When it comes to parenting, sometimes it can be difficult to work out what the ‘right’ thing to do is and mums and dads can spend hours, days, weeks and years agonising over decisions they’ve made and regret.
One mum claims to have found herself in a position that is currently making her question her skills as a parent.
The unnamed woman, aged 44, took to Reddit’s Relationship Advice forum to share her dilemma and ask for some advice on what to do next.
She explained that her teenage son sat down with her and his dad back in October and asked if he could go to counselling. She says he didn’t want to talk to his parents abut the reason why, but felt it was something he needed to do.
“We had a talk with him, explaining that if he ever needed to talk about something we’re here to listen and love him no matter what,” she wrote.
The topic wasn’t broached again in depth, but the 15-year-old has been seeing a counsellor regularly.
Recently the mum says she was cleaning the boy’s room when she found a “heartbreaking” note.
After reading it, she became unsure of how to proceed.
“When cleaning out his room yesterday I found a note in the chest of drawers beside his bed, titled ‘how I see myself’.
“I usually wouldn’t go looking through my children’s things without reason, but generally his drawers are just filled with rubbish he’s too lazy to put in the bin.
“I understand that it wasn’t my place to read it and I should have left it there and pretended I never saw it.”
She continued: “I read it. And it was genuinely heartbreaking to read, knowing that this is how he feels about himself.
“It was lines of different negative views he has about himself, particularly ones such as that he feels ‘unlovable’, ‘worthless’ and ‘a pain to everyone around me’.
“Makes me question whether I’ve done enough as a mum to make him feel valued and loved as a person.”
The parent went on to say that she thinks the note was meant for his counsellor as he sometimes had to write things down for their sessions.
She added: “I told my husband what I had found and he thinks that it’s best we just pretend it was never there. As what goes on between him and his counsellor is private and we shouldn’t interfere unless asked.
“But I think it would be a good idea if we talked to him about it, and maybe us three could sit down, and go through it helping him see that everything he listed isn’t true together.”
Fellow Reddit users encouraged the parent to not mention the note to her son, but to instead make sure he knows how loved he is.
“Don’t tell him you read it. Instead tell him how much you love him and positive affirmations every day,” replied one person.
Someone else commented: “My parents did this to me. Found a note I wrote in a dark place and then saved cuz even though I naturally got over some of the things in it – saving it meant something to me.
“They ambushed me with it. Removed my chance to come out to them and made me feel incredibly violated.
“I can tell you really care. The things you’re writing here mean you really picked up on what/why he’s suffering. I echo another poster – step up the positive affirmations and make sure he feels connected with the therapist. If he does, follow their lead together and just make yourself available.”
What would you do in this difficult situation? Let us know in the comments below.