What to do when not feeling love to a child

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Post  Tue, Sep 29 2020, 2:58 am
I know it's on me and not on him. But he is doing so many things right now that are really making it hard for me to love him. And he's not officially a teen yet. Sos
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Post  Tue, Sep 29 2020, 3:49 am
Fake it till you make it
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Post  Tue, Sep 29 2020, 3:57 am
Change thoughts about kid. This was pivotal for me: kids want to do good and please parents sometimes they just don’t know how or don’t have the right tools. Think of it as a handicap that you have to help him overcome. Maybe he’s not expressing himself properly. Maybe he’s feeling sad or hurt or angry. Maybe doing cuz is hard for him .Some kids are undiagnosed.
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Post  Tue, Sep 29 2020, 3:58 am
amother [ OP ] wrote:
I know it's on me and not on him. But he is doing so many things right now that are really making it hard for me to love him. And he's not officially a teen yet. Sos

I suppose this can evolve into a vicious circle quite quickly...

You want peace and quiet from him, he wants your attention, can't get positive attention, attracts negative attention, you don't want to see him...

So you can give him positive attention for free, so that he does not have to attract negative attention.

You can take an interest in what bothers him. This might be a complex question, if he has sensory issues, he might not be really aware himself of what exactly bothers him...

There are many parenting books out there, for example "How to talk so that children will listen and listen so that children will talk".
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s c


Post  Tue, Sep 29 2020, 4:13 am
Praise praise and praise some more. This can be so hard. As the mother of a now grown child with
ADD who literally did nothing but cause trouble from the moment he woke up to when he (eventually) went to sleep I know this can feel impossible . But you need to break the cycle of endless negative attention and try so hard to find something positive . And don't beat yourself up about not feeling the love inside at the moment. You are only human and sometimes they take us to our limits and beyond. I came to realise after a while that the fact that I got up day after day and tried to help him and mould him and deal with his issues was my motherly love even though I felt anything but loving in those times. Also read books and take parenting classes for different ideas and approaches.
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Post  Tue, Sep 29 2020, 4:17 am
In the words of a very wise therapist: “I have many moms of super difficult children who tell me they would jump in front of a bus for them but they don’t LIKE them!!”

1. Accept that you are human and struggling with a super challenging situation, and that the natural flow of love is disrupted and you are not Cinderella’s wicked stepmother for reacting this way as a human mom

2. You may (probably are) suffering from burnout with this child (plus others if you have any, or life in general even if you don’t.) as impossible as it may seem spend thought on how you might support yourself as a person aside from being a mom. This might mean having a safe place your child likes to go to for weekends (not to send him away but as a privilege to him while giving you and other family members a breather) - maybe a cousin aunt or grandma.... or maybe this means having a therapist or other wise ear to unload and ask for guidance from (MAKE SURE THEY ARE WISE BEFORE LISTENINF TO THEM!!! And understand your child and not just you!) or maybe just some plain old self care unrelated to mommying. Not helpful when going into a chag I know but long term something to know you owe your body and brain and understand why you may be more exhausted if you don’t get it.
3. Something I remind myself every time I want to either (metaphorically) punch my ODD child or myself in the face: as insane as it may seem Gd gave me this child cuz I have something in me that this child needs and He believes I can give it. I may not have it now but I am determined to learn it and give it. Gd gave me this (incredibly difficult) soul because in some inexplicable way it matches with mine and He believes in me being able to complete this mission even when I don’t believe I can!

4. Find something (if possible) over which you can - if not bond, at least not want to wring each other’s necks. This might mean a hobby or topic (for us it’s Batman) or trip to the ice cream parlor once a week (I didn’t say it’s easy!) or sitting together reading the papers Friday night after the seuda together on the couch with hot teas (therapist idea).... a bonding time that’s at worst neutral and best comfortable for you both

5. Something I once heard from Dena Friedman which I felt worked for me, concretizing energy theory and visualization - visualize the child and then visualize your love pouring out of uour heart onto them like an overflowing jug of water. (Sorry if I’m messing up the metaphor here)
Even when you’re not feeling love per se - even if you’re just feeling the “mama bear this is my child I shall protect them and wish them good in their future” feeling
This sounds weird. I know. Bear with me here. Repeat and repeat and repeat especially when in contact with kid (which is rare for us when kid hates being touched I know, so keep aware of it to snatch when you can if you can). This preps the pathways of your brain to feel love (or at least it does for me) and, if you believe in energy stuff, actually makes kid feel loved a bit.

6. Biggest one so you’ll remember most : of this is a lasting issue (not just an exhausting stage or couple of weeks) GET A THERAPIST. Even just a few sessions. Call relief and ask them for someone who can help you express and find love for your challenging child. Do it!!! It will be money you will never regret. David Kessner of the Lakewood office is lovely. He has always given us great suggestions with kindness and understanding.

HUGS!!!! Don’t forget you are the greatest mom for trying to live your kid even when it’s easier to just be angry!!!! May Hashem love you and him and make your journey easy :-)

Remember you probably DO love this kid but it’s buried under a lot of exhaustion and hurt and pain. Doesn’t mean it’s not still there! If this kid would be your neighbors kid, and doing what your kid is doing , there’s no way you would keep the relationship going. It’s not worth it. But you love your kid enough to want to love him again, AND to find your love so that he can get it because you know he needs it. Even when you’re angry at him you’re worried and sad that you’re not giving him love.... what a mother you are!!!

Posting anon cuz my kid deserves privacy even if they’re challenging :-)

Ps - Ross Greene book on explosive children. And how to (parent? Don’t rememwber) children with intense emotions

Both made me cry to realize I (and child) weren’t crazy and that there is hope
Not that I’ve finished reading them or implementing (ha!) but at least there is a goal and hope
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Post  Tue, Sep 29 2020, 4:22 am
Burn out/deperession
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Post  Tue, Sep 29 2020, 5:17 am
I agree with the above poster who talked about not liking your child. I love all of my children but there is one I do not like very much. If I was to decide whether or not to be friends with this personality if I met up on the street, I would stay far away because the personality and bad character traits are so not for me. Makes me super stressed and annoyed. There's another child who I really like but is so abusive verbally lately because of a few issues the child is going through.

There are a few remedies I always need to remind myself of as it is so easy to slip into taking behavior personally and not seeing through the mistakes the child makes.

First, no guilt. For me, I always assumed I was at fault for not making sure a particular child was behaving according to my standards. But, no, I am a great mother (I have to convince myself of this!) and I don't regret the way I have handled things, this child is just making their own mistakes. One child blames me for a difficult childhood but I don't take that blame. Everyone has their challenges and this child has a hard time owning their own life and making good choices as well as accepting circumstances. Imagine if a child is blaming you for not affording the latest trends or needing glasses or needing special ed. Things beyond your control.

Second, you don't have to like your child. Your spouse, yes. You picked out your spouse but Hashem custom handed you this child. Hashem knows what you need even if you don't find it an easy enough situation to deal with most of the time.

Find times to bond with the child even if it's not what you'd pick. I stopped watching videos and TV a while back but for one particular child, we watched Mr. Bean episodes around midnight (on a school night) because we both just needed some healing laughter after a really hard day. This child keeps coming back to me wanting it again as the child really enjoyed this bonding. He is really a poor communicator and needed to feel something solid that we both could connect to. For another child it was going shopping together for a day before they went to a dorm. Long ride in the car, stop by the beach, tons of stores, buying a treat. I had no time for it but I stopped everything for a day of fun with someone I don't particular like being with. I love this child immensely but no liking 90% of the time. I have to pull out characteristics that I am proud of in that child. It happens to be we are very much not alike and it is hard to relate. I have another child who is a replica of me in personality and it is easy to like her. We like those who are like ourselves most easily. The hard work is finding ways to express your love in a relationship which is difficult. Just like a couple needs to work on shalom bayis especially in areas where they differ in views and personality, so too it is like that with children. Some children just flow nicely because they are like us enough but those children who are opposites and even ruin things to spite themselves, yes, they are hard to like.

Third, ignore the current behavior and choices. See their potential. Look at what a non-biased party might see in your child who never sees the bad behavior. I had to have someone else point out to me great attributes in my child that I couldn't see over the bad stuff. Once I looked at the child in that light, I saw amazing things about my child and I saw what there was to work on in the liking part. It's still a work in progress but it's obviously what Hashem wants me to work on now. Helps me gain patience and acceptance and love for ideas different than mine.
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Post  Wed, Sep 30 2020, 12:05 am
Wow. Thank you all for taking the time to give these thorough replies. It is so so appreciated!! I feel like I will have to keep reading them as necessary.
Thank you
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