Please Note: Parents, this article is written for your children in mind. Please have them read this or read it out to them.
When my parents began the process of adopting my new brothers, they were all over the place. There were meetings, phone calls, and so much paperwork. Things changed in the family months before my brothers ever arrived.
It’ll be okay, I thought to myself. Things will go back to normal once the twins arrive.
Well, things did not go back to normal. In fact, they continued to change. And I continued to wait for normalcy to come back to voice my concerns to my parents. I didn’t want to talk time away from my brothers, or to take my parents’ attention away from the important paperwork they were doing. After all, the twins deserved all this time being spent on them.
But I deserved time spent on me too, but I didn’t tell my parents that I needed more time. There’s a correlation there: believe it or not, parents don't actually read minds (though I’m sure they like to think they can). When you’re having problems, don’t wait for your parents to notice. Most
of the time, they’re waiting for you to come to them.
That was the pit I fell into. I waited for my parents to notice how withdrawn I had become. I wanted them to notice my absence. I thought that I was screaming to them, look at me. I need you. But writing how much you need help in your diary isn’t the same as asking for help out loud.
My other siblings had a different approach they thought for sure would work: being extra loud and destructive. They asked for attention by
demanding it. Unfortunately, they were asking the wrong way. They stomped, yelled, broke the rules, and got in trouble. But instead of getting extra attention, they were sent to their rooms or given lectures about misbehaving.
We all, myself, my siblings, and my parents were caught in a terrifying loop.
Of course, now I know that when I need help, I have to ask for it. And to be honest, that can be pretty scary. What happens if your parents say they’ll help you later, or they don’t answer at all? What if you never get more time with them? These were all thoughts I had, reasons I never asked my parents for help straight on. So, I hid in my room, wrote pitiful entries into my diary, and my parents believed that I was doing okay. I wasn’t getting into trouble, so there was no reason to worry.
I wish, looking back, that I had gone to them and explained what I was feeling. I wish that I had open and honest conversations with both of my parents, explained to them all of my fears. But I can’t go back and change all of that. I can, however, take what happened to me back then, and use it now. I learned the hard way that I won’t get help if I don’t ask for it, which means that I started asking for help. And let me tell you, the more you ask,
the easier it gets. I hardly ever get those worries about what if they won’t
actually help me.
If you take anything away from this, it’s don’t wait for someone else to notice your pain, your silence, your quiet begging for help. Make it known what you need by being explicit. Go to your parents, ask for their help. Tell them why you need help. They will listen.