3 Children - Closer bond with younger 2 - Guilt(12 Posts)
Before I start I've got to admit i'm worried about back lash and I already feel awful about this so no one else can make me feel any worse.
Basically I have 3 children and my younger 2 I have a lovely bond with and feel nothing but love and adoration for them....apart from the daily usual niggles. However my older one I feel completely different towards. Most days every little thing he does annoys me, he attentions seeks all the time...which may sound like its because i'm spending more time with the younger ones and he's trying to compensate....but he gets the most attention most of the time as he's the oldest but it never seems to be enough he always wants more....to the point the younger 2 cant get a word in edgeways or have any quality time with me without him trying to muscle in.
He's very provocative and is always going out of his way to wind up me and his siblings...poking, prodding, hurting, saying mean things. And just his personality really grates on me.
Now when I had him I suffered from really bad PND which lasted 5 years but went for the first year of his life untreated. I was in a DV relationship and even though it is the same father for all my children the domestic violence was at its worst on my first. I am wondering if I was never really given the chance to bond with him and it is now showing....but I dont know how to repair it....I am now a single mum with no family and doing a degree, so am stretched incredibly thin.
Every night I go to bed feeling guilty about my feelings and vowing to show him loads and loads of love the next day, then it gets to the next day and i'm getting irritated by him and snapping at him again. I dont want to hurt his feelings or make him feel unloved...i'm hoping he doesnt realise but am beginning to think he has noticed. Which devastates me as my mother was abusive towards me when I was a child a regularly screamed at me how she never wanted or loved me and I know how psychologically devastating that is...and although I would NEVER dream of even uttering something like that to him....its not true for a start i do love him and I did want him....i worry that he will grow up feeling unloved like I did...and I know how devastating that is to grow up with no maternal love or affection. Please help. Any suggestions gratefully received.
And to clarify when i said *did want him...i meant he was planned...is STILL want him now...it was not meant as though I dont want him anymore. And when I say I worry he will grow up feeling unloved I want to straighten out its not because he actually is unloved...as he is loved dearly...just I dont seem to be able to show it to him at the moment due to constantly being irritated by him.
Do you ever do anything alone with him? Wonder if it might help you both if you could give him some undivided attention everyday - even as little as 10 or 15 minutes.
How old is he, and how old are the other dc?
Are there other adults (for emotional, financial and practical support) regularly in your lives?
He is nearly 8 and my younger DS is nearly 5 and my DD is 3. He gets undivided attention on Friday and Saturday night when the younger 2 go bed at 7pm and he stays up with me. We watch movies and hang out. No there aren't other regular adults unfortunately, I am very isolated. Their Dad has only just started having them during holidays since February. X x
I don't really have suggestions but didn't want to read and run. I was also quite a disruptive and difficult child for my parents especially my mother. However I eventually grew out of it and he will too I promise you. Just try not to label him negatively otherwise he may live up to that expectation. For me what worked was having someone believe in me, that I was good and could be successful. At first my mother handled my behaviour by giving ne consequences, ignoring me at times and removing my siblings from ny vicinity so I couldn't cause trouble with them. The last one really hurt because I felt like I was being ostracised but one day my mum sat me down and told me how much she believed in me and that motivated me to try to be better in order to make her proud. I hope this helps a bit. People more knowledgeable then me will hopefully be along soon.
hernibs - I think that you and your children - and your older child particularly, have been through a really traumatic situation and the answer to your questions is not one that is best provided by people on Mumsnet - but by trained counsellors who can really help you talk through the impact that the domestic violence had on you all.
There is so much in your post that shows that needs untangling. you had a hard childhood yourself - and you are determined not to repeat it - it might be that because of that you are uncomfortable setting any boundaries at all, and you feel unusual levels of guilt over normal parental feelings of annoyance. It might be that your child is more difficult than the younger two - because of the domestic violence he witnessed and also because you were distant with him because of the PND. However - none of that is your fault - you are his mum and you love him, you are not your own mother.
I think the point is, we can't help with this level of worry and the trauma you have been through. Have you had counselling to talk through the impact of everything you have been through? Have you ever talked about how your own childhood makes you feel about how you are parenting him? Has he had counselling to talk about what he saw/witnessed between his father and you? And how does he feel about his father now?
so many questions and firstly, you must stop feeling guilty, if you werent a good mother you would not be worrying about all this.
The BACP website might help you find affordable counselling.
Talk to your GP explain the background and say you think you need family support
basically - I think you are perhaps looking at this in a way that is far too harsh on yourself - its not that you have an easier bond , it's that there are unresolved issues from the situation you have all had to go through. good luck !
you sound so lovely.
i too have a more complicated relationship with my eldest dc. could you isolate what it is that really bugs you? when you say he is provocative, what does he do? how does it make you feel? what do you say to him when he is annoying you?
when you have your weekend chill outs do you enjoy his company?
i also completely agree with everything waterrat said.
the most important thing to do is stop feeling guilty. it wont do you or him any good. just say to yourself - right that's it, i may not be perfect, but i have done the best i could. let it go.
Get some professional help, seriously!
Your eldest almost certainly knows (or at least suspects) you have a closer bond with his siblings and when added to the nightmare you've all been through, it's a recipe for trouble. If your DS1 was witness to any of the DV, then maybe you could get some help together (he's possibly feeling insecure about all the changes on top of everything else). Knowing your mother favours your siblings over you hurts like hell, it destroys the relationship with the parent in question and causes resentment towards the siblings. Attention seeking suggests he's looking for reassurance at the moment, he hasn't lost hope that you love him.
I definitely think that the fact you can recognise a problem is a good sign. I agree that finding something for you to do with him could help. Is there anyone at all you can get to look after your other children so that you can do something away from the house with him? Encourage a hobby such as swimming. I know how hard that is. I have four children and there are also four adults in our house and finding time to spend quality time with each of them is hard, but so worthwhile because they are completely different when they have that time to have all the attention without having to fight for it!
I don't have any experience of some of the things you have gone through so I might be way off the mark.
My first thought is to wonder if you expect a lot more of him than you would from the other two? Yes he is the oldest but do you sometimes expect him to behave as such rather than to behave as a 7 year old.
My mum, as the oldest of 4, sometimes gently points out to people that they are expecting things of their oldest that they probably won't expect from their youngest when he or she is that age.
A friend of hers once told her 8 year old son off for letting go of the dog's lead accidentally resulting in the dog trampling on some flowers. The boy cried so he was told off for crying. My mum pointed out that although he was the oldest he was still a young child. She also said that while he would probably always be expected to do certain things, as his youngest brother grew up he would still be the 'baby.' Fast forward a few years and the youngest is now 9 and still very much seen as a 'little boy.'
So it could be that you are expecting him to do or not do certain things and when he does or doesn't it annoys you, but when your youngest is behaving the same way in a few years you'll find it normal because they're still the baby.
Weirdly I've just been having this EXACT conversation with my aunt - who felt the same way with her DD. They now have the closest relationship you can imagine, and she thinks it improved when she stopped trying so hard with her.
Nature/personality is a powerful force, and it may be that, at the moment, you just rub each up the wrong way. And that may be set to continue for some time. But could change at any time too. You obviously do love him very much, otherwise you wouldn't be feeling so upset/unhappy about it.
Tell him you love him, cuddle him lots, kiss him etc - but don't let him get away with things because you're worried he can sense your feelings. Or give him more attention than the others. That's exactly what my aunt did with my niece (I au-paired for them when she was tiny and I found her DD terribly difficult to deal with. She just wasn't an easy personality).
Perhaps you should just try (easier said than done) relaxing about it and not thinking about it too much. Guilt is a terribly destructive emotion. you LOVE him, you care about him, you look after his physical wellbeing. But perhaps at the moment your personalities just clash. I would suggest trying your hardest to chill out a bit. THEN, If it doesn't go away, or you can't stop thinking about it, my suggestion would be to go and see a counsellor/psychologist. There may be some unresolved feelings from the DV or the PND that need some addressing, and that could really alleviate the problem.
Wishing you lots of luck - and don't be too hard on yourself. Just go with the flow, you're trying your very best.
And yes, totally agree with Waterrat and Basking Seals actually
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