How do I deal with this?
Coping means dealing with difficult things in your own way. For example, with pain, emotions and stress. Everyone has their own way of dealing with these. Some people work very actively on things. When things turn out tougher than they expected, they come up with a solution or fight for change. Or they ask for help, for example from their tutor or a psychologist. Others have a passive, wait-and-see way of dealing with difficult things. For example, they write their problems on a sheet of paper or in a diary. Or they think: I'll wait and see, maybe it'll get better. There is no right or wrong way, every situation requires something different. It does often help to try several things.
Think about how you deal with stress. When life throws something difficult at you, what do you do? Are there any ways of dealing with stress that you would like to try?
Choose something that would suit you best.
When I am totally stressed because I have too much homework, I...
- stop doing anything because I won't be able to finish it anyway.
- continue working, through the night if I have to.
- go to my class tutor to say that we're given too much homework.
When I've forgotten my gym bag for the umpteenth time, I...
- wait till next week and hope it'll still be there.
- immediately go back to the gym or sports club to see if it's still there.
- call the lady from the canteen and ask her to keep it until tomorrow, as I'll be in the neighbourhood.
Are you 16 or over? Take a look at the following documentary. An example of an active coping style can be seen in Ajna, in the documentary: ‘The invisible children of Bosnia’.
You and your mother
Maybe you have a good connection with your mother, even though there's a difficult story surrounding your birth. But maybe you don't understand each other very well and talking to each other is a struggle. Or perhaps you worry about her. As a child, you are quick notice when your mother isn't doing very well. Maybe you've often tried to cheer up your mother. That probably didn't always work. Sometimes this makes you feel sad or insecure.
It's great to have a good relationship with your mother, to respect and appreciate each other. And to be able to go to her when you have a problem. Perhaps especially important to you because your father is not around. A good relationship with your mother sometimes doesn't come naturally. You can ask someone from the neighbourhood team to come and talk to you. It may also help to reflect on your relationship together with the help of these exercises.
Think of something you can do with your mother. For example, cooking together, a dish she learned to cook from her mother and wants to teach you. You can talk about good memories together where you both had fun or just watch something on TV that you both like.
Together with your mother, choose a moment when you both have time (at least an hour). Draw a thermometer like the one on the left. Make one part red, one part orange and one part green.
Start with the red part, those are the moments when things aren't going well between you and your mother. When do you argue? What do you do when that happens? And how do you feel? Do either of you get any physical symptoms, such as nausea, abdominal pain or headaches? Write it all down next to the thermometer.
Now it's time for the green part: When do things go well between you? Think of: laughing together, doing something together, talking together. Write down next to the thermometer how you feel when that happens.
And now the orange part: Does your mother or you know when you go from green to orange? How does it start? Is one of you more stressed when that happens? How can you tell? Maybe
you notice that one of you, or both of you, start talking louder, or you notice it through gestures that your mother or you make. Or you stop talking altogether.
It helps if you both recognise red, orange and green. It will help you go back to green again when you're in orange. And it will help to agree to stop or take a break when that happens. You can agree on a word or gesture together that makes it clear that it is time for a break. And you can contact each other again later to make sure that you go back to the green part.
If you're stressed or if you're not feeling comfortable in any other way, it's usually better not to wait for it to pass. It might help to talk to someone. With a friend, or with your mum, a teacher at school, or perhaps your sports coach. They can help you find the right support if you need it. Perhaps there's a youth worker in your neighbourhood. You can request a meeting with this person yourself. Youth workers are used to talking to young people about difficult things and they know how to get you the help you need. You can also make an appointment with your GP if you are feeling particularly despondent or if you have a lot of worries. Your GP can also refer you to appropriate support.
Secondary schools or colleges often have a care coordinator or a school social worker for pupils with special questions. You can find their contact details on your school's website. If you find it difficult to talk about the subject, you could tell them about this website. You can also call Kindertelefoon (Childline). The Kindertelefoon employee listens to you, and you can remain completely anonymous (without mentioning your name).
Finally: An appeal
If you are a child born of sexual violence, would you like to share your story with us? We would very much like to learn more from you about the impact this has had on your life. What does and does not help you, and whether this website has been helpful to you. This can help us broaden our knowledge and improve this website. Hopefully other children in the same situation can benefit from this. Please contact us at Moms@reiniervanarkel.nl.