Help me to stop shouting (really shouting) at my children

(131 Posts)
chestnutblue Wed 23-Jan-13 10:23:51

I have three, ages 6, 4 and 1. I find I am very hard on 6yo son. He drives me crazy because he doesn't listen or do as he is told and is unkind to 4yo. I know he's only small and this is normal but it literally drives me crazy. I find myself screeching at him, utterly furious that once again he is not listening. Repeating myself endlessly is soul destroying.
How do you deal with this sort of behavious? (mine and his).
What coping techniques do you use?
Please help, I am a hideous mum who is making my lovely boy miserable.

Lastyearsmodel Wed 23-Jan-13 10:33:34

Oh god, I could have written your post! I have DD1 6yo who is v sensitive and often in her own world and can be v harsh with DS 4yo. Now DD2 2 yo is joining in I am like a banshee some mornings.

But we are not hideous mums! We are doing our best and recognise that the shouting a. Makes us feel horrid and b. Doesn't really work and just makes them copy us.

I have no magic answers, sorry, but am better when I am calmer. Are you getting time for yourself? Any big stresses at the moment?

UnMN <<<hugs>>> to you.

Lastyearsmodel Wed 23-Jan-13 10:36:06

Ps I presume you're doing the usual telling then warning then carrying out consequences? It's all a phase, this too will pass.

Aspiemum2 Wed 23-Jan-13 10:37:10

You need to take control and feel in control. If you have a 'go to' response for undesirable behaviour then it eliminates too much thought. What sort of behaviour correction to you currently use?

I think it helps to be clear in your mind of how you'll handle things, time out is really good to give both of you chance to calm down and when time out is finished you can calmly explain why that behaviour is unacceptable.

Being stern and consistent will bring quick results

It is a gradual process, dh was a shouter so we've been through this and it's not easy to change

chestnutblue Wed 23-Jan-13 10:37:58

Thank you, I wish I had answers for you but it's wonderful to know I'm not the only one. I have some time just now but seem to spend all down time regretting my terrible behaviour and thinking of my boy's miserable face post shouting.
Lots of stresses but I know I shouldn't be transferring the stress on to them. And he does drive me crazy ...

chestnutblue Wed 23-Jan-13 10:41:40

It's always worse when I'm trying to get him to school and trying to meet a deadline plus sorting other two. Being up against the clock means I can't do the timeout stuff - which I do use. Also, I can see that 70% of the time he's not doing it out of badness, he's just 6 and can't keep a thought in his head!!
I need to find coping techniques that will head off my rage before it begins. I often find myself in the middle of screaming at them before I realise it.

Aspiemum2 Wed 23-Jan-13 10:42:23

I should probably add that my dc's can be right little shits as I'm too soft sometimes, I know what I'm supposed to be doing but don't always want to be the bad guy!

Lastyearsmodel Wed 23-Jan-13 11:40:14

What Aspiemum said about your go-to response is true. A deep breath and a strategy you stick to is good to aim for.

DD1's flash point is getting dressed so as we try to get dressed before com ing downstairs (a bit of breakfast spilt on uniform is the least of my worries ). If she kicks off I remind her she will be leaving the house in her jamas with her uniform in a bag. If it gets bad I tell her I will ring her teacher to warn her.

We do timeouts for hurting or repeated not listening. She also shouts and rages at her siblings so if I can I try to remember she has learnt it from me and I should set a better example.

But you are human and trying and that is very important. I have had a shouty week and am trying to be calmer and plan ahead more.

Lastyearsmodel Wed 23-Jan-13 11:41:46

Ps lots of good advice on here about making mornings as easy as possible for you.

Hand holding here. Had to do nothing but shout at my dd this week she's done nothing but be deliberately difficult at every opportunity resulting in mad rushes for school. She just cannot listen like ever!!! Grrrr

Will be watching this thread with u

bluecarrot Wed 23-Jan-13 11:59:50

My dd was 8 when I decided silence was better. However, this works for dd as its a power struggle she's looking. Though a fair bit of laziness thrown in.

Basically I explain the natural consequences.

Don't do your homework? Get in trouble at school
Don't put laundry in basket? Do laundry yourself
Don't get washed? Will be smelly.
Don't brush hair? Will get tattier

She can scream, stomp, slam doors, be rude etc but she rarely gets a response from me ( occasionally I've cried despite best intentions) she always apologises after. My response? I appreciate you acknowledging you were wrong. Can you try next time to express anger/disappointment/frustration better? How? ( it's all v hormonal ATM!)

For yours, not playing nicely could mean a timeout or exclusion for x mins. Not sure how you feel about dc hitting back?

bluecarrot Wed 23-Jan-13 12:05:18

Re mornings- what's your routine?

Can you get up earlier? Are clothes/bagslaid out night before? Breakfast table set? Can he get dressed a place with less distractions? ( No toys, mirrors etc) Do you give breakfasts that can be eaten en route? ( pref not something he overly enjoys so its not a treat!)

DD has made it to end of driveway in pjs twice before running back to get dressed in 30 sec flat.

When we were wee we got dressed into uniform then put our dressing gown on to have breakfast in case of spills!

AlienReflux Wed 23-Jan-13 12:05:40

I find myself flipping out sometimes, usually over something that's much less serious than stuff I've coped with earlier. I find being tired makes it worse, and being late!!

I've started to go to bed earlier, and honestly, I'm noticing the difference already, and making myself organise school stuff the night before, so the morning's not a mad rush.

No matter what planning you do though, there will be times when he pushes your buttons, I saw a programme (supernanny I think) where she said, don't wait til you're at boiling point to discipline, which is what I do, give warning at first sign of bad behaviour, then time out or what ever.

None of us are perfect, but yes, when I see my boys eyes filling up because I've shouted, I feel bloody awful sad

hillyhilly Wed 23-Jan-13 12:24:53

I've lost it with my ds (5) twice this week already, and am feeling bad about it too.
I get demented by the sound of my own voice politely and pleasantly saying the same thing about 10 times and being ignored, I shout, it gets done and that's wrong.
It helps me to recognise that it's not just him, its me (pmt), and that its down to me to make the changes.
It also helps enormously to read on here that I'm not the only one!!!

You most definately aren't!!

I swear they r just programmed to be difficult !!!! Short of sticking them to bed clothed for the next day there is nothing more I can do night before!!!

WhitePeacock Wed 23-Jan-13 12:56:25

I only have the one DD, and she's 2, so don't have a lot of your stress factors, but I started out as a massive shouter - not at her so much as my poor DH (that's what my mum modelled for me and what I thought was normal). When DD arrived I realised I didn't want to make her as scared of me as I was of my mum, so practised standing back in my head to look at myself/the situation and trying, TRYING to resist the temptation to bellow (I did fail a few times and I still fail now but am rewiring myself to a new normal.)

The thing that's made all the difference for me is being able to apologise - to say "I was tired, I felt stressed and cross, and I'm sorry - I didn't mean to shout at you." I still get DD to sort out whatever has made me lose my cool but when I've said sorry we usually do it much more companiably and I'm not so afraid that I've broken our relationship forever and transmogrified into my mum at her worst!

Feeling the stakes aren't so high helps me not get to rage-point so fast. Sympathies though, having to get to places on time with others in tow stresses me out something awful. I'm sure the school run, even with just DD, is going to tempt me to do a Hulk every day.

Bearwantsmore Wed 23-Jan-13 13:02:07

I'm a screecher too, I hate it. I never knew i had such a short temper until DD turned 3/4 ish and I really do need to try harder not to shout and screech at her. I worry that her memory of her childhood will contain a lot of me shouting, and sometimes that thought is enough to stop me.

Also.. Have you had his hearing checked? It turned out DD had v poor hearing caused by glue ear and she genuinely wasn't hearing me some of the time. So now I try to address her clearly face-to-face and try to be more patient.

Panzee Wed 23-Jan-13 13:05:41

Not sure if it works with your own, but a few years ago I got into a bad habit of shouting at my class. I wore a hair bobble on my wrist and twiddled or yanked it when I felt like shouting. It was a little reminder to myself to rein it in and try something else. smile Maybe something similar might work for you till you get out of the habit?

PolterGoose Wed 23-Jan-13 13:12:37

My ds has an ASD and some of the techniques used with children with SNs are really good with all children. Some ideas:

Make a visual timetable, let ds draw the activities that have to be done in the morning, eg getting out of bed, having a wee, eating breakfast, brushing teeth, getting dressed, putting on shoes and coat, leaving house. Then ask him what he likes to do in the morning and if it is one thing have that as the last thing he does, if it is several scatter them between the compulsory tasks. Stick it all up in your agreed order. As he is probably too little to tell the time you can draw a clock face with the hands in the right places for each task.

You can use a stopwatch to time how long the compulsory tasks take and maybe keep a record for him to beat. This worked really well getting my ds to dress himself and eating breakfast which were taking an age.

Set up a reward system. Make a chart or something, 5 spaces and each morning he gets ready with no fuss he gets a sticker. I'd start with aiming for 3 stickers for a treat the first week, then 4, then 5. Don't expect too much too soon.

Tackle one problem area at a time. Get a routine really well settled before doing another. Once the first has become instinctive for him follow a similar process for the next problem. Tweak it as you go to make it work for you and him.

Try to frame requests in positive terms. So instead of "STOP HURTING YOUR SISTER!" Calmly ask him for "gentle hands please ds", find phrases that work. We use 'tidy feet please' when ds is stamping or kicking his legs under the table, it doesn't really make sense but it is easy and quick to say.

Try not to say "No". Answer properly except if he is in danger if course. If he wants something he can't have explain why and in what circumstances and when he can have that thing, eg when he is 7 or when he is calm or once he has shown you how kind he is to his sister. Look for ways to answer positively.

chestnutblue Wed 23-Jan-13 13:13:05

God, it's good to share, isn't it?
When I posted this morning I felt like a failure. Reading your replies has made me feel proud to have spoken up and determined to do better.

I'm a night before organiser and have everything for all three out and ready to go. Including breakfast table set, porridge soaking etc. We have more than an hour before the school bus arrives and my younger two are really no problem but it just takes my eldest to take 5mins plus to wash his face (via the lego box) and we're all out of sync and I'm losing it.

I'll be getting his hearing checked and trying to warn earlier and shout less.
I wish I could re-train myself - shouting seems to be my default - but I'm not really sure how to do it. WhitePeacock, I think we're coming from the same place.
All and any suggestions, or just what works for you, would be welcome.

BuiltForComfort Wed 23-Jan-13 13:13:28

When you're asking him to do something, are you in the room with him and do you have his attention? No good calling from another room.

When you've asked him, get him to tell you what it is he needs to do now.

Give him loads of praise for each thing he does - you got your pants on, well done, what's next? You got dressed by yourself after I asked just once, that's brilliant! etc

Get him to take charge more. Before we leave for school in the morning, what do we need to do? That's right, put clothes on and do teeth, what else? Put shoes and coat on, well done for remembering all those things, do you think you can do each thing in turn now?

Make it more fun - I bet you can't get dressed by the time I've done x.

Also get him to think it through. If you don't get dressed in time, you won't have time to play in the playground before school starts / jump on that tree you like on our way / choose a CD to play in the car. Being late is rude to Mr / Mrs Teacher, we need to make sure we get to school in time, how do you think you can help?

and so on and so on ... It requires lots of fore thought and effort on your part, so you need to think it all through before the flashpoints usually crop up, allow extra time etc.

Eglantyne Wed 23-Jan-13 13:13:49

Another shouter here. I hate myself for doing it. With my dd(8) it's because she just doesn't stop the back chat when I'm telling her off, she gets louder, I get louder etc etc. I go from "be quiet", to "not one more word" to "SHUT UP". (Yes, I know, horrible). But... I have a plan. I have now given her a notebook, and told her that if she can't stop and she has to get the last word / say it's not fair / all someone else's fault, then she can write it in there. She can read it back when she's calm, and if she still firmly believes it's something I need to read, I will read it. Haven't had to put it into action yet, since Sun, but it will be interesting to see if it helps.

SpudtheScarecrow Wed 23-Jan-13 13:23:26

Haven't really got any tips but wanted to put my hand up as another shouter blush. Mine are 7, 5 and 2 and just in the last 6 months or so the older 2 have started winding each other up all the time. I'm trying hard to stop tho as more and more frequently I've found myself shrieking STOP SHOUTING AT EACH OTHER! So it obviously is having the wrong effect grin

I do know hat I shout more when I am tired, stressed etc so I try and think through why I am getting worked up and not worry if it's something that doesn't matter. Getting out of the door for school is a nightmare though. It doesn't matter how 'ready' we are, DS2 (5) will find something to faff about and make us late!

SpudtheScarecrow Wed 23-Jan-13 13:28:22

Eglantyne both my old ones do that - they just don't know when to back down - might try the notepad I think they'd like that.

I did start reading the Calmer, Happier parenting book and found that v helpful but have slipped back into bad habits lately

HumphreyCobbler Wed 23-Jan-13 13:38:45

Could you have a meeting with him and discuss the problem? I got this technique from How to Talk So Kids Will Listen - a brilliant book. I used it to great effect re mealtimes in our house recently and the change for the better has made us all happier.

Basically call a meeting around the table. Explain that you have a problem in that you don't like to shout but are finding that this is happening because of XYZ. Invite suggestions about how this could be improved, and write down everything suggested by everyone (this is v important). Have a discussion about resulting ideas. Make sure there are things for everyone to take on board, so your ideas for not shouting are included as well as ideas for improving listening skills etc. Re-organise into a shorter list and put on the wall.

My six year old has responded really well to this. He knows where he is with it all.

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