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I'm afraid of being the bad guy. JAWM


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No, DS15's girlfriend cannot come over on weekdays because 1) DH and I are working and don't want to spend the evening driving her home and 2) DH and I are working and can't supervise their time together and that is something that we value as parents while they are this young. He is angry and sad because we have family coming this weekend so he won't be able to see her this weekend either.

Ever since his episode of self harm a couple months ago DH and I are on eggshells all the time. We are so afraid that enforcing even perfectly reasonable rules is going to push him over the edge. Hanging on by our fingernails between therapist visits and can't wait to get him in to see the psychiatrist and get him on meds. Not looking for advice, just sympathy.

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I hear you.  Not sure my fingernails have recovered after hanging by them for so long. It’s a hard, hard place to be.

Crossing my fingers for you, that the psych visit is coming up soon.

 

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Hugs.  Agree, in a lot of ways I feel like I'm always walking on eggshells with my teen.  We've got an appt in a couple of weeks to start the process towards meds.  Meanwhile just trying to fill time with positive interactions at home (constantly spending time with them, playing games, going hiking, etc) just to keep the brain from retreading old negative thoughts.  It's exhausting. 

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Just now, Spryte said:

I hear you.  Not sure my fingernails have recovered after hanging by them for so long. It’s a hard, hard place to be.

Crossing my fingers for you, that the psych visit is coming up soon.

For new patients, 6 week wait 😧 We're on a cancellation list...

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4 minutes ago, egao_gakari said:

For new patients, 6 week wait 😧 We're on a cancellation list...

It’s such a difficult, long wait.  I remember ours well.  So painful.  You have my complete sympathy and understanding.  

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24 minutes ago, egao_gakari said:

No, DS15's girlfriend cannot come over on weekdays because 1) DH and I are working and don't want to spend the evening driving her home and 2) DH and I are working and can't supervise their time together and that is something that we value as parents while they are this young. He is angry and sad because we have family coming this weekend so he won't be able to see her this weekend either.

Ever since his episode of self harm a couple months ago DH and I are on eggshells all the time. We are so afraid that enforcing even perfectly reasonable rules is going to push him over the edge. Hanging on by our fingernails between therapist visits and can't wait to get him in to see the psychiatrist and get him on meds. Not looking for advice, just sympathy.

I would try to find a compromise here in some way. 

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I think I might compromise too, for a few hours in the evening during the week. During dinner maybe. Only because of the weekend guests. 

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Agree that with a person on the edge, compromising for one evening during the week when he won't see her during the weekend seems reasonable. 

Allowing unsupervised time is not reasonable. 

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No, her parents won't help drive and it would be plus/minus an hour round trip for us. We are looking for a compromise solution. We're not trying to be inflexible. It's just that these plans/proposals keep getting sprung on us last minute while I'm on my 5 minute break between work sessions.

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22 minutes ago, egao_gakari said:

No, her parents won't help drive and it would be plus/minus an hour round trip for us. We are looking for a compromise solution. We're not trying to be inflexible. It's just that these plans/proposals keep getting sprung on us last minute while I'm on my 5 minute break between work sessions.

How would her parents feel about her using an Uber?  Totally understand if not but just thought I’d suggest.  Daytime visits with no adult would be a no for us too.  And I totally get not wanting to add an hours drive when you’re already tired. I hope your ds can get good support soon.

Edited by Ausmumof3
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I know it is hard. I know the fear of enforcing any rules due to psychological issues. I just want my daughter to be happy and have no reason to revert into that horrible dark place that is nearly impossible for her to get out of.

With one of my daughter's ex boyfriends, I got pretty upset that his family had 3 drivers (2 parents and older sister) and I am a single parent with no one else available to drive. I suggested that maybe they should do at least half of the driving. When I brought that up to my daughter, she thought it was a reasonable thing to ask. Maybe just tell your son that you are happy to have her but her parents will need to do half the driving. Make them the bad guys. 

My daughter has also spent entire days with her phone on speaker with various friends, just walking around with it. They didn't even talk most of the time, but I guess there was still a sense of being with the person. Maybe something like that will be helpful? 

Edited by OH_Homeschooler
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3 minutes ago, OH_Homeschooler said:

 

My daughter has also spent entire days with her phone on speaker with various friends, just walking around with it. They didn't even talk most of the time, but I guess there was still a sense of being with the person. Maybe something like that will be helpful? 

(Just quoting the pertinent part) ... Yours, too?!  It’s the same here.  It would have been a no go, but because of Covid I’m ok with it.  They need connection.

OP, you said no advice, so I bit my tongue earlier, but wanted to say that while we were in that waiting period, we made a lot of compromises to keep kid out of the dark place.  Maybe there’s some compromise that will work - the trade off is the benefit your kid gets from being with his girlfriend.

 

 

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15 minutes ago, Andani said:

If it helps, we wouldn't do that either. Welcome to the bad guy parents club. 💙

When there are mental health issues, it's better to err on the side of doing a little extra for your kid. JMO of course. 

 

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2 hours ago, hippymamato3 said:

I would try to find a compromise here in some way. 

I know you said JAWY, but I have to agree. One evening a week isn’t too much to ask for. I have a huge soft spot for teens this age. We often ask them to comprehend and endure circumstances on a near adult level, but they are pinned down by their inability to drive. What an incredibly frustrating way to live. 
 

(Sorry, OP, I’m sure there are details to your circumstances I cannot know, but for this brief era in my own kids’ lives I did choose to be a reasonably available chauffeur.)

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14 minutes ago, OH_Homeschooler said:

I know it is hard. I know the fear of enforcing any rules due to psychological issues. I just want my daughter to be happy and have no reason to revert into that horrible dark place that is nearly impossible for her to get out of.

With one of my daughter's ex boyfriends, I got pretty upset that his family had 3 drivers (2 parents and older sister) and I am a single parent with no one else available to drive. I suggested that maybe they should do at least half of the driving. When I brought that up to my daughter, she thought it was a reasonable thing to ask. Maybe just tell your son that you are happy to have her but her parents will need to do half the driving. Make them the bad guys. 

My daughter has also spent entire days with her phone on speaker with various friends, just walking around with it. They didn't even talk most of the time, but I guess there was still a sense of being with the person. Maybe something like that will be helpful? 

Yep, he does that already.

We are definitely open to the "half the driving" idea. I believe she lives in a single-parent home, so that is part of the issue. We've done the driving before, on weekends.

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42 minutes ago, egao_gakari said:

No, her parents won't help drive and it would be plus/minus an hour round trip for us. We are looking for a compromise solution. We're not trying to be inflexible. It's just that these plans/proposals keep getting sprung on us last minute while I'm on my 5 minute break between work sessions.

Maybe say that you will, going forward, be available to drive on X night of the week. So they can look forward to seeing each other every X night. 
 

FWIW, we live a half hour from everything. I make several hour-long round trips a day. Again, my choice, but I am reluctant to give up all that talk time when the youngest finally gets licensed. 

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Last minute ideas are so frustrating.

Maybe arrange to have a speakerphone conversation when it's most convenient for you with her on the line and him in the room so you can be part of the planning to make an exception to the no-weeknights rule this one time.

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57 minutes ago, egao_gakari said:

No, her parents won't help drive and it would be plus/minus an hour round trip for us. We are looking for a compromise solution. We're not trying to be inflexible. It's just that these plans/proposals keep getting sprung on us last minute while I'm on my 5 minute break between work sessions.

I've explained to my kids that last minute plans generally get an answer of no. I would LOVE to set up times for my kids to see friends, but do not spring it on me at the last second and turn me into the bad guy when I can't drop everything to make everyone happy.

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6 minutes ago, Katy said:

Last minute ideas are so frustrating.

Maybe arrange to have a speakerphone conversation when it's most convenient for you with her on the line and him in the room so you can be part of the planning to make an exception to the no-weeknights rule this one time.

Weeknights are really, really difficult for us. We are self-employed. We work late on the nights that the kids don't have sports, in order to make up for ending earlier on sports nights. I work until midafternoon on Saturdays as well.

I figured out a time on Saturday when I'm not working and there aren't any family plans, and let him know that if she can make that time work, I will make it so they can see each other.

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2 minutes ago, egao_gakari said:

Weeknights are really, really difficult for us. We are self-employed. We work late on the nights that the kids don't have sports, in order to make up for ending earlier on sports nights. I work until midafternoon on Saturdays as well.

I figured out a time on Saturday when I'm not working and there aren't any family plans, and let him know that if she can make that time work, I will make it so they can see each other.

How cool that you found a solution!  Yay!

Hopefully you are taking care of yourself, too.  What you are living right now is nerve-wracking.  

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1 minute ago, Spryte said:

How cool that you found a solution!  Yay!

Hopefully you are taking care of yourself, too.  What you are living right now is nerve-wracking.  

I'm trying!! Been taking a lot of baths and trying to read more good, non-ed, non-psych-related books 🙂 

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16 minutes ago, egao_gakari said:

I'm trying!! Been taking a lot of baths and trying to read more good, non-ed, non-psych-related books 🙂 

Hang in there.  And hopefully there will be a cancellation.  
 

FWIW, I’ve gotten to know the scheduling guy at the office where we take two loved ones.  He’s given me some tips on when to call about cancellations (he makes phone calls to upcoming patients every X day of the week, and always finds at least one who needs to change appts, that sort of thing).  Maybe give them a call, and remind them you can be available at a moment’s notice (if you can).  

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1 hour ago, Ausmumof3 said:

 And I totally get not wanting to add an hours drive when you’re already tired. I hope your ds can get good support soon.

I have to say that it isn't the parents' job to make sure that their children get to meet up with their romantic interests, KWIM? They are two young people, neither of whom drive. They wouldn't be the first to have to  talk on the phone, or even write letters, because they can't be together every moment. 

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I hope that the time on Saturday works out! That’ll make everyone feel better.

Maybe at some point in the future, you could find a place between the two houses to meet halfway, so that one person isn’t doing all the driving. Then, everyone is doing an equal amount of driving.

 

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5 hours ago, BusyMom5 said:

At 15, I think you are making more effort than I would.  

I’m not sure if you saw the background about the seriousness of the mental health issues at play. I’m thinking this is also a kid who is not having in person school, so is not otherwise seeing friends, but I could be wrong (and that would make a difference for me). With serious, untreated mental illness waiting for treatment, parenting decisions are often going to need to look quite different than they otherwise would. 

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6 hours ago, Ellie said:

I have to say that it isn't the parents' job to make sure that their children get to meet up with their romantic interests, KWIM? They are two young people, neither of whom drive. They wouldn't be the first to have to  talk on the phone, or even write letters, because they can't be together every moment. 

Definitely true.  On the other hand I have some kind of gut feel thing that it’s not ideal to leave the same young people endlessly looking for  a way to get around the rules iykwim.  In other words it’s a balance.  I would put a bit of extra effort in to make it happen to make sure there was no excuse for sneakiness etc happening.  But one week is not the end of the world of course.  It just sometimes feels that way when you’re young and lack perspective.

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1 hour ago, kand said:

I’m not sure if you saw the background about the seriousness of the mental health issues at play. I’m thinking this is also a kid who is not having in person school, so is not otherwise seeing friends, but I could be wrong (and that would make a difference for me). With serious, untreated mental illness waiting for treatment, parenting decisions are often going to need to look quite different than they otherwise would. 

Yes, that background informed my response as well.

The period of waiting for treatment options can be truly frightening, and harrowing.  Parenting choices are not necessarily the same for a child descending into depression, anxiety, and self harm.  

One might make different choices than one would for a mentally healthy kid who can suck it up and wait two weeks till the next available weekend. 

The compromises I’d consider making would be much higher, if I understood OP correctly, assuming that the girlfriend is a supportive, positive influence.  I’d probably grumble about it a bit, and try to find a compromise that works for all for the next few months, till the meds situation is sorted, and kid has more tools for coping.

This is a hard time, right now, to help a kid in crisis.  So many of their normal supports are just plain missing due to Covid.

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20 hours ago, egao_gakari said:

No, DS15's girlfriend cannot come over on weekdays because 1) DH and I are working and don't want to spend the evening driving her home and 2) DH and I are working and can't supervise their time together and that is something that we value as parents while they are this young. He is angry and sad because we have family coming this weekend so he won't be able to see her this weekend either.

Ever since his episode of self harm a couple months ago DH and I are on eggshells all the time. We are so afraid that enforcing even perfectly reasonable rules is going to push him over the edge. Hanging on by our fingernails between therapist visits and can't wait to get him in to see the psychiatrist and get him on meds. Not looking for advice, just sympathy.

I have no advice, just sympathy. My son too went through self harm behaviors over the last year and I am generally on pins and needles.

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On 3/4/2021 at 6:20 PM, Ellie said:

I have to say that it isn't the parents' job to make sure that their children get to meet up with their romantic interests, KWIM? They are two young people, neither of whom drive. They wouldn't be the first to have to  talk on the phone, or even write letters, because they can't be together every moment. 

 

On 3/4/2021 at 6:43 PM, BusyMom5 said:

At 15, I think you are making more effort than I would.  

 

I've been thinking about this, and Imma present an alternative viewpoint here. 

If this is not your job, then whose is it?  Teens are not waiting to "grow up" to become sentient people with emotions and needs that suddenly matter when they reach a magical age - they're living their lives, which they have little control over.  They didn't ask to be born (or adopted) into your family, nor to become your burden.  Yet here they are, reliant on you. 

Not only did you choose to bring them into your world, but you also chose to educate them at home (presumably - this is a home education forum, after all), away from their peers.  If they cannot get their social needs met through regular interaction due to our parental choices, then it also becomes our responsibility as parents to facilitate their social/emotional outlet. 

A lack of empathy and compassion toward the social/emotional needs of teens is apparent to them.  A lack of effort on their behalf is also noticeable to them.  Mental illness is oftentimes chemical, but sometimes it is despair over a lack of autonomy.  They are telling you they are suffering, and if you do not support them, or otherwise dismiss their needs, they can break. 

There are only a few short years where we have to make personal sacrifices to meet this obligation. 
And they will remember that we cared, or that we did not.

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20 minutes ago, Amy in NH said:

 

 

I've been thinking about this, and Imma present an alternative viewpoint here. 

If this is not your job, then whose is it?  Teens are not waiting to "grow up" to become sentient people with emotions and needs that suddenly matter when they reach a magical age - they're living their lives, which they have little control over.  They didn't ask to be born (or adopted) into your family, nor to become your burden.  Yet here they are, reliant on you. 

Not only did you choose to bring them into your world, but you also chose to educate them at home (presumably - this is a home education forum, after all), away from their peers.  If they cannot get their social needs met through regular interaction due to our parental choices, then it also becomes our responsibility as parents to facilitate their social/emotional outlet. 

A lack of empathy and compassion toward the social/emotional needs of teens is apparent to them.  A lack of effort on their behalf is also noticeable to them.  Mental illness is oftentimes chemical, but sometimes it is despair over a lack of autonomy.  They are telling you they are suffering, and if you do not support them, or otherwise dismiss their needs, they can break. 

There are only a few short years where we have to make personal sacrifices to meet this obligation. 
And they will remember that we cared, or that we did not.

I think you read this differently than I did.  The parents HAVE been making the effort and doing all the driving- an hour plus each time.  They work late, and he wants her to come over during the week while they are working- so no supervision.   This week it just wasn't working out, and she was feeling guilty for not being able to get together this one time, and worried over his mental health because she had to say no.  It looks like they have found a time over the weekend,  which is great.  Parents should try, but real life happens, bills,  work, other equally important responsibilities.   While we should absolutely do our best as parents, sometimes we can't do it all.  This mama needs to hear its okay if she cannot do everything.   

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32 minutes ago, BusyMom5 said:

I think you read this differently than I did.  The parents HAVE been making the effort and doing all the driving- an hour plus each time.  They work late, and he wants her to come over during the week while they are working- so no supervision.   This week it just wasn't working out, and she was feeling guilty for not being able to get together this one time, and worried over his mental health because she had to say no.  It looks like they have found a time over the weekend,  which is great.  Parents should try, but real life happens, bills,  work, other equally important responsibilities.   While we should absolutely do our best as parents, sometimes we can't do it all.  This mama needs to hear its okay if she cannot do everything.   

Yeah, this. Mental health issues exist, even when teens do have plenty of autonomy. Parents can't make their kids have a mental illness, and they can't cure it with love and support. It's an illness - having great parents doesn't cure cancer either!

I'm on team compromise, but with a heavy dose of team this is really hard on parents too. 

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OP, I'm glad you were able to come up with a compromise. Best wishes to you and your son.

The way I read this post is that these are parents that have been busting butt trying to help their kid but as sometimes happens they are unable to do everything and sometimes their rules and expectations don't match his. Mom feels even more guilty she cannot give her child everything he wants due to mental health issues and she was coming here for support. The fact is we cannot do everything all the times and sometimes our teens will not like our rules. Sometimes parents have to work. Parents have to sleep, eat, and take care of their own needs as well. Sometimes there is not enough time in the day for all the things.

 

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22 minutes ago, Soror said:

OP, I'm glad you were able to come up with a compromise. Best wishes to you and your son.

The way I read this post is that these are parents that have been busting butt trying to help their kid but as sometimes happens they are unable to do everything and sometimes their rules and expectations don't match his. Mom feels even more guilty she cannot give her child everything he wants due to mental health issues and she was coming here for support. The fact is we cannot do everything all the times and sometimes our teens will not like our rules. Sometimes parents have to work. Parents have to sleep, eat, and take care of their own needs as well. Sometimes there is not enough time in the day for all the things.

 

This is all true, and yet...As a parent with a now young adult who has been there, done that, still doing it to some extent but thankfully not as much, I can assuredly say that asking a mentally fragile kid to be more resilient then they are capable of being at the time can have really bad consequences. As parents, yes, we have our limits, too, and we are hardly perfect in being able to guess what the breaking point of our kid is, but when your kid is that fragile, it's terrifying. We literally can't do it all, and my heart goes out so much to the op, because I know how scary it is to not be able to do it all. 

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6 minutes ago, livetoread said:

This is all true, and yet...As a parent with a now young adult who has been there, done that, still doing it to some extent but thankfully not as much, I can assuredly say that asking a mentally fragile kid to be more resilient then they are capable of being at the time can have really bad consequences. As parents, yes, we have our limits, too, and we are hardly perfect in being able to guess what the breaking point of our kid is, but when your kid is that fragile, it's terrifying. We literally can't do it all, and my heart goes out so much to the op, because I know how scary it is to not be able to do it all. 

And that is why the OP was upset because she knows that too. She doesn't need the reminder. She is living it.

I've been there as well. It is not something I'm talking about here or RL because I don't want the guilt trips that this is somehow my fault because I didn't do enough. Parents living through this have enough stress and worry without outsiders questioning them as to whether or not they are doing enough. 

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6 minutes ago, Soror said:

And that is why the OP was upset because she knows that too. She doesn't need the reminder. She is living it.

I've been there as well. It is not something I'm talking about here or RL because I don't want the guilt trips that this is somehow my fault because I didn't do enough. Parents living through this have enough stress and worry without outsiders questioning them as to whether or not they are doing enough. 

No guilt.  We all do our very best.  Sometimes our best looks like more/less, but every one of us here is doing the best we can, with the resources available.
 

It’s a terrifying place to be.  I hope you’re not there any longer.

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