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01 Oct 2007

Being a single mom
Hi CS,

I always thought that raising a little boy is not difficult and all I need to do is give him lots of love and everything will be fine, but now I see that it's not that easy! I never had trouble looking after my little one on my own, but now that he's two years old and almost whining all the time I am starting to lose it and I really struggle on my own, I feel sad after I've hit him on his bum, but that's the only time he listens to me, but I fear that it will have an effect on his future. I want my son to be happy and I don't know how to make him happy, I try to play with him, but he's so angry sometimes that I can't always play with him. Sometimes when I want to hug and kiss him he just hits me in my face and that hurts a lot, how can I give him love when most of the time he wants to hit me in my face? I tried to show him how he must touch me and not hit me, but he doesn't want to listen, so I hit him on his hands and it stops for a little while. I'm just so confused, because I try to give as much attention as possible, I do what daddies do, I throw him up in the air even though my back hurts, I let him sit on my back and pretend that I'm a horse, but I feel like I can't give him all he needs to be a happy child! I don't know what to do anymore, when my son falls asleep I am disappointed in myself about how we spend our evenings together. I am so afraid that I'm going to raise an unhappy child who's going to be a screwed up teenager and think about suicide all the time! I don't have that much patience anymore and I feel aggressive during the day!
Answer 400 views

01 Jan 0001

It's not your job to make him happy --- just to keep him safe and loved, and let him find happiness for himself. It sounds like maybe you're not always really in tune with his moods and needs, so you get a reaction you don't expect. And it sounds as though behind all this is a sense that somehow you're a failure for being a single mother, and guilty about this situation, when you actually are probably a very good mother, but maybe being rather hard on yourself.
The one thing you can do which wil, absolutely guarantee that he grows into a crewed up child, would be suicide, so reject that option very firmly. You need to see a good local counsellor for yourself, to sort out your concerns about being a good-enough mother, and your other concerns, and this will benefit both of you.
And remember that phrase, which comes from a dear friend of mine, the late Dr John Bowlby, who after much research and observation, emphasized the need for a "good-enough" mother --- not a saint, not a genious, not Leonardo da VInci in a skirt, but someone who, like you do, provides the basic minimum needs of the child. I think you're doing fine at that task.
Programs like SuperNanny and other child-rearing shows on BBC Prime are excellent for showing how applying very simple rules of discipline work powerfully. Have clear and consistent rules that attend only to essential matters ; apply them calmly. And reward him with attention for doing things right, and by withdrawing attention when he misbehaves
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