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HELP I feel like I have screwed up my kids lives

HELP I feel like I have screwed up my kids lives

Old Mar 23rd 2009, 1:00 am
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Default HELP I feel like I have screwed up my kids lives

To cut a long story short,we moved here to South australia 2 years ago.For the usual reasons better life for the kidssunshine ,outdoor lifestyle etc etc all the cliches

But I feel like my kids lives are a mess

My eldest son decided not to come weeks before we were to fly and moved in with his dad(my ex husband) that was his life screwed up!!missing his mum and brother and sisiter

My middle son has struggled here.Although quite bright his grades are poor,he says the work is boring,he misses english history which he loved and still desperately misses all his friends from England.He has become somewhat of a recluse and yesturday told me he thinks he is depressed.None of his friends live nearby and to be honest they never meet up etc outside school.He feels that he has no future here at all and is bored.He is not particularly sporty

My daughter aged 9 seems to have lost all her confidence over the last year too.She has given up all her after school activities and will no longer go for sleep overs,she is the only kid not going on the school camp.She says she just wants to be at home

I have done this to themby bringing them here.They were all very happy sociable kids and used to play out all the time in the uk with lots of friends.

I wanted to go home within 3 months of arriving but listened to all the people who said give it 2 years.Sure the beaches are nice and there is more sunshine.But there is no soul,no one speaks(neighbours)it is really quite lonely.In hindsight I should have gone 2 years ago..However my husband is happy and likes it here and will not hear of going home.

My dilemma now is that my middle son is 15 ,he wont be able to get back into the school system in the uk.I have thought about moving interstate but dont want to disrupt my kids if that wont improve anything or even make things worse.

I dont know what to do.Has anyone any experiences to share?
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Old Mar 23rd 2009, 1:24 am
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Default Re: HELP I feel like I have screwed up my kids lives

Well i can totally understand how your children feel.

I moved to the US when i was 12 in 2004. I'm 17 now and i went through the same thing your children seem to be going through. I lost my confidence, stayed home a lot and never went out much. Most of my friends didn't live nearby either and i didn't meet a friends outside of school much either.

I'm 17 now and still don't get out as much as i should but i have a job now and its nice to be making your own money when your a young bloke. For me it gives me something constructive to do, gets me out of the house to socialize and its a chance to meet new people.
Maybe it would be good for him as well? Maybe a visit back home might make them feel better or give them something to look forward too. I know when i felt like that all i thought about was going back home for a visit.

I'm not an expert or anything but i thought i would just share what i felt when i was going through that. It looks like you children are feeling a bit like i did back in the day.
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Old Mar 23rd 2009, 1:28 am
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Default Re: HELP I feel like I have screwed up my kids lives

Originally Posted by YoungSteve17 View Post
Well i can totally understand how your children feel.

I moved to the US when i was 12 in 2004. I'm 17 now and i went through the same thing your children seem to be going through. I lost my confidence, stayed home a lot and never went out much. Most of my friends didn't live nearby either and i didn't meet a friends outside of school much either.

I'm 17 now and still don't get out as much as i should but i have a job now and its nice to be making your own money when your a young bloke. For me it gives me something constructive to do, gets me out of the house to socialize and its a chance to meet new people.
Maybe it would be good for him as well? Maybe a visit back home might make them feel better or give them something to look forward too. I know when i felt like that all i thought about was going back home for a visit.

I'm not an expert or anything but i thought i would just share what i felt when i was going through that. It looks like you children are feeling a bit like i did back in the day.
thanks so much for that.Its nice to hear another young persons perspective.Maybe I will suggest a job to him
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Old Mar 23rd 2009, 1:40 am
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Default Re: HELP I feel like I have screwed up my kids lives

No problem, I know how it can be

Have you told you kids that there are other people who went through the same sort of thing ? Until like a week or two ago i thought that i was the only one but then i found the BE forum. I know it may soundd weird but its kind of comforting to know that your not alone. If you get what I'm trying to say
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Old Mar 23rd 2009, 2:15 am
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Default Re: HELP I feel like I have screwed up my kids lives

I can relate to your experience so i hope I can offer you some reassurance because things can and will get better. They have to because there isn't really an alternative.

Firstly, forget the idea of running back to Britain. After 2 years, it will be just as difficult for your children and you to simply blend back into the life you left.

Secondly, stop blaming yourself. You have not messed up your children's lives. And besides, if you carry on beating yourself up, you become miserable and all this does is make everybody else take pot shots at you. So chin up, you made a decision that has not yet born fruit in the way that you hoped but maybe it's time to tell your children that you can't go back, so they have to go forward and find ways of enjoying the life on offer here. Usually, once you've dished out an ultimatum, they take it on board and things start to improve.

I talk from experience. I moved here under protest 5 years ago in support of what turned out to be a very devious and shallow ex husband. My kids were 19 and 21 and were very unhappy at leaving their lives in the UK behind but came under protest too.
My daughter went back and for 2 years I've received an email most days telling me how much she hates me and what a crap mother I am. Indeed, I am the worst of the worst of all mothers in the world apparently. She never wants to speak to me again and I am to burn in hell for all time. That's what she tells me anyway.
Other than this I know she loves me really but she's been through a tough time and everything is my fault, including moving here. She could come here but she refuses. I could go to the UK but she refuses all offers of help so she'll just have to be an angry little ant for now. I can't do anymore.

My son is in Australia and he went into a terrible depression at first and hated the place. The more I blamed myself for making him so unhappy the more depressed he became. In the end, I literally frogmarched him into the arms of his now fiance. They have been together 5 years, are building a house, getting married and he's a successful real estate agent who enjoys trips back to the UK when he feels like it.
BUT.............he hated me too for a long time for 'messing up his life'. Truth is that he now thanks me because he is living a life that he would not have had in the UK had he stayed. He certainly wouldn't have had the adventure, travel, life or fun he's had in 5 years of living here.

Having said all that, my ex husband left a very long trail of bitterness and pain which tore my family apart for a long time. It's only been recently that it's begun to heal and now that it has, we have come back together as a family happy to know that we could be content either here in Oz or the UK.
How wonderful to have the choice though.

You need to tell your kids to stop moaning and that they can't go back to the UK at the moment. Then tell them to get out there and start finding a life. It is out there, it's different but not bad and that all they need to do is just try and see living here as a time in their lives when they can have a really great adventure.
Just be strong, don't beat yourself up and don't take any blame either. As long as you are wearing blame and guilt, you'll be a magnet for more of the same.
It is hard if you regret your decision but honestly, would moving back to the UK solve anything especially if you think you're going back to a life long gone?
The problem of moving to another country is that often we've moved out of old life without realising. Then also again without realising, we've moved into our new life even though it's painful.
We then try to go back to our old life and we find the horrible truth that everyone has changed and we don't fit in anymore. Then we come back to our new life and realise 'oh dear' it's not them, it's us that's changed. It doesn't feel comfortable but eventually it does feel normal, and when it's starts to feel normal, it begins to feel OK.

You'll get there with your kids. I did.
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Old Mar 23rd 2009, 2:28 am
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Default Re: HELP I feel like I have screwed up my kids lives

Originally Posted by ellie10990 View Post
To cut a long story short,we moved here to South australia 2 years ago.For the usual reasons better life for the kidssunshine ,outdoor lifestyle etc etc all the cliches

But I feel like my kids lives are a mess

My eldest son decided not to come weeks before we were to fly and moved in with his dad(my ex husband) that was his life screwed up!!missing his mum and brother and sisiter

My middle son has struggled here.Although quite bright his grades are poor,he says the work is boring,he misses english history which he loved and still desperately misses all his friends from England.He has become somewhat of a recluse and yesturday told me he thinks he is depressed.None of his friends live nearby and to be honest they never meet up etc outside school.He feels that he has no future here at all and is bored.He is not particularly sporty

My daughter aged 9 seems to have lost all her confidence over the last year too.She has given up all her after school activities and will no longer go for sleep overs,she is the only kid not going on the school camp.She says she just wants to be at home

I have done this to themby bringing them here.They were all very happy sociable kids and used to play out all the time in the uk with lots of friends.

I wanted to go home within 3 months of arriving but listened to all the people who said give it 2 years.Sure the beaches are nice and there is more sunshine.But there is no soul,no one speaks(neighbours)it is really quite lonely.In hindsight I should have gone 2 years ago..However my husband is happy and likes it here and will not hear of going home.

My dilemma now is that my middle son is 15 ,he wont be able to get back into the school system in the uk.I have thought about moving interstate but dont want to disrupt my kids if that wont improve anything or even make things worse.

I dont know what to do.Has anyone any experiences to share?
Why won't your husband hear of going back even though your children are so unhappy? Would you consider leaving him behind?

If your husband is okay with you taking the kids back to the UK, could you make it on your own back in the UK? (Your son may have to go back a year in school, but this is not the end of the world.)
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Old Mar 23rd 2009, 6:57 am
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Default Re: HELP I feel like I have screwed up my kids lives

I can totally understand how you and your kids feel. I came to Aus when I was 17 with my family and hated it from the start but gradually grew into life here. I am only now returning to the UK (23 now) as I never really felt I settled here. But it has taken a while to reach that decision not a knee jerk reaction.

I suppose it all comes down to how you and your husband feel about it all. If you are willing to go back to the UK or not as a family?

The ages of your kids though obviously means they are not old enough to go back on there own right now. Your (15 year old) maybe in the position to make an informed decision for himself in a few years time perhaps at 18 or so.

I would also stop blaming yourself. I have been in the exact position your kids have been in finding it hard to settle etc and I do not hate my parents for moving me here. I can understand they wanted to move as they thought it would give me a better life. So I am sure your kids do not hate you for coming here and they will realise that you moved as you thought you were giving them a better life. No one has a crystal ball and no one can predict how things will turn out.

You have to do what you feel is in the best interest of your family whether that be moving back to the UK or sticking it out here a while longer.
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Old Mar 23rd 2009, 7:37 am
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Default Re: HELP I feel like I have screwed up my kids lives

Originally Posted by ellie10990 View Post
To cut a long story short,we moved here to South australia 2 years ago.For the usual reasons better life for the kidssunshine ,outdoor lifestyle etc etc all the cliches

But I feel like my kids lives are a mess

My eldest son decided not to come weeks before we were to fly and moved in with his dad(my ex husband) that was his life screwed up!!missing his mum and brother and sisiter

My middle son has struggled here.Although quite bright his grades are poor,he says the work is boring,he misses english history which he loved and still desperately misses all his friends from England.He has become somewhat of a recluse and yesturday told me he thinks he is depressed.None of his friends live nearby and to be honest they never meet up etc outside school.He feels that he has no future here at all and is bored.He is not particularly sporty

My daughter aged 9 seems to have lost all her confidence over the last year too.She has given up all her after school activities and will no longer go for sleep overs,she is the only kid not going on the school camp.She says she just wants to be at home

I have done this to themby bringing them here.They were all very happy sociable kids and used to play out all the time in the uk with lots of friends.

I wanted to go home within 3 months of arriving but listened to all the people who said give it 2 years.Sure the beaches are nice and there is more sunshine.But there is no soul,no one speaks(neighbours)it is really quite lonely.In hindsight I should have gone 2 years ago..However my husband is happy and likes it here and will not hear of going home.

My dilemma now is that my middle son is 15 ,he wont be able to get back into the school system in the uk.I have thought about moving interstate but dont want to disrupt my kids if that wont improve anything or even make things worse.

I don't know what to do.Has anyone any experiences to share?
Hi Ellie
Correct me if I'm wrong but are you the poster who lives in Flagstaff Hill, SA? If you are then I can understand where you are coming from when you say that the place has 'no soul'. That seems to be a feature of life in many parts of suburban Australia.
I also know how hard it is when you have a partner who is happy here and you are not. That is the situation I have always been in. I don't have children, but please don't blame yourself for how things have turned out (easier said than done, I know). You did what you thought was right at the time and one day they will be old enough to live their own lives as they wish to.
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Old Mar 23rd 2009, 8:44 am
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Default Re: HELP I feel like I have screwed up my kids lives

Do not beat yourself up! You have not screwed up your kids' lives, kids are resilient creatures and they will be just fine whichever way you jump.

I would think that the UK system could cope with a 15 year old coming from another country - heck, they do it all the time and of course he would get back into the system. He may decide to go back into a year below his age peers for GCSE reasons but that is not going to kill him and he may need it anyway because the Aus system just doesnt keep up at that age.

Will your husband let you go? This may be a moot point if he gets it into his head that HIS family are not going too far away from HIM (many men do get obstructionist like that!). Look at where you would have the best support network to help you in either case.

Your children may well be depressed - they may have sensed that you arent happy and have picked up on your vibes no matter how carefully you try and shield them from it. You will probably find that your kids' school will have a school counsellor or someone you could talk to about their feelings if you do decide to stay. Having just been on a seminar about adolescent mental health, I do advise that you do something about the kids or at least see if you can get hold of any book by Michael Carr Gregg - he's an exceptionally good adolescent psychologist and see if you can pick up any tips from him about how to deal with the kids.

I have found that if you can put a time frame on your stay then it becomes much easier to live with. However there is always the risk that you will pass the point of no return. Personally I think moving states is just prolonging the agony - you still have to start from scratch with people you dont know and it doesnt get you any closer to your established support network. Running away from the problem rarely solves it IMHO

Seems like you are teetering between the rock and the hard place {{{hugs}}}
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Old Mar 23rd 2009, 9:09 am
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Default Re: HELP I feel like I have screwed up my kids lives

Hi there,
I just wanted to say how sorry I am that you are in such a terrible position.
When I came with my husband (who has an Australian daughter), we did not have children so I can't relate to that, but I would say to anyone thinking of coming here to think soooo carefully about splitting up your family and uprooting children from their friends and extended family.

You really do not know what you have until it is gone, and after being here for 14 years I know that this is very hard place to make friends, of any age.

Think very carefully about your decision and only stay if it is truely what you want to do, your husband sounds as though he is being a bit selfish in the face of his families serious problems. If you do decide to go, I would advise you to throw yourself into it wholeheartedly and I am sure you will be fine.

I hope your situation esolves itselfe very soon.
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Old Mar 23rd 2009, 11:31 am
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Default Re: HELP I feel like I have screwed up my kids lives

hello ellie i dont know if you remeber me but i lived in adelaide and moved to samfrod in brisbane,initally we all really loved it and everyone settled in well i got a job which i never could in adelaide,my boys are at school oldest has made friends youngest hasnt really,agree with the children not seeing each other after school,life can be quite bland,the shine has definatly worn off going to the uk for six weeks in july to see how we feel,and we will move home,we havent even considered buying a house still renting as we know deep down this isnt the place for us,moving interstate temparily gives you relief from feeling unsettled but in my expierence it has slowly crept up again,i truely believe oz is oz there are small differences between states,but it is all of a muchness,sorry i havent been more upbeat,but i am being honest take care z
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Old Mar 23rd 2009, 12:57 pm
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Default Re: HELP I feel like I have screwed up my kids lives

Originally Posted by ellie10990 View Post
To cut a long story short,we moved here to South australia 2 years ago.For the usual reasons better life for the kidssunshine ,outdoor lifestyle etc etc all the cliches

But I feel like my kids lives are a mess

My eldest son decided not to come weeks before we were to fly and moved in with his dad(my ex husband) that was his life screwed up!!missing his mum and brother and sisiter

My middle son has struggled here.Although quite bright his grades are poor,he says the work is boring,he misses english history which he loved and still desperately misses all his friends from England.He has become somewhat of a recluse and yesturday told me he thinks he is depressed.None of his friends live nearby and to be honest they never meet up etc outside school.He feels that he has no future here at all and is bored.He is not particularly sporty

My daughter aged 9 seems to have lost all her confidence over the last year too.She has given up all her after school activities and will no longer go for sleep overs,she is the only kid not going on the school camp.She says she just wants to be at home

I have done this to themby bringing them here.They were all very happy sociable kids and used to play out all the time in the uk with lots of friends.

I wanted to go home within 3 months of arriving but listened to all the people who said give it 2 years.Sure the beaches are nice and there is more sunshine.But there is no soul,no one speaks(neighbours)it is really quite lonely.In hindsight I should have gone 2 years ago..However my husband is happy and likes it here and will not hear of going home.

My dilemma now is that my middle son is 15 ,he wont be able to get back into the school system in the uk.I have thought about moving interstate but dont want to disrupt my kids if that wont improve anything or even make things worse.

I dont know what to do.Has anyone any experiences to share?
Just wanted to say Ellie, please don't blame yourself, as you came out here with every best intention for your family. You sound like a wonderful supportive mum, so give yourself a big pat on the back.

Like Quoll says, children are resilient. My father was in the air force and we travelled throughout my childhood, which resulted in me attending nine different schools in total. It had a detrimental effect on my education, but made me independent and able to establish and maintain friendships with other children - this has proved invaluable in adult life. My two brothers and I instinctly knew that when we moved, we would just have to fit in and get on with it, and surprisingly we did, with much more ease than adults. Your children will be absolutely fine Ellie, so please don't worry. I would, however, check out why your daughter is the only one who's not going on school camp. Maybe have a word with her teachers to see if there are any problems going on. Your son may be depressed, so perhaps speaking to your GP may help.

As for returning to the UK, gosh that's a hard one. Either stay put, grit your teeth and help your children as much as possible to settle in Australia, or if your heart is truly rooted in the UK, and you're sure it's the best place for you and your children then maybe that's where you need to be.

Best of luck to you all Ellie.
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Old Mar 23rd 2009, 3:48 pm
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Default Re: HELP I feel like I have screwed up my kids lives

Hi Ellie

Your story sounds quite similar to mine, we have been here just over 2 yrs. My 13 yr old had great friends in the UK, a good school & was very, very happy, we moved out here & her life was turned upside down, I think the move has affected her the most. I often think 'what have I done', but my husband absolutely loves his life here & is completely against moving bak. I'm returning with the kids to the uk this year for a hols & hope that it will make my mind up once & for all, I'm hoping that I cant wait to jump bak on the plane here...some how I just cant see it tho....

hugs xx
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Old Mar 23rd 2009, 5:24 pm
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Default Re: HELP I feel like I have screwed up my kids lives

Originally Posted by Heljinder View Post
......... children are resilient. My father was in the air force and we travelled throughout my childhood, which resulted in me attending nine different schools in total. It had a detrimental effect on my education, but made me independent and able to establish and maintain friendships with other children - this has proved invaluable in adult life. My two brothers and I instinctly knew that when we moved, we would just have to fit in and get on with it, and surprisingly we did, with much more ease than adults. Your children will be absolutely fine Ellie, so please don't worry...........
With respect, I disagree. You cannot possibly know whether her children will be 'absolutely fine'. You were used to being uprooted regularly from an early age. This is not the case with Ellie's children.

I'm sure children are resilient, and many do indeed settle and manage to be happy. But some do not, as I can attest from experience, and the consequences can be quite devastating.

I would say to her, listen to your gut instinct with this...
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Old Mar 23rd 2009, 10:14 pm
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Default Re: HELP I feel like I have screwed up my kids lives

One thing that helps is to widen their experience of Australia if you can. If they're at home sitting in their rooms feeling miserable, they are going to stay stuck in a negative frame of mind and life is going to be one long drag uphill. I know, I've done it. It was an awful time.

Don't know where you are but basically, in my experience anyway, there are two types of Australia. One is the small town, out West variety. These people are hard to get to know because all they know is the isolated world in which they live.
Then there are the cities and bigger towns. These have a lot more to offer and with the huge amount of migration going on, there is a vastly changing face of Australia emerging thanks to the arrival of so many different cultures.
Friends of ours have found that their teenagers were immediately accepted into performing arts schools here where in the UK, they couldn't get a look in because there were so many others trying to get through the door.

If you could get your children to open their minds a little and go and see a few places, that may help. Bring them to the Gold Coast, that would open their eyes! During the day though, not at night. Seriously, they could have a lot of fun.

I'm only saying this because I believe if you go back to the UK because you want to and you know what you are going back to, that's fine. But if you are running away from half a life you've built here, it could be equally difficult at home. Might be better to go back for a holiday and just see how everyone feels.
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