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angry outbursts(8 Posts)
Please don't flame me but i need help and advice as i feel i'm spiralling out of control with my 4yr old DS. He is a wonderful boy but very much like me in that he is stubborn, spirited, and a bloody know it all and control freak which makes getting him to do the simplest task very difficult because i want to be in control but so does he.
As a result I'm really struggling with trying to keep my temper (another thing he has of mine) and i know i'm the adult and need to behave accordingly, but i'm increasingly finding myself screaming at him and saying horrible things (god i'm crying just typing that) I don't want to shout at him because he is just beautiful but in the heat of the moment i just lose it I have weaned myself of ADs over the last 2 months so i know this has something to do with it. I was like this before i went on ADs (this was one of the reasons why i went on them) but that was 2.5 years ago and i don't want to go back on them for a variety of reasons.
So i guess i'm asking Mnetters for any advice / practical tips etc that i can use to defuse these situations. I try walking away and he follows me, i tell him to go to his room for time out and he follows me. It is causing arguments between me and my DH who is just so calm in every situation and never gets angry so can't understand how i feel. Please, someone must be able to help....
You may find this leaflet helpful: www.nspcc.org.uk/services-and-resources/research-and-resources/keeping-your-cool/
OK try not to be so hard on yourself. Having children exposes us and tests us in a way that nothing else does and we all struggle with it in one way or another. You obviously love your son very much, you just feel overwhelmed a lot of the time and just need a practical way of dealing with it.
The first thing that struck me was that you describe your four year old using quite adult language such as "know-all" and "control freak" - labels that are not really appropriate when describing a very young child. This suggests that you need to adapt the way you view his behaviour as you're not seeing things from his four-year-old viewpoint.
At this age, he is not deliberately winding you up all the time. There will be reasons why he does the things he does. You don't mention any specific things that wind you up but at this age he will probably find repeating rituals comforting, he will probably get frustrated if he wants to do something all by himself and can't, he may not feel able to walk away from you when he gets upset because even when you're cross you're still his comfort, he may truly not understand why his actions aren't helpful or appropriate in some situations etc. etc.
All these things can lead to unnecessary tensions if the parent misinterprets the intention of the child. When your child's behaviour irritates you - try asking him why he's doing it first. You may find that in his world there is a "logical" reason for him behaving in a certain way that isn't to do with winding you up. Try asking yourself - is he being naughty or is it just his behaviour irritating you? If he's irritating you and you're over-reacting, ask yourself is it him you're really angry at or is it something else - your partner say, or are you subconsciously recreating your own parents' behaviour? You may be reacting emotionally to behaviour rather than constructively and only you can understand why you might be doing this.
I think you do understand the dangers of crossing the line into emotional abuse such as making damaging personal remarks e.g. "I wish you'd never been born" and making a child feel permanently afraid of how you are going to respond to them. This kind of thing can affect a child's emotional development and I know you don't want to do this to him. You are his role model - his is learning from you about how to deal with and express anger.
So make a note of the things that trigger your anger and recognise the early signs of your own anger so that you can self-diffuse without losing control and anticipate potential situations and think creatively about how you can avoid them escalating into shouting.
If you can't walk away then try imagining you're talking to another adult, or imagine him as a baby or even imagine that someone you know is watching you. These things might just pull you up in the heat of the moment. Maybe even record yourself or just your voice and play it back to yourself later and it may just give you a shock factor that has a lasting effect. If you imagine another adult shouting at you and imagine them twice the size, you can get a feel of how you're coming across to him and how scared he might feel. Find a phrase that works e.g. "I'm the adult" or "I'm a good mum" or "I love my baby" and say it out loud to yourself when you feel the anger rising. It might just snap you back into focus. Delegate to your husband if he's around and watch how he deals with difficult situations. There's no reason why you should be dealing with everything.
Finally think about how things are for your son - does he just hear constant negativity - "no" and "don't do that" or "hurry up!" etc. etc. If so, set yourself a personal target to say four positive things to him a day - tell him "well done" if he does something himself or gets something right, show an interest in him - ask questions about his favourite things or just take him somewhere a bit different to stimulate a different kind of vibe. Have fun with him and learn how to enjoy each other's company.
You've done the hardest thing in admitting your struggle. I've no doubt that you will be able to manage your anger and hopefully the articles I've attached will be of some use. Take care and all the best x
Thank you so much for replying mother, some amazing advice and I will have a look at those links. God the last thing I want is to be abusive, I know too well how words can hurt. There are many instances but one that really riles me is trying to get him dressed, he just pisses about constantly even though I will have pre warned him what I expect of him, i.e. getting dressed without any fuss. When he starts messing around on his bed etc I try and walk away and tell him to let me know when he is ready to behave and I will come back, but the minute I'm back he starts again so then I'll maybe ask him to dress himself etc but that is met with tears and tantrums. In the end I just lose my patience and blow :-(
Most times he is an amazing little boy and he does get heaps of positive attention, praise and interaction but I just don't cope well with him not conforming from the word go.... im going to screw him up aren't i? Thanks again for the advice
Oh God you're not going to screw him up at all. I think you sold yourself short with your original post, from what you've just described you sound like a typical mum struggling with a typical four year old! My daughter is the same age and getting dressed is an issue for us too. We've tried barking orders, reward charts and making it into a game/race/elaborate song but nothing works long term! I think sometimes the needs of small children and their parents simply just clash!
In fairness I think most of us need some time to make the transition from sleep into activity. I've never met a four year old who understands why getting to school or pre-school more important than whether he can find the toy he needs right now!
This is what I meant by anticipating situations. You know this is an area of conflict so think about how you can alter your morning routine to make it go more smoothly. He's too young to fully appreciate the importance of being on time so you just have to tweak your routine to make things easier until he's old enough to understand.
First of all make your life easier and get as much ready as possible the night before and get everyone (including yourself) to bed as early as possible. Puts you all in a better frame of mind.
Get up earlier than your son so you're ready before you deal with him. Plan on getting to school or preschool fifteen minutes earlier. Half the time, you won't make it but you also won't lose your temper at him because you won't actually be late. The other half of the time, you'll have a more relaxed start to your day.
I find that I have better mornings when I make time to initially relax and snuggle with my daughter as she wakes up then we go and watch The Clangers or read a book. She seems more co-operative if I have time to ease her into the morning! Children find transitions challenging and unfortunately the morning is full of transitions!
Mine seems to like being given choices - she chooses her breakfast and what clothes she wears and where she brushes her teeth. Cede control whenever you can. For example you may think he should eat breakfast first but maybe he doesn't want to eat straight away etc. Help him feel in control and he will warm more to the routine.
He's at an age where he will challenge you but this phase will pass. We are all struggling to find a balance between not being too shouty or too indulgent and none of us get it right so you're really not alone. You're doing better than you think so please don't be so hard on yourself. He sounds like a lucky boy to have a mum who cares so much x
Have you read Setting limits with your strong-willed child? It's all about how to change the way you interact with your child to get cooperation instead of the lengthy messing around - or 'family dance' as they call it - which drives us all nuts.
You might find Peaceful parent, happy kids helpful too.
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