However as my teen grew so did some really difficult traits that we have found rather challenging to deal with and she has found frustrating to live with, so much so we have fought as a family to get the help she needed for herself and for us to be able to support her.
It started with Targeted Support in 2012 and that was swiftly followed by the Child and Mental Health Team (CAMHS) who have been in regular attendance in the 2 years (all be it a gap of 6 months while awaiting a new worker) Ollie and I have fought the system, her Father and each other in our unwavering optimism that life with Beth will improve and we can be that family we were all craving to have.
Back in 2012 Beth made a move to live with her Father but soon returned, although with the very vocalised rule that should the Father card be pulled again we won’t stop her, neither would we be taking her back as going backwards and forwards was not an option …. We got back to the daily battle of trying to support her with no real diagnosis being offered.
Ollie and I have paid thousands of pounds for private therapists, attended hundreds of meetings and we are practically on first name terms with almost every agency that has dealings with children and up until last week we had only ever heard whisperings of what ‘might’ be causing such frictions and volatile behaviour from her.
We finally made it to the top of the list with a paediatric consultant and the one meeting I doubted we would get very far with seemed to share so much more than we could have hoped.
I was wrong, the Consultant was communicative and forthcoming and even uttered the words ‘Aspergers’ – although no formal diagnosis was made, more investigations were being looked into and I for one was feeling rather relieved.
Things changed last week not only for the better but for the worst too.
After Beth was grounded for one night after an act of defiance on her part, she walked out the house informing us that she was going to her Dad’s.
After several hours we tracked her down to the youth club and asked that she return home, she refused and told the worker “she might be back before 9pm” after explaining that was not her choice and she should return immediately she ignored us and came home when she felt like it.
After speaking with her Dad and several unhelpful tips were given such as “drag her back” and “she wouldn’t do it with me” it was decided he would talk with her at the weekend.
Before getting to the weekend however at the CAMHS meeting Beth once again hit nuclear and blamed myself and her Father for not caring and for not understanding her. After it took the best part of an hour for the CAMHS worker to calm her … I reiterated to her that I was not throwing her out, however I was struggling to parent her safely now she is walking out anytime she liked and that didn’t leave many choices from this point forward.
CAMHS suggested that getting Dad to tell her that making choices was an unwise move and that maybe he should tell her she didn’t have a choice about living with him – This was discussed with him on Friday and he assured me he would do as was needed …. How wrong I was.
After receiving a text at 3.52pm on Sunday to say that she was going to be living with him and that she did not want to live with us so he needed to talk to me at 5pm when they returned.
Here is where he is claiming I failed – I told him not to bring her back, not because we didnt love her as we do but it would only make the transition harder for not just her but her brother too, along with the fact if we were struggling to rein in her behaviour last week, living with us knowing she didn’t have to tow the line as she was going to live with Dad in a few weeks would have only made life unbearable …..
Failed or not her Father then turned up at 5pm with her in tow expecting us to look after her for 3 weeks as he was too busy to take her to school everyday. (maybe that needed considering before offering to have her live there?)
Well, I maybe a bad parent to say NO … once – but you Father dearest are nothing short of a joke for standing on my doorstep shaking your head at me calling me names – for 14 years you have been nowhere to be seen other than you pre allocated weekends – 2 years ago you promised your daughter you would spend more time with her … it happened once.
Before you sit in judgment of me, walk 14 years in my shoes – No parent is perfect but at least I know as a parent I was there … were you?