I feel like a horrible mother

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-23-2009
I feel like a horrible mother
Wed, 09-23-2009 - 9:23pm

I feel like a horrible mother. My soon to be 6 year old son has recently been diagnosed with ADHD and I missed the cues. He used to tell me last year in kindergarten that "he wants to do so good, but his brain won't let him" and I ignored it. I should've seen it. I was ADD as a child. Why didn't I see this? what is that much more important in my life that I didn't pay enough attention to my own child? what kind of mother am I??? the punishments, the lectures, the groundings, the lack of play time... I scolded him for what was physically incapable of doing. The weekends he spent inside...alone...with no toys or no TV or no friends... I did this to him... and why??? because I was too stupid to see what I should have known. I should have known better... I was one of the first wave of children to be diagnosed with ADD, and once on medication, I did a complete 180 and actually enjoyed being a kid.. I'm 31 now.. and I have a failed as a parent. How can I ever make this up to my son? he is my everything.. my baby.. I've never really, truly thought that he was ever behaving like this because he enjoyed being disruptive... or fidgety...or having temper tantrums...but why did it take me so long to recognize this??? this same thing was MY nemesis as a kid!! He's so smart; reading at a fourth grade level and understanding algebra at 5. I suppose the "gifted" diagnoses suppressed my reality. Shame on me... I have failed.

I'm not looking for support... I really just needed to vent. I should be ashamed of myself for what I've put him through, and my failure to alert his teachers; causing them to put him through the same rigors I have subjected him to. He is brilliant, charming, comical and beautiful. How dare I????

Avatar for kathyjoenathan
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-04-2003
Thu, 09-24-2009 - 9:49am

I'm sure we have all felt horrible about things we have done regarding our children - regrets.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Thu, 09-24-2009 - 1:40pm

You are a parent, you will make mistakes. A bigger one at this point will be not to forgive yourself--cheer up, he's SIX! You've most likely caught it in time that he's not going to be one of those kids who hates school because he associates it with failure, because he's going to be able to succeed!

Hang in there, if you show him the real understanding that you just showed in that email, I bet he'll be so happy & you two will be so much better able to cope. You're still going to run into plenty of people who think "oh, it's just parenting", "oh, just discipline the kid more", etc. But YOU know differently! Even with the ADHD diagnosis, it can be hard to figure out what's the kid vs. the ADHD, even for the kid, especially if you're trying to find the right dose of meds...I know I've blamed my kid for stuff that, in retrospect, was clearly the ADHD, and that's with a diagnosis.

And you can even use it as a life lesson for your kid--not sure about at age 6, but I try to make sure my kids know I'm not perfect, and neither will they be as parents, that kind of thing.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2008
Thu, 09-24-2009 - 2:05pm

Don't beat yourself up. Everyone makes mistakes as parents, everyone. Even if you regret specific situations, teaching your child that there are consequences for actions is not such a bad thing if you look at it big-picture. Our son still gets in trouble for behaviors related to ADHD. For instance, his medication wasn't working quite right at the beginning of the school year and he shoved a friend's face into a wall at school. Mortifying! He was sent to the principal's office for that and we made him write a note to that friend apologizing (which went along with my own note to his parents). He also had a very long time-out and was grounded. Having ADHD isn't a free pass for bad behavior. We're more lenient and understanding with certain issues -- for instance, trouble focusing in class -- when it's appropriate.

Parenting is a real rollercoaster ride and just know you're not alone in having regrets. The key is to learn from mistakes and move forward with that knowledge.


iVillage Member
Registered: 06-15-2008
Thu, 09-24-2009 - 8:00pm

oh my gosh, this is me and my guilt! I told my husband the other day that I am definitely not winning a Mother of the Year award this year! Same thing - took everything away, etc. And the kicker is that I asked a guidance counselor to observe her in kindergarten b/c I believed she had ADHD. When she called to give me her assessment, she said no. Well, 2 yrs later with too many incidents at school to count, she now has the diagnosis and we're just beginning the road of medication. I wish we'd been able to do something sooner. But she is our oldest and in a way, our benchmark. How were we to know kids could act differently?

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-03-2007
Fri, 09-25-2009 - 10:45am
Just like the others have said~ Don't beat yourself up over this.
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-16-2006
Sat, 09-26-2009 - 8:39pm

My son,3,