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:
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.
So the results are out!
For many, I hope, today brings a sense of relief, achievement and celebration.
But for some there is mild to utterly devastating disappointment.
For some, the LC results bring a sense of relief, achievement & celebration. Yay! But for others there is mild or utterly devastating disappointment. How to cope: #leavingcert18 #parenting share with another LC student or parent
Just hours to go guys! (Like you don’t know…)
I’ll keep this simple and not link to supporting evidence – but, as with my last on Leaving Cert tips, know that I have it if you’re interested:)
1: Read the question (practice HOW here – that will make sense when you open it!) – you’ll know you understand it if you can rephrase it.
2: Underline key words.
3: Draw out a plan for your answer – scribble any names, dates, formulae you’ll need immediately.
4: Think of the invigilator as a helper, not a disciplinarian. Their job is to assist you in doing your best.
5: Think of the person assessing your paper as trying to help you get the best marks, not take them away from you. These people want you to do well. Help them to help you by being clear and simple.
6: Avoid the temptation to discuss the gory details of each paper afterwards, especially with the ones mentioned in that last piece.
7: Eat in between exams. Even if you’re nervous and feel a little – eating will help.
8: If you feel a panic coming on try this:
Squeeze every muscle in your body including your face all the way to your toes.
Hold tight for 3 seconds, and then flop eveything.
Place a hand on your tummy and take a deep breathe into it, past your chest, so your hand moves. Keep your shoulders low. Breathe until your breath has slowed to a speed in the gif below
Then do the squeeze again, hold for three, and flop.
This will help calm you down so that you can carry on. Don’t worry about other people seeing you do it. Firstly it’s discreet, secondly, they won’t be looking at you, you are the last thing on classmates’ minds right now, and that’s normal!
9: Reread all your answers and make any changes or additions necessary.
10: Check that you have answered as many Qs as required in each section.
When you’re done, pat yourself on the back knowing that you’ve just done one of the most difficult things in your life and that you’ve done your best.
That’s good enough!! (Yes it is!)
Good luck to you all – I wish you the very best that life has to offer – and that’s loads!!
“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.
I love it actually. It’s great to have a day to celebrate our Irishness, our heritage, our achievements, our collective history. But we all know what really happening don’t we? It’s a day off for most of us, and drinking. Lots and lots of drinking. “The Sesh” – a new tradition to honour the way Saint Patrick got off his head on Vodka and drove the schhnakes out of Ireland… Sure he was a great fella. And isn’t it great the way it falls on Saturday this year so we won’t ‘have’ to call in sick while we deal with the fear, or worse?
(Like assault, liver failure, death…)
And I’m aware this week, as I am every year, of the sense of dread for those among us that are living with problematic drinking – which is a soft way of saying alcoholism I suppose – and that’s a lot of us. Most people reading this have an alcoholic in their family. There are families everywhere who’ll still be dealing with the fallout of Saturday this day next week. Mom or Dad or both were worse than usual, more abusive, more aggressive. There’ll be shouting, sulking, irrationality and it will be followed by remorse, empty-feeling apologies and genuine sounding promises that won’t be kept.
How many people reading this will be sick on Saturday and Sunday? Feeling they should stop drinking but not wanting to appear as “lightweights”. Not wanting to avoid ridicule. How many fights were started, how many unwise decisions made?
How many of these people will be your kids, or their friends?
St Patrick's weekend is one of those weekends when we collectively given each other permission to get completely off our faces on booze, all in the very transparent guise of celebrating a historical and religious figure #stpatricksday Click To Tweet
So, what are we at?
We have a wealth of things in this country that are worth celebrating, loving and cherishing. We are incredibly fortunate to live here. And while we love to complain, and there are things that could certainly be a lot better, the fact that we are fortunate remains true. Our greatest resource is of course our youth.
Last night I heard someone giving out (again) about teachers and parents saying THEY need to take our heads out of the sand when it comes to teen drinking. Well, I’ll take a slightly different slant – we all need to take our heads out of the bottle!
Teenagers are not the issue here!
Let’s stop telling stories about how hilarious it was when yer one fell asleep at the bar and fell off her stool. Or about how the fear was so bad he had to stay in bed all day with the shakes. Or how he doesn’t even remember getting home LOLLOLLOL! – must’ve been a good one! Gas man….
I don’t want to trigger guilt in anyone reading this, please, I really don’t. What I want, what I’d love is for us all to have a think about what we’re doing here. We are teaching our kids to have drink problems. We’re normalising the over-use of a drug that has dangerous effects on our behaviour and health – both short and long term. It’s pretty serious. And besides anything else, it’s costing us a fortune to deal with this mess. Worse though, it’s costing us our youth.