to ask for professional help to stop me shouting at my DS

(99 Posts)
uggbug Wed 05-Dec-12 10:51:41

Just that really. I have a lovely 3.5 year old DS who is extremely talkative and wears me out 13 hours a day (not making excuses). I also have a 10.5 month old DD. Sometimes I completely lose it with my DS just because I am tired, or feeling resentful about the fact that these kids seem to have taken over my every waking moment.

I know this just sounds like the same old story, but I am really starting to worry that I will damage this child. I will shout at him so loud so that he can hear me over the sound of his crying. I know in myself when I am doing it that if someone else could hear me they would be shocked.

I don't swear at him ever or say abusive things, but for example this morning there was an accident in the kitchen which I had to clean up and he said 'that was your fault mummy, and when am I going to get my breakfast?' and I just went mad, shouting at him 'that is the last thing I need, that is not helpful, its not all about you' at the absolute top of my voice. The awful thing that I have to admit to myself is it almost feels like a stress relief when I am doing it. Just writing that down makes me feel sick.

The problem is he understands everything I say and stores it up, so later on he said to me 'Mummy, its not very good having children is it' which just broke my heart. I think I forget that he is not an adult and cannot be expected to think before he speaks in a stressful moment.

I think I need some anger management or something - I know you guys will probably just say 'pull yourself together and stop, you are the adult, this is emotional abuse', but in the heat of the moment I can't seem to do that. I try to remember to count to 10 or whatever but I just forget and shout. I know this is dreadful behaviour, and I wouldn't do it to an adult so why do it to a defenseless child? I need some help but is CBT or something really going to do anything? Am I being unreasonable to ask for professional advice? I feel dreadful and I don't want my DS to just remember me going mental at him.

Proudnscaryvirginmary Wed 05-Dec-12 11:51:38

You are SO not alone.

This has hugely touched a nerve with me today as we had an awful morning with lots of shouting.

My dd is very challenging but said to me this morning after I told her off 'Why do you hate me?'. Words can't describe how awful I felt and we had a chat and a cuddle I told her I loved her, I wasn't perfect, I get things wrong and if I ever make her feel bad about herself then I am truly sorry because she is so fabulous and loved by me and dh.

I am consoling myself by remembering there are so many times where I do manage to hold my temper, I distract, or make her laugh or whatever. And I always resolve things after there has been anger and shouting and I resassure them both I love them.

It's all very hard. But I do agree it is damaging for children if they are criticised and yelled at a lot - so it would be great for you to seek help and/or try some of the strategies on here.

MrsLyman Wed 05-Dec-12 11:54:09

YANBU, it's hard work having two young children and it sounds like you're very stressed so a trip to the GP will most likely be a good thing. They should be able to help. Your behaviour is not ideal but recognising the need to change it is a good thing.

In the meantime do you ever get a break to do something just for you?

Levantine Wed 05-Dec-12 11:55:45

The baby and young child stage is awful. I would lose it at ds1 at that stage - I have a nearly four year gap. It does get better, I very rarely shout now. I always apologised to ds1 and I think that does help. Can you take yourself into another room when you feel yourself losing your temper ordo they follow you?

KenLeeeeeee Wed 05-Dec-12 11:58:53

YANBU. You sound very stressed and worn down. It's completely understandable that you're at the end of your tether. I'd be a nervous wreck too!

Maybe you could talk to your GP and ask for a referral for some counselling or CBT?

Meanwhile, the very fact that you are upset with yourself over this demonstrates that you are a good person and a good parent at heart. You just need a little help to find coping mechanisms for when it all piles up at once.

gottasmile Wed 05-Dec-12 11:59:34

I know what you mean about time constraints.... that's when I will shout too, when I know the dc's messing around is making us late for school.

.... But I find that I shout most when I have PMS. Now I'm more aware of when I have it and know why I'm feeling so mad. I tend to handle it better now and remove myself from them or just start walking out the door whether they're ready or not. It makes them move really fast and prevents us from being late.

I have no idea whether it could be the case for you too, but if you take note of when it's worse for you, you might find that it is.

Sorelip Wed 05-Dec-12 12:03:18

OP, is there any chance that you could have depression? I tried to come off of ADs last week, and I went mental, shouting at my poor 11 month old DS for waking up in the night. After a couple of days of this I recognised that it wasn't time for me to be doing without ADs yet. This might not be relevant to you.

DIYapprentice Wed 05-Dec-12 12:13:36

Imagining yourself being filmed or watched is actually a very good one. You scream because that's become your habit. I've been doing the 'imagining you're being watched - what would they think of you' in stressful times and it's really helped me. School run is a particularly bad time - no matter how much time I leave the DSs use it up larking about.

Being prepared is the other stress reducing factor. Have bags ready packed the night before. Make sure you know where your keys are. Leave some emergency supplies in the car (nappies, wipes, long life snacks, a few pounds) so that if you haven't had a chance to update your bag it's not an emergency, you can still get out in a rush. Have some bottled drinks in the cupboard so that you can just grab them and go.

If something drops/breaks making a mess - cover it up with a cloth to remind you (maybe put a chair over it) and ignore it unless you truly have the time to deal with it.

It's stress that's making you like this, you need to work on reducing it, noone else will!

ooer Wed 05-Dec-12 12:20:29

YANBU - you have identified a problem you would like to sort, you don't think you can sort it by yourself so you are looking for expert help. That's admirable.

It is hard work and you can't park your child or fob them off while you deal with something else. Not feeling in control is stressful. I cringe at the memory of the shouting and I said some things to DS1 I wish with all my heart I could unsay.

I asked for parenting support when my DCs were little and I couldn't get it because of where I lived - it was all for people in "less affluent" areas. I consulted a child psychologist over my joint issues with DS1 and she was very helpful in pinpointing how we (I!) could prevent blow-ups from starting.

Don't forget to tell them how much you love them. When I was finding DS1 particularly challenging (in learning to be tidy, being nice to his brother, washing properly etc), I used to sometimes say it was because I love him that I was expecting so much of him. Your DS understands everything you say, so use it to your joint advantage.

And please please take advantage of some kind of childcare if you can - even for two hours a week - just for a bit of "me" time. A kind grandma or auntie? Mine didn't live close by but our local swimming pool had a creche so I did an exercise class there ... Also there was a baby & toddler group I used to go to: the older volunteer ladies there would make you a coffee and hold your baby, and there were toys and activities for the toddlers. I bless those ladies every day - we occasionally meet one on our walks and it's lovely being able to tell her how fantastic it was.

Cantbelieveitsnotbutter Wed 05-Dec-12 12:24:57

Well done for posting this xx
When I had days like this I go out and have fun, a bit of distraction and bonding. I also stop and drop everything for a cuddle, the other one is its easier to say no then yes, but you can normally make it a yes with some thought.

When you feel the monster inside (I picture mine in the bottom of my tummy!) just say 'give mummy 5 minutes'

About two years ago I could have written your post, I found a book called Cool Calm Parent quite helpful, I also went to the doctors, broke down in tears and got put on AD's but a low dosage which went along with the italk service and some CBT, which all combined helped but one on its own probably wouldn't do.

In the early days when I was getting stressed and recognised it I either sent myself out the room, or stopped and just hugged my DS

Abitwobblynow Wed 05-Dec-12 12:34:04

What a brave, brave post and shows that you DO care.

The trouble with children is that they get to the bottom of us, and then keep going... we end up projecting our victimisation onto them, and then'defend' ourselves against their 'attacking' [Alice Miller].

I did put DS1 into play therapy and it turned out that whilst he was fine, he did think I didn't like him, so please do go and talk to someone.

My strategies were:

1. imagining that there was a camera in the corner, and a therapist/social worker was at the end of it, watching me.

2. choosing to turn a shout into a soothe, walking out of the room, giving them a pat or a hug when actually I wanted to hit

3. At the end of the day, letting them know that I had had enough and that it was my time (for 20 mins).

Good luck.

MrsLyman Wed 05-Dec-12 12:39:10

Oh I seem to have cross posted with everyone. Some great advice here which I am going to use myself so thanks for being brave enough to post this OP.

Also had another thought I'm currently reading toddler taming, which I've found helps me with DS1 (18 months), not so much from a changing his behaviour point of view but by helping me realign my expectations of him and helping me adapt my behaviour towards him if that makes sense.

Do try and get some time to yourself, I went for a swim at the weekend and even though it was only an hour I have felt much more able to cope for the last couple of days.

cory Wed 05-Dec-12 12:40:04

CBT might well help. My dd is having it for a different issue, and it is very much about looking practically at her day and what triggers unhelpful thought or behaviours, and then coming up techniques that will help her recongise where she is going and choose a different path.

JingleBellsRawSharkSmells Wed 05-Dec-12 12:40:45

Just wanted to say I hope you get this sorted and we have all experienced the feeling behind your behaviour - there is lots of helpful advice on here the only thing I can add is maybe have strategy for reassuring your DS if you DO lose it.

I think Proudnscary had it when she put
Words can't describe how awful I felt and we had a chat and a cuddle I told her I loved her, I wasn't perfect, I get things wrong and if I ever make her feel bad about herself then I am truly sorry because she is so fabulous and loved by me and dh.

This is exactly how my husband approaches it when occasionally he loses his temper with DS.

Annakin31 Wed 05-Dec-12 13:00:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

uggbug Wed 05-Dec-12 13:14:21

Thanks all so much. Have felt quite tearful reading some of these. To be honest I have been scared of asking the GP in case they roll their eyes, or worse, something goes on record.

The thing is, my son doesn't actually have full-blown tantrums all that often these days. So I can't justify it with that. He will say no repeatedly when asked to do things, or just do things really slowly / get distracted, but none of this deserves being shouted at that much. Sometimes he will go mad and scream at me if I say no to something - wonder where he gets that from...

Depression - I have certainly considered it especially after the birth of my DD things went wrong for a while there but to be honest I don't think that can be it because I will have some days where I feel absolutely fine. It's the other days...that quote abitwobbly 'The trouble with children is that they get to the bottom of us., and then keep going... that sums it up perfectly for me. It's when I feel like I have given everything and then he takes / wants more.

The other things is that my DH believes that all mental illness is 'in your head' well duh! And these people should just pull themselves together (actually had a conversation with him about this post-DD birth and he fully recognised that he had zero empathy with any mental issues I might have). So the idea of going on ADs - well lets just say I'd have to do it in secret.

PMS - totally worse on those days...but not just on those days so can it be that? I already take evening primrose perhaps I should try the starflower and B6.

ShhBoom Wed 05-Dec-12 13:24:28

YANBU, in fact I could have written your post!
I only have one DS and often find myself shouting at him. It breaks my heart & I feel dreadful, so god knows how he must feel sad
I've just had my anti depressants changed (I'm not diagnosed with depression, just stress) so I'm hoping that will help. I'm also moving out of my mums house, and DS & I are going to live on our own again. It sounds silly, but when we lived on our own before I wasn't anywhere near as stressed as I am now.
I'm not saying you should do something that drastic, but you're definitely NOT on your own!
You'd GP will definitely listen to you if speak to them. I'm going to try & get some counselling soon which should also help.
Please don't feel like you're on you own. There's plenty of help available if you're a bit stressed, take care x

3b1g Wed 05-Dec-12 13:31:34

I think that there are loads of us who can empathise with you, uggbug. Many of us have been there at some point. Can I recommend the 1-2-3 Magic book? This method has helped me to deal with the small irritating behaviours that used to wind me up, which means that I don't feel constantly on the edge of losing my temper.

firemansamisnormansdad Wed 05-Dec-12 13:32:54

YANBU but you are being very hard on yourself. I have my Exorcist "possessed" voice which comes out whenever I've been completely pushed over the brink. It works a treat, especially when I tell DS he has to go to his bedroom and stay there as he really knows that I want him to go his bedroom and stay there. I've only used it twice, however, in 5 years.

More seriously, it sounds like your DS is very intelligent which is why he talks so much and b) why he's picked up on the difficulties of child rearing. Sit down with him during a good moment and tell him the truth, that it IS hard, sometimes it's not fun, but that you love him and your family very much and ask him what he can do to help the family have nice times together. If he understands that sometimes people who love each other sometimes get cross with each other but it doesn't mean that they love them any less, this may actually help him get used to the swings and roundabouts of life: that you don't always get what you want and sometimes you just have to get on with life.

He will be starting school next year, so take a deep breath and remember that this won't go on forever.

xx

BelieveInPink Wed 05-Dec-12 14:39:56

Another liker of imagining being filmed. I had moments where in my own head I knew I sounded AWFUL. I was ashamed. So now, when I feel the stress rising I imagine that someone is watching. In fact just thinking "what if someone was here now" is enough to bring me back down.

It takes some training yourself, but it works.

And you are NOT a bully.

FergusSingsTheBlues Wed 05-Dec-12 14:47:24

I feel the same, seven months pregnant with a v challenging ds 2.5 who has never slept through. How do you safely get a tantruming child off the floor when you are this pregnant and unwieldy? Thats my main issue apart from the sleeping one which is really down to having a very soft father who refuses to let him cry it lut, which, i think he needs at this age, its past a joke. Smetimes i feel desperate and dread having two.

harrap Wed 05-Dec-12 15:01:45

Very brave and very useful post. I'd like to know if there are any mothers who haven't acted and felt like you. There may well be and the fact that its common to lose it with a small child is not a justification but the time to really start worrying is when you stop reflecting on your own parenting.
It is very, very hard looking after one child let alone 2 more or less on your own. YANBU to wonder about professional help but I bet you also need some more time to yourself.

RosemaryHoyt Wed 05-Dec-12 17:14:50

This post will seem 'all about me' but I am hoping you recognise something of yourself, that I can think through strategies and they might be a good idea for you too. Also that you are not alone.

I got that leaflet, am EXACTLY the same, similar age gap between my two. I signed up interested in a parenting course but need to follow it up. I am a lone parent and work part time, I get some time for myself once a week when children are in nursery and when I go away overnight for work every few weeks (I pay for this 'time off' with more killer tantrums), my mum and sister babysit everynow and then, and it makes me feel guilty that they do.

I hate to accept help of any type. It makes me feel like a charity case who can't cope. Now that is silly.

Is your shouting at one child in particular? With me it is my eldest (3). He is what nice people call 'spirited' and I call a massive PITA. He is very, very hard. I guess what I am getting at is, I often feel frustrated like his behaviour is a result of my shoddy parenting. But DS2 is nothing like it, he is an easy child to love (18mths, at this age DS1 'turned naughty'). I, and perhaps you, need to think about our expectations in terms of behaviour, rather than get into the frustrated with self, anger at child cycle.

I particularly need to avoid 'flashpoints' don't let him get even a little hungry, don't take him out when tired, recognise a grumpy day, don't let him hold his wee. If I break those rules, I suppose I need to prepare myself for the consequences rather than becoming infuriated.

I learnt to recognise when I was getting wound up. Shallow, fast, breathing; blood rushing to me head, white noise in my ears, tense muscles everywhere.

I think on balance I am better than I was. But DS had a massive melt down trying to get him out of an unwell friend's house today. I could have wept. I am so EMBARRASSED by him. I just had to lift him it without coat or shoes and deposit him screaming into the car, whilst being silently watched on in horror by SuperMumWithPerfectLifeHomeHusband4DelightfulChildrenAndAnEducation. He had already stuck the place out by pooing his pants, weed in defiance. I shouted at him in the car, not full volume, held self back "I actively dislike you at times" whilst hissing "I could bloody kill you" (nb just an expression!) under my breath.

I just think other people are judging me all the time. They probably are. Other times the shouting is more likely to happen are before my period, like you when under time pressure, when having financial mishap (eg declined card unexpectedly, tax credits over payment etc). Identify and prepare would be a good idea for me.

I laugh at the leave the room idea. Yeah good one. They either follow me (still screaming) or start on each other. I have screamed into a pillow on occasion. I literally had to run away. And yes, the shouting feels like a discharge of the stress of the situation, but I, like you must find less damaging alternatives.

That said, I think children of yesteryear were treated far harsher and generation on generation educated parenting improves. Also, you may not be shouting as much as you think. I have been convinced I was shouting constantly at a friend's house, whereupon they said "you are good, you are firm but don't shout" I thought they were being sarcastic, but no. So may not be as bad as you think. I know I do shout horribly at times. It's my alternative to hitting, but probably just as bad. I hope it gets easier for you. Truly, PM me if your want to commiserate with someone!

mrskeithrichards Wed 05-Dec-12 17:21:46

123 magic and <hugs>

cranverry Wed 05-Dec-12 17:29:48

You sound so similar to me, I have a 2.6 year old and 8 month old, ad a husband who's not around much during the week and then is the fun parent at the weekend.

I'm calm, calm, calm until we're late and then I get shouty. I wouldn't do it in front of my husband so I know it's wrong. I just can't help it sometimes.

I've joined a gym with a crèche and use that a few hours a week to get some time out for myself and its helping. Would something like that be an option?

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