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My behaviour with DS(14 Posts)
I find it really hard to deal with the whining and whinging from DS and I end up shouting to 'just stop whinging'. It makes going anywhere miserable e.g. went to the park to skate this afternoon and it was constant whinging so that I get fed up and just want to go home.
I'm so fed up of it and it is making me sad. I know that most of it is my fault as I'm tired, lack patience and get annoyed when yet again something I think is going to be good fun turns into DS just whinging, stropping and moaning. He's 4.5 by the way.
I have read (well half read) some parenting books, he went through a very difficult stage at one point and I did a sort of parenting course but it was one on one at my home rather than in a group due to my work commitments and being a single parent.
Parenting is just something that does not come natural to me at all, I am not a fun parent, I shout too much and get really, really fed up of the constant demands, 'whys' and whinging. I know my DS picks up on this but I'm in bloody great rut and therefore the minute he starts my patience has run away as it feels like its non-stop whinging and no fun or laughter. In fact I can't recall many times that we have laughed over things and yet I see friends having a great time with their kids.
Today, at the park, has just made me very sad and I don't know if its because my expectations are too high or that I am just completely and utterly shit at this parenting lark. I feel I am damaging my DS self-esteem and ruining his life. He constantly asks to go to his nan's house as soon as he is with me as he doesn't like being with me.
Unfortunately it gets into a downwards spiral. Ignore the negative and find the positives. I used to go into another room, count to ten, smile and find something nice to say. Things then get better.
You could try a star chart - for you! Try to spot good behaviour, each time you do and praise him, give yourself a star. The aim is to get 10 stars each day.
Start with really easy things, like "Thank you for asking in a gentle voice" or "You did really well at sharing your car" or "Thank you for getting your shoes on when I told you to".
Do see if you can find a parenting class in a group, or if not chat to other parents - there is a thread here about becoming better parents. Parenting is hard, and no one finds it always easy.
People can find one child easier than another, one age easier than another, and everyone has times when they are just tired and their child is going through a "phase".
I would actually like to send a big cyber-hug for once. I presume you do love your DS (otherwise you wouldn't care or have expectations) so maybe just start by giving him a big kiss and cuddle and telling him so each day. Then whatever else you've done to feel down about your treatment of him, you know you've given him this reassurance.
I think small steps praise is a great idea from mummytime.
Try laughing at yourself if you do something silly - my children often join in (slightly too enthusiastically sometimes ) if I do this. I often stumble across hilarity - the other morning my DCs asked me to do 'Mr Shark' (IKEA finger puppet) and as we were going to nursery, I had him on my finger as I was driving. Just after the lights went green I idly sung out a ditty 'Shark adventure - back on the road' and they just lost it with giggles. I am fairly juvenile I suppose and have little pride... but perhaps just be silly for a bit and see if it opens your mind to new ways to have fun?
Also my DS (4.3) doesn't like doing 'work' - so like tracing over letters, or sounding out words and stuff. I don't do it much really but have some 1:1 time in the week when I can, and I say to him we're going to do it for just 10 mins or so, which really seems to help him give it a go. Then often he'll spend longer at the task. I find I have to give lots of reassurance that he can find things difficult and that it won't matter if it takes time to get better at them; he seems to want perfection instantly and gets agitated a little if it's a struggle or not perfect. Perhaps you could ask your DS if he's not doing whatever it is because of XYZ, and try to draw him out. I have a temper - believe me! - but if I leave it behind and use my voice to soothe it does have an impact. Like I'm training a dog or something...
Anyway if you can try to be kinder to yourself. You haven't failed as a parent; find things to make you happy and it will rub off.
Ignore the whinging/whining completely.
When he does it, tell him unless he uses his words and stops you won't listen and walk away.
I think you need to have fun, be silly, have a laugh and try giving a lot more attention to DS.
Thank you for your posts. I'm less emotional today and the PMT has subsided. I try to have fun with him but a lot of the time he just whinges and then I can't be fun.
I praise him lots, he gets lots of cuddles and I tell him I love him quite a few times a day if not more.
kissme I said in my OP I am not very good at being a 'fun' parent i.e. I can't turn putting socks on into a game, getting teeth brushed into a game. That stuff does not come at all natural to me as I just think 'just get dressed, we all have to do it' You said I need to give my son a lot more attention. How much more should I give? I'm either at work or with him, I rarely do anything without him and in fact my average for a night out or even an afternoon without him is about once every 3-4 months.
We cook, paint, play, read, swimming, go out walking, skating, to parks, play games and chill on the sofa watching films together. We go camping and I always stay longer than others so its just me and him. I have to cook and most times have to do it without him due to time constraints, I have to clean, do the washing etc. What else should I be doing with him/how much more time with him thats going to help with the whinging?
What does he whinge about? My dd is a lot older, but what has worked for several years now is to say "DD, you have 5 minutes to whine. If after 5 minute you choose to continue, you will lose x privilege". Amazingly she then often manages to stop whining. You could also try rewarding the behaviour you do want: "DS, I understand that you don't like being in the shop with me, it's boring but we have to buy food otherwise we go hungry. If you can get through the next 10 minutes without whining you can have a treat when we get to the till."
Being silly with children also doesn't come naturally to me, it's something you have to try and fake until you start feeling more comfortable doing it. If you don't already do it, read books using different voices for different characters. My dd loved this and would correct me if I got the voices muddled up. Our favourite book at that age was The Gruffalo.
DH had a game he played with dd a lot where he pretended that his hand was a <dd nickname>-crawler. The crawler has a silly voice and crawled all over dd, asking questions about her day, telling her about going to crawler-school and searching out ticklish spots.
Next time you both have to get dressed, challenge ds to see if he can do it faster than you can. This worked very well for us at that age. You may have to cheat to lose, but don't let him win every time. We must teach our kids to be gracious in victory and defeat.
The complete inability to turn things into a game or be silly is also a depression symptom for me... just something to consider.
Try hard to make more time for yourself. It's ok to leave ds with a sitter and go out to coffee or a film with a friend. Arrange play-dates so that you can have some adult conversation while another kid entertains ds. There is more to you than being ds's mum and if you nurture the other parts of yourself you will become a better parent.
I still think you need to learn how to have fun and be silly. I think if you are jollier, he would be jollier. I think he is just picking up on your emotions and reflecting them.
I know this from my own experience.
Just a thought, but might you think up a lighthearted catchphrase to use each time he whinges and whines that you say in an upbeat, casual, jolly but final way and then don't engage with him until he stops. I don't know, maybe, "Oooof, Mummy's ears go to sleep when you make that silly noise. You can only wake them up by speaking properly and asking nicely" or similar. You might find that if you don't get drawn in, you won't find it quite so frustrating. The stock phrases may help to avoid the shouting and the finality of it may in time mean that he realises it won't get him anywhere.
It sounds like you're ground down and shattered. If he likes Nana's, maybe he could go there for a bit now and again while you paint your nails, have a swim, get a haircut, read a mag with a latte and a pain au choc or e en (gasp!) have a lunch with friends over a bottle of crisp white wine. Re-energising so that you have something in the tank to deal with difficult behaviour may well help as well as (gasp!) making you feel happy.
I have never been silly though and I can't remember being silly as a child either. I am quite funny though and my friends find me funny but I'm just not silly if that makes sense. I'm bloody shattered but there is nothing I can do about that as I work full-time in day and night shifts and never really get a break.
My mum does my child-care while I am working which I am very grateful for however, she thinks I get loads of time/breaks to myself as it is so I rarely ask for her to look after DS so I can chill as she has him a lot as it is. I have pointed out that I am either at work or with DS apart from a few hours on a Monday when I catch up with everything. I think she has some view that I am swanning about leading this wonderful single life as she has DS a lot but I'm working in a very busy city A and E when she has him.
I've been trying the I'm not going to speak to you until you stop whining thing however, I still get drawn into it all but I'm working on it and it has worked a few times lasting he whinges about doing stuff and also says he can't do something and then I say of course he can and it then goes on from there. I just don't get how he can whinge about going to the park, roller blading, going out on his bike etc all of which he has no problem doing with my mum but with me its just a headache. So now the minute he starts I just want to stop doing it as its just no fun.
We have had a lovely weekend though with very little whinging but I think thats because he has been coming down with a cold and is far more subdued than normal.
I sympathies with you on the not finding it natural to be a 'fun' silly parent. I'm a serious person. I can be funny, but silly really grates on me. Sadly kids love silly!
Three things. Firstly, try to focus on all the things you do give your child, other than wackiness. Your are clearly pretty devoted to your son, and you demonstrate it in many ways other than being 'fun' mummy. He may not see them now, but reassure yourself that you are covering all the basics.
Second, you could try to spread the work out a bit. It sounds like your son is with you, or your mum, all the time. What about looking outside that for fun people? Uncles, granddad, neighbors, friends with children, your own friends? It takes a village, you can't be everything to your child, always. Maybe try developing a wider boy-friendly network that lets him blow off steam in the company if people who do enjoy the silly side of life. I've got friends who are way better at telling jokes and pulling faces than me, and both my ds's love mucking about with them.
Last, fake it till you make it. And tell yourself it doesn't last forever, he'll grow up and appreciate the things you can do for him.
Btw my DS1 whines more with me than anyone else. I tell myself it's because he feels safe with me, and trusts me to still love him even when his behavior is awful. That thought sometimes gets me through a particularly grueling afternoon!
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