Wedding Woes

This letter makes me so sad for the LW and her son.

Dear Prudence,

I have been struggling with my son for a long time and just don’t know how to get through to him. He started out being very impulsive as a young child, not thinking things through, getting aggressive with other children, and not listening. Once he entered grade school the aggressive behavior toned down significantly, thank goodness, and he appeared to be listening to his teachers. At home is a different story. I’ve been divorced from my son’s father since he was 2-1/2 years old but up until recently he still maintained contact with him. I attributed many of his behaviors to his father’s leniency and lack of discipline. However, my son is nine now and no longer has contact with his father, who is a deadbeat.

My son continues to push me over the edge by not listening even though I am very clear on my expectations of him. He struggles with basic tasks like bathing himself properly, brushing his teeth and flushing the toilet. It doesn’t seem natural that I should have to do these things for him at this stage of his development. He is very clingy for a child his age—he cannot seem to find ways to entertain himself and does not have any consistent friendships with other kids. I get so frustrated that much of the time I resort to yelling and even slapping him. I have also removed toys and privileges, which he has done little to earn back. There has to be some better way of interacting where he understands what is and isn’t acceptable that also doesn’t drive both of us crazy. Please help!

–At Wits’ End

Re: This letter makes me so sad for the LW and her son.

  • This makes me sad and the first thing I'd start to do is recommend talking to medical professionals and seeking counseling.   Something is off if the child is also not practicing proper hygiene in addition to other aspects.  
  • mrsconn23mrsconn23 member
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    edited November 2017
    I'm kind of annoyed that Prudie's 1st sentence was to shame her for hitting and yelling at her kid.  I AM SURE that LW knows that it's wrong and not helpful.  I also understand being at the end of your rope.  I don't hit my kids, but I've definitely lost my shit with them and overreacted when I'm at the brink and I am very upset and ashamed of myself after it happens. 

    Instead of shaming her, she should have empathized off the bat that it sounds like LW is overwhelmed by single-parenting and her son's issues.  This lady is crying out for help, FFS.  
  • I'm looking at this completely differently. Sometimes kids forget stuff. A 9-year-old will not want to take showers, be a slob, etc. Lord knows Bacon is, and she's 13. We just remind her to be less gross, and she'll grow out of it. 

    It may be my background, but this sounds like the KID needs help. It feels - I'm having trouble finding the words, but honestly, this feels like something an abusive mother would write. "My kid is awful and never listens and doesn't do things EXACTLY AS I WANT THEM first time, every time, so I slap him around and scream a lot". Like - I'm sort of glad she reached out to someone, but I'm also terrified for this kid now, because if she does get "help", they might figure out that she's lying, and then he'll get punished for it. 

    Like I said, it might just be me. I'm sure my mother complained about how defiant and awful I was, and I wasn't. I just couldn't live up to her INSANE expectations. (Still don't.) I hope this kid turns out okay. 

  • @baconsmom- I totally see your POV and being the parent to a teenager that still can't get out of bed with an alarm consistently, it definitely could be that he's just being a lazy kid and wants mommy to do it all for him.  

    Either way, LW needs to figure out how to deal with him in a more constructive manner.   And part of that may be an evaluation for him and counseling for one or both of them.  She does seem overwhelmed by single parenting and is holding on to anger at her ex being a deadbeat (according to her).  
  • Sometimes DH doesn't do things that he should be able to at his age.  And sometimes I don't do things I should do.  It's okay to be frustrated by it, but it seems like LW child's not clicking in to "oh, this is something I should be doing and if I don't, mom gets frustrated".  Maybe the mom has to learn how to react more productively.  I only say this since that's something I had to learn to do ... frustration can easily get the better of me.

  • Yeah I was with LW up until the slapping part. LW needs parenting help, and quickly. Even if the child has developmental, behavioral, or other issues slapping isn't okay and LW needs to correct that. Now. 
  • So this makes me think.
    My step brother is 16 and has autism, he is high functioning but has trouble listening and has issues with anger management. Now mind you even though he is high functioning, if no one tells him to take a shower he will not take one. It just doesn't click in his head he must shower or put on deodorant or even change out of his pj's unless he is told to. He has a check list every morning and my parents will ask if he's done it yet and that's his subtle reminder to shower brush teeth ect. I agree with PP's she needs to get an evaluation he may just fall onto the autism spectrum. Or as others have mentioned, he could just be lazy.

  • edited November 2017
    Although I'm sure we've all been there. So frustrated with kid, pet, SO, etc that you want to smack them {in the 'smack some sense into them' kind of way lmao!}
    But we don't. Not just because it's not the right thing to do, but what does that teach? When you're upset you hit?
    Plus ... smacking someone doesn't solve the problem.

    @Lala9414 I was starting to wonder the same about being on the autism spectrum. Couple friends are on it - not to LW's son I believe - but still there.
    I also believe that M's stepbrother is autistic but I'm not sure. {never asked, he just shows signs that are noticable}
  • LW needs a week away from the kid to de - stress and learn how to parent a child with her son's issues (Indigo, ADD, heck - many of the things listed are NORMAL behaviors for a 9yo child dealing with abandonment from a parent of the same gender issues!...) - take care of the caregiver, which it doesn't sound like she's doing (the underlying systemic issue that SHE has...  Stress, constantly being "on", and coping..)  The question is what is the reason the Dad is out of the picture, and can anything be done to change that.  

    And the kid needs more affection from her, he's clingy for a REASON! (and not just because he's 9, enjoy it while it lasts!)  Sometimes having boundaries that the 9yo uses words to say "Mom - I am __(stressed, lonely, sad, tired, need reassurance things are o.k., miss Dad, etc.)____ and need a hug" and give the kid a hug!  It's amazing how when that line of communication gets opened, it cuts down on the clinginess levels because they know it's o.k. to express what they're feeling, ask for the affection with a clear boundary, and most of all, validate that the child's feelings are their feelings, and work through them if necessary to help the kid develop the proper coping mechanisms for life!  It's not unusual to be "touched out" as a parent.  The kid also could use something like Big Brothers/Big Sisters, or Boys & Girls Club, Scouts, 4-H, Lego League, Chess Club, etc. that he can get out and interact with other kids where he'll learn appropriate behaviors and develop that peer group.  
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  • Stop yelling at and slapping at your son.  That makes things worse. Try to talk to him and treated him as an adult, he should be independent. 
  • Stop yelling at and slapping at your son.  That makes things worse. Try to talk to him and treated him as an adult, he should be independent. 
    Of course stop yelling and slapping, but the kid is  NINE. He needs to be treated and loved like a child not an adult. My 9 yo is majorly independent but sometimes he's sad and cries and needs cuddled. 
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