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Please help me not shout at my kids!(13 Posts)
Ok I know on the surface of it I should post this one in parenting, but I think there are a lot of posters over here who will really get why this is a serious issue.
I desperately want to be a better parent and specifically to stop shouting at my kids. But I need some help, because try as I might, once I get tired/stressed/sick I slip back into bad habits.
I can't do this on my own -- there doesn't seem to be a Shoutaholics Anonymous group to join-- I've tried reaching out for RL support, but no one close to me seems to even begin to understand. They tend to sympathise with me, and tell me I'm too hard on myself, sure everyone shouts now and again, there's no perfect way to parent etc. All true but in this specific thing I need some kind of accountability.
I know this damaging to my kids and I hate that. My DS is on the spectrum and can be challenging, which is both the reason I often end up yelling but more importantly the reason I shouldn't. He misses all the subtle cues and is over-sensitive to any raised voice. It's abuse, pure and simple, to shout at him. On a behavioural level the reinforcement for shouting is powerful : he does what he's told or stops what he's doing, and there's the intrinsic stress relief too. I've tried and tried to "guilt" myself into doing better.
I don't know what I'm asking for exactly. Any other shouters, or better yet ex-shouters with advice or insight. Maybe just a space to say, I didn't raise my voice today.
I know there are a lot if people here who have grown up or lived in abusive homes, and it's probably asking too much not to tear into me. I need to post this somewhere that it won't be minimised, but I really really need support to change this.
So: Thursday 25th Feb 2016 - day one of not raising my voice
It's about breaking the cycle, catching it before it gets to that stage. That's means recognising when you are at your most sensitive and you getting out of the way, or getting the kids out of the way.
It is a very serious issue, OP. Please invest in this book as it will help you to modify your parenting style which, as you already know, is abusive.
What you're doing is making your dc feel worthless and, eventually, it won't matter how loud you raise your voice as they'll have blocked the sound of it and won't hear you.
I've linked to the amazon.com site as the reviews are more detailed/comprehensive than those on co.uk but you should be able to buy a copy cheaply on eBay. www.amazon.com/How-Talk-Kids-Will-Listen/dp/1451663889
Thanks for the book link Goddess; ordered it today and had a read through the sample pages on Amazon.
You can be less hard on yourself but still look for a solution - less hard in that you acknowledge you really are in a difficult situation and that it really is hard to do the right thing - but you feel bad about it and want to change, which is great - well done!
I think it helps most to have a plan. I found myself reacting like my mother when my daughter was small as when I got stressed I had nothing else up my sleeve. Whether you plan to go into another room and scream into a pillow, jog on the spot or take six deep breaths, or you plan some phrases you can say like "I'm starting to get angry, you'd better go in your room and come out when you are ready to apologise" ... you can plan anything, and then you have an alternative to the shouting when the situation occurs.
I think the best thing is working out what triggers the shouting. I shout more than I'd like and I know its when we're late that it mainly happens. I do the school run Thursdays and Fridays and we're always running later than I'd like (mainly DH's fault) and I end up shouting. I try these days to get everyone ready much sooner - at times I set a timer which is maybe not ideal but it really motivates them!
How stressed are you day to day? This is something I've struggled with recently. I've been told that you can get to the point where you're so stressed that any little additional issue basically makes you explode even thought the little issue was genuinely a little issue and your reaction a total over reaction. So you end up shouting at your child about something you really shouldn't be. If you may be stressed it might be worth considering how you can bring your stress levels down. Parenting a child with ASD can be stressful and with other children, work, etc its easy to find your stress levels sky high.
I went through a phase of this for a while. Was very upsetting for me as well as what it was doing to the children. I could hear myself, hate it, but couldn't stop. It turned out to be hormonal problems along with depression. You have a lot on your plate - maybe worth a visit to gp?
Adding myself to this thread - not because I have any real advice but because I know I am in danger of turning into "shouty mum" too.
for you OP - it sounds as though you know you bed to change things and hopefully here you can find some tools to do that.
My DS is on the spectrum and can be challenging, which is both the reason I often end up yelling but more importantly the reason I shouldn't. He misses all the subtle cues and is over-sensitive to any raised voice. It's abuse, pure and simple, to shout at him.
Speaking as someone on the spectrum who's mother shouted constantly (and slapped occasionally, but mostly terrifyingly hostile shouting) by acknowledging this you are an incredibly good person. I wish I could offer you advice, but by recognising this issue you already have a better chance for your child to grow up happy and undamaged. Your son is very fortunate to have such a mother.
I found I was more like this when there were too many pressures. My husband used to work every weekend nights and had to try and keep kids quiet. My mum used to shout constantly. It sounds as if you need more support ie counselling and some practical measures. Are you working alot ? How much help do you get. I think I just thought it was o.k to shout but really stopped me once and for all is my neighbour who shouts constantly, at her children and husband. Even on Christmas day. I realised that it achieves nothing and it is controllable. I don't shout at my friends or work colleagues. I gave myself a good talking to as shouting achieves nothing.
I sympathise OP. I've been there and I hate it. I find what helps is by stating how I'm feeling to the kids. I say "I feel really cross," or "it makes me angry when you ignore what I'm saying". It really helps, but the hard bit is recognising that you're about to blow your top and saying these things before you do.
Parenting is very, very hard and it should be acknowledged that it's OK to find it hard. You're not failing if you're finding it tough.
The fact you're trying to improve and do things better is a sign of being a lovely Mum, not a horrible one.
i read loads oof parenting books when my kids were younger. the one that helped me hugely and i still use it now (especially in the car if they're effing and jeffing) is 1-2-3 magic. i thought it was fab. and incredibly easy, and i found that the more i had to use the 1-2-3 thing, the less the kids pissed about and neded the 1-2-3 thing, etc etc. plus i never had to raise my voice, so it's a win win situation (hopefully)
and keep talking talking talking to your kids. another thing i do with them (when i remember) is to do "good thing, bad thing" ... i.e. when they come in from school or when i'm tucking them in, we each share a good thing and a bad thing about what happened that day. rarely does anything major pop up but it's an easy way to keep the lines of communication open!
1-2-3 magic stopped me shouting by 90% and still does now.
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