Parenting difficult child makes me feel so inadequate

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by flutterbee, Aug 22, 2008.

  1. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Wynter has been very 'touchy' lately, for lack of a better word. My patience has been thin and she's been hypersensitive and irritable and it came to a head tonight.

    It is devastating to hear your daughter tell you that she dreams of not living here, of finding her father who she doesn't even know and living with him even though he abandoned her. And that she dreams of dying. :crying:

    First, I asked her if she thought she needed to go to the hospital, if she was thinking about killing herself. She said no, she's not going to kill herself, but she sometimes thinks she'd just be happier and she's so miserable every day and sometimes she doesn't see the point.

    I'm not going to go into all of the details because I just can't. I'm weary and my mommy heart hurts too much.

    But, I've been so much into the 'fix it' mode that I didn't realize that she just needs to be heard sometimes. And when I can't fix it, I feel inadequate and frustrated and helpless and I haven't reacted very well.

    Wynter is a fighter. She wakes up every day and she tries. I see her trying so hard and putting one foot in front of the other and I admire her so much for that. She has so much strength and she doesn't give up. Ever. But I didn't let her know that, I guess. I was so busy being in fix it mode that I didn't realize that she just needs me to hear her. Or I did realize it, but lost track of it along the way. Or I got frustrated and weary.

    So, I think I'm going to leave most of the 'fixing' up to the therapist (that will be a couple of months) and I'm just going to be her mom.
  2. Cindijh

    Cindijh New Member

    wyntersgrace said:

    I can so relate. We have been referred to as "you people" so many times in the past few months. How much she hates us...and how she is counting the days until she is 18 when she can move out of here and live on her own. That's a train wreck waiting to happen!!

    I am fairly new to all of this. No real diagnosis yet (although addict might encompass it pretty well...suspected ADD, strongly suspected depression, and wondering about borderline personality) The **** really hit the fan the past 5 or 6 months although there were problems before that. (hope that is okay to say??? I saw someone refer to it as "fell off the cliff" in their signature)

    Just the newbie extending empathy...hard to walk the line between mom and savior. I get the feeling that I simply must find a way to help her.

    (who will work on her signature this weekend)
  3. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You are not inadequate but I can relate to that feeling as parenting a difficult child is so overwhelming. There are times we don't react well, the constant stress of living with a difficult child makes it very difficult.

    I love how you describe Wynter as one who never gives up and tries so hard. I'm sure that is due to the kind of parent you have been to her.
  4. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts


    Inadequate, no. Overwhelmed & 2nd guessing most likely. I've yet to meet a parent on this board who has second guessed a decision, a consequence a response to their difficult child.

    I don't believe I've met one inadequate parent here.

    I've been humbled by the tweedles & taken to my knees more times than I can count.... our difficult children tend to do that to us.

    All we can do is what we are doing. All I can offer is don't feed into your difficult children "antics". And take care of you.
  5. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Doesn't it though?
    Inadequate does seem to be part of how we feel most days.
    I'm glad you are listening to her and that you see her try every day. What more can we ask? Their lives do stink many days but at 13, I am pretty sure all teens think that. Some of her angst has got to be hormonal. It really magnifies their emotions.
  6. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hugs. Parenting these kids is SO hard.
  7. tonime

    tonime toni

    I agree with Fran- 13 is a very hard age! I know what you mean about feeling inadequate-normal feeling for us sometimes. But- we are here to remind you that you are FAR from inadequate! Raising children is not an easy task in this world--especially if they are a difficult child.
    Yet- here you are seeing the positive in your kid. Hang in there.
    Listen-- when I was 13 I would have NEVER even thought of sharing my feelings with my mom. Be happy that she can express herself to you--even though they may be negative thoughts.
    Hang in there-- sending you lots of HUGS!!!!!!!!!!!
  8. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    I know you don't want to hear this but it is what it is -- ask most mothers of 13 YO girls and you're going to hear that they've all heard their little darlings say pretty much the same type of things. Kids at 13, especially girls, hate their lives. They have fantasies of being switched at birth and finding their "real parents" who will give them such a better life. They think that if they live with the non-custodial parent, their lives will improve. So, a lot of what you're hearing is very typical for her age (sorry).

    Trying to fix things isn't a bad thing in general. It becomes a problem when the other person really doesn't want it fixed. W's at an age when misery is a great way to live. So, you're right, quit trying to fix, listen and let her come up with her own solutions. Not easy, but it might make things a little easier for you.

    As to you, you're anything but an inadequate parent. You've given your kids such great tools already to survive as adults. W wouldn't be a fighter if she hadn't learned it from you. D wouldn't have his empathy and willingness to help (unless he's in brat mode) without seeing your example.

    You really need to get some rhino skin and then wear the warrior mom armor on top of it. W is going to say a lot more things in the next few years that are going to cut to the core. It goes with the territory. When she says them, take a good look at your children. See all they have accomplished, their abilities, etc. Be proud of the people they are and ignore the idiotic words spewing out of your child -- your kids would never be the people they are without your guidance and example.

    This might be a good time to start practicing those growing phrases: "I'm sorry you feel that way." "Let me know if you think there's something I can do to help." "I'm sure you'll find a way to get through this." "Is there something you want me to do about your problem or do you want to solve it on your own?" "Would a hug help?"

    You have a child that will talk to you, something many of us don't. So, use that conversational skill and let her tell you what she wants. Mine will occasionally talk to me. The rest of the time I have to guess what is going on. When she does talk, I ask what she wants, what she thinks she wants me to do, etc. The answers have surprised me at times. Most of the time, she didn't want me to do anything other than be there and be her supporter. Those are things you and I can do easily for our kids because we do cheer for them.
  9. Many Hugs to you...

    Parenting teenagers calls for every ounce of strength, and more. I don't know about you but I would never want to relive my 13th year. It was a killer :(

    I know what you mean about wanting to "fix it". That's always my orientation as well. My counseling style in my work is very proactive - the rehabilitation field requires that. easy child called me last week with lots of woe . He had broken up with his girlfriend, but they run in the same social circles and he sees her constantly with her new boyfriend - his boss "treats him like a slave", he's had to move and that's stressful, he's not sure about the academic path he's taken. All big, real stuff. As we talked I made suggestion after suggestion - until he said -" I don't want ideas, I just want you to listen".

    Wow! That really put it into perspective for me. You can be sure that I will be doing a whole lot more of listening with both easy child and difficult child!

    Hang in there, it's really a day by day experience when you are 13.
  10. Hugs! I know what you mean though, I have found myself second-guessing everything I am doing on and off over the last 3 years. When difficult child really started exhibiting problems I really second-guessed what I was doing - could I have done something different, etc. Even though I was being told repeatedly that I was doing everything I could - I couldn't help thinking what I did. My child was having problems and I couldn't fix it.
  11. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I understand how you feel, but I don't think you should feel that way. It's like being at the local pool for "family swim" and being pulled out to swim against Michael Phelps. You aren't ever going to be prepared for that. Even if they give you 12 years, you're not going to be there. But I know you'd do your best. Just like you do with Wynter.

    {{{{{{{{Big hugs}}}}}}}}}
  12. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    She wasn't making those statements in an attempt to lash out and hurt me. She was saying them out of desperation because of how she feels. She was sobbing and trying to express just how much pain she is in every. single. day. She was expressing the hopelessness she feels, the futility of it all, and was reaching out for help - a hand to hold, some kind of reassurance that it will get better.

    Depression svcks.

    Thank you for the support. It is so painful to watch your child suffer and there isn't a damn thing you can do to take it away. :crying:
  13. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

  14. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    There's a really good book that I use to teach self-esteem and self-help to my high school kids. My sister has taken in my 13 year old niece (dad's in prison, mom was killed by exbf 8 years ago.) My niece has a number of issues. Anyway, I suggested the book to sis and she was impressed. It's called Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens. It's by the son of Steven Covey who wrote the initial Seven Habit books. It is targeted for teens and written in a way they can understand. It is a workbook also, and it leads you through the process of developing better habits. You may want to look at it. It may help both of you.
  15. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Hugs, hugs, hugs! I know. It's so hard. You're here, day in and day out, busting your patootie for your little darling, doing your very best and then some, and then you hear how life would be better somewhere else, with someone else...and it hurts. I've heard it too.

    You wouldn't be here if you didn't care about Wynter and want the very best for her. If you were inadequate, you wouldn't be asking questions and trying different things to help her. Hope you both can get some rest this weekend.
  16. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    You're right. Watching them feel so sad is just about the most difficult part of it all.
  17. Cindijh

    Cindijh New Member

    I came upon a quote the other day that kind of struck me.
    Kindness...mere kindness....cannot tolerate suffering. Love can.
    To me, in my situation, it made me realize that the most loving things I do for Beth are not necessarily the ones that seem the most kind or feel the best to her....or to me. And while I would like to dry all the tears of pain right now, in the long run it would not be the most loving thing to do....nor would it speed up the healing process and would in fact "impede" the possibility of wholeness of body and spirit. It is really hard...especially when you are so confused about what is best to do in so many situations and you get so much conflicting advice.

  18. Hoping4answers

    Hoping4answers New Member

    I'm with you!! My difficult child's 11 just shy of 12 with no diagnosis just yet. I want so badly to fix it...especially since right now she's staying at gma's house and I miss her so much. Although I miss the girl I remember and I think that's the worst part. I know she's suffering, she's hurt, and especially confused but there was a time when things seemed clearer for her. She has said and done things that have brought me to my knees and yet there is nothing I can do for her because at the end of the day she's at an age where emotionally she's still just a little girl but she also needs to want this and unfortunately the work is almost all hers to do. The only thing I can do is be here.