Sorry lovely people for my lack of blog posts. The last 4 months of parenting have been hard. So. Very. Hard. I feel this article sums it up rather appropriately.
These dramas include: Mr 13 starting high school after a few years of being home educated and within a space of 2 months he started experimenting with drugs, skipping school to buy said drugs and getting involved with a group of boys whose hobby was stealing cars. He turned into an angry hostile kid, lied a lot and broke our trust big time. Nothing prepares you for the wrath that is parenting teenagers. My birthday was in May and most of my friends chose to give me bottles of wine as gifts, for medicinal purposes of course *wink*.
After no help at all from Mr 13's school, we decided he would not be returning after the Easter school holidays and would be home schooled again. There was no doubt in my mind that if he remained there, things would only get worse. As you can imagine, he was really pissed off about this but at the end of the day, as parents we need to make tough decisions for the best interest of our kids-whether they like it or not. After a few weeks, of some really awful behaviour I heard of a local community school which is run by youth workers with only around 50 students and thought this would be a good option for Mr 13, so I organized an interview. During this time Miss 16 had been suffering from anxiety attacks at school and had been self harming, so we had also been dealing with that. Taking her to counseling appointments each week and talking to the school psych. The day before the interview Miss 16 and I had an argument, she took off and didn't come home that night.
She ended up going to a friends house (who we don't know) . My hubby started texting Miss 16 and asking where she was so he could pick her up and she refused to give out the address. This "friends" mother then started replying to our messages saying she would not betray Miss 16's trust and give out the address for us to come and pick her up. Wait. What? Clearly our daughter has mental health issues and needs help, which this woman knows nothing about.
We were mad as hell.
I went to the interview the next day and put on a brave face, not knowing where my daughter was or when she would be coming home. It was a nightmare.
On a positive note, after this Mr 13 was put on the school's waiting list. I also found out the schools fees were $300 a term and that's with a 50% concession discount. Ouch. I had just finished paying his school fees for the public high school he attended. Oh well, I thought. We will manage. Ill just write up a new budget and tighten our belts a bit.
Miss 16 came home later that morning and things just got worse. Under advice from her counselor, I took her to hospital for a psychiatric assessment. She had to stay in hospital for a week, because of her age I had to stay there with her. She was released the day before Mother's Day, and was referred to a psychologist. We were advised to keep routines "normal" so she returned back to school.
Life was steady for a month or so. I got back into the routine of home schooling 2 boys again and Mr 13 was doing well with his work and back on track with his behavior. We talked a lot about the decisions he made and why he made them. Mr 9 was happy to have his brother home again, even if it was for a little while. Miss 16 seemed to be going OK ...Now when I say seemed, I mean to us she seemed to be doing well. We found out later this wasn't the case at all.
Fast forward to July and a place became available at the community school for Mr 13. He starts there and really enjoys it. The learning is quite hands on and informal which suits him well. That week we start getting calls from Miss 16's school asking us to pick her up as she's had a meltdown and trashed an office. This starts happening more and more frequently, 3-4 times a week. The self harming starts up again with her scratching her skin in areas so bad it looks like burns. We hear about this from the school psyc and end up taking her to the doctors as the wounds shes been hiding are now infected. I start to think school is a trigger for her, but I don't know for sure.
Life at home becomes like treading on eggshells. She refuses to talk about how she feels and anything can set off an outburst. I love her so much and its' hard to see her like this and not know how I can help. Things get worse and it is advised she be admitted in to a dedicated youth ward for mental health at a large hospital. She stays there for 2 weeks and is diagnosed with anxiety and put on medication. I suffered with depression and anxiety in the past so it's hereditary they tell me. We go to visit her and she seems better and is attending the group sessions they have there which is progress. It is a good day when she comes home. We are happy to have her back and she is happy to be home. She missed my cooking :)
So that brings us mostly up to date. I've been in contact with Miss 16's school in regards to transitioning her back in but get told she hasn't submitted any assignments this year- which again is news to me- and it is highly unlikely she will be able to graduate Year 11 this year. I'm floored by this. At this point I'm exhausted, sad and angry. During these past few months hubby's chronic pain has increased and he is spending more time in bed. So I have been trying to keep up a brave face and getting through all the day to day jobs which need to be done. I find a quiet spot and lose my shit. It is the straw that breaks the camel's back. I break down and cry my heart out and afterwards I just feel really pissed off that the universe won't cut us a break. The last few months have been an absolute roller coaster with way more downs than ups. I feel like heavy bags keep being placed on my back and they are just piling up. I cant carry them anymore.
Eventually I stop crying and take a look around and think of the things I'm grateful for. A husband who is still able to have good days, in spite of increasing bad ones, a stronger and more communicable relationship with Mr 13 and a new start for him in a great school, awesome mental health staff and free health care for Miss 16 in a world where many people don't have this luxury, the freedom to home educate Mr 9, a roof over our heads, comfy beds to sleep in and food in our bellies.
Honestly finishing Year 11 for her is not the end of the world, we have a meeting with an education officer next week to discuss Miss 16's options and at this stage she wants to study at TAFE.
Things are looking up.
After all, smooth seas never made a skilled sailor. Right?