Do you love your child but not "like" them? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-14-2010, 10:09 PM
 
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my oldest ds is not a terribly "likeable" child. he's always had a hair-trigger temper, is very over-dramatic (will force himself to throw up from crying), and will drag up things that happened when he was 3 to "prove" how mean we are, or whatever point he's trying to make. he's also very loud, fast-talking, and generally the most rambunctious.

i love him dearly, he's my first-born baby, but he's quite hard to actually like, and, honestly, has been since infancy.

i find it interesting how many mamas here have said that it's their oldest that is the hardest to like, no matter how much we love them. (not a judgement, just an observation). i really wonder why this is?

my oldest and i are like oil and water, honestly. i'm easily over-stimulated, loud noises (especially sustained) and bright lighting just make me want to curl into a ball, and, i admit, i have a pretty quick temper, too. i just flash and it's over, but he will remember forever what i said or did and holds a grudge like crazy. i have tried to be very careful about what i say, especially when i am upset, for that very reason. and i learned early on not to makes promises i might not be able to keep. he is still mad at us that his uncle didn't take him fishing 5 years ago, like said uncle had promised!

my other sons can definitely wear away at the nerves at times, the youngest in particular, but my oldest is just a totally opposite personality to me, except for the temper.

i don't have specific problems with affection towards him, but i do have trouble with physical affection when i am overwhelmed, which, with 4 little boys, happens more than i'd like.

"give me life, give me pain, give me myself again" - tori amos
30yo SAHM of 4 DS's: 10/98, 6/01, 2/03 and 11/04, wife to DH, 33
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Old 06-14-2010, 10:24 PM
 
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I've been through this; maybe my experience will help.

I also had a difficult time connecting with/liking my daughter, especially when my son came along 3 1/2 years later, and I learned what it was like to instantly fall in love with your child.

Now, however...we are great friends (she is 10) and I can honestly say I like, appreciate, and even adore her. What changed? I did! I did a program of personal coaching where I went back and healed some things in my own childhood regarding my own mother, and it was amazing to me how my feelings toward her changed. I realized that she could sense what I was feeling, it broke my heart, I wanted to give her a better relationship with her mother than I had with mine, and I made a firm commitment to do something about it. I realized that *I* hadn't been accepted/liked by my own mother (although it wasn't overt), and that was getting passed right down the family tree.

I am so, so grateful that I took the steps I did to change our relationship. I feel totally different than I did a few years ago. I just wanted to give you some hope, been there done that, that it can be different between the two of you. (Yes, she still can SERIOUSLY get on my nerves, but it feels more in the range of "normal" now). I hope this helps.
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Old 06-15-2010, 12:15 AM
 
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Old 06-15-2010, 11:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow. I haven't had time to log on in a few days and am amazed by all the responses. I was really scared to post this topic, but I truly feel like reading everyone's experiences and suggestions has been so encouraging and helpful to me. Given me motivation to persevere in loving her, being patient with her, and seeking the best ways to show her I care. We've spent a lot of alone time together the past few days- as lots of posters have suggested- and that has been really good for us. Thanks for sharing all of your experiences.

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Old 06-15-2010, 11:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loraxc View Post
Also, as strange as it is, there is some part of me that cherishes her more because it has often been such a hard fight with her. The fact that it has never been easy means that the relationship has that much more depth, in a way.
Thanks for helping me see it in that light. I realized as I read your post that I DO feel this about her- like our relationship has some dynamic that is special b/c of the struggles. It is kind of like a friendship that moves beyond surface level after the first major disagreement or fight....I always say you're not really close friends with someone if you don't disagree with them at some point, and feel the freedom to work through the conflict without fearing the end of the relationship.

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Old 06-16-2010, 12:47 AM
 
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I remember a time with my daughter, when she was about 7 actually. She had been, well, generally unlikeable for a while (hostile and whiny) and I was trying to ignore it. We were eating lunch one day and she was just being miserable. Before I could even stop myself, I told her that when she behaves like this, I didn't like her very much. But when she behaved in a nicer, friendlier fashion, she was my very favourite person. Which was absolutely true, but not something moms say to their children. However, it stopped her in her tracks. She just looked at me in shock and sat quietly for a while, and when she began talking again she was a much more pleasant little person. That probably was a horrible thing for me to say, but it did have a positive outcome, and it just goes to show you that you are not alone in this.
^^My mom used to use a similar phrase with me when she got angry with me as a teen (if I was doing something particularly horrible)-she would say "I love you, but I don't like you right now" and I appreciated the honesty even though it was hard to hear. It was good to know that she could separate her anger with my actions from her love for her daughter.

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Old 06-16-2010, 01:20 AM
 
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I understand both sides of the coin here. I always got the impression that my mom didn't like me very much. I knew she loved me but she had a hell of a time showing it because she didn't like me. And now, I often don't like my daughter very much and it is a struggle to really see all the ways I do actually like her beacuse I love her and we have a LONG time left together so I need a more positive look at our relationship.

Looking back... I think the things that would have helped me the most with my mom and feeling like she didn't like me were if she told me she loved me more, hugged me more, encouraged me more, supported me more, and spent more one on one time with me. She never really understood me. I am a LOT like her which I'm sure is part of the problem, but I'm also very different. Compared to her, I am decently eccentric. She had a hard time showing appreciation for who I am and coming to understand me. Even just understanding how sensitive I am and how easily I get hurt.

She really had no clue how to deal with me on dissagreements or with things I have an interest in but bore her. I distinctly remember seeing her in the first row at a choir concert looking tired and wanting to go and not clapping at the appropriate times. when I mentioned it to her, I got answers like 'well they are just so late and I'm tired' and 'why can't they do more fun current stuff than all this old classical stuff?' It just hurt that she couldn't just enjoy my enjoyment. I started telling her to just drop me off and pick me up... if I couldn't get rides from someone else. It was too much stress knowing she wasn't enjoying herself than to just not have her there at all.

I was also the type to hold grudges just like a PP's son. My feelings get SO hurt so easily and I have an extremely hard time letting go of that anger/hurt/frustration/disappointment. I try but I can't. When similar hurtful things happen, the old stuff comes to the surface and just reminds me this isn't exactly new. The problem with that was she would just write off my feelings and minimize them. She wouldn't ever give me a good and solid apology for things and she never took the time to understand that I just hurt easily and need to be handled differently than other people. I usually felt like she didn't care about how I felt because she was the adult and therefor in charge. 'because I said so' and 'suck it up' and all that. I often got told to 'drop the attitude' as well if I was angry.

With all this babbling, I'm basically coming down to it being normal to not really like a child. Sure, they are your child, but you didn't get to choose her personality. We all have people we don't like. The beauty of children is though that we already love them which is half the battle towards a healthy relationship. Your wanting to accomplish the other half is a good thing. Take the time to understand her. Give her some attention that is JUST on her.. focus she can really see and feel. Find things you both enjoy doing. Make sure you tell her you love her all the time and continue hugging her even if you aren't sure you want to.

I think liking someone can happen over time, especially if you already love them. It just requires more work and a very open mind. Not liking your child for awhile doesn't have to be a life sentence or something they know/feel and end up holding against you and distancing the two of you for life. At the same time, even if that happens for awhile (I know teenage years can be hell!) it doesn't mean that once there is a gap, there has to always be one and you'll never be close again.

s
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Old 06-16-2010, 05:23 AM
 
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Yes, lately I have found it very hard to like my ds1. Really, for the last six months or so.

I went through this w/my dd when she was this age, too. At the time, I thought it had to do with the fact that she was a girl and was worried I was pushing her away. I've often felt like my mother has pushed me away, not because doesn't like me, but because of various issues of her own, and I was afraid I was doing the same thing. But, in retrospect, I think I just don't like this age very well!

OP, since your dd is your oldest, perhaps you're having the same situation?

What I have found helpful is to spend time alone with him, which is kinda counterintuitive, but it does help for us because he's most obnoxious w/his brother and sister. And then I kinda just fake it, and think of the reasons I love him, and try to be patient.
I am going through this w my older ds right now and he's roughly the same age as your ds and OP's dd. I think this ma be a very hard age for me. I am super mellow and calm, to a fault really, and ds has up until the last few months been very similar to me in that respect. He could always run and scream and play like a maniac with his friends, but he wasn't bouncing off the walls and screaming when we were home alone like he does now. I find it very hard to be around. He's also angry at me all.the.time, which is hard of course and he's very quick to freak out on his brother and even his friends these days.

I try to remember that the energy and volume are probably healthy and age apropriate. I was never that way as a child and I think I would have been better off had I been. I was much too reserved as a six-year-old. So, as much as I can hardly bear to be in the same room with him, I am able to see it as a good thing. And even the getting angry and freaking out and having an attitude is probably pretty age appropriate -- although with that stuff I worry that he's learning negative behaviors from his parents, so I'm not so sure.

And, I have to say that having a 16 month old makes it harder for me in a way bc my little one is so delightful and just a joy. I feeling guilty for constantly beaming at him when I'm trying to pretend I'm not gritting my teeth to get through an afternoon with his brother. But when Milo was 16 mo old, I beamed at him just the same.

And one more thing about this age -- or at least I think it's about the age -- we don't really have a lot to talk about and when I pick him up from school and ask him what he did, he says "I can't remember." So I'm finding it a lot harder to connect and feel like there's more distance than I'd like. I can't tell if this is the natural progression of things or something I need to work on.

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Old 06-16-2010, 10:37 AM
 
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I don't always like my son's behavior but I do love him. It's normal to love your child but not always like their behavior.

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Old 06-16-2010, 10:59 AM
 
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I thought I would mention that something that helped me was knowing my own Myers-Briggs personality and making a guess at DD's. I can't find the test right now, but it is out there on the net somewhere. I am an INFP and DD is ENTJ, and reading about her type has really helped me "get" her. This is a wonderful description of ENTJ kids that I saved. http://personalitycafe.com/entj-arti...-children.html

grateful mother to DD, 1/04, and DS, 2/08

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Old 06-16-2010, 12:47 PM
 
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DS isn't an easy kid, ever since he was 18 months old, he has been a nonstop bundle of energy. He didn't talk much until he was almost three and at eight year old, he NEVER shuts up. He's got SPD, ADHD, and his feelings so easily hurt. He's incredibly smart and can give you a comparative analysis of how dragons and lizards are alike at 6am. And the temper when he was small......

I love the kid, I like him too. We home school and 90% of the time I love it. However, I can what a struggle DH as connecting with him. It is not about love, DH would die for him. It is the day to day struggling of dealing with kid that is so much like him.

DH tried so hard and so did DS. DH has several nieces and nephews we are very involved with, they spend breaks and summers with us. One day DS asked DH, "Do you wish I was more like my cousin Joe? Would you like me more?" It was a real blow to DH, he had no idea DS thought he didn't like him.

DH went see DS' therapist to help him deal with his own issues about his childhood and parents. He and DS take martial arts class together. It is something they do alone without me. DH has started taking DS hiking with our dogs when I am working. He's realized part of the problem was he knew ho to relate to babies and toddlers and teenagers, but not with the ages in between.
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Old 07-17-2010, 02:33 AM
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BTDT with my oldest, DD12. I love her with all my heart, I am SO proud of her, I think she's the smartest, most gorgeous kid ever. I would lay down my life for her... But we don't like each other very much. She loves me, I love her, but we just don't get along very well. It's hard. And complicated.

Subbing for now, will post more later.

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