Last year, I wrote a post titled Waiting to Exhale. In it, I spoke about working on my daughter’s health and well-being. I alluded to behaviours that were impacting my daughter’s well-being by her peers. It all came to a head at Easter last year when my daughter broke down and let her father and I know what was specifically causing her such distress. My daughter has anxiety, from a young age due to health conditions when she was born, resulting in her undergoing 2 lots of corrective surgery (at 3 months and 7 months old). Due to this, we were in and out of hospital until she was 4 years old – her anxiety became more apparent at age four. Since then, her anxiety has been manageable and not been triggered…until recently. It is heartbreaking watching your child go through something but feel helpless because you don’t know the extent of what the issue is.
Once my daughter finally opened up and this was after seeing a psychologist, working with her eating and general health…and just loving her! It was shocking to learn this was happening to my child and she hadn’t told us (her parents) even though it had been happening for 2.5 years already! I felt that once it was out, it helped shift things immensely – we knew what we were dealing with and how we would like to tackle it. My husband and I were exasperated and felt helpless when everything we tried had not helped, but now I realise it was because we hadn’t gotten to the root of the problem.
The issue that triggered my daughter’s anxiety was bullying. Something that I am so opposed to that it just shocked me to the core! I am aware that the bully/ perpetrator is usually dealing with things themselves but I feel there is no excuse for bullying. It doesn’t only impact the victim but their families, and usually for longer than the actual period of time the bullying took place. It is a complex situation and I don’t condone it nor do I tolerate it. As children we first learn from our parents and adults in our life, so I feel it is fundamental that we display behaviours that are congruent with what we teach our children.
What we say or don’t say is behaviour that is observed and learnt by our children. I am becoming more aware of what I say and how I behave to ensure they are congruent with what I say/ teach my daughter. I cannot control other people’s words and actions but I can control mine in order to help guide my daughter. Our children become who we are, if we don’t like who we are then we have the power to change that. As per my favourite song by Whitney Houston, I believe our children are our future. We need to teach them well so they can lead the way as they become adults. Children are our future leaders so time invested in our children is time well spent. Who do you want your children to become? What type of leaders do we want for the future? How do we ensure our children become good role models?
My time invested in my daughter is a work in progress, we are learning together and committed to her health and well-being. That said, she has started high school, made some new friends and has shared her experience with them, she has found them to be supportive and protective of her. She has a tighter group of friends consisting of existing friends plus a few new friends. I have often mentioned to my daughter that friendships will change but if she finds a good group of friends – who support and encourage each other, accepting their differences then hopefully, their bond will grow and strengthen. Since that revelation over a year ago, I have watched my daughter become more assured, happy and healthy in mind and body again. There is still work to be done, the journey is not over but I have been able to exhale…just a little – so we have been able to continue to Laugh.Love.Live more fully again.
Please contact the services available in your area/ country to assist with any issues regarding mental health, bullying, general health and well-being. I have included some website links to some available in Australia but please do not feel limited to these – please feel free to explore all options to find one that is most suitable for you. Peace and blessings!