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I am so angry with DCs a lot of the time

(19 Posts)
TracksuitLover Wed 30-Jul-08 14:16:59

I don't know if there is something wrong with me or wrong with them. DD (5) especially makes me so angry I don't want to be in the same room as her. She whines, nags, talks incessantly about rubbish and expects an answer, demands one thing and as soon as she has got it, demands the next thing, wants to know what we are doing next, what we are doing after that, is it time yet etc. Nothing is ever right for her, there is always one small detail she is not happy about and gets angry or whiny about. She seems like she is trying to get more and more attention from me. She interferes when I try to talk to/play with DS or talk to DH. She continually aggravates her younger brother (3) and because he is oversensitive and cries about every little thing, eg because a child looked at him the wrong way, he is always crying or shouting. With him I just want to shout "What now?" because he cries so often about the smallest things.

At the same time, I feel there is something wrong with me. Some days I can cope with the children and I don't feel angry and other days they will be behaving just the same but I just can't cope with it without losing it.

Sometimes I feel motivated to do things with them and other days I don't know if it is extreme laziness that I have or depression, but I just don't want to even have to speak to them. I just want to be on my own. I tell them to go away and leave me alone and don't talk to me. I feel so guilty about this rejecting behaviour. I do get 2 days away from them in the week and this should be enough, but I am still horrible.

I feel like a horrible bitch and I feel that I am emotionally damaging them. Is it normal to get angry a lot and shout/rant a lot at your kids? If I never shouted would this be bad as well? I feel like I've failed when I shout just a bit. My own childhood was damaging and I am in therapy, but I would just like other people's views on it. How much anger/shouting is normal?

There are times when I think I just don't like my children and don't want them then I feel absolutely awful and a failure because this is how my parents made me feel.

thebecster Wed 30-Jul-08 14:27:49

If you're in therapy there will be lots of emotion washing around inside of you from the things you're dealing with, so it's bound to come out in the form of anger/confusion etc. Your kids sound normal. Shouting at them a little bit occasionally won't damage them and I think is also normal, but I would try to be honest with them, within appropriate boundaries for their age. If you realise you've gone overboard and that the anger might not be purely to do with them, I'd say gently 'I'm sorry I shouted just then, but I'm feeling a bit worried about some things which aren't your fault. I need you to let me carry on cooking tea for a few minutes in peace - can you do that? Would you like me to get your crayons down?' And talk to your therapist about your feelings about your kids. It sounds like a lot of it is coming from unresolved issues. Don't beat yourself up too much. Parenting is bloody hard.

BoysAreLikeDogs Wed 30-Jul-08 14:27:57

RedMist got some v good advice here

Read the thread, it starts off v badly but bear with it.

(apologies to RM for re hashing)

Good luck

HonoriaGlossop Wed 30-Jul-08 14:55:49

are you diagnosed with depression? Are you receiving any treatment other than the therapy?

It sounds to me as if there is something significant in terms of depression there; your bond with your children doesn't sound as if it is all it could be...ideally it would be that rather than hearing your DD's conversation as 'talking incessantly about rubbish' you could enjoy talking to her, hearing her thoughts, enjoy the fact she is turning into a person with her own unique take on life. Yes, sometimes with the best will in the world we don't want to talk any more about barbie/star wars but that is an occasional feeling rather than all the time. Kids of 3 and 5 do need a helluva lot of jollying along and distracting etc and it sounds like alot of the time you don't have it in you to do this.

So what I am saying is yes some of what you are doing could well be damaging particularly the rejecting them; they are not ABLE to go away and not talk to you, they are very young and NEED adult input.

I am not blaming you at all, in fact I take my hat off to you for working so hard at looking after them. Caring for young kids is the hardest job in the world even if you are loving it! also you have no positive role model of parenting to go from, clearly.

Would you approach your GP and see if they can get you assessed re; depression? Also tell HV how you feel and get them to suggest help; sure start, nursery places, that kind of thing just to take the load off you. Also if you have a job why not consider going full time? There is no law that says YOU have to stay at home, if you don't enjoy it etc.

Countingthegreyhairs Wed 30-Jul-08 15:30:13

Hi TrackSuit Lover

Wise words as usual from HG who has given me some good advice before with regard to similar issues.

I'm not really qualified to comment (only have one dd) but I just wanted to post to say that I have quite a demanding 5 yr old and I really recognise some of the things you are saying. It really is tough - especially with two to cope with - you must never get a minute to yourself.

You are obviously a very caring parent - otherwise you wouldn't be so concerned about the way your current mood is affecting your children. And you have already done the right thing by seeking therapy. My only advice would be therefore : well done for recognising the problem ... now go and ask for MORE help. Don't be too proud (this was my mistake!!)

Eg in advance of this summer holiday I (finally!!) recognised that I can be a reasonably good parent to my dd between 7 am and 2pm or between 2pm and 7.30pm but NOT all day/every day on my own (dh works v long hours and we live abroad). So I've got some back up organised and it has really helped me. Just knowing that I will have 3 hrs free next Tuesday (for example) to do my own thing really makes a difference.

I know financially it can be difficult to get baby-sitters if you haven't got friends and family to help but honestly it is worth scraping up every penny to get yourself some support during this difficult time. You need some time out to do something for yourself.

My mother was a dreadful role model too (she ranted and shouted ALOT) and it's sometimes good to have the support of older women in these circs. One idea is to put an advert in the window of your local pharmacy and advertise for a part-time "grandmother"/mother's aid. There are active/older women out there who are happy to help out for a reasonable fee and it's good to have the support and benefit of their experience.

Good luck.

HonoriaGlossop Wed 30-Jul-08 15:50:03

aw thank you counting! I just wanted to say I think that's a really good idea about the grandmother/mother's aid - if you get the help and support of a sensible older person who has been there, done that, then I don't think there's much that would be better really. Maybe it might take meeting a few people to get the correct person but it sounds a really good idea.

also that is SO true about not being able to be a good parent all day, every day. I don't think anyone can be on duty and be relentlessly perfect from 7am to 7pm and as I say you always need to take into account your personal difficulties which make it even harder!

Pitchounette Wed 30-Jul-08 16:36:19

Message withdrawn

ActingNormal Wed 30-Jul-08 22:14:15

Thank you all. I read the RedMist thread and like the idea of pretending there is a film crew there. I will modify it for myself and imagine how I would want to be seen to parent if my therapist was watching (because I so respect his views on the way people should treat each other).

Pitchounette, I love the idea of listing things I like about my children and listening to other people's praise of them. DD actually has loads of things about her that I really admire. Eg she is talented at art and craft, very creative, and good at ballet - really graceful. She is an artist with artistic temperament!

Your questions to guage whether they are being damaged are reassuring too as the answers are positive! But I can see something there, I think on days when I am more withdrawn and preoccupied with my thoughts because of issues with my family, DD does more of the attention seeking bad behaviour. I know that I need to get my issues sorted out and give less of my headspace to people who don't deserve it and more to my DCs and DH....and I am working on this.

Acinonyx Wed 30-Jul-08 22:23:46

Hi Acting. I definitely find that sometimes I cope easily and others I am on a hair trigger and my irritability seems to make dd have more tantrums so it spirals. When I'm in a better mood, little things wash over me and I more likely to cut slack for the bigger things because overall things are going OK. But when I'm down, little things seem to get to me and bigger things really really get to me.

I like the film crew thing too. My amom was a screamer and shouter (and more) and I won't do that - but sometimes it feels as though the effort to reign it in will kill me! I hated the anger so much - but it's as though there is this tremendous force pushing me to do the same and the effort to resist is exhausting.

TracksuitLover Wed 30-Jul-08 22:32:10

Oops, I logged in with my normal name for the last post. (I used a different one because I feel ashamed of my bad parenting)

solidgoldbrass Wed 30-Jul-08 22:37:45

I shout at my DS too sometimes (he is 3.10, and can be whiny and awkward sometimes), more so when I am having money worries (which is most of the time). But I try to make sure that if I've had a shouty few minutes I then do something nice with him. I like the tip about thinking of the good things: DS is very smart, very gentle and affectionate and is getting quite a good sense of humour.

Janni Wed 30-Jul-08 22:43:54

I have done a lot of full time mothering and it is very hard, especially as you do not get much external recognition and you have to rely so much on your own internal resources.

My eldest is 12 and my youngest is 3. With the youngest I have realised that I do not have the same patience or even interest that I had when the eldest was little and she goes to nursery a lot more than he did, because that is what I need to allow me to give her the calm, loving attention she needs when she is at home, particularly when all three children are together and the issue of sibling dynamics arises.

I think it can really help if you slow down, totally lower your expectations of what 'adult' things you can achieve with little ones around, look out for any help you can get to give you a break (be it housework/childcare).

I find that telling the children what they MAY do rather than what they MUSTN'T do is useful, as is not thinking I have to come up with a solution to every whine. 'Oh dear, what a shame' and a hug seems to work just as well! If I'm irritated I try to tell them how I feel and ask for their help, rather than shouting at them as a way to offload my frustrations.

Being out of the house is better than being all in it together but doing something nice like watching a good film all together can be a really simple, easy way to feel closer

Countingthegreyhairs Thu 31-Jul-08 09:42:18

'tis true HG smile

Some good posts here. Agree with Janni about internal resources and her other points. It's apparent that this is all about how robust (mentally and physically) WE are feeling rather than our dcs behaviour.

How are things today TracksuitL/Acting? Can you manage to get any time away?

TracksuitLover Thu 31-Jul-08 10:53:53

Thank you, I am having a day off today and trying to get my thoughts in order. I can't normally cry when I need to but today I am close to it. I think the people who said it is more to do with how strong I am feeling that day rather than how bad the children's behaviour is, is true in my case.

I am feeling angry/upset/panicky about some family issues at the moment, I am tired, and I find it hard to cope with the hard work of looking after young children who need a lot of attention. I find it hard when I feel ok but can cope then and have more strength to do the things that I know are right. At the moment I feel I can't even cope with myself.

I need strategies to make it easier when I am like this I think.

Just to clarify my thoughts, here is what I am going to do from reading your suggestions:

1. Imagine there is a film crew watching and the main 'interviewer' is my Therapist (the person I find most calming and reassuring in my life and whose opinion I have great respect for). I tried this this morning getting the kids ready for nursery/holiday club and had imaginary conversations with him about the reasoning behind the parenting techniques I was using. It helped me calm down and do the things I know I should do instead of 'losing it'.

2. Make a list on paper of what I love/admire about each of my children and look at it regularly.

3. When I feel uptight and in danger of becoming "Shouty Mummy", talk to DD about it. She is old enough to talk about it a bit now. Yesterday pm I said to her "Mummy has a bad day sometimes when she doesn't feel good and it makes her shout a lot and be horrible. This is not yours and DS's fault and I am sorry. Some days I don't want to talk very much just because I don't feel good. This is not your fault". She said when we get to her friend's house she would tell him to make funny faces at me to help cheer me up! This makes me cry that she would think of this for me.

4. Maybe on bad days I should make a decision not to do any housework except absolutely essential things eg if there are no plates to eat lunch off, and just sit with the children and talk to them about what they are doing and do lots of cuddling and not try to do any activity that requires loads of effort with them, just be with them. I will find it hard to make myself do this because some days I just want to completely withdraw. But I think my withdrawal sets of the more annoying attention seeking behaviours.

I better print this out so I don't actually forget to do these things.

Countingthegreyhairs Thu 31-Jul-08 11:16:25

Sounds like a great strategy TracksuitL (especially the no housework rule)! Particuarly impressive when you are feeling so low.

I get down when I feel pulled in all directions (although feel pathetic saying this when I only have one child!!) and to just give yourself permission NOT to rush around for one day is definitely good for the soul!!

Also v. positive that you have such a good therapist whose opinion you can trust.

Btw your dd's actions prove how well you are doing because she is modelling back YOUR caring behaviour towards her....

Is it possible to ring-fence some actual "withdrawing" time for you - even if it is just an hour or so a week - it might help if you know you definitely have that "refuge" to look forward to ...???

girlsallaround Thu 31-Jul-08 11:19:42

you need to make sure you are:

sleeping well enough

eating well enough

drinking enough water

(and if you have time after those, making some time for yourself to be on your own and relax).

those things will enormously help you see the way your dcs behave with more patience and calm and will improve how you appear to them and how you react to them....

Janni Thu 31-Jul-08 13:35:40

Well done for thinking about all the suggestions, TSL.

The twelve-step recovery programmes use the acronym HALT to remind people to not allow themselves to become too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired - pretty much what girlsallaround said.

Countingthegreyhairs Thu 31-Jul-08 14:03:53

Another good tip (using it myself today in fact) when the going gets tough:

is to plan lots of little timed ring-fenced activities with the dc at particular moments throughout the day and stick to it rigidly (use timer on mobile phone if necessary)

therefore, in addition to three set meal times and two set snack times a plan might be:

9.30- 30 min walk or excursion or planned activity or bus ride etc

11.15 - one little game with dc for 15 mins before lunch

2.30 pm - one 20 min craft activity

4.15 pm - story time for 30 mins

the idea is to stick to these times absolutely rigidly and without compromise - mood to be very positive and upbeat - full headlight beaming attention on dc - try and ensure interaction is as good as can possibly be

this helps at beginning of day because you know what you have to do and you know you CAN do it for short/sharp busts

it also helps looking back at end of day because you know that whatever happened in between (within reason of course!) you've had those very positive moments throughout the day which should hopefully outweigh negative ones ...

I've set my dd up with activities to do within these times (1 DVD that she is allowed to watch for 20 mins, play-dough on tray, pritt stick, card, tissue paper and foil shapes on another tray, jig-saw puzzle, crayons and paper) and she is more-or-less expected to play on her own between these set periods of time (although I'll of course check on her regularly whilst doing my own chores). It's good for her because there are definite boundaries in place and she knows that we'll do something together once the "buzzer" sounds ...

I know it sounds very prescribed and rigid and it's not something I do every day of course - also much harder to achieve with two children of different ages - but it's just for when you are feeling de-motivated and "don't have a plan" (partic useful for summer holidays)

Sorry for essay

HairyToe Thu 31-Jul-08 15:23:10

If you are feeling overwhelmed and need a bit more help but none is available I have heard Homestart can help.

no experience of it myself but it sounds like a great idea

For what its worth me and everyone I know with young children feel like this sometimes. Some days although i know I should be pleased that dd1 is bright and active and communicative I just want her to shut up for a minute and give me some space in my head. If you're tired and have other things on your mind its always so much worse. Its easy though to fall into a cycle of not wanting to be bothered and not seeing the positive things about your kids and being at home with them. I find that sometimes I almost need to 're-train' my brain back into Mum-mode.

Good luck with everything - you sound like you're doing a great job. if you were a terrible parent you wouldn't be on here worrying about your actions - many people treat their kids dreadfully and don't give a toss sad

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