6 Answers

My partner of six years has always seen his girls holidays, weekends, been very involved in attending concerts, etc. The 13 year old is now refusing to come. We know what triggered it but are finding out it’s more complicated than that. Have to piece together information not beingvthe primary carer.

Posted anonymously, 2nd November 2020

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  • My youngest, who is now nearly 17, has suffered from anxiety her whole life. It began with separation anxiety as a baby, which I believe was caused by her being rushed away & kept in a humidicrib for the first few days of her life. She was nearly 10 before she had her first successful sleep over at her grandmas. She now has social anxiety. She finds it difficult to talk to people she doesn’t know & wont even go through a register at the supermarket by herself. We have been working with her & encouraging her to push through her anxiety for years now. I think the best thing for her was getting an after school/weekend job. She still wont work out the from serving customers but she is very happy working out the back & has built some great friendships with some of the other children. She is improving all the time.

    I think the most important thing is to not make them feel as through their feeling are wrong. It sounds like in your case, there needs to be a few chats about why they don’t want to come. They need to feel comfortable & safe to tell you what it is, without the fear of hurting your feelings or you getting angry with them. Let them know that they are wanted but most of all you want them to be happy & you don’t want to force them to do something they don’t want to do. It may take some time, but I hope the reason comes to light soon.

  • Sounds like you might need to liaise with the other parent about this.

  • My daughter suffers from anxiety, shes 27 tho, not a teenager. Its difficult to grasp mental health problems and all its issues

  • I found the simple thing in life were more likely to have the kids come out of their safe room their bedroom. Going on a bike ride around the neighbourhood and we bought a kayak and a stand-up paddleboard to have some fun on the water. Found that the kids really come out of their shell doing fun activities on the weekend. Fresh air and space is good for teenage kids. There maybe a situation of bullying at school you need to ask about and reassure the child you can talk about any problems and see if you can help them out. No really knowing why and not being the primary care giver is hard but keep your offers up and offer to take the girls and their friends to a activity. Teenagers like to be social too. Have a party at your house a sleepover – movie night etc. Have some fun activities they want to do talk to the kids ask them what they would like. They are in high-school and they love a day at the beach not always with MUM and DAD. They are growing up and want some independence trust them and support their decisions.

  • In general I think it’s important to acknowledge your child’s fear – don’t dismiss or ignore it. It’s important for your child to feel that you take them seriously and that you believe they can overcome their fears. Your child also needs to know that you’ll be there to support them.
    Gently encourage your child to do the things they’re anxious about. But don’t push your child to face situations they don’t want to face.
    Help your child set small goals for things that they feel a little anxious about. Encourage your child to meet the goals, but don’t step in too early or take control. For example, your child might be anxious about performing in front of others. As a first step, you could suggest your child practises their lines in front of the family.
    Try not to make a fuss if your child avoids a situation because of anxiety. Tell your child that you believe they’ll be able to manage their feelings in the future by taking things step by step. Try to acknowledge all the steps that your child takes, no matter how small those steps are.
    Tell your child about your own worries as a teenager, and remind your child that lots of other teenagers feel anxious too.
    Help your child understand that it’s normal to go through a big range of emotions and that sometimes these can be strong emotions.
    Talk with your child about their other emotions – for example, ‘You seem really excited about the swimming carnival’. This sends the message that all emotions, positive and negative, come and go.
    Listen actively to your child. By listening, you can help your child identify their thoughts and feelings, which is a good first step to managing them.
    Show your child affection – for example, by hugging and telling them regularly that you love them. Your love lets your child know you’re there to help them cope when they’re feeling anxious.
    Avoid labelling your child as ‘shy’ or ‘anxious’.
    Try to be a good role model for your child in the way that you manage your own stress and deal with your own anxiety.
    Make time in your family routine for things that your child enjoys and finds relaxing. These could be simple things like playing or listening to music, reading books or going for walks.
    Spend time with people your child likes, trusts and feels comfortable around.
    Encourage a healthy lifestyle for your child, with plenty of physical activity, sleep and healthy food and drink. It’s also important for your child to avoid alcohol and other drugs, as well as unnecessary teenage stress.
    Strong parent-teenager relationships are good for young people’s mental health. A sense of belonging to family and friends can help protect teenagers from mental health problems like anxiety disorders. Your support can have a direct and positive impact on your child’s mental health.

  • I’m not totally sure what your question is ? It’s important indeed for you and your partner to piece together the information and I understand that can be hard when you’re not the primary carer. It’s important to create a bond with your teen based on trust to attend to her needs.

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