Q: Is it normal to detest and even resent giving birth to my son? He’s 12 now and is a real handful and I find it extremely challenging to show love to him.

Thank you for being so courageous and honest. There are probably very few parents who haven’t at one time or other felt some resentment towards their child. But few will admit it because they feel that others won’t understand or will judge them, or that “good” parents are never resentful.

We usually feel resentful when someone or something is preventing us from the activities we want to do, so are you, even in a small way, taking care of your own valid needs? Something like going for a walk, meeting up with friends, having an hour to spend on a hobby or reading a book? Anything that makes you feel happier and more content as a parent will also have a positive effect on your son.

Resentment is often a sign that you need more support from other people, and I wonder who can take care of your son when you need a break? Also, are you getting any professional help for your son’s behaviour? Is his behaviour different when he is at school? What ideas do you have about why he behaves the way he does? Check out handsonscotland.co.uk for a great website that helps you find ways to manage a child’s troubling behaviour and also many ideas to help him (and you) to flourish.

When do you feel closest to your son? When do you feel happiest about being his parent? Think about those positive experiences and how you can have more of the better times together.

Don’t be afraid to ask your friends, your family, his school and even your family doctor for more help. And take care of you as well as him, because you are special too.

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