I Thought There Was Something Wrong With My Son — Turns Out It’s Me


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I have a child that is hard to parent. He is my first born, my oldest boy, and from what I can see so far a exact replica of me. He drives me crazy.

I don’t know when I started to think that he was a problem child…that there was something wrong with him…but I think after my youngest was born in April I really started to think something was awry.

His constant complaints that he “can’t do it” or “doesn’t know how” have got me grinding my teeth to a point I am scared I will crack them. I am literally at a point where no matter what he does I am livid.

Not proud to admit it but I told him that he couldn’t be around me until his dad was there. Not because I didn’t want to be around him but because I was scared of how angry he was making me.

Last month at a doctor’s appointment I told my family doctor I wanted to have him tested for behavioural disorders, ADHD, ADD, anything really so that I could have an explanation of why he was acting the way he was. Any excuse to say it wasn’t me that was the issue and it HAD to be him.

After this particular appointment I was at a low point and called my mom. Defeat was sitting on my chest like a 1,000-pound weight. I had no idea where to go or what to do and then my mom (as always) started the wheels turning again.

Her advice was simple. Don’t get him tested for behavioural issues because he doesn’t need that label and she was right. Kids have enough issues nowadays to ruin their confidence and I don’t want this on my son.*

I wish this ended there and everything was amazing but it didn’t. I then started to talk to my son and try to get to the root of the problem. The problem it seems is me.

His thoughts on his behaviour were simple and heartbreaking. He doesn’t feel loved or liked. HOW can he be feeling like this when he is SO loved beyond measure. Easy: I have not been showing and telling him enough.

He has slipped through the cracks and somehow I have forgotten that he is still a child who deserves and needs my constant attention. Somehow I have put my focus on my two youngest because I figured he could fend for himself. He couldn’t, shouldn’t have to, and won’t anymore because I now have to work at fixing what I almost broke — my own child.

On our drive home from my parent’s yesterday he asked me if he could live with them. Why? Because they were nice to him. *sigh* I have some lots of work to do.

So my husband and I spent some time discussing the situation last night and have come up with what we hope will repair our relationship**. We will give hugs, praise our child, spend more one-on-one time with him and hopefully, slowly show him just how loved he is.

For me though, I need to work at how I look at him. I have stopped focusing on his “bad behaviour” and focus more on his good. This allows me to not always be on the edge with him, one bowl of spilled milk away from losing my mind. That’s where I was and it is not where I want to be anymore.

It also means spending more time with him, by his side, doing things he likes. This is easier said than done. I have two children that are almost completely reliant on me and to try and squeeze in a bit of time is harder said than done. But we go on walks, I spend time scratching his back and we try to sneak out for bike rides when we can. It’s a long road back from the point we are at, but I am willing to do anything to fix my mistakes.

That being said, I believe we will get out of this stronger than before. When I talked to my mom about it she told me something that made me see a silver lining — he was at least talking to me about his feelings. I’m grateful that I’m still able to communicate with him and he hasn’t shut himself down like I had as a kid.

So hopefully in a few months I will be able to update everyone on the situation to say that we are on the mend and happy. Fingers crossed.

If you have any advice on how to help with the mending process I would love to hear. I am open for anything right now.



*My husband and I were both diagnosed with multiple mental health issues as kids so I speak from experience.

**This conversation also included our “village”. The people who have constant contact with him so that we could all put in an extra effort.

Aneta Alaei
Aneta Alaei

Aneta is a Toronto-based mom of four that loves a good meal, great company, and learning something new. In her free time, you can find her trying to keep yet another plant alive.

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  1. mrdisco
    August 30, 2015 / 7:11 pm

    thank you for sharing

  2. August 30, 2015 / 9:15 pm

    Check out http://alysonschafer.com/ I attended one of her workshops, and it REALLY helped put things in perspective, and get us on the right track. I was having some issues myself and getting really frustrated and mad at my oldest. Now I feel like things are getting better, not perfect, but still steps in the right direction.

  3. Mike
    August 31, 2015 / 1:23 am

    I hope things work out!

  4. ash
    August 31, 2015 / 9:26 am

    Don’t give up you can do this. 🙂 I noticed i had started doing this with my daughter just after i had my son. so I started to stop and ask myself is the behvaiour dangerous. are they hurting anyone or destroying anything. If the answer is no then sometimes it best to ignore the behaviour instead of chasing after them… so they colored on the wall it can wash off their jumping on the couch let them….. they went in the fridge and spilt the milk… they were thirsty and decided to help them selves since we didnt seem to understand what they wanted. also after they get in trouble for something try snuggle time or one on one time with them after so they know your not mad or angry or resentful….alwasy explain to them what was wrong and why its wrong and repeat it after the fact too. you got in trouble because….its not nice too….. also reward and a knowledge good behavior more than bad…… also kids with younger siblings get jelous because parents are paying more attention to younger ones you must always explain i know you want me but right now im helping your sibling they cant do it for themselves…. encourage your child to help and be involved with thier younger siblings that way they feel wanted trusted and needed…. they will also form a bond witht he younger ones instead of resentment for feeling they are more loved or important…… and one on one which is hard in a multi child family but even helping with dishes or dinner or book at bed time… playing with legos for 5 min or walking throwing a ball or kicking one around….. a ruffle of the hair a tug on the ear pat on the back a side hug any kind of contact just as contact is important for babies its important for children of all ages even us adults……

  5. Jennifer I
    August 31, 2015 / 11:30 am

    You are brave for talking about it and for challenging yourself to do some thing about it! Good luck! I think I too need to start for using on the good in my boys, everyone else can see “their good” I guess I need to more often as well!

  6. William Deaffie
    August 31, 2015 / 5:37 pm

    What a great story. Best of luck to you and your family in the future.

  7. Debbie Bashford
    September 1, 2015 / 7:43 am

    Good for you for figuring out the problem and being able to do something about it.

  8. September 1, 2015 / 9:42 pm

    Yes, I have spent a lot of time with him in the past week trying to just be near him and involved as has my husband. I find something as small as changing my screensaver on my phone and cuddling him till he goes to bed has a great effect on him. I have to remember he is still a child himself. Thank you for the advice <3

  9. September 1, 2015 / 10:17 pm

    First of all, you are a great Mom and you have a great son. I congratulate you on admitting that you are not perfect (none of us are) and trying to be even better. Kids are resilient and I’m sure that your son is not broken forever. Like you said, he still needs your attention and the best part is that he still wants it. It sounds like you have a bunch of great plans in place and I look forward to reading about all your individual and family successes in a month.

    Besos Sarah.

  10. Aneta
    September 1, 2015 / 11:22 pm

    I know for a fact my kids are awesome with others but the moment they see us they act
    out. It will get better

  11. September 2, 2015 / 1:01 am

    oh, parenting is SO tough! always a challenge… always ways to improve.

  12. Elaine Buonsante
    September 2, 2015 / 1:42 am

    Your story really resonated with me. How I wish my mother had the insight that you have into your son’s feelings. I encourage you in reaching out to your son…your intervention now will build him into a whole loving man. I admire you.

  13. Jane Reid
    September 2, 2015 / 9:57 am

    What a brave post so beautifully written Aneta you are the Real Deal girl! The unconditional love you have for your children shines through in every word . I would bet many many many could relate to these exact same issues but would have no idea how to turn the situation around. Your handling of it is such a credit to you and your husband you are amazing !

  14. kristen visser
    September 2, 2015 / 12:53 pm

    thank you for this post! it is not easy put your life out there like that and I love that you did! I also am thinking about you and you can totally get through this!! My daughter who is almost 3 has been acting out so much throwing temper tantrums like crazy basically ever since her younger sister was born. I was always getting mad at her for doing some of the things she was doing. Turns out yesterday we found out she has a form of autism. I felt so bad because I of course wasn’t helping her and the situation. we get through this stuff. you just keep your head held high <3

  15. mike k
    September 2, 2015 / 7:39 pm

    i hope your relationship with your son will mend and you all will come out strong coming out of this. keep the line of communication open and let him know that if he needs anything from you will be there for him

  16. Treen Goodwin
    September 4, 2015 / 2:06 pm

    thanks for sharing your story , parenting is very hard , but glad you was able to figure things out 🙂

  17. September 6, 2015 / 7:43 pm

    Thank you Mike 🙂 It is improving dailyhttp://homewithaneta.com/wp-admin/edit-comments.php?comment_status=moderated#

  18. Darlene Schuller
    September 7, 2015 / 2:35 pm

    Parenting isn’t so easy, especially of multiple children. The day to day needs of every day life, meals, laundry, appointments, bills to pay, statements to check… why not throw in a career maybe a family pet or two (which we know requires our attention as well). There are also outside of the home obligations, family functions, excursions, trips…. toss in a few children in this and it makes for a very busy full life.

    It’s not hard for something or someone to kinda get lost in the hustle and bustle. Don’t be too hard on yourself, this is reasonable, logical, and it happens so much, so easily. The best this is, its fixable.. but he has to try too. Sometimes children will behave a certain way or say certain things, to upset you or for deflection purposes.

    I think the steps you are taking are truly wonderful!! I pray you will see a change in him soon.

  19. mrdisco
    September 7, 2015 / 3:09 pm

    it seems adhd cases are on the rise.

  20. Sarah b
    September 8, 2015 / 12:41 pm

    When i found i was losing touch with my eldest, i started a journal with her (she is 9, her brother is 3 and baby sister is 4 months old). I write encouragements or comments and she can use the book to wrote about anything, from what she likes to do, to things she is not happy about or having a hard time with. We don’t use it super often but once in a while we do and leave it out for the other one to read. It can be a nice, safe,easy way to start conversations

  21. Brianna
    September 8, 2015 / 3:21 pm

    This book is a super fast read (I think 50 pages), and it gives you a go-to, no-blame, no-shame way of talking to your child when it seems they are acting up. I revisit it OFTEN, and know it will come in even more handy once we have our second child. Keep up the hard work <3


  22. Julie
    September 9, 2015 / 2:00 pm

    Brave post, thanks for that. Don’t be too hard on yourself…as long as you are trying your best and you love your kids, that’s all that matters. Parenting isn’t easy but we learn as we go and we do make mistakes. Just keep trying 🙂

  23. September 12, 2015 / 2:19 pm

    Don’t feel alone! Our little guy does things that he knows make is mad and there are times that I’m downright mad and don’t want to be around him either. I think it’s natural. We get annoyed by certain behaviors and occasionally we as parents need to take a breather. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Things will improve in time. I also find that the tone we use when talking to them has a big influence as well. Trust me, it’s extremely difficult to talk in a calm voice when you’re about to lose your mind but it helps. All the besty friend.

  24. September 14, 2015 / 9:51 am

    Yeah he has his moments and I find I literally have to go hide for a few minutes and switch with my husband. I am also finding that when he is bored he acts out more so we are trying to keep him occupied

  25. September 14, 2015 / 9:52 am

    Thanks 🙂

  26. September 14, 2015 / 9:53 am

    This is an amazing idea! I am going to go to the store today and get both of my older ones some journals. Thank you <3

  27. September 14, 2015 / 9:55 am

    I had a communication barrier with my parents so I get where he is at. Lots of great advice from my readers to try 🙂

  28. AD
    September 28, 2015 / 8:47 pm

    What a difficult thing to admit and write about… Very brave. I applaud you and send you many positive thoughts! I have been through something similar with one child… I would recommend a lot of positive reinforcement for good behaviour and actions; spending one on one time, maybe short excursions where you can ask him to speak to you. But you may also have a child that is geared towards the “cup is half empty” mentality, like I have (I am also like this)… They focus on the negative; maybe changing that by focusing on the positive. Wishing you the best!

  29. kathy downey
    October 22, 2015 / 4:58 pm

    Time,love and understanding……..

  30. Amy Lovell
    November 3, 2015 / 10:45 am

    My son has ADHd, it really helps to just take 1 day ata time.

  31. Victoria Ess
    November 27, 2015 / 10:18 pm

    It sounds tough to be in your shoes — I hope you find the patience and support you need to show the support your son needs.

  32. Nate
    April 25, 2016 / 7:52 pm

    Thanks for sharing your story