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God I'm so crap, where have I gone so wrong with DS1 - I've just totally lost it with him and smacked hm :-(

(27 Posts)
FAQ Fri 31-Oct-08 12:51:32

He's always been difficult, the "terrible two's" started when he was one, and have really continued until now (he's just turned 8).

He doesn't listen to me, he's rude, he lies, he throws major tantrums/strops - screaming and shouting hysterically, hurls abuse at me, he doesn't follow instructions and while he's being good he's fantastic, when he's in one of his moods he's bloody awful.

I've tried everything over the years, sticker charts, rewards, time out, staying calm, shouting (I know this is totally stupid sad), every suggestion I've ever seen on boards (such as MN) I've tried - and persevered with over long periods of time.

Nothing has worked, and he just seems to be getting worse. I got a little cross with him last night, but as he was tired we agreed that we'd talk about it this morning. All morning I've been calm, spoken to him quietly and clearly - and still he's thrown an almighty tantrum all because I said he couldn't stay at home while I went to the shop.

At school/out of the house with other people people have nothing but praise for him. It's just with me he's like it

He's currently in his room (ranting and screaming) because he said he wanted to go to bed so I sent him.

I don't know what to do with him, DS2 (nearly 5) messes around and is silly, but he (usually) tells the truth, his strops are few and far between (and of the silent variety) and he listens to what I say.

Feel so bloody shit sad

RubyRioja Fri 31-Oct-08 12:56:11

It's clearly not your first resort in discipline or child management. I would guess he has pushed it too far and got a smack. Obv you made an adult decision about his safety.

Not ideal, but not the end of the world. GIve you both time to cool down and make up. I would not make too big a deal of it.

WingsofaAngel Fri 31-Oct-08 12:57:53

It's difficult and not to get into an argument with them.

I think if you just let him have his tantrum in his bedroom .Leave him to it.

If he sees that he is not getting to you then he might start to think, what is the point.

I don't know if this will help but wanted you to know you are not alone in this.

FAQ Fri 31-Oct-08 12:58:37

That's the thing though - I know that once we've both calmed down, things will be fine, perhaps for an hour, perhaps for the rest of the day. But his behaviour just keeps repeating itself and perhaps later today, or almost certainly tomorrow we'll be back with me being really angry/cross with him (and yes smacking is a last resort - usually shouting is as far as I go) for the same sort of stuff as today, and yesterday, and last week, and last year sad

FAQ Fri 31-Oct-08 13:00:24

He's still crying now, and he could go on for hours without calming down. I know I'm going to have to go up there soon but I just don't know what to do

RubyRioja Fri 31-Oct-08 13:01:06

Am I right in thinking you are single atm? Not saying that is cause of it, but I know a few people who are single parents whose oldest child often tries to assume position of second adult in house. WIth two of you, it is easier to establish who is adult/child and who is in charge.

Sorry if I am thinking of the wrong person.

If I am right, maybe he is tryign to stage a coup?

FAQ Fri 31-Oct-08 13:03:22

yes I'm single - have been for 6 months. I wish I could put it down my relationship with exH breaking down but I can't. He was like it with me long before the cracks appeared in our marriage.

katch Fri 31-Oct-08 13:03:53

It sounds like a classic downward spiral - really hard but not impossible to get out of. I found 'Positive Parenting' a brilliant book - IF you stick to it.

(And don't expect any help from DS - he'll probably act up more when you start to step back, as they can't quite believe things have changed at first.)

He's not your enemy, he's your child.

pofaced Fri 31-Oct-08 13:05:38

Maybe record the tantrum so he can hear how unreasonable he is when he has calmed down. Not sure what else to suggest but is he the eldest? Do you expect too much from him? What about other adult figures especially his father or other consistent adult male in his life-how is he with them?

My DD1 was a bit like ythis but looking at her younger sisters I realise now that I expected her behaviour to be much more grown up than her years warranted.

Don't beat yourself up about the smack: apologise to him but explain that his behaviour is unacceptable at times and that you are the parent and make decisions accordingly..

Good luck

RubyRioja Fri 31-Oct-08 13:05:44

Wish I coudl be more constructive, but tbh I have this every so often with dd1.

I end up doing banshee screaming and eventually the phase passes.

God help me if it is hormonal

FAQ Fri 31-Oct-08 13:09:54

katch - I'm really not sure I could cope if he acts up anymore that he already does. I can barely cope as it is sad. On the days I manage to keep cool and calm I've physically and mentally drained in the evenings from it.

I just can't understand where I've gone so wrong with him.

I'm so close at the moment to calling exH and asking him to have him overnight tonight as I just can't bear the thought of getting up tomorrow and having the same stuff going on

FAQ Fri 31-Oct-08 13:17:18

pofaced - from what exH tells me (and from how he was with him when we were still together) he's absolutely fine with them.

I don't think I expect too much of him, most of the things he does - DS2 always wants to (and now often does) do.

It makes me so sad, he's a really clever boy, his school work and the stuff he does at home when he's not in a foul mood show me that. I just feel that we're both missing out and doing stuff that he enjoys/is good at because of the tantrums, lying, not listening etc. It just seems to over shadow everything else.

It's now got to the stage where I'm loathe to do fun things with them as within an hour or so of doing something he's throwing it all back in my face. So DS2 is missing out on stuff as well as a result.

katch Fri 31-Oct-08 13:18:30

Please consider reading that book - it's awful to feel out of control, but you honestly can change it.
Nothing ever has to stay the same, and if you keep doing the same thing you get more of the same.

FAQ Fri 31-Oct-08 13:20:59

I'll get it out the library (I did have a copy a few years ago and tried it then) and try it again - has worked a treat with DS2 - mind you he does at least listen to what I'm saying/

I've calmed down and feel I should go up there (think he's still crying) but I just can't bear the thought of it all going wrong again this afternoon sad

noonki Fri 31-Oct-08 13:37:19

FAQ - I don't have many wise words as it seems as if you have done them all!

Some would disagree with me but if I were you I would warn him(after he has calmed down) that the next time he has a paddy that you will completely ignore him until he speaks normally. And do it.

I feel for you about the smacking I once snapped and smacked my 2 year old after he made his newborn brother bleed, have felt awful about it ever since, and you obviously know it does not good.

When you say lying what do you mean? Because I think at 8 they still struggle with 'the truth'. My DSS was awful for it and used to drive us to distraction. But what worked at that age is to say, .... your teasing me arent you, it's not realllly... and basically give him a get out clause

good luck, hope it all calms down smile

VeniVidiVickiQV Fri 31-Oct-08 13:40:01

aw FAQ sad dont be too hard on yourself. It must be very difficult for all of you since your H left.

I've found How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk an absolute godsend recently in terms of handling tantrums and the more 'energetic' behaviours.

Might be worth a trip to the library?

Heated Fri 31-Oct-08 13:43:54

Been there FAQ. Let him rant and rage & cry it out. And don't feel bad. I know you feel sad about the smacking but I'm pretty sure our parents didn't agonise and feel guilt-stricken as we do these days. Guilt, guilt, guilt, seems to be all that is pedalled to us these days so I have got to the stage of refusing to be eaten up by it. That's not to say I don't try to be a better parent and I'm open to new ideas, but it's all too easy to focus on our failings and not all the good things we do as mums. And I'm sure you are a good mum.

I take on board advice on here and I've read a couple of books that contain some good ideas.

1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12 which imo is good if you've lost your way a bit. It's essentially calm counting to 3 which gives the child a chance to stop their behaviour before the consequence of their actions sets in - well it's a bit more than that but that's the gist. But the one that helped me be more understanding of my ds is How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk but it does take longer to put into practice.

FAQ Fri 31-Oct-08 13:56:48

well he's downstairs now having his lunch......all is calm (for now). Although I'm slightly stressed as DS3 "woke up" from his nap (well I think he went to sleep but not sure....) after just 45 minutes. Although he seems like he hasn't had a nap at all.

The lying is about anything and everything - if he so much as suspects I haven't seen something happening/heard something being said he'll lie about it. Anything from "did you brush your teeth" through to " is DS3 crying because he's having he couldn't get a toy out of the toy box, or because one of you (DS1/2) has hurt him by accident). DS2 seems to grasp the concept that I need to know why DS3 is crying if I haven't witnessed what caused it in case he's hurt himself/bumped his head (and not because I@m going to tell someone off) whereas DS1 just answers the everything with "I don't know" or "I didn't do anything" (followed swiftly by floods of tears...)

Thank you for listening, I still feel terrible for losing it like that, actually I feel more guilty for the screaming like a banshee I did than the smack, because he was warned about the smack long before it arrived on his bottom. Whereas me screaming and shouting was just me totally unable to deal with his behaviour in any logical way.

I'm going to get dressed now blush and we need to go to town so that will break up the day a little and hopefully we can have a good rest of the day.

LoveMyGirls Fri 31-Oct-08 14:06:26

Sometimes getting out is the best thing isn't it.

We all have moments we're not proud of with our children because sometimes we can't see the wood for the trees sometimes thye know exactly which buttons to press to get a reaction.

Don't feel bad they have to learn we're only human and they can't behave any way they like without consequences.

I think children these days have it easy and it's the parents who have it hard smile

pofaced Fri 31-Oct-08 19:21:24

FWIW, having been slightly close to where you are in terms of an eldest's behaviour causing serious problems within the whole family dynamic (eg not planning an outing because she'd take something the wrong way and then it'd be more trouble than it's worth) and especially me screeching/ losing it with her because of her behaviour (dumb insolent look on her face especially but I never used those words to her) I'd say the following:

8 is still very young: when your youngest gets to 8, you'll view him as a big infant but at a guess you think "8 is just a bit younger than 10 and that's almost adolescent". This has been my experience with 3 DDs

no parent should put up with tantrums ie walk away, don't engage as it'll spiral very quickly and you'll feel even worse

consider whether you need professional help, not in terms of your DS but in terms of you, for yourself. I think that mothers who are depressed (whether they recognise it or not) subconsciously transfer hugely to the child to whom they are closest. This child is frequently the eldest. This what happened to me both as a child (ie my mother's relationship with me) & as a mother (my relationship with DD). I saw a brilliant woman and am amazed at how beneficial the entire process was to my daughter's behaviour, even though she wasn't at all the reason I went to see the therapist in the first place.

It's not a matter of "fault": for a variety of reasons, he's proving difficult to deal with so you need to start working out how to change this, not to blame yourself for it or think that he is somehow to blame either. Professional advice will help you see this and move on, rather than repeat unhelpful past patterns of behaviour.

Good luck !

mabanana Fri 31-Oct-08 19:34:33

Is it the end of half term where you are? I think holidays have a lot to answer for, frankly.

FAQ Fri 31-Oct-08 19:42:40

po - oh no he's still my baby blush - in fact I'd go as far to say as I sometimes baby him too much (I've been totally stunned in recent weeks since he started Junior school by some of the things he comes out with (not bad/rude - but just more "grown up", then I've had to remind myself he's at Junior school and is growing up).

I do wonder whether my depression in the past has affected him. I had (undiagnosed) PND after I had him didn't bond with him at all until he was 6 months old. Then I've had PND, and depression on and off since then - but only really properly dealt with earlier this year when I hit rock bottom (I'm fine now). I've often wondered if my depression has affected my relationship wit him, but that DS2 has some come through it unscathed sad

mabanan - yes it's the end of half term, and I guess being stuck at home with them for much of the week didn't ehlp me deal with him well today.

I have to say, apart from some messing around (from all of them - spurred on by DS3 (17 months)) since they had dinner he's been really good this afternoon.

Bride1 Fri 31-Oct-08 19:46:51

So? You smacked him once. Perhaps it's made him realise that you, too, have feelings.

You'll probably never do it again. He'll survive and so will you. Pour yourself a glass of hallowe'en wine.

pofaced Fri 31-Oct-08 23:23:41

Honestly hon... find someone good and see them. Don't go for diagnoses that are dealt with medically ie "undiagnosed PND"... I had 3 DDs in 4 years and had no "reason" to be depressed postnatally but in retrospect think the effect of so many children in such a short space of time was too much of an adjustment to make but yet I did not suffer from a chemical imbalance, I just pushed myself too far in expecting myself to cope with radically changed circumstances too quickly.

I had healthy kids, supportive husband, good job, was ambitious but somewhere along the way it unravelled. then I beat myself up that DD's behaviour/ being shy/ being bullied was something I should be able to deal with it rationally.... anyway, I finally saw someone and talked about all kinds of stuff under the sun and somewhere in the process my rational mind and emotional mind came together and I am much more content and DD1 now fantastic: part of it is maturity but also I'm convinced it's a reaction to me being better in myself.

I am not given to feely-touchiness (perhaps to my detriment!) and am so not a flake but cannot believe what a difference a therapist made to me and my family...

When I was 2 my mother's brother died in a tragic accident. I had 2 siblings in school and so I was the closest to my Mum. The person I saw never said anything as crass as 'your daughter has too intense a relationship with you because you had an intense relationship with your Mum becase she sub-consciously relied on you when she was sad and so you are replicating unhealthy relationships and as you are sad now your daughter is picking up on it". However, over the time I saw her I talked through feelings and emotions I had about events that i didn't even remember and it made a massive difference.

I think what I am saying is that your son may well have absorbed stuff from you but the relationship between how you feel and his behaviour is not linear and maybe you need to deal with "you" and he will follow

And as for babying him... of course you do that in some ways but it may also be that you expect more emotional maturity than he is capable of

Of course what I say is completely coloured by my own experience but I think it's worth exploring in as "blame free" a scenario as you can manage

BTW I think I posted something similar when you were at a low point earlier this year... dd1 is now 12 and reading your posts is sometimes liking reading stuff about myself a few years ago..

good luck!

FAQ Sat 01-Nov-08 19:31:56

no - it really was undiagnosed PND - I lied to the HV about how I was feeling. I was much more honest after I had DS2 and 3 and it was treated properly (as it was earlier this year when I was extremely low).

Anyhow, we've had a good day today (until a blip a few minutes ago - nothing major and all done and dusted now) - probably helped my spending the day at a friends house smile

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