does anyone else just lose it with-difficult child?


New Member
i read all your posts, and everyone seems to have it all together. there are times when i snap and go psycho on my poor little difficult child. i know it's wrong when i do it but i can't help it sometimes. i just feel like saying "snap out of it, quit being so stupid! you've got to be faking half of this stuff!" i am an only child and was very easy to raise. listened all the time, good grades, good behavior. everything was easy for me, which was good because a lot was espected from me. i also expect a lot from my two boys, and have learned (just a little bit) that my difficult child won't meet up to all that i expect (come to think of it, no one probably would). i just get so angry and frustrated with him and then i yell and sometimes say things i shouldn't. later on i feel bad (i even feel bad when i say them, but don't always stop) and i apologize profusely for what i said and the way i acted. poor little guy is always so willing to forgive me, which breaks my heart even more. are there some techniques that you all have that prevent you from doing this, or am i just the worst mom on the face of the planet???


Well-Known Member
Are you kidding? Join the crowd!!! Why do you think we're all asking for advice?

I hear you!!!!

The fact that you lose it means you're human. The fact that you recognize you lose it and want to change your ways indicates you're not just a good mom but a great one, willing to change and learn and do your best.

I don't think it matters that much (or does it?) that you were an only child, easy to raise, except for projecting onto him, because as everyone here knows, these kids can push anyone's buttons. They can make Ghandi lose it!

It's typically the parents who lose it and don't give a hoot, or don't recognize they're even losing it, who need the most help. Unfortunately, they won't listen.

Here's a soft pillow (pat,pat), a cup of tea, and some Valentine's chocolate.


Well-Known Member
We've all lost it. You are better off coming up with a strategy to avoid having a meltdown yourself than beating yourself up when it happens. Apologizing is good, it's sets an excellent example for our kids to follow. Just make sure it isn't over the top and laced with your own maternal guilt, most difficult children either can't handle that much emotion or will use it against you. Here's some tips:
*Be flexible
*Have realistic expectations for yourself, your difficult child & other members of the family
*Have a plan B, plan C & a plan D
*Make sure you get adequate rest, nutrition and exercise
*Carve out time for you alone as well as you & your partner if applicable
*Look for humor everywhere, it really helps
*Keep a log of your triggers and your difficult child's triggers, try to avoid critical mass by having someone else handle those issues when possible
*Don't sweat the small stuff: dust bunnies and dirty socks may not be pleasant but they will wait (and multiply) until you can address them.
*Find something about your difficult child that brings you much joy and keep it running through your head like a mantra
*Tell yourself (in front of a mirror) that difficult child did not wish this upon him/herself and is not punishing you


Well-Known Member
Oh, I just thought of something... the first time I brought in my difficult child to the pediatrician and asked for stims... difficult child was crawling all over the dr, yanking off his eyeglasses, breaking his stethoscope, and shouting, and the pediatrician shouted over difficult child, "He's NORMAL! I'VE GOT 3 BOYS AND THEY WERE ALL LIKE THIS!"
I pleaded, "Can't you give him something?"
He said, "NO!"
I said, "Can't you give ME something?"
He said, "A good bottle of wine!"

It took another 3 yrs and a meltdown in front of this guy's partner (my difficult child, not I, had the meltdown, LOL!) to give him an idea of what I was talking about... and another yr on top of that to convince my husband. The behavior that seemed normal for a 4-yr-old was not normal for a 9-yr-old.

It's a long, long winding road...


Well-Known Member
Staff member
Anyone who has a difficult child and has never lost it would be a saint. And I don't think Mother Teresa was ever a member here (and come to think of it ~ Mother Teresa never had a difficult child of her own ~ maybe if she had she wouldn't have been so saintlike).

As TM says, the best thing is to think of ways to avoid meltdowns (on our part anyway). That's not to say that it won't still happen now and again.

~Kathy (never nominated for sainthood)


Active Member
It's what brought me to find this site. We were having our 3rd meltdown/fight of the week and I just lost it and realized I was standing over my difficult child screaming at him, and inside I felt like I just wanted to beat the heck out of him. He went to work with husband then, and I sat home sobbing and realizing I never wanted to be that way again. So I searched out any and all info I could, found this site, got so much help here, changed the way I was doing things. We finally got a diagnosis for our difficult child and over the last three years he's been doing wonderfully. He matured and changed as well.

You can't sit there and beat yourself up over this too much. It serves no purpose. You've done what you should, apologize to your difficult child and explain it's not a good way to act for you or him. And move on to find a better way that will help you both. TM's list is right on. Not sweating the small stuff, and concentrating on the biggies was one of the key things for us. Pick a couple of what you feel are the most important expectations for your difficult child, make sure to explain plainly to your difficult child what they are, and the consequences for not doing what's expected, and stick to it. Once you have the biggies under control, add something else. And make sure to take time for you. If you don't get a few minutes to destress once in a while, it builds until it explodes, and that doesn't help anyone. You're here, you're looking for a better way, ain't no worst mom in the world in that.
I don't think we would be human if we never lost it!!! No one is perfect!!!

I think you have already been given excellent advice. One thing that TM said really sticks out in my mind. While it is good to apologize, don't go overboard!!! difficult children can twist that and find a way to use it to their advantage - My difficult child 1 is a perfect example of that!!!

I find that I have to make it a top priority to take care of myself. I workout daily to music I really enjoy. In nice weather, I run outside. I've found that, for me, this is the best way to rid myself of stress and anger. And, the days I feel like working out the least are always the days I need it the most!!!

Believe me, it took lots of practice before I was able to stay calm and unemotional listening to difficult child 2 call me a f*ckin' B*tch over and over again on the top of his lungs. However, if you remain calm and unemotional, it greatly reduces the length of the rage. Some difficult children, like my difficult child 1, actually enjoy total chaos and will do anything to try to acheive it. All the more reason to make sure you do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself...

I'm sorry you're having such a difficult time. Sending cyber hugs. WFEN

timer lady

Queen of Hearts
Any parent, anywhere, whether the parent of a easy child or a difficult child loses it at one time or another.

In my mind, the concern would be the level of anger combined with a parents increasing feeling of frustration; a cycle of same behaviors with similar responses. (Please know this isn't a judgment - more an personal journey on my part, & observation of parents here on the board.)

So what you're doing isn't working - time to get a new game plan. One of my hardest lessons learned was to detach. I had to separate the child from the illness/disorder/behavior. Knowing that, most likely, a behavior stemmed from kt or wm's mental/emotional issues helped me back off a great deal on expectations. In the meantime, we continue to teach, raise expectations & nudge the tweedles forward bit by bit.

I've lowered my expectations a great deal. Seriously, at this point my expectations for kt are to set the table & play with her dolls. Somedays she can handle more - others less.

Knowing the emotional age that my children are operating lessened my increasing frustrations over what kt or wm would/would not do. It increased my understanding of the developmental level in which the tweedles operated.

Do I still lose it? Yup, I do. However, it's over behaviors & expectations that fit kt & wm's level. And it happens very seldom because I know when to walk away & what battle is worth taking on.

I've learned not to take anything screamed in anger personally. I've learned that a difficult child, for whatever reason, processes things differently, therefore may need different cues, gentle reminders, an adult to be beside them to complete a task or just to lessen anxiety.

I hope some of this helps. Take care of yourself on occasion - a break does wonders for your mindset.


Ditto Linda's post, but in addition, someone once posted that a child with ADHD is generally speaking about 2/3 of his physical age. So an 18 year old child is emotionally about 12.

For some reason, that helps me keep things in perspective with both my difficult child's. That and reminding myself that I don't get mad at an infant for not being able to walk...its just not there.

And I've lost it. We all have. We're human, we can only handle so much - easy child or difficult child.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
Shari, I've heard that, too. I have often wondered, though, if the chronological age and emotional age catch up eventually. Otherwise a 30 year old person would emotionally still act 20 and a 60 year old would still act 40.

Surely, at some point in adulthood the differences disappear. Anyone have a thought on that?



Well-Known Member
Hi. I do think it matters that you were a very easy child--it's harder to identify with a child with problems. I was an extremely difficult child and I've had soooooooo much patience with my son, who is on the Spectrum. I don't believe I ever lost it with him, even when he was a raging toddler. On the other hand, I had a drug abusing teenager and I lost it with HER all the time. I think that has to do with the fact that I said "no" to drugs and couldn't relate to her problems at all. But you're trying to be a great mom. I have a few actual suggestions. One is to buy "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene and implement that plan for right now. Secondly, and I can't stress this enough, get this child totally evaulated. Sounds like you went into the pediatrician's office and asked for stims because you felt he had ADHD. If a doctor says, "Yeah, ok, here's the script" I get nervous. Did he ever have any sort of private testing done, by a neuropsychologist or a Child Psychiatrist? He could have more going on than ADHD. In fact, ADHD has many mimickers and stims often make them worse. I strongly suggest a complete evaluation. He sounds like he has a very good heart and doesn't mean to misbehave. It could be that he really can't help himself and, in my opinion, it's a good idea to get to the root cause and attack it, especially before he hits the pre-teens. Good luck!


New Member
Hi, I don't have it together AT ALL. Believe me there are days when I have to make my difficult child stay in his room because I can't even stand it anymore and I don't want to loose it more then I already have at that point.

difficult child knows how to boil my blood though.


New Member
Oh, man, I've lost it more times than I can count, and I know I don't have enough fingers

I think over time we figure out what is going to work for us, and put a plan in place, and try to make it work so that life with our difficult child's is easier.

I like TM's suggestions, and Linda's, and do think you need to put a game plan into place. You definitely need to lower your expectations for now. I completely understand your desire to have your difficult child "normal". I can tell you that I grew up one way (very strict parents, I never ever did ANYTHING wrong, and if I did, my father was coming after me with a belt and I never did it again) and my children are growing up another.

My difficult child 1, Dylan, he was a challenge for me. He was completely out of control, marked "severe ODD" by the old psychiatrist, and did not listen to ANYTHING. Every task that was asked, there was a fight.

I started small, with little things, and gradually worked up. We did this with behavioral modification, Wrap Around services, things like charts, rewards, etc. It took me almost 3 years total. I know, sounds like alot, but you know, the behaviors don't get bad in a week. You can't change them in a week.

So, many years later, my son is no longer ODD. I have no issues with him at all, it's almost miraculous. But, it took alot of time, alot of work and alot of patience. It wasn't easy.

Also took the right diagnosis and the right medications. Have to add that, too.


timer lady

Queen of Hearts

There are some children/adults who will never "catch up" to their chronological age. I'm expecting & planning for this for both kt & wm.

I truly believe that there is a point where I will need to accept that this is "as good as it gets", especially for wm. The prognosis for him to get beyond a certain emotional/developmental stage is grim.

I could be genuinely surprised; however given the level of delay displayed in both of the tweedles, it will be a very long time.

So I plan ahead, & pray for the best outcome.


member since 1999
Oh, *absolutely*!! For me it was a combination of frustration and not having any tools to deal with- thank you differently. My parents were spankers and screamers, and I turned out ok (I think) - at the very least, I was the definition of a easy child as a kid. But thank you was not fazed in the least by my screaming nor my spanking. Therapists (in the early days of difficult child-thank you) were useless because they were putting it all on my poor parenting skills or other extraneous "causes". Sure my parenting skills were part of the problem, but the bigger problem was that typical parenting skills, or traditional parenting skills, simply were never going to cut it with- thank you.

It really wasn't until I joined the board that I started to get control over my responses. A lot of encouragement and reinforcement from past and present members. When you lose control (or in our house, show any kind of emotional reaction at all), your difficult child "wins". I'm a very competitive person so that probably was the biggest thing that helped me learn to contain myself. Also, my ranting and raving *never* worked, ever. Didn't make him stop the behaviors, frequently escalated them. Definitely time to try something new. I think it was Blondie who suggested whispering when I really wanted to yell. Tried that - takes a ton of self control, but it *did* freak thank you out... which in itself was very reinforcing for me (LOL - see, you definitely *don't* win worst mother of the year award). Walking away, counting, deep breathing... all strategies I've used in the past.

It takes a lot of practice, and I'm not sure we ever master it completely. We slip, we make mistakes, we try to do better. Another big benefit of asserting control on our own anger and frustration is we're not left with that "bad mommy" hangover either. When I was able to handle an episode with- thank you better, I felt a smidge more competant as his mom, which really helped me to keep on trying to do better.

Had to laugh at your "snap out of it" impulse... Just last week, thank you's therapist and I were wishing we could just shake him enough to get that big piece to fall into place, that it would be that easy. Heaven knows, there *have* been times when I've asked him if he sees what he's doing, how outrageous his behavior is at a given time. Might as well be talking to a wall.


New Member
As little time as I've been here, all I can say is listen to these people. They know their stuff. In such a little time they have brought me soooo much peace, just knowing there is someone who knows.
I too lose it with mine. I have had to learn not to cry in front of my son. That I found out is his determination of "who wins" the fight. And when he "wins" he is worse and worse till he "loses"

Good luck with you and yours, Thoughts and prayers along with all of the above advice go out to you.


Here's my technique: I take a trip to "Heather's World". You know, the one with the pink skies, purple and yellow butterflies just fluttering about, babbling brooks and rolling hills. And children that listen and never argue or scream or whine and that play Ring-Around-the-Rosy all day while the rest of us skip about merrily.

Wanna join me here?

OK, in all honesty I HAVE lost it more times than I can count or would want to. We're human. Sometimes it seems our difficult child's are super-human with their ability to wear us down. Throw in lack of sleep, job and/or financial stress, easy child acting like a difficult child and the animals being difficult child's and it's a recipe for disaster.

What I have learned over time is to read between the lines with difficult child. Her behavior is a symptom and I need to find the cause. And sometimes, with my difficult child, it takes her raging, sobbing, screaming, fighting, etc before she can get to the point where she can even begin to address the cause.

Hang in there.


OH! I wanted to add: difficult child's therapist just prescribed arguing therapy for my and difficult child. For my difficult child it's about a lack of control - I'm sure that's not uncommon. So when she starts, I'm to say, "You know, it seems you really need to argue. We need to schedule some arguing time. Go ahead. You start." Or something along those lines. Puts the control back in my court cause if she argues, she's doing what I told her to do and if not then we've accomplished what I set out to.

I did ask her therapist how I'm supposed to do that with a straight face. She really didn't have an answer....


Well-Known Member
When you lose control (or in our house, show any kind of emotional reaction at all), your difficult child "wins". I'm a very competitive person so that probably was the biggest thing that helped me learn to contain myself.

Are you sure we're not related somehow, Sue?

I've learned the only way both difficult child & I both win is for me to change the rules, lol!