Don't Forget to Check in With Them.
I don’t normally like to write about sad stories but sometimes the glam and that which is faux is often not real. Don’t forget to check in with your children no matter what age they are, no matter how many times they roll their eyes at you, no matter how many times they sound aggravated.
Unfortunately, my stepdaughter’s friend who is 13, experienced the death of her mother due to a possible drug overdose. This is the second parent that my step daughter’s friends’ have experienced. The previous mother of another friend took her own life. These kids do not need to be going through this, yet here they are reading IG posts “RIP Mom” from their middle school friends. I had to make it a point to check in with her. I called her into my room and even had to ask her mom if she was okay. She wasn’t. She is terrified that her mom will be next. What kind of anxiety is this?? I wanted to ask myself but I know what it is. It’s vicarious trauma in a way shared amongst children. So I asked her, are you okay? Mommy told me how you were feeling and she said you were upset. She explained to me what she felt and what she said. “Mommy and her boyfriend were upset and she was crying and I hugged her and I don’t want to lose her.” Now this little one is tough but being me, I can tell that her breathing changed and she was holding back stress and pain in her chest. I told her “Mommy is going to be fine and nothing will happen to her.” And I gave her a hug and she said, “Okay” and left.
As a step-parent I don’t have many or any expectations except for mutual respect. My job here is to love her and provide structure for her. I play a role in her life as my stepfather did and does to me. She needs to feel safe anywhere she lays her head. So I checked in with her.
Always check in with them.