I regularly receive calls from distraught parents who cannot make sense of their child’s anger. Over the years, personal as well as professional experience has taught me that rage is often – if not usually – a cover for fear, sadness and grief.An effective one at that! So I wrote this piece for FamilyFriendlyHQ and maybe it will assist you in deciphering your child’s anger. Especially so if you’ve had a recent bereavement or loss. It might even assist in understanding your own anger – after all, we’re all adult-sized children! Click on the pic to read the article:
Christmas has a way of jerking those tears right out of us doesn’t it? It’s a time where the pressure to be happy is really on – HO HO HO! Jeepers. It’s a cheer fest, that’s for sure. One that would make the calmest people want to gouge their own eyes out if they are also trying to cope with feeling of loss and loneliness. Feelings that don’t “match” with how we are ‘supposed’ to feel Christmas.
Here’s the thing though:
October. It’s infant and pregnancy loss awareness month as designated by Ronald Reagan in 1988.
Did you know?
What strikes me this week is how quietly it’s slipping by, we’re nearly in November. And not much has been said. Is it par for the course? Child loss is one of those things we don’t talk about – that women (and men) often “bear” in stoic silence and secret, private agony. One would think, given the referendum and outpouring of grief and concern for women and their babies that there would have been more said this month. Or maybe it’s because so much has already been said – maybe there is a collective compassion fatigue? Are we just exhausted from it? Because loss is exhausting, there’s no doubt about that. Or maybe there are just too many other things going on this month – it certainly has been busy in the media.
Is it that?
There’s a “syndrome” called ACOA – are you familiar with it? It means Adult Child of Alcoholic, or, as experience has taught me, Adult (or teen) Child of any Addict.
I came across it years ago, before I trained actually. Before I really understood what alcoholism was, or how common it is. I was lucky, I know. Since then I’ve learned how the idea of ACOA as a collection of “habits” really helps to explain a lot of the thought patterns and behaviours that thousands of adults experience and struggle with every day – every hour maybe. And the people who love them struggle too.
“Are you f*&king serious?” she asks me, looking at me in that angry / scared / amused way that only teens can do. I like this girl, this young woman. She’s valiant, honest and has a righteous rage.
I am serious I tell her. Really serious.
Moments earlier she’d whipped out her phone to show me an article that she read on the way to my office. The grim headline read: Ireland has the highest rate in Europe for young girls taking their own lives
And I had asked her why she thought this was the case.
I have a friend – well, I know and admire a woman who might yet be a friend – and this morning I woke to find an email from her in my inbox, with a recording attached. She’s a journalist and normally an email from her means she’s writing a piece and is interested in my professional opinion on the topic. We’ve been back and forth-ing for a couple of years and, as you do, we’ve been rearranging the boundaries a little more each time.
A friend and I started a blog together a few years ago now and this is where this post originally appeared – on Mother’s Day, 2015 (feels like last year!!) Not much has changed since then when it comes to parenting and the gnawing fear of not getting it right (whatever “right” is!!). We are acutely aware of how much judgement is out there, and how it seeps into moms’ heads and hearts.
So for the day that’s in it, here it is again:
Ah, Mothers Day – a day to celebrate all that is Mother (or Mom, Mommy, Mama, Mam, Mum, or “Hey You!!” – depending on how your offspring refer to you).
We all know that parenting is one of the most demanding and difficult jobs there are – and there’s no training! (What’s that about?!). As you can imagine, there are lots of parents out there fretting, wondering if they’re doing it ‘right’.
If you’ve clicked on this you’re probably a mother (or know a mother), so we’ve devised a super-scientific questionnaire based on our collective 40 years’ personal and professional experience to help to decide whether or not you’re a ‘good’ mother.
Here we go – be honest now!