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Struggling a bit - Need some advice pls

(17 Posts)
KristinaM Tue 18-Dec-12 14:51:43

BTW, the last two sentences of your last post are totally diagnostic of a child with attachment problems. You are not mad - your little boy is very troubled but there is help out there. You might have to fight for it but I suspect you're a fighter . Good luck

KristinaM Tue 18-Dec-12 14:48:25

I agree with devora. I strongly suspect this is an adoption related issue and he is rejecting you because he feels rejected by his birth mother. I would seek out some specialist adoption related help for him. PAC have a lot of experince in attachment issues, which is what this is.

I'm not sure that your local child psychologist or similar will be able to help, unless they have specialist training. Without this, an inexperienced worker will see this as a problem in his relationship with you and will try to work on this first. Of course this wont work as your son will resist this and it will make things worse. In fact, he will try to charm any therapsit, which will firther convince them that the probelm is you and not him.

His rejection of you is a symptom of his difficulties and is caused by his early experinces. It's nit anything you have done or not done. Please belive this. He needs specialist help.

I'm sorry this must be very painful for you. Although people are saying "don't take it personally" I expect it feels personal. He's taking all the pain he feels about being rejected and putting it onto you and these are very strong , real and difficult feelings. He can't out this loss into words as it happened when he was pre verbal,, so he's putting it into actions. He can't tell you how bad he feels so he's making you feel the same way. It's very very hurtful.

An experinced therapist will help him deal with these feelings ina more constructive way, so he can attach to you properly.

Please let us knwo how you get on . I sense that both you and your son are in a lt of pain and I really feel for you sad

ewaczarlie Mon 17-Dec-12 21:56:40

I feel for you towmater. All I can suggest is maybe a child psychologist for both of you to try and understand what is behind this behaviour. Does yr son see your dh giving u affection? Maybe that can help him learn the right behaviour. My DS (3.4 not adopted) rejects affection from my dh so I can understand yr hurt. But u seem to be doing everything else to gain his trust so I don't know what to advise. Again maybe seeing someone could help u both. Gp should be able to refer. Good luck x

Devora Mon 17-Dec-12 21:51:29

TowMater, I think it's time to seek expert advice. I think you DID get brilliant advice on this thread, but maternal instinct is important too.

Have you tried talking to your agency's After Adoption service? Or the Post Adoption Centre?

TowMater Mon 17-Dec-12 21:40:23

*things, not thugs... sad

TowMater Mon 17-Dec-12 21:39:57

Me again. Nearly a year on since all this started and thugs are no better. I just don't know what to do, it's not like DS isn't capable of affection, he cuddles and kisses his Dad but freaks out if I so much a put light kiss on the top of his head. I am really starting to think that this isn't a phase but a major problem and that DS doesn't love me or feel any affection for me. I think he sees me as someone purely functional, to do the looking after him bits like food and getting him dressed. I play with him for what seems like hours, and give him as much attention as I can. I have given him space and don't push for or try to provide obviously unwanted love and affection, but he just doesn't want affection from me or to give any.
DH keeps saying that I shouldn't take it personally, but it's not him that is being rejected and pushed away & he has no idea (or appears not to know) how much this is upsetting me. I feel like I'm going a bit mad. I just don't think this is how things should be, it just feels like I'm wasting my time trying to be the best Mum I can when I don't get much in return

FamiliesShareGerms Thu 17-May-12 21:38:47

Sorry to hear you're going through this. The only thing I can add is to second the advice that often children push against or lash out at the person to whom they are - or are becoming - closest too. This is the case for both birth and adopted children (we have one of each), but the issues around abandonment and fear of being hurt again can mean that this behaviour is more acute or pronounced in an adopted child. It isn't a phase, as such, but it is something that you can help your son work through.

Does that make sense?

skylarkuk Thu 17-May-12 20:10:59

We did sort of similar but had one day that we called Mummy Day (I really miss those since DD started school!), Saturdays were Daddy Day and sundays were Family Day. Hope things resolve themselves soon

Adoptionrulesok Thu 17-May-12 15:30:55

We had this for a while too. We solved it by having "Daddy" time e.g. on a saturday morning they go and do some horrendous boy activity whilst I stay at home. I know this sounds like the wrong way round, but we worked out that DS2 was really craving time with his daddy so was pushing me away to get that attention.

We also did the same "daddy is busy thing" and it seemed to work pretty well.

If it's any help at all, I felt exactly the same as you, rejected and very upset, but it did work out in the end.

Patience is the key, and in the meantime, I agree with you, sneak kisses and cuddles!!

Hope that helps?
AR x x x

TowMater Thu 17-May-12 13:43:50

Hi, and thank you all so much for taking the time to reply!

Lindsey2, Lilka & loflo - yes, Disney's Cars has a lot to answer for smile! - I've always done a lot of play with DS that involves both eye and physcial contact, he loves to be tickled, chased and caught etc and we even spend what feels like hours on the trampoline together! This is why I was so confused by him not wanting affection from me... What we are doing now is taking some of your excellent advice. So, last night, instead of me trying to kiss or hug him goodnight, I just tucked him in and when he said "No Kisses! No Cuddles!" Daddy immediately said, "Oh never mind, I want to give Mummy a cuddle cos she's lovely"! DS wasnt impressed and insisted on blowing me a kiss (progress I suppose!). He'd also kicked off about me helping him with putting his pyjamas on - which I do every night - shouted for Daddy to do it and kept running away from me. So Daddy appeared and just told him, 'No, Daddy is busy, Mummy is doing it' and walked straight out!

Sixgran, if you were in front of me right now I'd give you a huge hug! What you've said seems to fit in with my sons behaviour, he needs me but he doesnt want to seem to admit it. He does really push his boundaries with me in a way that he just doesn't with anyone else - my in-laws often comment that his behaviour changes if they've had him for a few hours and he's 'been an angel' then I arrive he can start being quite attention seeking and a bit naughty/whingy to get my attention.

I think I do just need to take a step back and let himn work through it and do the affection things when he's good and ready (and sneak a few hugs and kisses when I can!).

Thanks again,

sixgran Thu 17-May-12 08:25:29

I spoke to my son and daughter in law about your post because I know they have spoken to the health advisor about this behaviour.

One interesting thing she said was that when children act out their frustrations they very often test the parent they trust the most. She said that far from seeing this as rejection, it is more an affirmation of how much the parent means to the child. The advice they were given was very much what has been said on mumsnet. So I hope this gives you some comfort.

loflo Wed 16-May-12 20:52:59

Hey towmater - can tell we both have boys by our names smile

We adopted DS when he was two and I went through a v similar period. He is eight now and loves mummy grin but wasn't always that way.

For DS all the other significant females in his life had disappeared so it was almost like he couldn't trust me either sad But it's understandable why he was wary of the fairer sex.

I did lots of playing like row row your boat where eye contact is really needed and lots of baths together too.

He does love you and need you but needs to work through his losses - at least that's how it felt to me. Does he have a life story book that you can talk through with him? And DS has a photo of me and him together on his bedside table. Little steps.

Feel free to dm if you think I can help any more.

Lilka Wed 16-May-12 18:30:15

It must be worrying and upsetting feeling that your affection isn't wanted.

I think from your description of a boy who needs to follow you around everywhere and have an enormous amount of attention, he sounds quite insecure, which is normal for a child with his background. DS used to be like that, he needed to be near me nearly all the time.

With his new behaviour though, it probably is not possible to tell how linked it is to the issues he has already. Do listen to your mum instinct/gut - if it ever says "This isn't normal" then you are most likely right

How is he with things like tickling or physical contact which isn't kissing/hugging? You could try and find affection doing other activities/games which promote attachment without close physical contact. Anything which gets you laughing together, or having lots of eye contact is good. Will he sit on your lap comfortably without actually hugging and make eye contact? I probably would not force any unwanted kisses, but you could try other ways to get around that. Even making eye contact while rolling a ball to each other is good, doesn't have to involve touch. DS and I did well with little things like that, especially when he refused to let me kiss etc because he was grieving for his FC. I also used to say, right for the next 2 minutes, we are going to sit together and do nothing and just be close, which he hated at first, then really took to (still likes doing it now)!

If he totally refuses to allow you to do things (eg. bath or teeth brushing) Dad could try saying 'no I can't do that tonight, mummy will instead'. I suspect that might result in quite a bit of upset, but I knew a family who had to do that, and the child did stop refusing to allow their mum to do things. You could have Dad close by of course whilst you do it

And also, this is not a reflection of you as a parent. It hurts to feel rejected, but it isn't personally directed at you. Keep trying and hopefully it will get better soon smile

sixgran Wed 16-May-12 14:42:32

I agree with the posts, My two and half grandson rejects his mummy too.
His older brother at that age rejected his daddy. I do think this is normal behaviour. I think respect his wishes, with reasonable limitations, and he will grow out of it

reddaisy Wed 16-May-12 14:38:29

Hi DD is 3 but she isn`t adopted and she can behave just like your DS. Mostly she favours me but sometimes it is DP. DP used to feel upset and rejected but now he just accepts it. I would try not to worry too much as it sounds like very much like normal 3 year old behaviour. They like to be in charge of everything, including affection!

Lindsay2 Wed 16-May-12 14:26:25

I can understand why you are so upset and stressed about this.

I can only advise patience and giving your son some space. By trying to give him affection when he doesn't want it he will push you away, partly as it gets a reaction.

In adult relationships, when one person seems stressed or desperate for affection the other person is likely to back off because they feel under pressure to respond. Im sure its the same for kids.

You could try giving your son what he wants, which is a relationship with less affection.Still be with him but with some physical, but not emotional, distance. Eg put him to bed, but dont give him a kiss. Im sure he will come round because you are his mum and so he loves you. He'll come to you for affection when he's ready.

I hope its works out for you.

TowMater Wed 16-May-12 13:36:08

Hi all,
My son is 3.9 and came to us at 16 months old. Things have been good on the whole (DS has speech delay and some issues around resulting behaviour problems). But, over the last few months he has been increasingly resistant to any form of affection from me. He is fine with his Dad, who can kiss and cuddle him with no problems, but if I kiss him he gets very agitated and insists I 'wipe it away'. He doesn' even want a cuddle or a kiss from me at bedtime and if I try he reacts very negatively. He stimes gives me cuddles, but not very often and only if I ask. I do still try to show him affection.
If he wakes in the night he also gets really upset if I get up to see him, and shouts for Daddy, pushing me away and saying 'Not You! Go Away!'. I'm getting more and more upset by this and I can't just see it as a phase or something to not worry about as my DH insists that I should. I just think its more than that but I feel like no-one is listening to me.
I spend hours with my son, I do work, but every other moment I spend with him, playing or making sure he has attention and love. He does demand a lot of attention and struggles to do anything on his own, he usually follows me everywhere or insists on knowing exactly where I am (he still comes to the loo with me!). It seems he realy needs my attention but not my affection, if you see what I mean?
Am I worrying unecessarily??? Just dont know what else to do...

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