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i am genuinely shit at this

(26 Posts)
crazeekitty Wed 12-Mar-14 20:02:41

Typing this while I listen to dd have a massive screaming tantrum because I've insisted she washes and cleans her teeth... She's being bullied and I can't let hygiene be another thing for them to pick on. Stupidly I lost my temper and shouted. She threw herself around a lot. I'm probably going to have a black eye in the morning.

How could I have done it differently? Hygiene is a non negotiable.

elfycat Wed 12-Mar-14 20:08:32

How old is DD? I've just started using the aquafresh brush time app and both DDs are better at it, though there's still room for improvement (looking at you DD2 3yo)

The tantrum is fine and quite normal. I bet she's tired and it was fraught. Have a minute to yourself, I know you have to try to calm her down quickly, but calming yourself is the first step. Will she let you cuddle and chat before sleep?

crazeekitty Wed 12-Mar-14 20:23:09

She's 9. Older than most but you've reminded me that it was probably a toddler tantrum. She has bad skin so washing is an essential.

We've weathered the storm and had cuddles and I've apologised. I hate myself for shouting.

prumarth Wed 12-Mar-14 20:52:17

Crazeekitty, don't beat yourself up. You are right - allowing her to not wash isn't going to be an option. My suggestion (and please note: not a mum yet so ignore if crap answer) is that you just revisit the "why" it's important and acknowledge that she found it difficult but that you are there to help her cope with her feelings once things calm down. And to give yourself a pat on the back too from time to time! You are NOT shit at this!

Kewcumber Wed 12-Mar-14 20:57:01

I also think if its possible to explain why it might help. It might help give her some control if she understands why its so important for her. Never mind blackened teeth and smelling bad!

The problem is once the tantrum has started really you can give up all hope of any discussion. Once its calmed down perhaps in the morning or after school tomorrow can you sit her down and have a chat with her about it?

DS was also better with an electric toothbrush if she doesn;t already have one.

Kewcumber Wed 12-Mar-14 20:58:35

And you aren;t genuinely shit at this - I have an 8 year old and he;s been with me 7 years and I still get it wrong a lot! and I've had about 7 years more practice than you which I guess makes me even more hopeless.

If you're waiting to get it 100% right all the time, you'll be waiting a loooooong time!

Hels20 Wed 12-Mar-14 21:11:29

Craze - if you are shit, then I am too.
I also shouted at DS yesterday after he emptied every puzzle out in the kitchen, accidentally poured green paint on my beige rug (I know - wrong colour to have as a rug) and then accidentally dropped a thimble (smashing it) that I had asked
him to put down (and I had taken it away but I hadn't put it on the counter far enough). The thimble was the last straw - it was ceramic and had been given to me (and designed by) my artistic and also deceased aunt for my own christening...

I shouted too - and felt awful afterwards.

We all have days where we are pushed. You are not shit, just completely human.

KristinaM Wed 12-Mar-14 21:14:57

Forgive yourself for shouting, you are only human.

Don't let yourself get In a control battle over this. You cannot force her to wash or brush her teeth. You might need to let her experience the logical consequences of this.

This might include not having sweets ( because the sugar will stay on her teeth ) . Or having other kids say she stinks and making the bullying worse. Or having her skin get sore.

I'm sorry, but she is 9 and old enough to assault you, as you have discovered. You simply cannot physically force her to do this and there is not a social worker in the country who will support you if you try to do so.

You need to stop taking ownership of this problem . You are putting all the effort Into solving it when it's her body and her problem. You need to turnover ownership to her

I would say things like

Ive been thinking about you not wanting to brush your teeth /shower and I've realised I was wrong to get so upset/angry about it.ive realised that it's your body and your teeth, you are old enough to know how to clean them and I need to let you decide what you what to do

Let me if I can help you work out what to do. I'm sure you will work out a good solution to the problem

She might ask " what problem " , then you can say stuff like the other kids picking on you because you smell or your teeth rotting because you don't brush them.

But you need to smile and look relaxed and emphasise that you are confident in her ability to work it out.

Then the hardest bit -you have to not mention it and see what happens.

You might want to treat yourself to one of these vibrating toothbrushes and a pump toothpaste dispenser. These are a big hit with my kids of a smilar age . Or buy yourself one of these yucky pink floral deodorant sprays that 9yo girls love.

Make sure that your friends comment on how lovely you smell.

DONT buy them for her. Of course if she asks to borrow them ( obv not the toothbrush!!!!! ) you might want to consider it. But only very reluctantly .

Clake66 Wed 12-Mar-14 21:20:49

Not to in anyway negate your evenings trauma, as a mother of three grownup ones, who can remember the same scenario times three, The past few years my husband and I were not able to get near the bathroom. We organised a second thinking it would help, we now are back to square one on that too. My daughter monopolises the upstairs while my boys fight over who is first downstairs. We have to get up early for any chance of hotwater these for the toothpaste I might have to start buying shares.

MrsBW Wed 12-Mar-14 21:22:29

I heard Dan Hughes speak last year.

One thing he said that really stuck in my mind. I'm paraphrasing...

"At some point you will shout. The important thing is to 'own' the incident (Americanism which made we wince a bit but...)... When you've calmed down, tell your children, 'wow,that was pretty rough wasn't it? I got pretty mad, you gotten pretty mad. What can we do next time to stop that happening? And get them help devise strategies for next time with you.

Then remind them that 'that's as bad as it gets'. No matter how cross you get, you'll never abuse or neglect them... Shouting is as bad as it gets.

No idea if this is helpful to you, just remember it so thought I'd add it, just in case.


Clake66 Wed 12-Mar-14 21:25:44

I meant to also say, I heard my oldest 'lecture' my youngest a few months ago and hearing him say almost word for word what i would have said to him. If only he had kept his mouth shut he has told me, competition for the bathroom would not be a problem!

MrsBW Wed 12-Mar-14 21:27:19


Just read Kristina's advice about not taking ownership of the problem...

Dan was talking about 'owning the incident (meaning your anger) after it's happened rather than ignoring it... Making sure you go back to it to address it, rather than owning the problem while it's happening (if that makes sense?)

Blondieminx Wed 12-Mar-14 21:33:33

You are not shit, you are concerned about your DD and seeking advice as to how to get better results/co-operation... That makes you a caring nice mummy!

I have found this book very helpful in increasing my DD's cooperation at getting things done the first time I ask.

I hope tomorrow is a MUCH better day x

KristinaM Wed 12-Mar-14 21:39:06

Did I mention how much I LOVE Dan Hughes?? smile

OneOfOurLilkasIsMissing Wed 12-Mar-14 21:46:16

Try not to beat yourself up for shouting, forgive's a normal reaction. I know this is hard, and I do understand how it feels. I used to expect myself to be superwoman-mum, someone who would always take the therapeutic appraoch, which demands that I remain calm and in control and thinking about what to do next, and expected myself to refrain from things like shouting lots. Years down the line, I think differently. To expect ourselves to be parenting perfectly all the time is setting ourselves up for failure, because it's an impossible feat. We're human, and pretty much every human after this much stressful situations, reaches shouting point/piling on the consequences point etc. We will ALL do it, because it's normal and natural to get to this point. We have to find a way to accept that it's normal and natural and we will do it, and we have to find a way to forgive ourselves for not being superhero strength parents, and let ourselves be normal people who try our very best but inevitably have bad days and bad moments

I love Dan Hughes advice on this (thanks for that MrsBW ), and I'm pretty sure he also said that it's not the arguments/shouting etc that matters, it's the "making up" afterwards, because if you can make up, cuddle etc, then that's what will probably stick in your childs head and enable them to move on and forget about the shouting match.

With teeth brushing, I go more for Kristina's approach, because that's what fits my 2 older kids better, more likely to end well for us all if I take that approach.

Because of the control taking attempts, I used to simply have a 10 minute slot for teeth cleaning, and during those 10 minutes, the children have to get their teeth done. If they refuse and refuse, I then say "okay you've missed the slot, time for bed". And if someone then starts up a "oh now I've changed my mind, I'll do my teeth now" I say, "you've missed tonights slot, but you get to brush your teeth tomorrow morning!".

I restrict sweeties etc until teeth are brushed, as a logical consequence. "Mum, I want the sweets!", "Yes, DD2, of course you may have the sweets, just as soon as your teeth are brushed!". And I explain briefly why sweeties can't be eaten if teeth aren't being cleaned, but refuse to go over it again and again, because repeated "but WHY?"'s after i've aleady explained twice is an attempt to ignite a shouting match on the childs part.

OneOfOurLilkasIsMissing Wed 12-Mar-14 21:47:12

ha, x-post, Dan Hughes love all round then? grin

crazeekitty Wed 12-Mar-14 22:11:14

Thank you all for your responses. The Dan Hughes quote is just right for me.

I've had a bit of a think and I know this isn't actually about washing and hygiene. She knows the whys of this and is completely aware of her medical issue which makes it all the more vital. She has the electric toothbrush, the deodorants etc etc.

I've been thinking back to her other meltdowns and regardless of the context it is always immediately after she has become overexcited about something. She spirals with the excitement. I saw it tonight and tried unsuccessfully to calm her down with different therapeutic techniques. Then a switch flicked and she goes into meltdown. Happened last week, too.

She never seems to have any recollection of the incidents either. It is as though her mind short-circuits.

So I guess now I'm asking more specifically about self regulation. And please, no suggestions to buy a trampoline... If one more sw or therapist suggests this I'm going to bounce them on a bloody trampoline. You'd sympathise if you saw the size of our house and garden.

namechangesforthehardstuff Wed 12-Mar-14 22:15:55

See that's not shit parenting is it? You've thought about the problem, worked out what's really going on and you're looking for (non-trampoline related) solutions.

That's textbook good parenting that is grin

MrsBW Wed 12-Mar-14 22:18:47

He was brilliant. I'm not a parent yet so no idea if it works in practice, but I liked the way he phrased the theory... Everything from why children who suffer trauma brain's are wired differently, to overarching principles on why they act as they do, to specific scenarios and how to deal with them. It was so easy to understand and made me think 'I can do that' (As I said, the practice might be different!)

Slightly off topic, but I wrote up pretty comprehensive notes from the day for our portfolio.

If anyone wants a copy, PM me your email address

Sorry to hijack, OP.

crazeekitty Wed 12-Mar-14 22:25:00

Hijack away! Anything that helps others is good isn't it.

And thank you namechange... I'll remind myself of that while nursing my bruises and cleaning lo's snot and tear stained pillow. Poor little thing.

MrsBW Wed 12-Mar-14 22:31:41

Unfortunately he didn't cover 'refuses to brush teeth' smile

i think you're doing just great... but i understand it must feel like anything but to someone 'on the inside' thanks

Italiangreyhound Thu 13-Mar-14 00:14:41

Crazeekitty good luck, I am sure you are not shit and you will work it out.

If you do get any glimpses of her doing the hygiene thing, hope you will be able to handle it well for her, whether that is being proud of her or nonchalant!

My dd hates brushing hair and cleaning teeth and even seems to have trouble flushing the loo sometimes! We ended up looking at you tube clips of cats flushing the loo to show her that even a cat can do it!

The other day she appeared with hair brushed, nice clothes, dainty sandals, MY lipstick and MY perfume. I could have said what are you doing wearing my perfume or your lipstick is crooked! But instead I praised dd and (although she normally is not mad on praise, this time she liked it) and we ended up in the garden with with taking lots of lovely pictures of her!

For you dd it may be totally different and you may not want to make a big thing of it. I am sure there will be a day soon when she is doing the things like cleaning her teeth well and you will breathe a sigh of relief. Good luck.

Sam100 Thu 13-Mar-14 00:23:24

How about doing it together? This is learned behaviour, she needs to learn? Show her how and let her see the difference before and after. Disclosing tablets from the dentist could be a very visual way of demonstrating the difference that brushing makes and may distract from the task at hand.

By the way - we are all a bit shit at this parenting lark - kids don't tend to come with a manual and we are all winging it to some degree!

crazeekitty Thu 13-Mar-14 05:59:36

Thank you both for the ideas Italian and Sam..I'm sure they will help some.people..if you look at my update it isn't actually a washing cleaning.problem that we've got here but this thread seems to be a people.

CheeryGiraffe Thu 13-Mar-14 10:56:39

Crazee, I have nothing to add to this, but from reading the above you are not shit at this, not by a long stretch. You sound like a wonderful, caring and loving mum. Everyone makes mistakes and loses the rag sometimes, and personally I think it's better to make mistakes and show children that making mistakes, and getting cross is OK, nothing terrible happens, and we all make friends and move on. I hope you're able to work with your DD on her self-regulation, and things improve for you both. <hugs> smile

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