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Anger Managment--please help.

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  • Anger Managment--please help.

    I have a 16 month old son, he is our only child. He is the darling of my heart. I stay at home and have worn him in a sling, breastfeed, and co-slept since birth. We are very close. He is a very high-needs baby,extremely fussy and crabby, although he doesn't cry very often (we like to think it's because we respond to his needs quickly and sensitively). But I am worried about my anger. I'm gentle, loving and calm with him almost always, but find that I lose my patience with his relentless fussing, particularly when I'm tired. There have been about 10 instances in his life when I've just reached the end of my rope and shouted--I mean really shouted--for him to please stop. Today he just looked at me like something was broken in him, then he started saying "Mama" over and over again.

    I'm tearing up just thinking about it--this kind of rage and lack of control has no place in my, or anyone's parenting. I'm so ashamed, and so scared of what kind of damage I've done to my precious son.

  • #2
    Hello, I think a lot of us have had momments in parenting we regret. I think its important that you have noticed it as a problem and am reaching out for help to make some changes.
    First, look at your own upbringing....Did your family members yell in anger, to work through issues, to process emotion?
    The book Connection Parenting has a section on reflecting on your childhood. Look into that...

    Here are some away!

    Toddlers: To Tame or to Trust
    by Naomi Aldort

    What to do When You Want to Have a Tantrum
    by API Staff & Tricia Jalbert

    Anger Management for Moms
    By Elizabeth Bruce

    "Forgive yourself
    The next time you lose your temper, take a step back. Imagine a good friend was confessing your actions to you. Wouldn't you be sympathetic instead of judgmental? Try to have the same compassion for yourself as you would towards a friend. As a mother, you are doing the best you can. No, you are not perfect, and never will be. Remember, tomorrow is another day. If it helps, apologize to your children after losing your temper. You will be setting a good example for them to follow.
    Anger is a naturally occurring human emotion, and as such, it is neither good nor bad, it just is. One of the best gifts we can give our children is to show them constructive ways of dealing with anger. Then some day you can pat yourself on the back for the great way your grandchildren are being raised." From the end of the above article.

    I know its hard sometimes, but I know you can do it!


    • #3
      We all have moments like this! No one is perfect, and by pretending to be so you are not helping your son to learn about emotions. My son (16 months also) sounds so similar to your little boy. He does a lot of 'whinging' - I dont know how else to describe it. He very rarely cries unless he has hurt himself but does this whining noise almost constantly. If he is seriously involved in something then he is fine but the moment whatever it is stops he gets right back into it. If anything it has gotten a bit worse now that he has some words to go with it... I really thought that it would get better when he could communicate more effectivly. I think its just him.

      Anyway. A book that I recently read and got a lot out of is 'Adventures in Gentle Discipline'. I found it at the library. It is sponsored by LLL and is a great resource for a Mum who is feeling a little overwhelmed.

      Give yourself permission to have these feelings, its how you let them out that matter. You are doing yourself nor your son any favors by bottling up these emotions until they explode. I have been there and done that many times, I know how terrible you feel afterward, but its like an explosion that you have no control over. I know that you would never hurt your boy, just as I know that neither would I.... but its OK to feel this way sometimes. One thing that I got from this book that I use when I feel like this is to turn all those emotions into something entirely silly. The other day DS was seriously on my last nerve, I had a long day alone with him and he was in a particularly prickly mood as he was also getting some teeth.... I was so close to loosing it, I could feel the tension building and I just started to DANCE! This crazy metal dance just to do something with those feelings. It stopped DS in his tracks and he cracked up laughing and joined in by waving his arms around the place. It really lightened the mood.

      Of course this may not be your thing at all. The book has heaps of different ideas for how to get yourself out of these moments.

      I just wanted you to know that you are not alone. We all grew up in a society that labels feelings as good or bad. I am sure that most of us are trying to let our children know that its OK to have strong emotions... Its hard to give ourselves permission to do that though. It like teaching yourself at the same time as teaching your child. We cannot expect our children to honor how they are feeling and to find constructive ways to work through these emotions if they never see us doing it. You are not harming your child by being angry, its natural and normal. Its HOW you are angry that matters. And if you do blow your top (I am sure that it will happen to all of us many times in the years to come) then all you have to do is apologize and admit that you didnt handle that very well.... giving both your son and yourself permission to make mistakes.

      Sorry, this has turned into a novel. I have just been going through the same thing at the moment and have it all on my mind. Its hard for people to understand when you have an extremely intense little person in your life. All my family and friends keep giving me advise on how to curb these tendencies in him. I just dont feel like that honors the person that he is. All of these traits that are so overwhelming now - stubbornness, unwilling to settle, self assured, intense, lovable (on their terms), non stop etc are all things that are going to make him an amazing and successful adult.

      I know its hard. If you dont mind reading parenting books then I highly recommend you get this book. It also has HEAPS of tips and tactics for what to do from here on out!


      • #4
        Thank you both for your kind words and suggestions--I will be reading all the books you've named (since he wakes up if I leave the bed after he falls asleep, I have A LOT of time to read)! My husband is also willing to help me find some solutions/techniques.


        • #5
          I have similar anger management issues - except I'm usually yelling at the dog instead of the baby, fortunately (well, unfortunately for the dog). I was already in therapy which helps - I'm sure all of the above resources will too for you. Somebody mentioned that it is a great thing that you recognize the problem and commit to helping yourself. I've yelled a few times kind of to the air in general when DD had been fussy but not like I yell at the dog - I've actually started going "SSSSHHHH!" really loud instead of actually yelling - it sounds a lot less abrasive. However I "SSSSHHHH'ed" DD for the first time over the weekend and she started crying harder, poor thing! I don't want to do that again!