My Challenge, My Love - Page 5 - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
Old 10-19-2005, 02:13 PM
 
Magella's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 2,445
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Yes, Bearsmama, keep going strong. You're getting advice now from people who are well-intentioned but not familiar with your struggles. Please keep on knowing that you did not create the challenges. You are definitely on the right track.
Magella is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 10-19-2005, 02:36 PM
 
MsMoMpls's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Twin Cities
Posts: 1,993
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)



Bearsmama is so brave to do her struggles in our public forum- she can take it.

Maureen
MsMoMpls is offline  
Old 10-19-2005, 03:36 PM
 
Magella's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 2,445
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
ITA! She is so brave! Bearsmama,
Magella is offline  
Old 10-19-2005, 08:49 PM
 
TEAK's Mom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Juneau, AK
Posts: 2,231
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Bears, I'm just stopping by to send some hugs and to soak up some of the understanding that tends to pervade this thread. You must be made of steel. We're in a pretty good patch right now and I am really trying to appreciate it and not be afraid of what could be coming next.

Not much time since we're on vacation and this is a borrowed computer...
TEAK's Mom is offline  
Old 10-20-2005, 03:42 AM
 
Jewish Mom's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 38
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I've read through most of the thread and many good ideas have been shared. Firstly I think we need to all give OURSELVES pats on the back!! ...just by being on this forum says mountains of positive energy and hope!!

I hope I am not being redundant, but I have included some thoughts. (disclamor: I hope these ideas don't come across as if to undersestimate the huge and difficult situations we sometimes encounter..)

My goal each day is to minimize my goals to the minimum!! I try not to add much more than: relaxed Mom and attention/ patience for children. I pray. with or without words.. usually without.. for sanity and patience with children (my hubbie is an adult.. he doesn't 'need' patiene )

to the extent that I do not go out every day (I know not all personalities can do this easily)

I don't even have dinner, clean house and laundry on my list.. I only do them as extra curricular activities; if I'm not too worn out or tierd at end of day.. my husband is a self sufficient adult t.g.! (shouldn't he be the one to make dinner??!)

...and finally, I splurge on help! We don't do vactions (sometimes road trips to visit parents), I very rarely shop for expensive things; our main expenses are electric and food, etc..no, we don't live in a hovel; I hope I'm not oversymplifying.. (my children are all at home, none at school for religios reasons.)

When things get stressed out around here it's because I'm adding too much for my list for the moment... perhaps others can balance more.. this has come up in conversation with my hubbie and I remind him as 'comapassionately' as possible that I'm just a bit less frazzled than the pple. that he's thinking of that 'can' handle more... regardless, I try hard not to allow myself to compare our/my situation to other families!! VERY IMPORTANT though also hard sometimes. I've decided to do less and have the most relaxed environment at home possible. This is most important to me for now!!! I don't even do the grocery shopping, usually. I give my husband choice: either I'll do it and he'll babysit, or I'll babysit he'll shop with a list.. ANOTHER BIGGIE: (though not always feasible!! I know) I try immensly to avoid any challenging situations - shopping with kids is a big nono for us! (though of course it sometimes happens..)

oh by the way, I rarely give baths. VERY VERY SHORT hair HELPS, and as far as washing face for now what is working here is the choice: either child uses damp rag to do it independently or Mom does it... if I do it I do it quickly and if there's screaming... well I've been rambling for a while so I'll just end by saying (I know it's hard! forgive me for this 'nasty' word) compassionate consistency. No, I'm not alway consistent ..I'm sure you wouldn't imagine I would be, just thought I'd crack a joke!)

one more, when a scream is coming, I try to think of a 'big' word that could size up how my son is feeling; he likes to learn and say big words... so when he doesn't get something that he usually gets, as he's getting upset I try to help him put he's feelings into words, like, "I like consistency!" or "That is frusterating!!" and then he'll be busy trying to say that word at least for 2 seconds

..as for books, I know we're all short for time and several have been mentioned, but I'll add my favorite: HOW TO TALK SO KIDS WILL LISTEN AND HOW TO LISTEN SO KIDS WILL TALK by adele faber and elaine mazlish -they also have a great one on sibling rivalry. What's best about these books is that you can really read them in only a half hour!! there's lots of CARTOONS and even if you only read the cartoons and skip everything else it will be time and money well spent and you can even find the book in half priced store. also, I know that there is a great interactive video series that can be borrowed from library on this book. the ideas mentioned here are amazingly simple and basic and can be applied to all relationships!!!

GOOD LUCK and give yourself a pat on the back at the beginning and end of everyday! also, the best advice I ever got: make it in your routine to take time for only mom (and nursling if ness.) for at least20 min. sometime before noon! find a way before hubby goes to work or whatever... so sorry for not controlling this rambling!
Jewish Mom is offline  
Old 10-21-2005, 12:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
Bearsmama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 4,628
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Hi Mamas,

Thanks for the replies, Carole & Jewish Mom & oliviagodess.

And THANK YOU to my friends, Breathe, Maureen, sledg, TEAKS for your continued support and love I honestly continue to be amazed by how much you ladies "get it". I really never imagined how important this community would become in my life. Over 3 years from first logging on, I'm still amazed.

Well, what I really wish for during weeks like this one is perspective and the ability to know that "this too shall pass". We came off a horrible weekend of Bears exhibiting out of control behavior. This happened to coincide with him being sick, which after almost 4 YEARS OF BEING HIS PARENT I should realize. All of a sudden about 2 days ago, I started to see his mood "lift". With Bears, it literally is that dramatic. I can look at him in the morning and know what I have in store for me throughout the day. And I don't know if that in and of itself is "normal". Like are *most* kids soooo affected by their current physical/health state? He can never just say to me, Mom, I feel like crud.

So, of course, the underlying spiritedness and challenging behavior is still there every day. But I can see him come back to himself sometimes, it's really, really weird. I feel that I can connect with him again and that we're getting back into a groove. Now, I know better than to think that this will last too long! I take each day that isn't poke-my-eyes-out hard as a gift. And perhaps I have to look at things like this all the time with Bears.

Hope that was clear, ladies.
Bearsmama is offline  
Old 10-21-2005, 01:19 PM
 
Magella's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 2,445
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bearsmama
Like are *most* kids soooo affected by their current physical/health state? He can never just say to me, Mom, I feel like crud.
Well, my dd1 is usually very much affected by her physical state. She is now often able to say when something specific hurts or is bothering her (throat hurts, tired, stuffy nose, belly hurts), but just as often doesn't. She may or may not even be able to say if she's hungry or thirsty (which are states that also affect her behavior and mood). Sometimes now she can say she doesn't feel right but she doesn't know how to describe it. And whether or not she can articulate what's bothering her, she gets crabby: yelling, hitting, whining, refusing to do what she needs to do, sometimes a tantrum (thank goodness those happen so much less often now). She's always been that way. When she was younger it was so much worse. And it used to be that the first interaction or two in the morning was an excellent indicator of whether the day was going to be hellish or not.

But then again, my other kids also get crabby and behave in less-than-angelic ways when they're tired/hungry/don't feel good and just as often don't or can't articulate how they feel. And so do I. So does dh. There are days (not all days, but some) that I only know I'm hungry/need to eat when I notice myself getting cranky with the kids, or only notice I'm starting to feel sick when I'm feeling impatient and start snapping at them. Or I'm only aware of how stressed/upset I am about something else when I find myself yelling at someone. Dh has had an enormous amount of back pain from which he is finally recovering, and it has been amazing to see the change in his demeanor since he started to get better. He was so very cranky and impatient when his pain was bad, and he didn't realize how bad the pain was until he started feeling better. It just came out in his behavior and mood. So I think that it's human nature for our behavior to be noticeably affected by our physical state, and that like anything else there's a spectrum of this along which different people fall-with some people's behavior usually only barely affected, some people's behavior usually very dramatically affected, and some people in between.

Oh, and as far as saying you should be able to know these things after 4 years of being his parent....well, there's a lot I should know after 6 years of being my dd1's parent but forget when the day is tense. People think less clearly when under stress or upset. So when we're having a really bad day, often I do forget things like why my kids might be doing what they're doing or the better ways I could handle things. Though maybe I should (thou shalt not should on thyself) be always thinking of all possible underlying causes of behavior, the fact is that when the going is really tough I often don't see them all or even most of them. This is why calming down is so important, and why discussing problems after everyone is calm is so much more effective than trying to address problems while they're happening, and why working out a plan before things get crazy is so helpful. Hey, you're human.
Magella is offline  
Old 10-21-2005, 03:03 PM
 
TEAK's Mom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Juneau, AK
Posts: 2,231
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I don't know how many times I have been at the absolute end of my rope only to discover the next morning that TEAK was getting sick. Of course, now I sometimes make false predictions that she is getting sick when, in fact, she is just having a hard day. Oh well...

My one bit of progress has been that I finally realized a few months ago that she was getting practically psychotic at the same times every day and that when I gave her a snack a little bit before, she stayed more mellow. She just needs food way more frequently than her peers.

I guess this is my way of saying that this thread has taught me a lot about just seeing MY child and not some other standard or ideal.

Now, back to my regularly scheduled lurking.
TEAK's Mom is offline  
Old 10-21-2005, 03:29 PM
 
Magella's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 2,445
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by TEAK's Mom
I guess this is my way of saying that this thread has taught me a lot about just seeing MY child and not some other standard or ideal.
And isn't that really just about the most important part of parenting? No matter what your child's temperament, personality or abilities?
Magella is offline  
Old 10-27-2005, 10:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
Bearsmama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 4,628
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Hi Mamas,

Still awaiting some info from a few local specialist/groups for helping Bears.

You know, I think as parents, we never want to admit that anything is *really* wrong. Like I KNOW there's some problem here, and perhaps much of it has to do with how DH and I are handling the issues. But still there's the eternal optimist part of my brain (can you believ that? ) that always thinks, after about two days of semi-normal behavior, that all is well. And that perhaps we are overreacting or something. Well, that happened this week b/c for a few days I felt that we were temporarily out of the woods, so to speak. I enjoyed Bears' company. I looked forward to being with him. I was excited again to be his parent. And then all the S&**T hits the fan again and I'm back where I started.

Anyway, my reason for coming on tonight is to ask for some suggestions for managing my fury (yes, sometimes it does seem like fury) at Bears. Like, real-deal TIPS on when my anger is rising in my throat and I'm about to hurl expletives, like today. I've probably asked this before, but I need it again ladies.

Hope ya'll are doing well.
Bearsmama is offline  
Old 10-28-2005, 01:56 AM
 
MsMoMpls's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Twin Cities
Posts: 1,993
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Hi dear, It sometimes feels like you knock on my brain about this time of night. I love how you think. I love how honest you are. I love your realness!!!

Anger? I have this whole speech about your lymbic system- your reptilian brain but not sure I can do it online...

Make a fist. Your arm is your brain stem, spinal column. That takes care of reflexes, pulls your hand out of the fire so to speak, no thought- just neural activity.

Then there is the fat part of your palm, your brain stem. This makes sure you breath and your heart pumps and stuff. If this is the only thing working, we call you a vegtable.

Then there is your thumb tucked into your hand. This is your limbic system, your reptile brain. All a reptile wants to do is have sex and stay alive. Not a bad life, but kind of driven and intense. This is your fears and urges. This is fight or flight. Some people have very intense fear responses, either angry or frightened.

On top of this is the cerebral cortex, all your fingers of your thinking, intelligent brain are wrapped over your lymbic system. No matter how many parenting books your cerebral cortex reads, your fears and rage are interfering with your thoughts. So- when you feel threatened, your fear and anger takes over to protect you from the horrible thing you are facing. It is hard to have intelligent thought when you are fighting for your life.

So, why does Bears make you feel threatened? Why is your fight or flight response parenting him? You have to start turning off the fire alarm and going into your planfull thinking brain in order to be the parent you want to be. You have to take a deep breath, find your plan and respond the way you chose to respond, not how you "feel" like responding.

Get anything out of this? I think I even confused myself. It actually works for me. I can almost feel my panic and then say "Hey, this isn't a crisis" and then parent.

Hope this helps. If you find it helpful, Parenting from the Inside Out is great for understanding brain development- both ours as parents and theirs as new brains.

Maureen
MsMoMpls is offline  
Old 10-28-2005, 11:45 AM
 
Magella's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 2,445
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My tricks for managing my anger, which is sometimes rage (less often now than it used to be), really all boil down to finding a way to pause before reacting. A deep breath, reminders hung up around the house to calm down, counting so that there is time between what happens and when I speak or act, going to another room to sit (yes, they follow me and if I really need to not speak or do anything I just tell them I can't talk until I calm down and ignore their tantrums/protests/questions until I am calm enough to interact-it's not ideal but it's better than lashing out at them). What I've got hanging up right now to help me remember to pause is a picture of a stoplight. My dd1 is learning, in kindergarten, a 6-step problem solving formula which is really pretty amazing. Step 1 is to calm down, and the teachers are using breathing techniques to help the children calm down. This step is so important because people cannot think clearly when upset (as Maureen addressed in her post). The teachers use a picture of a stoplight to teach problem solving, with the red light representing the step of calming down and articulating the problem, yellow light representing thinking of possible solutions and evaluating them, and the green light representing making a plan and trying it. This is a helpful image for me, even with all the other tricks I've learned for calming down. It's simple. Feeling angry, red light, breathe. (I wish someone, anyone, had taught me this when I was little.)

In that very important pause between feeling and reacting, I'm often able to see more clearly why I am feeling the way I do and see what I need to do. There's a book that articulates quite clearly what I'm describing. It's called Waking Up to What You Do, and the author so clearly captures what can happen in that pause between feeling and reacting. I read it after I already figured this out and loved how clearly she articulated it. She calls it the Dead Spot, and the Dead Spot is full of potential. The trick is to learn to pause there, which is often a very uncomfortable place to be, and experience it fully. To fully experience the feelings and urges without acting on them, to just sort of listen to them or rest there in them without judging them (no "I'm such a bad person for feeling so angry" just "I feel angry"). It is in this pause that I have confronted (and accepted and understood) some of the most difficult of my own feelings, attitudes and desires and then been able to let go of them in order to see (the solutions, my children, their needs, etc.) clearly.

It's odd that of course we as parents face challenges that are out of our control, and yet simply learning how to handle ourselves and our reactions can make all the difference in how those challenges affect us and in turn how our behavior affects our children. It's an intricate dance, with our own psyches and the challenges that come from without inextricably intertwined. Managing ourselves isn't always the solution by itself, but is usually a big part of it.

ETA: I thought a personal example of what I do might help. I've learned so much about my own anger, and it has helped me so much. So once I got the hang of just pausing (breathe, count, whatever) before speaking or acting when I felt angry, I found I could just pay attention to the feelings I was having without having to rush to do something (yes, I sometimes had to chose to not do anything for a few moments or minutes-as long as there was no need to save my child from danger doing nothing was a viable option, and I could talk to my child(ren) about what happened later on when we were all calm). Sort of like "Oh, I'm feeling angry. Hello, angry, how are ya today? Let's just hang out for a bit." And as I first calmed down then paid attention I would start to realize that I was angry not so much because my dd made me angry, but because of something deeper going on inside me. Like this line of thought: "I'm so angry I can't speak to my dd or be affectionate. I can't speak because I'm afraid I'll say something mean if I do. So angry. Angry because I just want her to do what I say and she won't. It's so frustrating. She doesn't listen. It's like I'm invisible. Just like when I was little and mom never listened to what I was saying and never did what I wanted. And the day would just be so much easier if dd would just cooperate. Why can't I just talk to her calmly? I don't want to give her the silent treatment. I hated it when mom did that to me. I swore I'd never do that. But I'm so angry I don't want to be nice. I want to punish her. I want revenge. Well, that's not going to help. Maybe she'll listen if I calm down, I wouldn't listen to me right now. Oh, hey, I think dd's just thinking (I don't remember what), that's why she didn't do what I wanted. Maybe I can (I don't remember what I did)." This was an extemely uncomfortable experience. Who wants to admit that kind of stuff about themselves? But I cannot tell you how important that was, even if I had to acknowledge some ugly stuff about myself. And ever since that realization, I have not had a problem with not speaking to my dd or not being affectionate when I'm angry (once in awhile the urge comes up, I recognize it, and I let it go). I could see it, acknowledge it, see that it doesn't help, and let it go. Works the same for me when it comes to yelling or just letting go of intense anger-usually both of those come from feeling helpless or wanting control or feeling as though I'm not being heard and taking that personally or something like that, and knowing where it's coming from is part of the long term reduction in anger because it allows me to shift perspective and choose other actions. Not looking at my feelings and understanding them leaves me only the choice of getting stuck in them or stuffing them away for a time. It has taken a lot of practice, but at this point it helps most of the time and doesn't necessarily take very long (we're talking probably just moments of thought, the key is just learning to be aware of what's going on). In some way, not always a profound way, but it always helps to calm me down and get some perspective. And as time goes on, anger is less and less of a problem-I calm down more quickly, I become angry more slowly and less often.
Magella is offline  
Old 10-28-2005, 01:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
Bearsmama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 4,628
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Hi Maureen and sledg-

I just had a minute to check in before going to pick up Bears. I've been able to read Maureen's reply so far, and YES, YES, YES, this helps and makes sense to me.

sledg-I will have to read your full reply later, but thank you, thank you, THANK YOU.

Btw, we have an appointment with a child psych in about a week(came recommended from two people throught a therapist friend of mine). I am having a lot of emotion about this, a lot of sadness for some reason and I have cried a lot in the past two days. But I know we are on the right path.

More when I can...Thank you.
Bearsmama is offline  
Old 10-29-2005, 06:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
Bearsmama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 4,628
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Sledg-I came on today to fully read and understand your post while I had a few minutes of quiet. I can't tell you how helpful your words are. I've told you this before, but your words (and Maureen's and a few other MDC mamas, too!) are sooooo powerful and helpful to me. I don't think I can fully articulate how powerful.

The ugliness of the feelings of rage and meanness I have toward Bears is something that feels really shameful most of the time, and I feel lucky that I have this forum to openly disuss it. We had a yell-free day yesterday. It was great. Of course, there were issues, but they were resolved without much ado and no yelling. Today, I actually had a few hours to myself this morning to do my own thing. And it was so refreshing and energizing and great. I felt like myself. I felt joy and interest and all those things that make up who I am. But then, within about 15 minutes of stepping into this house, I felt again without hope, angered, ashamed, at a loss, helpless b/c of Bears' behavior. His behavior sets a tone in this house. When it is out of control, it sets all these negative wheels in motion. DH and I will start snapping at each other, etc. There seems to be no way to ignore it.

Here's the scene: Neighbor pops over to discuss something. Baby is fine just playing aroound, but Bears cannot fathom someone else having a conversation where he is not the center of it. He's making Tourette's-type noises, squeals, making his toys make big, annoying sounds. I ask him about 3 times to be quiet, please, while neighbor is here. He finally gets a book and takes it to the corner of the rug and starts to read. I watch this, and then I silently "praise" this by going over to him, putting my arm around him and kissing his head. This calm lasts for about 3 minutes. Then, he proceeds to go back to full-tilt volume, climes on top of the cofee table and then under it to move it around with his feet, then goes to the dining room and climbs up on top and sits on the table. Generally making a spectacle of himself. I grab him and say, if you cannot control yourself, I have to take you to your room to play. He jumps out of my arms, grabs a bag of crackers from the kitchen, and swings it full-strength at the sleeping cat in the window seat. I grab him again, telling him that we're going to his room.

You know, I have to stop this. What do the details matter, really? Our lives seem out of control when Bears is out of control. We don't know how to maintain any sort of calmness, or normalcy when he is doing his thing. Which is just freaking out, being annoying, disrespectful, etc. We are a not a "you-do-as-I-say-or-else" household. We're not. But GEEEEEEEZ. Giving him options of where he can go to make noise, redirecting, etc., just never works. NEVER.

We have an appointment for next week to see a psychologist. He can give his assessment of what he *thinks* is going on, and then we choose to take whatever next step he suggests. I am looking forward to perhaps getting us all into therapy b/c it just doesn't feel right that his behavior can have such an impact on our whole family. ALL THE TIME.

My little one brings out the best in me, I feel that I can be the parent I've always wanted to be with him. Grant it, he's only 14 mos., but I've always felt this with him. And I've always felt that Bears brings out the worst in us. Isn't that horrible? His intenstiy level has always just thrown us for a loop. Made us constantly question ourselves.

Sledg-Much of what you say about your childhood I can really relate to. I swore I would NEVER do any of these things to my child. And pretty much at this point I have done and said them all. It is just a horrible, helpless feeling. Thanks, everyone for listening. Please pray that my Bears gets what he needs and in the process we all do, too. I just can't see how our family can survive him, really.
Bearsmama is offline  
Old 10-29-2005, 06:38 PM
 
TEAK's Mom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Juneau, AK
Posts: 2,231
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Bears, your openness and honesty are dazzling. First, just another hug. I figure a girl can never have too many.

Second, I know exactly what you mean about Bears setting the tone for the whole family. We have had that problem far too often. When TEAK is blowing her top, we have gotten so short with each other. Now, we are far from good at it yet, but we do have a couple of tricks. The first is to deliberately be silly when she gets horrible. We do things that make each other laugh. It releases a little tension and once in a rare while, she joins in. The second is just to pause and be nice to each other. A hug and a reminder that we don't have to buy in can make a huge difference.

To be honest with you, dh is better at this than I am. She is my baby and I am sometimes too tied in to her emotions. It takes dh to remind me that we are separate people and that I don't have to be a wreck just because she is screaming on the floor.

I know this is not as powerful as some of the other posts, but if you're like me, you'll take both the profound and the not so.
TEAK's Mom is offline  
Old 10-29-2005, 07:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
Bearsmama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 4,628
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Oh, TEAKS, Your posts have meant a LOT to me, too-and I count you among the strong mamas here who are helping me on my mothering journey. And I'm really, truly looking at it like that every day. Your posts have been so supportive and helpful to me.

I like what you say about not "buying in" to the tone your DD's behavior is setting. I realize, right now, that it's a choice. I am not a lesser animal being controlled only by impulse (back to Maureen's words on anger). Although I tend to go into "fight" mode quite a bit. I guess it's my primal response to some kind of primal fear that I have when DS acts up. I want to talk more about this and the anger thing, but I have to go. I really like how Maureen describes the anger thing and I reeally like what you say about giving your DH a hug or trying not to give in to the craziness around you. More when I can...
Bearsmama is offline  
Old 10-29-2005, 08:40 PM
 
Magella's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 2,445
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


While I cannot truly understand exactly how things are in your home, with your family, I can say that I too know what it's like for one child to set the tone for the whole family because we struggle with that as well (though for the past few months it hasn't been so bad). It's easy, I think, to get sucked into someone else's mood or to let their behavior drag you right down with them (so to speak). I have found, after years of trying, that it really is possible for us to resist letting dd set the tone. It's not easy, no, but possible. I have to remind myself often that while I cannot control others, and often can't control events, I can always control my own reactions. Happiness, contentment, calm-all of these are within my own power and don't depend on other people or certain things happening, just sometimes it's harder to find my way there than other times. I am so happy for you that you are getting some help for your family. I think, perhaps, that having someone help both you and your dh cope with Bears' behaviors will be so good for all of you. And maybe Bears' behaviors can improve with some help as well. Your family will survive him, I'm sure. And I'm sure that he will blossom into a fine young man someday.

"When you lose your sense of direction, find your sense of humor." Got a book of knock-knock jokes? A series of silly faces Bears' likes? Inside jokes with dh? I find all these things come in so handy in terms of breaking up a bad mood and setting a better tone in the house. When all else fails, get silly. We're freaks who tell a lot of bad jokes, but we're happy freaks. Humor and silliness have saved us many a time from complete insanity. And I still think we could use more of it.

And I can't tell you how much of a saving grace and sanity keeper having a good relationship with my dh is. We make time to play chess or cards or video games together, we joke around, we are always hugging or holding hands or something. We support each other, take over for each other when the going gets rough for the other, we watch funny movies. There have been times we've been way to wrapped up in dd1's challenges, talking about it constantly, bitching about it a lot and we've learned that we can't do that. We have to be more than the struggling, frustrated parents of E (and this is why I try so hard to have conversations with people about things not related to parenting, am trying to come out of my shell and make more friends, and read interesting things but have deliberately given up parenting books, because I have to be more than the frustrated angry mother of E). This is how we survive it, I think. This and the humor. Sometimes you have to look for the fun and be willing to find it. (Not that this solves all our problems, I'm not saying that, but it sure helps us get through them.)
Magella is offline  
Old 10-29-2005, 09:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
Bearsmama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 4,628
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Oh, sledg, you did it again. Right on the money.

Humor is HUGE in our house. My DH is seriously THE funniest person I know, and can drag me out of my funks very often. He can also engage Bears on a level that I can't as easily. We are laughing a lot in the house (believe it or not). I just have to remember to do it more often sometimes. I have a seriously goofy side of myself, and then a very serious, melancholy side. And I think Bears is much like me in this regard.

Last year around Christmas, when things were just getting really messy with having two children (little DS was at that time about 4 months old and Bears' behavior issues were getting worse and more noticeable), DH and I suddenly started saying, "Merry Christmas!" in a very upbeat, funny tone every time we wanted to flip or to really drop the F bomb or something. Doesn't sound that funny in writing, but at the time it was.

I have a tendency to get blinders on reaaaaaaly easily when it comes to going through rough times. I can't see the light at the end of the tunnel, it's almost black or white with me sometimes. I'm sure that has a lot to do with not learning all the best coping mechanisms when I was a kid. Anyway, we've been going through such tough stuff with Bears that every nigth seems to be a parenting pow-wow, re-hashing the day's events, reading, questioning, etc. I feel much better when I can even marginally let things go and just for an hour, do some scrapbooking, or read something for me. And STOP TALKING ABOUT BEARS. There are 4 people in this house and one old cat and we have to sometimes start focusing on that.

Anyway, I wish I could invite ya'll to my house. I feel such a connection with you, sledg, Maureen, TEAKS. I know that may sound very weird (and possibly creepy!) coming from someone you don't really know. But I've bared my soul to you and you haven't looked away. If if you're ever in the Philly area, please let me know.



Bearsmama is offline  
Old 10-29-2005, 09:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
Bearsmama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 4,628
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Btw, if you're all wondering where the sudden burst of positivity came from I have two words for you: Halloween candy. The crash will come later. :
Bearsmama is offline  
Old 10-29-2005, 09:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
Bearsmama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 4,628
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Oh, here's a link I found that has some good info on dealing with anger. Perhaps it will be helpful to someone else, too:

http://www.apa.org/pubinfo/anger.html
Bearsmama is offline  
Old 10-30-2005, 12:51 AM
 
Jewish Mom's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 38
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm nursing.. so this will be short: perhaps it might help to think, "will this matter in ten years?" I am trying to choose my battles very carefully...sitting on tables, making a horendous noise... well it all depends but maybe... Bear's, my hat's off to you for not giving up!!
Jewish Mom is offline  
Old 10-30-2005, 11:40 AM
 
loon13's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: in the moment
Posts: 926
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Jewish Mom, I'd be interested in hearing more of what you have to say when you have the time, because I'm not sure I understand your post in the way you meant it.
I have used the phrase "this too shall pass" for certain things in my own dd's behavior. But I think what Bearsmama and others are saying here (including me) is that there's more to it to help ourselves than just picking your battles. Things get so hard sometimes with a child's behavior that I can't even imagine getting through the next 10 *minutes* let alone 10 years. I'm working on it, but it's tough. And then add the guilt and shame at my total lack of handling the situation calmly.

To all:
Here's a great article I received in my inbox today that I thought I'd share. I'll quote what jumped out at me, and I'll link the page to the direct article >>> http://www.scottnoelle.com/parenting/unconditional.htm

Quote:
Ironically, many parents set out to love their children unconditionally and then feel bad about themselves when they fall short. In other words, their self-esteem is conditional — contingent upon their success at loving unconditionally!
and

Quote:
...unconditionality leads to positive changes in conditions, but it doesn’t work if your intent is merely to change the conditions! You’ve got to make a commitment to unconditionality for its own sake — because you want the power to enjoy life under any conditions.

Our children give us ample opportunities to practice this, and sometimes they persist with undesired behaviors until we get it. It’s as if they’re saying, “Mom, Dad... I’d really like to go along with you, but I’m going to wait until you’ve let go of the idea that I have to change for you to feel okay... I don’t want to deprive you of the wonderful feeling of knowing where your well-being really comes from.”

Unconditionality empowers you to create what you want from the inside out, while conditionality requires change from the outside in.
This just bowled me over. I try hard to love dd as she is and use kind words and actions, but I feel I fail and then I berate myself and end up being less-than-kind (to put it mildly) to dd. I've been trying to love her unconditionally, but loving myself conditionally.
To me, this is again what sledg was saying about not being able to control others or events, but being able to control how we react to events.
Does this strike a chord with anyone else? Bearsmama does this help at all regarding your feelings of shame and guilt?



Loon

Loon , dh , dd , and twins ds1 dd2 **Thoughts become things. - Mike Dooley**
loon13 is offline  
Old 10-30-2005, 04:02 PM
 
Magella's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 2,445
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Yes, yes yes!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by loon13
...unconditionality leads to positive changes in conditions, but it doesn’t work if your intent is merely to change the conditions! You’ve got to make a commitment to unconditionality for its own sake — because you want the power to enjoy life under any conditions.
This is so important. I find a lot of freedom suddenly when I accept myself as is, as I am right now in all my imperfect glory. Suddenly when I'm unconditionally accepting of myself I see all the positives, I can do better, life is fun, things aren't as overwhelming, everything gets better. But it doesn't come from wanting to change myself, it comes from accepting that this is what I do well and this is what I'm not doing so well right now and that's okay. I'll work with what I've got right now. I can focus mainly on what I'm not doing well and think about how I should change and how badly I'm failing and how much I don't measure up to my image of an ideal parent, and create more difficulty and unhappiness. Or I can take a look at my whole self and see what strengths I have already and which mistakes I've made that I can learn from, and create a lot more confidence and peace.

Likewise, I find a lot of freedom in accepting my children "as is" and to see not just their challenging behaviors but their whole selves, all the wonderful things they do as well as the frustrating things. "How can I work with who they are and what they're doing to get through this moment and get our needs met?" as opposed to "what am I doing wrong and how can I change their behavior?"

Quote:
Originally Posted by loon13
Unconditionality empowers you to create what you want from the inside out, while conditionality requires change from the outside in.


I can't change my kids. I can change how I perceive them, how I perceive myself, and how I respond internally to their actions. And in doing so, I can be more happy and confident and our home can be more peaceful. Out of those internal changes flow the external gentle parenting behaviors that I aspire to.
Magella is offline  
Old 10-30-2005, 04:10 PM
 
Tanibani's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Southern California
Posts: 2,984
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Loon Thank you for posting that article. I think that helps illuminate the pickle I've been in.

I'm always doing stuff for my children, then I end up feeling exhausted.

I couldn't exactly figure out what was wrong, let alone how to change it. I have a friend who parents via Continuum Concept (and is the BEST mother I've ever seen). I'm so envious of how calm she is and how well-behaved her kids are. That article helped me to see that perhaps that is how she treats herself.

Thanks again.

10 - boy
5.5 - girl
Tanibani is offline  
Old 10-30-2005, 08:23 PM
 
Jewish Mom's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 38
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
The judgement issue, (judging children or myself as a mother, wife, individual...) as recently addressed by loon13 & sledg and others, is the most difficult and yet the most integral for patient response from me. The phrase that I included previously helps me to focus my energy and that was why I mentioned it.. perhaps it's something personal. I recall reading suggestions of other tactics that help to regain an equalibrium of sorts.. of course what might work for one won't always work for another..

I want to thank everyone here for sharing their experiences and wisdom... I will also apologize for inadvertently adding guilt or shame.. that was never an intention! ..perhaps, for now, it might be more appropriate for me to learn quietly from observation)
Jewish Mom is offline  
Old 10-31-2005, 12:28 AM
 
emblmrgrl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Negativeland
Posts: 286
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bearsmama
My little one brings out the best in me, I feel that I can be the parent I've always wanted to be with him. Grant it, he's only 14 mos., but I've always felt this with him. And I've always felt that Bears brings out the worst in us. Isn't that horrible? His intenstiy level has always just thrown us for a loop. Made us constantly question ourselves.
I found myself having the same feelings about Cole. Y'know, I think Sledg has really hit some important points... things that I've found to be true and work for our family anyway. Changing my reaction and the way I looked at things helped us in more ways than I can count. Trying to take those moments before reacting to stop the rage (well it was rage for me anyway, at times). And really, picking the battles was important for me too. I personally had issues with the expectations I had placed on Cole. I just had the vision of how I'd be with my kids and I had to throw it out the window and work with what I have.

Having 4 kids requires me to be pretty organized if we want to accomplish anything and Cole just seemed (and does still on occasion) to throw a wrench into everything. Like today, we were trying to grocery shop. He spent most of the hour in the store running his hand down the shelves and running ahead of me. Or, attempting to break dance in the aisles. We probably looked like the poster family for parents who can't control their children to most people in the store but I tried my hardest to reel him in about every five minutes. I suppose it's hard to be five in a huge store... so much space just makes you wanna run. I liken it to getting on a wide open road and starting to drive faster. Sometimes you don't mean to do it but it still happens. So my method (when I can make myself stop before getting out of control) is to try and look at what's happening thru his eyes even when I know he SHOULD be listening to me. So slowing down and being in control of MY reaction is key for us.

I think age is helping us. The older he gets the better it gets. Now, mind you, it's not what I ever thought it would be but it is better. I think school is helping us, too.

Funny story real quick, Cole chews on everything he can (sensory issue apparently) and school called me a week or so ago to say he had a staple stuck in his gum! They were so freaked out! But by the time I got to school he'd gotten it out and was back in class. He just seems to have a knack for finding himself in bizarre situations. Which brings me to the other thing I've realized in the last year or so... the apple didn't fall quite far enough from the tree I'm afraid.

Hugs, mama.
emblmrgrl is offline  
Old 10-31-2005, 07:14 AM
 
loon13's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: in the moment
Posts: 926
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jewish Mom
I want to thank everyone here for sharing their experiences and wisdom... I will also apologize for inadvertently adding guilt or shame.. that was never an intention! ..perhaps, for now, it might be more appropriate for me to learn quietly from observation)

There is absolutely NO need to apologize!! You didn't add any guilt or shame at ALL.
It's ME who does that to MYSELF because I constantly berate myself when I handle this parenting thing as "less than perfect". I have to fight my perfectionistic tendencies really hard.

I just wanted to make sure I understood how you were addressing your post. And I think I did understand it correctly. "Will this matter in ten years?" is the same thing as when I say "This too shall pass." We just have different ways of saying it.

Please do stick around and join in the discussion!! I am grateful for everyone's experiences, too. So that we can all learn from each other and support each other.

Loon , dh , dd , and twins ds1 dd2 **Thoughts become things. - Mike Dooley**
loon13 is offline  
Old 10-31-2005, 07:22 AM
 
loon13's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: in the moment
Posts: 926
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tanibani
Loon Thank you for posting that article. I think that helps illuminate the pickle I've been in.

I'm always doing stuff for my children, then I end up feeling exhausted.

I couldn't exactly figure out what was wrong, let alone how to change it. I have a friend who parents via Continuum Concept (and is the BEST mother I've ever seen). I'm so envious of how calm she is and how well-behaved her kids are. That article helped me to see that perhaps that is how she treats herself.
You're very welcome. I'm glad it was illuminating for you. I like Scott Noelle's take on things.

Disclaimer: I have not read the Continuum Concept yet. I have never yet been able to find it at the library and I hesitate to buy it becuase I have mixed feelings about it. I have perused the website and articles and even lurked on the list for a bit.
But I always get stuck in the "child-centered" argument. I *like* being child-centered. I like focusing on my child and doing things with her. I just have a hard time figuring out how to do that and balance the needs for myself as well. Maybe I should read the book once and for all.

Loon , dh , dd , and twins ds1 dd2 **Thoughts become things. - Mike Dooley**
loon13 is offline  
Old 10-31-2005, 07:43 AM
 
loon13's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: in the moment
Posts: 926
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by sledg
I can't change my kids. I can change how I perceive them, how I perceive myself, and how I respond internally to their actions. And in doing so, I can be more happy and confident and our home can be more peaceful. Out of those internal changes flow the external gentle parenting behaviors that I aspire to.
sledg, I also just have to with your whole post. I have had moments when I was able to accept how things are, but I confess I need LOTs more practice with it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by emblmrgrl
I personally had issues with the expectations I had placed on Cole. I just had the vision of how I'd be with my kids and I had to throw it out the window and work with what I have.
I am constantly having to throw my visions of how things will be and restart and work with what I have. You'd think I would have learned by now, eh? But no, still trying to hang onto the control, I suppose. I'm working on it.
New mantra to myself: I am a work in progress.
Ooh ooh! Just remembered? Anyone ever read that article/book by Virginia Satir titled "Self-Esteem"?
Quote from book: "I am me and I am okay."

Quote:
Originally Posted by emblmrgrl
Having 4 kids requires me to be pretty organized if we want to accomplish anything and Cole just seemed (and does still on occasion) to throw a wrench into everything. Like today, we were trying to grocery shop. He spent most of the hour in the store running his hand down the shelves and running ahead of me. Or, attempting to break dance in the aisles.
I just had to at the break dancing. I know it's hard when you're trying to get stuff done, but still ! I do love to see kids in their happy creative moods.

And I envy you that you have 4 children and are *organized*.
I cannot even get organized with my one!!

Sorry for the 3 posts in a row, everyone. I wanted to break it down into not-so-long posts. I have a tendency to get wordy sometimes.

Loon , dh , dd , and twins ds1 dd2 **Thoughts become things. - Mike Dooley**
loon13 is offline  
Old 10-31-2005, 08:37 AM
 
Girl Named Sandoz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: On the road to Mandalay...
Posts: 1,541
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by loon13

Disclaimer: I have not read the Continuum Concept yet. I have never yet been able to find it at the library and I hesitate to buy it becuase I have mixed feelings about it. I have perused the website and articles and even lurked on the list for a bit.
But I always get stuck in the "child-centered" argument. I *like* being child-centered. I like focusing on my child and doing things with her. I just have a hard time figuring out how to do that and balance the needs for myself as well. Maybe I should read the book once and for all.
I've read the Continuum Concept (about 5 times, lol). It's one of my favourite books. The child-centred vs. not child centred concept may seem contrary to AP at first, but the way she approaches it, it really isn't (IMO). On the contrary, I found her ideas to be a radical extension of AP in most areas. TCC takes children very seriously and gives them a lot of credit as reasonable, intelligent beings (i.e. the tribe she was with let 18 month old children handle very sharp knives because they trusted them implicitly -- no child ever hurt themselves!).

Her point about not being child centred stems for the insight that children look up to adults as role models. They like to learn from adults by participating in the world of adults. They also get a deep feeling of security from an adult who they sense is in control. Looking to our children to make decisions for us confuses them because they are biologically/ psychologically wired to look to adults for guidance and example. Adults who are child centred in the Liedloff sense of the term cause children to experience deep feelings of disorientation and insecurity. By taking away their expeirence as children and effectively turning them into adults (who WE look to for guidance, entertainment etc.) before they've had a chance to be children [and learn through experience] they are 'short-circuited' into the world of adults before they are ready. Children often express their unease and frustration at this treatment in fits of rage, 'difficult' defiant behaviour, regression etc.

She explains this a lot more eloquently and with many practical examples in TCC.

It's definitely worth a read. It led to a significant shift in perspective for me when I read it. Ds has so far responded really well to being raised according to TCC principles (as much as I've been able to implement them).
Girl Named Sandoz is offline  
 
User Tag List

Thread Tools


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off