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Help me to stop shouting (really shouting) at my children

(133 Posts)
chestnutblue Wed 23-Jan-13 10:23:51

I have three, ages 6, 4 and 1. I find I am very hard on 6yo son. He drives me crazy because he doesn't listen or do as he is told and is unkind to 4yo. I know he's only small and this is normal but it literally drives me crazy. I find myself screeching at him, utterly furious that once again he is not listening. Repeating myself endlessly is soul destroying.
How do you deal with this sort of behavious? (mine and his).
What coping techniques do you use?
Please help, I am a hideous mum who is making my lovely boy miserable.

Aspiemum2 Wed 23-Jan-13 17:02:01

We have a confiscation box. I put on a note of why it was confiscated and what they need to do to earn it back. That works well when time is short.
They are quite attached to their things and I take something that they really want back.
They get one warning most of the time but they know that violence doesn't get a warning - that's an immediate consequence

Lastyearsmodel Wed 23-Jan-13 18:26:06

THought we'd turned a corner with DD1's behaviour... how wrong I was. She came out of school having been awarded her class's top behaviour star and within 5 minutes I was having to stand outside the car while she hit the window and raged about having to put her seatbelt on and screamed at anyone who looked at her.

It continued until bedtime (see how early I'm writing this? That's how early bedtime was tonight...) - not listening, swinging from sulking to over-excited, ignoring consequences (lost telly time, lost playing in the bath, lost bedtime story and eventually, after laughing and smirking all the way through a talk from me, lost every cuddly toy from her bed.) Twice we had little quiet chats, hugs, asking her what she thought was wrong and how to solve it.

The laughing when I tell her off makes we so angry I can barely look at her. Just fuming. AGHGHGGHHGHGHGHGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!

<and breathe>

littletomato Wed 23-Jan-13 18:45:35

a one-year-old child was brutally bludgeoned to death in massachusetts last week, allegedly by the nanny. story
i find that reading these kind of horrific stories changes my mindset when i'm feeling frustrated.

chestnutblue Wed 23-Jan-13 21:21:23

Lastyearsmodel I really feel for you. That sounds horendous, but I'm full of admiration for your patience.

I have a plan for tomorrow and will be putting some of the advice into action:

*I have a band for my wrist to 'snap' when I feel the urge to explode.

*After dressing etc all washing will take place downstairs to prevent ds from having a wee play when he should be cleaning up

*I'm going to start the pasta pot and use the reward system

*I'm really not going to behave like my mother, really, really, I WILL NOT

*I'm going to try and remind myself that it's only getting 3 kids ready for the day. Surely I can do this without behaving appallingly.... (tell me I can) hmm

Wheresmycaffeinedrip Wed 23-Jan-13 21:33:54

You can

You can

You can

Aspiemum2 Wed 23-Jan-13 22:24:09

Of course you can do it smile
Guilt is something that seems to go hand in hand with motherhood though isn't it? I've spent many an evening thinking how I should have handled something differently and always resolve to do better the next day.

Chinateacup Wed 23-Jan-13 22:34:25

Been a bit shouty myself too recently. Some great advice on here - I have been saying to myself "be kind" as a mantra. It's a faff to get out on time but I try to remember that it's unlikely I would shout at a peer like that, so why on earth am I doing it to my most precious people ...

Leafmould Wed 23-Jan-13 22:50:16

Get a video camera. Set it up to video you and your family at the most difficult times. If you end up shouting, watching it back will be so awful. Hopefully it will help you to keep focused on not shouting. My dp recorded me shouting at my dd once. It was absolutely awful.

WhitePeacock Wed 23-Jan-13 23:05:17

Chestnut you've made a great plan, and you CAN do it!

Re the mum thing particularly - I was very lucky in finding NHS therapy that allowed me to see the processes I went through when I got anxious or depressed or angry. That helped me feel able to change them, rather than believing they were imposed on me by outside circumstances and I was stuck with them forever. So eg thinking that things have got out of my control makes me want to rebel/act angrily, or to seize control back - and I feel furious and stressed en route. I tried a bit of working on not-being-in-control and tolerating it - letting DD make a mess at meals without hovering to tidy straight away, or letting her actually do a bit of proper mixing/stirring/cooking <twitches>, with good results. But that's v personal and specific - being aware of what was happening in my mind and how it translated to my emotions was the key to change for me.

Having said that, today I had real trouble - lots of terrible two food-throwing and chair-climbing after a horribly early start. I got REALLY tired and pissed off, but just about managed not to shout. The old "pretend you're in a documentary - how would the ideal telly mum behave?" works for me then - it starts out artificial but if I give it enough welly the patience, humour and appreciation begin to feel real. Hats off to you for even managing to get out of bed with three! DD is likely to stay my only one as I think she's about what I can manage (mostly) smile Hope you feel every bit as positive and able to make changes in the morning!

SwedishKaz Thu 24-Jan-13 09:42:28

I am so relieved to read this post. I was in tears this morning again after having shouted at DS trying to get him ready for school. Now I have read this, I feel a bit of comfort to know I'm not the only one, and I will definitely try the meeting and writing down suggestions as HumphreyCobbler has written. We have had meetings before, but they seem to be forgotten about so I am going to try the minute taking.
Thanks and please don't be too harsh on yourselves, mums & dads. We're only human.

londonkiwi Thu 24-Jan-13 09:46:21

Another vote for How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk An oldie but a goodie. I'm not a big one for reading parenting books but this was recommended by so many people I have started reading it. Simple, realistic, really good strategies. I have a 5 yr old DS and realised how trapped in shouting/threats I had got.

Smudging Thu 24-Jan-13 10:09:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

adoptmama Thu 24-Jan-13 10:18:17

OP, you are not alone smile Sometimes I feel like the most undeserving parent on the planet when I start screaming and shouting.

Like you getting out for school/work in the morning is hugely stressful and a 'challenge' as DD1 - almost 6 - is the world's slowest person. However this week we have it aced, (long may it last) as I am being super, super loving when I wake her - lots of cuddles, 'you're my special baby' (a thing she loves to be called) and so on. So a very gentle waking - stops her normal grumps and refusal to get out of bed. And then (after her morning pee and making sure she is awake) we race to see who is ready first - me with my shower or her with dressing. She has beaten me - to her glee - every day this week. I do kind of fix it in her favour by making sure that all her clothes are laid out in my room in order and helping her out of her PJs first; but she has gone from taking 25 minutes to dress - with me yelling at her - to doing it in under 3! I so hope the competition thing keeps motivating her. Plus now she knows she can do it, so hopefully that will help. Then we race again - me to dress DD2, her to get boots on (previously a 10 minute exercise!) We are out of the house a full 15 minutes earlier than normal even with now having time to actually eat breakfast before leaving. And we are getting in the car without tears, screaming or shouting from any of us. So much nicer.

I do find to that just telling myself the neighbours can hear makes me rein myself in smile but also the lack of stress in the mornings this week has meant I have been catching myself at other times of the day (usually when v. tired or hungry) from getting unfairly nasty with them. I think/hope I am getting into a pattern of better behaviour (mine not theirs) and so it is becoming easier; I am less likely to default to 'shouty mama' (or 'Beast' as DD1 calls it!!)

Good luck.

MaisyMoo123 Thu 24-Jan-13 19:07:23

I nearly cried when I found this post!! I'm a shouty Mum too, and the feeling of relief reading all your posts and knowing I'm not alone is amazing! I have 2 dcs - dd is 7 and ds is 4. They 're not particularly bad - It's just the classic stuff that you've all mentioned that causes me to lose the plot, and mornings are definitely a flash point -not listening, stubbornness, general messing about and being unhelpful etc. I know I'm harsh on them both - I have ridiculously high expectations and forget how young they are. I hate myself for yelling and I hate how normal it's become - I'm sure they're being desensitised to it too sonit's not even like it registers with them much anymore! I KNOW it's not the right way to handle things and I spend hours stewing over things afterwards but I just can't seem to help it. However many times I tell myself I'm going to stop/change I find myself reverting back to horrid shouty Mum again. I'm pretty sure hormonal craziness makes me worse because I'm not like it all the time. It's been a pretty shouty week so I'm feeling particularly awful about it at the moment.

Thanks for posting this and I will be watching the thread and sharing my experiences too. I'm done with shouting! Who's up for a fresh start?

chestnutblue Thu 24-Jan-13 19:55:08


I put my plan into action - didn't get the pasta jar done though - and today I didn't shout! Woo-hoo!!

I did snap the elastic band on my wrist a couple of times (ouch) and it actually helped to divert me - and stopped me going crazy at them.
There was all the usual not listening and random playing but I felt much stronger today, which I think has a lot to do with starting this thread and understanding that I'm not the only one.

Maisy you describe exactly as I feel. It's the middle of the night self-loathing that is particularly destructive for me.
Hormones do make it worse but I admit it's not the main factor. I struggle with a lack of patience and a huge control issue (WhiteP, I hear you).

It's made a huge difference reading your posts and seeing how you cope. I'm inspired by you Smudge.

Thank you, thank you for speaking up and giving advice (this is beginning to sound very AA, isn't it?!)

I'm going to re-post my progress.

FairyPenguin Thu 24-Jan-13 20:09:45

Sounds like you've had a really good day!

Most of what I would say has already been said so I won't repeat.

A couple of things I've started doing are:

- get up 10 mins earlier and shift the whole morning routine by 10 mins. This gives me more leeway (and less stress) because I am allowing them more time to get shoes and coats on, and go to the toilet (which takes FOREVER). Sometimes they are ready 10 mins earlier - don't let them play for those 10 mins! - just leave the house once they're ready, then you can take your time walking to school / waiting in playground.

- set a timer if you need them to get to the table for dinner / go upstairs to get dressed, etc. Tell them "you can play with this/watch this until the bell, then it's bathtime". For some reason, my DC will actually stop what they are doing as soon as the bell goes, but not if I just ask them.

These are currently working for me, so hope they help you too. smile

chestnutblue Fri 25-Jan-13 10:26:24

Another good morning. No wrist band snapping required, although I did raise my voice once I didn't shout (if that makes sense). smile

1yo was screaming, 4yo had major tantrum and 6yo wandered off but I kept my cool and tried to focus on one of them at a time. I am only one person and can't speak successfully to 3 at once etc etc.

I hope my fellow shouters are also making progress. I'm thinking of you all.

WhitePeacock Fri 25-Jan-13 15:56:20

Well done chestnut! I've done beautifully too today as my mother-in-law is here and in charge of The Obstreperous One while I get to have my head All To Myself Joking apart I have realised again how much harder tiredness makes everything. Hope you are getting enough rest. You should be Very Very Proud of how well you're doing so far!

chestnutblue Fri 25-Jan-13 17:01:50

Good for you WhiteP. It's excellent that you had some help today, I hope you managed to get a little private time. I always feel better after some "space". Make use of the MIL if she's around, we would kill to have some grantparents to help, but we did decide to live where we do so can't complain about it... smile

MaisyMoo123 Fri 25-Jan-13 21:38:47

Pleased to hear you've been successfully keeping your cool chestnut and whiteP- especially as you've obviously had to work hard and dig deep to find the strength to change the pattern (from what you've said anyway chestnut!?). You're giving me hope - I've not had quite the fresh start of a day that I was hoping for and feeling pretty shitty about it all to be honest. I am so determined to change this behaviour pattern but when the flash point strikes I just can't seem to help myself. It's awful. Today has been up and down. First thing this morning was good - Dcs were fine and I was calm and we got to school with no heated moments and lots of smiles - "i can do this" I thought - but the stress started when ds refused point blank to walk on the way back (it's an ongoing battle we're having at the mo!) and was downright awkward all the way home. I lost it when we got in the front door, shouting at him and we both ended up really upset. As usual I felt (still do feel!)!terrible. We chatted about it and hugged and the rest if the day was ok - fine even. But shouting once is too
much and I just can't live with myself doing it anymore. They are such sweet kids and they really don't deserve it. I hate myself for it. We've had a happy evening with lots of laughter and cuddles but in back of my mind I still feel sick about the shouting. Keep up the goof work girls - just hope I can find some of the strength you have over all this!

Xenia Fri 25-Jan-13 22:21:56

It's like a trappist monastery here for some reason a lot of the time. I'm pretty silent and the boys are. It hasn't always been. So why? Personalities - you obviously just have more difficult children (and they are younger than mine are).

Secondly children mirror your behaviour and mood. I never swear. I am very quiet. I don't shout and for some reason the twins have always liked routine from being very small and tey do the before school we need to do without thinking about it as everything happens at the same time every day. I am very very lucky.

Look at their food. Make sure breakfast is mostly protein - eggs are really good with some brown toast. No cereal. No milk. Not much carb.

Have they had enough sleep?

One solution many women use is full time work and help with children. It is not for no reason women the world over in all cultures laways (and men too of course) ensure others do a lot of the grunt work. Get an au pair, return to full time work or whatever. Or you go to work at 7am and let their father do the whole morning thing.

We have a lot of lea way in timing for getting ready for school which helps. One is now cooking a complicated breakfast every day and asked me to get him up 10 minutes earlier..,,. in a few years yours may be like that and it will all be easier. If you can just keep a very calm atmosphere until then so much the better. never do time out. Don't punish. Say 5 positive things for every negative. In general say a lot less.

Am in year 28 of being a mother. It gets easier the more practice you have.

chestnutblue Fri 25-Jan-13 23:36:03

Maisy I want you to know that i don't expect this to be a miracle cure, and that I completely understand and can relate to what your going through. Please don't be down because you've had a bad moment today. I'm slowing learning to be a bit kinder to myself - and a little more forgiving. i hope you can too.
I think we all know that we're not discussing 'normal' shouting here. My episodes are horrible, all consuming boughts of rage. I can also see that they are a release of some kind and that they are hugely misguided. That said what we are doing is difficult, and that is not something people, in my experience, discuss. Children are hard work and we often expect ourselves to be able to do everything well, rather than accepting that something may suffer - usually ourselves.
Being able to care for them and keep them safe is a huge acheivement in itself. We need to be able to do the same for ourselves to give them our best.

Posting this and reading the feedback has been the most helpful and positive step I have taken in a very long time. I hope some of you stick around and that we can work through this together - however 'bad' we've been.

MaisyMoo123 Sat 26-Jan-13 12:52:03

Thanks chestnut! Just knowing there is someone out there going through the same thing and facing the same personal challenge is really helpful! I don't feel so alone with it all anymore. You're right though - I'm sure there's no easy solution. It's going to be a journey to kick what has become an awful habit. I think this thread is going to help though - chatting it through and being refreshingly open about something that you rightly say, we don't talk about (well I don't anyway!) in real life is empowering and therapeutic in itself. I can't thank you enough for starting it chestnut!

We're definitely not talking about 'normal' shouting here. My rages are crazy, ugly and irrational. When the moment has passed and I've calmed down I look back in complete shock and disbelief at how I've behaved. It doesn't matter how many times I do it it still shocks me how angry I can get.

Today started ok. I woke up feeling stronger and positive. Unfortunately dd woke up in a complete grump and started stropping and playing up (yes, I know she's mirroring what she sees me do! - just to add to my guilt!) I kept my cool and let Dh deal with her but the situation escalated and she was rude and unhelpful when we came to leave for her ballet class and that's when I lost the plot. Another failure. I'm definitely sticking around. Just don't want to sap the positive energy that was starting up in the thread. I'm not doing quite so well!

WhitePeacock Sat 26-Jan-13 19:48:05

Maisy perhaps therapy to find where the rages come from (that seem so out of character and alien to you) might help? (I know it's easy for me to say, but I have done it myself and I think going in with the will to change makes the whole thing much easier and quicker, although it can seem like a huge life-work impossible task at first). Don't lose heart. You are able to talk to your DC and acknowledge you don't always get it right, and that is a HIGHLY positive behaviour you're modelling right there, as well as the less good rag-losing!

Thanks Chestnut! Do you splurge on a babysitter from time to time since you're somewhere with no GPs to do it for free? My DH and I often tend to feel it's an unwarrantable expense but actually I think it's probably worth every penny, just to touch base with who you are in your non-parent incarnation. Hope you're having a good weekend so far.

pixi2 Sat 26-Jan-13 19:57:13

Just to say I've been watching this. My dc are amazing. But the school run and 3yr old refusing to eat dinners are my stresses. Even asked ds if he likes school, figured I could justify homeschooling. But he loves school.

I refuse to remain a mum with a short fuse.

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