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worried about strange teenage daughter facebook posting....


john45

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situation summary - split from partner of 10 years 5 months ago. my 17yo daughter and I are still living in the house ex-partner, my daughter and her kids used to share. She's in her final year of senior school, and looking to go to university next sept. I work 1 day a week from home and 4 days/week in an office 40 miles away

 

She doesn't have that many friends at her school, and I realise this situation isn't ideal for her. We don't have family locally, and she's not close to many friends at school. I know she's unhappy at the situation. She and I are kind of rattling around in a 4 bed house.

 

on the days when I am in the office, I am out of the house from 7am to 7:30pm. I cook healthy evening meals (most of the week!), do the washing, try to be as practical and supportive as possible. 90% of the time, I organise, or re-organise my life to be available for anything that may be needed. I'm available as a taxi service and "there" as much as possible on my Working-at-home day and at weekends. I sometimes meet up with friends in an evening, but am giving myself a quota... so a max of 1 night a week I could be late back, nothing more.

 

I've taken her on almost all her college visits. This is a difficult balancing act.

 

I'm trying to be available almost all the time, but have a little bit of a life and interests of my own.

 

I know she's not 100% happy. she's had friends she's fallen out with recently, and a few she keeps in touch with. some things she'll talk to me about, some things she won't. Generally... it seems like an ok balance

 

so tonight was my night this week for going out to meet a friend. I get back home at 9:30pm to find she's headed off to bed, all lights off, but a message on facebook about "if this is the life I have, I dont want it anymore"

 

not sure what to think or do. HELP!!!

 

Anyway... typing this has helped a little. thanks to anyone who reads!

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I think the break up is very hard on her - especially since now the house is empty. And you are gone for 12 hours four days a week so she is alone. Is there any way that on school breaks you could both go back and see your extended family? Could you look at colleges that are near the family so she feels some connection? It is normal for friends to have fallings outs. Have you tried counseling for both her and you? And where is her mother? Does she see her mother?

 

I really think that for the next few months you should meet friends for lunch and make yourself available the night you go out. What about seeing if a friend has a daughter her age and go out as a foursome or go out and do something she can do too - like going to shoot pool? She graduates in a few months - make the most of it.

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Counseling could be a great idea and you should ask her about the post, talk to her about it. I will also throw in as a mother of teenage daughters I've been freaked out about a few FB posts by my girls and by the time I see it and ask about it the huge drama has blown over and it's no longer an issue. Things like a misunderstanding w/ a friend or something and they've posted something that makes me think something is terribly wrong. For example, in my mind I'm thinking they're suicidal and when I see them they're smiling and happy, ask about post and it's like "oh, I'm over it, no big deal anymore" type thing. Talk about it, it could be overdramatized teenage stuff.

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thank you for the reply and the good thoughts/ideas

 

On school breaks (mid-terms, and summer/winter/spring breaks) we go and see my family. There is a little... tension with my ex-wife's family, but we are seeing them too over the xmas period and trying to stay in touch.

 

I'm trying to make the most of it until she goes out to college... but I can't conjure up a friend with a 17yo daughter for socialising. Most of the people I know with daughters of that age go out know me and my daughter as part of the partnership I used to be part of. and... its going to take a while to get perspective on a relationship ending that I thought, 100% trusted and believed would be "happy ever after forever".

 

Does make it a challenge

 

I really want my daughter to feel supported and to be there for her as much as I can. I know I'm also working out my own issues and stuff over the loss, as well as trying to support my daughter. plenty to think about!

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Listen, I'm young, and while I have not gone through the same situation you have presented here, I too have felt these feelings; "Why is this my life? I don't want this life...I wish it was over...." etc. I'm not trying to scare you, but this is serious. While I never have wanted to hurt myself I became very scared at one point when I began to realize that I was feeling so hopeless, like I had had nothing to look forward to. And why? I've struggled with my sexuality for many years, a hidden secret, and I'm not one of those people who can easily hide their secrets inside themselves without it destroying me from inside out. Also, I had an affair with a married man that I also kept a secret. I'm in school too, and I felt at one point that my life was falling apart.

 

So what did I do? I spoke openly with my mother, the one person who I know loves me unconditionally, about everything. I don't know you daughter, but being a girl sometimes can be rough enough, especially with emotional problems. I don't know if she is very close with you or not, but you need to make it known that she can tell you anything she needs to, because the truth is, making a post about that on Facebook- she WANTS someone to help her, she's literally holding up a sign that says , "ME, in trouble here, please someone, anyone, help me". And this is good actually, that she is aware of this. But I just can't stress how much communication comes into play.

 

I would really try and get into her head as to why she feels this way. Sometimes, I know I was, when you feel hopeless you worry.. Iworried that what if I became so depressed and hopeless I wanted to hurt myself? It scared me, to even think like that. At the moment, I'm going to counseling to work through these things. I get up at a reasonable time, I exercise, I eat healthy- but most importantly, I don't keep my feelings in.

 

What I can suggest is see if she can start developing these healthy habits first, and be open with you, and then maybe you can start tackling other things such as getting her involved with groups to meet other people like herself? When I was down the last thing I wanted to do was go out and meet others or immerse myself in ANY social interaction, but as long as I did the basic things (eat right, sleep, exercise, and express myself in a healthy way), I had an easier time doing these things. She may very well tell you three things: The split really hurt (that is MAJOR), you are gone for around 12 hours so she feels lonely, and lastly, no close friends or family nearby.

 

Be open with her, show her you love her and are not afraid of her sharing her feelings with you and vice versa.

 

I hope this helped.

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Also with the communication- I've always thought the idea of being 'friends' with a parent figure is a bit odd but if you can share similar stories in hard situations with her and relate to her like another person and not a parent figure, you normalize the situation and she may fee more comfortable. My mother did this for me, and at times while it was a bit awkward it really helped me realize the support I have from her.

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everyone -thank you.

 

I will make time to talk with my daughter and to try and have a dialogue.

 

I am not perfect and sometimes I'm a bit insecure about stuff. however, in the 10 years since Mum and I split up, I have been 100% reliable about being there for my daughter regularly. I don't always do 100% of the things they might like me to do, but realistically, I do at least 90% and I try my best.

 

Mum has never contributed a cent to anything since we split, nor has she been reliably there to emotionally support my daughter. I don't about my ex-wife, but I know my daughter knows and there is nothing I can do to gloss over the facts she knows (or the occasions when the police and social services were involved).

 

She is a brilliant daughter, and despite the odd moments when I am grumpy about her, I am amazingly proud of her and love her to bits 100%

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I'm sorry this isn't the best time for your daughter, but it made me smile to see how much you care about her.

 

Talk to her, show her that you do. Figure out what is bugging her and address it. Try to help her make friends, encourage her to get into clubs, groups...it's never too late.

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It sounds like she's fed up, and although the cries for help/attention on facebook shouldn't ever be completely ignored (just in case), it isn't necessarily going to be something you immediately freak out about. I would say talk to her about the status, but don't make it a habit as she may end up deleting you or blocking you from some of her posts simply because she doesn't want a deep conversation about it every time she expresses a negative feeling on there.

 

I think I was about her age when facebook first came out and I cringe at some of the statuses I might have put up (I haven't even checked). Give a hormonal teenager who is having social drama an outlet of speech into the world, and they will post at every mood change (which is ALOT).

 

Not that I am trivialising, but when posts like that appear on facebook it is usually from someone who is looking for a little attention and comfort (possibly from you), and for someone to simply say "what's up?" or "are you okay?". It's not to be ignored, but you could sit down and have a talk to her about whether or not she is happy - and if she isn't then what can you both do to change that. As she is turning 17, she is at that stage where she is both a child, and an adult as well - so don't just talk to her and see her as your baby girl, but also as your housemate, another adult living in the house who isn't currently happy with things.

 

You say you cook dinner, do you both sit at the table and have a conversation? Maybe she could cook sometimes as well (something to do other than lounge around on facebook). It's putting quality time into the times you both spend together and becoming closer as friends as well as dad and daughter. This might make her feel a little more cherished by someone rather than just feeling rejected by her so-called friends. Don't push her into opening up, and she will eventually come round and begin to feel trusting towards telling you things and asking for advice.

 

I'm mentioning all this because although my parents didn't split up, my mother had to leave to go to our home country for a year for chemo and for a year it was just me, my brother and my Dad. I was also 16 or 17, and I think throughout that struggle we ended up building a close friendship as I realised that although I needed him, and had done for the last 17 years - he also needed me as well.

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Hi John! I have three daughters in my blended family, the youngest is almost 17. It's a difficult period for most girls... each of mine has experienced eating disorders, mood disorders, social anxiety and loneliness. And they're beautiful, smart girls!

 

Unfortunately, each of them had their own issues in childhood caused by us, their parents (I'm a remarried widow, and married a single dad whose ex-wife was an addict) and we try our best to help them navigate through all this stuff.

 

Thankfully, my oldest daughter is now 25 with a good work ethic and a sound head on her shoulders! She's in a calm, loving relationship and pays her rent on time, she's loyal and charitable. But at one time, she was caught up in depression, anxiety and cutting.

 

I guess that my best advice would be to give her something to look forward to. It was critical for my kids to have hope, even if that meant looking forward to Movie Night with Dad. In our family, I would take the girls out for lunch, or my husband would take them to the archery range, just to spend a few hours with them and give them something to talk about at school.

 

Another thing he does is text them randomly so that they know he's thinking about them. Sometimes he says I love you but most times it's weird sayings and facts, lol. I've learned a lot from him.

 

I'm sure that with your support, your daughter will get through this rough patch! All the best to you two. *hugs*

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It sounds like she's fed up, and although the cries for help/attention on facebook shouldn't ever be completely ignored (just in case), it isn't necessarily going to be something you immediately freak out about. I would say talk to her about the status, but don't make it a habit as she may end up deleting you or blocking you from some of her posts simply because she doesn't want a deep conversation about it every time she expresses a negative feeling on there.

 

Thank you! Good suggestion (and I have talked to her now about it)

 

Hi John! I have three daughters in my blended family, the youngest is almost 17. It's a difficult period for most girls... each of mine has experienced eating disorders, mood disorders, social anxiety and loneliness. And they're beautiful, smart girls!

.....

I'm sure that with your support, your daughter will get through this rough patch! All the best to you two. *hugs*

 

Thank you! Good to hear other views and at a time when it was feeling a bit yeuch, that other people go through this and there is a light at the end of the tunnel!

 

My daughter had a bit of an upset yesterday morning (fell off her pushbike, couple of minor grazes), so she called me up and we were able to have a good chat. I left the office early yesterday afternoon, so I could get back home earlier and we could chat a bit and spend some more time together. We were both able to do a bit of talking and I was able to do a lot of listening to her. I think she had an upset couple of days, the facebook status was one reaction to that, and she did keep things to herself a bit. When she did start talking, we did cover a lot more ground than I initially thought. You can never tell whats going on in someone's head!

 

I know we won't have fixed everything from just one day, but it was good the talking we did.

 

We're going out somewhere tonight, and both helping at a volunteer event tomorrow morning, both of which she's keen to do. Looking forward to it all!

 

Thanks again to everyone who replied.

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