I have been analyzing a typical day in my life and how much time do I spend on things since I have returned to work after 10 years and finalized a divorce in the past year. My world was turned upside down but how about my kids? Yes, kids are resilient but stress and change does affect them. I try to balance everything and still keep the routine as normal as possible for the kids but I know that I do not give as much attention to my children as I once did. The guilt is paralyzing at times.
With all this change in the household, there are also other changes going on. My baby girl is turning into a teen! My daughter has a smart phone and is texting like crazy, changes clothes a thousand times, is back talking, worried about her hair, doesn’t care about a bed time…the list is long people. Let’s face it, she is a mini me…or is she?
One thing I have noticed is that she has become more introvert and I dismissed it and thought she’s just into her friends and wants more privacy as she get older. Then I noticed the increase in eating junk food, but all teens love junk, right? I spoke to her about eating healthier and I got the “eye roll”. I thought, great I am acting like my own mother! Ugh. I try to redeem myself and let her have a sleep over only to find out that she confessed to her friends that she has been thinking about hurting herself. I was numb. First, how brave of her friend to tell me, but how could I not know?
I spoke with my daughter immediately and she confessed that she has thought about killing herself, but would never actually do it. I started to cry. Next she showed me her arm. She had scratches on her arm. She had used a broken light bulb. Now, I did see these marks the week before and I asked her about them and she said the kitten scratched her arm.
My daughter started to cry. I asked her if she felt better after doing this to herself or if the problems went away. She said NO. Then she said she hates that I had to go back to work. I just hugged her and told her I was going to make her an appointment at the doctor.
The doctor appointment went well. Lot’s of common sense suggestions. Unplug from technology an hour before bedtime, eat high protein for breakfast, exercise 30-60 minutes per day, keep a journal and talk to a counselor. LOTS of resistance on the unplugging and seeing a counselor.
A week later, with no prompting from me my daughter has turned off her phone around 8pm every night and has been eating breakfast again. We even took a walk together and she talked to me! Today we see the counselor and I am hoping she is receptive.
I hope that sharing this information does not portray me as a bad mother but as a mother who wants to help others really connect with their kids. In this day and age we often run on autopilot and I am asking you to slow down and look into you kids eyes when you talk to them. MAKE THE TIME, TALK ABOUT THE HARD SUBJECTS.