I'm having serious problems with myself, my son, and my relationship with my son. I need help. I'm really at my wit's end, and I really just don't know what to do anymore.
He's 8 and he gets in trouble at school constantly. He's not a bad kid per se, but he really acts out a lot in class. No just this year, but every year. He has always says that he hates school. It's just too much work for him, and it makes him nervous when he gets put on the spot. I know he knows the material, but he just panics, disrupts the class by crying or hiding under the table, etc. He lies, constantly. He will push and fight with other kids and then claim to witness that he was the one being bullied.
I know that these issues in one form or another all stem from his father and I. I mostly blame myself. It's not about blame anymore, I just need advice on what to do. Here's what's going on.
I never bonded with my son. I never got that warm gush of love and attachment that you're supposed to get when a child is born. I brought it up to my sister once and she made me feel so terrible about it that I didn't bring it up to anyone again for 7 years. I know that I had post-partum depression, it lasted nearly two years.
His father and I were only "together" less than 3 months. I was 19. He was certainly not someone I planned on raising a child with, but I was stupid, and here we are. I left his father just a few weeks after I found out I was pregnant. He was doing drugs, committed a felony, and I was just trying to make it work for the child's sake. He left for court ordered rehab the day our son was born, and didn't return until he was 8 months old, and even then. He was in half way houses. From that time, we have been on a standard Texas court ordered visitation schedule. Which amounts to most weekends every month.
I have suffered with depression on and off for many many many years. Although it has been improving it continues to be an issue. I am working on it. I realize that this often makes me less than a fun Mom. I have gone to counseling. I am continuing to work on my depression.
These are things I know:
*My relationship with my son is highly unbalanced. I am the constant and only disciplinarian, and we have little to no warm fuzzy time. I think because his father was such poop for so long, that I was always really hard on him for fear that he would become that.
*His relationship with his father is also highly unbalanced because with his Dad he just has a good ol time. It's not surprise that my son asks to go live with his Dad all the time, and hid father of course encourages this idea.
*While I have and will continue to do anything for him, I do not feel affection for my son. This is highly disturbing to me, and to others I know. Please don't attack me for it, I'm just being honest and trying to find a way to make this better.
His father wants him to go live with him. I don't think this is a good idea. While he has come a long way, I still don't think that his father is a good enough influence to be around full time. Also, unfortunately, I have been forced to move around a lot (which I know hasn't helped my son), and I don't want him to have another move. We finally have stability and have moved into our "forever home".
I have considered doing a 60/40 schedule with his father (alternating 18dys/12dys) . I think the benefits might include: a) he will get the time with his father that he has been desiring, b) it might give us each the opportunity to have a more balanced relationship with him (aka more discipline with his Dad and more fun time with me).
I don't know if the above is a good idea. I need advice. I need options. I need ideas. I really really need help.
Please talk this all over with a counselor. I know you will get good advice on the site, but the part that seems like it takes real deep talking help is the part about not bonding with your son. It sounds like you now think things have a chance to get settled down, but it also sounds like whether the two of you are settled in a house now and all, you are emotionally just not with him. He might even want to be with his dad not because his dad is more lenient, but because he is more loving and unconditional. Please see someone and talk this all over.
You sound like a strong, honest, intelligent lady with a really good head on your shoulders, who sees that there is a problem and really wants to fix it. I am going to re-read your post and if I can think of anything that might be helpful, I will let you know. I just wanted to reach out because your post moved me.
I wanted to add that you were very young when you had your son, and you are still very young...having a few more years under your belt before you had a child might have made a big difference. Please do not beat yourself up about this. Again, I want to commend you for realizing there is a problem and wanting to take steps to make it better. I have known people much older than you who refuse to take responsibility and are more than happy to blame the child for all of the problems. You have not done that, and it shows a lot of maturity and good sense on your part. Blessings to you and your son.
Some very good points from the above. And you getting help for yourself is very important too. But lets also try an help your little guy.
He shows many signs of ADHD. And if he does have ADHD, it could also explain some of your feelings about him. My experience over on the ADHD forum - http://www.medhelp.org/forums/ADD---ADHD/show/175 is that until a parent knows their child has ADHD and understands what it can do to a child, it is very difficult for the parent. Furthermore, if he does have ADHD, a lot of the ways that you are trying to discipline him won't work and will drive the two of you further apart.
So check out this site on the symptoms of ADHD (by the way, its very possible his Dad also has it).
If it seems possible that he does have ADHD, you want to immediately contact the school to get testing set up (I am surprised they have not contacted you) or go through your pediatrician for the testing. If you have any questions about the testing process let me know.
Also, if it does look like ADHD, I highly recommend you buy the book,
"The ADD/ ADHD Answer book," by Susan Ashley. as it will give you discipline ideas, ways for the school to help him, ways for him to understand what is going on.
If he does have ADHD, this will be a life changer for both you and him. Please feel free to contact me on either site if you have more questions.
I admire what you are doing, by doing this you are not only helping your son but also helping yourself.
1) Not feeling the love toward your soon is nonsense.
Why? Because no one can measure the amount of their feeling, so you LOW might be a-lot for someone else.
2) Why you said "While I have and will continue to do anything for him, I do not feel affection for my son"?
You said that you will do anything for him which contradicts not feeling affection.
I am a son and I love my mother and I will do the impossible for her. But I don’t think of her 24/7 it is just not possible. On the time that I don’t think of my mom does not mean that I don’t have affection to word her.
3) So what is it that I can do?
Well you can start by looking at yourself in the mirror and say "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?' And whenever the answer has been 'No' for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something"
Always take good care of yourself, body, the way you dress and everything in-between.
4) If you take rally good care of you then not only you will destroy the depression but your son will like you and in return you will like your son.
It is a very simple equation (((LIKE you and everyone will LIKE you)))
Always put your needs first, this is not an act of selfishness. by you taking care of yourself in return you are make sure that you son is having a better mom.
I'm sorry it took me so long to respond. I really appreciate everyone's advice and support.
I have gone to counseling, both for my depression and for my relationship issues with my son. It helped for a time with my depression. However, with regard to my son, after a lot of counseling she told me to resolve to the "fake it 'til you make it" method...and that is not only sometimes quite impossible, but it hasn't worked at all.
Due to my spiritual beliefs, I fist wanted to seek out every possible natural remedy for my depression possible. Having neared the end of that list of options, after I try this one last herbal remedy, if it does not work, I will resort to medicating myself.
After your advice, and having talked to a couple of teachers in my family, I have also come to realize that it is very likely that he has ADD/ADHD. I will be taking him to the doctor to determine if he does in fact have it. It is possible that this has a great deal to do with the our issues. His constant behavior issues, both at school and at home, infuriate and embarrass me and make me feel like I am a total failure as a parent. I really really truly and genuinely want to have a warm, fuzzy, and loving relationship with him. I can't begin to explain how very much this hurts me. Just today, I tried very very hard to have a good day with him. We went to his favorite restaurant, I took him shopping to get some new summer clothes, and by the time we were on our way home I was literally nauseated, at the bring of anxiety attack, and in tears. His constant behavioral issues push me, and push me, and push me, to the point where I was pinching him to get him to listen to me, begging him to please please listen to me, and he just giggled at me like he was thoroughly enjoying bringing me to tears. This is not the parent I want to be, and he is not the child I hoped to raise.
With regard to my own relationship with my family. No, I did not have a warm and fuzzy relationship with really anyone in my family. I always felt like I was different from them. They were all perky and funny and loud and boisterous, and I was quiet, timid, and self reflective.
Also, I do realize that my son most likely gets a great deal more love and attention with his father, so yes, I agree that that is likely a large part of the reason he wants to go live there.
Thank you for getting back to us. I can really understand how you feel based on my experience on the ADHD forum. Parents just don't understand why their child doesn't react like a "normal" kid should and then they blame themselves. Once you began to understand more about how an ADHD child typically acts, you will began to understand.
You mentioned how you were so desperately trying to get him to listen to you. It is something that is so very difficult for them to do. I have adults writing in (who have ADHD or ADD) and complaining how they just can't follow normal conversations. These are grown people who know they have ADHD and they can't listen!
I honestly believe that once you began to understand ADHD and how it affects him, things will change for you (and him).
In terms of discipline (and many other things) check out this site. They have tons of helpful ideas. http://www.additudemag.com/topic/parenting-adhd-children/behavior-discipline.html
I still am kind of amazed that your school district has not approached you about the possibility of him having ADHD as he shows all the typical signs. Have you switched schools lately so they don't have a history? What state are you in ( some states are really behind in this area)?
Anyway, I can help with more info - please let me know. Best wishes.
In Florida, I don't think any teacher ever mentioned it. Here in Texas, I have had teachers ask me if he's ever been "tested" for it..but no one ever made told me I should. I just assumed that they thought that maybe he was just immature our that it was a product of his home life with me and his father's. I asked his first grade teacher if she thought that his behavior could be from ADD/ADHD, but in retrospect, maybe she was just trying not to offend me by telling me "he's a good kid, just has a lot of energy."
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