I think one of the hardest things for any parent to admit to themselves is that there may be something wrong with one of their children. Admitting that you may have failed, in some small way, at recognising the signs or that you may have got it wrong, for so many years, is always a little difficult, well it has been for me.
My oldest son is 23 years old and I’ve battled for at least 10 of those last years to understand him and why he does some of the things he does. Our family life has been an ongoing battle for most of those years as we’ve navigated the seemingly bad behaviour through the teenage years and then through early adulthood with some on-going patterns of concerning behaviour.
I’ve struggled for many years to maintain the peace between my son and his step-father. I’ve heard the ‘he’s lazy, he doesn’t care, and he needs to do…’ scenarios for too many years. These are then coupled with the contrasting ‘why won’t he get off my back, I didn’t mean to, I don’t know why….’ responses. Being the meat in the sandwich is a common feeling for me.
Recently an on-line friend wrote about the dramas in her family, with her husband being diagnosed with a medical condition earlier this year. I read his initial words describing his last few years with interest, curiosity and then something akin to terror. His words triggered a light in my head. Okay, if I’m honest, the light has been shining dimly for roughly a year but I chose to ignore it, I wanted to wish it away, pretend I hadn’t considered it.
Too many of the experiences and explanations that I’ve now read have made the puzzle pieces of my eldest son’s life fit together in a more understandable way. I’m no doctor; I have no formal diagnosis to base my feelings on – so I may be jumping way ahead of myself and I’m also very aware of the dangers of self-diagnosis and online advice.
I do know that now it makes me view my son and his behaviour in a different light, it’s also helped me, because while it doesn’t excuse the behaviour it at least helps me to understand there may be another reason for it. As a result, I’m not getting so angry and frustrated with him.
My on-line friend’s husband has provided an insight into the inner workings of what my son might be going through and has provided some ideas on how to approach this, how to talk to him and has also helped reassure me that my son really is okay. Mums worry a lot, or I do at least.
His insights have reassured me that my son has developed coping mechanisms and that my worries are only because I’m considering what’s not normal in my eyes, not what is ‘normal’ for my son and has been for years.
We have a long way to go, acceptance and perhaps medical assistance down the track if it’s required are the next steps, but it’s all slowly does it for now. Thinks are okay for the moment and my eyes are now wide open.
The urge to do battle and fight to protect your child from the ‘big bad world’ doesn’t diminish as they get older. Strong advice is that, apparently, the more normal and calmly that I approach this, the less threatening it’s likely to be, because in his eyes there is no problem ‘it’s normal’.
Have you tried to ignore the ‘mummy’ instinct which indicates things may not be totally right and what’s been the best advice you’ve received?
This is an original World Moms Blog post by Inspiration to Dream of Adelaide, South Australia. Fiona is the writer of Inspiration to Dream and can be found writing or reading in every spare moment that isn’t filled up with work her three boys, her baby grandson and, of course, with a bit of spare time thrown in for hubby as well.
The image is courtesy of Dynamite Imagery and meets the terms and conditions of use of the Free Digital Photos website