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advice, please please, if you have an impatient temper and certain situations REALLY trigger it... how to stay calm?

(20 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread.

Emeraldgirl2 Thu 20-Nov-14 20:44:24

I am not a patient person but have discovered new realms of patience with DD (20m) who is a tantrum-thrower of epic proportions. Weirdly I can deal pretty well with her meltdowns (maybe because I know how it feels to lose it!!) and stay bizarrely (for me) calm and level-headed.

The one situations that triggers me into losing my temper is when she refuses to nap when she is hideously overtired.

She doesn't even do it that often but she did it today and I'm ashamed to say that i shouted at her sad She did it a couple of months ago and I shouted then too, felt sick with guilt and swore I would never do it again. Not to say that it's realistic to say you will NEVER shout at your children but she's so tiny and she wasn't being naughty, just overtired. Plus I had a very very shouty, quite frightening mother and I WILL NOT become her, she shouted ALL the time and we were terrified of her.

Shouting at DD for the second time over the same situation has made me realise I need to get a handle on it so I dont do it the next time she does the same thing.

So, any advice at all? Today I tried the tip of putting her in her cot and walking away while I calmed down but I'd already shouted by then sad It did work as I went back in after a few moments and apologised and gave her a cuddle but I wish I'd just not lost it in the first place.

IonaMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 20-Nov-14 21:38:52

Evening folks We're going to move this thread to Relationships in a moment at the OPs request.

PoshPenny Thu 20-Nov-14 22:06:51

You just have to try to remember that you are meant to be in charge, so you put her in bed, shut the door and walk away until you have calmed down. I think the longer you do it, the more it becomes second nature.
Least said, soonest mended and all that!

Emeraldgirl2 Thu 20-Nov-14 22:09:10

Thanks MNHQ. Thought I'd get some really decent advice on this board, I'm a long time lurker (and voccasional poster) on here and always impressed with the sound advice given out.
I really really need tips or help from anyone who's been in a similar position, maybe I'm over sensitised thanks to my own upbringing but I don't want to be the person shouting at a tiny toddler like that. I have such a wonderful bond with DD, the sort I never thought I'd have because my own mum was so un maternal, and I just couldn't look myself in the mirror if I ever made DD feel like my mum made me feel as a child.

Emeraldgirl2 Thu 20-Nov-14 22:10:56

Thank you penny you're quite right

FelixTitling Thu 20-Nov-14 22:29:10

Walking away is exactly the right thing to do, but I can relate to your situation completely and when I can feel the red mist rising it's not enough.

So I go and clean something.

I have a list on the ipad of things that need cleaning (like a rota) and am in the habit of making sure I know what the next thing is. Then when the screaming starts and I can feel I might lose it I dash off and scrub the kitchen floor, or the shower screen, or hoover the stairs or whatever.

Just make sure she's safe in her cot and don't be more than 10 mins. I think the frantic cleaning gets rid of the adrenalin/temper etc. nine times out of ten, at that age, my dd would have fallen asleep, especially if I'd had the hoover on, but if not, I was calmer and more ready for round 2 or 3 or 4.

mine are 11 and 9 now, but I still do this when they are pushing buttons and it usually diffuses the situation enough for us to sort it out calmly.

donniemurdo Thu 20-Nov-14 23:06:35

Have a look at this website. I have the book and I'm finding it really useful. I too had shouty parents and am really trying not to repeat that.

Emeraldgirl2 Fri 21-Nov-14 09:52:05

Thanks Donnie I am going to look at that right now.

Felix that is good advice, I am glad you understand about the red mist... Thing is I am not (at least not yet) one of those 'shouty' mums who just get generally a bit grumpy about everything - I am what I fear far more, a generally calm and at-ease mum who will suddenly really lose it over something that seems pretty small. I haven't so much as raised my voice to DD for weeks and weeks in the face of massive meltdowns, refusal to put on shoes, coats, socks, refusal to get into the pushchair etc etc etc... none of these things have got under my skin despite days on end of the same thing.

But I really yelled at her yesterday over this not-napping thing, I mean really yelled, and stamped about. Only briefly but even three seconds of that is too much. I feel disgusted with myself every time I replay it. Poor little thing just looked so confused, of course she's not remotely able to understand why mummy is suddenly behaving like that.

I need to remember that I am the adult. I do this so well in other situations, why can't I do it in this one?? I get panicked when she is so overtired as it is painful to watch her get in such a state, and the frustration of seeing a painfully-overtired child start playing and laughing was just too much for me. I can cope when she cries or screams or tantrums, but her getting playful when only five minutes earlier she had almost been asleep on the changing mat... don't know what to do with my frustration about that.

Pathetic of me, really.

tomanyanimals Fri 21-Nov-14 10:20:55

I too found I was like this I don't have the best temper at all and my dh will agree I have to walk away and do something else now my ds is older I say mummy is upset I am going to go and calm down please will you do the same seems to work as we both have ten minutes to do something to distract ourselves and then we say sorry we got upset and go on with whatever we were doing. When he was a baby I use to put him in his room obviously make sure he was safe if he was having a screaming paddy I would do something noisy I.e vacuum or put some music on to calm down go back check on him if still screaming back out and repeat until he had calmed down

FelixTitling Fri 21-Nov-14 10:27:29

It was potty training for me. Sitting a child who is bursting for a wee on the toilet/potty and then her just refusing to go was unbelievably frustrating. Much more so than dc2 who just wee'd everywhere. Why was she holding it in?!

It's good to know your triggers. That Orange Rhino site is good Donnie I didn't know about that one.

It was ahaparenting that helped me. and still does.

FelicityGubbins Fri 21-Nov-14 10:29:33

My DD also thought sleep was her worst enemy, I discovered pretty much by accident that she loves candy crush, so I used to put youtube videos of it being played on and she would sit there happily watching it and slowly get lulled to sleep! Maybe see if there is something on youtube that grabs her attention and just plonk her in front of it when you feel your temper rising.

Hoggle246 Fri 21-Nov-14 10:30:23

Don't beat yourself up about it too much. It's human nature that every now and again you will lose your cool so as long as it's very rarely - it sounds as though it is - then I'm sure your dd is ok. I try to do the walking away thing but it's not always possible (bath time or nappy changes etc) so then I make a real effort to breathe in and out quite noisily. I think I feel so ridiculous doing it that it sort of stops the anger! And I instantly feel a million times better for not letting rip, which in turn reinforces the temper going back down. I also remind myself when getting frustrated about how utterly shite I felt on the few occasions in the past where I feel I should have been calmer.

yawningbear Fri 21-Nov-14 10:34:14

Do something to physically ground yourself, this will help to regulate yourself, so for eg sitting down, having a drink of water, will help. Also noticing the signs and symptoms in your body in the lead up, for me it's clenching my teeth. When I notice this happening I try now to go and get a drink of water and take some slow sips. It works, when I make myself do it.

FWIW it sounds like you are doing really well not to have been more shouty. If you do lose it, the reconnection is really important. So although I really try not to yell if I don't always manage it I will always try and re-connect with the DC as soon as possible, reassuring them, giving them a hug and apologising.

My DD is older, she is 6 and I am very aware that I want her to know and understand that it is Ok feel angry, that it is an emotion that we will all feel at some point, just like sadness etc but that there are helpful and not so helpful ways of dealing with it. Hppe that makes sense, Am in a rush!

Emeraldgirl2 Fri 21-Nov-14 10:52:07

oh thank you so much everyone for posting especially when in a rush, it's v v nice of you.

Great great advice. I agree that the reconnection is really vital, it was something my mum never did, she just yelled (in a frightening way) and then never mentioned it again. Very unsettling and scary and it has left me with a lot of anxiety in my life.

I felt doubly shit after this last episode because right after DD had finally gone to sleep I had a phone call from a client (i work from home) who started telling me how easy I am to work with and what a pleasure it is... I felt like an old fraud, and terrible as I am clearly capable of being very pleasant to clients but had just yelled at a helpless toddler sad Horrible feeling.

I need to remember that feeling though as I think it will hopefully prevent me from doing it again.

As I say I don't think it's reasonable to assume you never ever shout at a child for the whole of their childhood (not only unrealistic but actually counter productive as I do think children need to understand that anger is a valid emotion and that shouting isn't always totally avoidable; one of my mum's other major problems in life was that, depsite being angry all the time, she also taught me and my siblings that anger was NOT permitted - except by her - and that anger was a Bad Thing...) But what scared me y'day is that it wasn't just me shouting at dD but that I really lost my temper and felt out of control. I snatched her cuddly bunny away (I have only just remembered this) which is her security toy and said that she clearly didn't need him if she wasn't going to sleep. (I did give him back about a minute later but still) That was cruel of me. I think that is why I feel so dire about it. I was cruel. I never want to be cruel to my DD, not ever. That is not a necessary part of parenting at all as far as I am concerned.

FelixTitling Fri 21-Nov-14 10:56:40

yy to what yawningbear said. I wanted to say this too, but couldn't find the words. It's normal to lose your temper occasionally; they need to see you having and dealing with the full range of emotions. We're not stepford mums.

just make sure you apologise afterwards and explain why you lost it.

you really do sound like you're doing a fab job.

Hoggle246 Fri 21-Nov-14 10:57:47

Hugs for you Emerald, be kind to yourself! I think sometimes looking after a child brings out the child in you. I know it occasionally does to me! Just remember this instance for next time and turn it into a positive by using it to prevent a similar thing happening again

Emeraldgirl2 Fri 21-Nov-14 10:59:46

thank you Fleix and Hoggle

yyy to it bringing out the child in me!! I literally was stamping my foot and snatched her toy away! Like a bloody toddler myself (and I'm 38).

RonaldMcFartNuggets Fri 21-Nov-14 13:33:43

Don't let her get overtired, notice the signs and get a nap routine going. Easier said than done, I know but it helps.

When ds (22 months) won't nap but is tired I bung him in the buggy all wrapped up in his pjs and sleeping bag and just walk til he drops off, otherwise I get annoyed too.

Emeraldgirl2 Fri 21-Nov-14 13:38:23

thanks Ronald, glad to hear I'm not the only one smile
We have a pretty firm nap schedule actually, as DD is the sort of child who seems to really really need a routine or she gets a bit stressed and chaotic. Trouble with this is that, when something gets in the way (as it did yday) she is not good at coping with the overtiredness... we are also locked in a cycle of early wake-ups at the moment so over tiredness is a constant battle.
You're spot on though that overtiredness is dreadful (for everyone) and that sometimes only a walk or a drive in the car will override it. DD gets literally physically out of control, as in she flails around and can't seem to stop moving hands and arms and legs, when she is overtired, can't stop singing and chatting... all of which in turn means she has an even harder time winding down. I should have put her in the buggy yday, I knew I should have done, but it was so bloody cold outside and I couldn't face the tantrum about coats and hats etc... Lesson learned, I wouldn't have lost my temper if I'd done that smile

RonaldMcFartNuggets Sat 22-Nov-14 10:56:44

No coats and hats. Put her in her sleeping bag or pjs and just wrap with thick blanket, cover with rain cover and go. So worth it if they're flailing around - my son is very high maintenance like that and has low tolerance for tiredness.

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