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Parenting is not easy. I wish I had listened more to advice and written down time lines of potential future challenges. I wish I had been more open to opening my trust bubble and stand in front of real life challenges, rather than bubble wrap my kids. Traumatic stress happens all the time, whether it’s your own, your friend’s or something else. By helping our children be more compassionate, empathetic, yet positive and develop the tools and confidence to have a positive attitude towards adversity and problem solving it will help them with life. Struggles will come. Offering perspective in their language and seeing results of hard work and tenacity can help. Showing examples of different journeys and asking what they see for themselves can help. Talking can help. 

Parenting is not easy. I wish I had listened more to advice and written down timelines of potential future challenges. I wish I had been more open to opening my trust bubble and stand in front of real life challenges, rather than bubble wrap my kids. Traumatic stress happens all the time, whether it’s your own, your friend’s or something else. By helping our children be more compassionate, empathetic, yet positive and develop the tools and confidence to have a positive attitude towards adversity and problem solving, it will help them with life. Struggles will come. Offering perspective in their language and seeing results of hard work and tenacity can help. Showing examples of different journeys and asking what they see for themselves can help. Talking can help.

The early years of parenthood goes by so fast and our kids pick up on making quick prejudices and labels at an early age. We have to help each other have the strength to face the scary hard parts of being a parent, especially in today’s world. I had no idea what I was going to be dealing with in the teenage years and was completely sucker-punched when something very serious, unbeknownst to me, was happening with one of my daughters. I later discovered the behavior was rooted from her experience with “scarcity” during my divorce with her father. I did not know that her confidence had been shattered during years of being overshadowed by her older sister, who is gregarious and very outspoken. And through this difficult time, she didn’t have the courage or confidence to ask for help. She began to shut down and go inward. She privately tried to understand things with her friends who couldn’t give her the answers, because they too were young. My daughter became a cutter as her own uncertain way of dealing with her pain. Cutting is such a popular experience now for children who cannot understand or comprehend the pain that is within them, or how to process it. I did not find out about this until a lot of damage had already been done.

We all know divorce is not easy and mistakes are made all the time, all through the process. What was once a loving family with mediocre communication, through the eyes of the children, became a situation of walking on eggshells and not knowing what the next day is going to bring. I would never in a million years have thought that this child that I brought into life, with love and care and dreams of a future so bright that it would outshine my own, would end up going through this. But, I missed something and I found out that it can happen to anybody.

When I first saw my youngest daughter’s self-inflicted cuts on her body, I fell to the floor, crying in pain as if each cut on her body was on mine. This was my child. My baby. I had no idea that she was suffering so much and doing this to redirect that pain. She went to counseling. We went to counseling. Today she is no longer cutting. But, today I also do not have a relationship with my daughter. She chose to blame me for a lot of her pain.

I love my daughter to no end and I am so proud of who she is and what she is doing within her community. She has grown up to be a very successful tattoo artist who helps others in their healing process by helping to cover up their scars from cutting. She is sought out for her compassion and her skills. She is incredibly talented and kind. As a parent, I couldn’t ask for anything more. But, I do miss her.

Throughout this journey I look back and know things could have been different. I should have talked to my friends with older children more and asked them to share their stories, including the intimate and raw details. It could have helped me tune in more. Be more aware. I could have learned from others experiences and mistakes and possibly avoided getting sucker-punched like I did. We all need to talk more. Be more open to what is happening. Help each other. We only want the best for our children and for them to grow up to be good people, happy, thriving, compassionate people who contribute to our community.

The early years of parenthood goes by so fast and our kids pick up on making quick prejudices and labels at an early age. We have to help each other have the strength to face the scary hard parts of being a parent, especially in today’s world. I had no idea what I was going to be dealing with in the teenage years and was completely sucker punched when something very serious, unbeknownst to me, was happening with one of my daughters. I later discovered the behavior was rooted from her experience with “scarcity” during my divorce with her father. I did not know that her confidence had been shattered during years of being overshadowed by her older sister, who is gregarious and very outspoken. And through this difficult time, she didn’t have the courage or confidence to ask for help. She began to shut down and go inward. She privately tried to understand things with her friends who couldn’t give her the answers, because they too were young. My daughter became a cutter as her own uncertain way of dealing with her pain. Cutting is such a popular experience now for children who cannot understand or comprehend the pain that is within them, or how to process it. I did not find out about this until a lot of damage had already been done. 

We all know divorce is not easy and mistakes are made all the time all through the process. What was once a loving family with mediocre communication, through the eyes of the children, became a situation of walking on eggshells and not knowing what the next day is going to bring. I would never in a million years have thought that this child that I brought into life, with love and care and dreams of a future so bright that it would outshine my own, would end up going through this. But, I missed something and I found out that it can happen to anybody. 

When I first saw my youngest daughter’s self-inflicted cuts on her body, I fell to the floor, crying in pain as if each cut on her body was on mine. This was my child. My baby. I had no idea that she was suffering so much and doing this to redirect that pain. She went to counseling. We went to counseling. Today she is no longer cutting. But, today I also do not have a relationship with my daughter. She chose to blame me for a lot of her pain. 

I love my daughter to no end and I am so proud of who she is and what she is doing within her community. She has grown up to be a very successful tattoo artist who helps others in their healing process by helping to cover up their scars from cutting. She is sought out for her compassion and her skills. She is incredibly talented and kind. As a parent, I couldn’t ask for anything more. But, I do miss her.

Throughout this journey I look back and know things could have been different. I should have talked to my friends with older children more and asked them to share their stories, including the intimate and raw details. It could have helped me tune in more. Be more aware. I could have learned from others experiences and mistakes and possibly avoided getting sucker-punched like I did. We all need to talk more. Be more open to what is happening. Help each other. We only want the best for our children and for them to grow up to be good people, happy, thriving, compassionate people who contribute to our community. 

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