Question: Dear Luise: I feel like my 10 year-old son hates me. Let me give a little background. My son was a surprise. A second child with an irresponsible alcoholic man that I believed I could “save”. At the time I found out I was pregnant; this man was threatening to leave our daughter and me. He would fly off the handle for the littlest thing, as an excuse to leave for days to go drink and do who knows what. When I found out I was pregnant, I was devastated because I wasn’t sure how I could handle two kids on my own. I waited to tell anyone in my family because I feared their reaction. My son’s father left me several times during the early months of my pregnancy. I sought counseling, which eventually gave me the strength to tell my son’s father to stay gone. Back to my son, he was born with a clubfoot and I immediately felt that I was being “punished” by god for having second thoughts about having my child. This is the first time I have said that to anyone. I found a hospital out of state that did philanthropy by helping kids with orthopedic problems. His foot was corrected and he walks normal now. I feel like I have spoiled him a lot because of this but I love him with all my heart. Lately, we have been having horrible issues with things such as homework, school, and him talking back. What makes it even more complicated is that he tried to play my mom (who has helped me raise him and also spoils him tremendously, since his father is somewhat out of the picture) against each other. I do yell and I try to control my temper (I am loud but I do not hit him). The other day he told me I was “goddamned stupid” . I talked to my mom about this and she said that he would never say anythin like that to her because she doesn’t talk to him the way I do. I have tried talking to him and finding out what is bothering him. He blames me for everything, like getting kicked off the basketball team. He was asked to leave the basketball team because he was not turning in homework and was getting low grades. I try to monitor his homework but still give him space and trust because it turns into a fight when I ask questions about his homework. I know he has a lot of anger towards his father or lack thereof. I am here, love him, and take care of him, why does he hate me so? I get frustrated with him when he talks back and doesn’t do what he is supposed to like homework or behave in school. I am not sure if you can offer any advice, but I feel a little better getting it off my chest. R.
Answer: Dear R.: We are seeing a lot of angry children and young adults these days who thrive on making their parents miserable. Kids used to be seen and not heard but that wasn’t any good, either. However, putting them first and sacrificing for them to make up for “whatever,” sometimes starts some kind an “entitlement” reaction. Then any time we aren’t spoiling them rotten, as in insisting homework be done, these little people with too much power punish us for it.
Please get the book, “When Parents Hurt” by Coleman. There’s a lot of good stuff in there and then see if you can get some counseling, if at all possible. His future depends on it because he isn’t really happy getting away with what he’s dishing out. Blessings, Luise