I have really screwed up my kids already. I have a 4.5 and nearly 3 year old. I feel 'at home' with the UP style as laid out in the book Unconditional Parenting. However, I have NO IDEA how to change myself or transition to that parenting style since I have never experienced it myself. I mean, my parents and in-laws still try to control me and my husband as well as our children and we are 30 and 37 years old!
I have a real problem with anger - it seems to be my one and only emotional expression. If I'm not angry, I am most likely withdrawn. I cannot seem to engage with my daily life or my children or my husband anymore. I don't believe I'm depressed so much as completely tired and upset with myself/my life and I am shutting down because I don't know what to do, just that I need to do something to change it all.
My family does not listen to me - whether I am saying something extremely important or not. For example, I can ask 10 times if anyone would like a snack and get no response. Two things could happen: I fix myself a snack and get crying/yelling from one or both of the kids who want a snack NOW or I go ahead and fix them a snack just in case and they gobble it up without a word to me. Why can't they just tell me if they want a snack? And yes, I am making eye contact, usually physical contact too, when asking, down on their level. They both just turn away or keep talking about whatever it is they want to talk about.
My house is trashed right now because I am the only person who cleans it. I am six weeks away from my due date with pulled groin muscles - I'm not exactly bending down and picking up stuff 24/7. So why can't anyone else put away their things? Why do all the toys get strewn across the house and never put back into the playroom (which hasn't been cleaned in weeks)? I have nearly fallen and/or stepped on something every day and that is not safe!
My husband does not help out with housework or errands or anything unless I get angry and start yelling. He is a good person - he just does not seem aware of the needs of the household. His mother does everything for everyone, never asks for help, never accepts offered help and then will blow her lid every few weeks about 'having to do it all' - then go right back to doing it all without asking for help. I honestly don't think he ever learned to do anything around the house and now I have to suffer the aftermath - NO HELP!
These are just some of things that constantly come up and that I am tired of dealing with - I want to change them! But I really have no honest idea of what to do or how to do anything differently. I also am aware that this post may not make a lot of sense or relate back to the title of the thread.
Well, any information anybody can offer on how they transitioned to a different parenting style (hopefully similar to or full-on UP) would hopefully point me in the right direction for myself and my family, or at least get me thinking. Thanks.
I am sorry that this is such a hard time for you.
It sounds like you need some help. Is there anyone you can ask to come and give you a hand with the kids and house?
Can you sit your dh down and write up a list of what you need from him? I do believe that some people just don't see/know what needs to be done.
Your children are still very young, I wonder if you are expecting too much from them?
I also think that you should go talk to someone about your state of mind. Anger and withdrawal are not healthy for you or your children.
Thank you for writing! I do want to see a therapist/counselor but I don't feel I can start that right now - my husband is possibly accepting a job across the country in the coming weeks, so we'll have to move right after the baby is born. It's a bit overwhelming to add in another thing to do, even if it would help!
My husband has a set list of 'chores' that he is responsible for - he just doesn't always do them. He goes through ups and downs, where he'll remember to clean the kitchen every night, to take out the trash before pick up, etc. Then he'll have the last few weeks where he doesn't do any of it and claims he 'just forgot.' Yes, he probably did but it is the same list of things week after week - shouldn't it become habit after six years?
I may be expecting too much from the kids - I've thought about that as I've been reading different parenting books/articles. Are there resources for what is developmentally and age appropriate?
Wow sister - sounds like a crazy difficult time for you. I'm so sorry. I hope you end up with some good support -both from the people around you and from a good counselor (they are priceless). I've had a lot of help/healing/transformation with something called Inner Healing Prayer. I would find myself being triggered by things - ie: blowing my top or getting really withdrawn or whatever by just random day-to-day things that shouldn't elicit such a strong/deep response. I felt like I wanted to help nurture a more peaceful, joyful, full-of-wonder atmosphere in our home and that I couldn't. I've done a lot of inner healing prayer now (another "method" is called theophostic prayer) and find that the "triggers" are triggering me way less now. Just a thought.
I've been finding, now that I have a 4 1/2 yr old and a 2 1/2 yr old, that it's been consistency over a long period of time that has finally seemed to help my kids. After coaching them time and again, "can you say, 'thank you, mommy.''" That I'm just now starting to hear that with more consistency.I don't even ask my kids if they want a snack. I just give them one around 10am and 3pm. I don't think that they require so many options and being asked about everything when they're little. It just exhausts my emotional supply to be constantly asking them if/what they want. Save the asking for when you think it will really matter. It's so hard when you're already so tired (and in pain - goodness sake!) and with the end-of-pregnancy hormones running full-force with an cross-country move on the horizon - I'm impressed that you haven't killed someone! :)
Be gentle with yourself. The fact that you are having this internal conflict indicates that there's still life inside you, that you are engaged and concerned. Even trying to work on one new thing at a time will help you. It takes time and you can do it. Instead of beating yourself up for not being able to adopt it all right now, encourage yourself with where you'll be a year from now just working on one thing at a time.
Your _ Year Old - by Louise Ames Bates (she writes from a year old to 12 year olds). her observations about what the child is going through is spot on. HOWEVER, these books were written in the 60's. i would not pay attention to her discipline advice.
hopefully for you mama, a new move means a new beginning. since your dh has trouble getting it, i would write down what you would like him to do. write it like you would to a 4 year old. specifics.
you are asking way too much of your 4.5 and 3 year old.
playful parenting works all through the life. you joke to get the kids to join you and help you put the toys away. give them chores to do esp. your 4 year old. perhaps he can help with choosing stuff for the new baby.
and the NO HELP mama. be aware that that is way common than one thinks it is. sad but true.
it is HARD going through a funk. that really, really pulls you down.
i would keep an eye for PPD after the babe is born. you are in such a hard place.
i remember the best advice my mom gave me (at that time i thought she was crazy). she said make sure you take care of yourself BEFORE the baby. put yourself first, not your baby.
YOU are the foundation of the whole family. if you fall apart everything around you goes down with you. there is way too much on your plate. Esp. in your last trimester. gosh you must be sooooo tired mama.
if you cant find anyway to lessen your stress, then you need to look inside and dig in from teh deep well of patience you have within you.
YOU TOOO need your needs met. you need to find a way to not stress so much. children pick up from us when we are most freaked out and then they act out.
Unfortunately, I don't think you can expect kids that age to keep your house clean. The older one is at an age where you should be getting him/her into the habit of keeping things clean, but that involves cleaning with you, not alone. And a 3-year-old is still a toddler. I understand you are overloaded and I agree you need help, but expecting it from them at their ages isn't realistic regardless of parenting style.
Either your husband needs to step up and do more, you need to way relax your standards for a bit (which I'd have a hard time with too), or you need to enlist help, etiher with family who can come in and help or by hiring someone part time to clean once or twice a week. If this were me, I'd tell my husband that either he has to take over the housecleaning for a while due to physical limitations, or you'd have to hire a housekeeper temporarily.