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Any one else losing control and snapping?

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  • Any one else losing control and snapping?

    I truly feel like I am the only one who snaps and shouts at my son. He is almost 2 and doing a lot of hitting. I have read post about hitting and know what to do to manage him, but sometimes I just feel so out of control. I do shout, i handle him roughly. I even smacked him tonight. This goes against everything I believe in. I am afraid he will see me as an inconsistent mother- sometimes loving, sometimes scary. THis probably happens 10%of the time. 90% i respond very AP..But I really agonize over any long term damage I may be doing. But then I think I am putting too much pressure on myself to be perfect. I am a SAHM. My son does not nap alone and i feel like I never get a break in the day...
    I am involved in playgroups and moms organizations.
    What do others do to manage their overpowering emotions in the heat of the moment?

  • #2
    I honestly can't say that I've ever really wanted to smack my son, but when I do get stressed out, I try to make time for myself to go to the gym or just talk on the phone with a friend. It sounds like you need a break! Staying home is tough.

    Also, I mean to say this very gently and with the understanding that this may have nothing to do with it, but I would suggest perhaps taking a look back into your own childhood and how you were parented/treated. Often in times of stress, parents who mean well revert to their own parent's negative ways of parenting as a way to cope. Seeing a therapist could be helpful or even just reading up on this and unraveling it a bit. It sounds like you're having some pretty intense feelings/reactions and maybe there are things you could reflect on from your past that might help you. Regardless of childhood, a therapist may be able to help you find healthy ways to cope.

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    • #3
      Hi,
      I do get riled up sometimes and am certainly not perfect! A few books have helped me with concepts to approach it.
      Kids, Parents and Power Struggles - http://www.parentchildhelp.com/Power...6/Default.aspx
      It really helps to see your childs behavior as not motivated to make you mad, especially at 2 it is unlikely they are even understanding what is going on with Mommy exactly. This book offers a mantra "My child is not out to get me" that helps me respond better in the heat of the moment.

      Playful Parenting- http://www.playfulparenting.com/
      This book shows a lot of ways of dealing with kid stuff in a playful way, very helpful and works quite well actually. I left it in the bathroom and huby read it, he uses the ideas too.

      You know it is not the most helpful reaction and that is a really good first step. You are noticing that you need some more balance and skills to handle anger. I have a friend who gets angry at her son and has learned to notice how her breathing changes and that means she concentrates on that instead. Some people count to ten or leave the room. Find a technique to manage yourself untill a bigger soultion can be found. Talk to your child about your strong feelings and physical reactions afterward, simply and make sure he knows you are sorry you did it.

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      • #4
        Sometimes "time out" here in our house is also a "time out" for Mommy!!! I am also a SAHM and WAHM. It can be frustrating trying to juggle my full-time job and my role as Mommy. SOOOOO, when things get rough, I use the "time-out" method, if for only 5 minutes.

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        • #5
          This is just my personal experience, you may not like anything here but you may find something useful..

          Time outs, I time myself out, but never the kids. I usually stop them and find something for them to do. Usually when kids are acting out and we react, which I do especially when I am tired, it is because they need some direction or something to do.

          Instead of focusing on the poor behavior, focus on something positive.

          I put pressure on myself when I schedule my time around others. Every so often I have to take some time off and do impromptu activities and some alone time with my son and when I can alone time for me. Coffee night out without kids works well.

          If you can't do a night out, then perhaps when he is asleep you can have some time to read a book and take a bath. Something pleasurable.

          I found keeping my family occupied with casual play dates and mommy groups drew my focus away from my problems. Once everyone says, "oh mine too" then the talking tends to stop and solutions are not discussed and not found. It all becomes normalized and then that is where we have trouble staying focused on being the parent we want to be.

          Take the bad parent thoughts out of your head. The more you focus on that, the more you will go in that direction. Focus on the good moments with your child.

          It will take some time for you and your child to come out of the loop you have created... You as meaning both of you. He behaves a certain way, you have been reacting a certain way so now you have to work on resetting it.

          When he starts to act out, stop everything that you are doing. Get down on the floor with him, hold him and talk to him softly. Ask him what he is feeling? If he doesn't know, go through feelings with him and make faces and actions so that he can equate his feelings to his external physical self, then he can start to have the ability to say, I am angry instead of hitting you to tell you.

          Have a list of things you guys can do that are routine for the both of you and only the two of you. Sometimes children need to have time alone with mommy that is concentrated.

          Feed the meter. Children need a lot of attention, but you can both get your needs met. Make sure that if you are cooking, you take 10 minutes and do something with him where he has complete focus and attention. Do this throughout all of your activities through the day. See if that also helps him feel more connected and less frustrated.

          This one is tough and a lot of moms will not admit it... but play dates became a problem for us mainly because the mothers will bring their kids and forget they are there and it is good to back away when they want it, but many times kids will start acting out because they have no direction or guidance because mommy who is starved for conversation can't focus on anything other than the rest of the adults there and most of them are doing the same thing. Especially at young ages children do well when mommy is involved in the play.

          I am not saying that this is happening in your case, but I have done it and others I know have and someone gently reminded us and I was thankful and maybe someone else who is reading this will say.. Oops. Yes.. I am also starved and a starving person given a buffet table will see nothing else happening in that room. I find I do better at events where we are strangers to everyone. Ronnie will be super social and have a great time and I will have a better time with him because there are no distractions with our relationship... and as he is growing, he wants me less and less involved in his own time so now when we are out, he runs off and leaves me to either talk to others, read or miss the baby who wants acted out because I wasn't being as focused as I could have been.

          Now naps.. I know this one. Ronnie didn't either. But again that was me. He could feel I was trying to pull away and not be there, that I had "better" things to do and that amplified it. He was trying to make me feel just as loved as he wanted to feel and what better way then to lay down and cuddle. If you can, take some time and just nap with him. Take a book in with you and lay next to him or listen to music, or do what I started to do, sleep and then I could stay up later at night getting things done.

          For two months I never thought twice about laying down with him and guess what, he started to roll over so he could rest better. He knew I would be there for him and once he got his needs met, he started to feel better about it. The longer I fought it, the longer he fought it. You have things to do and a lot going on in your mind. A child only lives in the now so he will focus on what his needs are more than you can imagine. This may not work for you, the nap thing, but it worked with all three of my kids... Now 26, 22 and 4. The last two years have been so much better since I did the nap thing and sometimes I find myself taking a nap with him again so I can have him close to me. Purely selfish mommy needs to have a cuddle.


          Peace & Blessings,

          Jo

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          • #6
            You're not alone

            You're not the only one, and not even in the minority. You're human and you're doing a very hard job. I was raised by an AP mama and I snap and get stressed. Children have their own temperaments and some are a lot harder to stay zen-like around sometimes. My first 3 toddlers were poster children for AP and my 4th is a delightful boy who could have Ghandi doing shots after an hour some days. I adore him but he throws, hits, breaks, destroys and never stops going and it can get emotionally exhausting.

            Some stuff that helps me...

            ~ I do something fun (for both of us) with him -- mock tickling (mostly him at me) on the bed, snuggling with a good book, being silly on the floor, playing cars, whatever.
            ~ Laugh with him. Toddler laughs are like opium, I swear. Get him laughing a real toddler belly laugh and feel the stress leave your body.
            ~ Get in the bath with him. I've been doing that since my first child and it gives me a break and calms us both. I bring squirty things, cups, toys, etc. and play with him, read magazines, etc.
            ~ Get in your own head. Think back to how in love with him you felt when he was new. Think ahead to when he's grown (or even 8) and this stage is gone forever. Think about all the things that aren't crazy-making at this stage -- the new words he's learning, the feel of his little hand holding yours, his little walk, his smile, how much he adores you, his belly, his funny mannerisms, all those little things that are fleeting but so wonderful. Just focus on them and the other stuff fades.
            ~ Books can be wonderful. One of my favorites for handling parenting stress is "Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline." Becky Bailey teaches you how to change your attitude so things don't get to you as much as changing anything else, which is such a gift for stressed parents. The book is long and deep, but I always get something out of it and it puts my head back in a good place.

            I write a lot about toddlers and things that work for me. Here are some things I've written that might help.

            http://magical-mama.livejournal.com/32894.html is specifically about handling the rough days with toddlers, but here's the archive of toddler posts in general too: http://magical-mama.livejournal.com/tag/toddlers

            Here's simple ways to turn around a toddler's bad mood: http://www.examiner.com/x-23788-Minn...dlers-bad-mood
            and here's some other toddler articles (how the way we act has natural consequences on how they act, fun things to do in the fall, etc.): http://www.examiner.com/x-23788-Minn...cat#breadcrumb

            And if you do snap and act badly, every minute is a new chance to do better. Be silly, be loving, forgive yourself and keep focusing on the good in both of you.

            Hope that helps. (((hugs)))
            ~Alicia

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            • #7
              Wow- what thoughtful responses- thank you for taking the time- truly! I am a big book person- so I will check out the book- also getting pos.dis. the first 3 years. I do sit with him during his naps which is how i get tons of reading done. This has been happening since March and I made my peace with it. It's just sometimes I would like to have that time to do anything I wanted- not be forced to read.
              I have also been reading a New Earth and practicing Awareness. Also- I referenced back to Attached at the Heart and there was a website listed stophitting.com- so I am still looking at that.

              The guilt is overwhelming- I can never say, "I never have hit my kids". At rare moments it is a knee-jerk response when all the other "AP" stuff isn't getting through. The communication at this age is difficult. He still doesn't understand quite everything I'm saying. I just keep repeating, "Hands are not for hitting, hitting hurts, ouch! Gentle" Soemtimes I tell him to hit the chair as I don't know what else to do- he only hits when excited. Not out of aggression- where I can meet the unmet need. He is just happy and runs up and hits.

              Thank you ladies- keep the suggestions coming- I'm not feeling so alone now

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              • #8
                Another book that might be helpful is: Parenting from the Inside Out. I can't remember the authors' names, but it was a great book for exploring your history to help understand your parenting practices. Sounds kind of "Yawn!" when I write it out that way, but it was a powerful book for me.

                I grew up in a home with a lot of yelling. I remember as a child, night after night it was yelling, yelling, yelling. SO when I am reaching a stress-peak, I have yelled. Not proud of it, but I'm aware of it and working on it.

                As far as the hitting goes - when you know better, you do better. The book I mentioned does a GREAT job of explaining what is happening in the brain when it is flooded with stress and stress hormones. The brain actually stops communicating fully with the frontal lobes (which are important for self-control) and thus we are MUCH less likely to be able to stop ourselves unless we recognize what is happening and pull ourselves out of it. They also have good suggestions for things to notice about your body and your self-talk so you can change what you are doing and thinking so you can hopefully stop the runaway train.

                One thing that has helped me with yelling is saying to myself, "This situation will pass and I will feel SO guilty if I react badly. The guilty feelings will last longer than this brief situation will."

                Good job seeking help with this. It is hard to do but I want to give you a big hug and hope you use the past to build a better future.

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