Advanced search

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.

bluecarrot Wed 30-Jan-13 08:22:43

Oh, and I use humour as well- to diffuse tension. Ill start shuti g "DD, get here this minute!" Then catch myself on, deep breath, smile and by the time she tells "WHAT?!' In a grumpy voice. And sticks her head round door or whatever, I'm pulling a silly face, have lips puckered up for a kiss, or just say " I love you so much I NEED to give you a hug this instant to keep me from exploding!" If she grumps more and move away I do silly voice or whatever and she soon cracks. It may not work for every child though! DD gets it so its ok. smile now I'm shouting less I still occasionally would randomly, sitting on sofa while she's on the floor, exclaim. " oh no" <look sad> she asks what's wrong, I say I haven't had a hug in a million squillion seconds.... < cue cuddles >

Took us a while to get to that point though! And as a preteen she's a bundle of hormones so may need to look at introducing other techniques too.

bluecarrot Wed 30-Jan-13 09:09:27

Pammy, the more I think about it, it sounds like an attention thing.

What does he do right?

Today while everyone's at school can you make a chart /poster etc saying " 5 things I love about dc1. 5 things I love about dc2 etc" don't comment on it, just leave it up where they will see it. Can 5 yo pick a dinner for Saturday? Whatever it is, let them have it. Even if its ice cream ( though if they suggest dessert you could say " oh! A back to front dinner! What a very clever idea for a special treat!" And serve a small dessert followed by main course.) then you could go to the local shop and he can help pick the food. It will potentially require A LOT of tongue biting for you but stick with it. Praise him for small victories " you were so good in the shop! You counted that money very well! I loved how you took your time choosing carefully /I loved how you knew exactly what you wanted as soon as you got there ;) not one after the other but try to not say anything negative or look bored. It was great you didn't get distracted by the toys/magazines - we can go home and play a game now! Etc. what do you think?

This is a game I played with some v ill mannered children I used to childmind. They were v good at it actually!
Manners Game

chestnutblue Wed 30-Jan-13 09:14:04

Morning all, a much better day so far for me.

I have started the 'pasta pot' suggested by a previous poster:
my 6yo and 4yo have a jar each with a robot sticker on it.
I put 5 pieces in each and said obeying the rules - Be kind to your brothers and sister. Do as you're told first time - will result in another pasta piece going in.
Disobeying the rules means one comes out.
If they get 25 they get a "special treat" - KidsAm cinema maybe?
If they get 50 they are allowed to spend some of their Xmas money on Lego

I started it after school yesterday. I've never heard so many "yes, mummy"s in my life!! They got one piece each for getting ready this morning but it was taken away for fighting later. I almost didn't take one away but did as I realised they have to be clear of the rules and what will get them more pieces. I sat the jars on the dinner and breakfast table. It really seemed to focus their minds.

I have also started How To Talk So Kids Will Listen... I'm only a few pages in and it's making a lot of sense to me. I can see my negative behaviour written in there and, thankfully, how to tackle it.

Pammy that sounds horrendous. You have a huge amount to contend with, maybe feeling overwhelmed sometimes is normal? Can your eldest be induced to help you? Do you get any respite?

I followed Pajimjams' link to the American parenting tips site. This popped in to my inbox today. It's really worth a read:

chestnutblue Wed 30-Jan-13 09:16:12

Ok, I'll try that link again.... smile

hillyhilly Wed 30-Jan-13 09:26:25

Less zen and a bit more rushed this morning but I still stated calm despite ds (5) being very distracted and shouty. They can earn a marble for each piece of good behaviour so its much less specified than reward charts. I read somewhere that you shouldn't take marbles (or pieces of pasta) back out of the jar so I've stopped that which is really hard as I feel I want to punish bad behaviour but I just keep repeating (or is it threatening?) that there'll be no marble if this behaviour continues. There were marbles earned this morning but it was still calmish

hillyhilly Wed 30-Jan-13 09:27:13

Sorry that should read there were no marbles earned this morning

chestnutblue Wed 30-Jan-13 09:30:44

Hi Hilly, I thought it was don't take all the pieces out of the pot as it would be soul destroying, but if you don't take any out how will they learn about the consequences of bad behaviour?

Well done for staying calm this morning

pammy6 Wed 30-Jan-13 09:59:13

Bluecarrot you sound like a wonderful parent ,thankyou for your advice ,I will keep trying .I must be on about plan N by now but I will keep going ,try a new plan .I'm just so short of time to follow around giving attention and praise not to mention being exhausted.Any sense of humour has been battered out of me a long time ago.
Chestnutblue thankyou for starting this thread and I wish you good luck with your children ,sounds like behind closed doors a lot of us are struggling with the same issues .Thanks to all the lovely mums who have taken the time to post advice as many more people will no doubt read and benefit from it .

bluecarrot Wed 30-Jan-13 10:23:59

My dd may disagree with you there! I still lose my temper, but I can also realign myself and admit when I over reacted.

Can you get your older dc involved?

mum2gabi Wed 30-Jan-13 10:56:34

It is such a relief to read these posts and realise I am not alone. I am sitting here with tears in my eyes after yet more screaming and shouting at my children. I honestly feel like the worst mother on earth. I simply have no patience (my issue to deal with) and I am a stay at home mum retraining for a new career and I am tired and stressed and I am re-acting to the slightest little bit of 'bad' behaviour in such an extreme manner that I am worried I might actually psychologically damage them!! To be honest they are not bad kids but its the not listening, constantly repeating myself, not doing as their told, stamping of feet etc that is driving me bonkers. There's some excellent advice in this thread and I am going to re-read it all, take a deep breath and a new approach to dealing with it in a calm manner.

BuiltForComfort Wed 30-Jan-13 16:20:12

Definitely second the marble jar / pasta pot idea, it works really well but you have to keep on noticing all the small stuff they do well.

I do really disagree with taking pieces out though. If they earned a pasta piece or a marble for doing well, don't undermine that bit of praise. They "won" that and now it is being taken from them.

They just don't get another piece until they have managed some nice behaviour. If they are really playing up then taking pasta away isn't strong enough, it needs to be a natural consequence, or an apology or a time out to think things through. Sometimes though, rather than shout or punish, you can stay really calm, get down to their level and say something like "hmm do you think that was the best way to ask? / the right thing to do? how about you do it again and see if you can think of a nicer / better / kinder way to do it this time?" That way they get to "do over" the behaviour, feel better about themselves, have learnt something and didn't get yelled at!

MaisyMoo123 Wed 30-Jan-13 22:47:44

I'm definitely starting a pasta/marble jar - sounds like a really good focus to encourage positive behaviour and I like the way it's not as specific as reward charts too.

Pammy - sounds like you've got your hands full. Hats off to you -my head feels like its going to explode with 2 sometimes so I can't begin to imagine how you feel!! I hope you've had a better day today and that you're managing to find some coping strategies. It sounds like you have the strength to turn things around which is half the battle! We're all here to listen and encourage!

Mum2Gabi - I could've written your post. It's all about patience, or lack of it for me too. I was always such a laid back, patient person till I had children and now I just seem to have completely run out of it!!

It's been an ok day here - although I've been out at work again all day(!!) - just a raised voice at ds who thought about refusing to go to sleep. He thought better of it though and we had a lovely cuddle so it all ended calmly.

Hang in there everyone!

pammy6 Thu 31-Jan-13 11:27:59

Bluecarrot thanks ,unfortunatly 16yearold daughter is also driven mad by 5 year old ,maybe I will have to speak to her ,as when I am trying hard to praise and encourage she comes and tells him off for something and ruins it !Not too bad a morning although 5yr old ds did cry all the way to school as he didn't get to sit in the seat he wanted .I just breathed hard and tried to block it out .
Mum2gabi my feelings exactly , really worried that my children will grow up psychologically scared . Hence so much guilt.
I just want them to have good memories of their childhood and i think if only they could just follow simple instructions and stop arguing over the most petty stupid things then life would be so different and more enjoyable for everyone .
I just feel so frustrated and fed up with every day being a battle and every small task having someone working against me .If motherhood was a job I would have quit years ago ! I would love to have a break but I don't think I would want to come back .
Maisymoo thanks for your support ,me too -used to be calm patient person but after 16 years of changing nappies ,sleepless nights and dealing with childrens temper tantrums and moaning ,patience is all gone .....

chestnutblue Sat 02-Feb-13 13:07:05


MaisyMoo123 Sat 02-Feb-13 18:00:45

It's gone very quiet on here. Hopefully that just means everyone's doing ok and managing to keep on top of those bursts of anger?

Things haven't been too bad here. I've avoided any major outbursts and haven't properly shouted for a nearly a whole week now!! There have been moments when I've had to really check myself and I've been counting to 10 too - it might be an old classic but it seems to work!! I seem to have a more positive attitude too - and a bit more patience (though still not as much as I'd like!) I'm convinced a lot of my rage is hormone related though so we'll see how I handle things when that time of the month comes round again!

Lizzygirl Sat 02-Feb-13 23:06:21

Hi chestnut and everyone. Another mum who has devoured every one of your posts and recognised myself a million times over. I have 2 DC. DD is 8 and DS is 6. They are lovely kids but I feel like worst mum ever. Defo think it's a deep rooted issue as to the outside world I'm calm n kind yet I'm a witch to my angels with full blown rages which even scare the hell out of me, let alone them. But you are all amazing mums, trying to do your best and I'm positively inspired by you so will also join you in trying each day to make a step in a better direction. At least we recognize we haven't always got it right. That's got to be better than blind anger and rage. Will talk more later.

midnightsnacks Sat 02-Feb-13 23:37:19

I have a son who has ADHD as well as many other complex learning/social problems, and add to that hormones and the first year of high school. I also have a 2.5 year old who is VERY active and can be pretty challenging at times... and yes sometimes it really does all get too much! It can feel like ground hog day, constantly telling them the same things over and over.

I can really relate to what you've said chestnutblue, i've had so many days when I've just sat down and cried and thought 'I'm bad at this, I'm a terrible mother'. But i do know i love my kids beyond anything else in life and as well as losing my temper and shouting sometimes, i give them so much love and time, and they are happy.

My oldest is going through some tough stuff at the mo' and his first reaction is always to get angry, which then makes me angry. I'm now trying to focus on all the positive he does instead and praise him for it (even if its as small as remembering to put the lid back on the marg!), and slowly it does work, he's happier and therefore easier to be with b'cos he's not dealing with my anger on top of his problems.

By far the best thing tho is organising plenty of days out and activities to relieve his frustrations too. Sounds simple but works for us.

And above everything, don't beat yourself up for it, we're all human. The fact that you recognise its a problem and you're seeking advice shows what a good mum you are x

chestnutblue Sun 03-Feb-13 15:33:46

Hello all, and welcome to Lizzy and midnight.

I've not been doing very well at all I'm afraid. Pasta pot is good, and they are responding, but my anger is forcing it's way out as usual. It's been a difficult few days with external stresses mouting up, but I'm not trying to excuse my behaviour.

midnight, I see my anger reflected back to me in my kids' behaviour too. I am desperate to break this cycle. My mum was angry, I'm angry and now I can see my children go there as a first resort.

Being able to come here and say this stuff is a huge help. I hope to be better at this soon.

dreamydora Sun 03-Feb-13 17:13:51

I am finding it very difficult not to shout and get angry with my son. He is 3 yrs old and understands everything, I think, but when he jumps on me and it hurts and I tell him again and again until I loose it why doesnt he listen? Are other 3 yr olds like this? My partner says Im inpatient and I need to stop shouting at him. But it is with anything I ask him to do or stop doing..he just doesnt listen. Am I expecting too much from him? I dont really know how to deal with it. I just want him to do what I ask him to i.e. come nd put on your shoes..

TreadOnTheCracks Sun 03-Feb-13 20:41:04

blue carrot. I am liking the sound of silence is better.

My DS is six and has terrible potty mouth, also speaking to me with a dreadful attitude. All encouraged, of course, by the fantastic "fireworks" reaction it provokes in me.

I have tried ignoring it but he always undoes me by starting up while we have mother in law visiting/are having a cup of tea in a busy coffee shop/at a friends house with a roomful of people listening.

WWYD when you have an audience?

bluecarrot Sun 03-Feb-13 21:47:21

TreadMy DD has very rarely done it in public - its only really with me at home so no advice on that Im afraid.

However, do you find he does it more when you are not giving him attention? Is he just bored?

MaisyMoo123 Sun 03-Feb-13 21:54:45

Oh chestnut - sorry to hear you've been struggling. I'm sure this journey will be full of peaks and troughs and we're all bound to come unstuck along the way and feel disheartened but ultimately, as Lizzy said, facing up to our negative behaviour is a majorly positive step in itself and we mustn't lose sight of that. We're all here to listen and empathise! Good that pasta jar seems to be working - still need to set mine up.

Dreamy I TOTALLY sympathise with your anger at your ds not listening! It is utterly infuriating and completely soul destroying. My ds is just 4 and exactly the same - he rarely does anything he's asked and I have to ask him things 4+ times, growing more exasperated each time, before I get a response. He also refuses to do things I know he can do for himself, like put his shoes on. Aaarrghh! It really would test the patience of a saint! Luckily he's gorgeous and affectionate with it which stops me from totally losing the will to live! Dd has her moments of not listening too - and when they're both at it and I'm in the wrong frame of mind I just lose it!

MaisyMoo123 Sun 03-Feb-13 22:04:59

Treadon We have "potty mouth" moments too. Just coming out of a phase now which was brought on by a weekend with friends who laughed at it (thanks!!) I started off making a big thing of it and telling off every time a toilet-related word was used but in the end ignoring proved to be most effective - and I haven't heard the "poo" word for ages now! Ds did do it out and about a couple of times and I quietly told him not to ad reminded him that it wasn't funny or clever at the time as didn't want people thinking I was happily ignoring it. You have my sympathies - its a really annoying and unfunny phase!

beautyguru Sun 03-Feb-13 22:16:44

My relief in reading this thread is immense..I find myself being a banshee so so often as DD1 age 7 infuriates me with her lack of listening..more so as I am severely lacking in sleep as DD2 age 2 is an horrendous sleeper.

She never fails to hear me if I am offering her something she wants eg a biscuit but yet nearly all my other requests seem to go unnoticed, especially when we are trying to get ready for school!!

Will keep reading this thread with interest & will invest in copy of How to Talk so Children Listen. Thank you to all you shouty mums for sharing thanks

defineme Sun 03-Feb-13 22:17:15

Have only read op's posts.
I am prone to being a shouter.
I try to remember how stupid me and dbro thoght our df was when he shouted way over the top.

It sounds ridiculous, but it was just a little thing that made me stop. I was watching an episode of a tv programme where the father was introducing his new girlfriend to his kids. One of the kids knocked a drink over and they waited fearfully for the expected explosion of shouting (that their mother would do). New girlfriend just laughed and said accidents happen.

I decided my default would be to laugh/shrug. I have got serious shit in my life to get angry about-ds1 not flushing or dd being mean to ds2 is not worth my anger. .

Ds2 really cannot hear me-he's got it from me-I can zone out in the noisiest of places. A quick clap in front of his nose wakes him up and we have a laugh about how his flappy ears that hear all my secrets can't hear me saying his name repeatedly.

I use the 'kids to listen' stuff sometimes -getting them up the stairs or into the bath is helped by something imaginative.

If they've made me cross-embarrassment in public is something I can't quite laugh about-I ignore them and get on with housework for half an hour til I've calmed down.

I tag team with dh too-I take a breather and he takes over.

Losing my voice this week helped as well!

I wish i could apply the 'just don't' thing to over eating and drinking wine, but so far I've only managed to stop shouting!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now