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I have just had one of the worst evenings of my life with my child .........

(12 Posts)
OhCobblers Fri 27-May-11 21:33:14

i am sitting here sobbing wondering why i ever thought i would be a good mother and have no idea what to do??

DC1 is 4 and pretty adorable most of the time. Everyone who meets him thinks he's adorable too. He and i seem to fight like cat and dog all the time.
i shout too much - i do try so hard to stop or calm it down as quickly as poss but he's started to shout back at me as soon as i raise my voice.

tonight he came into DC2 room while i was putting her to bed and wanted to brush his teeth in there. i suggested we would do it in his room as the baby was going to bed. out of nowhere he lashed out and started smacking me, over and over again. i have absolute rules that my children are not to be smacked and that DH and i won't do it. however, i did smack him and am mortified and hate myself for it.

the screaming from him continued for ages, he was still smacking and trying to scratch me. i tried to put him to bed but he was screaming and wouldn't stay in bed/room - he can get out of his room. in the end i started crying in front of him as i was so shocked by what was going on. i took him to my room and we lay on the bed with me trying to calm him down. he slowly calmed down and then out of nowhere kicked me in the head twice - my face was by his feet so i think it was a case of being in the wrong place rather than him trying to kick me in the face.

again, i took him back to his room and it continued until i grabbed a book and attempted to read it - he calmed down quite quickly and peace and quiet resumed. this all lasted about an hour and 15 mins.

i lose my rag so quickly - i need to stop doing that but don't know how. is my DC now reacting to what he hears/witnesses. is it my fault that he's acting like this - if so what do i do??? this has been one of the worst days of my life. i feel sick. will he remember??

have a drink if you've managed to get to this end of rambling post - i'm so all over the place i don't know what to think. i desperately need some advice.

cottonreels Fri 27-May-11 21:55:55

Didnt want to read and run, dont have a 4 year old yet...
Treat the episode as a one off. Next time you wont smack and you'' have some strategies for dealing with the hitting and kicking.
Talk to him tomorrow in a 'remember when you got angry yesterday'kind of way to see if he can shed any light on where it came from. Is he comig down with an illness?

coffeewhitenosugar Fri 27-May-11 21:58:46

Hi there, you don't sound like a bad mum to me but a good mum trying to do the best she can - I used to have to raise my voice to be heard above the dd's but realised a) it was getting me nowhere and b) they were learning to shout back so I introduced the 5 golden rules - kind hands, kind feet, kind mouths, kind thoughts and kind words and when they are naughty I say that I am not going to raise my voice and remind them of the 5 kinds - we've been doing this for a couple of months now and it's really working (most of the time) - me not shouting has certainly had a good effect on us all anyway. I hope this helps and please dont feel that you are a bad mum.

DioneTheDiabolist Fri 27-May-11 22:04:42

You are not a bad mum, but as you say, you could be better. Look for a parenting class and throw yourself into it. It will help you handle your own anger better, because how can you teach your DS to handle his if you can't handle yours. We model behaviour, and our children (particularly the eldest) do what we do. Seek some help, it doesn't make you a bad mother, it makes you a better one.

Today has happened. Tomorrow (and the rest of your lives) hasn't.

pleasenap Fri 27-May-11 22:36:53

Tomorrow is a new day. Everyone has bad days. I know I have certainly had days pretty much identical and felt similarly crap after it. When I got to that stage (4yo angst as feel they really should know better and do but impulse control can be waaaay lacking!) I just felt something had to change as it felt like we were always at loggerheads. What helped me be less shouty and more 'in control' was reading a few behaviour books (they are pretty much much of of muchness...altho I found 1,2,3 Magic a godsend) and just feeling more confident in having a plan for dealing with naughtyness. (As an aside I also felt quite low at the time too, so I dealt with that in myself and that made a world of difference to my perception and how stressed and impatient I was). Anyway...maybe try some de-stress things for you and see if that helps your inner reserves! And as you say most of the time he is adorable - I read somewhere that even the naughtiest children are good pretty much 90% of the time. So make the absolute most of it while the sun shines iykwim - lots of cuddles and fun in the good times!

camperlass Fri 27-May-11 22:49:23

Hi there, ah I know that feeling it's not nice. I have some similar issues to you - my son is a bit younger than yours but I do sometimes feel like we are having battles of will all the time (and that he was winning!). I was at my wits end about a month ago with his behaviour, so some of the mums in my group suggested I tried the naughty step, well I was not sure but then I tried it and it is working really well for him, I think because it gives him a little cooling down period and then he always calms down and says sorry for whatever he's done. I don't know if you've tried that already so apologies if you have! I also use stickers to reward him for good things too so that its not all about penalties for bad behaviour. For me I felt that I needed to have some consistent system of dealing with his behaviour. It's not totally foolproof but things have got better than they were, it's a step in the right direction anyway. Hope that things get better for you soon. Tomorrow will be a new day :-)

OhCobblers Fri 27-May-11 23:11:58

thank you v much for all your replies.
cotton i need to find some strategies for dealing with his physical aggression but good idea to talk to him tomorrow.
coffee that sounds like a good idea, i'll try it.
pleasenap i'll look for that book. i was going to get "raising boys" but will try your recommendation instead.
camper the naughty step has lost its impact and he doesn't "stay" on it either. However, i do have a reward chart which i'll reintroduce and see if that works.
thank you all so much

georgiegirl15 Sun 29-May-11 21:58:25

You are not a bad mum!!!!!!!! You sound tired! Is he able to tell you what is upsetting him to such a point? I have gone through this with my own little one a few times and was able to pinpoint it to expecting a new baby and dad not spending enough time with him so he wasnt able to differentiate between positive and negative attention from dad. He works very long hours.
Do you have a partner or any family support you could call on? Maybe spending some time away from both children will do you good - an hour at the gym? Book a facial? A walk? anything to take you away from a challenging environment would be good at the moment! Dont feel guilty - there is enough guilt heaped on parents as it is we dont need to add to it ourselves!!!
Reward charts and stickers ahve been a firm favourite - our naughty step didnt work either. I also am quite firm with him - 3 chances and then a favourite toy is removed, he then has to work to get the toy back - using the reward chart - harsh but he went through a really bad stage! Now I am at the stage where if I start to count to 3 I rarely get to 2 before he has complied and then I praise him and tell him how happy I am that he has listened which he loves! Also - some lovely quiet time for me and him works - a story before bed, a chat, a game - all of which could only take about half an hour but mean the world to us both!
Keep calm, dont panic - its children - they can be wonderful for some people and then for those they love the most and feel the safest with they can be little sods! Read lots of books if you get the chance, but there is never a hard and fast rule - one day something might work - the next day it might not - do what is best for you and your family. these so called experts are only there to advise you, follow your own instincts, if it means turning around and walking away from him, do it! Tell him mummy doesnt will talk to him when he is calm/quiet. Count to 5 in your head - not always easy! Good luck.

Tgger Mon 30-May-11 19:03:38

Ok, your DS behaviour has shocked you. Not nice when 4 year olds lash out. Mine does too. Best thing is to put him away from you and detach while he settles down. I tell mine I won't talk to him till he's calmed down.

If he keeps coming out of room then calmly (the tricky bit, but easy when you practise) put him back in his room telling him he needs to calm down.

I think when things kick off it's all too easy (esp when tired etc) to "catch" the mood from your DCs and then before you know it you have a child and an adult who have lost control =not good. Of course it's better when they don't get into that state in the first place and I think some firm boundaries of what isn't acceptable certainly helps.

Any physical aggression is not acceptable. First instance it occurs= very firm voice advising the boundary has been overstepped and consequence (into room'/loss of toy/story etc) will ensue (in kiddie language of course!), second instance consequence is carried through.

It's really good you are aware that you flare up easily. This is the first step to changing it. Find your own strategy that works for you if he is aggressive. For me this is carrying my DS to his room, putting him firmly on his bed and saying "you do not x,y or z", stay there until you have calmed down. Then I walk away.

You are not a bad mum.

FourFish Mon 30-May-11 21:23:29

Another book to read is 'how to talk so kids will listen, and listen so kids will talk'. Its full of fab easy to follow pratical solutions.

OhCobblers Thu 09-Jun-11 22:28:58

thanks for the later posts and recommendations. fourfish i've just ordered your book which judging by the amazon reviews looks really helpful.

georgie i do have a bit of time to myself which makes it worse (because i feel guilty) as i'm not with them 5 days a week on my own every week. I also have a DH who absolutely encourages me to have "me time" on the weekends. DC1 doesn't seem to be able to communicate why he's kicking off - the verbal skills aren't quite there i suppose.

confiscating toys has had an impact as has saying that i'm counting to 3 to get something done.

a few more shouty sessions have happenened but i can see straight away how he reacts so i've got to learn to tone it down - there is clearly little point in behaving like that (easy to say!) when he literally screams back as a result (who can blame him?).

i've also gone back to the the MN favourite of "distract, distract, distract" !!!
though it reallly feels like its all a negotiation!!!

thanks again - really appreciated.

skybluepearl Fri 10-Jun-11 21:46:49

agree - maybe work out what you are going to do next time this happens and stick to it. remaining calm and quiet is a good start. we all have bad days though and you have a fresh start tomorrow.

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