Feel like my kids never listen and I hate the way it makes me into such an angry mum(29 Posts)
Think this might be a long one so apologies, just really have run out of ideas...I always wanted to be a really nice mum, you know, firm but fair etc. I grew up in a house that was a bit angry and never wanted my kids to be in an environment where they were shouted at for the slightest thing. Now I've turned into an angry nag. Going to give 3 examples of where I'm going wrong and really hope someone has some insights (DDs are 4.3 and 2.10. DD1 started school yesterday (all really positive)...
We had popped to the school during the holidays for some admin stuff, and were going to go to the toddler group (for bigger kids too) nearby afterwards. When we were done I said we needed to go to toddlers. They ignored me and ran round the back of the building and started playing on some play bits there. They were having a nice time playing, but I wanted us to go. I told them we needed to go and they totally ignored me. Then caught DD1, got down to her level and said 'we need to go now, you've been a really good girl this morning, be a good girl and come with me now etc'. She ran off again. I can't just carry them both as they're too heavy, so I grabbed DD1 and carried her really uncomfortably (which I hate myself for as I kind of want it to hurt her a bit so she sees how awkward she's being). She cried out and I said I'd put her down if she walked nicely which she finally did. DD2 pretty much followed us (she's a bit more of a sheep if I can get the bigger one). We got to the car and I really roughly put DD1 in her seat, did it up really tight, and slammed the door which she hates. Was gentler with DD2. then I got in the car, cried and had a go at them. They both looked really sad, but it won't stop them doing it next time.
The thing is, I know they were having a nice time, but I'm the mum and if it's time for us to go we have to go. when there's no time pressure I try to be relaxed about what they do, but I just want them to listen to me. If there had been anyone else there I'd have been really embarrassed at how they ignore me.
The second example is when they're scooting by the road. We live in a small village and the route to school/preschool involves quite a lot of getting on and off the pavement and strips of road with no pavement, and crossing a fairly busy road. DD1 is pretty sensible but I feel like I have to constantly nag DD2 as I'm terrified if I don't keep reminding her to stop at the kerb/stay away from the edge of the road etc then she'll get run over (this is obvs very unlikely but if I don't keep telling her to wait she goes too far ahead). I want them both to scoot as they're pretty good at it, they need to learn to negotiate the journey and it's quicker than walking (I have to do the trip a few times a day).
Finally, DD1 was in the shower the other day (which she loves). I told her she had 2 mins, then one minute, then it was time to get out and could she point the shower away from the door (so I could open it). Because she was having a nice time she wouldn't stop spraying the water and I couldn't open the door. I snapped at her to 'get out of the shower now' and got her. (Incidentally, a friend was there who was quite shocked at how I got cross with her so quickly). The problem is I'm all for her having a nice time in the shower, but when I say it's time to get out I want her to listen. Especially if I've given her a countdown, if I then don't stick to it then it feels like a slippery slope.
I know the kind of mum I want to be, which is one that lets their kids play and have a nice time, then says it's time to go (with a countdown or whatever), and her kids come. The thing is I don't see how I can be that kind of mum with my children
Im not sure how good my advice is going to be as I also get disproportionately angry quite quickly. I hate being ignored so it does rather send me off on one when I feel like the dcs are taking the mickey.
The scooter incident. Personally I think they're too young to manage it on the kind of journey that you describe.
The other type of incidents are ones that it's difficult to enforce because at the time that you've made your demands the child has held all the cards iyswim.
So with hindsight (and I know that's a wonderful thing). I wouldn't have chased them around the school. If I asked and they didn't come, I would have bided my time and then when they did come of their own volition I would have said when we were back in the car that that was naughty, that mummy had asked them to come and they took no notice so (insert whatever punishment you see fit). And perhaps next time mummy asks them to come, they will.
Similar really for the shower incident. Dd ignored your instruction ergo she can not be trusted to do as you ask, therefore next time it's shower time she won't be able to play in the shower. Mummy will hold the shower and hose you down to get you clean. When you can show mummy you can do as I ask, you will be allowed to play in the shower again.
You need to demonstrate that mummy is in charge and that they may choose to ignore you at the time but that will mean consequences later.
I think that you need to be a bit firmer with the boundries.
I wasn't sure from the first one if you were crying when they got in the car.
If so rule1 is never cry in front of them. If you are going to cry and can't stop it do not let them see. As a DC I found mothers who cried very frightening-I wanted the security of my mother being in charge.
It appears that DD2 is a follower so it leaves you with DD1 to sort. With the first one, you could have had DD1 firmly by the hand if it was important not to play and walked to the car and DD2 would have followed. Or you could have said 'we have timefor a quick play, we will have 5 mins and then given a 2 min warning and a 1 min warning and then walked to the car-they wouldmost probably follow.
Having got them in the car it would have been better to talk to them calmly-did they not want to go to toddlers and see friends etc?
Scene 2 discuss it first and say that DD2 can only take her scooter if she does as she is told. If she doesn't you will take it away and carry it. Do as you say.
Next time it is shower time tell her in advance that only 'big girls' are allowed to have showers alone and that you will be timing her. Make it into a game-say you will start with the fingers as minutes-you will count them down and when she sees a fist it is time to get out. Make it quite clear that you are not going to get cross BUT there will be consequences and she won't get to shower alone.
Try and avoid confrontation. Be positive rather than negative in language, e.g. instead of do 'put on your shoes or we won't go to the park' try 'when you have put on your shoes we will go to the park'.
Try and pre-empt problems. Be positive in body laguage. Choose your battles.Avoid getting locked in confrontation.If you are giving countdowns do it early when calm-not just as you are losing patience.
I would try a parenting class. I found it very useful, especially talking it over with other parents and we did role plays for your sort of examples.
yes, you are in charge
so if they didn't come when you asked then lifting and taking to the car is fine (I wouldn't have tolerated the running around the corner and playing on the equipment, I would have marched them away at that point)
no scooting if you feel they are not safe
shower - you need to return to showering her
I think what's happening is that you are a bit of a soft touch and the children know it, so they push and push because they know they can
so what to do?
A month or so of being very strict might help eg going to the park, one ask to leave then march them out
also is DH singing the same song? you need to speak to him, make sure you are doing the same things, applying the same boundaries
Thanks, it sounds so simple when you just say it doesn't it? I've considered parenting classes, I know our local children's centre were doing some a while back so think I'll see if they've got any coming up.
It's a good point about crying. I got in the car and got all cross and upset, and wanted them to see how much impact their behaviour had had iykwim? (sounds awful now I've written it down). Sometimes it feels like I'm clutching at straws trying to make them realise that their bad behaviour affects me (hmm think I might be crediting them with a bit too much empathy).
One other thing, BastardDog, where you said to insert punishment, I sometimes struggle to come up with a punishment that I can implement straight away. So I don't want to say 'you can't watch any tv/have a story/whatever later, I want to do something immediate but that's not always easy. In the example I gave, it's as much me wanting to go to toddlers to have the social interaction, so if we hadn't gone I would have been more upset than them...
I've just ordered 'How To Talk How Your Kids Will Listen And Listen How Your Kids Will Talk' from Amazon, so will have a read of that too.
Thanks for your advice though I really appreciate it. They're great girls and I love them so much, when they're being good they're amazing and I couldn't be more proud of them.
I agree-they have got the message that they can push and push and then you will get cross and shout, but they are free to do the same next time.
The message has to be that they can't push-if they want to change the boundries they have to discuss first as in 'can we have 5 mins on the play equipment before toddlers' and that they have to listen as in 'not today, there is no time, we would be late-another day'.
Thanks WTYLady, it's amazing as you're right, I think of myself as quite strict and consistent but maybe I'm not. DH is great, will back me up on anything but does think I nag them a bit too much and snap too easily. He'd never say so in front of them though
Always better to have a positive-'if you do this now we can do.....later', rather than 'if you don't do this you can't.......'
i have 4 children and 2 are a similar age to yours.
God I feel awful mother when I seem to be shouting at them for the slightest thing! tends to be cumulative over the day.
i decided a few weeks ago that I needed to show them I am in charge. I was stricter with my older 2 so I know it works. I make it clear what i expect them to do/behave. We were at the park and it was time to go home, the youngest had a tantrum despite me saying they could go to sweet shop on way back if they did as I asked. Had to carry him to car and he did not get any sweets. was hard for me !! Consequences and actions and all that. some may call it bribery but it works.
Things are getting better. Threatening to get a black bag to put toys in because they have not attempted to tidy their rooms works a treat.
Good luck. redefine your boundaries. Will say that i don't know many young children that do as asked all the time, so cut yourself some slack
I think that you are just a bit too strict a bit too late. You know them-pre-empt the trouble spots with clear expectations-in advance.Always follow up e.g. if you don't stop scooting when asked I will carry the scooter.
I am not saying it is easy! I found that it was very easy to get into a downward spiral and things went from bad to worse!
When mine were the age of yours I used to go into a different room, count to ten, fix a smile and go back and say something positive. It always improved the situation and mood.
I think you might all be right about scooting. I suppose I feel bad saying to DD2 that she has to go in the pram while DD1 can scoot, but I worry about the little one's sense of danger (they are pretty quiet roads, so I also think it's me over-worrying). If the choice is nag her all the way to school, or have her upset at being in the pram, I've gone for nagging but think that was a bad decision...
And you're right about the downward spiral, esp when we're all tired
I think your last sentence is really key. If you're feeling conflicted about being in charge it will affect how you come across, and will make it more likely that you don't feel good when you're being in charge. Youre not being horrible when you tell them/ enforce what needs to happen, you're loving them; you're the parent, as you say, and you're loving them by being a clear strong parent.
Also say it 'makes' you into an angry mum; I've found it really helpful to believe that they don't 'make' me feel anything because if they make me, then I'm doomed to being it whenever they act like that. I decided instead that that I was choosing to be angry mum because I'd thought it would show them how strongly I felt and make them act differently, and then, because I could choose, I started choosing not to be!
So now I'm very clear, and I feel very comfortable with imposing consequences and rules, but I feel happy, not angry, while I do it. It ReALLY
works for me, I feel stronger, they know where they stand, we all get along better. Mine are a lot older now, but one has autism, so I have a lot of younger-type behaviour still.
I don't know if this makes sense, it also took a lot of practice before it became second nature
yy,agree with being positive rather than negative about things,but is a hard habit to break and it does seem all very American at first, but it has helped with dd1 who is 6 and the cheekiness level of a teenager.
Also if you sit down and agree the plan (rather like school policy book ) then it can be refered to easily "remember what we said we would do instead of x" or "well lets sit down and talk about x at home like we did before".
I have stuck on the fridge a list of the 5 things dd must do in the mornings with a picture so she cannot claim she couldn't read the writing etc. She knows to refer to it in the mornings to make sure they are all done,otherwise she cannot watch 15mins of tv before leaving (they are wake up when alarm clock goes off, make bed, eat breakfast, put on uniform and brush teeth).
Mornings were a bad time for us,filled with tantrums but go much smoother now dd knows what i expect her to do.perhaps you could do similar for 3 scenarios? Get your dds to count the steps that need to be taken (eg: come when called,hold mammys hand at the road, get into car seat nicely etc)
Thanks post, that's really helpful. I know they don't do anything on purpose (they're lovely girls), they just do push the boundaries far too much and I need to start being firmer. I'm going to do everything I can, I want to just enjoy as much of the time with them as possible, and while I know clear expectations are the best way to do this I just haven't quite managed it I suppose.
About the scooting thing - how about you take one scooter, dd1 scoots to school, dd2 in pram, and then coming home dd2 can scoot and you push the empty pram which you can abandon to grab her if necessary).
And then on the way home the reverse?
I also discovered when mine were that age and ganging up on me that sometimes I had to issue a punishment that was also a punishment to me, iyswim, so not going to the toddler group on one occasion, even though it would have meant a horrible time at home for you, might have been worth it in the long run.
I have two pieces of advice - don't feel guilty, and don't try to make them feel guilty (by being upset). Neither work, and both build up resentment long term.
Finally, I would also suggest parenting courses - I have been on a few over the years and really enjoyed and got a lot out of them.
Thanks Maryz, I was just thinking about the scooter and came to the same conclusion, I just don't want to confuse her about why she can do it sometimes but not others but think she'd understand that.
And I feel horribly guilty and sad, it doesn't feel unrecoverable but I know I need to change to make things better.
plip - if you start being firm right now, about every single little thing in no time at all they will listen to you and they will know you mean what you say and there will be a consequence to ignoring you.
Very very soon you will be able to be the parent you want to be because they do listen. You just have to do a bit of hard work first
Re the scootering - she's not yet 3, it's not 'nagging' it's teaching and I think once the other things are sorted this will be easier too.
Plipplop I often find it difficult to come up with a suitable punishment at the time. I either can't think of anything or if I'm really cross I become ridiculous and do the "you'll never play out again or eat a sweet as long as you live, all your toys are going in the bin and tv is banned for ever". Ok I'm exaggerating but you know what I mean.
So quite often now I'll try to remember to say something like "I am very cross right now / very disappointed/ surprised at your behaviour please go to your room/ naughty spot/ time out chair while I have a think about what's going to happen about this".
It buys me a few minutes thinking and cooling off time, the children are immediately aware that they have done wrong and there will be a consequence and I get to have a coffee in peace while I come up with a reasonable punishment.
Evening ladies, I just wanted to say we've had a really good day today. We had a really nice family day out and the girls were great. We did have the issue with DD1 not getting out of the shower so I've told her tomorrow she's not allowed to hold it and I'll do it. She whined a bit but was ok. Then she wouldn't get in her PJs so ended up not having a story but took that ok too. I'm feeling so much more positive now and am going to do everything I can to try and be a more calm and controlled mum who's definitely the boss!
Thanks again for all your thoughts this morning, I really appreciate them and you have no idea how much I needed something constructive this morning.
Yay you! And don't worry if something doesn't 'work' every time. You're all learning how it works together, practise, practise, practise. So glad you had a better day.
If you think you are the boss, you have the body language to go with it-the main battle is won. good luck.
Now make sure that you do notice when they do things well, when they do as you ask, and when they are nice .
Don't be tempted to only notice and punish the bad things. Make a huge effort at the same time to notice, and name, and reward (with attention and praise) the good times.
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