worried about my relationship with ds(24 Posts)
I don't quite know where to start. I feel like I am spoiling my relationship with ds and damaging him.
He is 6yo and quite a wilful little boy. He never stops talking/shouting/squealing/making random noises and it drives me batty. I seem to be always saying ds please can you be quieter, please turn it down, please don't shout I am right next to you!
He frequently doesn't listen to me, to the extent that I have to ask him time after time to do something and then end up shouting at him.
He isn't badly behaved but he is stubborn; he will do things over and over even if I have asked him not to a few minutes before.
I know all of this is probably normal six year old boy behaviour and it's not this that is the problem. It's me.
I can't handle the noise, the not listening, the repeating myself, the constant saying no please don't bounce on the sofas, chase the cat, pull your sister like that. I get really angry and then I end up shouting: almost every day I find myself shouting at him.
We have a reward marble jar that works really well and he has made good progress with it.
However it's like by the end of the day he irritates me and I just fly off the handle when he wont do what is asked or is playing up at bedtime. All my patience seems to have been used up.
I don't feel like this about his sister. She is 3 and very well behaved, rarely tantrums or doesn't do what is asked of her.
They are both loving, sweet, cuddly children but I feel I am spoiling the good relationsshop we have had up until now. I worry I will make him nervous and anxious. My mum was awful to me; shouted at me and hit me a lot and I was so scared of her.
I'm worried we are heading this way.
Sorry for the epic post but I don't know what to do to get my easy going fun self back.
He is asleep in my arms now, we had a big row at bedtime about something silly and I am crying while I cuddle him. I am turning into my mother.
I've just realised my post sounds like I don't like him very much. All I've written about is how noisy/stubborn he is.
He is also incredibly kind, good with his sister, loving, makes me so proud with his reading and school work, he is really funny and has a laugh that can cheer anyone up.
I guess I need some tips about how to deal with the rough stuff, how to stop losing my cool when he starts playing up.
I don't have anything useful to say but just wanted to say that you're doing brilliantly for recognising the issue. Even the most amazing kid can be really trying sometimes!
It might be that CBT or even anger management counselling would help you regulate your responses so you can filter out what is you being impatient and how you react to him?
Thank you I will look into that.
I can be quite an angry person but usually it's stuff like the Hoover falling over or inanimate objects tripping me up.
I tried really hard today not to let it get the better of me. When ds was asked about twenty times to finish his supper and not play with cars (usual time stalling tactic) I almost shouted. But instead I said you have five minutes to eat it up then bed. If you haven't finished you will head to bed without it.
That seemed to do the trick.
Now he is up and down from his bed, needing the loo, wanting a drink, can't find the right teddy, keeping dd awake with his antics and I've left dh to it as this is when I get the most annoyed.
He is sleeping better since we started the marble jar - previously would wake the house about 6am but we got him a clock and now he sleeps til 7.
I know most people have a kid like this and I would love to know how they deal with it...! Do you count to ten before you reply? In that time ds would have said mam mam mam mam mam why aren't you talking to me mam mam about twenty times!
You can't help being naturally impatient, if you are. DD is only 12 weeks, but my OH will be doing the child care and I am going back full time, in part because he has so much more patience than I do!
However I think CBT would be worth investigating as it can help you change how you react and help you control your responses.
Your earlier response seemed to work a treat though!
Oh God - I could say almost the same about my 6 year old. I snap and then feel really guilty and - as you say - worry I'm damaging our relationship. Not that this helps you....but hope it helps to know it's not just you IYSWIM. Hopefully it's just an age thing?
I think you need to break the vicious cycle you've got into - easier said than done...
Try reading "How to talk so kids will listen, and listen so kids will talk" plus "Siblings without Rivalry" - both full of practical exercises etc. as well as the psychology about how to change your own behaviours in order to influence them.
Often less is more "quiet voice please", put yourself in the other room for "quiet time", what you did at tea time worked didn't it - so more of that, ask once, 2nd time ask again and issue the consequence of not "complying with your request", 3rd time follow through!
Don't see it as a battle of wills more a dynamic that can be changed, if you stop repeating the same/similar things he will learn that he needs to listen. When you ask him something to you make sure he's engaged and get him to repeat it back to you. Have you tried to set a timer for 10 minute "quiet play"?
All just suggestions of things that could work well for you both but those books are amazing!
Thank you for your responses. And thank you for being kind too. I expected a lot of 'stop being so horrible!'
I love the suggestions in the last post. Will definitely try the books and the timer for quiet play.
Will look at the link too thank you
And although I feel for you it is good to know that someone else has a six year old and snaps too!
You don't sound horrible at all, you sound lovely and just a mum with 2 young kids. Patience is the one thing parenting requires so much of and is very difficult.
Some days I'm really patient and uber calm and think wow I handled that really well, other days I snap much quicker and can see how it never gets the outcome I want. So I'm learning too that being calm and patient is actually how to role model to them to be calm, but it is really hard!
And I only have one, dont know how on earth I would cope with two!
I have days like that too. But recently they have been few and far between.
Some days are just lovely and the kids behave so well. When I think back those were the days I was calm and chilled out.
We have a new business too and money is really tight. I'm working way more than I ever have so on top of it all I am tired out and stressed about money.
I have to stop taking it out on him tho. Been looking at CBT tonight.
This is like me and my eldest DS at the moment!
What I think (though I might be absolving myself a bit here) is by being self-aware you are actually doing alright - I believe it's when you aren't aware of your potential influence that it is a problem.
I have found with my DS that one to one time really, really helps. If I spend 20 plus minutes with him with undivided attention he is a lot quieter and a lot less irritating. I do think noise is an attention thing. (I got the idea of the 20 mins attention from Oliver James - he calls it love bombing.)
I've had the same problem with my 5yr old - question, is he not listening or can he not hear you?? I thought for years that my daughter was being stubborn and not listening but we took her for a hearing test and it turns out she has hearing difficulties. she talks loud because she can't hear and she gets frustrated and acts out. Her hearing is "seasonal" it gets worse with the cold weather and improves in summer but by summertime she's just used to shouting and not used to listening so it's hard to tell when she is being stubborn and when it genuinely isn't her fault. Apparently hearing problems are common in kids and they usually grow out of it (fingers crossed!!). Maybe worth looking into?
Thanks I like the idea of the love bombing and spending quality time.
Yes ds has been to audiology a few times, he had fluid in his ears up until six months ago. It does get worse with colds and he gets louder and I do think he is worse in the winter.
They wouldn't do anything despite saying to begin with that he needed gromits.
I do make allowances for this and I can definitely tell when it's worse and he goes deaf as a door post!
He does ignore me tho that's for sure! It's like he is on another planet sometimes. But maybe another trip to the doc would be good. He has been really loud recently!
With glue ear - the fluid comes and the brain forgets how to hear, the fluid drains away and the brain has to relearn how to hear again. Fluid is probably coming and going a lot of time.
Meanwhile he has probably just got used to not "bothering" to listen as a lot of the time it is really hard work for him to tune in and hear????
I was finding my DS1 really difficult and read lots of books about how to try and make life easier. My favourite book was 'calmer, easier, happier parenting'. Before I read it I found it was a bit of a downward spiral with me being cross and him being difficult. I also had DS2 who was a much easier child so this really exasperated things. Anyway whilst I do try and follow the suggestions in the book, and find that life is certainly calmer, easier and happier when I do, I find that being positive is really hardwork sometimes!!!
The kind of things the book suggests is catching them being good, giving specific praise for good behaviour, having a pictorial timetable of things you want them to do at specific times of the day, only asking them to do things when you can follow through in making sure they actually do them (rather than them tuning out the nagging and shouting!), praising the steps to doing what you want to,
Please don't beat yourself up - if you were a bad mum you would not be asking for ideas for making things better
Oh yes and now my DS are bigger DS1 is generally easier and DS2 is being rather difficult and DS3 who was always my angel child is now being wilful and stroppy (note to self: get the book back off the shelf and read it again!!!)
I feel permanently guilty at how cross I get with both dcs but mainly dd1. But she is just so difficult at the moment. I think being aware is. Good start. But I too worry I'm damaging the relationship. Not much help in afraid but you have my sympathies
Thanks lori I will have a look on Amazon tonight for that book.
That's really interesting what you say about glue ear. It fits perfectly with his behaviour. And he probably has got sick of trying to listen and so doesn't bother now. Hmm.
I will endeavour to get down to his level; make sure he is looking at me and speak clearly. And then follow through ie take him to his room to get pjs on rather than telling him over and over to go do it.
That's good advice thanks.
Definitely try with the following through and actually making him do things. DD is younger but she went through a terrible phase of not listening at all. I did some reading online about it and the one thing that really made sense to me was that if you keep repeating something, they learn that they don't have to listen to you the first time because you're just going to keep asking again and again.
So we spent a few weeks trying to be calm and just following through with everything. So we'd ask her to clean her teeth, she wouldn't respond, so we'd steer her towards the bathroom and just do it.
I don't know who well it will work with an older child, but after a week or so we did see quite a big improvement. She slips back sometimes, but at least we've got an idea now how to try and focus things again.
Thanks that's good advice and it does make sense. Why bother listening she will say it ten times anyway!
Yes, stop repeating yourself, he will just tune you out.
If it isn't important don't say it. If it is, say it once.
If that is ignored, repeat it with a consequence added - so for finish your supper it would be taking the food away after five more minutes. Then just take the food away, no need to say anything, no need to be angry - it's not a punishment, he has lost interest in it so it is time to clear away.
And why can he even reach toy cars at the dinner table?!
So basically, pick your battles, set him up to succeed not to fail, keep calm and say a lot less.
A different approach will work wonders for your relationship!
My DS (now 10) is like this (and also has a younger sister who is very easy to parent). I recognise a lot of what you describe, and have worried a lot through the years about how nagging etc will affect his self esteem in the future.
However, I have found especially two books hugely useful and would really recommend them; both have fundamentally changed both how we view our son's behaviour/personality and how we try to parent him:
1. "Nurture by Nature: Understand your child's personality type and become a better parent" (by Paul and Barbara Tieger). This book does away with the idea of one-size-fits-all parenting and asks parents to try to understand their individual child's personality type and, not least, the tensions that can arise when you are a different personality type than your child. Based on the Myers-Briggs framework, it suggests that each child (and each adult) has a specific personality type based on the four dimensions introvert-extrovert (I/E), understanding the world mainly through sensory details-mainly through intuition (S/N), decision-making mainly through thinking or feeling (T/F), and wanting the world to be structured vs being more "go with the flow" (J/P).
This has really helped me understand that many of the things that annoy me in DS's behaviour have to do with the simple fact that certain aspects of his personality are different than mine. Just different, not less desirable. Whether or not you are a fan of Myers-Briggs doesn't really matter; it is a useful framework for thinking about how different individuals have very different needs. And it explains a lot of family dynamics, quite fun to think about!
2. "Raising Your Spirited Child: A Guide for Parents Whose Child Is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, and Energetic" by Mary Kurcinka. This book is fantastic in that it helps you see that characteristics that in a child would be described as "stubborn, defiant" etc are often very positive characteristics for an adult, and that both the parent and child need to change their mindsets to see that these qualities are actually wonderful gifts (but that need to be managed obviously). This book also helped me see that my DS's constant fiddling/talking/moving around/provoking etc actually reflect a need for higher "intensity" in life, rather than the need to annoy me as I sometimes thought before. This simple realisation actually helps me relate to him in an (often but not always) more relaxed and positive way.
Anyway, sorry for rambling. Just wanted to share these book recommendations that have really helped me. Also, if you google "intense child" and "spirited child" etc, you will find various parenting forums with lots of helpful advice - and you will realise that you are not alone!
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