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Guilt/shame/self-hatred over child's imperfect behavior

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I need some help in letting go of my negativity around DS's occasional poor behavior.  DH and I have a plan for addressing some of it, and what DS, 7, is doing/not doing is not really even the issue.  (He's mostly a sweet, normal kiddo who sometimes needs guidance.)  Instead, it's my (internalized) reactions to the less-than-stellar behavior: I need relief from punishing myself, hating myself, thinking I am a failure of a parent, and (the hardest to admit) my worry that other parents are judging me/him.  It may be obvious that I am a recovering perfectionist whose parents' expectations of me were rather high.  I want to be healthy in my internal and external reactions to DS and his routine mess-ups and shortcomings.  I don't have time or resources for therapy at the moment, but am open to techniques, mantras, books, meditation, anecdotes--anything to help me forgive him for being a kid and forgive myself for being a human being just doing my best and learning how to work with him as we go along.  (You see, I understand this intellectually, but I cannot apply this to myself.)  

post #2 of 7


The only thing that I want to say and give is a hughug2.gif. We always judge ourselves so harshly and I think you  are doing the best you can  and that's all you can do is your best. The fact that you are processing is also good and is the first step to change. I know it's hard mama but breath and hopefully someone has advice or books or something more to offer. I was thinking counseling but you mentioned that is not an option right now.

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thank you, tracyamber.

post #4 of 7
Oh mama that sounds so hard. Be kind to yourself. Remember that 10 years from now, neither of you will remember the people you thought may be judging you, but you will both remember your actions with each other and it's affect on your long term relationship. I wish you and DS much peace ((( hugs ))))
post #5 of 7



Oh, I'm been there.  Still visit a lot.  I have to keep reminding myself that my children's behavior isn't a reflection of my self worth.  Easier said than done.  I'm sorry.

post #6 of 7

One thing that helps is to hang out with lots of mothers of boys. My DS (now 15) was quite a handful when he was younger. I remember bringing him over to visit my aunt and uncle w/ some of the other cousins when he was about 5. He was zooming here and there, being more wild than I had hoped.


My aunt (who had raised 3 boys and also was a special needs teacher) said to me with a smile when I was making some sort of apology "He's 100% boy!".  I think that she meant "He's normal" "It's normal".


Sharing anecdotes and experiences w/ other mothers of boys around your own son's age can help.


Also, double-checking w/ his teachers - is he basically OK? Usually polite, relatively good a paying attention, mostly kind to others?


My son had his good days and bad days when he was younger. I'm glad to say he was never unkind to other children, and was polite to the teacher - but he would get SILLY. He would let his mind wander. Some teachers did NOT enjoy him. One in particular when he was 4, in kindergarten did not enjoy him, the next year's teacher *loved* him.  But in all cases - the teachers never said he had a big problem.


When he was in 4th grade, I remember looking over his school work at the autumn parent-teacher meeting  and asking "Is it me, or is my son's handwriting really bad? It seems a lot less legible than the other kids' work on the walls."  Well, it was in the realm of normal, but in that case the teacher and I agreed to some extra work for him to bring home to practice his hand writing.  It improved. Is it great hand-writing? No, but at least his teachers can read it without strain.


The point of that story is to say that some imperfections or problems are fixable too. So, don't despair when your son does perform less well than others in some areas.


So, I would try to remember that my kids, with their ups and downs are normal. I also try and remind myself to be thankful that they are just normal kids in average states of health.


In "The Blessing of a Skinned Knee" Wendy Mogel writes "Your child is not your masterpiece". I found that to be a comfort, and an important reminder.


Good luck!

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks, everyone!  I appreciate the advice and kind thoughts

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