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Calling anyone who can be reassuring or give me some tips about how to keep my temper with stroppy 7yo boy.

(32 Posts)
WideWebWitch Fri 13-May-05 09:12:30

We've had a horrible, awful morning, mainly because 7yo ds wound me up into a frenzy and so we rowed and it went on for a good hour, maybe more, I've lost track of time. It started with him being annoying (copying me, repeating pointless phrases to annoy me), I went to the bathroom and came back 20 mins later to find he'd been similarly horrible to dp, who had been calm and sweetness back. Anyway, ds carried on and on and on and on until I lost it and ended up telling him to leave the room. I then, after another half an hour of his bad behaviour told him that I was sending him to live with his father. I know this is awful and unforgivable, I'm very ashamed of myself. I just totally lost it, really wondered what I was going to do and then spent 15 minutes crying on the floor in the corner of the kitchen. Ds has apologised (grovelled in fact and even told me he loved me as he walked into school, which is unheard of) and so have I and I've told him I didn't mean it AT ALL but that I was so furious and wanted him to know how furious I was but I do realise it was a terrible, terrible thing to say. I had a very sad dream about my dad last night and this month is the 4th anniversary of his death, plus I'm not enjoying being a sahm but am not having any luck finding a job, plus dd is waking at 5.30am atm, so I think all this contributed to my losing my temper but really what I want is

any strategies for not doing so in future
Tell me he's normal please too. Unless you think he isn't and tell me that too
Any other suggesions welcome. He gets lots of positive attention, plenty of fresh air and exercise, healthy food, stories at bedtime, house rules that we all have to obey, he knows he is deeply loved and he sees his dad every other weekend. Why does he do it?
I'm sitting here in tears because it so took it out of me. TIA for anything.

Enid Fri 13-May-05 09:18:42

I don't have a 7 year old, but I would say that he does it because that's what children do sometimes - they almost want to torment us.

I don't know you in RL but you always seem to be the most caring, loving mother. It is nothing you have done and I doubt there is a particular reason behind his behaviour. It does sound B*y annoying though - I am sure I would have snapped too. Can you ask him if anything is bothering him?

You are having a really hard time atm - please remember to be kind to yourself. Don't punish yourself for this. Go and buy something really nice for supper and focus on how lovely dp was.

I don't think I can give you any strategies because I think it was a one-off - provocation in extreme circs!

I am sure you will get some fab advice on here, much better than I can give. Lots of love though, x E

PS (((hugs))

MarsLady Fri 13-May-05 09:24:49

Sadly, yes he's normal. Have survived the annoying parrot phase twice, about to go through it again with DD2, though she may use her own unique brand of torture.

WWW we all lose it with the occasionally. It happens. They know all the buttons to push. You're a good mother who does all the right things and well. He's a normal kid and he's just doing what normal kids do. Don't beat yourself up. Without meaning to be trivial, as my neice would say, suck it up, build a bridge, get over it! You're doing great honey. HONEST! It's not easy and as we master each phase another one comes. That's why we'll be brilliant parents when we are grandparents, cos we'll have gone through all the crap. Of course by then we'll be escaping to Caribbean Islands with toy boys and no kids. lol

You'll both be fine. Kids forgive and forget quickly.

assumedname Fri 13-May-05 09:28:23

I think it's perfectly normal - for both of you.

Show me a parent who has never 'lost it' with their kids.

Perhaps one thing you could do in these circumstances in the future is just to walk away from him and not react?

Carla Fri 13-May-05 09:31:53

www, I find that if I'm going to lose it at all, mornings are a safe bet . Don't beat yourself up about what you said - I doubt anyone would come on here, hands up, and say they've never done it. You've obviously found that it didn't help, and that's a really useful thing to find out.

Totally agree with Enid. What else did he do, apart from the copying you bit? I do think 6/7 is one of those ages.

Lonelymum Fri 13-May-05 09:45:05

WWW he is normal!!! I have an 8 yo and a 7 yo (both boys) and although my 7 yo doesn't do the sort of thing you describe, the 8 yo does it enough for the 2 of them and somehow, having the 7 yo seems to spur the 8 yo on.

I don't think you behaved unreasonably given the provocation. Maybe what you said was over the top, but you have told him you did not mean it, so don't dwell on that anymore. He is getting to the age when he needs to understand the consequences of his provocative behaviour (ie he will upset you) and I don't think it is reasonable to expect you to take everything he throws at you without sometimes expressing a reaction.

As for why he does it, I think he is just testing the boundaries as all children do at various stages in their childhoods. I have read that boys of about 8 get their first rush of testosterone at about this time and can be alternately stroppy and babyish. My 8 yo certainly fits this.

It sounds like you have a good relationship with your ds and you give him a lovely life so don't think it is anything you are doing wrong, just a phase he is going through.

QueenEagle Fri 13-May-05 10:07:42

Sounds like what you are going through is totally normal www. My ds1 was the master at winding me up and has done since he was a toddler. I have lost count of the times I have totally lost it with him and told him that if his behaviour didn't improve, the van for naughty boys would come to get him. Once when we'd had a particularly awful run-in, I grabbed him by the arm, dragged him to the front door and said the blue van was coming down the road to pick him up. Well, blow me if just at the point I opened the door, a blue van came down the road! He screamed and screamed but I was so far gone I shoved him out of the front door and shut it. He would have been about 6 at this time I guess. Picture the scene where he was banging on the door begging to be let in and me in a heap on the other side crying my eyes out in exasperation. He was terrified the van would stop and I felt awful for doing it.

Ds1 is now 11 and we still have odd moments but his behaviour has improved no end as he has got older. He responds to being given responsibility, so maybe this is a strategy you could employ?

Your ds knows how much you love him and care for him, that is evident from what you said. He must learn that his behaviour has consequences, whether it be good or bad and learn to modify it accordingly. This will not happen overnight but consistency in yours and dp's approach will give clear indications of what is acceptable.

If I could give you just a couple of pointers it would be these:

Always be consistent with your boundaries and sanctions.
Lower your expectations of him slightly so he is not having to aim too high and failing you.
Treat him with the same respect you expect from him.
The hardest one is to learn to ignore a lot of the silly niggly mimicking behaviour from him. Ask yourself, does what he's doing really matter? If it gets to the point where you can't carry on ignoring him if it's too disruptive, calmly ask him to leave the room or leave the room yourself. Stay calm regardless of his reaction to you. Don't get drawn into tit-for-tat arguments, calmly re-state your request until he gets bored with you and complies.
I taught my ds if he felt he was going to lose his temper then he could take himself off to his room for self-imposed time out.

I admire you for admitting to him that you were wrong in what you said. This will mean an awful lot to him. He still needs to know however that what he did was wrong and that was the reason for your reaction. Tell him you feel a bit sad at the moment due to the things you outlined above in a way he will understand. Ask him if you can have an extra cuddle because you are feeling a bit sad - this brings out the best in my son and his caring attitude brings tears to my eyes.

saadia Fri 13-May-05 10:11:19

Agree with everyone else who's posted. My ds1 is only 3 and I have lost it with him before in the past and felt terrible about it, but, as Carla said, it doesn't achieve anything. But at that point in time, I just couldn't help it. I'm sure you will learn from it and your ds knows you didn't mean it and it sounds like it may have brought you closer together. Don't torture yourself. I'm having a trying morning too so I can relate to how you might be affected by the pressures you are under. Btw, your ds sounds like a perfectly normal child to me.

Rachhs Fri 13-May-05 10:14:44

Hi there, I am sorry for you that you have had such a hard time. It sounds as though you are really stressed and unhappy. If you find you are losing it with your son a lot then you might want to try some visualisation exercises. This is a common technique that therapists use for people who sometimes feel a bit out of control. Basically, at a time when you are feeling calm, maybe late at night when all are asleep, you visualise yourself in situations which make you lose control - where your son winds you up. During the visualisation try and see everything around you, see the colour of the room you are in, feel the floor beneath you and hear the sounds around you. Picture your son acting as he always does and allow him to wind you up in the visualisation (this bit is important so that you get used to him doing it), then visualise yourself dealing with it calmly and handling the situation the way you would prefer to. This will take a few times until you can handle the situation without feeling stressed and upset. Pretty quickly though you should be able to apply this to everyday, real situations with your son.

I hope this helps, but would be happy to help more

Rachelxxx

singersgirl Fri 13-May-05 10:15:00

WWW, I feel your pain. My DS1 (6.8) is a right PITA a lot of the time, and then he'll turn on the charm and be the sweetest, most affectionate, funny little soul. Every day my new resolution is that I won't shout at him and will praise him for all the good, wonderful things he does (I'm sure you do that with your DS, by the way; it's just that sometimes when I look back at a day with DS1 all I seem to have done is tell him what he's not doing right - "sit properly", "hurry up", "don't be so silly", "don't hurt your brother", "don't wee on the floor". I haven't solved it, though some days are markedly better than others, so this is more sympathy than advice! Hope today is better.

Berries Fri 13-May-05 10:25:35

Tis seems to be something eldest children in particular do, mine certainly did (dds so not only boys do it). Mine are now 7 & 9, & if they are winding me up I tell them to leave the room and come back when they have got their nice head on, not the horrible one they've got now.
I also warn them if I'm having a particularly bad day, so they know not too push too far - this seems to work very well now (although they're older) and even gets me some sympathy. It's important for them to understand that everyone has bad days, even mommies. It's now got to the stage where eldest dd will tell me when she's had a bad day (fallen out with friends etc) to explain why she's being grumpy. We can then talk about why it's important not to take it out on the ones who love you, although it's the easiest thing to do, because they will still love you. Is he having any problems at school (may not be big probs, just little ones)?
BTW don't beat yourself up about it, I'm just amazed (& jealous) that it's not happened before. I've also packed my dd2s bag for her so she could go & live with her friend - & she still speaks to me

suedonim Fri 13-May-05 10:45:52

They do so love to push us as far as they can, little rascals. As everyone says, it's perfectly normal for children to do this sort of thing, WWW, and they do it because they can. I wouldn't mind betting that your ds was as surprised by your reaction as you were; he's found out something about you ie that you're a human being as well and that you have feelings too. He won't be irreparably damaged and you mustn't feel bad because it's just life and these things happen. If you can, ignore such behaviour or say that you'll only speak to him when he's being sensible. But easier said than done, I know. Good luck.

tortoiseshell Fri 13-May-05 12:18:50

Hi www - sorry you're having a bad morning. I think 7 year olds are probably programmed to be annoying some of the time. And everyone is human and loses it with their kids. I screamed at ds this morning because he wouldn't eat his breakfast, then insisted on walking backwards while we got ready to go out. Which now seems quite funny, but at the time I really yelled at him.

Can you work out a strategy with your ds - sit down together and talk about how a morning like this should be resolved - if he can come up with ideas then all the better - ask him how it makes you feel when he winds you up etc. He's bright and intelligent, and I bet he would like being treated like an adult in the problem solving.

It is normal to snap like this though - especially when you're tired/fed up etc.

Hope things improve - would you like to go for a walk next week sometime?

WideWebWitch Fri 13-May-05 12:48:52

Thank you thank you thank you everone, dd is awake so will reply fully later. Have been close to tears all morning but am starting to feel better, esp on reading all this. You're great.

batters Fri 13-May-05 13:29:52

oh www, just seen this.

What an awful time for you. Anniversaries for bad things are complete sh*t aren't they?

Look you are not alone here. Dd also 7 and she and I can have the most ridiculous stupid arguments. She knows how to wind me up, and does it on purpose. She can be deliberately rude, either by making faces at me, speaking to me stroppily, you name it, she does it and she does it to wind me up and sometimes it works .

I am trying at the moment to be calmer (working to an extent) and I now say to her "look, if this behaviour carries on I will get into a really bad mood and neither of us want that do we". Sometimes it works, sometimes not. I also now send her to her room more often but for short periods of time, this is as much for me to calm down as it is for her. It works for me. I go into the garden, yell loudly and come back a little less annoyed. And of course most of the time my little girl is fantastic and a joy to be near and so when she is in a strop and I get annoyed too I then feel so guilty about it all.

I would also consider telling your son why you are especially sad at the moment. Would you feel it is okay to say, look, I could really do with your help here, my dad died 4 years ago and I am really sad thinking about how much I love him and miss him. I am not sure if you think it is appropriate for you and your ds.

But most importantly please don't beat yourself up about this one incident. You have got it tough at the moment. You will get through this, and so will your ds.

WideWebWitch Fri 13-May-05 13:47:17

Thank you batters. I will tell him why I'm having a hard time I think. Going into the garden and locking the door behind me is a very good idea! I know you didn't suggest I locked them in but actually, I needed to be away from him this morning and he kept following me from room to room whining and whinging and winding me up. Enid, I thought of you while I was in the shop earlier and bought us some nice wine and food for supper, thank you.
Marslady, I already have a toy boy thanks (I do, really!) but thank you for reassuring me that ds is normal. ha ha at unique brand of torture! I hope yours finds a brand you already know how to deal with instead! Thanks Carla, well, it was whining and wingeing and being unreasonable and being rude and refusing to do ANYTHING, I mean even get dressed. You're right, the mornings are a particularly easy time to get wound up. Thank you lonelymum, I'm glad to hear another vote for normal and that he's testing the boundaries, you're right. Dp reckons he was bored and therefore doing it for some nice negative attention. He got that all right. QE, thank you for that blue van story, it massively made me feel better! Sorry, but I laughed! And thank you for those strategies, I will bear them all in mind - asking does it REALLY matter is a very, very good one because you're right, it absolutely doesn't. I must just remember that. Thanks Rachs, the trouble is with my current visualisation exercise is that er, it doesn't end with me being calm, oh no! I will try that, it sounds good and worth a go. Saadia and singersgirl, thank you for the sympathy. My son is a joy and a love and a darling a lot of the time but when he turns into this teenage oaf I find it so tough. Berries, I'm glad someone else admits to the threatening to kick them out of home! Thank you! Suedonim, you're right, I think he was surprised since he can normally push quite a bit and I don't lose it. Well, I do sometimes but more often than not I don't. Tortoiseshell, thank you I think he and Iwill have a 'how could we have handled that differently' chat, and yes, a walk next week would be lovely.

You know, I think I need some counselling too because I think I'm angry about a lot of family stuff (too boring to go into) and I need to sort it out. But I also think I'd have to be a saint to not respond under some of ds's extreme provocation. He is at his dad's this weekend (who helpfully told ds on the phone, mid row this am - I rang him - 'your mum used to annoy me too when I lived with her' ooh the f&er!) so I get a break from him and just me and dp and dd is a very much quieter weekend so hopefully I will feel able to tackle anything he throws at me next week with renewed vigour and good intentions. It really helped posting here and there's some great advice on this thread, thank you all and sorry if I left anyone out.

roisin Fri 13-May-05 16:18:41

I've just seen this WWW - sorry you had such a horrid morning. I very occasionally lose my temper with ds1, and the scenes and the unforgivable things I said are imprinted on my memory. Sometimes I worry that they are imprinted on his too, and those are the things he will remember when he grows up, not the 99.9% happy times ... But I don't think he will. He always seems to "get over it" in a few minutes ... unlike me!

Anyway, hope you have a great relaxing meal this evening, and a superb weekend.

Roisin x

Lonelymum Fri 13-May-05 16:49:55

You know in a way WWW you are lucky that your son does go and stay with his father sometimes (even though what your ex said on the phone is really inflamatory stuff - no wonder you are no longer together!) I don't get that break although I would like to occasionally.

Hope your weekend is more peaceful for you!

WideWebWitch Mon 16-May-05 11:54:34

I just wanted to update this. I was talking to a friend about this and as I was talking it became BLINDINGLY obvious to me what happened.

1. Ds used a whiny voice when telling me something. I warned him and then took away the soft football he's allowed to kick in the house.
2. So, because of this he was BORED!
3. So he tried to wind dp up for a bit of drama. It didn't work, dp was calm
4. I reappeared, having had a shower. Oooh, here's mummy, brilliant, I'm a bit bored but if I wind her up she will go for it and I'll see some exciting drama and fireworks and wow, then I won't be bored
5. He does so, I bite. Durr.
6. He doesn't know how to stop it as we are both wound up into a frenzy
7. Both in tears, I post here
8. This hit me and I think I really must learn this lesson for next time.
I'm posting this in the hope that it'll help someone else. He went away to his dad's for the weekend and I think was relieved to come back here yesterday tbh - there are no rules there but equally, he doesn't get treated with respect and he doesn't really want to be in charge/stay up really late. He came back and was charm personified in the 2 hour car journey (I collected him from London) and in the run up to bedtime. He then slept for 11 hours and was a sweetie this morning too. Long may it continue and may I keep my temper!

batters Mon 16-May-05 12:34:05

good luck www.

Although after what has already become known as The Homework Incident in our house this weekend I would completely ignore everything I have said.

WideWebWitch Mon 16-May-05 12:38:40

ha ha ha batters, I hope you're all over it now.

Lonelymum Mon 16-May-05 12:52:59

Well done WWW. I hope it all goes smoothly for you from now on.

Enid Mon 16-May-05 12:55:46

its amazing how a bit of breathing space can change your outlook, hope you have a nice clear run at it for a while

MarsLady Mon 16-May-05 13:06:02

well done www you've survived and have restored yourself ready for the next tortuous episode. lol

So pleased to see you've thrown away the stick you beat yourself with.

Good job we love them!

sobernow Mon 16-May-05 13:18:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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