Buying a Faulty Used Car

picture of a faulty used car on a tow truck stating buying a used car

 

What can you do if you buy a faulty used car?

I bought a faulty used car and now I want to use my experience to help you deal with your faulty used car. Please note that I am not a qualified lawyer or an expert in Consumer Law and you must always do your own research. All I am is a buyer who has been burnt buying a faulty used car and wants to use my experience of buying a faulty used car to help you and I cannot be held liable if something should go wrong. I strongly suggest that if you are unsure you seek legal advice

Buying a used car is one of the most stressful things you can do. You’re buying what will possibly unless you own your own home, be the most expensive thing you will ever own. New cars, whilst more reliable, could cost more than you can afford. Especially in our case when we need a car big enough to carry our five children.

This means you’re left choosing a second-hand car, one that is probably a trade-in and you’re left at the mercy of the dealer or trader. Especially, if like me you don’t know much about cars. This can lead to you buying a faulty used car

I always seem to have really bad luck when it comes to buying faulty used cars. Finances mean I have to choose cars which are in their final days. I know you have more rights when you buy from a dealer and I knew this means that you could end up paying more money, but that means you’re going to get a reliable car right? One that will last longer than a few weeks! WRONG and if things go wrong, you’re left at the mercy of the dealer or spending money you haven’t got trying to fix the car.

I hate buying cars, no matter how hard I try, I always seem to buy faulty used cars with hidden faults. The last seven cars I have owned, have only lasted me a year and in some cases only a few weeks before I have had to spend money on repairs.

So last year when hubby hit a cow on his way home from work and totalled my car (the cow was fine and ran off!) we decided that we were fed up with buying cars on death’s door and we applied for a loan of £5,000 to buy a decent one.

our car which was damaged when hubby hit a cow

Once the loan had been improved we searched for a car we all liked and we found a lovely one on Autotrader from a used car dealer. We contacted him and arranged to go and have a look the following day and that night I spend all evening researching the vehicle, running a vehicle check and checking the MOT history online. Everything came back fine and here’s is where I made my first mistake, I didn’t research the dealer, I didn’t check to see if he was a member of a trade association. All I did was look at his 4 reviews on Autotrader and his website.

The following day I went with my dad to look at the car. The dealer reminded me of Matilda’s dad in Matilda, all talk and trying to impress me with the car. He took us for a test drive, but he drove, which should have had my alarm bells ringing. Then when we were looking over the car, checking the bodywork for any sign of damage or repairs, checking the engine for any sign of an oil leak, checking the oil for a any sign of head gasket damage, checking the tyres and the brakes and checking the multimedia TV, DVD and Sat Nav which were built in, he came over with the phone in his hand and asked if we wanted to take it as he had someone on the phone who were on their way down the motorway and wanted to know if it was worth carrying on. We had planned on going for a cuppa to discuss the car. Yet I felt pressured to chose right there and then or risk losing the car.

After asking for a few to discuss it with my dad, my dad answered it was my decision. To help me make up my mind, I went to speak to the dealer. I mentioned what I had discovered on the MOT certificate, namely the rear tyre and brakes which were advisories on the MOT from a month earlier and to ask if they had been changed and if not was he willing to either change them or give me a discount.

He wasn’t interested in either, all he would say was that even with the tyre and the brakes, which were only advisories, the car was still at a bargain price and he wouldn’t go any lower. When I mentioned the airbag warning light and was he willing to lower the price because of that he said no. At the time I didn’t even realise airbag warning light will cause an MOT failure, but he told me it was nothing to worry about.

Then I asked about the Cam Belt and Water Pump history and he told me he didn’t know anything about whether they had been replaced and that the previous owner hadn’t said anything but it did have a service history, which he didn’t give me until after I had purchased the vehicle.

ford galaxy 2006

Finally I asked about the sluggishness to start and he reassured me that it just needed a good run to charge the battery as it had been idle for a while before it had come to him a few days earlier. No matter what I brought up, he had an answer for and he wouldn’t come down in price, but as I liked the car and it was in my price range and everyone at home liked the car and were looking forward to seeing it, I decided to take it. He then took me to the bank so I could do a transfer, he wouldn’t let me pay by credit card, not even £10, which was a shame as I would have had more protection if I could have used a credit card, even if I had only paid for a fraction of the cost of the car.

After I had bought the car we finally went for a cuppa and this is where my doubts started to creep in and I began to worry I had bought a faulty used car. I drove it 100 miles home and I noticed as I got closer to home that there was smoke coming from the exhaust. When I got home I went through the service history and saw it was due a full service and on checking with the previous garages which had carried out the service I learnt that the cam belt and water pump hadn’t been changed. So I arranged for it to go into my local, AA approved garage for a new water pump, cam belt, battery because the car was still sluggish to start, full service and a new tyre and rear brake pads and discs.

After spending £3,990 on the car, I then spent £1,179.84 on maintenance. Because the garage was busy and couldn’t fit it in for three weeks, I refused to use the car until the cam belt had been replaced just in case it blew and took out the engine. The day after I got the car back from the garage we took the children for a ride to MacDonalds, about 60 miles away and as we got closer I noticed it was smoking again. By the time we got to MacDonald’s the car was engulfed in smoke and the dashboard displayed Engine Malfunction. I phoned the AA who towed our faulty used car home and the garage diagnosed a faulty turbocharger. We had owned the car 21 days, already spent £1,179.84 on the car and we now faced a repair bill of £1,127.47.

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On the garage’s advice, I contacted the dealer to ask about the history of the turbocharger and he said he would get back to me. He didn’t and he stopped answering my texts and phone calls. I then contacted the Citizens Advice Bureau for advice and to learn what my rights were, especially as the dealer had written Sold as Seen. No Warranty on the receipt and I was worried that this meant I had no rights to get the faulty used car repaired. CAB (Citizen’s Advice Bureau) reassured me that I did have rights and the dealer had actually acted illegally by writing Sold as Seen on my receipt in order to try and reduce my legal rights and that they would report him to Trading Standards. They also gave me the advice on what my next steps were to get the situation resolved.

What if you bought a faulty used car?

In the UK you have the legal rights if you buy a faulty used car that you bought from a used car dealer or a second-hand car dealer. These legal rights come under the under the Consumer Act 2015.

A vehicle must be fit for purpose (in this case, get you from A to B safely), of satisfactory quality (taking into account its age and mileage) and as described (meaning it meets any description or advertisement or in discussions given to you when you were buying it).

Therefore, if you find you have a faulty used car, you have the right to refuse the car and get your money back provided you let the dealer know within 30 days. You are entitled to ask for a repair if after 30 days of ownership a fault has appeared. Provided you believe the fault was there when you bought the car.

It is the responsibility of the dealer to prove that the fault wasn’t there when you bought the faulty used car during the first six months of ownership. After six months then it is up to you to prove. If you’ve owned the car longer than 30 days you are entitled to a refund only if a repair is unsuccessful. The dealer is allowed to make a deduction from the refund to cover “fair use” if more than 30 days have passed.

If the dealer told you about the fault when you bought the faulty used car, you won’t be entitled to anything. Or you inspected the car and should’ve spotted the problem, or you are just unhappy about how much you paid for the car or if you caused the fault.

How to Complain

Your first step is to contact the dealer (or finance company if you bought the faulty used car on hire-purchase) stating what the problem is with the vehicle and what you want the dealer to do about it i.e refund or repair. Sadly, if you bought the car from a private seller you do not have any rights.

Within your first 30 days of ownership, you can take your faulty used car back to the dealer for a refund or repair. Think about whether the problem is likely to lead to bigger issues. Should you get it repaired or get a refund? If the fault means you can’t drive the car, you should ask the trader to come and collect it at their own cost. It shouldn’t cost you anything as long as the car is actually faulty.

If you part-exchanged your old car you can ask for your old car back if you’re asking for a refund. Should the dealer have already sold it on, ask for the value they gave when you did the deal on the faulty used car.

Write to the dealer and say what is wring with your faulty used car. Mention the Consumer Act 2015 and show you understand your rights.  Explain to the dealer what you want them to do about it. You could say something like

“Under the Consumer Act 2015, this car should be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described. My rights have been breached because the car you sold me is faulty. I would like you to put this right by giving me a refund/repairing the faulty used car at your cost.” 

Make sure you keep a record of your conversations and any letters, get any verbal agreements in writing, including when you can expect the car to be ready (if you’re asking for a repair) and whether they’ll offer you a courtesy car in the meantime (they don’t have to but it never hurts to ask).

If you paid by debit or credit card then you have extra protection and can get your money back through your bank if the dealer is being difficult. If you paid by debit card then contact your bank and say you want to use the “chargeback” scheme. It’s always best to ask to speak to a manager to make sure you speak to someone who is aware of the scheme. If you paid by credit card, then you need to tell your credit card company that you wish to make a claim under “section 75“.  It doesn’t matter if you paid just £10 on your credit card or the full price, as long as your faulty used car cost over £100.

What if the Dealer is unhelpful?

If there’s no response to your letter or phone calls, then your next step is to write a complaint letter. The CAB website has Complaint Letter Templates you can use.  Or you can contact the CAB and speak to one of their advisers for advice. Make sure you mention in your letter that they have two weeks to respond. Again mention the magic words which are Consumer Act 2015. Remember to state that the faulty used car is either of unsatisfactory quality, unfit for purpose or not as described. Make sure you note the date that you sent your letter and keep a copy for your own files.

Check whether the dealer is a member of a trade or motor association. You may need to write to them and ask. If they are a member, you may be able to get them to help you resolve your issue. They might also have an Alternative Dispute Resolution scheme (ADR). An ADR is a way of solving disagreements without going to court. They use a third party to mediate and try to reach a solution.

Should they not respond to your letters or are not a member of a motor or trade association. If they are are not a member or unwilling to use an ADR scheme. Make sure you keep a record of this. If you should have to go to court, you need to prove that you have tried to resolve this issue as best you can. You might be able to use an ADR scheme, which would help you should you go to court.  The chances are that if the dealer is avoiding you they will also ignore the ADR scheme.

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The final resort is taking the dealer to court. This is the stage that I am at now, as the dealer has ignored all contact.

If the value is under £10,000, you can take your case to the small claims court. You can do this online or through the post. It does cost, but if you are on certain benefits or earn below a certain amount, you might be able to have your fee waived or reduced. If you can claim a reduced or waived fee, you cannot do it online.

Before you can start court proceedings, you have to send one more letter to the dealer. known as a Letter Before Court this gives them one more chance to deal with your faulty used car. Remember to state that it is a Letter Before Court. Remember to use the magic words of Consumer Act 2015 and give them a deadline of two weeks to respond.

The Car Has Developed Another Fault?

What If the dealer has repaired your faulty used car and it goes wrong again?  You have the right to refuse a second repair and provided that the repair hasn’t solved the problem or another problem has developed, you can ask to return the car and ask for your money back. You may only get part of your money back though, depending on how much you’ve used the car. If you want to keep the car, you could always ask for a discount.

Where to get more help?

I used the Citizens Advice Bureau when I found my new car was a faulty used car. They were friendly and knowledgeable and give free advice, even face-to-face appointments if that will help. They have trained advisers who can give you advice on their helpline on 03454 040506 or you can contact them using this online form. In Northern Ireland, you’ll need to contact Consumerline

Good luck and let me know how you get on!

 

How To Get Rid Of Nits and Head lice

Fighting a Losing Battle Against Nits

I hate Sunday nights. I hate that every week I have to pin my daughter down to comb her hair. I hate that my 8-year-old keeps getting nits. I hate that because she has thick hair the nit comb struggles to get through it. I hate having to fight and chase her with the nit comb. I hate that combing her hair leaves us both in tears and her scalp bleeding. I hate the cost of constantly buying expensive nit treatments. I hate trying to pull the nit comb through her hair whilst she screams and attacks me. I hate that I make her scream so loudly that I’m amazing my neighbours haven’t called the police, convinced I’m murdering her. Did I mention I hate nits and Sunday nights?

combing nits out of daughters hair with a nit comb

What Are Nits?

Head lice are a tiny, six-legged parasite that lives on the human head. They feed off human blood and are commonly found on children.  Adults are the size of a sesame seed and they vary in colour from grey to a reddish caramel colour.

Nits are the eggs of head lice. Nits are tear-drop shaped and the lice actually “glue” them to the shaft of the hair so they’re tough to remove. Female lice can lay three to five eggs per day and they can lay up to 200 eggs in their lifetime!

Head lice and nits are horrible and the scourge of schools up and down the country. But worst than that, Nit eggs and head lice are IMPOSSIBLE to get rid of! I have spent hundreds of pounds and hours of my life in what seems like a never-ending battle to rid my children of these pests.

Head lice in child's hair

Getting Rid of Nits

Over the years I’ve tried different brands of expensive chemicals, lotions and treatments. All of which boast they will get rid of the nits and the lice. Yet less than a week later, I would spot live lice crawling through their hair.

I’ve tried different nit combs and all seem to pull at their scalp whilst I try and run it through their hair. Although the nitty-gritty seems to be the best comb for getting rid of nits. It hurts because the glue the lice use is very effective.

If you spot nits or live headlice in one member of the family, the chances are everyone has nits. This means that the cost of buying enough lotion to cover everyone increases the cost.

Even just using conditioner and a nit comb is a nightmare as the nit eggs glue themselves to the hair follicle and the comb tugging them out tugs at my daughters’ scalps. It hurts them and creates a battle between us which leaves her hating having her hair combed with the nit comb. I’m also left reluctant to comb their hair because of the battle, the tantrum and the tears. I hate doing their hair. It seems like a losing battle. The constant washing and combing with the nit comb. Even though I know that combing with the nit comb is the only way to get rid of nits.

Nits in child's hair

White Vinegar

Then a friend asked if I had tried white vinegar.

As soon as she mentioned vinegar, I flashed back to when I was 10-years-old. I was on a week-long Brownie camp in Scotland. I came down with nits and my Brown Owl washed my hair in vinegar. Whether it actually got rid of the nits I don’t remember, all I remember is how I stunk of vinegar.

When I mentioned this to my friend she told me to give it a go and that as long as I washed it a couple of times afterwards I’d get rid of the smell.

Getting Rid of Nits with White Vinegar

So tonight I decided to give it a go and I used my 8-year-old as my guinea pig. She is the one who seems to catch nits the most. She is also the hardest one to treat because of her long, thick, wavy hair and her reluctance to let me do it I followed my friend’s advice and did her hair in the following steps

  1. Wash the hair with shampoo and then heavily condition the hair
  2. Whilst the conditioner is in the hair, comb it with the nit comb
  3. Wash the conditioner out of the hair
  4. Soak the hair in white vinegar
  5. Comb through the hair again with the nit comb, the acid in the vinegar will remove the stickiness from the nit eggs allowing the comb to remove them
  6. Wash the hair a few times to get rid of the smell of white vinegar

I followed all the above steps. My 8-year-old was really reluctant and I had to bribe her to sit nicely in front of me so I could comb her hair.

The Result

I was AMAZED at how well she sat there. No screaming. No crying. No trying to get away from me. No battle to move her hands away from her face. NOTHING. She actually sat there and let me comb it!

She even looked at me and said: “It doesn’t hurt!”

When I had finished I had more nit eggs on the comb than I had ever had before, even though I had combed it with conditioner already. The best thing was, no matter how hard I searched her hair, I couldn’t see any signs of nits or lice.

This was a difficult test as my daughter has long, thick, curly hair, which is why it’s always such a battle to comb her hair in the morning, let alone with the nit comb.

She even looked at me and asked “Do we have to do this again next Sunday” and when I replied just to make sure she hadn’t caught any more nits in school she replied “Ok” and ran off to play on her tablet.

From now on I’ll be using white vinegar all the time. It costs a lot less than the expensive nit removal treatments. Yet it’s better for her hair and the environment. Most importantly, it’s better for my daughters’ and it doesn’t hurt!

Have you tried using white vinegar before? What about other “Old wives tales” or “natural remedies” for getting rid of nits? What have you found that works and what hasn’t?

The only downside I can think of is that the smell does linger around the house. A squirt of air freshener got rid of it and it was worth putting up with the smell.

Getting a Guinea Pig

Caringforyourguineapigs

Guinea pigs are wonderful pets. We’ve had them now for over three years when we rehomed a pair of four-year-old long-haired beauty’s named Bubble and Squeak. I had never owned guinea pigs before then, never even held one, but the minute I held them, I fell in love with them and so did my daughters. We were thrown in the deep end, no time to research and given everything we needed for the next few days! Slowly, over the years, I’ve learnt a lot more about guinea pig welfare and how to keep them healthy and the fact that Bubble and Squeak both lived to be 8 is a testament to our care and love when you consider the average life-span of a guinea pig is 5-8 years. Sadly, in 2017, we lost Bubble and then Squeak. I still miss both of them, especially Squeak as she would love lying on my shoulders and licking my neck.

guineapigs

We still have guinea pigs. Last year we rehomed a one-year-old boar we named Barry and recently we added Ozzy to our family and to give Barry some company.

If you’re thinking about getting a guinea pig, go for it! They are such lovely pets and being bigger than hamsters means they’re not as easy to lose down small holes and gaps. In fact, my dad used to tell me about a tenant they had in their flats who had a hamster and they caused thousands of pounds of damage ripping up floorboards trying to find it!

The most important thing to remember is that guinea pigs are social animals and they need a friend. If you do plan on getting two piggies, please ensure that they are the same sex. Guinea pigs are very fertile animals but pregnancy is high-risk for the female and isn’t recommended if over the age of one unless she has had previous litters. Males can impregnate a female from three-weeks-old, yes weeks, and a female can become pregnant within half an hour of giving birth rather her than me.

Before you can bring your new pet(s) home you need to make sure you have their habitat all sent up and ready.

Guinea pigs can be kept indoors or outdoors and it really is a personal choice. Some prefer them outside because they can get a little smelly if you don’t keep on top of the cleaning and of course space can be an issue, there’s also the risk or predators, such as neighbourhood pets and foxes, and the risk of them getting too cold (too hot is not an issue in the UK), you also need to check as some countries won’t allow them to be kept outside and some won’t let you keep a lone pig. However being outside gives them more freedom, more space, more fresh air and more sunshine. If you do decide to keep them outdoors they ideally need to be kept in a building, not directly outside, giving them extra shelter from the elements. Keeping them indoors means you can spend more time with them and watching them, some people even have them roaming around their homes, you can keep an eye on them and pick up on any illnesses quicker as guinea pigs hide when they’re sick. The downside can be the space their cage takes up and the smell and mess if you don’t keep on top of the cleaning. You also need a cage with a lid if you have indoor pets, such as cats or dogs.

Our guinea pigs are kept indoors, mostly because we don’t have a garden so there was never any choice for us. They’re kept in my daughters room and she loves being able to fuss and cuddle them when she’s feeling down or even just watch them playing and running around her room.

Once you’ve decided where you’re going to keep your guinea pigs, either indoors or outdoors, you need to ensure you have the correct size cage for them. We need a bigger cage in fact as whilst our current cage is big enough for two female guinea pigs, two boars need more room to discourage fighting.

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Once you have chosen your cage, maybe you’ve even decided to build your own C&C cage which are quite popular and I will be covering soon when I attempt to build my own, but until now you can find information on them at Guinea Pig Cages.

The next decision is what bedding to use. Here there are again plenty of choices; towels, pine shavings, paper products, fleece, hay and more. Again it is down to personal choice. The most commonly used beddings are hay (lots of it), pine shavings (which is what we use) or processed paper (not newspaper) or Care FRESH which is starting to take off in the UK.  A little soft barley straw can also be used. All are safe to use and have their own pros and cons, but please DO NOT USE Cedar, newspapers, straw or other shavings which haven’t been kiln dried. Aspen shavings, pine shavings and pine pellets are safe alternatives. Owners with larger cages, such as C&C cages, often prefer to use towels or fleece, along with an absorbent underlayer such as puppy training pads (securely fastened so that your guinea pigs cannot get to it). I haven’t personally tried fleece yet, although I have been tempted to give it a go. I guess my main concern is washing the fleece in my washing machine and the complaints from hubby who I swear has OCD, but I guess I could make a visit to the laundrette once a week!

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Finally, once you’ve set up the cage and the bedding, the next step is to get it reading for your piggies! They’ll need hay, lots of hay! Guinea pigs are foragers and a big pile of hay will have them squeaking in delight. Hay is also essential for their diet as well as a comfy place to hide. A house or hidey-hole somewhere that the guinea pig can hide is also essential, two if you have two piggies or one with different exits. Water bottle and food bowls, one each for your guinea pigs, are also essential.

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Once your cage is all set up, all it needs is your new piggies to make it complete!

There are several places where you can get guinea pigs, you’d be surprised at how many are in animal rescue sites. Often these are guinea pigs which have been surrendered after their owners have decided they don’t like owning them or ones who have been poorly and unable to be sold. Your best bet for a healthy guinea pig is either a breeder or an animal rescue centre. Our latest baby guinea pig is Ozzy, we got him last week aged 8 weeks from a breeder near our home. He was advertised for sale on a local pet for sale facebook group and we saw pictures of his parents, who have won ribbons at local county shows, and when we picked Ozzy up we were able to meet his mum and sisters (his dad and brothers were separate). Ozzy was also advertised as being available for sale with his brother or alone provided you already had a boar, which we do. This was to ensure that Ozzy wouldn’t be alone as guinea pigs are social animals and need company and should never be kept alone.

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Raising an Anxious Teen

 

raising an anxious teenager

Raising an anxious teenager is hard. Living with mental health issues is hard and so is looking after a child who suffers. I have an anxious teenager who suffers from anxiety and depression. I’m not going to lie… it is hard!

Dealing with panic attacks is draining. You don’t know if what you’re doing is the best thing for them. There’s no training and you’re thrown into the deep end.

You don’t know where to turn or where to go to get help. You don’t know if it’s normal teenage behaviour or whether there’s something more going on.

You don’t know when they’re being genuine or when they’re using their anxiety to get out of doing something they don’t want to do.

You don’t know how far to push them and you’re constantly second-guessing yourself. Worrying whether you’re pushing them too far beyond their comfort zone or whether you’re not pushing them enough.

It causes arguments between parents. Jealousy between siblings who wonder why you seem to go easier on the anxious teenager. Why they seem to get out of doing something by throwing a tantrum.

It can be scary. Very very scary.

You worry if they’ve been in their bedroom too long. You worry they’ve done something to hurt themselves. You worry about what you’re going to find when you open that door. Your biggest fear is that one day their anxiety will take them over the edge and they will join the many other anxious teenagers who end their lives.

They go from extremes, one day they can open up and tell you what their worry is, the next they become a closed book. Trying to pry information out of them can lead to a meltdown.

Things that “normal”, oh how I hate that word, teenagers take for granted, cause arguments as panic takes over.

You find yourself adrift on a boat, at the mercy of the winds which are your anxious teenager’s own fears and anxieties.

You don’t know what to say to make it better and sometimes it feels like anything you say just makes it worse.

You become fearful when your anxious teenager is in the midst of an attack, your walls become covered in holes as temper and frustrations are taken out on them and you worry that one day you might be next.

Your heart breaks when your anxious teenager sobs, their chests heaving with the force of their cries. They just want to be normal. They want their fears to go away. They’re fed up with feeling sick because their stomach is churning with fear. They’re terrified that things will get worse. And you sit there, holding them tight as your own tears stream down your face and you wish you could take this horrible horrible curse from your anxious teenager.

You blame yourself, oh how you blame yourself. You’re constantly second-guessing yourself, going over everything from the minute you found out you were pregnant to where you are now. Was it something you did? Was it something you ate when you were pregnant? If you had done something different would they be different?

You lie in bed, exhausted and drained but unable to go to sleep. Unable to get your own mind to shut down. You go through everything that has happened that day. You’ll wish you had said or done things differently.

You’ll worry about what the next day will bring. Will it be a good day or a bad day? Will you be able to get your anxious teenager up and to school or will it be another missed day?

You have the school and the welfare officer on your case about your anxious teenager’s absence. You try everything you can think to get them out of bed, you shout, you swear, you threaten, you plead, you try everything you can think of to get them out of bed when all they want to do is hide under their duvet as their fears and anxieties overwhelm them.

You worry that you’re not doing what’s the best thing for them. You’re constantly emailing and phoning people, chasing appointments and trying to get your anxious teenager the help that they desperately need.

You worry you’re neglecting your other children. You try and be there for them as well but all you hear are complaints. Your children moan that everything seems to be all about their anxious teenager sibling. That they must be your favourite child. Yet every time you try and deal with them, you still have to deal with your anxious teenager.

You get frustrated. You feel like you’re bending over backwards trying to help them and all they do is throw it back in your face.

Your relationship with your spouse is tested. You have different views of how to deal with the anxious child and they feel neglected as well. That the children come before them. You can’t remember the last time you went out for a meal or just spent some time together as a couple.

You lose friends. They stop inviting you out because you can’t go. Playdates go out of the window, even with the younger ones as you never know what your anxious teenager’s behaviour is going to be like.

You’re constantly reassuring your anxious teenager. Trying to help them see that just because those boys across the road are laughing it doesn’t mean they’re laughing at them.

Your younger children start to copy your anxious teenager’s behaviour and you worry about them. Are they just copying their sibling, trying to get the same treatment that their sibling gets? Are they trying to get out of school because their anxious sibling never seems to go? Or is there more to their behaviour? Are they also showing the early signs of anxiety and depression? If they are how can you help them? How can you nip it in the bud now before it develops into full-fledged anxiety?

You find yourself with less and less patience. You hate yourself when you find yourself snapping at the children, snapping at your spouse. How can you expect your children to control their temper if you can’t? Then the guilt starts again. Eating at you. Telling you that it’s all your fault. That if you were a better parent none of this would be happening! You start to believe the lies your mind is telling you. You find yourself on your own downward spiral into depression.

And when you finally have five minutes to yourself, you feel guilty as your children come in search of you. How dare you sneak off to bed or for a bath with a glass of wine!

But the one thing you have to remember. Please, please, remember. You need to take care of yourself first. You cannot be there for your anxious teenager, your other children, your spouse or your pets if you don’t take care of yourself first!

You got this! You are an amazing mum and you got this!

For more information and stories about life with my anxious teenager, you can find them all on my Childhood Mental Health Page

You Know You’re A Genealogy Nut When…

One of my favourite hobbies is researching my family tree. I love history and genealogy and trying to find out more about my ancestors.  Whilst my family is mostly from England, hubby’s family is different. His family have lived in the same town, his hometown, for generations. Which means many of them are buried in the same cemetery.

husband and child Posing by headstone of parents grave, flowers by headstone of Gwyneth Mary Thomas died 1999 and Desmond Thomas, died 2009

On Tuesday it was the 19th anniversary of his mother’s passing. I never had the privilege to meet this remarkable woman who raised 9 children, with hubby being number 8 and 5th (and last) boy. I bet she could have given me a few tips and tricks about managing such a crazy household! I know she was the glue that held hubby’s family together and when she passed in 1999, he and his siblings all fell apart!

welsh grandfather known as taid and three of his grandchildren

I did have the privilege of knowing his dad though, he passed away 8 years ago when I was pregnant with Rhian and I know hubby treasures the picture of the three eldest with their Taid (grandad in Welsh) that we have. He also loves the episode of Julia Bradbury’s Railway Walks when she walks the Mawddach Trail near Barmouth as she interviews his dad about his life working on the Barmouth-Ruabon Railway line which was shut due to Beeching’s Axe. It was filmed shortly before he died which makes it extra poignant, in fact, we didn’t even know he was in the episode until we watched it!

We popped up to the cemetery with Reese, who was still off school with chickenpox and laid some flowers on her grave.

Before leaving the cemetery, hubby says to Reese. “Come on I’ll show you where your great-grandparents are buried!” and off he trots to his grandparents grave to say hello.

 

 

Headstone of Ben Thomas and Maggie May Thomas

As he was getting ready to leave I asked him if he was going to say hello to his other grandparents. He looked at me blankly as he didn’t have a clue where they were. I laughed and pointed straight at their headstone. It made me laugh because I knew where his ancestors were buried better than he did thanks to my obsession passion for family history.

 

Headstone of Griffith John Thomas and Catherine Edna Thomas