A few days ago I received this email, written by a past client. This family saw me about a year ago during which time things felt chaotic and set to never change. I am sharing this letter with the hope it gives you perspective, hope and encouragement. I also hope it relieves some of the worry and fear that so quickly entraps parents when the teenage years start approaching. I often encourage my clients to keep parenting by saying, “Give your kids your best while you can. You are the only parent they will ever have and they will only be 14 once. This season will be over so quickly.” Enjoy the read and have a great week….
I want to touch base and say thank you and give you some good news. Probably a nice change, as most of us crazy parents are coming to you at our wits end! The turnaround with our beautiful girl is nothing short of remarkable. The difference a year on is amazing and we couldn’t be happier or have written a better script for the change.
With hindsight, I truly believe this was the event that made the difference and touched her in some way profoundly. We had a total ‘breakdown to breakthrough’ when she tried to run away again, this final time we upped the ante so high that she just couldn’t ignore it. We were choosing our battles with her being home and safe as the number one priority, but when she tried to go again, we knew it was now or never and was a fight we could not lose.
I’m not sure what was different but something got through to her, after getting between her and dad and transforming into a person I never want to become again, perhaps it was the sight of me collapsed on the floor with no voice left from screaming, pleading and declaring my love for her no matter what, I think she finally really got that we loved her, believed in her and would never give up on her, never give up protecting her and fighting for her. I took dinner to her room about an hour later and found her writing us a letter, an apology and a promise to stop the lies, that she was exhausted from living this other life and was miserable pretending to be someone else to fit in with other people.
Then in addition (as I’m not immune to over the top displays of love through other means) I think she was blown away with our birthday gift (a macbook pro for school) and felt that we did really believe in her, no matter how awful she had been. She never in a million years saw that gift coming, and while it’s not best practice parenting it felt like the right thing at that time and I really do believe it helped her mentally and emotionally to realise and accept that we were on her side, had her back and could forgive and move forward without the awfulness hanging over her head all the time.
By christmas we were really seeing our old girl back again, not the snappy bitchy teen we had been living with. She came to us then and asked if her boyfriend could come to speak with us (he was one of the ones she’d been hanging with) to apologise, make amends and try to start again. After I coaxed Ian we both agreed, I was surprised with the mature approach they took and how brave he was to do this! We had an amazing discussion and I was so proud of her, all the good we’d taught was shining through finally (I think he’d been as lost as she was and is definitely from a loopy family). He is actually a really lovely guy, was just completely lost, as lost as she had become. They started spending time together openly around us and now he’s like part of the furniture. He’s great with our boys.
A family holiday at christmas was great, the first time in a couple of years we’d spent as a family in complete harmony.
The girlfriend who we didn’t like has disappeared from the scene (thank god!) and XXX’s gone from last year saying she’s dropping out of school, never getting a car, doesn’t care about anything… now to going to school and working hard, paying off her car with money earned at Maccas, being on the school jersey committee for next year, being on the school formal committee for next year, last week being nominated for prefect!!! (gives her speech next week) and asking to go with her school chaplains on a mission trip at the end this term to Cooktown. Amazing isn’t it…..
We are so very grateful for the change in our girl, every day we count our blessings to have her back as her old self.
To you Michelle, a huge and heartfelt thank you. You gave Ian and I the courage and direction we so desperately needed, the belief in our parenting and the wisdom to choose the right battles with her safety and being home as number one priority. We are so glad we did not give up, it would have been easier in the short term but so devastating in the long run.
The prize we have now is a gift we will treasure forever, the love and connection with our daughter that we felt we had lost.
Bless you, Melinda.
THANK YOU to everyone who has been passing these blog posts on, and for all your kind emails about their impact on your family.
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