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I am a bully. - Page 2

post #21 of 47
Thank you for this thread!! I'm in the same boat with my 3.5 yo DS...I guess we all get there at some point or the other! When I get pissy and grabby, I feel so terrible, especially when I see such a look of shock on my DS's face. I'll try some of the advice offered here. I, too, am the mother of a new babe and a young one, as well as WAH full-time and WOH part-time. It can get very stressful....but we can rise above it...right!?!?!
post #22 of 47
post #23 of 47

You are not alone. I have btdt. Lately, I find that I am feeling incredibly overwhelmed with everything. My dh is deployed and will be gone until March 2009. It's me with 3 kiddos and one dog. I have friends and support networks in place but it's not the same as having dh home to help out too.

I am finding that there are times I've gone through a full day without so much as hugging my kiddos more than when they first wake up. Augh! It makes me feel horrible. I am recognizing where I want to fix things and that I need to slow down to enjoy the kids more.

I like how the pp mentioned she canceled all playdates, appointments, would go running and then to the park. It's the simple little things.

Hugs to you. I hope you can figure out what you need to do to make the changes you want. Be gentle with yourself. I find that I often am harder on myself for my behavior that I dislike than my kiddos.
post #24 of 47
Just wanted to chime in and say I came to these boards today for this reason. I am sick to my stomach with how things have been with my 2 yo, it's the same as people have described - too much yelling and physically trying to control him. I hate, hate, hate it, and I've never been like this and never wanted to be. I am occasionally nervous posting here; some forums aren't as supportive in times of trouble, but it is so great to read this. Just to know that others go through this and understand and can get out of it again and be the parents they want to be and know they can be.

I love the suggestions here. The link I see with all of us is exhaustion. I am so tired lately, and when I'm tired my sense of humor and sense of proportion go out the window. I actually own Playful Parenting and haven't done more thans kimmed it, as ds has always been very easygoing. Now he's discovering his own mind and wanting independence, and I need to catch up and make sure that I'm doing right by him.

Anyway, OP, you are brave to post what you did, thanks for that. I feel more hope for our situation, and I'm looking forward to ds waking up from his nap so I can give him some hugs.
post #25 of 47
When my DS (4.5) and I get into this it becomes a cycle - I am annoyed and try to control more, so he does more things that upset me, so I get even more awful. It sucks.

During these phases ( which were worst about 3 mos after my DD was born, but still come and go) I return to "survival" mode. There is only ONE goal. Make it through the day without yelling at anyone. Nothing else matters, not the dishes, not the errands, nothing.

When my son is doing something that is driving me crazy I ask myself, "Is this dangerous/destructive or merely really annoying?" If it is just annoying, as most things are, I just let it go.

I also think about "is this the hill I want to die on?" Meaning is whatever this is about important enough to be my ultimate battle?

I have also found that in that moment, if instead of grabbing or yelling, I blurt out "I love you!" it really changes the energy of the situation. He is surprised and then happy, and really you can't say it without having the emotion of it sneak up on you.

Finally, when I was first adjusting to having two, I had to have a plan for what to do when it was spiraling towards BAD and my son was being physically aggressive. So in a moment of calm I decided that our safety was above all the most important thing. And when he got nuts I would say very calmly "You need to go sit in the stroller" which was parked in the living room. Having a plan in place meant that I didn't need to loose control - I knew what to do! And the moment of physical separation gave us all safety and a moment to regroup. I think that sometimes our mama bear is working so hard to protect the new little one that she snaps at the older annoying one.

Lastly if nothing else works I leave the house with the kids to go somewhere. I get them both strapped into the car and then I stand outside the car and take a few deep breaths. I enjoy my 2 seconds of peace and control, before I get in to deal. Besides, even on my worst day I am much nicer in public.
post #26 of 47

a couple more options

My 5yo dd has been similarly difficult and at times I've yelled. I always try to talk with her about it once I've regained composure - I take responsibility for it, tell her how much I dislike getting to that place, and tell her that everyone makes mistakes and remind her that I love her. I also talk about how frustrating it is for me when she doesn't listen - adding that that while that does not make my yelling okay, listening would be one way to avoid it. Sometimes we talk about other ways to avoid these things (mommy shouldn't get too hungry!)

but writing this I wonder if it's a bad approach. Is it wrong to attribute some responsibility to her?

second point: I remember reading somewhere that at some point kids intentially provoke their parents - that they want to see what their angry parent looks like, and that getting angry and then resolving is important for their security. Sounds a little like rationalization... surely there is a limit on the kind of anger they can see. But my point is, as long as you're not making it personal (saying bad things about who they are) or physical then maybe having their parent hopping mad at them is part of their growing up process.

dunno. interested in your thoughts.

(sorry to be dull... but the icons elude me).
post #27 of 47

It is so hard to be kind, patient, compassionate when you are exhausted. The littlest things become such huge battles, don't they?
I, too, have read Playful Parenting, Unconditional Parenting, etc. They are great resources. But, the one book that spoke most to me was Time-Out for Parents by Cheri Huber. It speaks directly to the issue of control, why we think we need it, how to let it go, and being in the moment. Cheri is a zen teacher and her books are written in a very simple format, quick to read, and give you opportunitiesd to put ot practice what you learn. It has been an invaluable resource and the only book I reach for these days. It has taught me to recognize my feelings, the triggers that start the downward spiral of frustration, focus on my thinking when things get crazy, etc.

Mama, believe me when I tell you that I have BTDT. Having a new little one is a huge change for everyone. It doesn't take much for the mama bear to surface and take charge of the little ones. I have seen it in even the most serene of mamas. Take it moment by moment. It will get better.
post #28 of 47
Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles (Sheedy- Kurcina)

Unconditional Parenting is also good.

I have found Siblings without Rivalry to be excellent at helping out w/ dealing w/ more than one child.

good luck to you.

my "heat of the moment" answer: I pretend someone else is here/ there/ wherever i am. I remember that I am my child's role model. I do NOT want her screaming at others or grabbing someone, etc. It usually means that I
1- choose my battles
2- give myself a second to think (it is OKAY to sit and think and then respond)
3- change the scenery. my mom's advice almost ALWAYS works. we just walk out onto the porch and we're instantly different people.

post #29 of 47
[QUOTE=Learning_Mum;11097275]If I'm reading your signature right, you've just recently had a second baby? If that's the case I'd say what you are going through is totally normal! You must be tired from night feeds and wakings and I have heard from *alot* of Mama's that when their second was born they had very little patience for their first, and sometimes just flat out didn't like them. I'd say give yourself time to adjust, and try and give your oldest alot of one on one quality time. And forgive yourself![/

Thank you so much for posting this, I have a 4 year old dd and a newborn dd (7 weeks) I feel so connected to my new daughter but completly disconnected from my older girl - sometimes I just want her to go away and leave my in peace for a few minutes. I feel so guilty and have been really trying to spend time alone (even in baby is asleep in the sling) with my older daughter but sometimes I'm so tired and I end up shouting at her for the most trivial of reasons.

I guess I'm just trying to say I'm glad I'm not abnormal and all the support directed at the op is helping me and my family too.

I hope things get better for us all eventually - I'm sure if we keep trying hard they will.

Kirsty x
post #30 of 47
Thank you so much for posting this, I have a 4 year old dd and a newborn dd (7 weeks) I feel so connected to my new daughter but completly disconnected from my older girl - sometimes I just want her to go away and leave my in peace for a few minutes. I feel so guilty and have been really trying to spend time alone (even in baby is asleep in the sling) with my older daughter but sometimes I'm so tired and I end up shouting at her for the most trivial of reasons. I guess I'm just trying to say I'm glad I'm not abnormal and all the support directed at the op is helping me and my family too.

Kirsty x
I could have written this. I agree, it's good to know others struggle with these same feelings at times too.
post #31 of 47
I also recomend Playful Parenting. It really helps me in times of tantrums or when I can see one coming. Sometimes just thinking of the title reminds me to be playful. KWIM?
WOW, today was a doosey, and I actually DID NOT YELL!!! I am so very excited. Tomorrow will be better, I can feel it.
post #32 of 47
Wow. Timely.

I have not been to MDC for months, but my three year old has suffered the brunt of my anger this week. She is just being three, but it is making me nuts. Yesterday, I worked to turn it around. What I focus on, I get more of. I grabbed my Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline and started focusing on more positive steps. Today was better.
post #33 of 47
Thank you for posting this. I have been at wits end and just feeling so mean and cranky all the time. I even had to leave the house during supper tonight as I thought I was going to explode. DS is just trying my every strand of patience and fights me about everything. There is so much other stress in my life and I'm so sleep deprived (insomnia) that I just don't feel I can cope at times.
post #34 of 47
I am so glad you started this thread. I have a 3 month old and almost 3 yo and am going through the same thing. I know exaclty how you feel. I hate myself so much when I grab her or yell at her. I feel like a bully too.
post #35 of 47
I just want to chime in and thank you for starting this thread...

(BTW, OP, my dd is a 3/05 child too... I don't think it's a coincidence that they're both acting not so fun lately!)

I've been feeling horrible about yelling and losing my patience a lot and then feeling REALLY sad about the resultant lack of connection w/dd.

How do you stay feeling connected when your child annoys the @$#% out of you all day long? Some days after she's been pushing her boundries and testing my patience all day I just sit and stare at her while she sleeps and my heart fills with love (and guilt for the times when I let myself yell) and I feel connected. But then the next day starts all over again...
post #36 of 47
Thread Starter 
Wow. Just wow. I never thought so many mama's would be going through this! While I feel for all of you immensely, it does make me feel a little less alone. Here are some things I am trying...maybe they will help!

I've been trying really hard to put my feelings in check, because I notice that they can escalate faster than I can control them at times.

I've asked dh to step in when he sees that I am getting aggravated and totally take over the situation, even if I fight him on it in the moment.

I've also promised myself not to touch dd when I am feeling overwhelmed. I just don't trust myself to be gentle with her, and while I don't spank or hit, I am rough and I think it's just as bad as purposeful hitting.

We've been spending a ton of time outside, and I am trying to anticipate her getting bored by suggesting a change of activity. WHen she gets bored, she acts up, doing things she knows not to do and that triggers a response in me, which starts the whole cycle again. When I see that she is getting to that point, I force myself to take 5 minutes with her to redirect her to something fun. It's hard because I'm constantly being interrupted, but it's better to take 5 minutes than to try to finish what I am doing while getting more and more aggravated with her.

I am REALLY trying to let the little things go. This is hard for me, since I am a bit of a control freak, but I am making an effort. This is also difficult because I live with my mom and dh who aren't on the same page. They are into GD of course, but they see no problem with me exerting my will (force) on her if I need to. They also feel boundaries are very important. And so I'm constantly feeling the judgement from them too, and fighting them on how to raise dd. It's hard, there is stress either way. If I let it all go and dd goes nuts, I feel like they are just shaking their heads at me and my 'radical' parenting. If I go more mainstream, I feel like dd is suffering for it! I just get so frustrated with the situation sometimes, it's hard to know what to do.

Baby crying gotta go
post #37 of 47
I have been there too. When I read your post, before I looked down at your sig, I said to myself, "I bet her kid is three."
post #38 of 47
One of the things that helps me in this situation is reading other things that speak to and inspire me. Sometimes Mothering Magazine helps. Or a memoir of someone I like and respect. I love reading Catherine Newman's column or her book Waiting for Birdy. I like reading High Tide in Tuscon by Barbara Kingsolver (she writes essays about her life, including time spent in very child-friendly cultures). Not advice or parenting books, per se, but books that bring out the more hopeful, grounded part of me.

It's very hard with a young baby, but you are totally on the right track about asking for more help and taking breaks. Your impatience is probably not really about her but about you not having what you need. Try to take those breaks from the kids and make them restorative, whether that means just sleeping or doing something else that makes you feel whole. When my kids were little, I needed these 15 minutes where I could lie with an afghan on the couch, read anything I wanted, and sip ginger ale with limes in it. It was my message to myself that I was not about anyone else at the moment and it felt to me like rest and indulgence. It's important to find that restorative thing for you, even if it has to be squeezed into 15 minutes. (And seriously, you know this, but when you are ready to yell or grab, actually force yourself to do the thing where you look away, count to 30, and breath deeply before responding. It's cliche but it does truly help.)
post #39 of 47
It's remarkable how many mammas said they were experiencing or had experienced the exact same feelings! I think it's so hard sometimes because our kids aren't using Gentle Discipline with us, and we have all the same needs, including being treated with respect.

So when we are treated rudely (and if we have not had sufficient rest, relaxation, and food to remember ourselves), we yell, just like they do under the same circumstances.

I guess my point is not to be too hard on yourself because we don't always get all the gentle discipline we deserve and the burden of teaching compassion is on us!

OP, your list of changes sounds so likely to improve things! I'm adopting your "no touching when overwhelmed" rule because there have been a few times in the past when I have handled dd roughly and felt awful about it.
post #40 of 47
Been there. AM there. Most of the time, my son is sweet and wonderful and easy-going. But he's starting to really act Two - usually when I announce diaper time or toothbrush time. When his Two-ness coincides with my pregnant crabbiness, I end up losing my cool and grabbing his arm, or handling him roughly, and yelling. I hate it, and worry how I'll be when he's 3 and I have a newborn. I'm glad to see this thread; I'll have to find those books and try to put into practice some of the suggestions.
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