Most of the time I am able to speak positively, offer clear but limited choices, give my DD space to be herself and do her thing, and see the world through her eyes, etc. I want so much to give my daughter what I didn't get myself. But then there are the times that my temper is short and my patience runs so thin.
I do not yell and I do not spank. But I do get very angry under the surface and feel like my touch really conveys this.
Here is an instance. My 3 yo DD loves to play in the car. The minute she is out of her car seat (or if we are trying to get into the car seat) she will climb as fast as she can into a different seat (usually in the front where she tries to lock all the doors). There have been times that it isn't a big deal and I can give her a few minutes to play. Other times we need to be moving on and the only option is to get straight out of the car.
I'll let her know directly but kindly, we are getting out now. I'll try to distract her with something fun we are about to go do. If I can't get her out with redirecting her attention, I'll try a choice. Usually, it goes like this... "You have a choice. You can come out on your own (or get in your car seat on your own, if we are trying to get in) or I will do it for you." Then I count to 3 to give her time to shift gears. Perhaps 10% of the time she will actually come out on her own. But most of the time I have to get her. And by this point, I am very frustrated.
So, here is the tough part. I need to physically move her. And I'm starting to get angry (although really trying to not show it). And she is resisting. And I start to pull. And she resists. And I pull harder. And I am now really angry. Then she says she wants to do it on her own. So I let her try. And she just runs to a place that is harder for me to reach her instead of getting out. And we start again.... And I can just feel that the quality of my touch is not at all loving. It is angry. Even if I'm not hitting I can feel that my touch is sending a message of anger as I'm grabbing her to pull her screaming out of the car.
Another example... Just before nap time she has removed all of her clothes. No big deal. But as I'm getting things ready to brush her teeth, she starts to pee on her bedroom carpet; something she hasn't done in ages. It just seems so deliberate (my judgement, I know). I grab her midstream and run her into the bathroom. And I'm angry. So it isn't the gentle "pee belongs in the potty" response where I gently shepherd her onto the toilet. It is "what are you doing?!?! Why are you doing that?!?!" and I race her at arms length at put her onto the toilet not so gently. Again, it isn't really hurtful, but it also isn't gentle.
I don't know if this makes sense at all, since it isn't like I'm spanking or hitting or pushing, etc. It is just a very firm grip or physically overpowering her in order to get her to comply with what needs to happen. I guess I just can't figure out how to do GD when physical direction is necessary my child is resisting. And maybe it isn't GD if you have to force a child to do something in the first place.
I guess the bottom line is that I feel that for all of my ability to hold back on my words and control my actions otherwise, I am still blowing it. These moments where the need for physical contact with DD and my own frustration intersect seem to be my weak spot. How can I do this differently? I guess the best thing would be to not get to that point in the first place. I just am at a loss with a very willful daughter (who has a very willful mother).