Feeling like a bad parent?


Well-Known Member
Yes, I think it is normal to doubt ourselves at times. Especially when we have people constantly putting us down and telling us we are doing it all wrong.

Ya know, I don't recall much from the dark days. I am out of the trenches at the moment, and trying to heal from the PTSD that it has brought into my life. I now have anxiety issues and whenever I sense difficult child going downhill again I almost freeze in time. It is like I am in slow motion.

I tell ya taking care of a challenging kid is tough, tough, tough and many will never know just how tough.

Be good to yourself! That is all you can control!


New Member
I was ignorant to the problems other parents were having until I had my own difficult children. I just assumed they weren't doing things right. Now my eyes have been opened. Parenting difficult children is very hard and very stressful. I tell my husband that their success will be even more rewarding to us than the PCs. There strides will mean more because of how much they have to overcome. I still worry every day that I'm not doing right by my kids. Then other times I think I'm doing the best I can for them. Thats why I'm so tired and so stressed, because I don't just let it roll off my back. I try to help them in any way I can and its a very difficult task to take on. I feel like I'm in a constant battle. We're human and we're always going to doubt ourselves. Thank God for the support of the members of this board.


Well-Known Member
Ya know, I think you eventually get to the point where other people opinions just don't matter anymore, or at least as much. That happened for me when Duckie became extremely ill from an allergic reaction in Oct 2004. I had previously been treated as a bad parent because of Duckie's behavior problems, but that all changed when there was a so-called acceptable reason for the behavior (severe & previously untreated food/inhalant allergies). It really irked me that I could receive so much sympathy from my peers for a physical illness, but be virtually shunned because of the possibly of mental or neurological issues. It's a double standard I can neither understand or tolerate.

Wiped Out

Well-Known Member
Staff member
I do doubt myself at times-have asked myself what am I doing or not doing. Fortunately for the most part others who have met my difficult child don't seem to question our parenting.

I think for many people who have never parented a difficult child it is easy to suspect parents are to blame. I remember before parenting a difficult child if I would see a child acting out I would think to myself that if I had children some day they would never behave that way. Boy do those days seem faraway!

I agree with TM that eventually you get to the point where eventually other people's opinions don't matter much. You know you are doing a good job and doing your best. Be gentle with yourself.


Roll With It
I know there are times I feel like a horrible parent. But I am not one.

You are not either. We just have more difficult kids than many people even suspect it is possible to have.

I took care of some of the battles with my kids by just not fighting about things. Meals had rules, you abided by them or did not eat. Either was OK with me.

ADHD is not "bad parenting". And often it is just the first diagnosis many of us get.

You are trying, seeking help, asking questions. That is ALL a parent can really do.

The thing many of us forget is to be gentle to ourselves. And that other people's opinions of us are not any of our business.



ps. If you were a bad parent you would not be worried about whether you were a good parent or not.


New Member
Yeah, been there and done that - the blame game is a vicious monster.

I have gotten to that "don't care" place in life - most of the time, anyway. It's much easier. However, just about everyone who I care about knows what's going on - and really knows our family - so they are more gracious and supportive. If we had to pick up and start all over again somewhere else, I'm sure I would be back to the "Start" square in the blame game immediately.

I agree with Susie - and love the line "If you were a bad parent you would not be worried about whether you were a good parent or not." Truer words were never said!!

Hound dog

Nana's are Beautiful
I think we've all done the Blame Game and Guilt Trip. I doubt we'd be good parents if we didn't try to be certain there wasn't something we might be doing wrong.

I also think that after so long in the trenches of difficult child parenting you finally get to the point where what everyone else thinks doesn't mean dittley to you. If they have no experience of life with a difficult child, then they simply don't have a clue as to what we deal with.



Active Member
I can only refer you back to "Explosive Child" to eventually get the kids to at least listen a little more. With it, it might work. Without it, nothing will work.

The problem is, you are a single parent. This means - people will blame you more (because frankly, you can't fight back as easily and it gives them a sense of power and superiority).

Being a single parent can make you a lot more prone to then take on board the load of guilt thrown at you. Do your best to not do this - guilt is crippling, paralysing and slows you down as a parent. It has no value here.

Then on top of this - being a single parent means double the workload, double the problems, halve the coping chances. Not good.

So if you're extra busy, extra tired, short of the vital time you need to be able to take with your children, doubting yourself more than you should - is it any wonder you find your child won't listen? Life is ganging up on both of you.

There isn't an easy answer, other than to make changes. But making changes is very confronting when you're trying to juggle so much on your own.

The first place to start, is with YOU. Learn to value yourself and have faith in yourself. Learn to respect yourself. Because until you do, your kids won't respect you either.
Next step - work on communication with the kids. This means talking and listening, on a shared basis. Learning & teaching mutual consideration. It takes time and is always a work in progress, even as they approach functional adulthood.

And last - recognise that you will make mistakes. We all do. Admit them, apologise for them then move on and leave the mistakes behind.

It's not your fault that you are a single parent (or it might be - I don't know. But it doesn't matter now, it's just the way it is). This is just what you have to live with. Life is like a vacuum cleaner (it :censored2:).

You have enough problems already. Don't let anybody dump any more on you. You deserve better. You deserve to love and trust yourself. Just deal with the day to day and let "what if"s go.



<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: tiredmommy</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> It really irked me that I could receive so much sympathy from my peers for a physical illness, but be virtually shunned because of the possibly of mental or neurological issues. It's a double standard I can neither understand or tolerate. </div></div>

Amen. A couple of months ago someone that barely knows me told me that I just needed to be more firm with my daughter. I asked him if he had parented a child with psychological and neurological issues. No? Then how is it that you think you know how to fix it, I asked. I have zero tolerance for those kinds of comments anymore. Other people have told me that if I just make difficult child go to school (instead of homeschooling that I used to do, or allowing her to miss so much) that it would fix everything. Hmmm...she has crippling, severe anxiety and school is her biggest trigger, by far. Are you afraid of spiders? Let's put you in a pit full of them and provide no coping skills or means of escape. That will fix it, right? (tongue in cheek) It's the same mentality.

But to answer your question, yes I have many, many times blamed myself. I have a history of depression and anxiety so of course I feel like that has played into it. Not only passing it on genetically, but in being a (formerly) depressed parent. However, I know that I am a good mom, despite my imperfections (I just have to repeat that to myself often) and that I am doing the best I can. That's all anyone can ask for.


<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Ilovemyson</div><div class="ubbcode-body">So, to go along with this:

How on earth do you get your child(ren) to listen?

Beaner has done nothing but FIGHT me on everything. It is to the point that I do not know what to do. </div></div>

For me, it was picking my battles. My difficult child fights me on everything, too, when her issues are sky high (in her case anxiety and depression). And I do mean everything, without exception. During those times (read: school year, in our case), I let everything go except for what is absolutely necessary. Then I start working on one thing at a time.

This is something that creates a lot of conflict in my house, because easy child doesn't understand that line of thinking. He's 16; he doesn't need to understand. It's just the way it is. But, in order to try to keep some semblance of peace in the house, I pick that one thing with him in mind. For example, easy child is a neat freak and difficult child is a slob. They have ALWAYS been that way. So, for a while last year, the one thing was that difficult child had to pick up after herself. I didn't let her pull me into an argument. I just kept repeating what needed to be done. I felt like a broken record. I didn't enforce consequences so much, but I did get a little creative. For example, difficult child eats all day long. She's always been that way, too. She must have a hollow leg. Anyway, she can never seem to get her dishes in the sink or dishwasher. So, I bought disposable plates and utensils just for her and told her that she was to use them and why. She really didn't like feeling singled out, so she started putting her dirty dishes in the sink. No fight. by the way, I still have almost every single disposable plate and utensil.

It's important to keep in mind that often these behaviors are a symptom rather than the problem. Like I said, in our case I know when difficult child's anxiety is high, it's not going to be pretty in our house. But now that school's out, she's almost easy child. When you can start to see it in that perspective it becomes much easier to deal with, in my opinion.

Another thing that I think bears mentioning is that even though we know our kids have issues that make it more challenging, we still expect the same things as we do from your typical (for lack of a better word) kid. I really don't think we can view success as a generic kind of thing for our kids. It's much more individual and unique. While for most kids these days going to college, getting a good job, buying the big house seems to be the way to measure success, for a lot of our kids just getting through school, holding a job - any job - and able to live independently is success. IOW, our expectations must be based on what our children are capable of, not based on how society views success. I just want my daughter to be happy. I don't want her life to be so miserable as it seems it is a lot of the time. I don't care if she ever lives on her own, as long as she can find some joy.


Well-Known Member
I have to second Heather on picking your battles. You really need to read The Explosive Child (or re-read). It was very helpful to me in that it help me learn which battles to choose and when. You would never think that Duckie is a difficult child now unless you met her on a particularly bad day. It helped stop the fighting gridlock in our house and let husband and I get back to actually parenting her. Now keep in mind that she's a kid who has shadowy symptoms of AS and has a fairly strong family history of mood disorders and anxiety, but at 6.5 years old she is generally:
she does not badger me like her friends badger her parents
completes age appropriate chores daily
performs very well in school
participates in a variety of church and outside activities
still struggles with the finest points socially, but is making strides everyday
she has several friends

Now, this was no miracle and I'm no perfect parent. The key to this was figuring out what was wrong that so negatively impacted her behavior, getting an effective treatment plan, and learning how to best parent my child. Granted, we are exceedingly fortunate that Duckie's problems appear to stem directly from her pretty severe allergies. Believe me when I say that while the regimen we were on to treat her condition was not easy, I truly do not believe it was as difficult or nerve wracking as medication trials and intervention trials. Then when the underlying condition was being treated, I had to change. Traditional parenting just wasn't going to work!

Check out this link that SRL posted in the ECZ about adapting The Explosive Child for younger kids: http://www.conductdisorders.com/com...the-explosive-child-for-younger-children.864/