Offering advice to the kids about how to navigate parents who drink too much, getting a bad reputation and more
Being a teen is tough! And being a parent to a teen is even harder. That’s why we enlisted teacher and mentor Louise Palanker to share her insight and wisdom. This week we’re covering adult alcoholism, strict parents and feeling confident about yourself. If your kids are facing similar problems, we think she’s got some great wisdom to share!
(If you or your tween/teen have a question you’d like answered, please contact us at [email protected].)
I’m living with my dad because my mum drinks a bit too much recently. But it’s only been two days and I’m already feeling a bit homesick. What does this mean? And will it go away? – Angus
I am so sorry to hear about your situation. I’m not sure if you are asking if the homesickness will go away or if your mom will get better so let’s address both.
Your mom has a problem with alcohol. This has nothing to do with you. It’s not your fault and you can’t fix it. You have been sent to live with your dad because the people around you really love you and want you to have the best childhood possible.
Alcoholism is a disease and it impairs a person’s ability to care for herself let alone others. Your mom will need to make her own decisions when it comes to getting the treatment she will need to get well. Once she chooses to get better she can and she will. There are many healthy people living in recovery from drugs and alcohol.
Of course you are experiencing some homesickness right now living with your dad. It’s completely normal. You have been plucked from your familiar routine. In a week or two you will begin to feel exponentially better. The good moments will outnumber the bad.
Talk to your dad about this. He can help you. Tell him what you are feeling. You may also want to see a therapist and receive counselling from a professional. What you are going through is traumatic and you get to feel whatever you are feeling with one caveat. Take guilt off your plate of emotions. It’s OK to be happy away from your mom. Loving her does not mean it’s your job to suffer without her. You need to thrive. Kids are the priority. Kids must come first and none of this is even remotely your fault.
My parents are very strict, and always check up on me when I’m sleeping at a friend’s flat, including asking me to send my location. The friend whose house they are least suspicious of is currently out of town, and I’m supposed to be staying at my boyfriend’s house tonight. I have a plan to get dropped off and picked up at a different friend’s house, but I’m scared something will go wrong and I’ll get caught. What should I do? – Stella
Don’t do any of this. It sounds like your parents have every reason to be suspicious and check up on you. You’ve been up to some shiftiness and one of two things is about to happen. You will get caught or something will go horribly wrong.
If you want more freedom earn your parents’ trust by being where you say you are going to be. Your parents are strict because they worry. They know a great deal more than you do about the dangers you could encounter or the situations which could entrap you. They understand that your self preservation instincts that could kick in too late for you to extricate yourself from the wrong place and time. They are not being mean to you. They just want you safe and sound.
Your plan sounds highly flawed. You really should not be staying at your boyfriend’s house without your parents’ approval. It’s just a bad idea. Your parents do have the technology to pinpoint your location. They will use it. This will lead to a greater clamp down on your independence. So just don’t this. You will have your entire adult life to go where you want when you want. Right now, work on earning trust and staying safe.
How can I prevent getting a bad reputation at school? – Annabelle
Far more important than what others think of you is what you think of yourself. You should feel loved, honoured and protected before you share any intimate portion of your mind, body or spirit. Once you make the decision to treat yourself with that much respect then others will follow. People are still going to gossip. That’s just what people do. You will never be able to control the opinions of others. In fact, girls often challenge each other to walk an invisible line between prude and whore. There really is no safe place to step when it comes to your “reputation.” Even talking to the boy that another girl likes can stoke fury and churn rumours. So you just do you and honour yourself. That will take you the distance.