Anybody else with an unloving child?

Tandi - posted on 06/15/2012 ( 21 moms have responded )

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Help! I have a beautiful five year old son, but he has NEVER told me he loves me, and he hates any physical contact with me whatsoever. He won't even sit next to me on the couch so I can read him a book. Ican literally count on one hand how many times he has kissed me or hugged me. I did some research online about Reactive Attachment Disorder, but the only problem is he isn't angry, hard to handle, or resentful in any way. He is vivacious, chatty, extremely genourous and kind (to almost everybody but me). He won't even admit to loving me when asked. He will, however, admit to loving his aunt, dad and brother, but thats it. I'm trying to be patient, but it really really hurts my feelings, and I don't know how to handle it. Any suggestions?

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Louise - posted on 06/16/2012

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Just stop! You are putting pressure on him to tell you he loves you and he is reacting to this. Dont ask to be told. You are being very needy here. You know he loves you, you dont need to be told, this is ridiculous. I do know how you feel, my eldest son is the same. He found emotions difficult to express and still does at the age of 21 although my other children (adult son 18 and daughter of 3.5) love a cuddle. It is just known that he loves me and I love him and very rarely he gives me a hug. I dont need to be told.

If you stop pressing the subject he will relax and not become defensive. Tell him you love him but dont expect a reply. You know in your heart he loves you.

Paulyn - posted on 06/16/2012

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My son (now 15) never showed affection as much as my daughter (who's 7) . I never got spontaneous hugs or kisses from him as a child. Although he cries when I leave for work, I do not get any welcome home affection. At 7, he was diagnosed with borderline ADHD but we have learned to live it by engaging him in sports. I have also asked him to give me hugs and kisses now and then instead of expecting spontaneous ones. I have also asked him to say 'I love you' back if he feels like it. It's heartbreaking at times but I thought that it's just the way he's wired, either because he had borderline ADHD or he's a boy or both. Now at 15 I still have to ask him to kiss me or to give me a hug, he even says 'I love you' on his own now. Accepting how my son shows affection has helped me cope with my own feelings of inadequacy and insecurities as a mother. Having a touchy-feely, affectionate daughter helps a lot, too.

Rosa - posted on 06/16/2012

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Don't worry about your son having a disorder. That's not the case. My son is the same way with his father. It doesn't mean anything. He loves my husband but won't show him. My husband is a great father. he doesn't let my husband see any of his drawings or when he does something cute. Its weird but I think he may feel intimidation. Maybe your son is the same way. My son tells me that daddy doesn't want to see his stuff when my husband shows nothing but interest in everything he does.

Lee Etta - posted on 06/16/2012

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Look into Asperger's. Does he make good eye contact? You need to research. Also, don't take what he does or doesn't do personally. It's how he IS and has nothing to do with you. Good luck.

Mom to a 10 year old girl and an 11 year old boy.

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Jodee - posted on 06/19/2012

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you know kids can be funny little monkeys ,he s 5 ,i dont think there is any thing wrong ,but it must be hard for you ,,ask him what he thinks love is ? ,it could be enlightening and try not to let him see that your feelings are hurt ,

Katrina - posted on 06/16/2012

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I think you're doing the right thing by getting him checked out, since you feel there's an issue of some kind. Also google "love languages for children". Everyone's love language is different. While you are more than likely showing your son you love him, in your love language, his love language may be different, and so is not "feeling" that love. Love languages are things like touch and kisses, time spent, saying I love you, buying things and acts of service. The love language is what we need to "hear" that we are loved. My kids feel loved most when we play together. My daughter also likes hugs and kisses, wheras my son doesn't like as much of this - possibly only because of his aspergers though. All the best with getting an appointment to see someone for your son.

Leila - posted on 06/16/2012

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A visit to Total Commuinication might help some kids have sensory issues. My son went to therapy at TC and it really helped!!

Anne - posted on 06/16/2012

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Have you considered having him evaluated by a professional; maybe he is a highly functioning autistic child? My son has Asperger's and had to be taught appropriate responses to social situations. Also, touch can be very upsetting to kids like this - it can overstimulate them.

Belinda - posted on 06/16/2012

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Sure, everyone is different, but he could have a sensory disorder or this might just be how he is. I think that you are doing the right thing to have him evaluated at least that way you will know!

Tandi - posted on 06/16/2012

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See, if my son would hug and kiss on ANYBODY I would be happy with that. On a few rare occasions I've seen him hug someone goodbye, but he has never initiated it, and it seems the older he gets, the less he'll even do that. The fact is, I've never seen him show empathy to anyone (if a friend is crying or hurt, he'll just say "why is he crying that loud? I've never cried THAT loud before" or something to that effect). But on the flip side, he has been able to maintain friends, and he's very generous and funny. My older son, the one with Asperger's has never been able to socialize, struggles with any situations that he can't control, has no "coping" skills whatsoever (a substitute teacher, for example, will turn his whole day in a catastrophe of epic porportions). My five year old isn't like that at all. Totally go with the flow. So my question is this: Is it possible to have two children who are completely and totally different in personality, and they STILL have the same syndrome/disorder?

Rosa - posted on 06/16/2012

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My husband does try the bribing! Lol. He buys him everything and won't get after him for anything because he's afraid that hell get worse. He tries so hard but my son will not budge. My son kisses me and hugs me and tells me he loves me all the time. My husband is jealous of it because I don't make the effort he does. I also have two older children ages 9 and 11 and my son also says he loves them.

Lee Etta - posted on 06/16/2012

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Your gut is telling you something is not right. The odds that your older son and your younger son both have the same problem is very high. I wholeheartedly believe it is genetic and even my daughter is not quite typical. My son has never liked to be touched and if I didn't breatsfeed him for a year he maybe never would have willingly touched me. He would wipe off my kisses for years. Granted, some of that was because he didn't like to be dirty but it's just not "normal". He is almost 12 and even now if I say "I love you" he will respond, "OK". I feel like you are in denial a bit. My exhusband STILL is.

Tandi - posted on 06/16/2012

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While I feel sorry for how you're husband must feel, I must say I'm a little relieved that there is someone else out there that knows that I'm going through. If I find out that he is completely normal and thats just his personality, absolutley nothing will change. I fell like I've given the impression that I'm pressuring him in some way, but that's not the case at all. He has no idea that it hurts my feelings, and I don't bribe or punish him into saying he loves me, or make him talk about his feelings, etc. I would never make him feel guilty, or treat him any differently because of it, I simply want to convey to him that I'm someone who loves him totally and completely, and I'm also someone he can trust and feel safe around. But perhaps I'm putting too much pressure on both of us.

Tandi - posted on 06/16/2012

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I initially did think it was Asperger's, my 11 year old has it, so I know all the signs and red flags, but it just doen't feel right. I've been doing some research on Reactive Attachment Disorder, and while he doesn't show every sign of it ( like I said, he isn't angry or hard to handle), that is the disorder he most closely resembles having. Also, in doing the reasrch I came across the reasons why some chidren would have RAD, one of which is postpartum depression in the mother, which I had with him, so maybe that's related somehow. Luckily, there is a family counseling service available in my area, and they deal with this kind of issue specifically, it's called Parent Child Involvment Therapy. I'm going to call them on Monday and see if they can help. Hopefully he is totally fine, just one of those kids that doesn't like talking about or showing emotion. (like most men, haha).

Kkrjrpleggett - posted on 06/16/2012

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I'm with Lee, it sounds a lot like Asperger's to me. It is a very highly functioning form of Autism. My cousin has it. He interacts with people, and is quite friendly but has a very hard time connecting on a personal level and expressing feelings of any kind.
Taking him to a professional for a diagnosis is a good idea, but do NOT expect it to Change him. He is who he is in this regard. You have to just accept your son for who he is and encourage him and love him in every way. He Does love people, including you, just don't expect him to say it every 10 seconds (or at all).

Dove - posted on 06/16/2012

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If you think he has bigger problems... seek professional help. Otherwise, I agree with Louise.

Sherry - posted on 06/16/2012

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I'm sure that is heart-breaking for you but some kids, like all people, are more affectionate than others. Just cotinue to let him know that you love him but don't expect anything in return. Eventually, when he's ready, he will tell you he loves you.

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But you indicated that he is loving and kind to everyone but you, so Louise has based her advice on that information. Seriously, if you believe there is a deeper problem with your son then my advice to you would be to seek professional help. We are just Mums here and can only offer advice from experience based on what you have told us. There won't be any harm in seeing a professional psych, you will either be told he is normal (then you can relax) or you will given a diagnosis and a solution/treatment. Good luck.

Tandi - posted on 06/16/2012

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I don't pressure him to tell me, and I tell him all the time that I love him without expecting a reply. But I do think that it's a sign of bigger problems that he can never talk about feelings, never show any empathy, and never interact with people on a personal level. I want him to be able to show feelings and emotion, even if it isn't with me. I don't think wanting your child to be loving or caring is ridiculous at all.

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