How do you repair your relationship after a bad day of parenting? - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-16-2013, 08:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ds (20 months) and I have had some challenging days lately. He's been sick since late November, sleeping poorly, and trying to adjust to a new baby sister (almost 3 months). His language skills are very strong, so I think I tend to expect him to be able to cope better than is developmentally appropriate. He's been a challenge for me since birth smile.gif but lately I've felt like I really should have done better for him. I feel like our interactions have been leaning toward the negative.
I know I'm not alone in having these days. I was just wondering what are your favorite ways to reconnect and restore the warm fuzziness.

me: C (33), wife to P (35), mom to peanut butter angel1.gif (1/10), porky jog.gif(5/11), and dumplin' baby.gif(10/12).

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Old 01-17-2013, 07:44 AM
 
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Hi there!  I call my Little Miss "peanut butter" as well. 

 

When we've had a particularly bad day, and it's been just several hours of me yelling "NO!" at her and I don't feel like we've connected on any kind of positive level in hours or days, the first thing I do is take a break.  Off to Papa she goes.  I actually get a break every night, and every weekend.  She's clingy, and oh boy do I need those breaks. 

Once I'm ready to like her again (I always love her, but there are times when I really don't like her very much.) I re-insert myself into the family dynamic (Translation:  Put the now-empty wine bottle in recycling and log out of Pinterest.) and engage her.  If she's ready to deal with me (and sometimes she isn't, and it might hurt my feelings, but I probably hurt her feelings too) then I'll give a hug, and we do something we both like to do together.  Usually this just means go outside and lounge around in the sun like plants. 

Just remember, they get sick of us too.  smile.gif
 


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Old 01-17-2013, 09:42 AM
 
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A timely topic indeed!  I had a horrible evening with my son last night.

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Old 01-17-2013, 01:11 PM
 
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I would say try to get a break- some time to yourself to regroup- and then try to have someone else watch the baby so you can give the toddler total focused attention for a coule of hours. don't do anything else but focus on them- play with toys, snuggle, read books, just be really focused and attentive and that helps to reconnect and calm them down.

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Old 01-17-2013, 05:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I had been using bedtime as a time to hit the reset button. But now ds has started to really resist bedtime, going nuts when I tell him we are all done reading books. I have been trying to get him to fall asleep without one of us actually laying in bed with him, just sitting in a chair. I think he may not be ready for this transition. I think he is reacting to dh and I trying to push him toward increased independence while he is also adjusting to sharing me with dd. I need to step back from my frustration and help him cope when he loses it. He responds really well to physical affection, but when he is tantrumming, I have been avoiding physical affection because I don't want him to see it as a reward. Really I think he needs to be held and hugged when he's falling apart to help him regulate.

I like the idea of going outside and snuggling. We have a hammock that he likes to sit in. Reading books together, playing with bubbles in the bathtub, making play dough "cookies" are all things he loves to do with me. I need to find some time when I don't have to leave the activity before he is ready. Ah well. Work in progress.

me: C (33), wife to P (35), mom to peanut butter angel1.gif (1/10), porky jog.gif(5/11), and dumplin' baby.gif(10/12).

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Old 01-17-2013, 06:26 PM
 
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oh-- do not avoid loving  physical contact with your baby ever!!! please!!!!!

He should receive loving affection and cuddles whether he is behaving badly or not. You should not be teaching him that he only gets affection when he is "good".

I am glad you are here seeking advice and trying to do the right thing for your child. But witholding affection as punishment for a young child is not a good method!!!!!

 

Love him , give him attention, remember that he is still a baby too and try to prolong his babyness as long as you can rather than pushing independence too soon.

 

please please give him focused loving attention and snuggles regardless of how he acts. Try to learn other methods to handle the behavioral issues- perhaps you could look in the gentle discipline section here.

 

please . thanks!

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Old 01-17-2013, 11:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think I may have made it sound like I was refusing to give him affection any time he was upset. I agree 100% that affection shouldn't be withheld from a child. What I meant is I've found myself getting so out of sorts with his tantrumming that it's been hard for me to give him what I know he needs. I guess I'm just sort of "thinking out loud" in order to reset my intentions as a parent. He is a challenging child to parent, as I'm sure most kids are at various points. I know I won't be able to do it right every moment of every day, but after the past week or so, I am really feeling the need to take a step back remember how to do it better.

me: C (33), wife to P (35), mom to peanut butter angel1.gif (1/10), porky jog.gif(5/11), and dumplin' baby.gif(10/12).

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Old 01-18-2013, 07:51 AM
 
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Good luck! I think the fact that you are thinking about how to balance it and be the best mom to your kids you can is great.

I also realize that little segments on mdc can be easily misinterpreted when I have no idea of the big picture so I am sorry if I jumped to false conclusions!

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Old 01-18-2013, 08:08 AM
 
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I so need this thread right now. I had such an awful day with my 15 month old yesterday. Awful. I felt ashamed of myself for yelling and upsetting her worse when she was already feeling upset. I think she's teething again after a 5 month hiatus. There was so much whining. gloomy.gif The sound was grating on my last nerve and I had a lot of housework to get done and errands to run so I wasn't able to sit on the floor and reconnect with her at her pace. We have our worst days when I feel rushed and I'm trying to "make" her do things.

I'm up early this morning, taking some time by myself to re-center and my goal for today is to go at her pace as much as possible and give myself some room to stay connected. luxlove.gif My poor little muffin deserves better than a crabby momma. 


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Old 01-18-2013, 11:51 AM
 
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Regroup, recharge, and then give him a huge time in - your undivided attention. One of my favorite things to do is make him king for an hour. Within reason, whatever he says goes. Cookies? Sure! Park? No problem! Digging in the dirt? Ok! I make it clear this is a special treat, an exception. He loves it and I find it makes him less demanding the rest of the time.
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Old 01-18-2013, 02:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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UGH.  Feeling so defeated right now.  Dh was out of town, so his parents took ds for a couple of nights so I didn't have to handle both of them alone during the night.  Ds still wakes like 5 times a night screaming.  I felt like I was recharged and ready to handle each thing he threw at me in a positive manner, and I did, until nap time.  I now suspect that he slept in the car on the way home and grandpa didn't tell me about it.  At this point ds now wants to be held until he falls asleep. I would, too, I guess.  The problem is that I just can't do that.  I can sit in the room with him, pat his back, sing to him, whatever else.  But I can't hold him for the entire time it takes him to wind down and fall asleep. I have another child. A tiny baby that needs my attention, too. I bring her in the room in her rocker, and if the stars align, she is quiet and happy or asleep during the time that it takes him to go down, but today she wasn't.  She was fussy and needed to be held.  After 2 hours of alternating between calming her and then holding him, each time listening to him scream when I had to pick her up I finally yelled at him and he started kicking me and trying to kick the baby.  I told him I had to leave because I couldn't let him hurt us.  He screamed for a couple of minutes while I caught my breath and then passed out from exhaustion.  Right now I just feel like I can't give him what he needs without neglecting dd.  I don't know how to handle nap time differently  He doesn't sleep when he needs to, has to be helped to sleep every time.  His grandparents let him stay up "until he gets tired," which apparently wasn't until 10 the past couple of nights. irked.gif  When he gets over tired, he has night terrors.

 

Maybe some one else can see some alternative that I am missing?  Please no flames for how I handled things. I know it went poorly.   

 

I'm hoping dh will be able to come home early from work so that I can give ds my full attention this evening.  I like the idea of king for an hour, but I don't think he'll understand that quite yet.  I'll let him choose between shaving cream in the bath tub or making cookies and we'll just keep doing what he wants until (oh horror) bedtime.  Poor little guy. 


me: C (33), wife to P (35), mom to peanut butter angel1.gif (1/10), porky jog.gif(5/11), and dumplin' baby.gif(10/12).

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Old 01-18-2013, 03:38 PM
 
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hugs to you mama! I have no advice as I only have one child but I wanted to send you sympathy and a cyber hug and support- you are doing a good job!!! It is hard. I hope some other moms of more than one have advice for you.

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Old 01-18-2013, 03:48 PM
 
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hug2.gif

 

 

I really doubt your son is doing any of what he's doing with the intention of driving you stark-raving mad, but the fact is, he's driving you stark raving mad.  You've made it longer than I would, I'll bet. 

I don't see the problem with having a heart-to-heart here.  If that was my boy, I'd sit his little butt down with a cookie and explain that Mama was about to trade him for a case of wine was really sad that Papa was gone too, and Mama needed his help.  I'd explain that when he yells at night, it doesn't help, and in fact, it makes Mama sad.

 

My SIL tried something similar on her slightly older son in the same kind of circumstances,  with good results.

 

But if that fails, give him back to those grandparents! 

You are doing a good job.  Keep going.


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Old 01-18-2013, 10:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I work with kids in my profession (that thing I used to do everyday before 2 little ones that seems like a distant memory). I was thinking, what would I tell a parent if they were asking me what to do with their child who was behaving similarly? First I would ask them if their expectations were developmentally appropriate. I think I really need to examine that myself. I think he has some sensory issues that are making it even harder for him to cope. Then I would probably suggest a social story to support more positive behaviors and interactions. Duh! So I'm going to write a couple of social stories for him on the subjects of nap/rest, night wakings, and patience with mama and baby sister. I'm going to have them printed up in a photo book with pictures of him doing great things. I think he will at least be excited to read books about himself, and maybe the message will sink in. We'll see. Bedtime tonight went pretty well even though he was asleep 40 minutes after he should have been. I'll take that over and scream fest any night. He's such a sweet little darlin'. I just hate to see him upset so much of the time. Thanks for the support!

me: C (33), wife to P (35), mom to peanut butter angel1.gif (1/10), porky jog.gif(5/11), and dumplin' baby.gif(10/12).

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Old 01-19-2013, 12:32 AM
 
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Mrs Gregory, you crack me up. Thanks for that.

 

I have now raised and survived three toddlers. I get to go through it again here in a few months, yippie! lol

 

3 kids age 3 and under...oh Tek. I was there. 2 toddlers and a newborn? ugh.. I have the gray hairs to prove it.

 

How I got through it was:

I picked my battles. So many of the battles do revolve around sleep. Isn't that crazy?

 

Two of my babes were done with naps by the time they were 13 months or so. After that it became a power struggle nearly every day..I got 12 hours a day of straight kid-a-palooza. If I tried to lay them down for a nap than all hell broke loose. Maybe start 'resting' time instead of nap time if its a struggle?

 

Now we have 'quiet time'. 1 hour of pure quietness on their bed. They can read, write, play with a couple softies, or color but they must.be.quiet or its nap in bed the rest of the hour.

Done the same time every day, just as nap time. They don't have to be asleep, but they do need to be quiet and on their bed.

 

I dropped the mama guilt. Yes, its still there rearing its ugly head every time I turn around. But really, just telling myself "I am doing the best I can do" while locking myself in the bathroom for a breather is just the ticket sometimes.

If the kids tantrumned and screamed then that was better than me tantruming and screaming. Remember that.

 

This is about all I can remember from that hazy time of my life. Just giving some support more than anything else. It was the hardest time of my life having those three so close together. You will get through it, and be so thankful you did.

 

 

Oh, for night bed time...Routine, routine, routine.

My two toddlers use to have a horrid habit of jumping on the bed and running around when I announced "bed time"! This was after all of our lovely bed time routines.We co-slept but there comes a time (especially with a newborn) that you cant lay them down to bed every night,and stay there until they drift off to dreamland..not to mention its a waste of time when they are being well...bratty.....and refusing to calm down so they can sleep.

 

So...

I modified a super nanny trick and it was the only thing that worked, and I am pleased to say that 6 years later I have not ever had a problem with bed time since. But it was a traumatic three nights...

Ok...Flame suit donned..and here goes:

After many repeated requests for them to calm down and lay down on the bed (in which they ignored, tantrumed, jumped on the bed etc)

I told them that I was not going to come and lay down with them until they were laying on the bed quietly.

I gave them one last chance.

Then I closed the baby gate to their room and left the room.

 

Uh..All hell broke loose.

Screams and weeping and wailing and gnashing of the teeth..

I steadied my nerves, held my husbands hand, and watched the clock count 3 minutes. It was the hardest 3 minutes of my life. They were HOWLING. They could see me, but they couldnt get to me. I told them "Girls, lay on the bed and I will come right in!"

They kept at it.

Finally after 3 minutes they got on the bed and *sobbing* said "We quiet mama."

I came in, gave them hugs and water and laid with them and began reading their book.

 

The next night...same bad behavior. Tantrum, refusing to lay down. I warned them I was going to leave the room if they did not lay down.

Again, no response.

So I shut the baby gate and left the room.

Even WORSE fit than the night before.

They could see me down the hall (watching the clock- less than 7 feet away from them) and I told them again "Lay down on the bed and I will come lay with you."

It went on for FIVE minutes and was just a terrible frenzy worse than the night before...It was harder the second night than the first even for me.

 

but then they got in their bed and laid down.

 

Night three?

Same scenerio, but only 3 minutes that night.

 

Night four?

Only had to give the warning that they needed to lay down so we could read books and they could go to sleep.

 

And just like that, they were trained to go to sleep without tantrums.

 

I share this, not because I think its the perfect way (hey, I wont know that until I get my kids therapy bills)...but they weren't harmed, it was 11 hard minutes of their life until they learned that mama wasn't joking...but man if it didn't make all of our lives better..

At 8, 7 and 5 they know when I say that it is bed time, its time for us to do our routine, get in to bed and read for a bit until lights out. I think me putting my foot down on what was acceptable early on, helped shape that.

 

 

Just my opinion, and I wish you the best in whatever you do. Its all hard, but so worth it :)

 

 

After a few good nights rest, you may be suprised how much smoother the whole house runs not having to worry about the bed time ordeal monster. I think thats the best repair you can have.


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Old 01-19-2013, 07:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the advice on the bedtime routine and the support. I have tried a version of your technique. For us it's, "if you don't stop (pulling my hair, kicking me, rubbing your elbow in my eye...), I can't lay down with you." He doesn't do all that to hurt, they are sensory seeking behaviors that he has done since he was an infant. They are more annoying than painful. I really want to set strong boundaries for him, but it's a struggle because he gets so upset and disregulated that we are setting the clock for actually calming down back at least a half hour.

I like the reminder that it's better for him to be screaming and tantrumming than me. Very true. I think a big part of getting through this is knowing that if I can just get through the tantrums without losing it myself, that is a success right there.

And I do need to let go of the guilt. The guilt of having another baby sooner than I intended, the guilt of dd getting less attention and stimulation than ds did at this age, the guilt of deciding to send him to school so that I don't go out of my freaking mind...I am lucky to have the option of leaving him at school through nap time on the 3 days per week that he has been going to mdo. I'm going to try that starting Feb 1st. And I'm going to try to feel good about it.

me: C (33), wife to P (35), mom to peanut butter angel1.gif (1/10), porky jog.gif(5/11), and dumplin' baby.gif(10/12).

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Old 01-20-2013, 03:19 AM
 
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Tek, big hugs.

Right now you are at the hardest point in your parenting career...Once you sail through this, you'll be able to handle ANYTHING. :)

You take care of yourself, and that beautiful family!


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Old 01-20-2013, 04:59 PM
 
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Oh my god, this thread helps my heart. All of the moms I see in real life act like their kids never drive them crazy. Much love to you momma, thanks for being real.
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Old 01-21-2013, 11:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, I see a fair number of moms irl who don't seem fazed, and maybe they aren't.  But I always feel better when I talk about the things I'm struggling with.  I am in a neighborhood mom's group, and sometimes I feel like a complainer, so I don't share that often.  That's why I love MDC.  

 

Nap time went so smoothly today.  I gave him lots of verbal prep (in ten minutes we will go read books in your bed), and let him choose an animal to take to bed.  In the past he has never been interested or attached to any inanimate object, never had a lovey despite how hard I tried to get him to take to one, but he has started to really get into pretend play on his own.  So today he chose a monkey and we let monkey choose the books before nap.  I told him he needed to tell the monkey how many books we always read before we lay down, and he said, "two books, monkey!"  Then we put the monkey to sleep before ds lay down.  He protested a little, but there was no screaming.  I told him how well he was slowing his body down.  He looked at me, asked for kisses on both arms, I stroked his nose three times, he closed his eyes, and they stayed that way!  It definitely helped that dd was sleeping, but even so this was way easier than any nap time in weeks.  I'm sure none of these tactics will work again, but hopefully if I can give him a bit of control over the situation in different ways, things will continue to go a bit more smoothly.    


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Old 01-21-2013, 12:42 PM
 
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Tekcez- Glad nap time went well today! Both my boys are sleeping right now and wow, I'm loving the silence! Well, the newbie just started stirring so I guess it's over.... My 2 yo drove me crazy this afternoon when he woke up the 2 mo after he finally fell asleep. The kid just doesn't understand that when DS2 is asleep, DS1 will get cuddles and milk. NO matter how often I repeat (and sometimes yell greensad.gif) it to him. Blah. 

 

Anyway, I totally understand your feelings! My mom stayed at home AND homeschooled my 7 siblings and I so when I want to send my toddler to preschool to help with the craziness in my house, I feel very wimpy. Have to remind myself I'm a different person than my mom! 

 

Keep going, we can do this! I would like to say though, I am very confident now in our decision to stop after 2 kids. I sure can't handle any more without hurting them! shy.gif


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Old 01-21-2013, 01:18 PM
 
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Ya'know, I'm not on the earth to play;  I do my best to keep my house clean, my family well fed, my child "enriched" and my lipstick fresh, however, despite my high standards for myself and my friends, I don't want people in my life that are going to constantly pretend it's easy.  Because it ain't.  If your IRL circle can't trade tips on how to handle the not-so-fabulous days, and there are many of them, may I sweetly suggest you shop for some new friends?  Personally, I am there to support my friends, so if you had the worst day ever, I want to hear it.  Let's talk it out, let's get some suggestions out there, let's move on and feel better.  You deserve support in "real life" too.  hug2.gif
 


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Old 01-21-2013, 03:38 PM
 
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Hi ladies,
I hope you don't mind me joining in, I'm new to this site. I don't have any friends that are mothers and I'm struggling a little bit with my 3 year old, I've recently been made redundant from my job and I'm a little bit stressed out and I feel like my son is reacting to this by acting up at times. And I feel so bad about it all, my other half is great, but I don't get to have a lot of adult conversation (the mums at the nursery are twice my age, I'm 23 and they aren't very accepting of me) so I feel quite alone, and need to try and do more fun things with my boy, we go on lots of walks because we live in the country side but I feel like I should try new things and try to meet people, but since I've lost my job I've lost a lot of confidence greensad.gif I'm sorry for the essay but any advice would be greatly received! Thank you x
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Old 01-24-2013, 08:39 PM
 
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This makes me think of something a Mama friend of mine said once. She says she imagines her kids have a 'love tank', and that when their tank is running 'low', thats when she notices that they are acting out, are out of sorts, or that she doesnt quite feel connected to them. So she spends time with them, doing things that make them feel loved and attached, to fill their 'tanks' back up.

 

This actually makes perfect sense to me, and I noticed it with my son. For my DS, nursing, or sitting and spending time playing trains with him is a sure fire way to fill up his love tank, and it helps me feel like we are balanced and in tune with each other.
 


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