Do you really know what your kids are going through ?
Parenting can be difficult, you spend years trying to figure out the right thing to do for your kids and then some more years trying to figure out what exactly you did wrong because some decisions probably don't seem so great years later. This is the situation a mother found herself in after reading a painful letter written by her son.
The unnamed woman, aged 44, took to Reddit's relationship advice forum to share her story and ask for advice. Before talking about the letter she mentions how her 15-year-old son did approach her and her husband about seeking out a counsellor to talk to. The couple initially did what most parents do which was to ask the boy if something was bothering him but he refused to talk about it and told them that it was private. "He told us that he didn’t want to share with us the reason he wanted to go. Which is completely understandable I told him and we both respect his privacy and have been taking him to sessions weekly since," the woman wrote.
Days passed by and everything seemed well till she decided to clean the teen's room. She mentions that she usually never touches her children's belongings but had to that day as the chest of draws beside his bed is always filled with thrash he usually doesn't bother throwing away. It was then that she found the letter titled "how I see myself". She initially did not want to read it but something in her made her continue, perhaps something more than just curiosity - a mother's concern. "I understand that it wasn’t my place to read it and I should have left it there and pretended I never saw it. But I read it," she explained.
Much to her dismay, the letter was negative beyond what she could have imagined; lines after lines of self-hatred. What particularly stood out to her and broke her heart in the worst way possible were those words that said that he felt “unlovable,” “worthless,” and “a pain to everyone around me.” This immediately made her question herself she says, "whether I’ve done enough as a mum to make him feel valued and loved as a person".
She believes that the note was probably meant for his counselor as he did mention before about writing exercises for their sessions. She first turned to her husband and told him what she found to which he suggested that they best pretend it was never there as what goes on between the teen and his counselor is private and that they shouldn't interfere unless asked. But the mother doesn't feel entirely at peace with the idea and wonders if it would be a good idea if they talked to the teen about it. "Maybe us three could sit down, and go through it helping him see that everything he listed isn’t true together," she wrote.
Users were especially understanding of her concerns but advised against it, "Don't tell him you read it. Instead tell him how much you love him and positive affirmations every day. Depression kills," one wrote, while another said, "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."
Turns out many went through a similar situation as the teen but were not lucky enough to have parents who understood, a user shared their story saying, "I agree. Once OP tells her son she "snooped" he's gonna feel worse and less willing to share anything with her or his father. My mother stole my diary as a kid and mocked everything I wrote about in it. I didn't journal again until after I moved out and even still I hide the book."