teach me to be calm non shouting mum

(19 Posts)
LittleBlondeNinja Wed 06-Nov-13 02:57:21

Help
ive turned into everything i didnt wanna ve moaning shouty stressed mum. Ds is 2.5 and hit terrible twos very indeoendant and clever little boy. I on the other hand have hit shouty tired shit mum syndrome and need a kick up on the arse on how to keep a calm level head when ds is swinging on my neck chocking me for the 9th time when i explained it hurts mummy... please can someone anyone tell me there not perfecr either and are having a hard time keeping cool and level headed??
feel like worst mum ever....

HoneyandRum Wed 06-Nov-13 06:04:50

There are no perfect mums and we all struggle. I rarely shout at my kids but the toddler and pre-school stage is so challanging because they have zero attention span or impulse control and no concept of time.

All I would say is something one of my best friends has been saying to me. She is an Occupational Therapist and has been giving me some great advice on helping my 10 year daughter learn to handle her very hot temper (she was screaming in her friends' faces when she lost it). Firstly, understand that it is best to focus on small improvements, this behavior will not change overnight - try to be gentle and understanding with yourself. When you realise you are getting angry or stressed pay attention to your physical responses, your heart may be racing, your throat restricting etc. this is the chemical response in your body. So first focus on taking that down a notch when it starts to happen. Be aware of your emotion and start to focus on your breathing. By calming your physical response it will help your emotional state.

On a personal note I think many factors come into play as to whether we are a calmer or shoutier parent. One is role modeling. I had a very calm mum who rarely lost it - although she definitely did at times! Also personality. My husband and I are both pretty calm and laid back and we have three kids. Our middle child has always had stronger emotional responses than her siblings, she is usually very happy and loves to have fun and be loud and outgoing. But then over time we have also realised her anger can also be on display a lot easier. So it is a learning curve for us as parents to know how you help her manage her anger in a way that is not damaging to herself or her relationships. Also, when we are under tremendous stress or SLEEP DEPRIVED it is much harder to not get irritable and have a short fuse, exhaustion will do that to anyone!

schmalex Wed 06-Nov-13 06:10:59

Have you read Toddler Taming or Playful Parenting? Both are very good.

ZuleikaD Wed 06-Nov-13 07:37:40

I think the odd shout is ok as long as it's not the norm. I'd never get my three's attention if I didn't shout over the racket. The best advice I ever had for this sort of thing was "how would you handle this if you were being filmed?" It can be hard to remain 'yourself' when it's just you and a toddler in a world where you make the rules and are the only one following them. So it can be psychologically very helpful to remind yourself that there's a wider world and ask how you'd behave 'normally' as it were.

Eletheomel Wed 06-Nov-13 08:19:54

I come from a home with loving, but arguing parents and I hated it, and I was determined I never wanted any kind of shouting in the home for my kids (my parents love each other, but my dads a wind up merchant and my mum falls for it every time, although she's getting better at ignoring him as she's gotten older :-)

I suppose for me I apply the same theory to kids as with adults, in my view if you're arguing with someone and they start to raise their voice, you've won the argument as they're losing control. I've also spent a lot of time working at a public facing desk and have realised that the best way to wind someone up who starts shouting at you is to smile more and be very calm :-D

So when I'm dealing with my eldest (now 4) I always focus on being calm, I concentrate on that throughout the whole incident. I made sure I got calmer and calmer the more outraged he got and I'd keep my voice low and even and made sure I had eye contact through the entire event (esp. with tantrums).

I found that distraction was one of the best things to get through the terrible twos (or threes - doesn't get much better - sorry!). E.g. when you realise your little boy is incapable/unwilling to listen to you and stop hanging on your neck, after the second (or third) time, get up and draw his attention to something else, a toy (let's play with your lego!) a new game (I want to play football - lets go!) anything that will take his focus off the game he was playing.

I also did the 'choices' thing, e.g. You can continue hanging on my neck, and if that happens, mummy will get grumpy and won't play with you and you won't get (whatever it is he likes) or you can stop hurting my neck and we can do (whatever it is he likes doing) now. It's your choice, what do you want to do? We started doing this with DS1 when he was about 18 months and found it a really effective way of diffusing situations and getting him to decide outcomes (toddlers like the sense of having control).

When my son is tired (even now) his behaviour gets very testing, and I know it's because he's tired, so I try to engage my sympathetic gene whilst telling him not to poke the stick in the cats face as she won't like it and it could hurt her. If he's not listening, I suggest an alternative game for us to play (often he plays up when he's bored and thinks I should be playing with him).

We all feel like sh*t mum's at times, however I think the fact that you feel like sh*t is a sign of how much of a good mum you are (if you know what I mean). Good luck, it ain't easy :-)

ZuleikaD Wed 06-Nov-13 08:36:59

have realised that the best way to wind someone up who starts shouting at you is to smile more and be very calm. That's quite passive-aggressive, tbh - it's still confrontation.

Eletheomel Wed 06-Nov-13 10:03:21

zuleikaD - Hey - I never said I was perfect, but having an inner smugness when an assh*le is shouting at you over a customer care desk helps get you through the day...

And to clarify - I do that to adults, not children :-)

purplewithred Wed 06-Nov-13 10:12:11

'... when ds is swinging on my neck choking me for the 9th time when i explained it hurts mummy'

'Explaining' anything to a 2.5 year old isn't going to work - they just aren't that rational. Skim the books and watch the nanny tv programmes for acceptable and appropriate responses that will stop you getting to 9. (I wish I had...)

LittleBlondeNinja Sat 09-Nov-13 19:28:52

Thank you all so much you have made me feel so much better after the worst day with ds so far thanks. Your all great. Tomorrow is my new cal. Start xxxx

LittleBlondeNinja Sun 10-Nov-13 00:13:05

Today was the worst day of many. He came in our bed this morning after climbing out of his cot by hinself and while i napped while he watched toystoey he only went and got the stool to get in the top draw to the nail scissors and cut the cable to the brand new 3d smart tv! Ive been vile today but he has push me to my limits hittin and kickin etc... i feel so guily please help

LittleBlondeNinja Sun 10-Nov-13 00:13:17

Today was the worst day of many. He came in our bed this morning after climbing out of his cot by hinself and while i napped while he watched toystoey he only went and got the stool to get in the top draw to the nail scissors and cut the cable to the brand new 3d smart tv! Ive been vile today but he has push me to my limits hittin and kickin etc... i feel so guily please help

mmmmsleep Sun 10-Nov-13 00:30:44

hi ninja. have you contacted homestart? not sure which area you're in but they're a charity that can help by offering you support of a trained volunteer. surestart centres have support workers and your health visitor may help...depends on the area. You're not alone. hope tomorrow's a better day!

LittleBlondeNinja Sun 10-Nov-13 00:57:56

Sleep thank you...il look into that!! Hopefully tomorrow our new rules come into play so we should see some results behaviour wise!!

Jorior Sun 10-Nov-13 06:52:20

Hi Ninja, I really feel for you because we all have an ideal of the kind of parent we want to be and we really beat ourselves up if we don't live up to that.

I just wanted to let you know that you're not alone. I too do the shout/guilt cycle which leaves me feeling emotionally drained. It's very hard to always maintain calm in the face of a challenging toddler because there are other factors in our lives too. Sometimes we have a bad day ourselves which leaves us in a poor emotional state for dealing with challenging behaviour.

I agree with the other poster that giving choices helps. I also find it helps to be relatively transparent with my kids 'mummy's a bit grumpy at the moment because she didn't sleep very well last night'. My kids usually respond well to this. It helps them realise that there's more than their emotional state at play and that I'm only human too. The fact that I've said it out loud also helps me to snap out if it and it usually leads to more empathy all round. I hope that helps...good luck.

littlegem12 Sun 10-Nov-13 07:21:46

Rather than constantly requesting he decide to stop doing whatever the bad behaviour is, I would ask once, if he doesn't listen I would tell him firmly once, then just physically move him yourself and put him on the floor. He had two chances to rectify hes own behaviour.

mmmmsleep Sun 10-Nov-13 11:09:56

also I have found since I stopped saying "that's naughty" and moved to "that's a good/bad choice" with warnings for removal of xyz or thinking time (like naughty step) things improved for us and it calmed me down. be firm with boundaries and follow through on warnings. eg. that was a bad choice. if you throw your food again you'll need some thinking time" then tell them good choice when eating well. after thinking time i ask ds why he's had thinking time...he tells me why then says sorry to me +/- dd and we have hug and move on. my ds knows that certain things get immediate thinking time- like hitting dd or upturning his plate of food. meal times are much easier now for us and I've found my son says "sorry mummy made bad choice" sometimes before I've had chance to say anything. not saying he's an angel (he's 2 1/2!!!) but I do find this technique keeps me calmer as in a sense we both get thinking time. hope that helps. x

mummyxtwo Sun 10-Nov-13 12:19:33

You're not alone, I have days where I lose my patience and shout / nag / snap at mine, often when I am tired or stressed about something. It can be hard to stay calm when you feel your control slipping away. I got a book called Calmer Easier Happier Parenting which is very good, even though I haven't found time to read it all yet. One thing that sometimes helps is to imagine myself in 5 or 10 years time looking back - is this situation a really important one? Does it matter hugely if we're late to school on one occasion because ds1 is faffing about? Is it more important that we are on time to school or that I don't lose control and shout? I have to go with the latter, as I don't want my children to have a mum who loses it and shouts when upset. However big or frustrating the situation may be at the time, in the long run I would always rather that I kept calm and kept a grip on myself.

Also, don't let the guilt suck you in. So you mess up one time and shout. If you dwell on it and carry the guilt like a millstone that will affect your behaviour and won't make you into the mum you want to be. Acknowledge the guilt, strive to react better next time you are in that situation, and move on. Try to make sure you get a few minutes breather every now and again too. Go and make yourself a cuppa, no matter what jobs you have to do. Just taking a moment for yourself can help you maintain a better grip on your sanity. All the best!

lifehasafunnywayofhelpinguout Sun 10-Nov-13 23:59:33

To teach how to be a calm not shouty mum at all times then I would have to turn you into a robot. Being calm all the time is just not real life. If you're a mum then there are times when you will shout and do not believe it if people tell you "Oh I never raise my voice to my child. I can assure you we all do. I'm not proud but I'm certainly not going to pretend I've never done it. xxx

LittleBlondeNinja Mon 11-Nov-13 20:28:01

Thanks everyone I really appreciate it all - I like the bad/good choice idea, really like it going to implement that tomorrow after another rubbishy day today, physically emotionally drained!!

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