My little boy is 3 1/2. He's the most lovely, sweet, kind little guy, but I'm struggling a lot with his behaviour. The way he needs to control so much of what we (mama, father and little brother) do. And the crying/screaming/hitting/biting that happen when we don't. I feel overwhelmed being the only person able to soothe him.. Often the only person about to talk/help/do things with/for. I feel overwhelmed organising food. DS has obvious behavioural reactions to lots of foods, and we're working on healing his gut health.
I just feel so angry today. I love him so much, but I find myself wishing things were different. I'm resentful that it's so hard. And I find myself blaming him. I know it's not his fault. But sometimes I find myself treating him as though he's doing it on purpose.
I have always been what you would consider an 'attachment parent'. But I find myself yelling and threatening, a desperate attempt to gain some control. I know it doesn't help. I even know what does help (to pre-empt stressful situations, explain what is happening beforehand, help and do what he asks wherever possible, without frustration), but I get so agitated that I can't think straight, and I'm struggling to find ways to calm myself.
To add to it, my DH (who has Aspergers) isn't able to help during the stressful times. He swings between no involvment, and being very frustrated/angry. He always feels DS is being spoilt, and I should do less for him (so he will learn that tantrums wont get him anywhere). We disagree on this. I don't believe DS has that much control over his reactions.
So, what do you do to cope? How do you keep yourself calm? I'm open to any ideas!
I feel you. Sometimes it's just the non-stop nature of it that can be so draining.
You may already be familiar with Dr. Laura Markham: http://www.ahaparenting.com/. I get her daily emails and there is always great stuff in there - reassuring, specific, new, or reminders. She once addressed the issue of everything sounding great in theory but how do you deal with it in the heat of the moment? She said at those moments you have one goal and one goal only: to stay calm. Trite though it may sound, I have found that my stressed out brain can focus on that goal and that it very often works - you only have to stay calm right then, not think about past events or worry about future ones.
Also, remembering to take care of yourself, whatever that means to you. It's not selfish; it's a gift you can give to your child.
Just want to chime in and say I hear you. I know that doesn't help or solve anything, but you are not alone. This isn't your parenting. And it isn't abnormal to feel every single thing you're feeling. I could have written the exact same post.
I'm sorry it's hard. I don't know if there's a local support group, but that might be a place to start. In the meantime, I do hope you find some spark in the day that feels good - a snack, a funny bit of tv, a friend who makes you laugh, a 5 minute bath.
Perhaps try reading The Explosive Child. It was intended for for families with older kids, but the philosophy applies. basically, it has 2 main points: Every child does well if they can. And if they can't, it is due to lacking skills, not intentional nastiness, manipulation, or whatever. I don't have much to say about the scripted techniques in the back of the book. But the general attitude that your child is doing his best really has helped me. The authors put it much better than this.
Hang in there. 3-4 is one of the roughest ages with these kids. My call is that it coincides with developmental stages, as well as our (family, society, school) expectations. After this period, many families have a several year lull, when life is smoother. Not saying it won't be rough again, just that you might get a pause to catch your breath.
I totally agree with the suggestion to carve out some self-care time. If Dad can cover for a weekly afternoon break, a few hours out with friends or alone might make all the difference.
Rhu - mother,grandmother,daughter,sister,friend-foster,adoptive,and biological;not necessarily in that order. Some of it's magic, some of it's tragic, but I had a good life all the way (Jimmy Buffet)
Thanks, Batlmom. I've subscribed to the Ahaparenting daily emails. Thank you! I've also found one called enjoyparenting.com, that's helping me a lot.
I do get time to go out by myself on the weekends. But none at home, to relax and do my own thing. It's hard because DS doesn't really like going anywhere without me, but we're going to work on that so I can get some time to myself at home.
I haven't read The Explosive Child, but it has been recommended to me a few times. I'll order it. Thanks for the suggestion.
Thanks everyone for replying. It's been such a rough week. I know it wont last forever, it can just be tough in the middle of it.