That rather gloomy title about sums up my feelings right now in terms of being J's parent... and I'm sure many of you have felt the same, probably quite often. A friend asked if I would look after her 9 year old son this afternoon as she unexpectedly had to work (she too is a single parent). At first, all went well - for the first couple of hours. They played together with a lot of fun and good humour - we were out and about in the sunshine. I felt myself relaxing into a false sense of security, I suppose. Then we went to a playground, where a tiny incident happened that changed the whole tenor of the afternoon - my friend's son's mobile phone fell out of his pocket. J ran over to get it and, instead of handing it to him, J ran off with it, laughing. The other boy chased him, and as he did so, J threw the phone away onto the ground. Thankfully it wasn't damaged but the other boy, A, was understandably upset. From then on he kind of withdrew from J and as he did so, J became upset, emotionally affected and, as he usually does when he feels rejected, he became angry and aggressive in his speech, calling the other boy names... By the end of the afternoon the other child was angry and hostile towards J. - and also towards me, interestingly. So sad... poor J, who really wants to connect and make friends, and does but then he just can't handle it when there is some frustration or difficult and he drives the other child away with his offensive and insulting language... And then, this evening, there is an email from my friend saying her son had been very angry and upset and also that I am too lacking in authority and too gentle in nature and that I am going to have a lot of difficulties with J in future because of this!! Again the implication that I have heard SO often, that J is the way he is because I am don't discipline him enough and lack authority.... I am so f***ing sick - excuse MY language - of hearing it. And of the rejection... I am so tired and sad of the social rejection because of the way J is... And it isn't that he lacks the social skills to play with other kids or get on with them, because he doesn't - but he totally lacks the inhibition on his impulses. Which probably isn't even his fault and I think certainly isn't mine but how do you explain that to people?? All makes me feel like running away to hide somewhere... Not that I/we will, of course. But the lack of understanding is painful.