I have a really big problem with focus, organization, and consistency. So you can probably imagine I am having trouble disciplining my kids since I can't even discipline myself. I am so inconstant as a person that routine and I do not belong in the same sentence. Because of this it is so hard for me to get my kids into any kind of routine or ritual in terms of having table manners, listening to me when I tell them to pick up, going to sleep, etc. I can't deal with it in a consistent manner because I have a really hard time focusing on them, half the time I am avoiding the confrontation of them negotiating with me. They don't do what I ask, then I yell. I tell them to do something, they don't listen, I let it go sometimes and sometimes I randomly blow up. So basically a day with me involves little structure, inconsistent discipline, and random mama rage. :(
I am also very confused about discipline because I was raised with no example of discipline and have been trying to do non punitive parenting and all of that, but I do expect my children to obey me, have respect and manners. So lately when they are not respecting me or not having manners I get all authoritarian on them. But not in a consistent way :( I don't want to be an authoritarian or be punitive, but I do need my kids to respect me and be well behaved.I also need this to happen before I myself starting losing it and yelling or getting punitive.
The kids are 4 and 2, the older one is so difficult to deal with. Her personality is sensitive, difficult, unpredictable. Most of these problems are between her and me, the 2 year old is actually very well tempered and obedient. I never did sleep training with her and now she can't fall asleep with out me in the same room. So most nights getting the kids to bed involves yelling at them until they stop talking. I wish I could just read the stories and leave the room so I don't get so frustrated, but my daughter can't take it. She won't stay in her room to fall asleep if I'm not there. I have always been under such stress, I blamed my parenting difficulties on that. Now I am still under some stress but not an uber amount of stress like I was. So I think it is not the stress, it is just me. And I feel like I am failing my children. I live in a place with no family near by, no in laws, no husband. The kids father is in town but he is a very manipulative and unhealthy person. I don't think the kids are better off with him. So they don't have a whole lot of positive influences in their life besides my friends. They do go to preschool which seems good, but it doesn't replace having a good mother and family. So here I am facing reality that I am a crappy mother and I don't have many options of having the kids exposed to better influences. Where do I go from here? Does any one have advice on dealing with an very difficult child? Rage? Becoming more consistent? Getting kids to obey you before you go into a rage?
I know this involves a lot of other issues like GP, but I posted in personal growth, because I don't think the problem is just needing discipline advice, the problem is me.
Hugs mama. I could have wrote your post.
I think the best thing we can do is take it a day at a time. Your kids belong with you!!! You are their mama. find little changes you can make that help. Like not a huge routine but maybe add one thing a week or every two weeks?
Subbing to hear replies.
It probably appears overwhelming to try to make a big change which is what you need. I do think that you can pick one battle at a time. 4 year old girls and mommies tend to argue. DH taught me that I shouldn't argue and I need to say my peace and be done. So if your battle is for her to sleep without you then you need to come up with a way to get just that to happen first.
DD1 and DD2 wanted to play play play and it didn't help that I would play for a bit then tell them to stop and go to sleep now. I don't read stories at bed time but well before like an hour before they need to be asleep I'll read them a story. I'll also immobilize my oldest by giving her a back rub. This usually keeps her from messing with her little sister or screaming and jumping around. And sometimes she'll fall asleep this way. Of course I'm subbing reading for a back rub but I'm an adult and I still need help falling asleep.
Being inconsistent... well pick one thing a day. If she needs to listen to you and she's not then you need to show her why it's important. I'm taking this one from DH too since it works very well for him and I struggle to do this. When they are speaking to you with disrespect you do NOT answer. Will this be annoying to you as well, yes but find something to occupy you. DH will turn on music if he's being yelled at. As soon as the yelling stops he turns off the music and asks if they're ready to talk appropriately. Some people might think this method is not necessarily good but it works in our house and I've noticed my girls won't engage each other if the other is being rude. They'll wait til it's over and then talk. If you're asking her to put away her toys and she refuses, just give her less toys to play with which will make less of a mess and not be so overwhelming.
By the way I'm still learning how to be a mom and my kids are older than yours. I think you're being hard on yourself and I'm just giving you some things to try to make it easier on you.
Be kind to yourself! I remember when mine were that age having to cut way back on my expectations and rules because I could not enforce them consistently with consiquences. I felt like a failure, then spent a long time getting used to letting them do more stuff that I used to restrict. But that was so long ago. And I will say it is much easier now that they are 10 and 12.
I hate to say it but mine were 4 and 6 before I could say good night and leave the room. And even then it was a long process of separating myself. More like 8/10 when it got easier. As far as doing what you say, I would suggest asking much less. It's hard to do at first. But save asking for something for when you have the time and energy to stick with them and follow through to be sure it's compleated. Focus on building a process of follow through. Even if you have to help with most of it.
It will change. They will grow. You will grow. It's hard but worth it!
Michelle , 20+ years with a wonderful DH
Mama to two boys, 12 and 10
Bed time was a disaster around here until I eliminated naps two weeks ago. Now DD falls asleep after two stories. We used to have to rock and read to her for an hour at least to get her to fall asleep. Is that an option for you?
Give yourself a break. You have a lot on your plate!
I hear you!
I too am disorganized and struggle with consistency. I'm trying to parent so my child learns inner discipline (Barbara Coloroso "kids are worth it" - I'm reading it right now), but I don't have much of my own so it is hard. I lose it and rage way to often, but like the pp mentions working on small steps/changes that I've been successful at is giving me confidence that I can get thing to a happier, more peaceful state.
One thing that works for me for bedtime is that after stories and kisses our 3 'rules for quiet time' kick in. (close your eyes, be quiet, lay still) I explained that Mommy needs that time and if he doesn't want to follow those rules he didn't have to but I would go to another room for my quiet time. Since he really wants me to be laying there with him he follows the rules. I have to remind him a couple of times a night but I have something concrete to say rather than 'just go to sleep' or losing it and screaming. He usually falls asleep pretty fast now since it is a regular thing we do and it is becoming habit.
Good luck and be good to yourself. I think that the trying to grow and improve is so important and your kids will notice and appreciate it (even if they can't express that right now)
I have felt the exact same way.
I used to be more organized, but I had an extremely stressful experience and I've never fully gotten my act back together. My life isn't stressful NOW, but I'm still in some sort of post-traumatic-stress DISORGANIZATION!
I don't get it because I feel like I've done a lot of healing from what happened, and yet.....
I can kinda get it together for a while, but then it quickly falls apart.
My kids are older and seem to be turning out fine in spite of me. They do well in school, have friends, and their teachers like them. They are both happy. So, in spite of my imperfections, they are OK. Try cutting yourself some slack. No parent is perfect, and we often judge ourselves based on what we THINK other parents are like when the truth is, we don't have a clue what they are really like when they are exhausted and it's past bedtime.
but everything has pros and cons
doubts are normal. but, if you really sucked at motherhood, you wouldn't care how you were doing it!
you need a plan. to be consistent, you have to know before a situation arises how to deal with it. that goes for anything, not just parenting, you know.
do you have a friend you admire whom you could ask to help you get together a game plan? or money for one of those life coaches or a therapist who can help you tackle the big stuff first, then get a good routine going?
do you have a daily rhythm? that might help you all, sit down and plan a flow for each day... make a visual representation if you need to.
do some writing, can you write a list of all the trouble spots you're having with your kids? like when you have the most trouble and tend to yell and what kinds of situations/ times of day/ responses you've tried? for me, just getting it down on paper can provide some distance and let me troubleshoot.
things like bedtime are much easier to handle if they happen at the same time every single day, and you can just simply point to the clock (even if they don't understand it quite yet) and say it's 8:30, and at 8:30, we brush teeth and pick books to read for bedtime.
from what i have seen, kids respond much better when there's an expected time for stuff, too...
<3 you are not a bad mama.
Is it getting lonely in the echo chamber yet?
Thanks for all the support, mamas. It feels good to know I am not alone.
We had a good day (no loosing my temper) yesterday and I am feeling more optimistic. I think it is really a matter of staying focused on them and not letting myself get distracted by other things when I need to be free to be attentive with them. I am not diagnosed, but I am pretty sure I have ADHD so focus is one of my weaknesses. I will talk to my doctor about it next week to see about treatment. I am also going to start doing some natural things which I hope will help in the long term. I am trying to get myself more grounded in life in general so I hope this will help in all aspects. Sometimes my mind is hanging out at the edge of the universe when it should be here.
We do have a bed time routine but sometimes I just get so frustrated having to stay in the room until my daughter falls asleep. I am tired myself so I feel I am trying to force them to sleep so I can do what I need to do then go to sleep myself. Maybe I will just bring a book to read so I am not just waiting for her to sleep. I think my daughter has some kind of sensory issues or something of the like. She seems to have trouble manging her emotions and she gets scared to be in her room to sleep alone. My two year old on the other hand will just lie down and sleep with no problem. I talked to her doctor but they didn't seem to be concerned. There is something a little off there, but I am not sure what. It doesn't seem too drastic as she does behave normally most of the time. Sometimes I just get so frustrated with her difficult personality. If both of my kids were even tempered it might be a little easier, but I know I still need to work on myself. I have just been a little depressed these last few weeks and having negative thoughts, so maybe I am feeling like it is more overwhelming than it is.
Thank you for the book recommendations. I have also had 123 Magic recommended to me by a friend. I am currently rereading How to Talk so Your Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk. That is my favorite so far. I have a long list of parenting books to read: The out of Sync Child, The Explosive Child, The Spirited Child. I am hoping for some insight on what is causing her issues and how to better deal with them. I will also work on adding more routines of spending time focused on the kids everyday like more stories, crafts, games, etc. I do these once in a while.
I can't suggest anything as far as Gentle Discipline, because I find myself yelling over the kids when they are screaming and running and not doing gentle discipline, but I can suggest some stuff for a more thorough routine. I wrote out a list of the things I figured my day should consist of and at what times it should happen. Breakfast time is almost always at the same time everyday, because they get up at the same time pretty consistently. When I do breakfast, I make sure to set a timer to remind me of the next thing on my list for the time that was listed. (cleanup is usually 15 minutes before lunch) I also set a timer for their cleanup and remind them of the time. Take away all distractions(television, remind them to pick up and not play, give an incentive of a yummy snack shortly after lunch). Not sure what to do so that they don't doddle during lunch, but they usually sit at the table and just eat. Set timer for when nap time should start. And on through the day. It works so well and they are alot more mellow with their routine. My 2 year old DD looks forward to nap time and my son usually just lays quietly in my room and watches cartoons. It's downtime so he can rest. The only really crazy time is when DH comes home between 5-6PM and they get so hyped up and excited and sometimes my routine gets disrupted because of it, but they end up going to bed around the same time every night. Do your kids go to bed at the same time as each other? I learned that putting them in the same room while the other is still awake makes for a stressful, and grumpy evening for me because they will play and talk. DD goes to bed an hour before DS 1) because she's younger and requires more sleep and 2) so they don't take until 11PM to go to sleep. They take baths on different nights than each other, unless they both wind up significantly dirty. This helps so that I can have one picking up while I'm bathing the other. I hope this didn't just sound like babbling. The listed routine and times works really well and I would recommend it for anyone that needs to build a foundation of discipline and routine.
Ack! Went back and read the rest of the responses. I don't have anything new to say so I'll just agree with the rest, you are not a crappy mother, you are a mother that is struggling against some real challenges that aren't in your control. There is a big difference. Crappy mothers don't care and you obviously care very much.