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post #1 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-17-2016, 03:16 PM Thread Starter
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Experience/advice with cutting

I found out last week that my 14 yo daughter has been cutting herself. I knew she was dealing with depression and anxiety. I took her to her Ped who sent a referral for counseling. She has been seeing a counselor for two weeks. Last week was the second appointment and the day she felt that I needed to know. She told her counselor the first week.

At counseling my daughter was asked by the counselor, what she needed from me at this point in time. All she requested was for me to physically (she holes herself up in her room) check in on her twice daily and be available to her via text at any time. Of course she's in school during the week and I work so those check-ins start as soon as I get home from work.

I know that's all she's asking for and I respect that. My daughter has been very open with her counselor so I feel comfortable in that sense. It just feels like I should be doing more. I know my daughter is going through a lot right now with every day 14 yo stuff. I also know she's struggling with her sexuality. There's issues with her bio dad and she longs for a closer bond with her step dad (my husband). Those are a few things that I'm aware of, the rest, I'm clueless. My daughter doesn't even know what it is that's bothering her. Just a bunch of stuff that she's trying to sort out with the help of the counselor.

So, any advice, help or experience anyone has with this would be helpful and appreciated.

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post #2 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-17-2016, 03:48 PM
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Re: Experience/advice with cutting

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Originally Posted by LadybugMomma View Post
I found out last week that my 14 yo daughter has been cutting herself. I knew she was dealing with depression and anxiety. I took her to her Ped who sent a referral for counseling. She has been seeing a counselor for two weeks. Last week was the second appointment and the day she felt that I needed to know. She told her counselor the first week.

At counseling my daughter was asked by the counselor, what she needed from me at this point in time. All she requested was for me to physically (she holes herself up in her room) check in on her twice daily and be available to her via text at any time. Of course she's in school during the week and I work so those check-ins start as soon as I get home from work.

I know that's all she's asking for and I respect that. My daughter has been very open with her counselor so I feel comfortable in that sense. It just feels like I should be doing more. I know my daughter is going through a lot right now with every day 14 yo stuff. I also know she's struggling with her sexuality. There's issues with her bio dad and she longs for a closer bond with her step dad (my husband). Those are a few things that I'm aware of, the rest, I'm clueless. My daughter doesn't even know what it is that's bothering her. Just a bunch of stuff that she's trying to sort out with the help of the counselor.

So, any advice, help or experience anyone has with this would be helpful and appreciated.

So sorry you are both going through this. My 14 yr old son has a brief history with cutting also.

Just over a year ago he was having dark suicidal thoughts, and was admitted for 2 weeks until he stabilized on new meds. He has chronic health issues and my husband had recently gone through a year of hell battling cancer (surgeries and chemo) so he was dealing with a lot for his age, and much like your daughter, he holed up in his room.

While he was inpatient, it came out that he had also been experimenting with cutting. We were shocked! We had no idea. A few things we have done:

1. He has IC (individual counseling) weekly, and we do FT (family therapy) as well.

2. We have a safety plan with him, including a safe word for when he is having dark thoughts so that we can address them right away.

3. We no longer keep sharp knives, razors, craft knives out in the open. Initially we actually locked them up, since he's more stable now we just keep them out of view.

4. We informed the school psychologist and facilitated regular checks for him with her at school.

5. We do check in with him when he is holed up in his room, and gently encourage him to participate more in family and social activities.

He's doing much better this year. Missing less school, and joined the drama club (he's now a freshman). He's recently opened up to a couple of friends about what he went through last year so that he could increase his support network.

I hope she will be ok, and I'm sending positive vibes for you both. It's so hard to see our kids in pain and not know how to help them. (((hugs)))
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post #3 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-17-2016, 03:48 PM
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Re: Experience/advice with cutting

My daughter is 22 now but she dealt with a little bit of cutting, plus bulimia, when she was a teen. And she and I have always been very close. The worst for her was when she was 15-16. One thing that helped tremendously was the right counselor. We found one who used yoga principles and art therapy - she helped me choose her. It was very important to both of us for her to have someone she clicked with. The first lady we saw was very overweight, and when my daughter told me she couldn't take someone that overweight seriously when talking about eating disorders, I listened. Anyway. I also wanted someone who would communicate with me and keep me in the loop.

It also helped my daughter that she was homeschooling (unschooling actually). I took her out of school in grade nine. Her anxiety level was through the roof - I shudder to think what it would have been like if she'd had to attend high school. She wouldn't be the person she is today, that's for sure. If that's something you have thought about, get the Teenage Liberation Handbook and read it with her.

https://archive.org/details/TheTeena...rationHandbook

My thoughts are with you. Raising daughters is HARD!!

People don't get a free pass to cheat just because their marriage sucks.

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post #4 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-17-2016, 04:54 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Experience/advice with cutting

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So sorry you are both going through this. My 14 yr old son has a brief history with cutting also.

Just over a year ago he was having dark suicidal thoughts, and was admitted for 2 weeks until he stabilized on new meds. He has chronic health issues and my husband had recently gone through a year of hell battling cancer (surgeries and chemo) so he was dealing with a lot for his age, and much like your daughter, he holed up in his room.

While he was inpatient, it came out that he had also been experimenting with cutting. We were shocked! We had no idea. A few things we have done:

1. He has IC (individual counseling) weekly, and we do FT (family therapy) as well.

2. We have a safety plan with him, including a safe word for when he is having dark thoughts so that we can address them right away.

3. We no longer keep sharp knives, razors, craft knives out in the open. Initially we actually locked them up, since he's more stable now we just keep them out of view.

4. We informed the school psychologist and facilitated regular checks for him with her at school.

5. We do check in with him when he is holed up in his room, and gently encourage him to participate more in family and social activities.

He's doing much better this year. Missing less school, and joined the drama club (he's now a freshman). He's recently opened up to a couple of friends about what he went through last year so that he could increase his support network.

I hope she will be ok, and I'm sending positive vibes for you both. It's so hard to see our kids in pain and not know how to help them. (((hugs)))
Thank you for responding. It's all so new and I can't wrap my head around it. But I do want what's best for her with out her thinking she can walk all over everyone, too. Last week in counseling we were able to convince my daughter to give up the "object" she cut with. It is only with the agreement that she put it away in something secure so I couldn't see it and give it to me. She did and I put it away out of the sight. Still there are sharp objects in the house and the thought has crossed my mind about whether she gets something else. I'm hopeful that she outed herself before things got too bad.

Things have been stressful around our home lately. Her sharing a room with her step brother & sister. My new marriage, her not having a very good relationship with her own father etc. mixed with every day teen stuff. It's no wonder she's depressed/anxious.

You being so kind to share your experience gives me different things I can talk to her counselor about at the next appointment. I appreciate it.

Positive vibes and best thoughts for you, your family and your son as well.
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post #5 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-17-2016, 05:03 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Experience/advice with cutting

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Originally Posted by Hope1964 View Post
My daughter is 22 now but she dealt with a little bit of cutting, plus bulimia, when she was a teen. And she and I have always been very close. The worst for her was when she was 15-16. One thing that helped tremendously was the right counselor. We found one who used yoga principles and art therapy - she helped me choose her. It was very important to both of us for her to have someone she clicked with. The first lady we saw was very overweight, and when my daughter told me she couldn't take someone that overweight seriously when talking about eating disorders, I listened. Anyway. I also wanted someone who would communicate with me and keep me in the loop.

It also helped my daughter that she was homeschooling (unschooling actually). I took her out of school in grade nine. Her anxiety level was through the roof - I shudder to think what it would have been like if she'd had to attend high school. She wouldn't be the person she is today, that's for sure. If that's something you have thought about, get the Teenage Liberation Handbook and read it with her.

https://archive.org/details/TheTeena...rationHandbook

My thoughts are with you. Raising daughters is HARD!!
Thank you as well, Hope, for sharing your story. This counselor is the second my daughter has seen. She saw one at the beginning of the year and didn't click at all and that discouraged her from wanting to go. I feel confident that this counselor is a perfect match for my daughter. She's very trained it this sort of illness.

I haven't ever thought of taking her out of school because she has good friends that she loves to see while there. However there's the mean girls as well that I often wonder if they cause her the anxiety she suffers. Whatever the case she has amazing grades. I'll look at the link you attached though, should I ever feel it's a need to pull her out.

You are SO right, raising girls is hard. I have two older boys who were a breeze! But certainly didn't come without some tears, fears & worries. Nothing like this though.

Thank you again for sharing your experience. It's appreciated so much.
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post #6 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-17-2016, 05:13 PM
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Re: Experience/advice with cutting

I also have two older boys! Their problems were always much more straightforward. Sigh.

It helped my daughter that one of her best friends also unschooled with her. The two of them became really close going through that together.

The thing that really made me realize how stressed she'd been was that she quit biting her nails within 3 months of coming out of school. She had bitten them since she was about 4. It was like a miracle - seriously - I had tried EVERYTHING. Plus her 'stomach aches' disappeared. We'd been to the dr for YEARS and gotten prescriptions for everything from antacids to the pill.

It's a radical move and would have to be up to her, not you. But worth looking into. I hope you can find peace.

People don't get a free pass to cheat just because their marriage sucks.

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post #7 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-17-2016, 08:04 PM
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Re: Experience/advice with cutting

I'm sorry your daughter is having such a tough time.

Both of my daughters had brief periods of cutting. It had become a bit of a fad amongst teens back then, and I think both of them were introduced to it by friends. I would try to figure out if any of her friends are cutters and encourage your daughter to hang out with a different crowd. I hid or threw away all the razor blades and box cutter tools in the house. It is impractical to lock up all the kitchen knives. Razor blades seemed to be the tool of choice back 10 yrs ago when it was going on here, so it made sense to make them unavailable. Of course the kids can buy blades but I wasn't going to be the one to provide a blade.
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post #8 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-18-2016, 07:04 AM
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Re: Experience/advice with cutting

Ladybug, cutting usually results from depression, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, or BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder). People typically do it when their internal emotional pain is so great that they are able to reduce that pain and regulate it by externalizing it -- getting it outside to the surface of their bodies. In that way, it provides a sense of relief and control. Cutting is a more worrisome sign when seen in adults than in adolescents.

In adults, the primary cause of cutting seems to be BPD. A 2004 hospital study, for example, concluded that "the majority of those who self-mutilate are women with borderline personality disorder. This complex, maladaptive behavior is used by clients as a means of self-preservation and emotion regulation, and is often associated with childhood trauma." See J Psychosoc Nurs Ment Health Serv. 2004. This strong association in adults is why the APA's diagnostic manual (DSM-5) lists "self-harming behavior such as cutting" for only one disorder: BPD. That is, of the 157 disorders listed in DSM-5, only BPD has "cutting" listed as one of its defining traits.

In adolescents, however, BPD is not believed to be the primary cause of self harm. I say this because, while the lifetime incidence of BPD is 6% of the population, the incidence of cutting and other forms of self harm (e.g., burning and self hitting) is believed to be roughly 15% for adolescents. See, e.g., J. of Fam. Medicine 2010. Moreover, because adolescents are subject to very strong hormone changes, a substantial share of them exhibit strong BPD traits for several years. This is why psychologists generally are reluctant to diagnose BPD in people under the age of 18.
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post #9 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-18-2016, 06:44 PM
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Re: Experience/advice with cutting

As a father to 2 girls who are now grown but went through a miserable time due to the shakeup in their lives from the divorce I'll tell you this much.

Kids are deeply affected by divorce as it is, and what you do during and subsequent to the divorce can have a huge bearing on how they far.

I think you made a bad choice by putting your daughter into this situation as you describe it on an earlier thread.

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Originally Posted by LadybugMomma View Post
His kids (11 & 9) share a bedroom w/my 14 year old daughter. This is all we have right now, because my house is so small that there are no other options.
There were options. Such as not moving in together if you cannot give her the privacy a 14 year old girl requires. i mean a sibling is one thing, but two kids that are unrelated? Don't know their gender but if one or both is a boy.. there is the potential for real problems here.

I think you need to make this right. Whatever it takes. I'm rather surprised a therapist hasn't already told you this.
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post #10 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-19-2016, 11:29 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Experience/advice with cutting

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As a father to 2 girls who are now grown but went through a miserable time due to the shakeup in their lives from the divorce I'll tell you this much.

Kids are deeply affected by divorce as it is, and what you do during and subsequent to the divorce can have a huge bearing on how they far.

I think you made a bad choice by putting your daughter into this situation as you describe it on an earlier thread.



There were options. Such as not moving in together if you cannot give her the privacy a 14 year old girl requires. i mean a sibling is one thing, but two kids that are unrelated? Don't know their gender but if one or both is a boy.. there is the potential for real problems here.

I think you need to make this right. Whatever it takes. I'm rather surprised a therapist hasn't already told you this.
And I'm feeling like I've made a huge mistake in this sense, as well. My husband and I were in the beginning stages of financing an addition on our home to give my daughter her own space/room. And then out of the blue, his ex swoops in and hits him up for child support. In my previous posts, I think I mentioned how his ex "opted out" of support. Well we know he's going to have to pay, we're just not sure yet. So, the addition process has been put on hold.

I thought with the counseling I had my daughter in after my divorce, had set her on a good path.

I feel like complete crap. Feeling like the choices I've made have been a contributing factor in this. I'm currently trying to figure out how to resolve the living arrangement. The only option, aside from H staying in a hotel with his kids every other weekend is his kids sleep on the couches in the living room. Which H has said they'd do. But that also means every other weekend H and I will not be sleeping in the same bed, because he won't have his kids sleeping downstairs alone, while the rest of us are upstairs.

I know more than anything my daughters well being is what matters most. And I'm determined to get her well.

Thank you for your input. I appreciate it.

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post #11 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-19-2016, 11:47 AM
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Re: Experience/advice with cutting

I was researching your back posts just now and came back to respond when I saw you had just replied to my post. I see that you are aware of the problems related to the shared bedroom situation which came about due to unexpected circumstances, so I'm sorry if I'm being too hard on you but since my advice was well taken I'll continue.

In regard to your step daughter (SD)

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Originally Posted by LadybugMomma View Post
SD can walk, talk and even braids her own hair! She has a left side deficit. Her brain function isn't that of an average 11 yo, but I also feel she has SO much more potential but grandma admits she babies those kids. She "babied her kids and will baby the grandkids."

Sad constantly has her shoes on the wrong feet. I tell her all the time to "check your shoes, do they feel/look right?" The she changes them. She often has her clothes on backwards or inside out. I also tell her to look at herself and see if her clothes look/feel right.

IDK about anyone else, but if she can braid her own hair very well with her bummed hand too, she should be able to tell if her shoes are on the right feet
It appears that you don't understand how SD processes things; as far as you're concerned she "should be able to tell if her shoes are on the right feet". Well, that's not the case. Don't you think if SD knew her shoes were on the wrong feet, she'd swap the shoes so she wouldn't be uncomfortable? It's great that you point it out and then she's responsive and swaps the shoes but she isn't really learning anything- it may very well be this way FOREVER and it's not because she doesn't care or is lazy. She just doesn't get it.

You've decided she should be able to do these things, without fully understanding how her mind works - or doesn't work-. Everyone else is "babying her" in your opinion. Well maybe, just maybe they are more aware of the degree of her inability to function then you are and they are giving her the assistance she needs. Maybe when Grandma "babies" her by offering to put on her shoes, she's really giving her assistance that she actually NEEDS.

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I once talked to H's ex about it and told her I felt they weren't giving SD enough credit and I felt she had so much more potential. She told me I needed to mind my own business and be realistic about her disability.
I tend to agree with the H's ex.

I bring up the SD as an example because just maybe you are being too tough on your own daughter to make her more independent.

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I guess my main worry is that how these parents are raising their children now, will effect how they could turn out as an adult. If it's anything like their mom has turned out, we can expect to have 40 y.o. children living with us forever because they're not taught to do things for themselves, and they'll depend on everyone else to carry them. And I'm raising my children to be independent so I can at some point in the future, have some peace and quiet, you know?
Perhaps this is why the therapist's gentle advice to you is to leave her alone unless you are specifically asked to intervene. This is the sort of advice given to parents when they are being overly obtrusive and there is concern that their actions are causing the problems exibited by their children.

- I wrote this before you replied about the planned addition that was put on hold due to unexpected child support obligations cropping up-

I also noticed by reading your back posts that in fact, your 14 year old daughter has been forced to give up what used to be her own room, in order to share with 2 non related children, one of which is a boy. So the poor girl goes through the trauma of a divorce, and then has to suddenly share her own room with an unrelated girl and a boy at the very sensitive age of 14.

Last edited by caruso; 10-19-2016 at 11:53 AM.
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post #12 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-19-2016, 01:03 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Experience/advice with cutting

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I also have two older boys! Their problems were always much more straightforward. Sigh.

It helped my daughter that one of her best friends also unschooled with her. The two of them became really close going through that together.

The thing that really made me realize how stressed she'd been was that she quit biting her nails within 3 months of coming out of school. She had bitten them since she was about 4. It was like a miracle - seriously - I had tried EVERYTHING. Plus her 'stomach aches' disappeared. We'd been to the dr for YEARS and gotten prescriptions for everything from antacids to the pill.

It's a radical move and would have to be up to her, not you. But worth looking into. I hope you can find peace.
Last year I got a letter home from my daughters school saying they were concerned about the amount of time she had missed from school. My daughter had a lot of stomach issues, as well, last year that caused her to miss a lot of time. Thankfully, she's as sharp as a whip, so her grades were great, regardless.

Thanks again, Hope.
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post #13 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-19-2016, 01:21 PM
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Re: Experience/advice with cutting

My W and I had the same experience with our daughter. It was in part do to low self-esteem and sexuality. She is a petite girl. Her small stature always made her self-esteem very low. Furthermore, one day at her school a boy turned to her and said the following, "You are about the most ugliest thing I have ever seen." Imagine her self-esteem after that statement. Little prepubescent punk. I hope a thousand fleas infest his armpits for a thousand years for saying that. After many years of taking our daughter to doctors who specialize in smaller kids, finding clothing that is for teen girls and shoes that don't have Dora the Explore on them did she finally stop. We also had some counseling that involved individual and both myself and W in one session. My W is 5'1". Our daughter is 5'0". Nothing holds her back except herself.

I image your daughter is having some self-esteem issues. Perhaps to how she looks. A group at school are perhaps bullying. These are the things that are hard to pry out of their developing brain. It is very trying to say the least. More than likely your D will talk about things with the counselor because there will be no judgments made. Simply talk. Sometimes you can say the same to your D. No judgment. Simply talk.

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post #14 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-19-2016, 01:50 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Experience/advice with cutting

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I was researching your back posts just now and came back to respond when I saw you had just replied to my post. I see that you are aware of the problems related to the shared bedroom situation which came about due to unexpected circumstances, so I'm sorry if I'm being too hard on you but since my advice was well taken I'll continue.

In regard to your step daughter (SD)



It appears that you don't understand how SD processes things; as far as you're concerned she "should be able to tell if her shoes are on the right feet". Well, that's not the case. Don't you think if SD knew her shoes were on the wrong feet, she'd swap the shoes so she wouldn't be uncomfortable? It's great that you point it out and then she's responsive and swaps the shoes but she isn't really learning anything- it may very well be this way FOREVER and it's not because she doesn't care or is lazy. She just doesn't get it.

You've decided she should be able to do these things, without fully understanding how her mind works - or doesn't work-. Everyone else is "babying her" in your opinion. Well maybe, just maybe they are more aware of the degree of her inability to function then you are and they are giving her the assistance she needs. Maybe when Grandma "babies" her by offering to put on her shoes, she's really giving her assistance that she actually NEEDS.



I tend to agree with the H's ex.

I bring up the SD as an example because just maybe you are being too tough on your own daughter to make her more independent.



Perhaps this is why the therapist's gentle advice to you is to leave her alone unless you are specifically asked to intervene. This is the sort of advice given to parents when they are being overly obtrusive and there is concern that their actions are causing the problems exibited by their children.

- I wrote this before you replied about the planned addition that was put on hold due to unexpected child support obligations cropping up-

I also noticed by reading your back posts that in fact, your 14 year old daughter has been forced to give up what used to be her own room, in order to share with 2 non related children, one of which is a boy. So the poor girl goes through the trauma of a divorce, and then has to suddenly share her own room with an unrelated girl and a boy at the very sensitive age of 14.
I appreciate your responses. At this point in time I take whatever advice I can get. I like truth and honesty so your responses don't come across as harsh. As for my SD, I've pretty much taken a hands off approach. If her hair needs brushing, her shirt is inside out or her shoes are on the wrong feet, I simply tell her and she corrects it.

When my ex and I were together we went to family/couples counseling. At the time I was told I was a helicopter mom and my ex was the general that ruled with an iron fist. The counselor told us that there would be a time where our children would be gone and they'd flip my ex the bird and never come to see me again, because of their dad. I hovered and protected my kids because their dad was so strict, do as I say, not as I do, children are meant to be seen, not heard etc...you get my point.

The counselor also told us that we needed to parent today, in a way that prepares our children for the future. We live in a difficult world and it keeps getting harder.

When he and I divorced I realized that I had to stop hovering and find the balance between nurturing and discipline. It's likely that I'm having a struggle with finding the balance.

These are all situations that are on the list of things to discuss with my daughters counselor. She's aware of the living arrangements and knows that I'm aware that it's a problem and also that it's a work in progress.
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post #15 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-19-2016, 02:01 PM
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Re: Experience/advice with cutting

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She's aware of the living arrangements and knows that I'm aware that it's a problem and also that it's a work in progress.
Until such time as you can either move or expand, short of kicking out your husband and his kids twice a month is there anywhere in the house that you can grab enough space for a small bedroom? You don't need much and you might be surprised at how you can carve out the needed space by either finishing part of the basement, or garage, or an all weather porch, or remove a large closet or part of a laundry area or mudroom, and/or steal some space from an adjacent room..been there, done that. Usually you can find the space if you look hard enough and are willing to make some sacrifices.
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