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Old 01-14-2020, 01:49 AM
Enola Gay is offline
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I love my child, but sometimes I don't like her


I feel horrible for having such thoughts, and would appreciate any tips to help me be a better parent. My teenager has ADHD, sensory disorder, is on the autism spectrum, and has learning disabilities.

She is also rude, disrespectful, overbearing, and self-centered. She didn't used to be this way--started right around puberty.

I am sensitive to the fact that she is a teenager dealing with educational, family, personal, and social pressures. It's an awkward time of life for many of us, and she's just trying to find her way.... but how can I cope better and raise her self-esteem so she doesn't need constant validation? I do not want my child's insecurities to bother me, rather I would like to know how to alleviate them for her sake.

I love her to the moon and back, but don't quite know how to best parent her

Advice appreciated.
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Old 01-14-2020, 02:57 AM
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I dealt with this when my autistic son went through his teenage years. I definitely feel your pain.

I don't have much to offer because I never quite figured out what to do.

Just remember to keep you emotions in check around her. (later, you can feel free to scream into the throw pillows on your couch)

WRT school, I was very pragmatic in my approach. I explained to him, with out that HS diploma, you're going to have a very hard go at life. And in the real world, nobody pays your rent, nobody buys you food or clothing... It's all on you. And if you don't learn this, you'll wind up homeless. Because your mom and dad are NOT going to be around forever to help you. Don't be that guy!!

Anyway, that's all I got.

Best wishes to you.
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Old 01-14-2020, 06:23 AM
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Totes normal IMO, both the teenage behavior and the negative parental reaction. (Disclaimer: I am not a child development expert nor even a parent, but I've seen a lot of children developing in the families around me.)

How about taking more opportunities to offload her temporarily onto the people to whom she's not rude, disrespectful, overbearing, and self-centered? Sometimes it's just really hard not to be our worst selves around our parents, and spending more time with people we like who aren't our parents gives us easier access to our better selves.
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Old 01-14-2020, 07:57 AM
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My hat is off to you! You have done awesome just getting her to the teen stage. Such a full plate you have. And you are on the right path, i,e seeking help.

These negative traits you described, are they for everyone? Or just some people? Then which people?
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Old 01-14-2020, 08:34 AM
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Though she has never been diagnosed, I'm pretty sure our oldest daughter has Asperger's.

It's been challenging, but I try to keep in mind that it's not her fault. Lots of patience and understanding is the key to dealing with her.
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Old 01-14-2020, 09:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Enola Gay View Post
I feel horrible for having such thoughts, and would appreciate any tips to help me be a better parent. My teenager has ADHD, sensory disorder, is on the autism spectrum, and has learning disabilities.
Trust me, it's normal to feel this way no matter what your teenager does or doesn't have.

If anything, your thread title suggests you are a fine parent. Of course you sometimes don't like your child. You can't like someone 100% of the time. But you still LOVE your child, and as a parent that is the important part.

People can confuse "like" and "love." They aren't the same. Your LOVE for your child means you will provide for her, look out for her, and parent her, and that's your role in her life. You not LIKING your child doesn't really mean anything; teenagers can be assholes. You cannot like an asshole, you have nothing to feel bad about. My kid can be an asshole and there's times I don't like her. I am sure there are times she doesn't like me. Oh well, that's life. We love each other.

Once your kid grows up you'll like her more.
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Old 01-14-2020, 02:50 PM
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I know that this is an "easier said than done" statement but is there any chance your child would take part in activities that re-directs her self-centered attitude? Volunteering with local charities, outdoor activities with organized groups, sports, scouting, etc?

Although my son and I had a pretty good relationship during his teen years, he always seemed to respond more to group settings or outside authority figures. At times, I believed him to be self-centered as well but he was not the type to respond to excessive pressure from the home front. In outside-the-home settings, however, he challenged himself to a much greater degree.

I did not see this as a knock on myself as a parent because I was pretty much the same way at his age.
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Old 01-14-2020, 08:33 PM
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Thanks to all of you. It's a relief to hear that others have felt the same (shout out to Grrr!, Crafter_Man, and RickJay), or at least can understand my feelings without thinking I'm a monster. I seem to be surrounded by Super-Moms, whose kids walk on water and they can't stop gushing about how great they are. I so wish I felt that way.

Kimstu and txjim: I would LOVE it if she would spend time with others, or participate in group activities. But she says she has "social anxiety" and does not like to spend time outside home (she even hates school). The only time this works, is when she is with my family members, who totally accept her quirkiness...but we're on the west coast and all our family is on the east coast, so those opportunities don't present themselves very often. But when they do, it's a beautiful thing. I did have her in girl scouts in elementary school (I was the troop leader), but she hated it and the troop dissolved when the girls went off to middle school. And we've tried every team sport out there, but she wouldn't participate-hated it and complained nonstop (didn't sit well with the coaches).

And harmonicamoon, her negative traits are much more severe with her peers. She tends to alienate them and has had a lot of failed friendships. Her therapist believes it's because she tends to be overbearing and impulsive, which often results in her offending people (and teenage girls are very unforgiving). She definitely does better with adults, as they tend to be less judgmental, but she does the best with animals. She says she likes them more than people, but this may be something of a defense mechanism because she struggles so much with human relationships.

In so many ways, my heart goes out to her and I hate myself for finding her annoying and not wanting to spend time with her 24/7, like (seemingly) every other mom out there. But I very much appreciate those of you who weighed in and made me feel less abnormal!
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Old 01-14-2020, 09:23 PM
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I'll echo everyone else and say you seem like a wonderful parent. Sometimes the ones we love can make themselves really *really* unlikable. Although it might not be their fault, it's OK to admit that their behavior can be extremely hard to take.

My son has BPD, and we've had quite a few rough patches. We cried buckets of tears, and just took it one day at a time. I had fears he wouldn't make it out of HS, and wondered how many more hospitalizations we could bear.
Knock wood, he did graduate, and just got his Bachelors degree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Enola Gay
She definitely does better with adults, as they tend to be less judgmental, but she does the best with animals. She says she likes them more than people, but this may be something of a defense mechanism because she struggles so much with human relationships .
Would she be open to volunteering at a local shelter? It might not be just cuddling time, since litter boxes have to be emptied as well, but there's always time for scritches and hugs. I think there's a lot of us on this board who interact better with animals than humans! :-)

I wish you all the best - it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but you just have to believe it's there - that's what kept us going day by day.
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Old 01-14-2020, 09:46 PM
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I would suggest encouraging her to try activities more suited to her. Introvert group activities usually include things like chess, photography, painting, and sometimes robotics. Volunteering at the library, hospital or a veterinary clinic are some other possibilities. My daughter loves her D&D and Minecraft clubs at school.

Help your girl to find her groove, and then you need to support it, regardless of whether you enjoy that activity yourself. What does she spend her time on when she's alone at home?

Overall though, kids just need a whole lot of love at this age, and they don't give much back. Very few parents feel the task is particularly rewarding during the teenaged years. That's OK. But she sounds seriously unhappy. Is she seeing a counselor? She's got more than the usual challenges, an professional outlet could be quite helpful.

Last edited by TruCelt; 01-14-2020 at 09:51 PM.
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Old 01-14-2020, 10:12 PM
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I teach a girl in high school who is on the spectrum. Everything you say about your daughter could be said about this girl, including being very self centered. Just having her for one hour a week can be exhausting at times, I can't image dealing with that 24/7.

Is she seeing a therapist? Another friend has a son on the spectrum and says that his occupational therapist has done wonders.
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Old 01-15-2020, 08:15 AM
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I don't know you, where you live or your circumstances so my suggestion may be way out of bounds on several levels -but ...

You say she likes animals and is most comfortable around them, does she have any interest in horses? If so, you might look into riding lessons. A good program will teach the basics first - how to handle a horse, getting to know them, grooming, the equipment used, tacking up, etc. There is instruction from an adult, of course, and there may be interaction with other students, but riding is a team of you and your horse and is much more one-on-one than other sports. As you get familiar fewer words are needed between you ad the horse, and it's body language and almost telepathy. It's very soothing for one who gets overwhelmed easily by human interaction. The grooming time is especially comforting I find, it can be very zen to work hard to give a big animal pleasure (grooming generally feels good as well as gets them cleaner), and the small interactions between you and the horse are wonderful.

You don't have to compete, in fact once there's a base level of competence in handling you don't really have to ride. There's always places to volunteer doing horse care, and some therapeutic riding places really need extra ground (non-riding) hands badly. At the barns I've taught in we always had one or two people who would ask to just come spend time with a horse, grooming, hand-grazing, even just being in the barn and watching others ride.

It may not be your/her thing, but I figured I'd throw it out there though you sound like you are doing really well in difficult times and don't actually need help!
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Old 01-15-2020, 11:07 AM
Enola Gay is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wallet View Post
My son has BPD, and we've had quite a few rough patches. We cried buckets of tears, and just took it one day at a time. I had fears he wouldn't make it out of HS, and wondered how many more hospitalizations we could bear.
Knock wood, he did graduate, and just got his Bachelors degree.
I so relate to the 'crying buckets of tears', but this really gives me hope!! Thank you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by TruCelt View Post
Overall though, kids just need a whole lot of love at this age, and they don't give much back. Very few parents feel the task is particularly rewarding during the teenaged years. That's OK. But she sounds seriously unhappy. Is she seeing a counselor? She's got more than the usual challenges, an professional outlet could be quite helpful.
That's great advice. She mostly spends her time painting and listening to music--she's very into music. But volunteering at a shelter might be an option. We've fostered a lot of pets and have a houseful of our own, but working at a shelter might appeal to her. I'll look into it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TokyoBayer View Post
Is she seeing a therapist? Another friend has a son on the spectrum and says that his occupational therapist has done wonders.
Yes she sees a therapist once a week and a psychiatrist once per month. There is also and 'educational psychologist' at school, who she meets with. I sometimes worry that all the therapy is making her more self absorbed, as she's constantly diagnosing herself with new disorders. Most recently she thinks she has OCD and agoraphobia. Or maybe she really does have all these disorders. It's hard to know from my vantage point. Our older two seem to sail through life so easily- I wish things were easier for her

Quote:
Originally Posted by saje View Post
I don't know you, where you live or your circumstances so my suggestion may be way out of bounds on several levels -but ...
Horses would be a great fit for her. We are in a very urban area, but I know there are stables about an hour out of town. I'll check into it.

Thanks everyone for taking the time to offer support, advice, and encouragement. It helps more than you know.
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Old 01-15-2020, 11:24 AM
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I seem to be surrounded by Super-Moms, whose kids walk on water and they can't stop gushing about how great they are. I so wish I felt that way.
They're all lying. Every single one. Maybe even to themselves.

In the last few years - twenty, perhaps, maybe more but not dating back forever - it's become out of fashion to express ANY level of satisfaction with being a parent short of "this is the greatest gift God could ever grant a sentient being." Any expression of parenthood short of that can be shouted down. People have literally been doxxed for posting things as pedestrian as "I love my kids but I have to prioritize my marriage right now" or "Sometimes I need time away from my kids." I'm talking full on hate campaigns.

Parenting is hard and frustrating. It's wonderful, too, but sometimes it's awful. In other words, it's life. THAT is the truth, not the bullshit stories people tell you about how it's always perfect.
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Old 01-15-2020, 11:29 AM
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I agree with what is being said here so I cannot offer much more for your daughter. I will offer this tho: parents are human beings with their own wants and needs and faults. You cannot always put aside your needs to take care of someone else's - that is the path to madness. You should always make a little time for yourself to recoup, regroup, and refresh: a little regular alone-time for yourself may be in order. It is not selfish to think this and plan this and do this - if you are not healthy and strong and take care of yourself, you will eventually fail at caring for others.

I have a daughter in college now and a son graduating HS this year. I have gotten along better with her than with him during the teen years - he can be a real a-hole at times but I still love him, and everyone says this is a phase and eventually he will come back around and want to have a relationship with me. We'll see.
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