What is it like raising a difficult child?


New Member
I get asked what its like to have a difficult child's.I get tired of being the one who has the troubled kid and others dont understand.My cousin sent me this story,she was given the story by another mom with a baby who has heart problems.I pass it on to those who ask "what is it like to raise an ADHD/Bipolar kid.Heres the story:

Emily Perl Kingsley.

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this……

When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”

“Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”

But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.


Active Member
I went thru a period of blaming myself, then of just plain old being sad. Then I decided my son was given to me for a reason. He is who he is, and I accepted him for who he was, and quit wishing he could be someone he is not. He is energetic and loving, among other things. He is very smart, and is not afraid to ask questions. Once I accepted the situation, I am more at peace with myself, and find it easier to deal with him.


Well-Known Member
Thank you for posting it again. We have had this on our site before.

I believe I am blessed in that I had the "I wish syndrome" for a very brief time with my difficult child. He, at this point and age, has so many good qualities that go along with his gfgness that it is easy to love and feel blessed. That's not to say that I don't get stressed and anxious and tired and fed up.......it's just that I love him so much I at times feel my biggest gift to him is just to love and support and not fix.

And, as our former site owner used to say "life is what it is". You take what you are given and you go with it.



New Member

I have never heard that before. It hit it right on the button for me.I hear how well other kids I love are doing "my neice and nephews etc". I am happy for all of them to do so well,it saddens me that my son isn't like that.

I had hopes and dreams for him. I think it was mentioned that we blame ourselves. I have pointed the finger at myself many times. Reading what all of you say makes my heart a little lighter.

To accept what & who they are! I just find it hard to conquer the saddness all of this has brought me. His dad takes it better than I do.

When my son is gone I can get a gut feeling something bad is going to happen. Most of the time I am right.


New Member
thank you for posting that letter. especially tonight it makes me feel a lot better. my son was doing so well, then tonight happened and an hour later he is still screaming. most of the time he surprises me on how well he is doing now. but something will set him off and i am quickly reminded that my son will always struggle to have good relationships, that his mood disorder can and will take over from time to time and to love him you have to love that part of him too, because the outbursts, the screaming, the thinking that everyone is out to get him will always be there.


call 911........call 911
I would have GLADLY gone to Holland. Instead I woke up on Belsubub Airlines and got a one way ticket to Hades, a three headed dog, and it's always so blinkin hot here.

On the upside (being forever positive) I don't burn my bbq food anymore, I'm able to deal with REALLY dysfunctional people and survive, and if Global warming ever comes, I'm already crisp.

-But thanks for the Netherland version.


New Member
For many of us we look for the little things that are good to get through the day.Sometimes comming on here is what gives you the strength to fight the battle one more day.

My mother is also struggling raising three difficult child grandaughters.My niece is 9 and she is mentally handicaped.She has learned to read small words.These things she does are bellow her grade level but it gives my mother hope that one day she will be on her own.

For me it is this website filled with such understanding and compassion that many of us dont find in our own surroundings.I thank all of you for your courage to share your experiences to help all of the difficult child families who reach out.
Thanks for posting this. Even though it was posted here before, it is nice to reread it.

And, Star - THANKS FOR THE LAUGH !!! When we can't laugh anymore, it's time for the "looney bin" for real... WFEN