What an amazing thread. Thank you, thank you Bearsmama for starting this! I just found it today and it couldn't have come at a better time. Opening yourself up like this has truly helped me and I'm sure many others here.
The last few days we've been having too many episodes like the ones you describe. Fortunately it is only recent that I seem to be "losing control" of the situation, but my feelings are alot like your own. Wondering where I've gone wrong. Blaming myself. And I admitted to my DH that lately I haven't enjoyed being with my DD, and your eloquent, sad words about how THAT makes us feel well...you just spoke from my heart too.
sledg, you really hit a huge issue for me when you said
|And oddly-at least I find it odd-the kids don't always seem to know they're hungry/thirsty/tired or at least don't always communicate it even at age 3 or 5-they just get kind of wiggy.
I'm ashamed to admit that I often forget to feed DD during the day.
I guess I always assume she'll tell me if she's hungry (because sometimes she does) and then when she's acting "wiggy" DH will ask me if she's had lunch. Way to make me feel like a double failure, huh? Not only is my kid out of control but I can't even remember to feed her. So of course I wig out on DH for implying I suck as a mom
(poor guy, he's been so amazing too).
oceanbaby, as usual you speak to my life so well. and thank you for pointing this out to me...
|I did want to mention that I have come to realize that it probably is too much to ask a 3yo to explain themselves or why they are behaving a certain way. I have often thought about how I sometimes do things that I know I'm not supposed to do, and I can't really always explain why I did it, other than I just wanted to. And I am 33 years old!
I seem to have gotten into the habit of asking DD "did you hear what I just said" (when we all know it's not about being deaf) or asking her to explain "why are you screeching" (when she's likely unaware that she is doing so), etc. I know I needed to break this recent (bad) habit but your words helped me to nail it down.
|It took me a long time to figure out that sometimes it's best just to not engage with my dd when she's upset. She's just too intense sometimes. It happens less now than when she was younger, but it still happens. For a long time I couldn't figure out why saying all the right GD things, a la "How to Talk So Your Kids Will Listen" and every other book I've read, just didn't work to resolve the problem in the heat of the moment. I kept thinking if I just acknowledged her feelings and said the right things in the right way, she'd stop flipping out or saying no or whatever she was driving me to the brink with.
Thank you sledg for this. This paragraph hit me stronger than anything else here. In my head I know that kids can't learn anything in the middle of an outburst. But somehow I end up in the exact same situation, trying to validate and mirror her feelings and being met with a shrieking "NO!!", then wondering what I ever did to make her feel that being angry was wrong or something. So many people here have talked about not engaging them in the intesity. Sort of a la Anthony Wolf (Secret of Parenting). But it is so hard for me to let go. Validation is something I really lacked as a child, and still have strong memories of that, how it made me feel to think what I was feeling was "wrong" therefore somehow *I* was wrong. It's a huge part of my parenting (and my relationship with DH) to validate. So when I try to detach I'm conflicted inside, worried so much that I'm letting her down, or abandoning her. dharmamamma said
|I remind myself that just because my daughter is crying or angry or upset doesn't mean I am doing something wrong. If my daughter falls on the floor because I'm not getting her yogurt THIS INSTANT, when I am going to the bathroom or changing her brother's diaper, I remind myself that this is her issue and, at three, she can be expected to wait 2 or 3 minutes. I ignore her emotional outburst and I don't allow her tornado of emotions to make me feel guilty. I have found that the less time I devote to her raging emotions, the more likely she is to express her emotions constructively. I don't mean that I ignore her emotions, but I do try to ignore inappropriate expressions of emotion.
While my gut tells me it would work well with my DD, my heart says "she needs me" and I feel I"m abandoning her when she's down. I know I'm going to have to tackle this some more. Maybe I'll start a thread on it in the GD forum. I'd love some input from anyone here, though. How do I balance "detach" or "disengage" with "what you are feeling is okay" and "I still love you even if you are screeching".
Along those same lines, I read that using separation as discipline tactic is really bad, b/c you foster a fear of abandonment in the child. Using attachment as a weapon, so to speak. So when DD approaches me screaming while I"m nursing DS, who is very sensitive to loud noises, I have to get up and walk away, and just tonight she ran after me screaming "mama no go away" and hitting me. Tell me THAT isn't a child who is fearing that I'm leaving her. At least, that is what I'm seeing and it makes me feel very wrong inside.
Anyways, there is just so much wonderful wisdom in this thread. So many words expressed that sound like my own thoughts. It's been really great to read all of this. I hope we can keep the discussion going...thanks again Bearsmama.