feel bad about difficult child tonight


New Member
I feel bad because I got into a pretty nasty altercation with our difficult child this evening. She has been on a roll this week, seems like every 5 minutes she has an outburst over something really petty. Plus as some of you read the other night about our 7 hour homework battle. I have done VERY WELL all week dealing with her rages (I have not even so much as raised my voice at her, I have been the perfect picture of calm for like, the last 2 or 3 weeks, which is VERY HARD FOR ME), until tonight I was so at the end of my rope and I sort of lost my temper and yelled at her....I feel really bad about it now, but she was throwing some sort of a tantrum being really nasty and refusing to do what she was told, and I looked at her and yelled "not only do you have a bad attitude but you cant F****** listen either" and made her go outside to cool herself off, but also so that I could separate us so I could recompose myself as well. (Having our two smaller children in the house with me and them not being allowed any contact with difficult child unsupervised by myself or my husband, it was not exactly feasible for me to be the one to go outside, so I had to send her instead, plus I was cooking).

I know it has been discussed on this board before about parents having moments where they lost it with their difficult child's and I was wondering the best way to recover from that. I feel as though I should say something to her about it, but I need to find a good way to say I am sorry about MY attitude without EXCUSING HERS...if that makes any sense. I am afraid that if I apologize and admit that it wasn't right for me to yell at her, then she will think that since I was wrong, she must have been right, and I don't want her to think that what she did was okay either.


Active Member
I understand. And from my point of view, you CAN apologise to her - she knows it was wrong, anyway - because if you don't, your usual attitude will sound hypocritical. But I agree, you don't want her to gain power as a result.

Here's what we do (yes, it happens to us, often) - we might say, "I'm sorry I swore at you and raised my voice. I have been trying to not do this for some time. Tonight we were both out of line. I'm going to continue trying to work with you and remain as calm as I can - can we work together on this?"

It doesn't matter if some time has elapsed - in fact, it may be better, especially if she has calmed down. Make it clear that you do love her, it's the behaviour you don't love and you want to help her learn self-control, instead of always being the one trying to control.

By doing this, you are showing her that it is right to apologise and that adults are not immune to mistakes. But you are also showing her that it is right to acknowledge when you make a mistake, and to try to work for improvement. A lot of problems can build up in relationships (in general - aside from difficult child component) when people try to ignore past hurts and 'move on' without making amends.

If you apologise as I suggested and she later crows about it, how you were wrong and are therefore a bad parent, tell her the following:

1) At least I apologised. That is the right thing to do when you make a mistake. I'm not perfect - none of us are - but at least I'm working on it. [say no more, say nothing more about her failure to apologise]

2) How did my apology make you feel? Did you think I was right to apologise? What did I do that was wrong? Now, think about your actions in the same light...

Whatever you do, DO NOT request an apology from her. If you get one, you have every reason to be grateful. If you ask for one and get one, will you be able to value it?

I was thinking about this sort of problem today, after listening to parents talking to their kids. So often adults use a patronising tone when talking to children - even where they're being positive and happy - which grates on most kids. We need to use the same tone of voice to our kids that we would use to our best friend who we're having coffee with. Anything else puts up a bigger barrier between us and our kids.

Listen to yourselves when you talk to your partner; your parent; your friend; a shopkeeper; and your children. And other people's children. Listen to other parents. Try to remember how you felt as a child, with the different approaches you will identify.

Back in January when my kids were in that end-scene from "The Black Balloon" the production people hired a very kind lady to work with the autistic kids in the cast. She was especially focussed on difficult child 3, who had lines and was a focus for the scene. The age range of the kids was 13 to 23. She was trained in Special Education and working with kids on Behaviour Plans. Yet her manner towards the kids was over-the-top happy, patronising in the extreme. You know the thing - exaggerated voice and extreme variation in pitch, false enthusiasm, "M-y-y-y, ISN'T tha-a-t drawing L-U-U-U-V-L-e-e-e!!!" Thoroughly over the top. The kids, even those with appalling social skills, were smart enough to feel insulted. She really was a lovely person, she just seemed to have no idea about talking to kids. It's a method that is great for toddlers (maybe) who have language difficulties, but not for kids who are already suspicious about people's intentions and honesty.

I'm probably not telling you anything you need - I just mention it in case, and for anyone else who hasn't yet picked up on this. I've seen some difficult children go into a rage, just because someone use this "voice" on them. One of my sisters used to do it when I was a kid - I hated it because it always seemed to me that she was ignoring me while trying to sound interested.


timer lady

Queen of Hearts
Sounds like you have a real power struggle going on with difficult child. Definitely apologize for swearing; losing your temper is a pretty normal happening - difficult child or easy child. I'd make the apology short & sweet & let it drop. No further discussion on that topic.

Having said that, is there anything that you & difficult child can do together with-o arguing. Is difficult child feeling a part of the family (I'm not implying that you aren't including her). She's walked into your family at a very fragile age with all those raging hormones plus her GFGness.

Will difficult child take charge of making dinner one night? Something to help her feel an integral member of the family. I know you have concerns over her being alone with your little ones, but will she watch them on the swing set or in the sandbox (with you nearby watching)? Again, to make her a part of the family & not a pariah; her very illnesses & coming so late into the family must be terrifying to her as well.

Just something to consider.


New Member
i agree to the apology. as the psychiatrist said to me "gee do you mean you are human" you need to accept that you will 'lose it too'.

by apologizing you will show her that we have to own up to our mistakes and that you need to take others feeling into consideration.


Former desparate mom
<span style='font-size: 11pt'>I always apologize for my less than wonderful behavior. How else will difficult child's see that it is ok to admit they are wrong and correct that behavior?
Apologizing for my behavior in no way excuses their behavior. We make mistakes but we admit them and try to do better next time. We aren't always right and we don't always handle it well.
Make sure she understands your behavior doesn't excuse her behavior.</span>


Active Member
I apologize to my kids as well. I found that since I was apologizing at a time when difficult child and I were both calm after the incident, it usually brought up a calm, rational discussion of the whole thing and he was better able to articulate what brought on his behaviors that pushed me to behaviors that needed apologies for. :crazy: It did help him learn that you need to own up to your mistakes and apologize for them. It also allowed him to look at himself and figure out why he was behaving that way, which for him was a big thing as he doesn't always find it easy thinking and talking about his feelings etc.


Active Member
I just went through this the other day with difficult child. Since he's been living home he's been doing really well, my heart swells with pride in his massive changes. He does however have remaining issues with school (he hates going). Well Monday he woke up NASTY and wasn't swearing but his tone and attitude was way out of line and upsetting to me and to easy child. Lunch time he came home (he does every day) and refused to go back. I was calm, not happy but calm, refused to excuse him not being there by calling him in as away for day. Said "natural consequences tomorrow, your problem and I will support schools consequences" etc. Tuesday he woke up NASTY again. Made up excuse that his knee hurt so bad he couldn't walk to school. Having no car, he knew that I couldn't drive him there. I didn't excuse that either. By lunch time I had told him he was returning after lunch to school as obviously nothing wrong with his knee. He agreed. Next you know he's sleeping in his bed and refusing to leave to go to school. I snapped and told him "I am NOT dealing with your attitude PERIOD. This is day 2 of this and I am F'ing sick of it so get your :censored2: off that bed this second and get your stuff and get to bloody school". I actually didn't tell him, i didn't scream and yell, but my voice was raised and VERY ticked off. Thankfully he did go.
Well he got home and I apologized for speaking that way to him, especially inappropriate language. I also told him that doesnt mean that it is okay to do what you are doing, it is FAR from okay, completely unacceptable. i told him I apologized because I have no more right than he does to speak that way to anyone, but not apologizing for the point of the message. difficult child got it. I told him I am owed the same respect that he has a right to as a young man. He then shocked me and said I was right and apologized to me in return. So far no more attitude all week. He actually told me that when the teachers are out of line with him and disrespectul and make him feel degraded, he wishes they would apologize to him for that too, he says (and I believe he really means it too) that if adults were to apologize for degrading teens/kids when angry for kids being out of line, he really believes he (and other kids) would have alot more respect for adults/persons in positions of power.
Don't beat yourself up. We are human and sometimes I think our kids need to realize that first hand. I think they forget we are just people too, like them, with feelings as well. A simple apology for reacting the way you did in my mind is all you should do, while not negating difficult child's behaviour. It happens. To all of us. I'm sure it will happen with me again, actually I know it will. We all have our limits.



Mom? What's a difficult child?
I apologize all the time!!! We make little pacts to try harder to be better kinder people... to treat each other the way we want to be treated. I try to use it as an example for difficult child 1, I ask her is it hurt her when I yelled at her? And did she like the way it made her feel? I tell her I was frustrated and all of that and we need to try harder to be nice to everyone... because it sucks to feel hurt. But my difficult child 1 is such an empathetic little soul... only when she is becoming manic and out of control does the alter-ego come out!!! Our little Sybil!
I realise not all of our g'sfg are able to feel empathy though and could care less or are unable to care about who they hurt during their rages.
But it still couldn't hurt to suck it up and be the big person and say sorry for how she made you feel.