Update: I think my mental state is improving
Thanks, everyone, for the helpful responses.
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy
You are asking for help. You are doing the best you can. It's not easy being a parent (and especially when there are other issues involved like high-needs & giftedness which sound like part of what's going on -- have you visited the gifted forum? Might help tune you in to some of the unique issues 'advanced' kids will face.) You are making changes -- right now -- and that is awesome.
I think there are 2 aspects of gentle discipline -- being gentle with your child & being gentle with yourself. You are human, you experience human emotions & reactions, we all do, and curbing those in is difficult! You need to be gentle with yourself just like you are trying to be with DS. It's a respect for ALL humanity, not just your child, but YOU too. Apologize to DS (sounds like you already have), and move on, give yourself a fresh start. Don't hold grudges against your DS or yourself. Live in the present, not the past.
Both of these are good advice. I try to steer clear of confirming my general sense of his "giftedness" because, in the high school years, I can see the effects of that tag, and I'm not sure I want to go there just yet. Maybe I can just lurk (
) in that forum and see what kind of advice there is.
On your second point, crunchy_mommy: this is really helpful. When I've had counseling in the past for panic/anxiety, this has always come up. I'm a very all-or-nothing person, and one bad act can ruin my opinion of myself (generally I'm easier on other people, but - this came out in counseling - not my mom, who was very strict but loves me, her only, fiercely.). I have real difficulty wrapping my mind around the idea that good people can do something bad and still be a good person. So there's a lot going on there too, and there's a lot I need to learn about being gentle with myself. Good advice, and thanks.
Originally Posted by Angela512
This situation is NOT going to be the defining moment in your son's life. How you chose to handle going forward will be.
It just helps to hear somebody say this. Thank you. I, of course, have been in a panic that this will permanently scar him and he will be a dysfunctional person for the rest of his life and it will all by my fault
. But I've been consciously trying to change my mind-frame. DS is a lot more fragile since the ... incident... he's had a couple accidents (not manipulative ones, but real ones when he's asleep) and has been waking in the night. I'm a little proud of myself because, rather than spiral downwards (as is my habit) into a tailspin of self-hate for causing it all, I'm trying to look at these moments like he's giving me chances to be a good mama again.
For example, last night he woke up wanting a drink, which DH ran right away to grab it and we cuddled while he had some milk. Then, a few hours later, he woke up wanting a kiss, of which he got many! Another hour later, woke up again, wanting a hug. We decided (DS and I) that we should just sleep together holding hands - his suggestion - in mom and dad's bed, so he could cuddle with both of us. So instead of thinking that I've messed him up and he's never going to be able to sleep on his own, I've decided that this is our chance to make it up to him. Does this sound like a healthier response? I hope so, because I'm working really consciously on it.
Originally Posted by coop_mom
many many mamas and dads lose it with their kids (myself included) -- I would call that normal behavior. Of course we don't want to, but goodness, we're all human! And these kids are magically adept at pushing our buttons (how do they get so smart??)
I am working through stuff like this also, and really appreciate the helpful advice that people have given...
coop_mama, thank you. Part of me is just glad to hear that other people go through the same stuff and I'm not alone. I was really afraid, coming onto MDC, that there were a lot of "perfect parents" and, not being one, that I would show myself to be a bad egg. It's nice to know there are parents out there that feel the way I do sometimes.
So, I think it's getting better. The other development that may explain my recent emotional extremes would be that... today I am officially late. We are in the "no stressing/no obsessing" camp, and so ... I guess I may be pregnant with number 2? It's kind of unexpected, and I won't test until next week to be sure, and I don't know how I feel about that (as in, I was just recently a terrible parent and how can I possibly consider bringing another innocent child into the world with such a shameful mother...) but I'm trying, really hard, to stop that kind of negative thinking. Especially for my child ... or ... children?
Thanks for all the helpful and supportive responses.