I’ve always struggled a bit with my mental health – with short bouts of depression through my university life, and then at stressful times later. It was touched upon in our homestudy but I was able to show how I had previously recognised my depressive times and sought help appropriately.
These days it’s different. Without a doubt my mental health has been affected by my children; by adoption. I’m by no means in tune with my children 100% of the time, but I am a lot of the time and I’m down when they are down. However, it doesn’t work the other way – when they are up, I’m still mentally shelving the bad stuff, and preparing myself emotionally for the next angry and anxiety filled moments.
I don’t know what to do now. I can see I’m suffering with my mental health, and I know why.
I have ‘me’ time and I enjoy it, I take pleasure from it and do not feel remotely selfish (as I thought I would). I have mindfulness apps, I try to lift my own mood, I practise yoga, I’ve tried reiki, I eat well, I’m taking anti-depressant medication and have tried speaking with the mental health nurse at my surgery. Where now?
Many thanks to the adoptive mum that wrote this post, I think many of us can identify. If you have advice, please share it below…
DS is nearly 9 and currently in Year 4. And just recently he has been full of attitude.
“Sorreee-ah”. I hear that so much these days, with zero feeling behind it.
“If I have to” *sigh*. That’s another one that I get quite a lot.
“It wasn’t me-ah”. Yep, pretty common here.
And of course there is the general huffing and puffing, arm crossing and stomping around that you expect from pre-teens.
I’m sure this is normal nearly 9 year old behaviour, but how we respond to it might be different.
We have told him that we’ll speak to him in the same way, but when we’ve tried that it leads to a full on “stop taking the mickey out of me” meltdown.
When we’ve ignored it, he gets stompier and louder.
And politely asking him to stop speaking to us like that doesn’t get us anywhere.
Any more ideas? We’re at a loss with this behaviour but feel it’s only a matter of time before it starts to spill over to friends, family and school.
Lisa and her partner are currently considering adoption, can you help them with a question?
We’re currently considering adoption, but don’t know how to work out what age child/children we should be thinking about.
Neither of us are worried about having a particularly young baby, but equally we know that the older the child, the more they are likely to have experienced which will bring harder challenges. We don’t mind a challenge, but having never been around traumatised children, we don’t know what our limitations are and wouldn’t want to let a child down.
I know our social worker will help us and advise us, but we’d like to go in with our eyes open and feel at least a little educated, rather than relying on the social worker to tell us what to do.
Today, we have an anonymous post. This mum really needs your help…
For so long, I’ve felt isolated. Parenting my two challenging boys is tough, and I’ve locked myself away, too scared to take them out and feel the judging eyes, worried about their behaviour in public, unable to control them and stand up to them.
I’ve found solace in online sources, and I know I’m not alone. But I recently attended a course and met another adopter in the same situation. She lives quite close to me, and I could tell that she was feeling a bit like me – desperate for real human interaction with someone other than her son.
We exchanged details and although I want to meet up and talk, with or without our children, I just can’t bring myself to make that call, and I’m not sure I’m brave enough to actually meet with her and her son after spending so long trapped by my sons. I know I need to, for my sanity and to help the kids socialise, and to set an example for them too.
Has anyone else felt like this? How do I make the first step?
I’m sure quite a few of us have felt like this at times – had our confidence knocked, our ability to socialise waning, and our (sometimes) self-imposed isolation feeling too oppressive. If you’ve found a way out, then how? Please share your thoughts and advice here.
Today’s problem comes from our Life on the Frontline Mum.
Those that read my weekly blog will know that my youngest son has massive anxieties around school. Whilst we originally thought that the local high school would be a suitable school for him to attend from year seven, we have now changed our minds. The school is already supporting my oldest son really successfully, through their learning support centre. This is a corridor in the school dedicated to helping those who struggle with a mainstream environment. The school receives additional funding to facilitate this as they are what our local authority calls an “enhance resources” school. However, the school has already indicated that supporting both our children, at the same time, will cause them problems, they have stated that both children will not be able to access Learning Support simultaneously.
As we already had fears that our youngest was nowhere near the same level of emotional maturity of our oldest or able to deal with social encounters as well, we have come to see that this high school could maybe make Smalls anxieties around school even greater
We have therefore identified an independent school, specialising in supporting children with emotional, social and behavioural problems. It is a new independent school with fantastic facilities, a small number of students and it is close by, although out of area.
My problem is that I do worry about taking my son out of a mainstream setting. All his friends from school will go to the local high school and many of the students at the other school travel long distances to get there. I also worry that his educational potential will not be fully realised, although I know that finding a safe place for him to be educated must come first.
Has anyone else taken their child out of a mainstream setting to attend a specialist school? Has it been a success for your child?
I know people have suggested homeschooling for my situation but, I really don’t feel that is right for us as a family or Small and he is dead set against the idea.
I’d love to hear about other people’s experiences.
Manic. That’s how I’d describe the life of our family.
We’re busy. No more than any other family I guess, but we seem to lurch from one activity to the next without much time for a breather between – the rushing between school pick-up to home, getting homework done, making and then eating dinner, bath and then bed gets me down especially. There’s just no time for fun stuff and proper one to one quality time. Some say ‘5 minutes late to bed won’t hurt’ or ‘MAKE time’ but it’s not that simple when my little one needs a strict routine to feel safe and secure. And just 5 minutes late to bed has a massive impact with refusals to sleep, excuses to come downstairs etc and any slight deviation to the above routine (e.g. doctors appointments, heavy traffic on the way home) causes uber anxiousness or meltdowns.
On top of that is my little one’s manic behaviour. It’s like living with the Tasmanian devil, which probably doesn’t help with the feelings of rushing around. There is mayhem, mess and chaos all around and it’s exhausting.
Has anyone got any tips that won’t leave me with evenings full of preparation (when all I really want to do is rest and restore my energy for the next day), to help slow things down around us – and also to slow down my 9 year old? Both in terms of physical busy-ness and the thoughts whizzing around that devilish brain.
Can you identify? Any advice for this busy mum? Please comment below with your tips, support and advice…
Today’s problem comes from adoptive mum Rachel, who is worried about the way her husband is parenting their son…if you have any advice, or have been through something similar, please do share your experiences too.
I’m really struggling with my husband at the moment. He knows about attachment, he knows about therapeutic parenting, he knows our son’s background, and he knows that our son is very good at identifying and pushing buttons, but…he just can’t put it into practise.
We’ve been a family, him, me and our son for 5 years. We’re not new adopters, and I’ve been on many courses and fed back to my husband (unfortunately he just can’t get the time off to attend himself), he’s come to therapy when he can, and he’s even read and watched Dan Hughes (isn’t YouTube great?!).
He just can’t implement it. I really struggle to see him getting so cross at our son – shouting sometimes, sending him to his room, physically removing our son from situations, rather than moving himself into another room. It undoes all the hard work that I put in. It scares our son.
I’m worried that we’ll soon be at the point where I have to choose between them. Losing his father will be traumatic for our son, but surely this behaviour is just as damaging?
Today’s post comes from Suddenly Mummy – can you tell us your experiences of activity days?
As a foster carer and adopter I’ve heard a lot about these events, but I’ve never actually been to one. Now the baby I am fostering has been referred to attend an event at the end of June, and I’m wondering what to expect.
If any adopters out there attended an activity day as part of their adoption journey, I’d love to hear your views. In particular I’d like to know what you were expecting from the foster carers that were there, and how you think I can best prepare myself for introducing my foster daughter to prospective adopters.
What sort of questions do you/did you have? What types of interactions worked best for you on the day? What can I do to make the process more valuable and worthwhile for prospective adopters that I might meet?
I would love to hear from any other foster carers or social work professionals too.
Of course I want to do my best for my foster daughter – she needs a new family! – but I also want to learn as much as I can through the experience, so I’d really appreciate your input.
Thanks in advance.
Today we have a post from Laura-Jane – a prospective adoptive parent who needs help with a difficult situation…
My dad is adopted, so is my uncle. They were placed with my grandparents in the fifties, and all that my brother and I know is that they were both relinquished by their mothers in a time when unmarried women were frowned upon. They are both typical of their age – not really talkers, almost retirement age, and content to watch footie on the telly at weekends, with the odd mini-cruise holiday.
Now my partner and I are looking to adopt a child. We know that our social worker will want to talk to my dad, and we know that us adopting a child will bring up some possibly challenging issues for my dad. But he’s completely closed to discussing it with us. Mum and Dad seem happy enough that we are adopting, although to be fair, it’s the only way my partner and I can give them a grandchild, but we really feel we ought to discuss things with him a bit more first. And the only way we *really* know they’re happy, is that they haven’t told us otherwise!
Anyone else had the same challenge to face? How did you get your parent to open up and talk?
We don’t necessarily want to know all about his past – that’s personal to him, but we do want to make sure he understand that adoption is different these days, and that might make it harder for him to support us.
This week’s Problem Shared comes from Vicki at The Boy’s Behaviour – have you any tips or advice?
For quite some time now Mini, who is 7, has been complaining of tummy ache and nausea.
Quite often the complaints used to come on a Sunday evening or Monday morning, so we assumed, in all honesty, that these were attempts to stay off school. This was confirmed after some time through a number of ways, and the recent move to another school seemed to stop all feelings of sickness. I should add that we did get him checked over by the GP on several occasions but they couldn’t find anything physically wrong.
Over the last few weeks it’s started up again. Except now it’s especially bad on Friday (spelling test) morning too, but in fact in occurs every morning…weekends included, and it carries on after school and throughout the evening.
Again, I took him to the GP and he was checked over, and the doctor found nothing physically wrong. But this GP suspected there might be some anxieties involved, and confirmed that the sickness feeling probably is genuine. She’s given me some medicine for Mini to help with that.
So he seems to be constantly worried and anxious. One of my worries is that this constant sickness is now beginning to affect Mini’s diet. He’s always concerned about what to eat, whether it will make him sick, and although he’s always been a pretty good eater, he’s completely gone off fruit and veg – even his beloved blueberries.
Anyone else had anything similar? We’re really stuck and although we’ve always known he suffers with anxiety, this is really the first time it’s been displayed through physical illness, rather than aggressive behaviour and emotional issues.