ionysis

"i Don't Like My Daughter"

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http://lifestyle.msn.com/your-life/family-parenting/article.aspx?cp-documentid=28895290&page=0

This mother explains how she found it difficult to love or even like her eldest daughter because her personality just didn't fit with the mothers expectations.

Before I had my baby this was one of my biggest fears "what if when she is born I decide I don't like her or want her?". I think many women feel like that when they are pregnant with their first child. Now I am pregnant with my second I feel "how can this baby ever match up to my first one - she is so perfect?". Once again I hear that this is also normal - to worry if you can love the second as much as the first.

Has anyone read "We Need To Talk About Kevin"? I found the book fascinating. Shriver focuses on the relative importance of innate characteristics vs. experience and upbringing in determining character and behaviour, and the book is particularly concerned with the possibility that the mothers ambivalence towards being a mum may have influenced her son's development (he commits a massacre at his high school). Was Kevin born evil thus provoking the mothers dislike (as she believes) or did her dislike and lack of love make him evil?

I have never met a mother who admitted to disliking her offspring but there must be many out there. How do you cope with a child who you actively dislike when at the same time you love them as their parent? Do all mothers blame themselves when their child exhibits unpleasant character traits or do you think some people just accept that their child has been born with inherant characteristics which makes them unlikeable?

I have certainly come across a few children (spiteful little brats) and thought "Thank God I don't have to try to love you!". But their parents seemed oblivious to their offsprings demonic proclivities.

What do you think of the article? Have you ever been ashamed of your child or disliked them?

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I found that book absolutely fab....although a little scary!

I have 3 kids and have loved them all (i hope equally) from the day they were born and never experienced some of the bonding issues i know that others have.

Yes i have been ashamed of my kids at certain points in their lives but has always been small things like when they were little biting or being horrible to other children, nothing major.

My eldest son has ADHD on a grand scale and quite honestly between the ages of 7 and 15 he was hell to live with. Was expelled from school etc etc and i can say that i found it extremely difficult to 'like' him at this point. Of course i still loved him just as much as the other two and things changed over time but a bit of me can understand someone saying that they love their children but they just don't like them....guess i will either be slated for this comment or will find out i'm not the only unfit mother on the planet lol

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I think lots of parents, if they were honest, would have to admit to not liking their children from time to time. Like and love are very, very different things and it's always foolish to confuse the two.

My brother had severe ADHD as a child, to the point where he would likely have been diagnosed as autistic in this day and age, and it was incredibly difficult to like him. Mum had much more patience with him than most people and even she found it hard. Poor thing didn't like me very much either for most of my adolescence (I can't blame her) so she had a few nightmare years with all that guilt! I expect if she were to read this story she'd have been right there patting the author on the shoulder in mute understanding.

The thing is nobody asked mothers to like every person on the planet before they became mothers so I don't see why they should be expected to like unlikable people afterwards - even if those people are their own children. The way we are is the way we are and as long as we love our kids it's pointless to beat ourselves up if they turn out to have characteristics, leanings, yearnings and beliefs that clash with our own. It's when that dislike translates to deliberate cruelty, neglect or downright abuse that it becomes a big problem in my book.

I think that the mothers that can honestly say they like as well as love their children should understand that they are blessed. I am one of these mothers and the lessons I learned from my brother's situation have always made me aware that I am very, very fortunate to have boys that I can actually relate to. Now I just have to hope that this continues into their adulthood.. :grin-nod:

The other part of this story is what happens when you realise that your parents are human beings with weaknesses, childhood traumas, frailties, peccadilloes and habits like anybody else. It's also quite conceivable that you really don't like them either - no matter how much you love them. I think to have both parents and children that you like as well as love would make a person a very, very fortunate being indeed.

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Its interesting to hear first hand experiences. Mine is still so little that I cannot imagine a time where I might want to wring her neck but I'm sure my own mother could testify to that being a relatively normal emotion for a parent at times!

I can totally understand not likeing your child at times, particularly if they are acting in disagreebale ways. I think I actually find it harder to understand parents who appear to be oblivious to their childrens bad behaviour and who make excuses for their nastiness. I saw a small boy the other day (7 or 8 probably) who was HITTING his nanny / maid having a tantrum and the mother just completely ignored this behaviour. The poor woman herself didn't do anything to stop him (probably too scared to discipline him). It just made me cringe. His mother probably boasts to all her friends about what a wonderful son she has.... how people can be so willfully bind I don't know. I would imagine that teachers have numerous example of this sort of thing where the parents say "oh no, my little Johnny would never do X".

I suppose the thing in this article that bothers me is that the mother didn't dislike her child because the child was being malicious or vindictive or anything like that but because she was weak and sickly and didn't live up to what her mother wanted in a daughter (someone vivacious and sociable and strong willed). That just seems awful to me.

I can't say I really had any expectations as to what "type" of child I wanted / want so I cannot understand that sense of disappointment. I imagine though that my husband might feel a little bit that way if we had a boy who was one of the "wets, weirdos and fatties" who wanted to read instead of play sports and cried if he fell over. Being the strong sporty type himself (he played every sport going and used to box for the Navy) having a "nerd" son would be tough for him. Perhaps I would feel the same if my daughter grows up to be a selfish, vain, preening little thing only interested in makeup and boys, who knows....

But surely one of the most important things about being a parent is to love your children for who they are and accept they are individuals not extensions of the parents or a way to fulfil the parents own latent ambitions secondhand.

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I absolutely love my boys-unconditionally.

Sometimes I don't like them.

I am sure if every parent was totally honest they all have felt like this at some point even if it's momentarily.

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My first child was a gorgeous girl. She was a dream baby for a first child. Cannot complain at all.

When I found out I was pregnant with my son, I nearly died. I did not, under any circumstances want a boy. No logical reason for this, just my daughter was so wonderful & I couldn't imagine a boy being the same. It devastated me. I know that is selfish but that is how I felt. Not to mention the scan that came back suggesting he might have Edward's syndrome.

Once he was born (perfectly healthy) & for the first 9 months, I understood why some mothers kill their babies. It was awful. He was a nightmare.

But by 12 months old, he was all of a sudden my pride & joy & still is. He has his moments but he is just to die for, as is my delightful daughter. I would do anything for them & am so lucky to have them, faults & all. Would not give them up for the world.

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The following is meant for the parents of disabled children, but in reality it could be as relevant to those who have children who end up not being quite as they expected.

Welcome to Holland

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay. The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

Emily Perl Kingsley 1987

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OH GOD Flashy don't say that!!!! My daughter is about as close to a perfect baby as you can get - never cries, always laughing and smiling eats, sleeps perfectly etc.... I just know the next one is going to be the spawn of satan to even the scales!

That is a beautiful little parable AT.

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What an amazing way to put raising a child with a disability AT. My youngest brother has Asbergers and a good dose of fetal drug and alcohol (he's adopted) and he was not an easy child to love, especially now that he's gone the same path as his biological mother, and I can always remember my mother saying "I love him, but sometimes I don't like him"

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I don't think it's more than normal that parents don't like their children sometimes. Hell, I don't like my husband sometimes and I got to "pick" him, rather than play the genetic lottery and see what comes out so to speak. ;)

Also, as a Dutchie I must add that the Netherlands is in fact a much nicer place than Italy in pretty much every way :P

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OH GOD Flashy don't say that!!!! My daughter is about as close to a perfect baby as you can get - never cries, always laughing and smiling eats, sleeps perfectly etc.... I just know the next one is going to be the spawn of satan to even the scales!

That is a beautiful little parable AT.

I wouldn't give him back for the world. An amazing, but freaky, gorgeous boy! You just have to work through it all, as difficult as it may be.

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Hell, I don't like my husband sometimes and I got to "pick" him, rather than play the genetic lottery and see what comes out so to speak. ;

Brilliant! LOL

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There are absolutely times that i am mortified by my kids, as happens to us all. But i agree with ionysis about the article in itself. The mother was more concerned about the things about her child that were inherent to her personality, and that i find troubling. It makes me wonder what we expect when we're pregnant. I personally had no expectations about my children before they arrived, and i think that going into it without any preconceptions (excuse the pun) was probably a good thing. I never expected my kids to be a certain way, nor did I daydream of what they'd be like personality-wise. I actually find that a bit odd tbh, but that's just me. And my kids are vastly different people. DD is outgoing, a bit of a diva, and quite mad at times. DS is a bit more shy and retiring, but goofy too, and is very cautious and guarded, but also quite mad at times, hehehe.

I guess maybe it's about keeping your expectations/imagination in check and not talking yourself into expecting a 'perfect' child. And i think most of us do that anyway, without having to think about it. I don't know any women who spent time imagining what their child will be like personality-wise, they spent more time worrying about other things (as did i!). Obviously the writer of the article wasn't so good at reigning it in!

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There are absolutely times that i am mortified by my kids, as happens to us all. But i agree with ionysis about the article in itself. The mother was more concerned about the things about her child that were inherent to her personality, and that i find troubling. It makes me wonder what we expect when we're pregnant. I personally had no expectations about my children before they arrived, and i think that going into it without any preconceptions (excuse the pun) was probably a good thing. I never expected my kids to be a certain way, nor did I daydream of what they'd be like personality-wise. I actually find that a bit odd tbh, but that's just me. And my kids are vastly different people. DD is outgoing, a bit of a diva, and quite mad at times. DS is a bit more shy and retiring, but goofy too, and is very cautious and guarded, but also quite mad at times, hehehe.

I guess maybe it's about keeping your expectations/imagination in check and not talking yourself into expecting a 'perfect' child. And i think most of us do that anyway, without having to think about it. I don't know any women who spent time imagining what their child will be like personality-wise, they spent more time worrying about other things (as did i!). Obviously the writer of the article wasn't so good at reigning it in!

I didn't think the author of the article had spent inordinate amounts of time daydreaming over how she expected things to be. Indeed I don't think she realised until well after the telling off from her friend that she had a subconscious expectation that her daughter would be like her. Ceara, its sounds to me that your kids' "madness" doesn't worry you at all - perhaps because it's a little reflection of you? (I mean that in the nicest possible way - the lovely mad as opposed to the scary mad or lunatic mad) The hardest thing to accept would be a child that you gave birth to that wasn't anything like you or your husband and, what's more, with permanent qualities that you actually find a little repugnant. Sometimes those qualities could even be virtues that are the flipside the one's vices - a bit like Saffy and Edina in "Absolutely Fabulous".

Problem is - if your child really is so fundamentally disagreeable to you at your most unconscious level, how easy would it be to favour another, easier child to like?

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I didn't think the author of the article had spent inordinate amounts of time daydreaming over how she expected things to be. Indeed I don't think she realised until well after the telling off from her friend that she had a subconscious expectation that her daughter would be like her. Ceara, its sounds to me that your kids' "madness" doesn't worry you at all - perhaps because it's a little reflection of you? (I mean that in the nicest possible way - the lovely mad as opposed to the scary mad or lunatic mad) The hardest thing to accept would be a child that you gave birth to that wasn't anything like you or your husband and, what's more, with permanent qualities that you actually find a little repugnant. Sometimes those qualities could even be virtues that are the flipside the one's vices - a bit like Saffy and Edina in "Absolutely Fabulous".

Problem is - if your child really is so fundamentally disagreeable to you at your most unconscious level, how easy would it be to favour another, easier child to like?

[b"]Growing up, I had hoped to someday have a daughter, and I had a clear vision of what she would be like: vivacious, spunky, and whip-smart, socially savvy and self-assured"

That sounds to me like a bit of thought about what the child would be like , regardless of whether it's like or unlike the parent, and also quite a heap of attributes to assign to a newborn! I don't know, i guess the main thing for me was that the expectation over-rode any empathy.

And by no means do I think she's a bad mother, because in writing this she clearly has acknowledged the situation and is getting on with setting things to rights.

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I love my kids but I dont like them sometimes.Ive read the artical and after an hr or so I have mixed feeling for her,as she has of herself....Oh so spooky 'case 39' has just started...If anyone would like to read 'we need to talk about Kevin' I have read it and happy to pass it on.R

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My eldest child is a girl and since she was about three we've had huge problems with her (she, like her brothers, was a perfect baby). I don't think she's ever forgiven me for having my first son and her behaviour dominates our home. She is constantly picking on her brothers, checking that I'm not favouring them (I sometimes have to hug them without her looking -- particularly the eldest boy with whom she has a particular problem with), and regularly screams and disobeys me if she doesn't like what I say. She will say the worst things imaginable when she's angry (wishing me dead, wishing her brothers dead etc..) The problems escalate during weekends and holidays when she gets bored and every summer I find myself looking through the phone directory for therapists although in Ireland I never actually went through with it.

When she 'loses it' something which happens in a major way every month or two, it is scary. When she was four a friend had called over so that her kids could play in the paddling pool out in the garden. Suddenly her daughter came running in sobbing followed by my daughter who was screaming profanities that I didn't even know she knew and was so crazy I had to haul her upstairs to her bedroom and lock her in as she was lashing out like a lunatic. That was the first meltdown, afterwards she couldn't explain why she did it just that the girl was annoying her. That was the last time I saw that friend, she was angry with me for 'allowing' my daughter to behave in such a way, but I couldn't stop her.

In RAK last year we had several weeks of meltdowns on a daily basis resulting in her refusal to go to school one morning -- I couldn't get her into the car so I ended up dragging her out to the car while she bit, kicked and screamed at me (she's drawn blood on me several times). Each time I got her in the seat with seatbelt on, she'd climb out as I took off (she had an Arabic test that day and didn't want to do it). Eventually a neighbour came out to ask if I was ok (I was pretty crazy looking) and I just started sobbing and sobbing like a madwoman. After that I made an appointment to see the school counsellor who saw my daughter each week for 'play therapy' which really was like trying to put out a fire with a water pistol. However, when I told my daughter I was pregnant I also added that if she ever hit me during the pregnancy I'd never forgive her. Amazingly she didn't. It got better and the meltdowns became less violent. Until recently. I don't doubt that our latest move has unsettled her but she's back to her old ways again. I will be making an appointment to see someone very soon as we're heading into the summer holidays and whatever chance there is of dealing with her when dh is with us, dealing with it alone is pretty scary.

Of course this has to be down to me, somewhere along the line I've fucked up, but for the life of me I don't know how. My sons are easy, very loving and generally obedient. They never take their anger out on me. My daughter is angry about something and its heartbreaking to witness because that aside, she's a very bright, articulate, creative and beautiful girl. She is perfect in school and very sociable. I worry that this will destroy her potential as an adult. When she's being nice, she's a delight and I like and love her very much. When she's being horrible I honestly wish she'd just go away because I dislike her immensely.

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Chiara, it sounds to me more like a genetic issue, like depression or ADHD, perhaps even a mild form of autism, than something you've done. You need to take her to see a proper psychiatrist rather than a school therapist, and you need to stop blaming yourself, because that won't help your daughter.

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I don't think that its true that this must "somehow" be your fault Chiara. I believe that as much of people's character is inherant as taught.

Without attempting to be an armchair phychiatrist she sounds exactly like a girl friend of mine who suffers from borderline personality disorder (thats not as bad as it sounds!). She is such a lovely and loving girl but it can be challenging to be friends with her at times. Quite often she misperceive things and totally without reason interprets conversations around her in the worst possible light and jumps to conculsions that people are offending her in some way when they totally aren't. Friends turn from

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Chiara, it really doesn't sound like something you could have helped, to me it sounds like part of her personality and honestly I believe they are born that way.

My eldest have been high maintenance from day one. Literally. My mom stayed with us the first 3 weeks of her life and she was so exhausted when it was time to leave. She as baby only slept 7 hours in every 24 (and I counted even ten minutes naps in there too. I had to take records to give a true impression to the doc as he would not believe me). She got better at roughly 4 weeks, then grew into a very opinionated and many tantrums little toddler.

For us she really started calming down when her really calm sister started influencing her. My second was just born calm, friendly and a true teddy bear.

She is a dreamer, she does get naughty too of course but she is in a dream world and any disciplining at all is just nothing she would look at you with the biggest smile or dramatise a "sad face" and say sorry mommy, I am soooo sorry mommy I will never ever do that again" hanging her face, scrunching her shoulders and the whole bit. One cracks up at this and she gets away with murder, but she will then desist and there would be no tantrums etc, like we had with the first.

Now the second would sometimes copy the first but ever since I told the first I am not a fool I know you set her up to do it, so wont punish her but will punish you instead she has started to be better about it and the eldest is now starting the copy the calmer nature of the second so things are really looking up.

My view has always been even though she is high maintenance she is so lovable and such a darling I just have to soldier through the maintenance. And I see it as that rather than her being evil or anything.

She craves attention and every evening is finished with cuddles and telling her how much I love her. If its been a bad day I re iterate that I love her dearly and will always love her no matter what but her behaviour I did not love. She craves that before she sleeps so I make a point that she never goes to bed sad or mad.

So with all that being said, I will always love them dearly, but there is definitely times that I dont like their actions much and if there has been too many incidents in one day I tend to remove myself from them and tell them mom's on a time out. Much better for the sanity.

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[b"]Growing up, I had hoped to someday have a daughter, and I had a clear vision of what she would be like: vivacious, spunky, and whip-smart, socially savvy and self-assured"

That sounds to me like a bit of thought about what the child would be like , regardless of whether it's like or unlike the parent, and also quite a heap of attributes to assign to a newborn! I don't know, i guess the main thing for me was that the expectation over-rode any empathy.

And by no means do I think she's a bad mother, because in writing this she clearly has acknowledged the situation and is getting on with setting things to rights.

It could be along the lines of how you expect your wedding day to be - you have an idea but you don't spend ages mooning about it until, perhaps, you're there. I think this lady, if she was accurately described by her husband, was a Ms Fixit who spent a lot of time "just getting on with it" and racing through life doing all the socially acceptable things, meeting her milestones, living a predictable yet fulfilling life because she was ticking lots of boxes. Nothing much had seemingly ever fazed her so this daughter, nothing like herself or her husband, must have been a huge surprise.

I don't think anybody assigns the list of qualities she thought her daughter would have to a newborn - but you might hope your newborn grows into all of those things and be mightily disappointed if not even one of them were to be true.

Chiara you said your daughter laid off hitting you whilst you were pregnant after you threatened never forgiving her. I thought that was fairly significant because it would have proven to me that she is capable of controlling her violent outbursts for extended periods of time and she so clearly she wants her mother's approval. That has to be a positive sign surely?

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Chiara you said your daughter laid off hitting you whilst you were pregnant after you threatened never forgiving her. I thought that was fairly significant because it would have proven to me that she is capable of controlling her violent outbursts for extended periods of time and she so clearly she wants her mother's approval. That has to be a positive sign surely?

Absolutely AT, she has proven time and time again that she CAN control it, which almost makes it worse that she chooses continues to behave in this way. She's a lot like me in many ways, one of which is an 'in for a penny in for a pound' mentality which means that once she's started to lose her rag she almost surrenders to it as if 'well, I'm in trouble now anyway so I may as well really be in trouble.' As soon as she starts I'll say 'please, don't do this now, it's not worth it' but she'll say 'I don't care' and then all is lost. I wonder if anger management would help....

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Absolutely AT, she has proven time and time again that she CAN control it, which almost makes it worse that she chooses continues to behave in this way. She's a lot like me in many ways, one of which is an 'in for a penny in for a pound' mentality which means that once she's started to lose her rag she almost surrenders to it as if 'well, I'm in trouble now anyway so I may as well really be in trouble.' As soon as she starts I'll say 'please, don't do this now, it's not worth it' but she'll say 'I don't care' and then all is lost. I wonder if anger management would help....

I think learning to control her temper when she's lost it a little would be of immense benefit to her. It could save her some very embarrassing memories and social gaffes later on and in the long run it could only be a wonderful skill for her to have.

My DH's sister used to lose her rag as a girl, holding her breath until she passed out or literally rolling on the ground kicking and screaming, unfortunately most often in public. Her mother was a popular politician and SIL must've worked out that embarrassing her was a good way of getting what she wanted. Now SIL is a politician herself and half the town still recalls the titanic tantrums she used to have as a kid. If her own kids did what she used to do I'd have thought it unfair to have to pay twice for the same sin, but as it happens she gave her kids serious consequences to face for that kind of behaviour so they learned very quickly to have their tantrums at home. :biggrin:

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I think learning to control her temper when she's lost it a little would be of immense benefit to her. It could save her some very embarrassing memories and social gaffes later on and in the long run it could only be a wonderful skill for her to have.

My DH's sister used to lose her rag as a girl, holding her breath until she passed out or literally rolling on the ground kicking and screaming, unfortunately most often in public. Her mother was a popular politician and SIL must've worked out that embarrassing her was a good way of getting what she wanted. Now SIL is a politician herself and half the town still recalls the titanic tantrums she used to have as a kid. If her own kids did what she used to do I'd have thought it unfair to have to pay twice for the same sin, but as it happens she gave her kids serious consequences to face for that kind of behaviour so they learned very quickly to have their tantrums at home. :biggrin:

That's the problem, in public she is perfect and wouldn't dream of letting anyone else see her behave like this -- the tantrums are reserved entirely for me in the privacy of our home. Like your SIL, she obviously feels she gains something from the outbursts although I can't for the life of me think what that might be.

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