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Please help - I can't forgive myself - Page 2

post #21 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by MovnMama View Post
And I am a villain. I don't know when I will stop seeing myself that way.

But my son still needs parents who love him, even if they love themselves a little less all the time. So I'm doing the best that I can. And yet... he will always deserve better.
I think it is important to remember that you just showed your son that you are human and you have your limits. The "perfect" parents are not the ones who never make any mistakes or never get mad at their children or lose their cool. The best parents are the ones who do all the above, but realize that they are needing to make a change and work to make that change. The realize when they are wrong and apologize for what they did wrong and work to make a different choice next time.

Being a loving parent means that you remind them that even when you are your most angry at something they chose to do, say, etc...you still love them and will always love them.

This situation is NOT going to be the defining moment in your son's life. How you chose to handle going forward will be.

You do the best that you can and realize that through it all...you did the best that you can. You always strive to be more...and as long as you keep striving and keep learning from your mistakes and watching for what you can improve...realize your strong points and work to make those strong points expand through more situations...that is what makes a great parent.
post #22 of 32
MovnMama, I wanted to thank you for your original post...you are NOT a villian, you are a mama, and it's brave of you to reach out for help like this

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...separating from the situation (without *me* throwing a fit) and taking a walk are two I will put into practice starting today!

take care of yourself, take care of your family...it will work out mama!!

--kristin
mom to Simon, age (almost) 4
post #23 of 32
It is very easy, when a child is 'advanced' in some area, to expect that development to be across the board. However, asynchronous development is really the norm with kids who are cognitively/verbally ahead. My daughter, at age 3 was reading, speaking much like an adult, and *appeared* to be reasoning like a child much older than her years.

The reality is that, at 8 1/2, she has some emotional delay still and does not have the maturity/impulse control/ability to read people that most kids her age have. Yes, she is astonishingly bright, but she needs emotional support and guidance in a way a lot of kids her age have moved beyond. At three- she was still very much emergent in terms of emotional development, and she needed me to figure out how to parent her, not how to parent her age or cognitive level.

It's hard, and yep, you two TOTALLY blew it that day, but yo know that, and you wouldn't care if you weren't trying to change and be a stronger, more compassionate mama. We worry so much about the growth and development of our children, and we understand that they will make mistakes as they grow into the people they will be, but parents aren't born as parents- we grow and learn along with our children.

Next time you feel yourself losing it, pretend someone you respect is in the room with you watching how you parent- that may be enough to keep your reactions in check.

I hear you on living where you are not going to find support or like minded people- I am in rural Montana, and the environment is very much the same as you describe. That feeling on loneliness and isolation isn't good for anyone, and it isn't good for how you parent. It might be time to decide where you long to be, and where you can find support, and find a way to shift your lives somewhere else.

I grew up with a mother whose mantra was always, "Control is an illusion, you get control by giving it up." I thought she was nuts until I found myself turning into her as I moved into my 30s. I can't control anyone else, I can shape my responses, but I can't (and don't want to!) control another person's behaviors- not even my kids'.
post #24 of 32
PLEASE do not underestimate the significance of you isolation as a contributing factor in your stress/ short fuse with ds - that and that he is three which is OH SO DIFFICULT - my dd too was advanced verbally and cognitively but NOT SOCIALLY - even with a back ground in parenting and child development it was extremely difficult - I moved from liberal Ann Arbor michigan to west virginia when she was 3.5 and it nearly did me in (not sure which was the bigger factor there)

You may not have anyone in person to relate and talk to but, as you probably have learned, there are many of us out here wanting to support you in anyway we can - and that should hopefully lessen somewhat your isolation -

seriously - isolation on the part of parents is considered a significant "risk factor" for child abuse - and you've seen how any one of us can be driven to the edge - I clearly think you have "seen the cliff but stepped far far away" - just being aware of that gives you the power to avoid it, so take heart - and lean on this community for as much support as you need
post #25 of 32
I just wanted to suggest perhaps posting to the FYT section of the boards? see if there are other mommies who have similar views as you in the area. (And find out where they hang out!)
post #26 of 32
Thread Starter 

Update: I think my mental state is improving

Thanks, everyone, for the helpful responses.

Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post

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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Angela512 View Post
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by coop_mom View Post
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.
post #27 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bonamarq View Post
PLEASE do not underestimate the significance of you isolation as a contributing factor in your stress/ short fuse with ds - that and that he is three which is OH SO DIFFICULT - my dd too was advanced verbally and cognitively but NOT SOCIALLY - even with a back ground in parenting and child development it was extremely difficult - I moved from liberal Ann Arbor michigan to west virginia when she was 3.5 and it nearly did me in (not sure which was the bigger factor there)

You may not have anyone in person to relate and talk to but, as you probably have learned, there are many of us out here wanting to support you in anyway we can - and that should hopefully lessen somewhat your isolation -

seriously - isolation on the part of parents is considered a significant "risk factor" for child abuse - and you've seen how any one of us can be driven to the edge - I clearly think you have "seen the cliff but stepped far far away" - just being aware of that gives you the power to avoid it, so take heart - and lean on this community for as much support as you need
You are so right... and to the other PP, yes, we plan to move next summer, to a location more sympatico for us... So the other development is that I did (with a lot of embarrassment) share my story with my son's preschool teacher. She owns the school and it turned out that she and I are pretty aligned on the parenting spectrum. We've had friendly chats but now she's invited me to hang out today, and the kids can spend some time together too (she has three). The lucky part to is that her youngest in 3.5 (and a "firecracker" as she states!) so DS has had a playmate his age. So I feel kind of lucky that happened as well.
post #28 of 32
Wow mama, it sounds like you have a lot of good things going on. I'm glad you have insight into your thinking, it does seem kind of black and white. Some of your word choices like "villian" and "sociopath" and "lacking empathy", kwim? A toddler, which is what a 2/3 yr old still is, has the job of exploring the world and exploring his body. He needs HIS emotional needs met, her really isn't capable of being responsible for making his parents feel "not loved". I do think that finding some social support and perhaps going back to counselling (if it is someone familiar with young children) might be helpful. Your experience may be different but we have found 3, and as someone said, 3.5, to be SUCH a tough age. You sound so down on yourself, is it possible that you could be depressed? Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) can be so helpful for changing that kind of thinking. Do you have things in your life besides work and DS that give you a sense of control and a feeling of happiness?
post #29 of 32
delted double post
post #30 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kittysmama View Post
Wow mama, it sounds like you have a lot of good things going on. I'm glad you have insight into your thinking, it does seem kind of black and white. Some of your word choices like "villian" and "sociopath" and "lacking empathy", kwim? A toddler, which is what a 2/3 yr old still is, has the job of exploring the world and exploring his body. He needs HIS emotional needs met, her really isn't capable of being responsible for making his parents feel "not loved". I do think that finding some social support and perhaps going back to counselling (if it is someone familiar with young children) might be helpful. Your experience may be different but we have found 3, and as someone said, 3.5, to be SUCH a tough age. You sound so down on yourself, is it possible that you could be depressed? Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) can be so helpful for changing that kind of thinking. Do you have things in your life besides work and DS that give you a sense of control and a feeling of happiness?
Yes, I'm aware that I had unreasonable expectations for my son and that he "really isn't capable of being responsible for making his parents feel 'not loved'." I feel like I described pretty specifically in the OP that I was saying horrible, inappropriate things and having difficultly forgiving myself or moving forward to become a better parent. I feel like I've been pretty specific about how I did NOT do a good job of meeting my son's emotional needs that day.

However, I think in my last posts I shared a great deal of how I AM trying to meet his needs on his terms more. I think I also shared how I'm experiencing success, however fleeting, in my endeavors to do this. I also feel like, in my last posts, I examined the different factors that could contribute to my extreme emotionality recently.

I think I periodically sound down on myself because, regardless of how much progress I make and/or share here, the next thing I read reminds me very specifically about everything I did wrong without mentioning any of my minor victories.
post #31 of 32
Oh, someone else has probably said it already, but I didn't read oll the responses.

I REALLY do feel for you. My DS is 3.5 yrs and we went through a good 4-5 months when he turned 3 (as in angel while he was 2 and everyone else's kids were throwing tantrums to DEVIL over night). I hated to come home from work - I hated to have days off and I was only happy when I was not with him. My DS too has often been described as "too smart for his own good".
During that 4-5 months we resorted to spanking and he got tossed onto the bed a couple of times (things we thought we'd NEVER do) and yes, we too took away all of his toys. We got through it though and we never feel the need to spank any more (though my scary mommy voice does come out once in a while...).

I think what happens with 3 year olds is that at a certain point, their linguistic development gets ahead of development in other areas.... such as understanding consequence and feeling empathy. It makes for a very frustrating time for parents and caregivers. But all of a sudden we did find that DS was compassionate and that consequences became something real for him. The brain connections were made!

It is so hard (not to mention awful!!!) to go through at the time! Just know that others of us have gone through it too... and that there's a light at the end of the tunnel . My DS is still challenging.... but things are so much better now. And those things I find challenging might very well be things I appreciate in him as an older child/teenager/adult - just not as a preschooler~!!!
post #32 of 32
I didn't get a chance to read the other posts, but I need to chime in. YOU ARE NOT a monster.

I don't think I can hug you hard enough through the computer: (((((())))))

Not sure if your son would let you, but I've implemented a "baby" routine for my big girl--every night, I try to hold her like a little baby, even though she's not so little anymore. After bed time I wrap her in the towel and hold her in front of the mirror, rock her, and we look at the baby. I would imagine that 3 is a very hard age, because you are a big boy and a little baby all at once. In addition to all of the things the PPs suggested, maybe reminding him that its okay to be a baby (in positive ways) would be helpful too.

I hope you can start being gentle with yourself, too.
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