Parents are not always equipped to deal with everything their kids are going through.
I’ve learned to accept this fact over the past few months.
I love my two daughters, and as their dad, when something is wrong or they’re hurt, I want to be the one to fix it. But recently they’ve been hurting in a way that I knew I couldn’t fix. So I had to find someone else that could – someone that could help them when I couldn’t. And I’m so glad I did.
Alicia is 13 and Zoe is 11. I never realized when they were little how much of a challenge it would be to raise them as adolescents – rewarding, for sure, but challenging. They get to a certain point where they’re not going to listen to everything I say just because I’m their dad. I always had a tougher time with Alicia. She pushed back with me far more than her sister. They’re both amazing girls; Zoe has just been a little easier to handle.
They’ve gone through some tough times recently. When their mother and I divorced it upset them both. Their mom is seeing someone new now and that’s been an adjustment. Shortly after the divorce they had to deal with the death of their grandmother. Sometimes I forget what it’s like to be young – everything hits you a bit harder and a bit longer.
I try my best to take care of them and talk with them. There’s been a shift in the both of them since these major life changes – it showed up differently in each of them, but they started to act in ways they didn’t used to – disconnected and sad.
Zoe became far less chatty and social than she usually is. She started to spend most of her time in her room.
Alicia cried a lot and didn’t want to talk to me about what was going on.
I knew the time had come to take serious action when I noticed cuts on Alicia’s arm. It broke my heart to think that my daughter would want to hurt herself like that – I didn’t understand it, but I couldn’t just sit by and let it happen.
I did a lot of research on counselling options in the city and decided to try Calgary Counselling Centre because of a recommendation from the girls’ school.
The process was not what I expected – I thought we’d have to come for months or even years to find a solution. Thankfully both Alicia and Zoe were matched with a counsellor that they connected with and within just six sessions they seemed calmer and happier.
Being able to talk to someone and process their feelings about the changes in their lives has really helped them. Alicia hasn’t tried to cut herself in over a month and we’re spending a lot more time together as a family.
Their counsellor has given them strategies to cope when life gets hard.
I know that my relationship with my daughters isn’t perfect, but I think the counselling has given us a strong foundation to move forward.
If you think your child needs help, don’t wait. Learn more about our counselling services.