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Pretty sure I'm the worst mum in the world

(11 Posts)
SleeplessInGarforth Wed 03-Aug-16 15:24:47

Background: I'm on maternity leave. Have dd1 (3y9mths) and dd2 (16 weeks).

Dd1 has always been "spirited" since her personality came through. She's smart (wide vocabulary, learns things easily, no issues in that department).... But I can't get her to deal with anger. In the past 2 days she's had 3 monumental meltdowns in which she's hit me, hit my mum (her Nanna who she absolutely adores), her baby sister (who she absolutely adores), bitten her own arm and made a mess of it, thrown toys at me...and the final straw has been smacking her best friend across the face, hard, when they were squabbling about a toy. This last incident happened in a packed cafe (we were on a day out with friends) and I just gathered up out stuff, apologised and have brought her home as I have no idea what to do with her any more.

In terms of dealing with it, I have a zero tolerance approach to hitting, so any hitting, kicking, biting then I take her out of the situation, and then we talk about how hitting is never ok and how the other person must feel and how she can make it right with them etc. I try to head these situations off at the pass but it's not possible when it's a squabble between 2 kids about a toy that erupts in the space of a few seconds and before you know it she's smacked someone again.

She's a model child at nursery. No issues there - ever. She's very loving and loved. Me and DH have a good relationship - no issues there. She's been very happy to have a new sister and never gets jealous. It's just when something makes her angry, she goes absolutlely berserk.

I feel like I must be doing something wrong as other people's kids don't seem to do this. And I feel so embarrassed and like I can't meet up with people in case she hurts one of them. I genuinely want to know what I'm doing wrong or something else I can try.

Any thought appreciated as I'm feeling very upset right now.

Tennin123 Wed 03-Aug-16 15:32:51

I think you need to show more attention and when in good mood it might be good to explain her the negative effects of anger, and reward her with points or may be some toys saying that she is improving towards positive side :-).
In diet more red meat also can fuel up anger. You can replace with some nice holistic diet once or twice a week. Might help ! More Saathvik food is good ! Good luck

minipie Wed 03-Aug-16 15:50:59

My DD also has isses with controlling her anger/reactions generally and here is what's helped with her:

Give her an alternative reaction if something makes her angry. For example - if you make her angry, she's allowed to say "I'm cross with you!" Or if a friend makes her angry by eg refusing to share, she should go and tell a grown up. The message is, she is allowed to get cross, but not to hit.

You have to explain the alternative strategy to her when she is calm/listening, then reinforce it when the anger happens and say something like "I can see you're cross, you know you don't hit, what do you do instead?" Lots of positive praise if she uses one of the alternative tactics.

New baby sibling will be affecting her A LOT even if she seems fine with the sibling, so do cut her a bit of slack and remember she will desperately want your attention and that is probably a big part of this. So, zero attention if she hits - say "we don't hit", put her in another room. Have the chat with her about not hitting later - as even that chat is attention and so is "rewarding" the hitting if you do it there and then. But give her attention at other times (hard with a newborn I know) and emphasise how you especially love to spend time with her when she is calm and not cross.

If she is mid meltdown and can't seem to calm herself down, try asking her to take a deep breath in and out (and repeat) - this really helps my DD when she's past the initial crossness but so worked up she can't calm down even though she may want to.

You say she's fine at nursery - is nursery in the morning? Does this generally happen in the afternoon when she is tired? If so perhaps a quiet time after lunch, or an earlier bedtime would help? DD is definitely worse when tired.

Good luck - I have lots of sympathy. Some kids just can't control themselves as easily, so I think about teaching them how to control themselves, step by step.

SleeplessInGarforth Wed 03-Aug-16 16:31:14

Thanks both. Yeah I never thought about the 'chat' following hitting was counting as attention which she might be seeking.

PotOfYoghurt Wed 03-Aug-16 16:38:07

Don't beat yourself up, you've been doing exactly the right things and you sound like a wonderful mother.

I agree with pp about alternate strategies when she's angry. Perhaps you could do some role play with her toys, or you pretend to be a child and be really cross about something. Say she can stomp her foot, shout into a cushion, anything that can help express her anger without hurting anyone or breaking something.

My current charge is the same age and also struggled with what to do when he's angry, but he's now at a stage where he'll say to me 'I'm feeling really FRUSTRATED! I'm so cross about this!' He likes taking deep breaths to calm himself down, and often takes himself off upstairs for a few minutes.

These are things that I tell him I do when I'm angry, and that's it's alright to be cross but it's not alright to hit. He's much better than he was.

GrimmauldPlace Wed 03-Aug-16 16:38:12

You are not the worst mum in the world. Far from it! She's not even 4 yet. Its probably just a phase, not a nice one obviously but hopefully she will soon learn better ways to cope with her emotions. You can help her with that.

I think what you did today was good. She hit her friend so that meant you had to leave and she didn't get to play anymore. I bought some books when my DS was around your dd's age they were called hands are not for hitting and teeth are not for biting and there was another that I forget the name of.

Maybe try to talk to her when she is calm about other ways she can deal with her anger rather than hitting out.

Good luck!

HappyHeart87 Wed 03-Aug-16 16:38:25

Wouldn't begin to give any advice but I just wanted to say that you come across very thoughtful, proactive, loving and concerned. I'm sure your title is a bit tongue in cheek but you are definitely not the worst mum in the world.

I can't imagine the tension of managing the needs of a tiny baby and such a full on toddler. I don't know you but I'm sitting here feeling full of admiration that you're working so hard at doing it well.

SleeplessInGarforth Wed 03-Aug-16 16:55:00

Thanks so much everyone.

The books and role play ideas sound really good. (I had a home birth with DD2 and we prepped DD1 for that with some really good books and it helped her a lot so I'll see what I can get for anger and hitting).

Yeah title was a bit tongue in cheek but I think that's how I feel when mother of smacked child looks when the incident just happened - or when an entire cafe full of people are staring at us.

Dd2 is thankfully very chilled out and happy so aside from feeding, nappy hangin and the usual sleep deprivation...its been ok with her!

MyPeriodFeatures Sun 07-Aug-16 09:41:02

Now entirely bypassed all other replies and googling saathvik food!

clusterfork Sun 07-Aug-16 09:53:26

Hello! Almost exactly the same situation here except have DS3.5 and DS 7 weeks. DS 1 having lots of tantrums lately where he loses control, throws things, hits, kicks and screams and these outbursts can go on for 30-1hr! He is also doing really well developmentally and at nursery and is extremely loving towards his brother.

Outbursts definitely cluster around first thing in morning and bed time, often when he's hungry. Once he gets into a rage he will refuse everything including food and drink. The worst is the first thing in the morning ones- he will literally wake up and immediately fly into a rage which is obviously hunger related, but initially refuse to eat anything and will scream the house down at 6 in the morning shockshockshock

I had this book recommended to me and so far it makes sense

Also have a star chart for him. Lots of positivity when he's behaving well really seems to help.

Mainly just wanted to say that you're not alone and we have also been feeling just the same!

Underparmummy Mon 08-Aug-16 13:21:19

Came on here to write about my four year old but you seem to have done it for me (always spirited but lately too difficult to handle properly but an angel at nursery!). Mine is a middle child as well so is probably destined for therapy early doors.

We have just started (last night) to try and nip it in the bud (calm 10 breaths and if still kicking off time out straight away). We think we've been trying to get her to come round too much (easier sometimes than finding space and time for addressing it straight off).

I think I might get that talk so kids listen book though, feels like none of mine listen to me ever!

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