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12 Year old daughter's emotions and feelings

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user1493755237 Tue 04-Jun-19 22:42:27

Hi
I'm afraid I'm not a mum, but I'm a dad trying to work out how to support my daughter.
I'm separated from my wife (and daughter's mum), so live apart, though we get on very well and don't fight, bicker or act in anyway against the best outcome for our children. We even go on birthday 'days out' all together. No affection or confusing behaviour. My ex has a partner and the lines are all clear.

My daughter has begun feeling very low and being very moody. Unhappy with her appearance, hates her hair, thinks she is fat etc etc. She is none of those. Slim, pretty, funny, intelligent, witty and amazing company.

I'm not sure where to go to help. The GP, straight to a counsellor, or even a homeopath a friend sent their daughter to... I'm nervous that a GP will not have time and just prescribe something, that counsellors vary from great to terrible and a homeopath is not necessarily skilled and to some extent is wedded to their belief in remedies too much.

I know this is all very normal for this age of young lady and maybe when I was young, I might have been told to shut up, but we live in different times. Instagram, Kardashians and a far more exposed world with ever stringent views on how we should look, act, date and be...

Has anyone found a particular course of action, beyond letting her know I love her and will always be there if and when she ever wants to talk to me, to help?

I only see her every other weekend, but call every single day to say hi and ask how her day was. So I don't have a huge amount of contact, but this question is as much to see how my ex and I could work together to help a little girl that is fast becoming a young woman to cope as best as they can. I miss her smile and want to help in any way I can.

Thanks for any feedback.

OP’s posts: |
otterturk Wed 05-Jun-19 11:09:26

You sound like such a wonderful father. I hope people come along with good advice

XXVaginaAndAUterus Wed 05-Jun-19 11:15:55

This isn't something that a prescription is appropriate for.

She's a (pre-but only just) teenage girl. Her body is changing, her peer group is changing, she's getting fucked up info on what she should be or look like from social media. She needs love, affection and gentle challenging of negative beliefs about herself. Positive role models. Healthy talk about what she's seeing on social media etc. Sharing of body and female positive content too.

You sound very aware and well intentioned. I wish you all the very best with navigating the next few years with her. Xxx

XXVaginaAndAUterus Wed 05-Jun-19 11:23:46

I missread that the first time. You weren't trying to make it a prescription thing, sorry.

I don't think she needs a counsellor either. A good homeopath is just as much about the appointment to talk about things as a supportive remedy - and if you go with the science, the remedies do nothing more than placebo. Personally I'm a fan and I think placebo is under rated! I had a very good homeopath a while ago, she was Macclesfield-way but if that's not close to you it might be worth finding out if she would do it by phone or skype. She came recommended to me with a line about "if her remedies don't sort you her consultations will!" and they were right! I'd recommend her to anybody. You are welcome to PM me for a name IF you decide to go that route. I'm just not convinced that you need to. X

TantricTwist Wed 05-Jun-19 11:51:03

She'll be getting her period soon as will all the girls around her.
Their emotions will be up and down now for a while so expect a difficult time.

My DD is 12 and is going through the same as your daughter.
She randomly gets cross about what seems like nothing, I ignore it tbh. Sometimes I laugh which makes her more angry so I try my hardest not to. We have spoken about periods and emotions and how it will affect all the girls she knows.
If she talks about her weight I just change the subject as I don't want it to be a thing. She knows I think she's beautiful and funny.
Re hair you could learn how to braid it, just look at you tube videos.
There have been various friendship issues which we have had in depth converstions about. I basically just tell her the awful ones sound awful and to stick with her decent friends not the so called bitchy cool girl gang who's circle she can dip in and out of.

My advice would be to continue to be a supportive loving father. Try not to understand or get too emboiled in discussing her emotions etc with her as the conversation will go round in circles.

My DD and I are very close and she tells me everything and I also know that stepping back, which is hard for me but really important for her to figure things out.

Maybe ask your DD if everything is going ok at school although you'll probably not get much of an answer.

What I tend to do is say "oh I was talking to a friend whose DD was having a terrible time at School with friends / teachers" whatever and use this lie to open lines of communication by asking what would she do in this situation or does she have an opinion, what are the girls like her school, what is instagram like, what do they use it for etc.
I'd ask does she know of anyone who's had a bad time from using instagram / social media because I've read some children do and is that true, what do you do on instagram that kind of thing.

user1493755237 Wed 05-Jun-19 18:54:44

Thank you all for your thoughts.
I like most of the feedback think it's her age and almost certainly in the run up to her starting her periods. I would never say that as I don't want to trivialise it. I bought a little bag and put some sanitary products in it and spare pair of underwear, put it away in a drawer just in case as my way of saying, I know it will be soon, but you don't have to tell me when it happens. Probably screwed that up, but just felt it was better than the alternative of not being prepared and the embarrassment that might cause.

Yes, I didn't mean she needs a prescription. I actually want to avoid a 'just in case it's depression' prescription. Equally I don't want to pass it off as her age if it perhaps might be more than that. I know nobody can answer that other than her and us.

Interesting view on the homeopath placebo. That's a good point. I like that bit, just I always get a bit nervous with untrained people doing mental wellbeing, but maybe it is just someone neutral to talk to...

Thank you for all the replies. I know it sounds a bit feckless and it's very common obviously. I suppose it's the not misreading it and actually trying not to make things worse by trying to be helpful. Thanks for taking time for a bloke on mumsnet too....

OP’s posts: |
TheSmallAssassin Wed 05-Jun-19 19:20:53

It's probably worth talking to your GP, in our area there's a service offering CBT for low mood, social anxiety, etc that young people (with help from parents if they want it) can self refer to (not CAMHS which in our area, like everywhere else I suspect is very overstretched) - maybe there's something similar near you?

Bookridden Fri 07-Jun-19 21:33:54

You sound like such a lovely dad. I struggle with my 12 yo DD and her moods. I don't have any advice to offer, but she's lucky to have such a supportive and sensitive father.

GeorgeTheFirst Fri 07-Jun-19 21:47:12

The bag of sanpro is perfect, you didn't screw that up at all.

GeorgeTheFirst Fri 07-Jun-19 21:47:52

For extra points pop a bar of chocolate and two paracetamol in there too.

Singingcricket Fri 07-Jun-19 21:52:26

Op read a book called Untangled by Lisa Damour about guiding girls through their teenage years to adulthood. I found it v helpful. Good luck!

user1493755237 Mon 10-Jun-19 22:31:20

Thank you for those ideas and for the book recco.
Chocolate bar is a genius idea! Like that one.
Will definitely be putting the ideas you all gave to work and hopefully look like a very well prepared dad....
Thank you all

OP’s posts: |

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