hard on my difficult child?!?!?


New Member
I had some one in the family tell me that I am hard on my difficult child. That I expect too much from him and he just reacts to how I treat him, and that is what his problem is - ME. OMG! Can it be true? I have all along tried to take care of his problems alone - keeping away from situations that I know can cause problems (as best I can - but not always possible unless I move to a remote island!).

I am just sitting and still reeling from this. I mean, I don't feel I cause his reactions. I don't feel as if it is me - and honestly, I've only been short with him since he hit the big 13! I think it is teenage stuff along with everything else now.

I am wondering - has anyone ELSE ever felt that they may be the culprit behind their precious difficult child's behavior? I don't think I am, but gosh, could I be?

But, then again, it is easy to sit on the outside and see only a miniscule bit of a behvior and make an entire judgement on the whole situation. I feel so overwhelmed!!!!


Mom? What's a difficult child?
When husband first tried to gently tell his parents that K might have some issues... they were in complete denial. They were convinced that nothing could come from their side of the family, in denial of every other family member with issues, and told husband that "I was too hard on her" and that this was a "Self full filling prophecy"!!! they went on about, if you look for problems you will find them, "We don't see any issues with her" "She is perfectly fine" "All kids do that"

They had my head spinning, but I just had to :censored2: it up and stay strong with my convictions. We got into a LOT of fights and arguments, but because I had the facts and new my child they couldn't ignore it for too long!!! They finally saw K in action and realized we would all have a better relationship if they played nice... then I would also!!! LOL
I know it hurts... but these lame things make us :warrior:


New Member
My dad likes to tell me this too. That if I did more nice things for them and with them, they'd behave better. I try to explain that nothing, strict discipline or great rewards, change my difficult children behavior, but he disagrees. It is so hard to hear that, from anyone.

I think difficult children are difficult children and no matter how much we do our best to parent them the best way we know how, they are still difficult children.

I know how it feels to be blamed. It hurts and it causes more self doubt, like we don't already have enough when we have difficult children, but this adds more.

I'm sorry that someone said this to you. I hope it helps to know you aren't alone. I'm right there with you, everytime dad decides to speak up.


New Member
ADHD and Bipolar are chemical/physical illnesses. You have no control over that. You didn't cause his illness except, possibly, through genetics and that's luck of the draw.

You may exascerbate his behavior at times. I'd worry if you didn't. Part of good parenting means we get our kids angry, upset and screaming that life is unfair and we are hateful. Even doing things wrong and making mistakes is part of good parenting because it shows we try.

Do you think you're too hard on your son? If you do, then maybe it is time to try a different way of doing things. If you feel you are being as fair as possible, then keep on doing things that you feel work.

At one time or another I've been told I'm too strict, too easy, too inconsistent, too rigid. I've spoiled my daughter rotten. Maybe I should try spoiling her more? So, I learned to listen to my heart and my gut and the two people I trusted to make honest assessments and no judgments -- her therapist and social worker. I didn't always take their advice, but I did listen and think about what was said.

Hound dog

Nana's are Beautiful
I actually had a psychiatrist try to tell me I had difficult children because I was TOO strict.

So I thought about what he said. Yep, I've always been a strict parent with firm rules, consistant dicipline, and high expectations. I always knew where my kids were and who they were with. And yes, I have 2 difficult children. But even those 2 difficult children with all their problems are better behaved than the majority of kids I've come into contact with throughout the years.

So I laughed at him. He told me I needed to take an honest look at myself. I told him I needed a new psychiatrist.

No one knows what it's like to live with difficult children unless you live with one. None of us are perfect. Our kids didn't come with instruction manuals. (if they did I've got two I could've refunded) Parenting is a learning process. As they learn and grow so do you. So don't be so hard on yourself.

And adolecence with gfgdom is a whole other ballgame! :rolleyes:


Here we go again!
No, he's not a GFY (Gift From You), he's a difficult child (Gift From God). He is what he is and it's not because of anything you've done or not done.

My mother in law asserted to me this summer that all of difficult child 2's problems were simply because of inconsistent parenting! I've since had 4 different mental health professionals tell me otherwise. I think I've got a bit more confidence in the folks with the college diplomas and decades of experience...

So consider the source next time someone offers you their opinion!


Active Member
I don't in any way think I'm the culprit behind difficult child's behavior. I do think that I can exacerbate his behaviors with mine, probably more quickly than anyone else in the house. But that holds true with any of my children.


Active Member
Please be aware - the people who love him the most but who don't actually live with him, are going to be the ones most in denial. It's easier to believe you're a bad parent, than to believe he is hurting, or something is seriously wrong.

Don't blame them for this - it's natural and it comes out of love, in just about all cases. The cure - more exposure to him, more input from them directly into him. IE get them to babysit him IIN THEIR HOME but without you nearby. It doesn't have to be for long - half an hour while you go to the shops. And if his behaviour is perfect don't worry. Just keep doing it, for longer and longer periods.

They'll see it soon enough. And if they don't - be happy that there is someone who loves your child so much that they think he is perfect.

We have someone like that, a friend from church, who took a long time to accept that difficult child 3 is autistic. I got nowhere by saying, "IS too!"
and so on...

What worked was time, regular exposure, plus her seeing my efforts in consistency; plus me demonstrating the problem to her.
When I told her of his communication delay and she said, "Nonsense!" I said to her, "ask him how his day at kindergarten went."
So she did. And he looked blankly at her then pointed out the window. "Water," he said. "Bird."
I then reminded her of another child of the same age. "As Melissa what she thinks of 'Mr Bean'. She was telling me a couple of days ago about her favourite episode, where "Mr Bean is painting his house the day after he had a party and one of the guests reaches in to get his hat, just as the paint explodes - that was really funny!"

I asked my friend to keep working at making conversation with difficult child 3, and also with Melissa, and THEN to tell me I was worried about nothing... she had to actually try this, but it did help her get the message.

A lot of this is about the need to blame someone when things go wrong. But it's not always about blame. Sometimes bad things happen to good people and we can't blame anyone for it.



I had my parents try and tell me I was too hard on difficult child 2. We went to a festival and camped out. I was miserable at the time because I was watching for all of the difficult child behavior and every time I saw a trigger I made gentle reminders. My step dad one of the biggest hard a**es I know says to me aren't you a little hard on him.

It went so far as one day easy child says to me are nanna & gramps the same people because they let difficult child 2 get away with so much more than I did (table manners and little things).

It is not you. I agree we can bring things up to a boil with them. That is all a part of parenting.

Hang in there.



Well-Known Member
I heard it all. I was too hard on her. I expected too much. I was too easy on her. I was not consistent enough. I took too much away when I punished. I should not make the punishments for so long. I should make the punishments longer. I was too patient. I was not patient enough.

Yes, I was all those things at one time - BECAUSE NONE OF THEM WORKED!!! None of those parenting techniques helped my difficult child learn what I was trying to teach her. I gave every single technique a fair amount of time and to please a few counselors, tried several of them more than once so they would believe me that I had already tried that and it did not work.

You sit down and think of all the things you have done to try to teach your difficult child the life lessons he needs. Have you not tried something? If not, then try it. If you have exhausted all options, then you must come to peace with the fact that you have tried it all. If you think of something new - try it. If you think maybe something you tried a year ago may work now - try it again. You should know in your heart you have done your best when they move out. That is all that you can ask of yourself.

How cares what the outsiders think? They do not get it.
I've heard it all from family members at one time or another too. I've learned to develop a thick skin and not care what others think. I know this is easier said than done, but it really does help.

If you know in your heart that you are doing the best you possibly can for your difficult child, that is all that matters. None of the people giving you unwanted opinions or advice have to live with your difficult child.

The bottom line - Do what you feel is the right thing to do. At the end of each day, you only have to answer to yourself. Also, I firmly believe, that parents know and understand their difficult children better than anyone else possibly can.

Don't question yourself. It isn't your fault you have a difficult child!!!

Sending cyber hugs...WFEN :flower:


New Member
It took several years for my parents to see that N* had a problem. I, too, was told I was too strict, not strict enough, blah, blah, blah. For the most part, my family leaves me alone about discipline and reasonable house rules. While N* was in Residential Treatment Center (RTC), one of the therapists told me that N* told her that MY behavior was so outrageous that N* felt she couldn’t breathe. I was told to relax some of the rules, change my style of parenting, or N* would be forever lost to me. I ruminated on that for about 24 hours. I talked to my mom, who gave me another insight. She asked me how N* was doing at Residential Treatment Center (RTC). She wasn’t following rules, was on “No Privileges” status. She asked me what THEY were doing wrong. WOW!!

So, at my next appointment at Residential Treatment Center (RTC), I met with the therapist and N*’s case manager, and they went on and on about what was wrong with me. I let them dig in really deep. When it was my turn, I asked them if they thought they had reasonable rules and reasonable expectations for the children in their care. “Why yes of course we do.” I then asked if they thought they had reasonable disciplinary actions and consequences for non-compliance. “Why yes of course we do.” I then re-worded my mom’s question….”If you’re so much better at it than I am, and you outnumber me at least 20 to 1, what are you doing wrong? Why isn’t N* complying with YOUR rules and expectations? I remember telling you when I sat down for two hours going over paperwork at intake that N*’s biggest problem was accepting reasonable authority in her life. We all live with it, and the sooner N* accepts that rules are in place for all of us in a civilized society, SHE will do much better.”

She’s been at home since the middle of July, and while things aren’t perfect, she appreciates what home has to offer.

Sharing your pain and frustration here with others who walk in the same shoes shows that you’re doing everything you can to help both yourself and your child.


Going Green
We've all been there done that and been told by many people in our lives how our difficult child's behaviors are our faults. Personally, I've been told that I'm too hard on difficult child, too easy on difficult child, I'm exaggerating his behaviors, he's just a typical teen, he's still adjusting to us adopting him (EIGHT years later), blah blah blah blah blah. Some of the people that made these comments have backed off after seeing difficult child in action, some haven't or have yet to see the "real" difficult child. husband and I had to take a court ordered parenting class at one point because difficult child was showing up in court so many times. (This on top of all of the training we got that made us Theraputic Foster Parents before we adopted him) The lady that taught the class just didn't get it. She would ask us questions on how we discipline and 9 times out of 10 told us what we were doing "wrong". Most classes I either wanted to strangle her or laugh in her face. The classes were held at our Youth Services Bureau who we were working with at the time and the staff was VERY familiar with difficult child. Someone (or two) finally pulled this lady aside and explained the situation to her and she left us alone after that. She had fancy names for her techniques but it was all basically common sense and absolutely no help whatsoever. Yes, she did make me angry with her comments but for the most part I let it roll off because I knew she didn't have the first clue. She's now writing a relationship/parenting column for an area newspaper which I think is hysterical.

Anyhoo.......I guess what I'm trying to say is that you're going to get a LOT of those types of comments over the years. Once in a blue moon someone may point out a good point but for the most part, smile, nod your head and then do what you've always done. You're the one who lives with your difficult child and knows what's working and what isn't.


New Member
I appreciate everyone's replies. I was shocked by the person who said this - she is a social worker. She told me "Ya'll are always on his a** about something - no wonder he acts the way he does." She knows he has problems - but she is also a very, very, very judgemental person and probably talks about us with my inlaws regularly - who are also judgemental. I think my difficult child got his problems genetically from their side of the family. husband is always saying tht is what he saw growing up (the way difficult child acts is just like his family) - I've never seen anything like it!

I do feel better knowing I'm not the only one - but sad that so many have had to go through what I have gone through (and probably will keep going through!)

{{{{{{{{{{{{HUGS to ALL}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}


Roll With It
I heard lots of this. I would be richer than Bill Gates if I had a PENNY for every comment like this. (Hmmm Maybe I should start charging people to listen to their lame opinions? Kewl!!! Thanks!!)

I finally sent my difficult child to live with my parents (we had lived with them and it was ALWAYS my fault while we lived with them). A few months after he started living with them it was "I don't know how you handled it".

Next time someone wants to tell you this, tell them I said they owe you $10. (The lamer the opinion, the more we should charge, don'tcha think??)




Well-Known Member
Sorry I'm a day late and a dollar short, but I'd agree with-the others that you may be doing something to exacerbate the situation, but the situation still exists apart from you and your behavior.
I have altered my behavior a lot but I also expect my difficult child to alter his. We're both "in training," so to speak.
I don't know who that someone is who said something, but unless they have a bird's eye view, they don't know the whole story.
I'm right in there with you TerryJ2. We're all in training here. in my opinion there are no perfect parents and no perfect children. It's interesting how "blame" has shifted through the generations. Just 100 years ago if a child had problems it was considered to be "their fault". Now everyone is so quick to say it's "the parent's fault". Maybe it's time to let "the fault" go, and just try to do the best we can for each other. That includes not assigning fault, especially if we personally have nothing productive to add to the situation!