Monday, December 7, 2015

Raising a Difficult Child

My life is hard.  Like really hard.  On top of living in a foreign country without family and friends, I am raising (and home schooling) a child who has special needs without any relief or outside support.  Because of my son's special needs I find myself dealing with daily tantrums, regular flip-outs over the most bizarre and mundane things, and embarrassingly enough, screaming matches.  Yes, I have screaming matches with my seven year old child.  Yes, I know it's wrong.  Yes, I am consumed with relentless guilt and vow to stop each time.  I am no saint.  I'm only human.  A person can only take so much and when I know my child is purposely saying hateful things to get under my skin (hello, Oppositional Defiance Disorder!) I sometimes have difficulty not reacting.

Most days I offer nothing but unconditional love.  I mean, I spend every waking moment with my kid.  I gave up everything to stay home with him and teach him since traditional school was doing more harm than good.  I tell him every day repeatedly how much I love him.  I try to cuddle with him, hug him, and kiss him on his head even though I'm shoved away and told "no" each time.  My entire life revolves around my child because it has to.  Unfortunately, my son doesn't like me very much and enjoys telling me so on a daily basis.  Sigh.  Kids, am I right?

This is full truth time.  I make no effort, in this moment, to hide the fact that I'm struggling.  It's difficult to raise a child who hates you and doesn't want you around.  It's not easy to deal with such anxiety, tantrums, and freak outs each and every day.  I am envious of these people who seem to have these picture perfect children who are just so happy with life and love their parents so, so much.  Sometimes I ask my guides and god "Why wasn't I given a happier child?  An easier child?  Hell, a child that loves me as much as I love them?"  Why, indeed.

On good days I am able to come to terms with the card I've been dealt.  I am fully aware that with my struggles my son is struggling even more.  I am able to see clearly and know that this life is hard for him and I was put here to be his mother because I have it in me to give him what he needs.  I was meant for this.  On bad days, when I'm yelling back and acting out of anger and am so consumed with despair that I can't think straight, I have trouble remembering all those reasons and instead am finding myself filling up with rage and resentment.  It's in those moments that I am mentally throwing the middle finger up to all those "perfect families", the moms who don't deal with such struggles, and well, at life in general.  And boy do I wave that mental middle finger long and proud!

Today, I am having one of those bad days.  It started off really well.  Then *BAM* the tantrums and hateful words came out of nowhere.  Everything was my fault and no matter what I did or said I was only screamed at more.  So what did I do?  I snapped.  I yelled, I took privileges away, I sent him to his room and threatened to put him back in regular school if he didn't stop acting so awful.  Within seconds of being done with my outburst I was racked with regret.  And disappointment.  Good lord was I disappointed in myself.  I am a grown woman.  I should know better.  Then this voice in my head crept up and quietly said "You're human.  You're full of faults and that's ok.  No one is perfect."  It didn't make me feel much better but I could hear the truth in those words.

My goal recently has been to find my own inner peace.  It's crucial for my sanity and for my family's well being.  I've been searching for my inner zen that I can grasp at when I'm having an especially hard time.  A few weeks ago I discovered a little bit of that peace when we were on our evening walk.  My son was screaming and freaking out about god knows what and I stopped in the middle of the road in my village and closed my eyes.  I began taking deep breaths and relaxed my entire body and quickly found myself in this deep meditative state that I love where there's nothing in my brain; just darkness and silence.  It was glorious.  My son was screaming and tugging on my arm and repeatedly yelling "Mom. Mom. MOM!" But I continued for a few seconds longer knowing that there were no cars around us and that my son was fine.  He could wait a bit longer.  When I finally opened my eyes I felt better.  I calmly started walking again and maintained that sense of peace until I got home.  It was magical.  Unfortunately, the meditating doesn't always work so I've been actively looking for other ways to find inner peace.  The harder I work at it the more I believe I will be able to control my outbursts in the future and also become a better person and mother as a result.

I don't have a full plan on how to obtain this peace but I'm getting there.  I'm meditating twice a day.  I'm reading good books in the evenings and exercising in the mornings.  I'm trying to refrain from speaking negatively and trying to let my compassionate side really shine.  This website had some great tips I'm trying to put to use as well:

I clearly do not have life figured out just yet.  And I obviously have a lot of work to do as a parent and as a human being.  The point of this post was to vent a bit, yes, but to also show the truth behind my struggles because I believe we all go through them (big and small) and that should bring us closer together.  We shouldn't judge, we shouldn't tell others what to do.  We should encourage, be supportive, and simply seek to understand.  Every day is a new day, and despite the fact that my life isn't easy, I will never give up on trying to better myself and to help my child each and every day.  Even when he's driving me mad...

Thank you for reading my blog.

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