’ve told ds nfw will I have NOS in my house. Who knows whether he’s listened but I gave said it. Mind you he admitted to Ket and Coke at uni so...

TinselAngel Mon 13-May-19 18:53:04

Thanks for the new thread. My DD threw her brace at me in the midst of a tantrum over the weekend and nearly had my eye out.

Staywithmemyblood Mon 13-May-19 19:49:24

Yup, thanks Pegs, count me in for Round 2! 🙋 Waves to all regulars and welcome to new posters MrsBlondie, Tinkobell and Waterandlemonjuice

Tinkobell Mon 13-May-19 20:37:22

I açtually don't know what's going on with DD, totally in the dark. Won't tell me a thing. It's like there's a wall there; all the day to day niceties but no substance. I try and ask and get closed down. Really tried to reach out so many times, but no. She's sought help from school / counselling so I'm proud that she's done that. Just wish I knew what 'it' was. This is very lonely. I've actively avoided my own friends since 'it' started as I don't want to discuss it with my Happy-go-lucky jolly lives friends. A very sad time in our lives. My dad has cancer too, so it is shit.

mcmen71 Mon 13-May-19 20:57:16

tinkobell sorry to hear about your dad. Iv been through it with my mum feel free to pm me
billybagpuss thanks for reposting your letter on this thread love it.
Well things were going well for me both dds where doing a bit of study
Dd1 goes to 2 activities on a monday meets bf at break. I checked with her to see if she went to 2nd one and she said yes I screenshot her location and said i hope you not lying cause if i find out you are you not going anymore to which she replied im so sorry it was so nice I just wanted to be outside with bf . She normally wouldnt skip actuvity as they are rehearsing to go to euro disney. And she wont get if she not at practice.
Im just annoyed she lied and wouldnt have told the truth if I hadnt checked up on her. Shes not home to after 9 and dont know what to say to her about lying as I have told her so many times about lying. I hate it. It just stresses me out when shes out that I can't trust her.

mcmen71 Mon 13-May-19 21:03:04

tinkobell sorry to hear about your dad. Ive been through it with my mum pm me if you want.
billybagpuss thanks for reposting your letter.
My dd lied to me tonight I hate the lying dont know how um going to handle it when she comes home normally i get into a rage and she says she won't lie again but going to try approach it different to see can I stop the lying maybe im to strict.

MrsBlondie Mon 13-May-19 21:17:18

Thanks all for lovely replies. One day at a time very true.

Also very true that noone talks about it. Seen as failure. Yet we all talk about how hard babies/toddlers can be. This is 1000x harder!

Anyway not sure i can help with advice but another day (nearly) survived!

Tinkobell Mon 13-May-19 22:41:38

I think another reason I don’t want to talk to my friends (particularly those with DC’s same age) is because I’m worried it could do full circle and I’d make matters worse. DD is nearly 18 and I have to respect her privacy, you can’t just jabber away like you did when they were small. But equally you’re going through things for the first time and learning by trial and error.

Tinkobell Mon 13-May-19 22:44:27

There’s a saying “a mother can only be as happy as her saddest child” - well that’s how I feel but also helpless to try and improve the situation too which is hard for me as I’m a natural fixer and dooer.

Xeroxarama Tue 14-May-19 03:37:16

@mrsblondie mine is 13 too and more extremely foul than his friends. We have a day to day hostility and refusal that floors us. About 2-3 x a week there is a little patch of sun that is toleration and a few words of conversation. Often that follows removing the focus on him (yet still offering massive pampering!). Does that sound familiar? No really major issues here, yet, the arguments are all about screens or food ( nothing in the house is edible but no he can’t think of anything better but is starving) Tell us more about how it is for you ? Are there any good bits?

Pegsinarow Tue 14-May-19 05:17:26

Good morning Po Ts! (An early one as I have a lot to catch up on today.)

Thank you for all the thanks! flowers All the advice shared has been extremely helpful to me personally too.

I am not going to attempt to answer every post individually as in previous thread, but just wanted to pop in and say every post will be read (please don't think you are being ignored) and welcome all newcomers to the club! Welcome to all the hardened regulars too smile. Lovely to "see" you!

Oh and here's the Young Minds link as suggested by Notontopofthings. I'll follow that up with Mumsnet HQ wrt the web chat.

Tinkobell very sorry about your dad flowers. Wishing you strength with it all.
Teentimestwo how did the first day of your dd1's new job go?
Oh no Tinselangel not at all funny, esp when you know how much braces cost!
Hope the new approach worked McMen71
I'm tempted to ask, Xerox, have you tried delivering a pkt. of raw sausages, a grill pan, a bag of potatoes and a peeler for supper and telling him to get on with it? Well done for staying calm.
Good luck to Parsley's DD for today and to all other teens with exams!

DD very stressed last night (exams looming) so we had tears rather than tantrums. Not sure which is worse tbh! But things generally fairly calm and ok-ish atm (long may it continue!)

Onwards and upwards everyone! (Or if not upwards, let's keep trudging along horizontally in the face of the incoming storm at least smile. )

Cccc123 Tue 14-May-19 07:17:55

Thanks to everyone who replied to me! Sorry just not had the mental energy to respond yet! I will though.

vjg13 Tue 14-May-19 07:38:48

Morning all! smile

So much of what people write here resonates with me. Xero, my younger daughter is exactly the same wrt food. Everything I make is vile, ready meals show how lazy I really am but no suggestions of what she would like to eat and I could buy. She became very underweight last year and is still at the lower end of a healthy BMI so it does worry me. She can and does cook for herself though when I'm out if I've guessed what she fancies!

Tink, so sorry to hear about your Dadthanks

Pegs, wow up and posting so early. I put on the BBC news first thing but it was far too early for me to start watching their menopause feature, despite being desperately peri/menopausal!

notontopofthings Tue 14-May-19 07:39:41

DS is due to sit his A levels in less than 3 weeks. I cannot gauge what his silence means but I suspect it is that he has given up trying as it all feels overwhelming for him.

He was kicked out of 6th form last autumn when his MH crisis was most acute, and has been tutored at home since January, so there was a big gap in his education then which he feels he can't catch up on. His MH is still not under control, although I think it may be getting there with new meds.

Whattodofgs Tue 14-May-19 08:53:25

notontopofthings thanks

At his age an extra year to get A levels and improve mental health can be a good thing.

Just keep on being there, it's a really tough one. We are just coming out the other side

plominoagain Tue 14-May-19 09:52:20

Can I join in too ? Have 5 DC’s , and my 14 year old DD is just ..... I don’t know where to begin . I moved her out of her first secondary school last year because of issues with bullying , and she was so happy at her new school until about January this year. Then the attitude started . She’s rude . Won’t accept any kind of authority . Got excluded last week for her behaviour and then , after refusing to leave the school , disappeared when told I was coming to get her . Turned her phone off . Ignored all our messages . I spent seven hours looking for her having had to report her missing ( on no sleep because I’d been on night shift the night before ) . She got brought home by police and then took that out on us. Yesterday I had to go to another meeting at the school , and the assistant head really stuck his neck out and allowed her back into lessons rather than isolation , to prove she could do it . She got sent out of two . I try and try to help her yet she seems hell bent on sabotaging it all . She promised me she would do better , yet I’ve just found her school blazer and tie here , and had a text from the school to say she was late . All the time she’s not here , I’m on tenterhooks waiting for another phone call . I’m not sure I can do this .

mcmen71 Tue 14-May-19 10:10:34

@plominoagain Yes you can do it as the title says hold onto the rope.
Is she your eldest. Read back through the first thread and it will hopefully help you feel that its not just you and definetly not just your child. hope you have a better day.

Im still trying to think how to handle the lie from last night have tried the hard way shouting taken phone telling her its best to be honest but none of it works. It just makes me wonder what else she is lying about. I seem to be back at square one with my anxiety thinking the worst.
Hope first day of exams went well for those that are started.

plominoagain Tue 14-May-19 10:13:08

Thank you. She’s my 4th child , but the first DD . I expected the teenage mood swings , but this , this is a whole new ballgame , and one I don’t know the rules to. I suspect there are no rules .

MrsBlondie Tue 14-May-19 10:41:52

@eroxarama OMG thank you so much. yes totally. Arguments about xbox time and food - that's pretty much life with my son!! He always wants more and pushes. So "off xbox at 9pm" "That's so unfair, give me til 9.15pm" etc. Its exhausting.

"I hate all the food in this house, Tesco food is crap. Why don't you buy nice food. Im starving."

Yes, thankfully, at times we see the nice lovely boy he used to be. But he can be so vile 85% of the time its hard to remember.

billybagpuss Tue 14-May-19 11:18:27

@mcmen I hated the lying. Years ago dd1 had been spending so much money on sweets we’d had an argument and I’d banned her from the seeet shop. When she was at a music lesson and we were wait for her to finish her bag was bulging so much and a sweet packet was sticking out. So I opened it up and there were 4 large packets in there. We duly had the argument, I confiscated them and said I was going to throw them away. When we got home I hid them in a cupboard. She found them and took one. She then tried so hard to convince me that there were only ever 3.

She must have been very early teens. She’s 22 now and we were talking about it the other day and she was still trying to bloody well justify it 😡

She wasn’t impressed when I pointed out that what she was doing at the time was trying to gaslight me.

billybagpuss Tue 14-May-19 11:22:52

@plomino you can do it 💐

They have no concept of the grand scheme of things do they? Not much advice just to say keep going you are doing the right thing.

It does sound with Dd that there is something else afoot is it worth trying a girly day out to see if she’ll open up to you

Ticklingcheese Tue 14-May-19 12:04:11

I don't have any quick fixes for you, wish I did.

Don't know if this is of any use to you, but i think you need to bear in mind that whatever you do, a teen will dissociate, just to feel 'grown up' -'they no betterish'. The more we fight for a little control the harder it gets... for us. Keep in mind that in the end/if forced they can do 'life' themselves (the more you pamper a lazy teen, the angrier they often get).

I'm not talking about substance abuse, mh but 'normal' teen behavior.

Imo the best we can do is making sure they are SAFE (teens are sure they can tackle any situation eg. Involving nights out - they can't).

Setting a FEW house rules, which should never be broken (set the rules with the teen in a 'nice' chat, one of those rare shiny days, when you get along). (Not your ten thousand rules, that make life good, and everybody dutyful humans).

I regret trying too hard, taking on board all the nastiness, not just walking away more. Regret spending so much time worrying (I worry too much, teens hate that) it was MY worries, if they are safe try let it go (I know easy to say).

Don't know if this of any use to you, but do try to disengage a little, atleast for your own sanity.

Onwards and upwards 😀.

Ticklingcheese Tue 14-May-19 12:07:15

Know betterish 🤪

Anotherloverholeinyohead Tue 14-May-19 13:57:29

Can I join?? I've lurked on the previous thread and cannot tell you how relieved I am that I am not alone in this!

I've got a 12yr old DS and a nearly 15 yr old DS. My youngest doesn't give me any hassle what so ever (touch wood) but the older one - my goodness! Issues have included being the subject of emotional bullying (snapmap tracking, 68 message from one person in a day, pressure to do things (drinking)) which resulted in school work going down hill (understandable) but the teachers didn't see it that way and have just cast him aside as lazy and I am the one receiving the emails from school about missed homework and attitude in class. He refuses to block the bullies as he says they will know that they have been blocked and will make things worse for him. DS attitude at home isn't great - its like we are the enemy but we are the ones trying to help him! School say they are going to do XYZ but it never comes to anything.

He has had issues with food since he has being weaned (very limited diet, hates eating in front of people) and now this has esculated and he has lost about a stone in 6 weeks. He says he is not hungry, I can;t force him to eat but reading between the lines, he is not eating because that is one thing he can be in control of.

DP (his dad) is quite good with him but they have never had the easiest of relationships and I feel like the piggy in the middle there as well sad

Well, i've got it off my chest now - I literally have no one (apart from DP) to talk to about this. My family and DP's family don't seem to give two hoots about my children they say it will get better in time. Well, I'd like a time machine and travel to when it will be better because at the moment I have a broken teenager with a stinking attitude towards me and DP - the only two people who seem to care.

mcmen71 Tue 14-May-19 14:27:58

@anotherloverholeinyohead the first thing I would concentrate on is his eating. He needs to eat, show him a few videos of people that don't eat how harmful it can be to body and mind. And block those bullies that is probably why he is not eating.

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