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I have been gone for a while, and trying to catch up, but Palmer suggested that I try to help. However, after reading this, I have more questions than I have answers. I will relay some of the questions that I have as I go through the post.

I've read many of the discussions on this board relating to your kids and so many of you just seemed thrilled by them. I was extremely ill before, during and after the birth of my son - and even he almost died shortly after the birth. With this in mind shouldn't I be ecstatic to see his wee face every day?

You don't say whether or not he was born premature, and if so, how premature. At the same time, you don't tell what sort of problems he had after birth. High on my list of possibilities is some sort of brain damage.

Unfortunately for me, I find child-rearing absolutely mind-numbing. For the past 3.5 years I have smiled through gritted teeth, I have walked the floors, I have remained calm throughout all provocation, I have done absolutely everything by the book.

There is nothing wrong with this, as long as you remember that every child has a different book. Some books on general approaches to child rearing that I could recommend are those authored by Dr. John Rosemond. However, you don't tell what book you are using. What sort of discipline techniques are you using?

But I'm suppressing my true nature in order to give him the best possible start in life and as a result I'm absolutely stressed out and exhausted.

And this stress is being picked up by your son, almost certainly.

What is my reward?

This is not normal. Something has gone wrong somewhere - but where????

He wakens me in the morning 6.30am...


...usually by punching me across the side of the head, beating me with a heavy toy, biting me, puliing me out of bed by the hair, etc.

Not normal. What consequences does he get?

He shows no compassion if I end up in tears, in fact when he says "Don't cry" and I look into his face I know he wouldn't care if I cried all day long.

Why? What is it that gives you that idea? You don't seem to be well connected to him based on your other comments, so why do you think he doesn't care?

Naturally I explain to him that that's not nice and he shouldn't be so naughty.

This is not of any significance by itself. What sort of consequences does he have?

I could understand it if he was living with violence or witnessed it at home or even on the TV but he doesn't. This violence is his frustation because I don't do what he wants fast enough.

Why do you say that? And what have you done to teach him that your life does not revolve around his? This should have been taught to him - by action, not by words - when he was two. That is what makes the terrible twos so terrible.

The only logical explanation I have is that "Familiarity breeds contempt". I have no help from family and can't seem to 'let go' to trust a babysitter. Of course, no-one can look after him the way I can!?

You say that child rearing leaves you mind-numbed. If that is so, why can't you leave hime with a babysitter? I would think you would want to!!! There is something missing from the story - it could be something that you are don't want to admit to yourself.

My mother-in-law has told me that she was unable to take her son (my husband) anywhere from the age of four because he got so abusive towards her in public - even though you couldn't meet a more placid adult! There seems to be a strong argument for nature versus nurture here.

This is interesting, but I don't see how it fits in. It sounds like you are trying to say that your son has bad genes, and there is nothing that you can do about it - it is your cross to bear. But it does bring up the question - where is your husband in all of this?

I feel so guilty that I'm failing somehow. But in truth I get very little pleasure from my monotonous day. Is there anyone out there who understands this? I know that we all have days like this - but this is every day, my whole life. My son is making me so unhappy, yet I can't go out for an evening with my husband because I can't bear to leave him..... I find that I'm wishing my whole life away with "It'll get better as he gets older". Do I want him to get older, so that I miss all his young years?

Lay off the guilt trip, and get away from him with your husband for an evening - EVERY WEEK. This will help maintain your sanity.

He was an atrocious baby who only slept 3 x 20 minutes in any 24 hour day, at 14 months he was still eating half of a little jar of baby food for a 6 month old baby and my husband took 18 weeks off work so that we could walk in 2 hour shifts day & night with him crying. I've attended all the parent & toddler groups but it doesn't help that all the other parents are just so enthralled with their little darlings. I just find it all so boring. Nor do I want to spend my days talking to other mothers about kids, clothes, cosmetics, interior design, crafts, etc. I'd love to get some sleep - but even then I never waken refreshed.

If he is really sleeping only an hour each day (I really doubt it, but it is possible), then there is definately some brain damage. Start keeping a sleep diary; You will probably find that he is sleeping more than you think. Assuming that I am correct in this, then you need to put him to bed awake, close the door, and not let him out of his room for at least 10 hours each night. He can wake up, he can cry, he can do whatever he wants, but he cannot come out of his room. If he cries, let him cry for 15 minutes, check to make sure that he is not hurt or in danger - DO NOT PLAY WITH HIM, SMILE AT HIM, OR IN ANY WAY ENCOURAGE HIM. Be very matter of fact, spend less than a minute in the room, then walk out. Leave him for another 15 minutes. After a week, increase the time to 20 minutes at a time. Within a short time (with infants it takes about a week or two), he should cry less and less, then eventually, not cry - he is not getting his way, and crying isn't working. If he starts to tear up the room, make sure there is nothing dangerous that he can tear up or brake, and don't replace anything that is destroyed. (You can remove anything you want from the room beforehand, though. Or after he starts crying.) He will evenutally learn that he will no longer be carried when he cries, and he will no longer have you and your husbands undivided attention after bed time.

I only have one child but I understand the joke "Which was your worst child?" the answer is always "The last one" - I have no intentions of ever having any more!

Reading the previous posts "Where have my brains gone?" I should state my most recent theory - really intelligent people shouldn't have kids because they can't get their brains down to that level of stupidity in order to fully enjoy them. It's fine if you go out to work, collect them from a sitter, spend an hour with them, bathe and bed. But all day every day - no way!!

Sorry I'm so depressed, but has anyone got any ideas for a fresh approach? I look forward to a discussion with some adults.

It sounds like one of two things:

1. Your son has some neurological problems (and not something like ADHD, but some significant neurological deficits that will show up on some sort of lab test or radiological exam).

2. You need to take back control of your life and take control of his. At this point, I would suggest family counseling.

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