Please understand I write this with a heavy heart, knowing I should not feel the way I do, and feeling guilty for admitting how I feel, even on an anonymous web forum. I’m a 36 year old mother of two girls, ages 15 and 7. My 15 was diagnosed with an auditory processing disorder (APD) last year.
You know how there are different kinds of love? I find it hard at times to love my 15 year old. I love both of my girls, but the love I feel towards my 15 yr old is more the motherly duty type of love, and I feel terrible about it.
APD makes communicating with my 15 yr old very frustrating at times. There is no cure for APD, only therapy to help mitigate the symptoms. APD also affects her memory, so I will tell her to do something and she’ll forget. I have a hard time figuring out if she didn’t do what she was told to do because she honestly forgot thanks to her APD, or if she’s just being your typical teenager.
I constantly struggle with finding a balance between excusing her behavior because she has APD and not letting her use it as a crutch or excuse to slack. I just want to prepare her for the real world and not let her think she can use her APD as a crutch.
She gets very good grades in school, all of her teachers love her. But because she's so smart, that makes it even more frustrating when I have to go over the same things with her over and over again at home. It would almost be easier if she had a lower IQ. Then I wouldn't expect so much from her. I don't understand how the same child that never has to be told to do her homework and always has her school projects done way before deadline is the same child that constantly has to be told to load the dishwasher and takes over an hour to do a chore that should only take 20 minutes.
Not only that, but she is so unlike me I wonder if she might have been switched at birth. I’m extremely neat and tidy, to the point that clutter gives me anxiety. Messes don’t bother her. She does not like to be touched, she’s not affectionate. I love getting and giving hugs and kisses. One way, however that it’s good she does not take after me is she’s not boy crazy. LOL. And what annoys me is she’ll do things that remind me of her dad, my ex-husband. She has a hard time showing empathy. She told me one time a girl at school was sad because her boyfriend had broken up with her, and my daughter told the girl, “You’ll get over it.” I had to explain to her why the girl got mad at her for saying that.
Now, my 7 year old, she’s just like me. Girl already had a boyfriend by the age of 5, just like her momma. (Not a real one, mind you, just the cute, I’m going to grow up and marry him kind of thing). She’s super neat and tidy, can’t have one thing out of place – like her momma. She’s super affectionate and has my smile. The one nice thing about having children is you get to see yourself in them. It so disappointing that I don’t see anything of me in my 15 year old. She’s super good in math and science, which were my two weakest subjects in school. D15 has her dad’s smile, not mine.
When I do things for my 7 year old, she gives me the biggest smile, wraps her arms around me and says thank you mommy! When I do things for my 15 year old, she gives a little nod, and might mumble a soft thanks. And this isn’t something she just started when she became a teenager. She’s always been very unaffectionate, so unenthusiastic in her responses. She was so lacking in emotional response, I even had her tested for autism.
I realize some of this might just be her personality, but it is so hard to love someone like this. I feel guilty at times for feeling this way, but deep down inside I love my 7 year old more than my 15 year old. I even find myself trying to compensate by giving my 15 year old more attention and time, but her lack of response makes me regret even putting forth the effort.
I know there are mothers out there that deal with far worse, with autistic children that are completely nonverbal, that lack any emotional response whatsoever. Or children that suffer from emotional issues that are angry and even violent. So my question for the special needs parents is, how do you love a child that is not so easy to love?
How do you find love for a child that takes so much out of you and gives so little back?