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tedibear's avatar

Have your children ever behaved so badly that you weren’t sure you loved them?

Asked by tedibear (18536points) 1 month ago

I am not a parent, and as I ask this question, I am not judging anyone who has been through what I am going to ask.

Have you ever been so upset with your child’s behavior that you weren’t sure you loved them? I’m not talking about a child who has done anything heinous. Behavior that, while terrible, is not unheard of. I’ve heard parents talk about being extremely angry, feeling hopeless about terrible behavior, not liking their child at that moment, and being at a breaking point of frustration. Never, until today, have I ever heard anyone say they don’t think they love their children. Even after trying to clarify that deep inside she loves her kids, she said, “No, I’m really not sure I do.”

The “she” in this case is my co-worker. I’m not going into the details because I’m just trying to fathom not loving your children. Or even thinking that you don’t. Anyone?

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13 Answers

Jeruba's avatar

I have heard more than one parent say, “I love my son, of course. But I don’t think I like him very much.”

If a child—not a little one going through a phase, but someone who’s old enough to understand what he’s doing and be accountable for it—is truly hateful and abusive toward a parent, the parent might well find it hard to sustain a loving feeling.

“Upset with their behavior” probably doesn’t describe it, though.

It might be that the love isn’t worn out, but the parent is.

SEKA's avatar

No. She does have days that I don’t like her very much, but I will always love her

cookieman's avatar

No. I have thought of selling her, but I’d still love her from afar. ~

YARNLADY's avatar

I make it “me”, wondering what I did wrong, and how to correct it.

lastexit's avatar

No. I’ve always loved my son but I haven’t always liked him. I admit there were times I wished I’d never had him or that I’d put him up for adoption at birth. The feeling passes.

snowberry's avatar

I have a kid that’s very difficult to love-or even like. But real love isn’t a warm fuzzy feeling. It motivates me to do the right thing even when it hurts. It means keeping really clear boundaries and refusing to be manipulated. That’s what I did, and that’s what I’ll keep on doing until she comes around.

Pandora's avatar

I would have to say no because I know what it’s like to love and adore someone and then suddenly lose that love like it never existed. I’m pretty simple. Either I love you or I don’t. Even when my kids made me upset or angry my natural response was to be hurt, not hate them. No matter how angry I get I always remember how much I love them. It may be they just never went far enough over the line where I could hate them. I suppose anyone can make you hate them, but it has never occurred with my children. By most standards, people think my kids are perfect and I am lucky and blessed. I agree with that, but they are human and have flaws, but their flaws aren’t that bad but they aren’t perfect either. Then again neither am I.

LadyMarissa's avatar

I don’t have children, but I do remember my Mom saying to both me & my brother ”I don’t like you very much today but that doesn’t mean that I won’t love you forever” & then she’d hug us!!!

Inspired_2write's avatar

There is a huge difference from loving a child and hating there behavior.

Its the bad behavior that these people hate, not the child.

Being a mature parent, one would understand that the children need a loving parent/parents to guide them though difficult times in there lives because the parents have been through it to learn and teach them as well on how to survive and mature throughout life.

When you state whether one no longer loves a child its NOT that the love diminished but rather the frustration in dealing with the behaviors that put a strain on the parents.
Counselling or even just a little research on childhood stages will help combat bad behavior in a understanding, lovable way.

The child needs to know that whatever is thrown at them that there parent is there to keep them on track in a loving understanding way, and THAT is loving a child!

Jeruba's avatar

@Inspired_2write, I don’t think you can make an absolute generalization like that. Some people might not feel the same as you.

But the OP didn’t say anything at all about hating. It’s quite possible to hate someone even while you love them. She asked about not loving, which is a different matter. A parent who is utterly beaten down and emotionally exhausted might simply not have the strength to sustain love. I can imagine that.

And of what relevance are childhood stages when you’re talking about a child who is 35?

@tedibear, your coworker is in terrible pain, and it’s apt to spill over into everything she does. She needs to talk to someone who is professionally trained and not at all emotionally involved. Does your company have an EAP program available?

seawulf575's avatar

No, but they have gotten me so mad with their behavior that I think they were sure I didn’t love them anymore. But isn’t that true of most kids? I went into parenting with one key rule: keep a sense of humor about you. They are going to do things that will make you want to pull your hair out, but later on, you see the humor in the situation. I look back and see some of the things my kids did that were horrible, but I never stopped loving them. I got mad at them, sure, but that’s not the same thing.

kritiper's avatar

Everybody else’s children make me feel that way. SO glad I don’t have any of my own!!!

tedibear's avatar

@All – Thank you for your responses. I didn’t think her reaction was “normal” of most parents, but I’m not a parent.

@Jeruba, yes, she is in pain. I know anxiety is an issue for her, and I believe she may suffer from depression as well. I’m not a professional, but I know some of the signs. I had not thought of suggesting our EAP program, and I thank you for that.

I am worried about her children, especially the two boys. (Ages 9 and 6.) There was another awful incident and she started talking about sending them to “military school.” I took this to mean some type of school with very strict discipline. In my opinion, that’s setting them up for even more issues.

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