I'm not a good parent(23 Posts)
I'm coming to the realisation that I'm not a very good parent and I'm not sure what to do. I read all of the books but actually putting things into practice is hard.
I'm finding my 3 year old really difficult and I'm not handling it in a way I'm proud of. Im always shouting and getting annoyed. He is probably just a typical 3 year old but I find him irritating and I don't respond to him the way I'd like to. I feel like I'm reverting to the behaviours I witnessed from my own mother even though I don't like the way she parented.
Things my 3 year old does that annoy me are - constant whinging rather than asking for something, screeching and crashing around, constant falling over or tripping over the smallest thing and then crying, running off in public places, throwing himself on the floor if he doesn't get his own way, saying he doesn't need the potty and then wetting himself, jumping on his baby brother despite constant reminders not to, or crushing his head and making him cry. I know none of these examples are out of the ordinary but it's constant and relentless.
I just want to have a nice day with him but I feel like he pushes my buttons all of the time. I start each day with good intentions and try to practice positive parenting. I try jollying him along to get him dressed and fed but invariably will end up shouting in frustration at some point. Then it almost becomes a slippery slope and we spend the rest of the day with me shouting or telling him no.
I feel like I just can't handle having two children and that I only have enough energy and love for one. I have a two month old baby too, who is a demanding baby and I'm exhausted by the constant juggling of their opposing needs. I have no patience because everything is always a rush and then I feel stressed.
Has anyone been in a situation like this and turned it around? I don't want to be horrible shouty mummy who is never any fun.
I would look at your list of annoyances and think about 1 or 2 that you want to address now (jumping on baby is probably priority 1) and focus on them. Ignore other unwanted behaviour but don't focus on it either. Over praise ridiculously. Like Mary poppins. Basically make it worth his while to behave nicely by making good behaviour = attention
I'd be looking for a positive parenting course in your shoes - they are great for new ideas and refocusing and feeling more confident in your parenting.
uk.pinterest.com/billericayp/ I like this pinterest page for resources to help me stay focused.
I have a 4 year old who has always been difficult too, since the day he was born. I have often lost my patience with him and yelled at him. I know exactly what you mean about wanting to start the day well but even when I followed everything the books would say to do things would still turn unpleasant. That was more so when he was under 3.5. Since 3.5 he has greatly improved. Still, he is difficult compared to my other son who is 3. My second is easy going and has been a dream for the most part. He is going through the tantrum stage but other than that he's easy to manage. So I know the difference between them. I am not sure what's going on with my son either, other than he's got a strong personality that is often aggressive, negative and paranoid.
I don't have advice but I can tell you that your son should get better soon. Mine made a big change after 3.5.
I could have written your post. I have a 3.5 year old DS, a 2 month old baby DS, and I dont feel that I am coping at all well. DS1 is lovely but a pain in the bum at the moment, and some days it feels like all I do is shout at him for what is just typical 3 year old silliness (running around screeching, singing stupid made up songs about poo, ignoring me, making a mess, having tantrums over stupid things etc!). No specific advice but just wanted to let you know that you're not alone. I'm hoping it will get better as DS2 gets older and more settled, and I'm getting more sleep.
I could have written your post I spoke to my health visitor who recommended positive parenting and found me a local course. There's no magic wand but the fact that you even want to address your parenting means you're a great parent so go easy on yourself.
OP, am sure you're not bad. Just the fact you are writing this and thinking about it means you care.
I have a 2.5 yr old and a two month old and it is really tough. I too find myself yelling more than I like and my DD is constantly squishing the baby and waking him.
I find the Aha parenting website really useful. Also her books (Laura Markham). They help me stay calm and avoid issues with the way I was parented coming out when I don't want them too.
Also getting out early in the morning to a group or the park has really helped my sanity now I have two. It's something to aim for to get up and out and stops us all feeling cooped up.
I too have a 4 yo who is difficult to manage and a baby.
I'm not sure I'm there yet but we've been working on his behaviour and have a few things you can try.
When he is whining tell him you won't talk to him until he stops, then walk away and ignore him.
Don't do things for him. I got into a nasty habit of picking things up for him, pulling up his pants etc and it was then hard to make him so it. I now ask him and when he says I should just say 'Ik not going to do it).
Try a sucker chart for behaviour. We got one and loads of shinty star stickers off amazon and it works.
Yet to talk to him about expectations and do a review afterwards , ie if you're going somewhere, talk beforehand about whT is/ isn't acceptable behaviour and afterwards either praise good behaviour or point it bad behaviour.
Pick your battles. If it doesn't matter then leave it.
When he's getting really worked up stop, talk softly and give/ offer a hug. It will help both of you calm down. He may be feeling as frustrated as you.
I hope some of these help. Good luck. Parenting is hard!
Apologies for the typos- up all night due to feeding baby!! I hope you get what I mean.
All of the things the other posters have said are sooo great and true. The simple fact that you realise there is a problem will likely put you one step ahead of where your mother was when parenting you. We can only do some thing about that, which we see and acknowledge. It is understandable that you repeat the patterns, which you were taught. I was shouted at a lot and lose it sometimes particularly when I am overtired and I'm sure you are overtired right now. When we are under pressure, it is natural to revert to what we know even when we really don't want to.
I think the parenting course sounds awesome and with a bit of planning, hopefully you can get someone to watch the kids. Be kind to yourself. Try to find some time for you however short to do stuff for you even if it is just a bubble bath. Try to find something each week that you look forward to doing or having. A newborn and a young child going through the tantrum stage is really tough. Remembering that he's only a little kid and it's not his responsibility to diffuse the situation can help. It's your job because you're the grown up. If you want calm, it's for you to instill it and not anticipate stuff going wrong before it even happens. When I shout at my daughter I always apologise, tell her I was wrong to shout and make it clear I was responsible for losing my temper. That way her ego remains intact. It's quite funny sometimes she tells me she doesn't want to be around me when I'm acting like that. So I know she isn't internalising my anger and it's an instant wake up call.
At age 3 my DD went on the step a lot because she is strong willed. One minute for every year. We saw a child psychologist privately because my DD stopped developing emotionally when she started school. 18 months into school, my friend pointed out how controlling of me she had become (I was very ill and this was a coping strategy for her - if she could see me, she could see I was ok). She was pretty vile tbh. The child psychologist made an awesome massive sparkly sticker chart with around 7 things on it we had innocuous stuff I wanted her to do like hanging up her coat , putting her shoes away and then stuff like being nice to the dog and stuck it on the wall using a variety of interesting stickers. At first she was given two warnings and on the third time, she did not get the sticker for the day. Once the be nice to the dog was sorted, we kept it on for a while and and went for the be nice to mummy - it took her several months to modify her behaviour. After a couple of months of not having the be nice to the dog, we had to redo it and that time, it sorted this for good. In the space of 4 months, she became the well adjusted 5 year old she needed to be. Now she's 7 almost 8 and wise far beyond her years. Consistency and persistence is key.
As I said, I used the step at this age and it worked very well. Sticker charts age 3 can work too I'm sure as long as they are very simple. I would not give him any emotional challenges to start with. )The tantrum stage and being age 3 is really tough and overwhelming). Maybe stuff like putting his dirty pants in the laundry to start with. I'd choose perhaps 4 things to do and talk to him about doing these 4 things every day and remind him frequently of the chart to give him plenty of opportunity to get it right with lots and lots of praise when he does. The 2 warnings sound good. Show him the chart, make a big deal of it before you start.
Children use tantrums when they feel out of control. They are looking to the parents to soothe them and help them through it. Once he has calmed down, he will need plenty of hugs and reassurance that you love him unconditionally. My friends boy is also 7 and he still loses it sometimes. It's fine. The more love, reassurance and understanding we give our children, the quicker they will learn the ability to self regulate and come out the other end of the tantrums. The main thing is to use what we have learnt to try to give our children an easier ride than many of us had.
I am now going through counselling myself because of the emotional sbuse, which still happens in my family - aimed exclusively at me. I have needed help in the past and may need help for the future. My job is to give to my DD that, which I did not receive and to heal me, I am learning to reparent myself. What I mean by reparenting myself is losing the constant negative self talk, which is a product of my childhood and finally becoming a well rounded adult. I now realise my mother and brother were never given the skills to grow up. I'm getting them for me to pass on to my daughter. I know each time I lose it it's because I am acting like a child because I am unable to self regulate and I no longer wish to be in this situation.
I meant to says once the 2 warnings were sorted, we went down to one. By this stage if she hit me or the dog, there was no warning, she automatically lost the sticker.
It's your response and shouting that's the issue. The toddler behaviour sounds normal. Stop shouting and getting stressed about pointless small things. It's not like he's running in front of a car or tipping boiling water.
Yes spandex has a point.
It always starts with modification of our behaviour.
Like a lot of others, I could have written this verbatim. YY to being whingey (even just asking for a drink!), running off, tantrums, Urghhhh!
I totally lost my shit this morning because 3.3 son wouldn't put his pants and trousers on (he can do it easily). It's the same battle every morning and it is soul destroying and we invariably late to playgroup or we don't end up going anywhere because he takes so long (current record being around 2 1/2 hours).
Having had one ds who literally could do no wrong and was completely chilled out, ds is an education (also have a 1yo dd who is heading down the same route).
I know none of this is helpful and I don't have any useful suggestions, but you are not alone <hug> and you are definitely not a bad parent!
Also children tend to reflect what parents are really feeling. I can see you're taking the playful parent approach but in general, inside are you feeling ok? The whiny behaviour could easily be linked to your own emotions. It sounds like you are trying to present a happy front to him when really you are quite stressy and explosive.
You need to choose to stop shouting. You need to choose to react to normal toddler situations differently. It's in your hands.
Next time you feel like losing your rag or raising your voice, get some fresh air in the garden or go for a walk or make a cuppa or put some happy music on or try some breathing meditation or count to 10 backwards. Change your mindset. Concentrate on rephrasing things in a positive way.
As issues occur think 'what's the nicest way I can sort this out'
Thanks for the replies.
I am extremely tired as the baby doesn't sleep much. This is definitely exacerbating the situation as its meaning I've no patience. to say I'm explosive is exactly right.
I do try and get out each morning. I'm finding that adds to my stress though as I'm trying to get myself ready plus a toddler who won't cooperate, while the baby screams in the background. My baby needs a lot of cajoling to sleep and I don't have half an hour to rock her when I'm trying to get out of the house. Then I get shouty when my toddler wont get dressed or put his shoes on.
He is s sweet boy and his behaviour is completely age appropriate. Sometimes he is being dangerous, like running off, but I do realise they all do it at that age. I just wish I could slow life down so that I'm not feeling so stressed and rushed all the time.
Honestly, OP, like I said above, you could be me. I've had 2 hours sleep, 9 week old DS2 is clingy and difficult today as he had his vaccinations yesterday. It's taken me all morning to get the three of us dressed and out the house. When we were leaving, 3.5 year old DS1 was messing around about putting his shoes and coat on. The baby was in the car seat crying, he was shouting about poo and giggling and running away from me, I could feel my blood pressure rising and my books starting to leak with the baby getting more wound up, and I ended up turning into shouty mum again. It would be easier just to stay home, but if we don't get out the house, I end up sticking paw patrol on repeat again just to get a break, and getting more round up as he gets more hyper. We are now at a toddler gymnastics session, I'm writing this while feeding baby in the corner, and counting down until DH gets home. It's HARD. If you're a crap mum, I am too. I think maybe we are just sleep deprived mums learning to cope with their kids outnumbering them!
Well it's good to know I'm not the only one. My friends with kids all seem to be able to stay calm.
I do apologise and explain why I've shouted if I feel like I've really overreacted. I don't know how much he understands though.
You are not a bad mom. You are just going through a difficult phase because you have a newborn and toddler. I know how you feel though. My friends with 2 kids always seemed so put together and would say they are managing great, which made me feel like I'm doing something wrong or that there was something wrong with my kids.
I only had 22 months between my two so my toddler couldn't even do anything on his own when I had my second. Just putting things in perspective for you. The first 1.5 was very hard. I wanted to pull my hair out most days. That's why I'm saying just hang in there, because I know it gets easier. It's just a matter of your kids maturing a bit. I agree with the other comments about you changing your behavior too, as much as possible. When he is acting silly but not bothering you just let it go and leave him be. If you need to go out at a certain time, you have to plan to start the getting dressed process early and leave lots of time so you don't get stressed in the end.
We all wake up as Mary Poppins and go to bed like Cruella Da Ville !!
Have one bag packed as a spare - everything you need for a day out - one less stress -
Getting dress - challenge him "bet you can't do it by the time I count to 20"
When losing it smile and say to yourself "I will not shout" over and over ...
Save shouting for when it really matter because kids don't hear shouting!
Seriously don't worry.
You are in the eye if the storm atm. I was there too. And felt so guilty at the shouting etc.
We came through and two years on, it's brill
It is much harder when sleep deprived and with a small baby.
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