My Son Can’s Stand To Be Around Me

Question: Dear Luise: I am hoping you can offer some insight into a very troubling issue I am having with my 9 year-old son.  He was always a reserved child and prone to emotional outburst but very close to me.  He was diagnosed with lupus 3 years ago and bipolar disorder and OCD 6 months ago.  I take a lot of time trying to spend one on one time with him and I always make a special effort to show him what he means to me … that he is special just the way he is.  He suffers from low self -esteem and doesn’t have many friends at school.  I have always been his best friend.  His father (my husband) and I have 3 other children younger than him so my life is very hectic.  Still, I keep to a strict schedule and try to keep things as calm and always the same for him. Things were going well until 1 1/2 years ago when I lost my father. I had a breakdown and was emotionally unavailable for a year or so.  I am better now and trying desperately to set things right again.  But here’s my issue … he acts like he hates me. He doesn’t want to talk or cuddle like we use to … he has become very disrespectful and back talks/rolls eyes etc.  Its like he cannot stand to be around me. I know him “losing me” for that time was hard on him … but how can I get my little boy back?  He is so sick most of the time and I just want to hold and love him again.  I want to be his friend again. PLEASE HELP ME!  Any advice would be welcomed advice. Thank you. I so desperately miss my son. A.

Answer: Dear A.: I don’t have the training to address your issue. You need a very capable and patient child psychologist to get you through and past this.

I’m just guessing here but your son may feel that you put your personal needs and feelings ahead of his. Most kids are pretty self-absorbed and often don’t get (or care about) what is going on with their parents.

He may have lost his trust in you. If so, distancing and anger would go along with that. One and one-half years to a normal child is interminable. To one as challenged as your oldest son is…it may have felt like a lifetime. How much you miss him now may not be the issue…the issue may be how much he missed you and how betrayed he feels. Get as much one-on-one professional help as you possibly can with this. In my opinion, it’s much too serious to be addressed online. Blessings, Luise

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