BEGGING for help with my son. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 46 Old 04-09-2010, 12:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, ladies, first of all, I realize I am probably going to sound like a horrible person in this post, but I'm not. I am normally a kind, thoughtful, caring, sensitive person. For some reason, I cannot be any of these things when it comes to my 8-year-old son. Let me start by saying that he is absolutely the most difficult person I have ever encountered in my entire life. He is argumentative to the extreme, corrects every little thing anyone says, criticizes constantly, and pushes boundaries 100% of the time. He has a very, very, very difficult personality, confirmed by lots of people who know him well and even some who don't. He has quite literally been this way since he learned to talk. But I am realizing that I can't change him -- I can only change me, and that's what needs to happen. I HAVE TO find a way to be a loving, patient, kind, gentle mother to him. So that's why I'm asking for help here instead of at one of the parenting boards.

The problem (with me) is that I have allowed myself to decide that, while I love him, I don't really like him at all. I don't like being around him. I don't like talking to him. I don't like doing things with him. Very rarely do we have a conversation that doesn't involve arguing, putting each other down, or yelling at each other. I treat him like an angry child would treat another child, not like a mother should treat her child. I am not patient with him. I remind him 24/7 how awful his behavior is. I have said things to him that I would NEVER have imagined saying to ANY child, much less my own. If I don't change, he WILL remember me as being constantly annoyed & short with him his entire childhood. I don't want it to be this way. I want him to have happy memories of his childhood. But I DON'T KNOW HOW to be any other way with him. Even when we are doing fun things together, he is complaining about literally everything (the weather, the color of someone's hair, the way I said a word wrong, and on and on and on) & is NEVER satisfied. I don't know how to be happy with & loving toward a person who is THIS difficult.

Any suggestions or advice is very much appreciated. Even if you have to beat up on me a little bit, I understand... I know I am at fault here, and you can't possibly make me feel more guilty than I already feel.

(For the record, I have two other children who I have completely peaceful, happy relationships with, so I don't think I'm some freak with the inability to love & nurture a child.)
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#2 of 46 Old 04-09-2010, 12:26 AM
 
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Does your ds have perfectionistic tendencies? People who are perfectionistic often are critical of others. And perfectionism is often rooted in anxiety. Being overly critical is a way of deflecting. It might be a place to start thinking about why he is behaving the way he is. As much as you dislike the way he is behaving (and I get that it's hard!)- it's probably very uncomfortable for him as well.

Laura - Mom to ds (10) and dd (7) "Time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life." Brian Andreas.

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#3 of 46 Old 04-09-2010, 12:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I really don't see him as being a perfectionist about himself, he just seems to want everyone else to be perfect. He doesn't get upset if he doesn't do something correctly. He makes straight A's but has been known to bomb a rare test for whatever reason every once in a while & doesn't seem to mind at all. He's not competitive in the least -- in fact, he's the opposite of competitive, whatever that is... doesn't care at all about winning versus losing, never gets upset if he loses at something. He does seem somewhat anxious to me, but I am so not into putting my child on meds for behavioral/emotional problems... so do you have any suggestions as to where I would start to improve this for him? He has a very secure, stable home life, we are constantly together as a family, and other than his own complaining/arguing/breaking rules, there is honestly nothing stressful in his life, at least not anything I know about. He does go to public school, but he is very open about any little thing that goes on at school that he doesn't approve of, so I feel like I would know if he was having major problems/stress at school. I just don't know. I'm at a loss here.
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#4 of 46 Old 04-09-2010, 12:53 AM
 
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I'm hoping that someone else will have some suggestions, but I will share something that has really helped me. If you can find a picture of yourself as a young girl, really look at it and try to remember how you were as a child - feel everything you can. Keep it close by and when you find yourself getting riled at things that ds is doing, think about the picture of you. See if you can find something that will promote empathy.

I don't think that you should blame yourself for how your ds is reacting to his world, but since it's pervasive and consistent it does mean that he doesn't know how to change it - and it is affecting his relationships with other very significant people.

Another thing about perfectionism is that it can often present as underachievement. "If I don't try, then I can't fail." And wanting everyone else to be perfect is a way of displaying the need for control - and we all want control the most when things seem really out of control. And some kids can really hold it together at school, but break down at home with the family. Just because you don't know of any obvious stressful triggers - like problems at school - doesn't mean they don't exist for him.

Have you read any of Chansky's books? "Freeing Your Child from Anxiety," or "Freeing Your Child from Negative Thinking?"

Laura - Mom to ds (10) and dd (7) "Time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life." Brian Andreas.

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#5 of 46 Old 04-09-2010, 12:58 AM
 
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He does go to public school, but he is very open about any little thing that goes on at school that he doesn't approve of, so I feel like I would know if he was having major problems/stress at school.
Can he let anything roll off of his shoulders, or does he need to vent/complain?

Laura - Mom to ds (10) and dd (7) "Time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life." Brian Andreas.

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#6 of 46 Old 04-09-2010, 01:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Can he let anything roll off of his shoulders, or does he need to vent/complain?
I feel like he vents about anything that bothers him, but he is SO talkative, and SO much of it is negative talk, so maybe it just seems like he's telling everything when he's not? This is a very helpful thinking process, though. I know one of the problems is that I no longer have any sympathy OR empathy for him, because I'm just so exhausted by him & just want him to be satisfied for one single minute. I feel completely worn out & like I have nothing good left to give him. I have good intentions every single day when I'm picking him up from school, but within minutes (sometimes SECONDS) of picking him up, he's either whining about what we have to do that evening, asking what we're having for dinner & then complaining about whatever I tell him, even if it's something he likes, or breaking rules, like drawing on the dashboard of my brand new vehicle with a pencil, for instance. These examples make it seem like maybe he needs to be able to make more choices? But then I think, even if he chooses something, he ends up not being completely happy with his choice. It's exhausting being his mother.
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#7 of 46 Old 04-09-2010, 01:04 AM
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How often do you hug him? How often do you thank him for anything? ("Thanks for putting your coat on like I asked you to," etc.) How often do you tell him that you love him? The magic formula is 5 to 1 -- five positives (hugs, "I love you"s, compliments, thanks, etc.) for every negative or criticism.


And how much exercise does he get? How much sleep does he get?

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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#8 of 46 Old 04-09-2010, 01:05 AM
 
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Have you considered a psychological evaluation for him? Perhaps some therapy for you both?


s

-Angela
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#9 of 46 Old 04-09-2010, 01:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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How often do you hug him? How often do you thank him for anything? ("Thanks for putting your coat on like I asked you to," etc.) How often do you tell him that you love him? The magic formula is 5 to 1 -- five positives (hugs, "I love you"s, compliments, thanks, etc.) for every negative or criticism.


And how much exercise does he get? How much sleep does he get?
I do tell him I love him many times a day. I also tell him that there's nothing he could ever possibly do that would make me love him any less.

I could be better with the hugs/physical contact with him... he seems a little resistive to that kind of affection in the past year or so (kind of in an embarrassed way, like "Moooom..."), so I don't want to force it, but I will start offering it more.

I definitely don't tell him thanks for things he does without complaint, so that's a great idea. (I kind of have the mindset currently of, "You FINALLY did something I asked without arguing!", which of course, I don't say, but that thought process prevents me from feeling truly grateful that he's cooperating.)

I like the 5-to-1 formula, and right now he's probably getting 1-to-5 I will keep this in mind.

He gets plenty of sleep (10 hours on weeknights, at least 8-9 on weekends), but he could get more exercise, and this would be good for me, too, so we can work on this together. Although he's so skinny that he may blow away with more exercise...

His DIET is pretty atrocious... this could probably account for some of the issues here. We are pretty horrible eaters compared to most MDC families. Lots of processed stuff, and we eat out a lot. Plus he takes hot lunch at school, so there's no telling what he's eating there. I can start sending his lunch to school; he's been requesting this anyway.

Angela, therapy would be great for both of us, I think, but we live in a very rural area, no therapists for probably 60 miles in any direction. I am actually thinking of trying antidepressants for myself just to see if it makes a difference in how I deal with him. I have an OB/GYN appointment this coming Tuesday, so I think I'll talk a little about this situation & the effect it's having on me.
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#10 of 46 Old 04-09-2010, 01:38 AM
 
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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.
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#11 of 46 Old 04-09-2010, 02:58 AM
 
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He sounds completely absorbed in himself. If you can't do counseling, is there any way you could get him to see the great big world around him and the people in it? Could he volunteer at the animal shelter, food bank, senior center, some place? Just something to adjust his world view a bit and realize that he is not, in fact, the center of the universe. That revelation can be both humbling and freeing.

On a lighter note, maybe injecting some laughter and humor into daily life could help. For example, start him off in the moring with a pile of $5 in dimes. Every time he's negative, argumentative, dismissive, any of the behaviors/attitudes you're trying to address, he has to put a dime in a jar. Whatever he's got at the end of the day is his. You know what motivates him; maybe money isn't it. But something tangible, visible, incentivizing, might help him redirect.

I really think he needs someone other than family to talk to. A school counselor, a church minister, someone.

I know you're aware of this, but please don't underestimate the impact of his behavior and attitudes on your other children. My brother was much like your son is and even decades later my sisters and I are scarred by it and somewhat resentful that are parents didn't take the bull by the horns and not let our brother run roughshod over our family life.

Be strong. You can get this train back on the tracks.

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#12 of 46 Old 04-09-2010, 03:17 AM
 
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I second anxiety, insecurity, fear of failure. It sounds as if he is projecting and deflecting. How does he treat his dad? Any other siblings? At this age, I would be worried about 1) a possible mental illness or 2) something deep rooted in his life that was really bothering him. Depending on other symptoms and a bigger picture (which I can't get on the internet of course) I would also be wondering about possible abuse.

Mama to expecting Babe 2
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#13 of 46 Old 04-09-2010, 05:26 AM
 
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I don't have any advice...only hugs. He sounds like my sister. She constantly complains about everything. I remember having a conversation with her and willing her to say something positive with my mind...it didn't happen. She doesn't take responsibilty for her actions so it is always someone else's fault.

But she is 24. It has gottent o the point that I can't stand to be around her very often. She wanted to come and stay with me for the birth of my first child and I told her no. I couldn't bear to have her negative attitude during this time.

Good luck.
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#14 of 46 Old 04-09-2010, 05:40 AM
 
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Can you make it into a joke? When he is complaining about something trivial (and not everything IS trivial - the trick is to know when he has a genuine problem and when he is being glass half empty about something) can you ham it, take it and run with it? Like my DD complained to me that her breadstick was broken (she still had both halves) and she went on and on and eventually i lay on the ground and yelled "my bread stick is broken and my leg fell off and now the SKY IS FALLING!!!!" and she had a fit of giggles and climbed all over me and we rolled on the ground and ate the breadstick while the sky fell. It sounds like he takes himself very seriously, which isn't good for anyone of any age.
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#15 of 46 Old 04-09-2010, 10:41 AM
 
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I have found great success in keeping silent and focusing on my breathing.

Unless there is an immediate physical danger, I don't say a word for a few minutes. I am looking at the person who's words are creating my anger and I just take deep breaths. That way I have some time to listen and not react. Sometimes I do not say a word after time has passed as the issue was resolved by the child venting to me, or I reflect back what they are saying or I respond. Taking the time to distinguish which is the best route has created so much more peace internally for me, thus more peace in my home.

-Melanie
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#16 of 46 Old 04-09-2010, 11:01 AM
 
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omg, i could have written you OP word for freaking word. my ds2 is exactly like this. i am so in tune what what you must be going through every day. its hard to love your kids but not like them, aint it?

we have a strong family history of mental illness. take this fwiw, but i strongly recommend you have your son looked at by a professional. begin journaling every. little. detail. do that for about 3-6 months and then take him to a mental health expert, even if you have to drive 100 mi away.

my ds will likely end up w/a dx of biploar disorder and obsessive complulsive disorder. your ds sounds a teeny tiny bit narcissistic (is he the hero in every story, or does he just bitch about other ppl?), please dont be offended, but you did post for our input.

we do eat very well, ds2 has had no vaxes, and i was full on AP from ds1 so ds2 got all the nursing and slinging he needed. while i'm sure any child would benefit from an improved diet, it sometimes goes way beyond that. what you describe cant be fixed by "better parenting". some have foudn success with fish oils. i will be starting that soon, but in these types of cases, i dont fault a parent for going allopathic and trying meds.

GL

Bring back the old MDC
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#17 of 46 Old 04-09-2010, 11:38 AM
 
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in Gentle Discipline. The negativity does have to be countered somehow and I've seen great posts and book ideas on that side.

Crunchy con wife with 1 DS and 1 lil DD born in Jan. I love breastfeeding, CDing and Friday night family bed.
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#18 of 46 Old 04-09-2010, 12:56 PM
 
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While I don't think an improved diet would "cure" this, it certainly couldn't hurt. It might even help a smidge. I do Fiengold ( you can Google it) and feel so much better, less emotionally volatile, when I eat this way. Can't hurt, might help and then there would be more energy left to get to the root of dealing with his negativity. There are lots of healthy ways to eat, but I would guess the main thing would be whole, fresh foods, whether someone does Feingold, Traditional Foods or is a vegetarian, etc.

Some people do have more negative personalities. And yes, being around them can be exhausting and depressing. I've learned to just let them talk, I don't have to change them or their attitudes. I just either mirror back to them what they are saying or say something like "Oh" or "uh huh" and I try not to take any of that negativity in. It's not mine. It's theirs.

When it's your child, though, I can see why you might want to help him be more positive so other people will enjoy being around him. In general, most of us do not enjoy being around someone who makes us feel bad.

An evaluation by a good therapist might be worth the drive. Not to necessarily have him put on meds as you said you don't want to put him on medication, but to see if there are any behavioral therapies that might be helpful for him or if there is anything you can do to help you cope with his negativity.


Just another

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." -Plato
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#19 of 46 Old 04-09-2010, 02:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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First of all, I'm relieved at the tone of the responses. I have so much guilt because of the way he is, the way he thinks... like it's my fault he's this way. But then I look at my other two children, who are generally happy, easygoing, positive little people, and I think, this is his personality. This is who HE is, not what I've made him.

blessedwithboys, narcissism has never exactly crossed my mind, but you hit the nail right on the head. That is the perfect word for him. And PP who said he feels like he is the center of the universe, you are exactly right. If something bad happens to our whole family (change of plans or really any kind of disappointment), he acts as if it's only happening to him. He blames someone or something else other than him for everything that happens to him, everything he does, every way that he feels. It's never him. He also doesn't seem to have any empathy for other people (okay, very rarely I will catch him saying something that surprises me, that lets me know he is capable of feeling for other people, but this is very rare & at random), and he doesn't seem to have remorse if he hurts someone's feelings or hurts one of his siblings physically. I would love to know how to help him own his emotions & take responsibility for the things he says & does, and I would love to teach him empathy, if that's something you can teach? 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.

Thanks so, so much for all of the advice without judgmental undertones. I can't tell you how much I appreciate it.
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#20 of 46 Old 04-09-2010, 02:28 PM
 
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I don't have any advice. I am interested in reading what the others have to say though. My 5 year old DS .. has been exhibiting behaviors like this also. I also don't like him very much, and it's hard to admit ..you are very brave. I have a great relationship with my 2 other kids. I am not really sure why .. but I've never been able to "bond" with him .. like I did with the other kids. He is very "demanding" child. If he doesn't get his way he will throw a major tantrum, to the point it's just worth to give him what he wants for him to shut up. He has been telling us no a lot. And he has learned "I can if I want to". It is really hard to deal with it. I hope we can learn to work with this behavior. It is tough.

Momma to DS - 9/3/2002, DS - 9/7/2005, DD - 10/8/2007
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#21 of 46 Old 04-09-2010, 02:47 PM
 
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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."
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#22 of 46 Old 04-09-2010, 06:06 PM
 
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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.
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#23 of 46 Old 04-09-2010, 07:39 PM
 
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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.....
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#24 of 46 Old 04-09-2010, 07:56 PM
 
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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.
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#25 of 46 Old 04-09-2010, 08:25 PM
 
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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.

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#26 of 46 Old 04-09-2010, 09:35 PM
 
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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

Charlotte wife to B momma to Q 2/22/09
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#27 of 46 Old 04-09-2010, 09:41 PM
 
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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!
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#28 of 46 Old 04-09-2010, 10:09 PM
 
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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!

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#29 of 46 Old 04-09-2010, 11:09 PM
 
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*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?
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#30 of 46 Old 04-09-2010, 11:15 PM
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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.

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