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I know it can get harder but this really pushed me to my limit. And then some. It started so well.

Last week 3son threw a wobbly at the idea of reverting to how we had been before summer came along, with all three of us on computers in the same room. I’d started it that way years ago when they were younger so that I could keep an eye on what they were doing on the computer and occasionally chat to them. Once I got over being angry with my son for being difficult I realised that actually he was right and it would be nice to not have to listen them play their computer games online and shout at all their team mates.

So we spent Sunday moving everything about and I did a fair bit of cleaning with the result that I have a lovely new office that has no space for everyone else and they have their computers upstairs where I don’t have to listen to them and all seemed well.

3son has been increasingly difficult, with the stress of exams and a lack of identity making him a troubled teenager. He hasn’t found his place in the world and is worried there isn’t one. He gets very angry and upset. He has some good friends he can talk to, but there is a lot in his head that he never lets out. He has tried counselling a few times but has never really clicked with the counsellor and has never given himself up to the process. Hence every so often it all explodes and he often goes for a long walk to calm himself down, usually late at night. It’s not ideal but it works.

This time however, he took a rope.

He told a couple of friends that he’d gone out and bought a rope and one of them was concerned enough to get in touch with 4son and the two of use looked at the screen grabs of chat between 3son and his friends and wondered whether we needed to panic or not. We decided that yes we did. Naturally 3son was refusing to answer his phone but he eventually told his friend where he was and I drove off to find him before he moved on. As I did I wondered how I’d cope if I couldn’t drive and had to rely on others for help. We ended up going for a two hour random drive as he refused to come home, saying he didn’t want to sleep at home but didn’t have any friends he could stay with that night. So we went for a rambling drive and talked about stuff.

We talked about him not being sure about what he wanted to do or how to achieve it. He doesn’t have a passion for any of his subjects and he realises he finds it hard to work well if he’s not really interested in something. He wants something to engage him and is feeling lost. I did my best to reassure and he did end up signing up for as many enrichment classes as he can in order to just try things out. But I’m not sure he’s willing to put enough energy into anything and he needs to in order to find out whether a subject or activity can really grab him.

We also spent some time talking about my childhood. I’ve always glossed over it as he was too young for me to really discuss it but I found myself driving on a road I used to live on and so we talked about my parents and growing up in London when we were all unhappy and my dad’s affair and me being unhappy at school. I think in some ways it really helped him to realise that I had been there and did know what he was talking about. I’m not just trying to be a good parent but I do empathise with him. I do remember being his age and I do remember thinking that life really and truly sucked. I told him about my half assed overdose and again that bonded us.

It was a long and exhausting evening and a week on I still don’t feel I have recovered. 3son is going around as if nothing has happened which really makes 4son angry. 4son was brilliant, getting in touch with 3son’s friends and guessing passwords and trying to use track my phone to find 3son. He was incredibly responsible and mature and I’m exceedingly proud of him but it affects him too.

I feel drained, as if I had been wrung dry. Then of course I had to wake up the next morning and start on my counselling course whereas I felt I had done my quota of counselling for the next month or so. On top of that I’m trying to write my next letter about funding for 2son who has had an excellent year but they have decided that one more year will do him. The haven’t got any basis for the decision but I just can’t find the words to express how I feel. I can; it just involves an awful of of rude words and suggestions. My MP has agreed to write a letter of support which is nice, but she needs me to draft it so it has the right points in it so I have two to write. I haven’t been in mood which is no surprise but the clock is ticking and I need to sort it out. I’m going up on Tuesday for a meeting with school and 2son and hope that will invigorate me.

So yes, this week has been tough, and I wonder how long it will take before it gets better. I have to believe that it will one day. 3son will grow up and will find his way. In the meantime it’s going to be a bumpy ride.