The teenage years can be tough
Living with a teenager is an emotional rollercoaster. There's the stress of exams, peer pressure and hormones. The painful ups and downs of friendships and fears about fitting in. Arguments over phones, curfews and untidy bedrooms. Plus tears, sulks and tantrums over pretty much everything else!
And then there are the really tough challenges. Like low self esteem, depression and anxiety, alcohol, drugs, crime, bullying - for some teens and their parents these are especially hard times.
It can be scary and lonely when things go wrong
Parents go from Hero to Zero in the teenage years.
From the outside, it can seem like everyone else is doing fine. That it's just our teenager who is being difficult or choosing a rocky road. So we blame ourselves, or put on a brave face. After all who wants to broadcast to the world that their teenager is skipping school or smoking weed or just hasn't spoken more than a grunt to them in weeks?
Or that they are regularly being reduced to tears by their teen's torrential outbursts and name-calling....
Whatever Together is the answer
How would it feel if you could talk safely and anonymously with parents going through the same thing?
If you had a friendship group of people who get it - that you could reach out to wherever and whenever you need? And expert advice to help you find the best route forward?
Currently, parents are turning to social media groups and unmoderated forums where they run the gauntlet of parent-shaming and getting unreliable and downright dangerous advice.
Whatever Together will be:
- Anonymous - so you can be honest without fear of comeback on you or your teen.
- Moderated - so you can talk without fear of being judged, humiliated or shamed.
- Expert-led - so you can be sure the advice you are getting is sound.
Whatever Together will allow parents to come together anonymously to share the stress and worries of parenting a teenager and find guidance and resilience to keep going.
Our online community will connect parents who are finding the teenage years tough. So you can talk to people who understand. Other parents who have been there and done that, who have experienced the same challenges or who are going through the same things.
There'll be no blaming or shaming, no FFS-ing or being told it's your fault.
Our online forum will create a safe moderated space to offload, seek advice and share experiences. So that parents can feel less alone and more able to cope through the challenging teenage years.
What difference will this make?
There are over 7 million 10 to 19-year-olds in the UK and they face many challenges:
- One in seven 11 to 16-year-olds has a diagnosable mental disorder
- One in four 14-year-old girls shows symptoms of depression
- 44% of 11 to 15-year-olds have drunk alcohol. 24% have taken drugs
- 10 to 17-year-olds make up 20% of convictions for knife offences
Our teenagers need parents who stay calm, stick with them, and keep showing up no matter how difficult things get. Whatever Together will help parents keep on being the parent their teenager needs.
Whatever Together will be there, no matter what is going on, without judgement or blame:
- When things are tough, it will be the support network that helps parents keep going.
- When you want to offload, there will be someone to listen.
- When things are funny, it will be the group of people who get the joke.
- When parents are lost, they will find experts to point them in the right direction.
- And when it all feels too much, there will be a whole community to pick you up and stand alongside you.
It takes a community to raise a child.
How we will spend your money?
We need £10,500 to get this online community up and running. That will meet the costs of buying and adapting software, launching and maintaining the website, awareness-raising to encourage parents to join the community and managing and moderating the online forum.
Who are we?
We are Anita Cleare and Nicky Runeckles. We are both parents of teenagers.
Nicky is a digital mental health expert with a focus on children and young people (www.monticola.co.uk). She works with leading mental health and healthtech organisations supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing.
Anita is a parenting speaker, writer and coach (www.anitacleare.co.uk). She has an academic background in developmental psychology and advises parents on all aspects of parenting and children's behaviour and well-being.
Whatever Together is the support we wish we had but can't find.