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I have this horrible feeling I am failing my children

(9 Posts)
lemonandhoney Wed 08-Jun-11 21:55:15

I don't think I'm doing a very good job, and I don't know what to do. When they don't listen, I shout. When they are noisy and exuberant, I shout. A lot of the time, I then end up apologising to them. I worry enormously about bringing them up on their own and the damage that has been done to them this past year since their father left. I don't know how to raise confident, emotionally secure children when their world has been torn apart, and I don't know how to give them the time and energy they need when I feel so useless myself most of the time.

I need some practical tips. I love them all so much, and really really want them to grow up to be amazing people. They are such delightful, high spirited, demanding children, and they are being stifled by my ongoing inability to pull myself together and get a grip. I never thought I would end up as a single parent, I always relied on my husband to be the calm and patient one, and now he isn't around.

What do I do? Where's the best place to start? Is it better to muddle through the day with some shouting and basically making everyone get to where they need to be with what they need when they need to be there, or do I just try and relax a bit and realise that they are children and they aren't going to do what I ask them first time, and accept that?

NewDKmum Wed 08-Jun-11 22:08:32

Sorry to hear you are having a hard time at the moment!

How old are your DC?

I am a SAHM to two DD's and I also try the best I can (don't we all?) to bring them up to be happy and confident etc. If I should advise you according to what works best for me it would be:

- Get enough sleep yourself - go to bed very early if necessary
- Wake up and greet DC with a smile, hugs and kisses, looking forward to spending time with them - makes a difference to the rest of the day, I find
- Have fun with them - not in terms of big outings, but little things/routines
- Guide them rather than discipline them. Tell them how things are supposed to be, and explain why.
- Use a 3-step approach: First ask/explain nicely, second use a firm voice, no shouting, thirdly calmly remove object or child from situation.

Hope things get easier for you soon!

babybumpx Fri 10-Jun-11 13:30:25

I cant really say much as NewDKmum has said it pretty well, I was too a single mum for a few years to DS1 and yes it is extremely hard to wake up every morning and feel the strength to get through the day. I'd do some research on line about single parenting, groups, friends support, family etc...I didnt have much family at all to support me which makes it even tougher, plus my ex is very hard to handle. What is your relationship like with your ex? How old are your children? Im going to add a link to this page as you may get some help from it. http://www.helpguide.org/mental/children_divorce.htm xx

sittinginthesun Fri 10-Jun-11 14:09:41

Sending hugs. x

The one thing that get me through difficult times is routine - I have routines for breakfast, tea time, bed, homework, clothes washing, housework, shopping....not written down, but in my head.

It sounds boring, but it means that I don't actually have to give any of these things any thought, so they don't become stressy.

Then, I can spend my energy on the fun things, like chatting to them, playing games etc. I also have the option of dropping a routine one day, and making it feel like a treat. And they don't argue, because it's consistent so they have no reason to push a boundary.

Not sure if that makes sense, but it has worked for me since they were toddlers. For example, DS2 is watching CBeebies now, and I'm having a cuppa and 10 mins on here. In 5 mins, DS2 will wander in, wanting to play, and I will be able to give him my complete attention until 3pm when it's time to do the school run. Because it's the same every day, more or less, he won't complain, will turn the telly off etc on his own.

Just my thought, but hope it helps.

lemonandhoney Fri 10-Jun-11 22:07:20

Thank you all for your kind words.

I do need more sleep. And more time to relax. And to deal with what I am fairly sure is a case of moderate depression, which isn't helping my mood.

It's so hard to deal with their distress at the situation when I am also still quite distressed. My relationship with my ex is frosty but perfectly civilised. He is bending over backwards to be helpful, but I don't want his help, except in so far as the children actually require it. They are still too young to really understand (7,4 and 2) but they realise something bad has happened.

I'm trying to encourage them to recognise boundaries. So that when I sit down with a cup of tea, that means I am only to be disturbed in a crisis. That seems to help me to manage the never-ending demands. They have a list of jobs each that they do, without complaining, and we are going to have a chat tomorrow about new ones we could add. And I am really trying to bite my tongue before I shout - it's not easy but it's worth it.

One tactic has been to leave more time for things - today we went upstairs for bed at 6pm. No one was in bed or asleep until 7.15 but it meant things weren't rushed. Bathtime was more fun, we had more stories, and I didn't feel stressed.

dd1 gave me an enormous cuddle before bed, and said "don't worry about being cross with us Mummy, I know it must be really difficult when we are naughty". It broke my heart, but I am so proud of her (or suspicious that perhaps she has been accessing my MN account and reading what I've been posting...)

MrsBrollyhook Fri 10-Jun-11 22:20:03

I was coming over to this topic to post about feeling like a terrrible mother for shouting at my DCs. I also often end up apologising for my shouting. My DD1 was being difficult at bedtime, and when I told her off she was really rude, telling me what to do and the red mist descended, I really shouted at her and scared my DD2. I felt awful, but was so angry for her rudeness.

I agree with the idea of leaving more time, if I'm honest this sort of flare up usually happens when we're pushed for time!

You're human, and under a lot of stress. Take care of yourself and I agree (and should follow) NewDKmum's advise.

Bohica Fri 10-Jun-11 22:25:37

I'm a shouty stressed mum at the minute as I have just returned to work, full time.

I'm off to bed so just marking my place to read all the good advice tomorrow smile

preciousmum Fri 10-Jun-11 22:51:04

sittinginthesun your routine is exactely the same as mine.I feel lost without my routine,i feel like a headless chiken,and that inpact on my DC.Routine keeps my day go with far less stress.

sittinginthesun Sat 11-Jun-11 08:25:33

Hi again. I really wish I could give you a proper hug. Xxx

You are having such a tough time, but the things that comes across clear from your posts is that you are NOT failing your children. You are just worn out, stressed, and maybe a bit depressed, but you sound like a lovely mum.

My hardest time was a couple of years ago, when lots of rubbish things hit me at once. Tbh, I found the children ok, but I really did take it out on my husband. For months! We have to have a release valve somewhere.

Take care xxx

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