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I need help I have started slapping my son

(16 Posts)
helpmeandmypoorson Mon 19-Sep-11 10:15:52

I should say hitting really. Over the past few weeks, I have hit him a couple of times when he would not leave my 8month old dd alone, and today I hit him several times on the foot when he wouldn't let me put his socks on for school.

He is four and has just started reception. DD won't sleep for more than two hours at night. DH is away for work at teh moment.

DS didn't want to go to school and wouldn't talk to me, I know it is because I hit him. I never wanted to parent like this.

Please help

helpmeandmypoorson Mon 19-Sep-11 11:20:52


mumofsaffronjasper Mon 19-Sep-11 11:39:52

Have you thought about going to see your gp? Pls dont take wrong way, I am talking from experience but you may be suffering from depression and this is often a sign? It sounds like you have a lot to deal with and I think you should go and talk to your gp. If I hadnt of I hate to imagine what would have happened to me....and my ds and dd.

Oblomov Mon 19-Sep-11 11:52:25

O.k. this is not good. And you know that. But this is easy fixable.
I have been in a very similar position myself. Ill myself, sleep deprived, ds1 really pushing me more and more over many months.

Lets have a little look at whats REALLY going on here.
Firstly he's very tired and overwhelmed, at starting reception. So are you. New playground mum friends to make etc. Your dh away.

He needs lots and lots of love and care at this transition time, of starting reception.
But, you do not have that to give. Because you are tired and fed up.
1)You need a treat. something nice. favourite chocolate. Go and quickly gets nails painted for £8, on the way to collect ds1. OR something. some sort of treat.
2)Then you need to get to bed. Sleep. during the day more. screw the hoovering. rest more. And put ds1 to be early. And working around dd2's feeds, go to bed yourself As soon as you possibly can. even if if you are getting up for nightime feeds. YOU NEED MORE SLEEP. Everything is much more manageable, if you have had more sleep.

3)And , it is irritating when they won't get their socks on etc. But take a step back from this. Is it really that important ?
Do yourself a BIG favour. get up 10-15 minutes earlier. Get yourself ready. then dd. then ds. And then Make sure, you have 5 minutes, to actually sit down, and relax. when you all ready, before you needc ot leave the house to do the school run. instead of rushing and shouting at everyone, "come on, come on".

The reason why you get yourself in the sock scenario, as I do myself, is because under your breath(or actually saying it, as I have done), you're saying. "just put them on. do as you're told., stop mucking me about. I don't have time for this nonsesne."

And thats because you are under time pressure. But if he had done this 15 minutes ago, you could have , laughed it off, "come on you cheeky monkey, I'm gonna chase ya, till you get them on, here i come, here I come". Laughter laughter.

So don't allow that time pressure.

Compare the 2 scenarios.
Are you gettign what I am saying ?

pozzled Mon 19-Sep-11 12:15:12

Well, you know that this is bad, you want to change it and you are asking for help. That's good- a lot of parents wouldn't be able to step back and recognise that, so you've taken the first step.

There's some good advice above, especially about trying to avoid the time pressure. Try to get as much ready as you can the night before for the school run, bags and shoes by the door etc.

Next, get some help and support locally if you can. Do you have family or friends close by? Talk to them, tell them how you are feeling and how frustrated you get with your DS. Sometimes just talking helps. If you can, ask someone to have your DD while DS is at school, just for a day or a morning, and go back to bed.

Try to focus on the positives if you can- what can you enjoy doing with your DS? Are you managing to get out of the house so that he can let off steam in the park or somewhere?

Pick your battles and ignore as much as you can. When you're tired, small things irritate but if you're constantly telling him off you will get more fed up and he will lose confidence and feel like he can't do anything right. So if he's doing something irritating but not actually harming anyone, just walk away for a bit. And next time you feel like hitting, go somewhere away from him, even if it's locking yourself in the bathroom and wait until you can speak to him calmly.

And keep posting, vent on here when you've had a bad day, if necessary put the TV on for your DS and sit down with MN and a cup of tea!

WideWebWitch Mon 19-Sep-11 12:20:45

Hello. You must be knackered, poor you!

So I think IIWY I would apologise to him and tell him you know you were wrong. Give him a big hug. Tell him you love him.

Then I think there are a few things you could try:
- counting, e.g. do you reckon you can get your socks on by the time I count to 10? This often works at 4yo
- Doing it WAY before you need to, leaving loads of time for messing about / not finding stuff
- also being zero tolerance on his behaviour: at 4yo if he hits I would gently and firmly pick him up and put him in the hall / kitchen /wherever and say "No, we don't hit. You can go there for a minute." and leave it a couple of minutes and then bring him back. It doesn't need to be a big production it's just immediate removal of attention and a punishment for hitting. Because he's got to learn not to do it!
And of course you're knackered, dh is away, he's got a new sibling, he's bound to be doing this but it's your job to teach him not to.

And you hit him on the foot, which isn't great but isn't the end of the world. So stop beating yourself up and concentrate and what you can do differently. And get some sleep the minute the baby does if your son is at school, that'll change everything. Much sympathy and good luck.

Hassled Mon 19-Sep-11 12:24:50

I agree absolutely re picking your battles - but I know how hard it is to keep a sense of perspective when you're beyond tired. And we've all made parenting mistakes along the way; we all cock up at some stage. Four year old boys are notoriously hard work - there's been enough threads about them on MN with parents really struggling, so you're far from alone. It's a testosterone surge, and they get past it; they just have this patch of pushing the boundaries, testing their luck etc. Throw in new baby, starting school etc and he's bound to be hard work. He'll be nice again, don't worry.

You need to apologise to your boy when you pick him up - don't just pretend it didn't happen. And explain - you're so tired and that makes you grumpy but you shouldn't have done what you did, etc.

And then - think practically. Is there any more help you can get - family, friends, etc? What woudl make your life easier - a cleaner for a couple hours a week? Does it matter if you don't iron clothes for a few months? That sort of thing.

I'm like a stuck record with the "imagine there's a film crew in the room" technique, but it really does help if you feel yourself losing it. Someone's there, recording you, for posterity. It just keeps you in check and makes you stand back a bit.

choceyes Mon 19-Sep-11 12:34:11

I really sympathise with you as I often feel like this.
I have a nearly 3yr old DS and a 13 month old DD. My DS never stops wanting to hurt DD, grabbing things off her, pushing her etc. At first I try to be calm and deal with it by either moving her away or distracting DS. But normally he just carries on being like this most of the day and I do end up shouting at him and snapping at him to leave her alone. I've even grabbed him and shoved him out of the way and felt so terrible about it.

I know what you mean by time pressure, as I need to get 2 DCs ready and myself ready to get out of the house by 8am to take them to nursery 3 days a week, and I need to be on time for work. We are always late, and DS is always resisting putting clothes on and won't let me brush his teeth etc and all the while I am panicking that I am going to be late for work. I can't really start doing things any earlier as both DCs wake up at about 7.15am so that doesn't give me much time to get them ready.

NightLark Mon 19-Sep-11 12:42:48

You must be exhausted. Everything is hard when you are tired like that, and (in my experience) exhaustion makes your fuse really short. From cheery 'come along now' to 'oh FFS!', shouty evil mum in a heartbeat.

Agree with everyone else who said comfort and apologise and explain to our 4yo, and heaps of time to get ready, and picking battles. (so, no socks today is it, DS?)

But really I'd focus on the sleep. More sleep makes everything else better. I co-sleep (still had years of 90 min to 2 hour sleep cycles from DS, but I think I would have broken down and collapsed if I'd not co-slept).

mumofsaffronjasper Mon 19-Sep-11 12:50:35

I love that film crew technique! Not heard of it before, !

addressbook Mon 19-Sep-11 12:58:17

oh yes I have been there, and I think many mothers have but not many would admit it.

Firstly you have insight into your tough patch and can admit this wasn't great, do not underestimate how important that is. It is the parents that deny it, sweep it under the carpet or worse gaslight their children and pretend it never happened. It shows important human qualities to just say 'son I was wrong. I shouldn't have done that. I was so, so tired' followed by a hug and love.

Secondly try every avenue to get yourself more rest. Some good sugggestions here. Work out strategies that can help you keep calm in those trying moments (I have a 5 year old ds, they can really push the limits can't they?). Discipline is needed if he is hitting, work out a strategy and try it for a while. Try something new if it doesn't work

Finally be kind to yourself. We are allowed to make mistakes. Your ds won't be damaged, as it sounds like this is unusual and you have just hit a rough patch. At the end of each day write down three nice things you did for him or for your family. It can be something as seemingly small as hugged them when they were upset, apologised when you got it wrong, cooked them tea, read a story, changed a nappy. Focus on that and not just the things you got wrong. Put TV on a bit more if it helps, cuddle on the sofa in front of a favourite film or cartoon. Give them beans on toast for tea, have a bath together.

When my dd was about 9 months and my ds was just 4, I went through a terrible time for a few weeks. I actually shoved him on the sofa and screamed at him, it really frightened him. I once smacked his bottom hard as well. I still feel shame but I apologised and I haven't done it since, over a year later.

I used to think I was the only mother who could do this, that I was some kind of monster. I am not so sure though, you never know what goes on really. I have always talked to people though and not hidden the fact that I find it tough. I also talk openly with my ds about any time we fall out.

betterwhenthesunshines Mon 19-Sep-11 13:37:28

I think everyone has moments where they are glad that no one else has seen them lose their temper with their children. I know I have. But don't be too hard on yourself - it has probably upset you more than him. But it's not a good way to continue, which you already know.

For me - I have apologised to my children when I think I have behaved badly blush. Your DS is only 4 so probably the sooner the better - by after school he has probably forgotten all about it.

I would also second all the advice about trying to change your own mindset - it's sooooo much more stressful in the morning if your head sounds like "come on, come on, I've asked you3 times and you're still playing with your cars, we're going to be late, HURRY UP!" rather than (out loud): "here are your socks, you need to put them on" (in your head): " it's not the end of the world if we are 5 mins late today, eventually he will get there".

Ok so that sounds slighly idealistic grin if you haven't yet read it I would recommend "How to talk so kids will listen, and listen so kids will talk" I only read it this year (my DC 9 and 6) and wish I'd discovered it sooner. I found it really helpful in helping me look at the long picture and not get so bogged up in the small immediate frustrations. And now I never lose my temper, ever wink

betterwhenthesunshines Mon 19-Sep-11 13:39:34

I also do the film crew technique. Although mine is often "imagine you have CCTV and you are going to have to watch it back later - how would YOU want to see YOURSELF deal with this?"

Then you are still considering your own boundaries, rather than what other people think.

NormanTebbit Mon 19-Sep-11 13:49:05


Bribery is frowned upon it it works. You are extreme parenting here and it means somerulesgo out the window at the moment for the sake of your sanity.

So - shoes and socks on merits a choc button or something. You are not setting him down the path to ruin, you are keeping things calmat a difficult time. Also try to do something nice with him: read story, compliment him on a drawing, tickle him.

And rest at every opportunity. Things will improve.

helpmeandmypoorson Mon 19-Sep-11 13:56:02

Thank you all so much. I do try to do the film crew technique and it does help.

I apologised to DS straightaway and said I shouldn't have done that. He said something along the lines of well that's not good enough, but at least he does know I'm sorry and that I don't think what I did was okay.

We had had a nice weekend together, after some rough patches last week so it's not all bad.

Very good advice about getting ready way in advance thank you and I will start going to sleep at 9 again - I do do that sometimes and it makes a big difference

Thank you all for your replies, they have really helped

FrumpyPumpy Mon 19-Sep-11 14:03:04

Well this has really helped me too, my DS is so frustrating sometimes. Thank you for starting the thread.

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