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BEGGING for help with my son. - Page 2

post #21 of 46
The seeming lack of empathy and remorse could also be a product of perfectionism and anxiety -- he can't admit he's in the wrong, ever, because it makes him feel so terrible and like he must be the worst person in the world, so he deflects it and puts the blame on everyone else.

I do think that family counseling, and individual therapy for him, would probably help a lot! He needs to learn ways of coping with his feelings and dealing with other people. Right now I'm sure he knows how much he drives other people crazy, and it makes him feel worse about himself, which ratchets up the crazy-making behaviors ... Also, there are some great books about parenting difficult kids. Someone here recommended "Ten Days to a Less Defiant Child," and I know that I've found that one useful personally.

I don't think kids look at therapy as a sign that there's something horribly wrong with them -- a good therapist will be play-based and really matter-of-fact about everything, just "I'm here to hear what you have to say and help you solve problems."
post #22 of 46
I just want to commiserate. I have a child just like this. I haven't found a complete answer to it yet. I have done some constitutional homeopathic work and that helped, but I am still searching. I do NOT believe this is just normal personality and feel it is something that is out of balance and can/should be resolved. I wish you the best as you try to find the best path.
post #23 of 46
Are there other family members that have a personality similar to your sons? I don't mean immediate family but Aunts, Uncles, cousins, etc , or family stories about great grandparents or family members from their era behaving like that. If there are have they been diagnosed with anything. If it's a personality disorder there's usually someone else somewhere in the family tree that had the same issues.
If so, knowing that isn't going to cure the problem but it may help you and him to understand his behavior better. If it's partially genetic it can take the weight of guilt off both you and him and sometimes that can make it easier to then work through the behavior problems.
Also if there is family history you can sometimes learn from the stories what doesn't work to change it, which can save you lots of trouble.....
post #24 of 46
Sometimes when they act like it doesn't bother them it bothers them the most!

My oldest does this. She lost her cell phone. Act like she didn't care. It wasn't until 2 weeks later did I figure out how much she cared.
post #25 of 46
It's really challenging and draining to hear negativity all day and not like your child and endure the guilt of your negatives feelings toward your child. A couple of years ago, I didn't like our now 6yo ds and confided this to a friend who had also gone through a similar phase w/ her dd. Both my friend and I have come out of that phase and like our children more now.

Here are things that came to my (& my dh's) mind as I read through the thread.

Food/environmental sensitivities/allergies. It's hard to feel happy when you're not feeling well. Gluten? Dairy? Soy? Synthetic dyes or preservatives? "Is This Your Child, Discovering and Treating Unrecognized Allergies" by Doris Rapp may help you with this.

Candida overgrowth? Does he crave and eat tons and tons of sugar and carbs?

Have you read "Unconditional Parenting" by Alfie Kohn?

I still need to finish reading the book "Dealing with Disappointment" by Elizabeth Crary. Earlier on in the book, she states that parents are not responsible for their child's happiness. She offers help for parents teaching their children how to deal with disappointment.

In a few Waldorf curriculums, I've seen reference to a "Child Study". From what I understand, you meditate on one child a few days a week but do not focus on fixing him. I don't know enough about it to guide you anymore but I think I watched a video from "A Little Flower Garden" on this topic. In the end, your perception of the child will change.

post #26 of 46
You've gotten some great suggestions here and although I don't have experience with what you are going through (since my son is fairly young at 13months) I will tell you what popped into my head after reading your post

- reading 'unconditional parenting' like the PP suggested. I loved that book.

Also, it's very clear that you feel guilty and do NOT want to be acting the way you do. Can you print out your OP and fold it up in your pocket. Read it to yourself when you have a moment and remember the big picture. Like you said - you feel bad, you want to be different, you don't want his memories of childhood to be these ones. Remembering these feelings during your day to day routine may be able to shift your attitude.

I am also reminded of dr. joy browne's advice of 'cheerful and stupid', kinda 'playful parenting' (which is another great book IMO). I know there's only so much YOU can laugh it off but if you are able to lighten the mood it will do wonders for your attitude.

Good luck and hugs
post #27 of 46
My second son has a very difficult personality too. You may want to read "Transforming the Difficult Child." It was helpful to me to have a game plan to relate to him instead of my gut feelings (which were a lot like yours). We also did the Feingold Diet for a few months until we got the processed foods out of our diet. My son reacts very strongly to dyes and preservatives and it made him so unhappy. He is younger than your son so instead of complaining it was constant crying and whining. He would wake up in the morning crying he was so miserable. (We took him to a great chiropractor for some sleep issues but it doesn't sound like your son has any sleep problems). We also plan on seeing a nutritionist to make sure none of us is lacking in anything essential.

Those things have improved our situation dramatically. Of course it's a work in progress. Just tonight he asked for something specific for dinner and then complained when it was served. I think naturally his personality is a bit of a sourpuss and the rest of the family is pretty mellow, so it's an even greater contrast. My dh has a bit of anxiety/OCD tendencies so we're mindful of that too. That's just our experience, every family is so different but hopefully there's an idea on this thread to help.

For myself and my irritability and impatience, the most powerful thing that has helped me is regular exercise. Life with a difficult child is so hard and I always wondered how it would affect his brother seeing that tension and irritability all day long.

I actively try to respond to him with levity. I'm a happy, mellow optimist and I have to not let the negativity bring me down. You shouldn't feel guilty, you care enough about it to start a discussion. Hugs, becoming, it's a tough spot. Best of luck.

Oh, and I second Playful Parenting!
post #28 of 46
Just a minute to post, but if you have a chance to seek professional help that might be a good thing. Seek out a psychologist instead of a psychiatrist. Psychiatrists can and often do prescribe meds. Psychologists are not MDs and cannot prescribe meds, but will refer to a pyschiatrist if they feel like your child has a disorder tha really requires them. They will try many, many other options first, though.

I'd suggest looking into gratitude. There's also a book called "Learned Optimism" and I think a child-geared book of the same kind. I also like "The Explosive Child" by Ross Green and "Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles" by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka. I actually highky recommend that one for your situation. I think it could help you reframe things.

It does sound like he needs some coaching in seeing the glass half full and maybe in social graces. No one wants to be around someone who is rude and negative all the time.

Good luck!
post #29 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by spottiew View Post
*I* was like this as a child... I didn't really 'get' that I was constantly complaining, I just felt that I had something to say.
This is me.

Becoming....I was your child. It wasn't until I was 16 and on the walk home from the bus ride somone said they were sick of my complaining and a few other people joined in about "please can I just shut up." It blew me away. I couldnt believe so many people didn't understand I was trying to be funny. Screw them, they just didn't "get me."

It wasnt until I met my husband when I was 21. Everything single thing he said and did was positive. He was different, he didn't conform to anything. I remember the first time I said something about someone else (a stranger) to him and he said "well, maybe they like it that way." I still think about how I felt when he said that. I never thought that people/individuals could do something the way they wanted, they should do it the way I wanted them to do it...I knew best, even if they were strangers. They should know the right way, which was my way.

I got it from my dad.....sounding like a complainer, actually being a complainer but thinking you are just talking. My mom never knew how to respond to us. She never stayed light and pointed out the positive. She very much had a "done" attitude and would respond with a fed up tone.

It is a struggle. At 37 I still fall into it, but at least I know I am doing it. It is hard to just accept things, life, people, without commenting on their choices. I would say everytime your son says something, discuss it. Talk about why they are wearing pink streaks in their hair, and even if it looks stupid, they like it, and that is all that matters. KWIM?
post #30 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by becoming View Post
My fear with therapy/medications is making him feel like something is seriously wrong with him... I don't want him to think he's "damaged," although I'm probably making him feel that he is anyway with how I've been reacting to him.
First, big , becoming. My DS is only 3, but the negativity is unbearable sometimes. His anxiety is crushing by itself, but paired with mine, it is much worse. My mom may not have been too far off when she said that the family member who is the hardest to live with is the one most like yourself. Don't know if that's true for you, but I know that DS and I together is like a spiraling of out of control negativity sometimes.

I don't think that therapy will make him think that he is damaged unless you get a bad therapist. Most of them are play based and will help him work through solutions to the things that give him anxiety or make him feel negative.

I know, for me, that when I get like that, it just feels like the weight of the problem is enough to deal with without having to come up with a solution. Things start feeling out of control and like I can't fix anything and then the world is just going to end and. and. and. and. It sounds to me like he's got an external locus of control, which means that he feels like outside forces are responsible for everything in his life, including his own happiness. An optimistic person can take control of their own attitude and find happiness, even when the circumstances are bad. A good therapist should help him find ways of feeling like he's in control of his own life and his own happiness.

It sounds to me like, at this point, you should consider driving out of your way to at least get the evaluation. You really have no idea how it's going to turn out or what a therapist will say. It could be awful. They could make you feel terrible. BUT they could also really help you and point you both in a better direction, and (especially) help your son find the skills to feel like he is in control of his own life. I guess, in this circumstance, it is either do what you are already doing, or take a chance and hope for the best.

More .
post #31 of 46
Just to also throw into the mix- depression can come out this way. Sometimes depression can come out as "sad" but often it can just look like they are a giant, negative PITA.

Quote:
Originally Posted by becoming View Post
Is there any way to improve this without intensive psychiatric therapy or medications? My fear with therapy/medications is making him feel like something is seriously wrong with him... I don't want him to think he's "damaged," although I'm probably making him feel that he is anyway with how I've been reacting to him.
Would you not take him to get help if he needed glasses because it would make him feel damaged? Or speech therapy if he had a stutter? Of course not. You would take him because the treatment would change his life for the better. Mental health should be treated the same way. Of course we all want our children to be healthy and not need help or medicine, but for certain conditions, these things can quite literally change everything for the better. My sister had undiagnosed depression for years, which looked like her being a cranky, snotty, pain. Finally, in her teens, she got a diagnosis and medicine and she THANKED my mom for making it happen. She made better friends, she felt better about herself, her schoolwork was more meaningful, people wanted to be around her... It totally changed the course of her life and our family. You can always put it to him too in a way that seeing someone who knows a lot about feelings might be able to help him find things you both can do to be better to each other. That is very true and does not imply any deficit, only learning.
post #32 of 46
I don't have anything to add to the great advice already given, but I do want to commend OP and the other posters who have similar situations for actually putting this question out there and admitting your feelings about your child and his behavior.

I feel like one of the greatest gifts I got long before becoming a parent myself was that one of the colleagues I most respected in social work told me, when her 1st babe was like 1 1/2 yrs old, that she was shocked to realize that there are many times she doesn't like her child, feels anger towards her child, and that's totally normal.

I understand that you're experiencing something a lot more intense and ongoing, but what I learned from my colleague is how there's this social stigma around admitting to these feelings and experiences when a) they're so common and b) how the heck are you gonna get help with it if you never tell anyone you feel that way?

It's so hard to say what you said OP, and so important and so good for you, your family, and especially your DS that you are looking for answers and options and strategies.

Excellent job and wishing you and everyone here dealing with similar challenges the best of luck.
post #33 of 46
Becoming, I urge you to get professional help for your son, even if you have to drive long distance. Find a good child psychologist. If you don't like the first one find a new one.

Your son may not seem to be suffering particularly, even though he's making everyone else suffer from his negativity. But he is or will be soon. It's very painful, and it's our job as parents to help them when they can't help themselves.

And yes, look into antidepressants for yourself. Yeah, it'll help you be more supportive of your son. But more importantly, you deserve it, just because you're you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by spottiew View Post
My kid (age 5) is like this... *I* was like this as a child... I didn't really 'get' that I was constantly complaining, I just felt that I had something to say. It was often painful trying to understand other people and the world, and I was pretty darn unhappy at times and made myself unhappier through my negativity. I just have a feeling of something missing, something wrong inside and it seems he does too. I guess I 'got over' much of it such that I can behave normally , but I can't say that I worked through it or overcame it and I think it really is still deep part of me and probably affects how I now interact with my own child. I can't explain the why to any of it, I just see it happening in my child and hope that I can change it for him some way, somehow.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2cutiekitties View Post
This is me.

Becoming....I was your child. It wasn't until I was 16 and on the walk home from the bus ride somone said they were sick of my complaining and a few other people joined in about "please can I just shut up." It blew me away. I couldnt believe so many people didn't understand I was trying to be funny. Screw them, they just didn't "get me."

It wasnt until I met my husband when I was 21. Everything single thing he said and did was positive. He was different, he didn't conform to anything. I remember the first time I said something about someone else (a stranger) to him and he said "well, maybe they like it that way." I still think about how I felt when he said that. I never thought that people/individuals could do something the way they wanted, they should do it the way I wanted them to do it...I knew best, even if they were strangers. They should know the right way, which was my way.

I got it from my dad.....sounding like a complainer, actually being a complainer but thinking you are just talking. My mom never knew how to respond to us. She never stayed light and pointed out the positive. She very much had a "done" attitude and would respond with a fed up tone.

It is a struggle. At 37 I still fall into it, but at least I know I am doing it. It is hard to just accept things, life, people, without commenting on their choices. I would say everytime your son says something, discuss it. Talk about why they are wearing pink streaks in their hair, and even if it looks stupid, they like it, and that is all that matters. KWIM?
Me too. Glad to know I'm not the only one. That bolded line, especially. It's kind of funny how single minded I can be.

That "Freeing Your Child From Negative Thinking" looks pretty good.
post #34 of 46
I would bet you anything that this could be somewhat relieved by nutrition. Have you ever heard of the GAPS diet? There was an all day presentation at a nutritional conference I attended last year (which I am now listening to in my car.) It very thoroughly details the link between gut flora and mental health.

Your DS's behavior could be a direct result of nutritional deficiencies - and with some tweaks to your diet he could turn right around. I personally am not in a good mood when I don't feel good. Any diet change would have to be a family-wide commitment.

Good luck.
post #35 of 46
My nephew was EXACTLY this way as a kid. There was a history of mental illness in his biological family (he was adopted and my sister and her husband knew his family). They took him to a child psychiatrist and he was diagnosed with ADHD. They did put him on meds, too, but I'm not sure if that helped a lot.

I did want to tell you that now, at the age of 22, he is SO GRATEFUL to everything his parents do for him. He has become completely thoughtful and humbled. My sister never thought she'd see the day. He even points out when his younger brother is being selfish or insensitive.

So. no answers, but (((HUGS))). You are not alone.
post #36 of 46
Hi Becoming,

As I read your OP, my first thought was Aspergers. Could be completely off the mark, but that was my first thought. My husband was like this as a child, and is somewhat like this as an adult, but it is much better. How is he with peers?

Maybe "Flip the Script" kind of stuff could work. Reframing negative statements into positive ones, rewarding any positive commentary.

My kids are not like this, but I have worked with students who were "hard to love", and it made me feel so guilty. It helped me to not equate their responses to me as a reflection of who I was, and to focus on what I needed to teach them. Still caring (a lot!), but detaching a little, not having my worth wrapped up in their negativity.

Best wishes to you and your son,
L.
post #37 of 46
First of all, narcissist personality disorder does not manifest in children of this age. Narcissists are generally very, very charming to get their way. They know how get anything they want, they do not start out as difficult people.

This really sounds to me like OCPD or something similar and I urge you to get him assessed. My friend's son has aspergers and has traits very close to what you described. It is important that *he* is not causing this, and he probably doesn't understand why everything is so difficult anymore than you do. Please don't assign negative intent to him--I know you are trying hard, but you're just burned out. He needs professional help, and that will help the whole family.
post #38 of 46
Before you do anything else, I would really recommend a complete medical and psychological workup for him. DD was like this, though not to the same extent. By age 2 we knew she was allergic to "something" but the dr's wouldn't run a test at that age. At age 3 we finally got the go-ahead to try allergy meds with her. The first morning after trying them we had a completely different child! Once we discovered her problems were specifically from cow's milk and pulled her off that, she became the happiest child I think I've ever seen. If she has something at school with cow's milk in it, or if we slip up, the change in her is truely dramatic.

We also get this farily often from DS. LOL just earlier today as I was picking them up from school I finally asked him if there was anything else that he possibly wanted to complain about! With him though, it's usually a sign of not enough sleep (our case today) or boredom. He's gifted, and when he's not challenged enough he complains about every.single.thing.nonstop! So we watch for it and have a supply of "new things" for him to focus on when it begins and that's helped a lot as well.

This thread illustrates better than anything that there are so many different possible causes for your son to be acting like this! While some of it may be his personality, hopefully you can find something that will help as well. And fwiw, there have definitely been times where I loved my children but didn't really like them. I think that's extremely common, and I hope you don't beat yourself up over it. ((Hugs!))
post #39 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leatherette View Post

As I read your OP, my first thought was Aspergers.

Yes, I thought the same thing, too.

I have a 7yo DD with Aspergers and who is also highly gifted. She was (and still is sometimes) an INCREDIBLE PITA. I say that with lots of love.

She can be very negative, blames everyone else for her problems, seems to not care, etc.

Other characteristics of Aspergers are a lack of eye contact, an obsession with a particular subject, and a lack of social skills.

But all this can be worked on. My DD has had intensive social skills training through her school (she has an IEP), and this has made a huge difference for her.

I'm not saying your son has Aspergers, but I do think you should see a good child psychologist and find out what is going on here...
post #40 of 46
Oh mama, I feel your challenge
3 books werre reccomended to me by someone who is amazing with kids were http://www.amazon.com/They-Learn-Cyn...1725912&sr=8-1 and http://www.amazon.com/You-Cant-Make-...1725912&sr=8-2 and http://www.amazon.com/Every-Succeed-...1725912&sr=8-3 . I am currently reading the first one, and learning lot. Maybe they can help you?
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