Question: Dear Luise: I am 39 years old, divorced and remarried with 3 kids. My 7 year old watched the struggles I had raising my daughter and dealing with the pain of my divorce. I yell, because I do not like to spank, but interestingly, my kids lash back at me and say why don’t you just spank us like daddy instead of pinching, cursing or yelling. I am so frustrated today, because I stopped being so harsh with my 14 year old, 2 years ago and now my 7 year old says things like: “I wish you were not my mother, or I wish Daddy would have married someone else or I wish I could go to work with daddy, because I do not like being with you. I am in therapy right now, to make sure I do not have any anxiety or mood disorders from the divorce, my severed relationship with my mom and just feeling lonely and discouraged in life. I’ve been trying so hard not to get upset, but my son just slammed my 3 year-old’s hand in the door and I am furious. I know kids will be kids and I believe in time outs, etc.. But my baby boy is so unforgiving, and so adamant about pointing out my faults, I just cannot seem to have a good day or keep my promises to stop yelling. Please help, I do not want my son to grow up and hate me, he already says he wants to live somewhere else. I want to be a better mother. I look forward to your response. M.
Answer: Dear M. It sounds to me like there are multiple problems here that are way beyond the limitations of this website. Your young son may need counseling, too, and you may need some in-the-home help. Please seriously consider both. Pinching children is abuse. Did you know that? So is yelling and cursing. You need to have your load lightened and everyone needs help getting through this.