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I did a terrible thing - need help reprogramming DS

(47 Posts)
hereidrawtheline Thu 02-Jul-09 09:32:34

I am just so beyond gutted right now. This morning was typically bad getting DS ready for school, having to comb his hair etc. I got him to let me make the comb super wet and this in the end worked. Then dressing him I was getting annoyed because he was just totally not helping at all, not lifting a leg or arm or whatever. Then he did a poo and wouldnt let me wipe his bottom, running away screaming at me. It was just awful but normal awful.

Then I asked him to bring me his shoes. He totally ignored me. I asked him again in a sharper voice I was really annoyed by this time because the whole morning he had been making everything as difficult as it could possibly be. I shouted not to throw his shoes at me and pulled him over to me - too hard. I know he doesnt like to be pulled so I never do but I just wasnt behaving as I normally do.

Then he started punching me in the face, in the nose and on my glasses so I restrained him and said "do not hit me in the face DS! No hitting!" and he started screaming I was hurting him in the restraint which to be fair to me I dont think I was holding him hard but he is of course very sensitive to touch. So I let go and he punched me again in the eye and I just lost it I grabbed his hand and smacked the back of it.

I have never hit or smacked or anything to him before. And I really never thought I would. But I did. I smacked my own baby's hand and I just cant believe it. He was totally shocked and started really crying saying I hurt him etc and I held him and said sorry a lot and explained I had lost my temper because he hits me so much! Every day I get hit at least a dozen times, yesterday I was hit with a stick, he throws things at me. And I always respond with kindness and love I never let DH "punish" him for it because normally his own hyper sensitive guilt is enough and a time out or I ignore him for 5 mins or whatever. I love him. I always try to act 100% lovingly towards him. And I smacked him I am so angry.

How do I undo this? For one thing I have lost my normal higher ground "dont hit mama, mama doesnt hit you, does she?" for another he is going to latch on to this and make it into one of his huge things!

I'm going to call NAS and ask for advice.

Then we finally got out the door and DH had collapsed the bloody new Zapp and I dont know how to open it yet, yes I know I probably sound really stupid but I am terribly un-coordinated and not good at fiddly things so I was getting in a temper trying to open it up and phoned DH up shouting at him.

I think I am truly at my wits end. I dont mean to be sounding pitiful but I am the major giver in this family, I take care, I forgive, I make ok. And I think it has taken its toll on me. I am so ashamed of myself.

hereidrawtheline Thu 02-Jul-09 09:55:22

is anyone around I really need to talk

staryeyed Thu 02-Jul-09 10:21:58

Oh Hereidrawtheline, I dont know how to answer your post but didnt want to leave you unanswered. We all have days when we reach the end of our patience. Do you get respite at all? DO you have any sort of space where your Ds can chill for a bit when he gets wound up? Actually ditto for you is htere anywhere you can go where you can get away and Ds is safe?

hereidrawtheline Thu 02-Jul-09 10:24:12

well DS is at school now so I am sitting around trying not to cry. Going to go make food I am hungry. I just cant forgive myself I cant believe I smacked him. We can separate to cool off but not really when we are pressed for time to get somewhere really important, and it would be spiting us both to have kept him home from school. So I didnt take the time to calm us down.

brandy77 Thu 02-Jul-09 10:27:54

morning, please dont feel guilty about the smack of the hand. I too get severley bashed by my 4.5 year old son and last week i wanted to show him how much he hurt me, so i stupidly tapped (and i mean really just a tap) his arm. He became absolutely hysterical, the tears were unbelievable, he was totally and utterly shocked that i had him. When he calmed down i explained that perhaps he could see how much he hurt me now when hes throwing things at me or hitting, kicking etc, but he really didnt understand sad

Ive now pulled my son out of preschool because of all the upset/refusing to get out of the car/ screaming etc and in this last 2weeks ive seen his behaviour become less aggressive and the meltdowns less severe. I know he HAS to go to school in September as it will be law, but i am dreading the fall out from it.

Anyway you did well only lashing out today, youve held yourself together up till now and you under an enormous amount of stress, and this heat doesnt help smile

brandy77 Thu 02-Jul-09 10:27:56

morning, please dont feel guilty about the smack of the hand. I too get severley bashed by my 4.5 year old son and last week i wanted to show him how much he hurt me, so i stupidly tapped (and i mean really just a tap) his arm. He became absolutely hysterical, the tears were unbelievable, he was totally and utterly shocked that i had him. When he calmed down i explained that perhaps he could see how much he hurt me now when hes throwing things at me or hitting, kicking etc, but he really didnt understand sad

Ive now pulled my son out of preschool because of all the upset/refusing to get out of the car/ screaming etc and in this last 2weeks ive seen his behaviour become less aggressive and the meltdowns less severe. I know he HAS to go to school in September as it will be law, but i am dreading the fall out from it.

Anyway you did well only lashing out today, youve held yourself together up till now and you under an enormous amount of stress, and this heat doesnt help smile

5inthebed Thu 02-Jul-09 10:28:04

HIDTL, I just want to reach through this monitor and give you a good shake! Stop being so hard on yourself woman! You are not a bad parent, you are just at the end of your tether.

Nobody should be getting hit by their DC, regardless of their age/disability/mood. Nobody is going to judge you because you slapped theback of his hand. I bet it wasn't even that hard. He was probably more shocked than hurt that you retaliated rather than just took it.

Maybe you need to show this side (obviously not smacking) more, show him you are cross or upset when he is smacking you, rather than making it all sweetness and light hearted.

brandy77 Thu 02-Jul-09 10:28:55

oops!

hereidrawtheline Thu 02-Jul-09 10:31:51

thanks. I know you understand but I just feel so bad. He trusts me so much and we are so close its wonderful. And I fear this will stick in his mind like the spider and I will never get it out of him again.

coppertop Thu 02-Jul-09 10:35:00

You're only human, HIDTL. Not only are you being hit on a daily basis, you're also getting through it all on very little sleep IIRC. Be kind to yourself. xx

5inthebed Thu 02-Jul-09 10:36:05

It won't stick in his mind, don't worry. It will all be forgotten about.

Is there anyone you could leave him with so you can have a few more hours off a week?

hereidrawtheline Thu 02-Jul-09 10:51:08

thanks You are making me feel a little better. There isnt really anyone I can leave him with but I am going to start going swimming to help me lose weight so that will be an hour a week to myself. He'll be with DH then.

mummysaurus Thu 02-Jul-09 10:54:16

HIDTL - even the sweetest, calmest people can lose it sometimes and you sound lovely but so so hard on yourself.

I've read a few of your posts and it seems to me that you blame yourself (wrongly) for your ds behaviour. This may lead you to over compensate and feel unable to attempt correct this behaviour

I agree you do need to show your feelings. He may be picking up on them anyway and pushing you to test the boundaries. Of course hitting is wrong but you showing that you are cross or at least removing yourself from his reach are still loving responses.

It sounds as if you really need some support - have you talked to your family/gp. You have a lot on your plate and I'm not surprised you get upset.

hope you have a better afternoon.

hereidrawtheline Thu 02-Jul-09 11:00:36

thanks mummysaurus

I think in some way I am a screwed up individual because I cant see the wood for the trees. I feel really kind of under siege in many areas of my life and I dont know what to do or what is really happening. So its hard to judge if I am too hard on myself, or not hard enough etc. I wish I had someone in RL who could really really help who I could trust to see things as they are. As it is I just dont know what to do sometimes because I am stretched so thin. And I am by no means perfect, I mean I get in a bad mood, and I worry I am too hard on DH and DS so I dont know. I do worry it is all my fault. God I sound so whiney!!! Sorry. blush I really dont like how I must sound here. In RL I am a happy, laughing person who keeps everything in control. I think its all got the better of me right now.

I dont want to involve GP or HV they just wind me up so much. And I have to decide if I follow up that email to the pead from my other thread or dont because maybe I am not thinking clearly and will say the wrong thing.

amberflower Thu 02-Jul-09 11:02:09

You know what, there are times when it is actually quite good for your child to witness you 'losing it'. Did you ever watch programmes like Little Angels or House of Tiny Tearaways? I can vividly remember one of the psychologists telling a parent (who was scared to talk to their child in anything other than deeply loving tones) that they should not be afraid of expressing emotions around their children, because observing how an adult both suffered and coped with such emotions was a valuable part of their learning. The reasoning being that if you never show your child that you do get cross (i.e. angry expression, raising voice etc) but can work your way through that emotion, they never learn to do it themselves. Taking care and forgiving and making OK is wonderful...but it also means you are at severe risk of being taken advantage of, and you are not teaching your DS the realities of life either.

I am asking this in the nicest possible way....but do you think you are too soft and loving and sweetness and light and 'mummy makes everything wonderful' with your little one? As 5inthebed said, NO-ONE should accept that their DC hits them regardless of age/impairments/mood etc. You are not his punchbag, either physically or emotionally. He's got to learn that no matter what issues he has.

I have had times with DS when I have seriously lost it, shouted etc, I have smacked his hand when he once deliberately ran away from me and I lost him for 5 minutes and yes I have felt horrible, but sometimes they need to learn that they have pushed you beyond limit. For us, as horrible as it's been at the time, the fallout from these kind of situations has invariably been positive: we talk about why it happened and why mummy got cross and yes mummy shouldn't have shouted/hit but also DS shouldn't have done x y or z etc etc and sometimes grownups do things they shouldn't do as well and so on and so on. So what I've ended up doing is showing him that actually 'losing it' is part of the human condition, but it's how you work your way through that, calm down again, apologise and learn from it that is the most important thing.

Please please try not to beat yourself up...you are a lovely mummy doing a wonderful job...you just perhaps need to try being a little less lovely from time to time.

bubblagirl Thu 02-Jul-09 11:02:12

please don't feel guilty we have all at some time i would think be guilty of doing this i know i have after having had just enough but i never did it again and i learnt form it ds never hated me and our closeness is still there but i do punish smacking i will remove him from me whenever he does it into hall this is enough for him to come say sorry as hates being away from me i will not tolerate hitting

your patience can only withstand so much you are only human after all do not beat yourself up over this it was a one off you wont do it again

repeat after me I AM ONLY HUMAN, I AM A GOOD MUM , not anyone could deal with this day in and day out

i would say also if you can try and combat this hitting maybe you need to be slightly firmer remove him from you so he doesn't get chance to hit again let him see your not happy then maybe he will finally stop doing it as it will become unacceptable

i know easier said than done but ds doesn't hit me any more he may have a day where he goes to but he doesn't i give him my look he runs off crying its ok its ok

hereidrawtheline Thu 02-Jul-09 11:14:22

well I've been a bit tearful reading these posts because they are so kind and sweet but also I feel a lot better now. I still have a sad feeling in my chest but tbh I am really exhausted and just want to sleep for a while.

I do snap at DS and have a cross tone of voice with him fairly regularly. Like when he wont help me dress him at all if I am in a bad mood or really stressed I would say "oh come on DS you are almost 3 you can lift your leg up" which probably isnt the right kind of annoyance to show blush but I do show it. But I am always without fail his to give love to and cuddle and kisses and all the things he needs from me like that. Every time he goes in time out he cries and cries for Mama kitten to rescue him and I try to wait it out a bit but usually he gets so distressed within a minute I go in around 1 minute into the 2 minute time out and rescue him from the tree because he is in such a panic. I worry for him because he seems so emotionally vulnerable so I try not to add to that.

nikos Thu 02-Jul-09 11:16:58

I'm using this technique for aggression at the moment, might or might not help your ds.

When ds is aggressive, you hold him but with no talking and no eye contact. you are removing his freedom. When he starts to squirm,you say 'No hitting'. And then release him to play.
The aim is that he learns that if he is aggressive he loses his freedom. But you musn't speak as this just feeds the behaviour.
It is having some success with ds.

lingle Thu 02-Jul-09 11:20:17

Oh I'm sorry love. I've smacked hands too. Adn I'm supermummy [hmmm]. Ring the paed's secretary to follow up perhaps.

One smack on the hand doesn't change the course of a child's life one iota.

By the way is he more of a visual person? If DS2 is being slow getting dressed I find it helpful to place the item of clothing directly in front of his eyes - between his eyes and the thing he was looking at before.

magso Thu 02-Jul-09 11:28:44

Do not torture yourself - you are human - your child really hurt you- you had the presence of mind to only hit the back of his hand. Children have to learn parents have limits in endurance especially when hurt. ( Pain will make see red too) Perhaps you both need a quick apology to each followed by TO now ( ds hates mummy having TO!) This gives you a chance to recover and avoids the piyfall of over apologising.
( I fell whilst carrying a screaming ds once when he bit my nose causing me to trip (and fall) - I nearly fell on him and had to push him out the way, he was astonished - he has not bitten my nose since! I still feel guilty because I should not have allowed the bite to distract my step IYSWIM!)

hereidrawtheline Thu 02-Jul-09 11:28:57

just wanted to say quickly - thank you for the suggestions. I am about to go put my clothes on (have been naked MNing) and collect DS from school. I feel refreshed and am looking forward to seeing him. Just pray he hasnt told his teachers I hit him and that he doesnt talk about nothing else for the rest of the day!

5inthebed Thu 02-Jul-09 11:32:10

lol @ naked mning.
Hope he is ok. I'm sure he will be.

lou031205 Thu 02-Jul-09 11:35:06

HIDTL, your DS is almost 3 years old. He is not a baby. He needs to know that there is a line, and he just crossed it. DD1 kicked me in the eye on Tuesday, and I impulsively smacked her. She howled and I regretted it immensely, but although the smack wasn't the best thing to do, she still needs to know that kicking me is NOT ON.

"Every time he goes in time out he cries and cries for Mama kitten to rescue him and I try to wait it out a bit but usually he gets so distressed within a minute I go in around 1 minute into the 2 minute time out and rescue him from the tree because he is in such a panic."

He isn't in a tree! You aren't rescuing him from the tree, you are stopping his timeout.

IMHO, you need to either do TO and reassure him firmly that he is quite safe but must stay in TO for 2 minutes, or you say "this isn't working" and don't use TO.

But giving in and 'rescuing' him half way through timeout is just confusing and inconsistent. Every time something happens that he doesn't like he will be able to cry that he needs mama cat to rescue him, because he knows it will work.

I'm not trying to be harsh, but you are so emotionally vested in your DS. Sometimes being a mother requires us to do things that our children don't like, for their own good.

hereidrawtheline Thu 02-Jul-09 11:40:08

you are right lou. I know you arent being harsh. In my defence on the TO rescuing scenario he does not know he is supposed to be there for 2 mins. We have said that number once or twice before but he does not listen. To him it is just there until he isnt there if that makes sense. And I know in my mind that needs to be 2 mins and its normally 1.5. But obviously writing out that way I can see that is a shit way of doing TO. I will say hands up I do not know how to discipline him. I speak to him, and explain to him, and scold him, or ignore him if needed but if he doesnt respond to those things I do not have a back up plan. Which is becoming readily evident. He seems to just freak out totally in TO. So I dont really know what else to do if the more constructive forms of discipline dont work. I do all the "preventative" tactics I can think of and am advised to do but he is a loose cannon despite my hardest work.

Right am off to the school run now!

silverfrog Thu 02-Jul-09 11:44:32

HIDTL, if you want to do time out (iirc, your ds does respond to having attention/affection withdrawn) have you tried getting him a timer so he can see how long he is going to be there?

there is a time out mat that is marketed, but probably £££ and opnly useful for this one thing. but there are plenty of visual timers you can get, which would also be useful for other things (whenever waiting is needed, for eg) will try to find some links a bit later, but cooking lunch atm.

don't beat yourself up, you are doing the best you can.

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