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.

buildingmycorestrength Thu 06-Dec-12 07:58:19

helpyourself is right...your DS can't be allowed to take over like this. I wish I had trained my children not to interrupt much, much earlier because it is so important that they learn! Mine still do it and it drives me mad. And yes, always remember that PlayfulParenting is just for tips ...

TiredofZombies Thu 06-Dec-12 09:57:27

I can feel myself heading in this direction already, and I hate it. Growing up, it was all shouting and smacking in our house. I don't want that for my family, I need to break this cycle NOW. DD is already starting to get shouty when things aren't going her way, and I know it's because I'm treaching her that shouting is the way to get what you want.

DD is only 16mo, so for me, leaving the room is not an option. I don't feel she can safely be left unattended. I have, on occasion, dumped her in her cot for 5 min whilst I cry collect myself, but that's usually after I've shouted. I just looked at the 123 Magic book on Amazon, it says from age 2, but I reckon it might help me get a head start. Have just found out I am pregnant with number 2 so would like to have strategies in place ready.

OP, thank you for starting this thread, it's so good to know I'm not alone and that others have found ways to work on this.

chocoluvva Thu 06-Dec-12 10:24:33

Definitely explain to DH about the need to break his habit of letting your DS interrupt when you're speaking. (My DH was like that too - probably because I talk too much, he loves the DCs very much and he finds it difficult to say no if it's not something that is clearly impacting on him).
And plan a structured evening activity for yourself which runs at a specific time to give you some time to yourself and allow you to think about other things.
The main problem IMO is your circumstances are unbelievably stressful. I used to wonder how the generation before us managed without our labour-saving devices, modern car seats etc, but they usually had more adult company in the form of extended family or neighbours to soak up some of the stress and they just let their children get on with it much more than we do (I'm not saying that's a good thing).
Be kind to yourself as well as to your DCs.
Your DS won't remember this time of his life when he's older.

uggbug Thu 06-Dec-12 11:22:26

Thanks Choco and everyone.

Surprised by how many people can empathise with the situation. I guess I just feel like I have nothing to complain about - my kids are healthy, no SN, no serious financial worries, so why am I stressed? Because they have taken over my life. Totally need some time to myself, but there is kind of a culture of martyrdom in our house, because my DH does not have any hobbies or in fact do anything that takes him out when the kids need looking after. He will go for a run when they are asleep, and go out with the lads about once every 6 months and that is it.

Therefore there is nothing for him to 'pay me back' for. Doesn't that sound awful. Like people say to me 'oh, do you take turns for a lie in' and I say no, because he will get up anyway when it is his turn. So in fact he is a fantastic Dad, he helps a bit (could do more) around the house at the weekends and does all the DIY etc, but actually I could do with him being marginally more selfish in some ways! So that I could feel no guilt when I take time out!

BTW he never really seriously tries to make me feel guilty. He just makes jokey digs if I have left him to it, but generally he doesn't ever talk about his feelings. This means that I don't know if he is happy or unhappy with a situations, so of course I project what I think he is thinking!

Therefore it has turned into a bit of an 'ask if I can go out' situation. My parents and his are quite far away, and because my DD is so little it is relatively difficult to swap daytime babysitting with friends. This used to work OK before I had her.

I just wish he would say 'come on, you've been doing this all week, go and get a coffee'. He would never say that. No-one says that to him do they? 'Come on. You've been leaving the house at 6.45 and coming home at 8 all week, let me do that for you for a bit'. So why would he say it to me? I think that's once of the problems. He does not see us do every day. When he is with the kids, I am there 99% of the time. It is never as hard.

My DS is actually at pre-school every morning. That time flies though and from when I pick him up at 12pm until 7.30pm he is non-stop chatting and demands. I love him to bits but it is a bizarre relationship, almost like I see him as an overly intense adult who is following me around! You can't just brush him off with 'hmmm', it has to be a full blown and enthusiastic response. I have actually found myself saying 'Mummy needs to concentrate now' in the car, just to get 2 minutes of silence (he has been shouted at before for shouting to get my attention while parking).

I think the advice to just think 'today, I will do a whole day without shouting' is going to be a good first step for me. I know he won't remember this time, but I don't want to teach him these ways to communicate. But more importantly, I don't want to somehow damage him when he is so little?

AbigailAdams Thu 06-Dec-12 11:29:56

Seriously uggbug, the problem is that your DH isn't supporting you. "Jokey digs" are subtle and unpleasant. He does get time out from the kids, while he is doing the DIY, while he is at work. You don't. You don't seem to be getting any down time.

It isn't on and he is being selfish.

EmmelineGoulden Thu 06-Dec-12 11:38:24

ugg I suggest you set an example with stopping the martyrdom yourself. You can "owe" him for a while if you want to think of it that way (I don't know that that is the fairest way to think of it, but I don't know your circumstances). It doesn't have to be him that sets the tone or leads the way.

Can you just say to your DH something like "Look, this is getting too much for me and it's making me loose my temper with the DCs. I need a morning out every weekend. I'd like to go out every Saturday from 1 - 6. Are you OK with that? You're welcome to a half day at the weekend too if you want it, but I don't get any time away from the children at all at the moment, and I've realised I need some."

Be open to negotiation, but make sure you are clear about what you need. And ask for a good chunk. Don't try and make do on an hour grocery shopping on a Thursday night or something. You have DCs but you have a life too.

saccrofolium Thu 06-Dec-12 11:46:55

God yes, protected time! Book nights out/away without the kids, both for you and for you as a couple. It's a discipline, and harder to do than staying in but so worth it!!!
I let my 3 year old play with the iPad, which silences him for a bit and beyknd that, I try and make sure that all three have a good run every day to tire them out so that at least the evenings are silent!

DIYapprentice Thu 06-Dec-12 12:47:27

Your DH doesn't work the whole time he is out of the house. If he drives to work, yes commutes can be stressful, but it gives you a chance to listen to the radio station of your choice or play a CD of your choice. If he goes by public transport, he has maybe 30 minutes where he can tune out, read the free newspaper, have a cup of coffee from the coffee stand. I'll bet he doesn't deal with work emails or read work documents the whole time, every day. At the office he gets to get up and head to the coffee/tea making area, make himself a cuppa, have a quick catch up with anyone else who happens to be having a cuppa, occasionally have cake for someone's birthday or other celebration, ask about their weekend, have them ask about his. At lunch time when he's busy he might work through, but he is able to pop out for a sandwich, wander into a shop - all of these things are WITHOUT a child hanging off his legs demanding that he take his attention off what he is doing and back onto him.

You, on the other hand, are always with the children. If you have the radio on, the DC will talk over the top of it. As soon as you get on the phone to make a phone call they are hanging off your leg, pulling you towards something that you MUST see right this very second, or that's when they need the toilet, or are thirsty, need a nappy change, have hurt themselves and are crying hysterically. You go out for a coffee with a friend and most of your energy goes to making your DC sit still in their chair, not spill their drink, talk quietly so that the whole coffee shop doesn't hear them, etc. TBH coffees out are almost more stressful than they're worth sometimes (although with perseverence they EVENTUALLY get better).

So no, noone says to him 'why don't you take a break, I'll do this for you' because quite frankly he has a number of built in breaks to his day anyway. You don't, and never do. By giving you a small break he is paying you back for the fact that he gets to drink a coffee hot instead of luke warm, can talk to colleagues and give them his full attention, eats lunch at his own pace rather than wolfing it down while trying to get children to eat theirs (instead of wearing it), has time to just mull over the day in quiet while commuting. I used to look at my one day of volunteering as my break, even though it was incredibly busy and stressful in its own way, it was incredibly freeing to not be at the beck and call of my DC.

uggbug Thu 06-Dec-12 12:55:06

You are right DIY. The thing is he is massively busy at work and sometimes come home saying he didn't get to eat lunch or whatever. He also works on the train there and home, sometimes having to crouch in the aisle to put his laptop on his knees. So I can't really suggest to him that he gets built in breaks because he will just laugh at that idea (you are right though, even things like going to the toilet without someone waiting outside must be amazing!)

handsandknees Thu 06-Dec-12 13:04:30

My DD1 was like your DS sounds Uggbug - very talkative, bright, demanding, couldn't play alone. I am so, so proud of that child (she is now 11 and amazing) but bloody hell, she was EXHAUSTING when she was younger.

You don't need to feel at all guilty for not giving him attention every time he demands it. He needs to learn to wait or play alone sometimes. I wish I had done it more with my DD1. I learned to say "I'm just having some peace and quiet and I'll tell you when I'm ready to play/talk again, so you need to find something to do." I even used to close my eyes as an extra visual clue! What would happen if you said that to your DS?

AlienRefucksLooksLikeSnow Thu 06-Dec-12 13:17:35

Can you just say to your DH something like "Look, this is getting too much for me and it's making me loose my temper with the DCs. I need a morning out every weekend. I'd like to go out every Saturday from 1 - 6. Are you OK with that? You're welcome to a half day at the weekend too if you want it, but I don't get any time away from the children at all at the moment, and I've realised I need some."

This is so important, you will feel rejuvenated, and ready to look after them calmly again, I know because I've been there too, flipping over something simple because I never got a second to think, now I have some 'me' time at the weekend, and go round a friends one night a week for a couple of hours. Try it, you may find that's all you need Good luck

AlienRefucksLooksLikeSnow Thu 06-Dec-12 13:18:27

It's important for him to have one on one time with the kids too, it's not a punishment!!

DIYapprentice Thu 06-Dec-12 13:22:47

Send him to the coffee shop with the DC. He NEEDS the break! grin

CheeseStrawWars Thu 06-Dec-12 13:44:24

If I'm getting wound up with them, I have a "quiet place" I can go to calm down - we have a stairgate on our kitchen so I can shut myself in while still keeping an eye on things. I tell them I need 5 minutes of quiet time and they're not to talk to me until I've had my five minutes of peace. To start with, they'd try to talk to me but now they get it. It honestly makes all the difference in just letting me gather my thoughts and giving me space to calm down. They have "quiet places" too, if they're feeling like they're getting angry and might hit someone, or if they're feeling hassled by the other sibling, they take themselves out the way - if someone goes to their quiet place (under the table or behind an armchair here) you have to leave them be.

chocoluvva Thu 06-Dec-12 13:53:15

My DCs were very similar to yours Uggbug.
eg, 'Mummy? Can a dog run as fast as a deer? How fast can a big dog run? How many miles an hour? etc'
From the age of 3, after lunch I'd tell him I was busy and wasn't to be interrupted until the hands on the clock got to X time, which I would show him so that I could have half an hour to myself.
I take my hat off to you for admitting to losing your temper and for taking steps to address it - my DH is usually home between 6-6.30. You have a very long day on your own.
If you do manage to get some time organised away from the children your DH will hopefully gain some insight into what a day in your life is like. Ideally, an evening out with your DH now and again too.
Do you feel undervalued in your role?

MummytoMog Thu 06-Dec-12 14:27:10

I was very similar when my DS was littler (there is a 18 month age gap betwen my two) and it got a LOT easier once DS was older and better at waiting for things. When I had two of them screaming at me with no way of comforting both at the same time it was pure hell and I would end up screaming at them. I felt dreadful. Poor DD would get so upset that she would puke. It was not a good time in my life, but it did pass. Part of that was getting back to work, and part of it was my DH being less of a shit and helping out more, but I think the biggest part was just the kids learning together that sometimes they couldn't have something right now that second. They still tantrum if they're thwarted, but it's maybe once a day rather than twenty times a day...

buildingmycorestrength Thu 06-Dec-12 18:10:06

I think if the other half is out of the house all day, how can they possibly understand what it is like? You've presumably worked in your life so you do know a bit what his job is like...but at the moment he can't put himself in your shoes. For the sake of your sanity and your marriage, I would ensure he has the kids on his own more often. Just a few hours at the weekend will make all the difference (although do make sure he has to do a meal). grin

BabiesNeedInstructions Thu 06-Dec-12 23:21:47

How was today OP? Did you manage to hold back and avoid the shouting?

tara277 Fri 07-Dec-12 00:18:56

I also wanted to echo how brave I found the op's post to be and to reiterate that I too could have written the post as many others have said too.

I think it can be easy to become engulfed in meeting our children's needs and lots of the posts seem to be supporting the view that particular phases can just be really tough and the best you can do is make the most until it gets easier. In a way I find this helpful personally as it's good to remember that lots of other people have been here too and that it changes.

I would also like to offer a few ideas. It sounds to me that your son may be of 'high learning potential' there's a book that you might find supportive
Living with Intensity
Also there's a brilliant website called Brainpop that is fantastic for children who have millions of questions about everything. The uk edition is less annoying than the US one but the US one has a younger option called Brainpop Jr
Also came across this recently and thought there were good ideas if I had the time to get organised enough to set it up in the first place when nap time ceases

uggbug Fri 07-Dec-12 10:11:58

Tara that is a great selection of resources thank you. Brainpop will be amazing as I spend at least an hour every couple of days with my DS on the Cbeebies website and he is over that now.

The quiet time thing - I did try to introduce that just after he had dropped his nap, but he seems to have a pathological need for company in everything he does. He has literally only just started being able to play for 5 minutes on his own. And this is not down to me, trust me! I have been encouraging him to do this for ages!

He is getting into puzzles now so I am hoping that the Christmas presents will contribute towards my sanity this year!

So. Update. It has been two full days since I started the the thread. I have NOT SHOUTED! Except here! This is a bit like a smoker giving up I know, difficult to admire their progress until its been at least a few months, but here goes. My strategy so far (a combination of advice thank you all).

1. DEEP breath.

2. Repeat mantra to self 'I am the adult I am the adult'. Imagine someone watching me.

3. Breakthrough. I realised that when they are both making a noise (e.g. my DD crying and my DS saying 'woo woo woo' which he likes to do at moments of my extreme stress), what is the worst that can happen? She will stop crying when I have finished putting her coat on, in a few minutes we will be in the car...the situation will have changed.

This was a eureka moment for me. I have always tensed up and tried to work twice as fast, while thinking 'fix it fix it fix it!!!!!'. I think I imagined that someone was going to come and have a go at me while this was going on 'stop that baby crying!'. That's not going to happen, I just have to continue to the end of the task until it is complete. That is all. I cannot do any more than that. What is going to happen if I ignore her for one minute while I put DS in the car? Nothing.

4. Look at DS when talking to him / arguing with him. This makes me tone it down a bit if I look at him and see the impact. It is actually really easy to look
at whatever it is you are trying to fix while also screaming at your child. Also I tried this yesterday, I said exactly what I had been wanting to shout at him, but in a low voice instead, and it actually had an impact (rather than just making him cry).

5. Realised that I was putting too much pressure on myself to be a good mother and make DS happy all the time. Ironic as I was then making him miserable when I exploded. For now I am going to aim for no shouting for the whole day, and then know at the end of it that maybe it wasn't the BEST day he's ever had in his life, but I did not make my DS sad today.

When I look back on my own childhood, I remember my DM losing it with me at a very young age. This scares me that I remember that. I don't want to make that early memory for my DS. Maybe I already have. You don't know what they remember do you?

But at least I can reduce the chances of that memory if I can try and reduce the occurrences. I've bought the book 'Overcoming Anger and Irritability' which is CBT type book.

And finally I am going to do the most cheesy thing ever and give myself a smiley face on the calendar at the end of each day in which I have not screamed at my DS. I am not going to include general voice-raising (let's not aim for miracles here!) but if I have not lost my temper, I get a smiley face. So then I can be realistic when I look back and see how many incidents there are, compare week on week etc.

All good resolutions but what you really need is willpower I suppose.

JingleBellsRawSharkSmells Fri 07-Dec-12 11:40:58

grin at your idea for a sticker chart for yourself!

uggbug Fri 07-Dec-12 11:46:07

Will not be purchasing actual stickers or telling anyone else what this means of course! Merely a mini smiley to myself! Reward chart though - that could work!

buildingmycorestrength Sat 08-Dec-12 13:28:51

Fab ! Really well done. I also found that if both kids were kicking off I felt like a total failure and started to freak out. If I'd seen anyone else in my shoes, I'd have thought, 'baby crying, normal, preschooler being attention seeking and annoying, normal, mum doing her best, bit frazzled but normal, nothing to worry about, no one failing.' You are right, you don't have to keep them happy.

chocoluvva Sat 08-Dec-12 23:27:10

No 3 is a very significant insight IMO.
I'm sure that's one of the things I did wrong - so very stressful.

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