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Dp completely lost it with dd last night. Says he's a usless dad. Completely mortified!

(5 Posts)
makemineaquadruple Mon 22-Aug-11 11:41:17


First off, I know that this will ring true with a lot of you, whether it's you or your dp/dh who's lost it. I know we all lose it from time to time. We're only human afterall and dc's who have daily out of control tantrums, including violence are incredibly difficult to keep your cool with. I am guilty of shouting too much sometimes etc myself, but dp really lost it last night.

We had been to the cinema in the day and taken dd(4.9) for lunch. To be fair she hadn't really been good enough in the morning, but we needed to get her out of the house and the idea of 2 hours "silence" was appealing. It started off that she wouldn't eat her dinner. Completely normal I know. But when we said it was either the dinner we gave her, which by the way is actually her favourite, or nothing she just went absolutely mental. Jumping constantly up and down, squealing the loudest i've ever heard and then of course the hitting, biting, scratching and pinching began. Oh joy! Whilst she's doing it, something is lost in her eyes. By dp was so furious that he just said "go on then, keep going"! and let her bite him really hard. I think he wanted to shock her into seeing what she was actually doing, but it wasn't working. Of course he knew really that that was sending her the completely wrong message. Eventually, she said that she couldn't stop herself and then she didn't know how to stop. She said this once before and he broke my heart. I've toughened up(ish) to the other stuff, but when she say's things like that, my heart just sinks and I feel so sad for her.

Anyway, to go back to the main point of this thread, dp did A LOT of shouting and even hit the wall at one point because he was so angry that he couldn't get through to her. I know he would never physically hurt her, but he can be very overpowering and I don't think he realises.

After things had calmed down, me and dp went into the kitchen to have a discussion which turned into a rather heated one. Although dd was in the other room, she obviously heard our conversation and the tone of it. Which was, her daddy was far too hard on her and handled it in completely the wrong way. I know she shouldn't have heard this, but sometimes these things happen don't they. Anyway, she shouted "you're rubbish daddy!!" To which I told her to say sorry for and she amazingly did. However, dp just said "no she's right, I am" and went off into the study crying.

He knows he tactic was wrong, but how do we make sure this doesn't happen again. We both feel we are being beaten by a 4 year old little girl. it' got to the stage where i'm actually quite scared of her and I HATE to admit that.

Any experience or advice are very welcome.

Sorry for the length.

bochead Mon 22-Aug-11 11:54:15

If there are two of you present during a melt down then here's my sugesstion.

Have one room in the house where she can cause minimal
damage/environment that chills her out. (I have met a Mum who padded her garden shed!)

Put her in this space when she loses it.

ONE of you stay with her to ensure she doesn't hurt herself.

ONE of you go for a 15 minute walk round the block/cuppa/snaky fag.

Swap places. He or she who is likely to lose it first gets the first 15 minute respite so this doesn't happen again. Your DP is only human and next time (or in a few years) it may you that gets to this point. Blame isn't gonna help anyone, even if he is only blaming himself so don't indulge or you'll find yourself needing a prescription before you know where you are.

As a lone parent I've never had quite this luxury but I have been known to ask a neighbour to watch my lad sleeping for 15 minutes while I walked the dog round the block after a hard day with DS. 15 minutes break is often all you need when it gets totally overwhelming. Knowing I can get that wee break even if it isn't for another 6 hours helps me no end when my DS is in meltdown.

In the mean time I don't know your personal circumstances but again as a couple is there anyway you can each get a bit of time to yourselves each week to recharge? It doesn't have to be fancy - for some it's a bubblebath and a glass of wine for others it's a game of Sunday footy with the lads from work. Time for you to just "be" is incredibly important sometimes, especially if one or both of you is trying to combine caring with working in a normal job where people just don't "get" what life is like for you at home. Some people manage to get some respite care from social services - perhaps worth exploring?

makemineaquadruple Mon 22-Aug-11 12:10:58

Hi boch

Thanks very much for your advice.

We are very lucky in the sense that we do have opportunities to recharge, but sometimes, as i'm sure you know, it's not enough. When you have a child charging at you like a wild animal, I guess there's only so much you can take.

I've been reccomended creating a "safe room" several times on here before, but the truth is, there just isn't anywhere suitable in our house. I sometimes put her in the dining room and take everything out before hand so she can't break anything or harm herself. However, the other day she managed to take the handle off the door and then started trying to smash the glass through. Terrifying actually!! On all levels.

Is there really nothing out there that can stop the anger in her? I don't like the idea of wacking her on meds, but I really don't know what my options are. I've researched, but it's completely different for each child, obviously.

Draining doesn't cover it does it.

insanityscatching Mon 22-Aug-11 14:23:14

I used to stick ds on a pile of beanbags and cushions behind the sofa because I couldn't have trusted him in a room alone. Can you rearrange your furniture perhaps? I know some people use pop up tents but ds would have smashed them to pieces.
I would always advise you to choose your battles so maybe if the dinner situation arises again offer cereal or toast perhaps. It's not about giving in it's about staying sane sometimes.
Is there anything that dd really wants or enjoys? I can avoid most meltdowns by having something that mine think is worth complying for. Computer time or dvd time works at our house as your dd is younger maybe a special toy that is only played with with your permission (it's your bargaining tool)
Do you have input from a psychologist? the one we had was great and whilst she didn't work with ds she made no end of practical suggestions.
You and dh sound exhausted, have you thought of asking your GP for help?

zzzzz Mon 22-Aug-11 15:59:17

If it was me I would be looking at things that she can do to redirect rather than stop her actions. So for instance give her something that she can bite really hard when she is cross. Chooseing what that is is a tricky one, but if possible make it something that is as socially acceptable as possible, and something that is replaceable and small....leather watch strap? some kind of pen? strap of a bag? For my children [all of them not just the sn ones] doing something is SO much easier than not doing something. So give her an activity that she can do to calm herself down. For us this is "Angry birds on Daddy's phone" at home and is "drums" at school. We have been really focusing on this this holidays and have got to the point where angry boy wails "I need Angry Birds on Daddies phone" etc....he then plays with it till he can cope. My feeling is that he won't always need these crutches, but until he does they are relatively harmless.

2 adults cross with one small child is never going to end well. One to discipline [supported by the other] and one to cuddle, will work better. Plan ahead how you are going to signal to each other who is doing what.

Taking your partner into the kitchen to rehash how he did and how he let himself down is not constructive. It doesn't help your daughter to hear it and doesn't help your partners confidence as a parent. Does he do this to you? I think you need to rethink how you are helping him to be the best Dad he can be [and that may be great or may be mediocre, but his best is all you can ask]. It sounds like it made your daughter more miserable and your dp despair. What about something like "That was awful, I think we need to think up a better strategy for dealing with this because the shouting and biting thing worries me. Lets talk about it tonight." It would be sensible to give him some down time because it sounds like he and dd were having similar control problems........I need to stress that WE HAVE ALL DONE THIS or some variation of it, but you do need to change what you are doing unless you just want to rehash it all again and again.

Poor you and poor dh and poor dd. Tomorrow is another day and the lovely thing about bringing up children is it is a long slow process, you have time to get it wrong and then get it right. It is a marathon not a sprint. Be kind to yourselves and each other, help each other to be as good as you can and try hard to forgive each other when you fall short.

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