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Disciplining right or too much?

(32 Posts)
WS12 Sat 01-Apr-17 08:33:42

I just wondered really if I am alone in feeling that I struggle with where to draw the line when disciplining my DS who is 4 years old. Like sometimes I get a red mist and feel really angry at his behaviour and not sure how to reign it in or if I even should - as in, whether I'm going too far or whether he is deserving of a good telling off ?

Today I took my DS and DD to two shops for a few things and I had a nigging feeling I shouldn't have - bad night's sleep, period just started, both kids tired. But I did it anyway. I had to say to my son not to touch the trolleys left in the car park as they might run away and hit a car, I told him twice and he evtnually stopped when I threatened to return his new toy. On the way back to the car he touched some more trolleys, this time resulting in two tipping off a curb and hitting a parked car 😱!!!

So I shouted at him for doing it, told him to get in the car etc etc and found myself shouting "you bloody naughty boy!" 😭 I know I shouldn't have said it but I was irate. By the time I had calmed down he was really upset and had a bump on his head where he had got into the car quickly, I hadn't realised this at the time. He was ok, but said it was an accident with the trolleys and mummy's shouldn't shout 😭.

At the time I was just thinking why won't you listen to me and OMG what if they come out and want to me pay for scratches?! (I didn't check for damage we got out the car park asap). I just some days find myself not knowing if how I'm disciplining him is right or not enough or too much?!

Gah 😩 Wish I was better at this parenting thing.

ninenicknames Sat 01-Apr-17 08:36:40

Following with keen eyes! I feel your pain. I am the same.

I go from calm to nuclear after the 57th time of explaining the same shit over and over and over and over and over again.

WS12 Sat 01-Apr-17 08:52:59

Yes nine I feel the same. I'm either nice Mum, nice with a bit of firm or as you say 'nuclear' . Today the trolley incident was just too much after I'd already told him not to enough times. And there was witnesses 😩

Maybe I'm not firm enough in the first instance?!

After we escaped the car park and I'd calmed down I pulled over and gave my son a hug as he couldn't talk more than a few words at a time, he was sobbing 😭😔 I'd obviously gone too far and scared him. I said sorry for shouting st him but it's because he hadn't listened. Now im thinking should I have said sorry? Because now it looks like I was in the wrong, but he needed telling off for it, surely 😕

thethoughtfox Sat 01-Apr-17 08:55:22

It really helped me reading the Toddlercalm book - they have a FB page too with links to good articles every day. It explains why their wee brains aren't fully developed so they don't have impulse control and are capable of seeming to understand rules and then suddenly ignore them all. You have to just keep at it. Im going to reread it again cause DD is challenging everything just now. There's loads of helpful strategies.

thethoughtfox Sat 01-Apr-17 08:58:27

It also helped me to hear that the Danish call these the boundary years. It is their job to try to understand how the world works and where the boundaries are so they keep testing them so they can understand. It's not out of 'naughtiness' When you think about it like this, it's not fair to punish them. (Full disclosure: I shout / am not proud of how I handle things at least once a day- on a good day. But I always apologise)

Wellitwouldbenice Sat 01-Apr-17 09:06:06

It's disgraceful that you didn't check for damage on the car so that you could offer to pay. Now THAT would be good parenting - a role model of honest, decent behaviour.

WS12 Sat 01-Apr-17 09:09:58

Wellitwouldbenice I had intended to go and pick the trolleys up and check but after I got the kids in the car I had a fight or flight moment and ran! I am ashamed of it really 😔

Thethoughtfox I will look that up. My DS isn't normally 'naughty' and I do 100% think he didn't intend for the trolleys to go in to the car, he hasn't realised what his actions were going to do. Some days I can cope way better than others ...

neonrainbow Sat 01-Apr-17 09:14:18

Your poor child. He must have been absolutely terrified , damn right for you to apologise.

booellesmum Sat 01-Apr-17 09:15:23

I think the trick is to have a really firm but calm voice.
When mine were small - now teenagers - it always worked better when I didn't shout but if I changed the tone of my voice they knew I meant business.
The youngest called it my mean mommy voice and didn't like it at all.
It is easier said than done though and there were plenty of times when I did lose it and shout at them - it just never worked as well.
They really know how to push our buttons sometimes.
I would try and give them a consequence as well from the outset.
I will count to 5 and you will come here/ stop that etc or you will not get the treat you wanted/ you will not get to watch tv/ you will go to your room etc etc.
Always follow it through.
Good luck - some days we need it!

WS12 Sat 01-Apr-17 09:19:06

Neonrainbow thank you for your beautiful nugget of advice 👍

Booellesmum thank you for this tip. I will practise this in future, I think today was just one of those days where I probably should have listened to my gut and stayed in as some days I'm better off waiting till the next day when I'm less tired, less PMT and a better mummy.

UnaOfStormhold Sat 01-Apr-17 09:28:42

I really like Laura Markham's take on this, which is basically that you never act/discipline while angry - if you need to teach your child to do or not do something, you'll do it much better - and they'll absorb it better - when you're calm. She has lots of tips on how to manage your anger too.

www.ahaparenting.com/parenting-tools/positive-discipline/handling-anger

smilingsarahb Sat 01-Apr-17 09:29:28

Ach, it sounds like things all went a bit wrong. You poor thing, we all have moments like that.

I remember using a lot of distraction techniques at that age as the impulse control really isn't there. I just used to remove temptation or get them busy doing something else. I also remember trying to use 'no' as little as possible so when I said 'no' it had a lot of impact.

ohdoadoodoo Sat 01-Apr-17 09:29:55

Don't beat yourself up - no one has patience made of steel. You told him numerous times and he didn't listen - there needs to be consequences. Ok, you might have scared him, but next time he might listen!

It's really bad that you didn't check for damage though - really really inconsiderate and rude of you.

SallyStudioIsMyFriend Sat 01-Apr-17 09:34:33

What about the poor person whose car you potentially damaged. ? Why should they suffer because of your tiredness, PMT and whatever other crap excuse you want to come up with. So glad you and your son recovered after a quick hug, someone else may have a big bill to repair their car!!!!!

A better parent would of made the child face the consequences and apologise to that poor person. That would of been better than shouting and causing a head injury, although be it minor (I hope) and scaring the poor child.

We all fail at parenting sometimes, and I am not claiming to be perfect, but we don't leave others out of pocket for it. Shame on you.

ThouShallNotPass Sat 01-Apr-17 10:38:34

I feel far worse for the person'a who's car was very likely damaged than I do for the feelings of the naughty child who did it. (And at 4 years old its past easily forgivable toddler time)
I have three and I would be fucking nuclear in a heartbeat if they did something that they were told repeatedly not to do.
Mine have always had clear boundaries and I do not accept bad behaviour and contrary to what some people believe actually disciplined kids would turn out like, they're not scarred and damaged, they're really well behaved, bright and very happy children.

CatsRidingRollercoasters Sat 01-Apr-17 12:06:02

It's disgraceful that you drove off without checking. Trolleys probably did quite a bit of damage and god knows even a small ding can cost hundreds to repair. I hope they have you on CCTV. You should go back today and fess up.

I've had similar tantrums with my 2 dc. I know what it's like.

shineon Sat 01-Apr-17 13:20:01

Op please dont listen to all the hateful criticisms! Bloody hell, why kick someone when they are down? I dont care what anyone says, every parent shouts sometimes. He pushed you & pushed you. It was a bad day. I feel so sorry for parents who have obviously had a bad time coming on here getting lambasted by the perfect mammys. I have a 5yr old son too, totally understand how you feel.

Stilllookingforthestars Sat 01-Apr-17 13:24:11

I am honestly sympathetic but generally speaking I would say

try to avoid situations like this - you knew he would gravitate to the trolleys. That's good as predicting their behaviour can help. You could hold his hand or (better) offer him a small reward if he is sensible and does as you've asked him to do.

set a good example. You really should have left a note on the parked car or checked at least for damage. Then, a stern talking to and perhaps an explanation that he may have to compromise on a treat or similar.

don't shout and scream. I understand it's difficult but it's frightening for children and also it really doesn't help them alter or positively change them in any way.

dataandspot Sat 01-Apr-17 13:25:26

I wouldn't have cuddled him after he cried. He behaved really badly and needed telling off. Cuddling because he was upset meant you gave a really mixed message!

Stilllookingforthestars Sat 01-Apr-17 13:26:36

And yes, they may well have you on CCTV. This happened to me once, when I damaged a parked car (I had literally just found out some awful, awful news and I was dazed.) The police were very understanding when I explained the context but it is as well to bear this in mind.

dataandspot Sat 01-Apr-17 13:27:07

And DEFINITELY return the new toy! He damaged someone's property!

ohidoliketobebesidethecoast Sat 01-Apr-17 13:29:00

he didn't intend for the trolleys to go in to the car, he hasn't realised what his actions were going to do

This is exactly why small children really have to learn to stop as soon as you tell them not to do something. He doesn't have the life experience to make good, safe decisions, so must learn to do what you say, for his own good (you might be saying stop when there's a car coming next time...).
But you need to learn to be firm and clear without getting angry - theres lots of material on this in books and online (some helpful info from posters on this thread), and supernanny is well worth a watch if its on tv where you live.
This is the right time to address this, as it'll be harder when he's older to change the dynamic.

Stilllookingforthestars Sat 01-Apr-17 13:30:17

I honestly think returning the toy here is wrong. The mother was at fault. I'm not saying that to be horrible, but she should have hold of a four year olds hand in a car park. He could not have known what messing with the trolleys could do.

ElspethFlashman Sat 01-Apr-17 13:32:39

You need to buy 123 Magic. Cos it's a gentle discipline book that basically has at its core training the parents not to lose the rag.

user1490748816 Mon 03-Apr-17 06:24:16

Just right. You've got patience, I'd have given my daughter a spanking. I can't stand it when children behave like that. Thank goodness they grow out of it :/

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