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I am the shouty mother from hell. Advice needed, please (desperate)(29 Posts)
I think my throat is sore from shouting so much this afternoon. My DCs are 5 and 2, and the 2 yo (DS) has been a monster this evening. When I picked him up from nursery his keyworker said in a jokey voice that he'd been a handful today and very "mischievious", but I think he'd been a pain really. Since we got hoe, he's been dreadful - tantrums, shouting, trying to slam doors, throwing toys. And now he won't go to bed (in toddler bed - he can climb out of his cot).
It seems that on his second bithday a switch tripped and my lovely, funny, boisterous little boy was replaced by a stroppy, whiney, tantrumming nightmare.
My parenting skills must be crap, but my only response is to shout and shout. Obviously, he takes no notice (although it does make him cry . I just seem to in a downward spiral which I can't get out. Clearly, the more I shout the worse it becomes, but nothing works. I've tried ignoring, reward charts, talking calmly.
Please help. I feel so guilty and sad. My DCs can't enojoy being with me and I'm beginning to feel really terrible about ruining their childhood with all the shouting. Any advice gratefully received.
Firstly, stop being so hard on yourself. Every parent, if they're being honest, has had a day like the one you've described. We all shout sometimes - it's not nice, but fairly normal. You aren't ruining their childhood.
It seems you've tried a lot of things to deal with the unacceptable behaviour. Have you tried using just one method consistently? It can take a little while before a child realises that if he does X, then the consequence is Y. So choose a method of dealing with it, explain it to your kids so they know what to expect, and then stick to it.
Try to stop shouting if you can - make your own reward system. Every day you get through without yelling at them, give yourself a reward. Parenting is not easy, you need rewards. If it was easy, there wouldn't be so many posts on here.
My sympathies - I have dd's aged 4 and 2 - and the two year old has metamophosed overnight. Her two stock phrases are now "huh, NOT FAIR" and "DOn't want to, Mummy".
I am definately on the shouty spectrum myself and the only strategy that works for me (when I remember to do it) is:
Act (and act is usually withdrawal of my attention)
"DD2, please come and get dresssed" (Ask)
GIve it a reasonable time space
"DD2 come and get dressed now" TELL
Second chance to comply
"OK I am going to do something else"
There may or may not be tears but I give her some space then go back ask
"Are you ready to get dressed?"
IF she is, we do, if not, I walk away again.
She has been taken out on the school run starkers btw. I stuffed some clothes under the pram and she was begging to get dressed by the end of the drive. THis falls under the consequence bit I guess.
When there is utter defiance or non-cooperation then I scoop her and dump her in her room for the two minute tantrum and then go back to ask re readiness.
Its a battle isn't it.
Aw, don't beat yourself up, we've all done it. I start out trying to be calm and talking in a quiet voice and saying calmly what will happen if the behaviour carries on, it usually ends in me shouting which results in him shouting and we all get upset. However, on the odd occasion my DH shouts at him,it usually does the trick. We do have a warning system but that doesn't always work either. All these parenting tips you read about are great, but none of them work all the time-sometimes kids just have to be naughty. Just draw a line under it and start again and try to end the day with a hug and kiss and both apologise for shouting, it saves the massive guilt trip later on in the evening!!
Thanks for replying, Fernie. It's been a tough week, but no excuse for the yelling. Sticker charts worked well with DD (5) so perhaps that's the first place to start with DS?
Tomorrow's another day, I guess, so no more shouting.
Thanks to everyone for replies . It took me so long to type reponse others had appeared.
Duchess - I know it's not funny, but you did make me smile about taking your DD out on the school run naked. My DS is far too vain to go with that!
Very small glass of wine, early night and a new start tomorrow.
Never beat yourself up for shouting at them - I don't. My Mum used to yell at us and I don't hold any grudges. I know someone who used to lock her kids out in the garden when they drove her mad - they all still think their mum is wonderful.
I too am a v shouty mum and i hate myself everyday for being so rubbish. i hate at bedtime they just keep asking for more cuddles and kisses and i think 'delaying tactics' and shout and get grumpy instead of enjoying it and going with it and not being so horrible. i try each day and by the end of breakfast i have usually shouted one way or another. AHHHH!
I felt so guilty once I decided to change. I decided to be reasonable and not shout any more. To reason and to speak sensibly and calmly and nicely. After three days DS, who was about 6, said very appealingly "mummy why are you being so scary, I like it better when you're shouty".
As long as the love is unconditional and they know it; you can set the boundaries how you like. You must be a fab mummy if you weren't you wouldn't be worried about it.
Seems they might be getting lots of attention for bad beahviour. Could you just do time out instead? Can you try and have fun with them and give attention for good behaviour.
I dont have loads of experience as i just have one three year old, but I shout when I am either or both physically or emotional spent. So, maybe you need to find a way of having time out for yourself. Is there anyway you can schedule in a break even if its tiny for yourself?
I have been a shouty mum the last few days. Am pg and exhausted, and DS (2.4) has turned into a stubborn, tantruming nightmare in the last month.
Today I tried to be nice and not shout, and give him more positive attention rather than zoning in on the things that were upsetting and annoying me.
Apart from him screaming like I was murdering him when I cut him toenails, we did ok so I'm going to persevere with it because i suspect it is more me than him.
If you can get hold of a copy, Toddler Taming is very good and has certainly made me think about how I'm dealing with him.
duchess - getting dressed is our major battleground atm, I am really coming to dread it.
Duchess, can I ask what you do when there isn't time to give them a few minutes and re-ask them to do something.
We really struggle some mornings, ds1 is 4 and ds2 is 2. ds2's not too bad but getting ds1 to get dressed some mornings is a nightmare. There just isn't time to let him faff about.
I feel like I give enough warnings, we're going to get dressed in 5 minutes, 2 minutes etc. then I take them upstairs and sometimes they hide, scream, whatever and I give a final warning and if he still doesn't get dressed I just turn into shouty mum. I fel so cross like I've been very reasonable and given time warnings, then asked nicely, then asked firmly, and after that I'm just p'd off they aren't doing what I've asked.
I know I'm ridiculous because I'm the adult and shouldn't expect a child to do exactly what I've asked everytime but I actually do expect that!
I'm working on the shouting, flipping hard work though...
I have lots of shouty days My DS1 is 4, DS2 is 2. What helps me (when I have the energy!) is to picture someone I know who is really patient and calm with children and think 'How would she deal with this?' and just aim to be more like that for half a day at a time. Aiming for short manageable bursts of patience! Even though I can only do this for a day at the most it seems, it gives me and the kids a break from shouty mummy and helps me realise I can be calm.
SIL recommended 'Toddler Taming' to me. I asked my local library to order it in for me a year ago and haven't heard back from them!
FWIW, my mum was a shouter and I still love her to bits. However, I do think (having turned into a shouter myself) that it's not a very effective way of dealing with bad behaviour.
Agree with Shineon, only I use a naughty step and it is 'The Naughty Step' as opposed to 'Time Out'- the message is much clearer for a 2yr old.
If your DS throws/hits etc- maybe give 1 warning along the lines of (and in firm voice) 'No DS, we do not hit, hitting is naughty behaviour, if you hit again you will go on the naughty step'. If the behaviour is repeated shortly afterwards then you take DS by the hand, firmly but gently and take him to the naughty step (away from action, mine is at the bottom of our stairs), you sit him on it and say in a firm voice 'No DS we do not hit, hitting is naughty behaviour, sit here until mummy comes to get you'. Then leave him to it for a minute or two, hopefully he will stay there, do not respond to anything he says while he is there, if he gets up, keep putting him back.
When the time is up, go to him and say 'DS we do not hit, hitting is naughty behaviour, say sorry' hopefully you will get an apology/cuddle. Then forget about it and move on, until the next time.
This is what has worked best on my 2yr old, only I don't give a warning for hitting anymore, as he is nearly 3. Tweak it to how it works best for you.
Having a plan of action for naughty behaviour helps keep you calm. The message is very clear to your DS and over time he will learn that certain behaviours are unnacceptable.
With regard to tantrums- when they are really having a bad day and you really can't take it anymore give DS a warning that if the shouting doesn't stop you will take him to his room/cot to calm down and do it. If nothing else, you get a breather, and the tantrum achives nothing else other than a lack of attention.
Thanks for the replies.
I tend to agree about the reward chart. I think DS is too young at 2 yo, but DH is convinced it will work . TBH his behaviour (DS not DH!) is typical toddler, but our real flash point in bedtime. He's suddenley realised that he can get out of bed so he's up and down for ages after he's put to bed. We've always had the same routine - bath, stories, cuddle, sleep - but this bit is driving me crazy!
I guess it's just a phase
Today has been much better. No shouting from me - when it's looked like it's going pear-shaped I've walked away and ignored. Had at least one major meltdown, but we did have a lovely morning and lunch in a restaurant, so things are looking up.
Below is the routine someone suggested for us for when my ds kept getting out of bed. It worked pretty quickly, only took a couple of nights before he settled lovely and didn't keep getting out of bed:
Say something like "ds it's bedtime I'll read you 3 stories then it's time for a cuddle and sleep". Read 1 story and then say "2 stories till sleep time", then "1 story left" etc. then a lovely cuddle and leave.
If he gets out of bed tell him it's bedtime and return him straight away. If he gets out again tell him its a final warning and you will shut his bedroom door.
If he does get out return him and shut the door for a few seconds, maybe a minute, this will be long enough to make him realise you mean business. Open the door and ask him if he wants to stay in bed like a good boy with the door open. Hopefully that will be enough to make him stay in bed, you can have a quick cuddle and leave on a happy note. If he does get out again, straight to bed then close the door again (hold it shut if he's trying to open it - feels horrible but he'll soon learn the consequences of not staying, he can have a lovely story and cuddle or be in his room in, door shut) leave him for 2 minutes. My ds was 3 so I'd leave him for 3 minutes, didn't want to do it any longer but cos he hated it so much he soon realised that it was better to just stay in bed.
If your ds already sleeps with his door shut then ignore the above!!!
I get shouty some time too (have a 2 year old so see it as inevitable! ) but as Shiney has said most times it's simply ineffective so I try to avoid shouting if I can.
Dressing a big problem for 2 year olds & I'm not at all excited reading in this thread that it most likely will get worse .
Getting in car seat big issue for us these days, DS certainly plays games with me as he's understood the whole thing gets on my nerves. I find bribery works sometimes (special 'car' biscuits); as much as I dislike the idea of bribery, sometimes we just have to get in car & leave asap so that's one way.
The other thing that works- with car seat & with dressing- is challenging DS by saying things like 'I bet you can't put the top all on your own!!' or 'I bet you can't get in the car seat all on your own!' And then he promptly & proudly does just that.
But I think to be honest it's inevitable sometimes to shout, please OP don't beat yourself up about it...
I shouted at my 8 month old tonight - i think all parents have a limit (long day, i was tired and hungry and my 2 year old was having a tantrum in the background).
I use rewards with my 2 year old but very simple as their memory is very short! So i will say things like 'when you get dressed then we can read a story' and focus on the good bit coming next. Luckily anything can be made a treat for a 2 year old - had a lady in stiches this afternoon as i managed to get dd1 to sit in her pram in a shop with the 'treat' of being able to hold the reciept :-)
I have had to modify our morning routine so give more time to the tasks that I know will require "Management"!
I now shower and get dressed myself as my first task of the day so that I am ready to go. THen I start on getting the kids ready as soon as breakfast is over. That way, on a good day, they have 15-30 mins play before we leave for the school run, on a bad day we just make it on time.
If it works for you, you could try getting dressed before breakfast, and then let him know that breakfast is dependant on him being dressed for it? THe only reason I don't do it that way, is that I'd rather the PJ's took the brunt of the Weetabix than the uniform.
If we are really time pressured, then there can be no re-asking - hence DD2 going out the door in the buff.
I have found that, once the kids twig that I have refocused my Ask, Tell, Act routine, within a few days their compliance levels have gone up and its taking less time to get things done. It is a bit of a virtuous circle, iyswim.
FWIW my mum never shouted but used (and still uses, now with the grandchildren) many other subtle forms of emotional manipulation, which looking back was very confusing for me. It has made me determined to always communicate how I feel clearly with my children, and if that means sometimes letting them know in no uncertain terms that I am REALLY ANGRY then so be it.
I think distract and divert is better with a 2 year old. Just no point yelling your head off at them. Also, imo it is frightening for small children (and bigger too)
I completely lost it shouting my head off at my 8 year old in the car once and when I finally turned my attention away & looked at the 3 yo, she was sitting in car seat looking absolutely terrified, not making a sound but with tears rolling down her cheeks. It was rare (the shouting) but I was absolutely mortified - I will never ever forget it and I make a real effort not to shout at either of them. I still feel ashamed - which I think is a good (motivating) thing.
One shouting incident yesterday - DS ran away when we were trying to get him in the bath and he did a wee on his sister's bedroom floor .
But he went straight to sleep and didn't get up at all. I made a huge fuss this morning and gave him a special sticker. So far tonight he's been up twice but is now quiet.
We've also decided to drop his afternoon nap - with a great sadness!!!
No shouting today and we managed lunch with PILs in restaurant as well. The waitress even said how well-behaved and adorable they both were
Also, dug out my copy of Toddler Tamer and will revisit that. I've decided to be more conscious of when I start shouting and ignore a lot more of the unwanted stuff.
Some days it's just so hard ...
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