I hit my little girl... - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-05-2010, 06:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I feel so horrible, and so ashamed, I feel like such a terrible mother. I 've never done this before, and I never ever want to do it again.

She'll be 4 in December, and I have a 6 month old son also. I think the new baby in our lives is making her act up, and I just don't know how to treat her anymore. What do I do when she refuses to listen? Especially when she does things that might be dangerous. She doesn't listen to anything I say, she yells and she hits me, she has temper tantrums many times a day. She never lets her baby brother sleep, and he's always cranky, I never get any sleep... and today she woke him up again after I had spend over an hour to put him to sleep, and he had been up all day, so I lost my temper. I yelled, and pulled her her, and slapped her bum. Not hard, but I yelled really loud... I feel horrible. I don't know what you must think of me. I'm not like that at all... I'm so against everything I did today. I wish I could go back in time.

I've always had a good relationship with her. We cosleep, and she still nurses, and we spend lots of time together. I just can't spend quite as much time with her as I did before the baby was born and she's not taking it well at all.

How could I have let this happen?
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Old 10-05-2010, 06:36 PM
 
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I don't have much advice mama. I haven't been there yet, DS is only 1. I used to work with kids with disabilities and I will say 1 time I had to remove myself from the child because I felt like I was going to lose my temper.

You are not a terrible mom. You are a tired mom. If you were 'bad' then you would see nothing wrong with hitting and would be likely to do it again and again.

I'm sorry I don't have more to offer but I wanted you to know your not alone.

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Old 10-05-2010, 06:42 PM
 
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Old 10-05-2010, 06:48 PM
 
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How could I have let this happen?
You're human and you had a bad moment. Apologize to her and move on.
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Old 10-05-2010, 06:49 PM
 
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My 3 and 5 year old also tend to wake up the baby (5 months) on purpose or by accident. I wear the baby for her naps now, she sleeps through everything that way. Also wearing the baby gives a little bit of extra time to interact with your older child, that will prob also help with the 'bad' behaviour. Your not a bad mother, we have all been there, especially after little sleep!

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Old 10-05-2010, 06:55 PM
 
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I feel horrible. I don't know what you must think of me. I'm not like that at all... I'm so against everything I did today. I wish I could go back in time.
...
How could I have let this happen?
Umm, you're not superhuman, you are sleep-deprived, and you spend lots of time with your kids, probably without a lot of support or downtime. Honestly, I think it's a wonder that we all have the amount of patience that we do because rearing children in a nuclear family is incredibly stressful for everyone.

Don't beat yourself up about this overmuch, but take it as a sign that you need to rearrange some things in your life so that you are less likely to get to the end of your proverbial rope.

The not listening and tantruming might be that she needs more attention, and negative attention is better than none, it may be partly just where she is at developmentally. I told my husband that when our son "isn't listening," it may be that he is just taking longer to process the information than an adult would. Their brains are still making myelin sheathing on the axons at age 3 or 4, and it literally does take them longer to process requests than it does for a 6 or 8 year old.

Maybe you can arrange some special dates with just you and her - going out to do something fun at a park, painting toenails while somebody else takes baby out of the house for an hour - whatever she wants to do that will fill her "mama cup."

Or, maybe you would all benefit from having her in daycare a few half-days every week so that you can have some time off from being 2-on-1 with the kiddos.

Doula, WOHM, wife to a super-fun papa, mama to the Monkey ('07), and his little brother, the Sea Monkey ('09).
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Old 10-05-2010, 07:00 PM
 
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Sleep deprivation *really* takes a toll on my parenting. My oldest is 8, and I have struggled with my anger at her at times as well. When I really feel myself losing control, it helps me to pretend someone else is there watching how I am parenting her. It sounds strange, but it gives me enough space in my head to be a better parent in that moment.
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Old 10-05-2010, 07:08 PM
 
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Don't beat yourself up Mama, most of us have absolutely been there. I know it is easier said than done, but be kind to yourself and try again. Parenting is not perfection...I keep telling myself.

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Old 10-05-2010, 07:39 PM
 
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Gentle Parenting involves being gentle with yourself, too.

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Old 10-06-2010, 07:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much everyone! I really needed to hear some words of encouragement. I have lots more to say, but my little ones won't let me right now . Thank you!
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Old 10-06-2010, 09:58 AM
 
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Gentle Parenting involves being gentle with yourself, too.
So very true!

I find that when I am getting close to my breaking point... I give myself a time out. I even sit on the time out step. DS will ask me if I am in time out and I'll tell him that Mommy needs to calm down (just like when I put him in time out) and he'll say "ohhhh, I can't talk to you now" and walks away. It gives us both a chance to defuse the situation.

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Old 10-06-2010, 11:34 AM
 
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Being with kids all day long is a hard, frustrating job. It's the rare parent who is able to stay patient all the time.

One of my favorite shows is Supernanny. The way that she's kind and gentle while still being firm with children and not allowing misbehavior is inspiring.

Midwife (CPM, LDM) and homeschooling mama to:
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Old 10-06-2010, 12:00 PM
 
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I'm so sorry. I have lost my sh-- a few times, too, and I always feel so awful afterwards. I think it's important to apologize to her, but without making excuses for her own poor behavior. Then you move on, and forgive yourself. Then finally, you take a hard look at the situation, and work on problem-solving, so that you can avoid getting to the end of your self-control again.

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Old 10-06-2010, 04:29 PM
 
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This happened to me after ds was born too. Dd started blatantly ignoring everything I said, hitting me, yelling at me and just seemed really bitter! She seemed mad at me for having a baby. lol I totally lost it a few times and yelled or grabbed her arm harder than I had meant to (or ever want to again). I was so hard on myself over it feeling that I had failed as a mother, etc. I just really had to sit with myself and recognize when I needed to separate myself from a situation, which helped also because I wasn't giving any attention to the negative behavior. Also, as a previous poster said, I started wearing my ds for nursing and naptime so that I was free to comfort him/let him sleep while at the same time, I could do something nice with dd. That idea really really helped! It will get better! It just takes them so long to process such a huge change in their world. I hope you get the space for some rest and reflection. You sound like an incredibly caring mother and you're doing a great job with a difficult, taxing situation!

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Old 10-10-2010, 08:02 PM
 
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I have lost my patience and swatted DD. I was in chronic pain from a crohns flare and I did not have much patience to begin with. I apoligized and I know she forgives me. We are ok and you will both be ok too. Parents make mistakes and its a wonderful example when we own up to them.

Me(33), Mama to a crazy DD (6), Wife to a wonderful mountain man(32) BF my babe for 2 years
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Old 10-10-2010, 08:45 PM
 
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I think we have all been there. Those who haven't either: don't have more than one child and/or have total patience and/or all the time in the world and/or a lot of real help and/or are telling stories as my gramma would say.

We are not meant to raise our babies without a village, where the work is shared. In "before times" (nuclear-family living away from everyone in their own house with their own lives), chances are after clearing away everything for breakfast, your older daughter would go play with the other village children under the watchful eye of either the young teen girls of the village or the grammas of the village. While you did your chores, either the teen girls or grammas would play with and rock the baby. In other words, life was shared. Now, we can't send an almost 4-year old out to play. But, are you able (financially and logistically) to possibly send your daughter to part-time preschool? Or hire a mother's helper to take her to the park, if there is one nearby, for a couple hours in the afternoons? That may let you and the baby get the rest you need.
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Old 10-11-2010, 08:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We are not meant to raise our babies without a village, where the work is shared. In "before times" (nuclear-family living away from everyone in their own house with their own lives), chances are after clearing away everything for breakfast, your older daughter would go play with the other village children under the watchful eye of either the young teen girls of the village or the grammas of the village. While you did your chores, either the teen girls or grammas would play with and rock the baby. In other words, life was shared.
How nice it would be if things were still like that! Sometimes I feel like a failure for not managing everything But you're right, we're not meant to do it alone. Thank you all so much for the advice and encouragement!
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Old 10-12-2010, 05:05 PM
 
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I have a couple of times, out of frustration and anger smacked my son It's unexcusable. I just apologized to him afterwards, talked to him about it, told him I was angry, and that it wasn't okay for me to do, and that I loved him. He hugged me back and said it was okay. I think it scarred me more and that he's probably forgotten all about it, they're such amazing little people, so forgiving.

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Old 10-12-2010, 05:40 PM
 
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I've been there, mama, especially when I didn't take my calming supplements (magnesium is my best friend!)

One of my favorite tricks was to tell the baby to wait while I did something for / with dd1. Dd1 couldn't tell that all the baby's needs were met. . . . she felt validated by the fact that not only did she have to wait for dd2, but dd2 sometimes had to wait for her. I would make up story lines, like you just wait there DD2 while I snuggle with DD1, Dd2, you need to be quiet while I color with dd2. It really improved their and our relationship.
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Old 10-13-2010, 03:48 AM
 
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We are not meant to raise our babies without a village, where the work is shared. In "before times" (nuclear-family living away from everyone in their own house with their own lives), chances are after clearing away everything for breakfast, your older daughter would go play with the other village children under the watchful eye of either the young teen girls of the village or the grammas of the village. While you did your chores, either the teen girls or grammas would play with and rock the baby. In other words, life was shared.
I just had to respond to this as well - I've been thinking of this a lot lately. It is so true! Now, we as women have so many different pressures on us! My mom was just here visiting for 5 days and because of her help wrangling 4yo DS1, 3mo old DS2 has suddenly become a much calmer baby because I have either been able to give his much more attention myself, or if I needed to do something I could pass him to her loving arms instead of a baby swing. I only wish she could stay .

I also wanted to say that you are not alone. THis year has been a year of guilt-ridden parenting for me. DS1 turned 3yo last NOV and completely changed from his previously sweet, polite, gentle self to a rude, tantruming, smashing/throwing boy-boy. I was exhausted and pregnant and hated having days off with him (DH and I took opposite days off to reduce childcare costs - I felt like a single parent sometimes). Both of us spanked him a couple of times, and I yelled a lot! Poor guy - This is NOT our parentling philosophy. We make sure to apologise and let him know that we were in the wrong for doing so so that we reconnect. For a while I think DS1 was afraid of me and I was heart-brokken! What I fear most is disconnection from my child. We're still having discipline problems, but yelling and spanking DON"T work. Every day is a new challenge.
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Old 10-13-2010, 04:03 AM
 
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There are times we all reach the end of our patience. several people have given suggestions on how to help keep both you and DD calm, I think it's really important to learn from such experiences, and basically what you're learning is you need to adjust things a bit so you can be the best mom you can be.

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Old 10-13-2010, 04:10 AM
 
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I've never actually hit, but I've come pretty close. And I've lost my sh** a few times and screamed. These are not things that I'm proud of. But, as others have said, I'm not perfect. None of us are.

I loved what the previous posters said about how we aren't meant to do this alone. This is so true. I think that a lot of us imagine a fantasy past of nuclear families and everyone playing and working together 100% of the time and life being just hunky dory. But that's really not true: humans are extremely social creatures and we've always lived in communities. I think that Little House on the Prairie has done a lot of damage to how we imagine life in the good old days! And I just read Little House in the Big Woods, fwiw, and Laura gets spanked AND belted.

I just wanted to say that, so long as everyone is safe, it's okay to walk away. I read that advice in every baby book, even the most AP: if you get to a point where you think you're going to throw your newborn out the window because he won't stop crying, just walk away. The crying will not harm him nearly as much as an irrationally angry and powerless-feeling mother who can't control her anger. (And I want to be clear that I'm in no way advocating CIO or ignoring your crying baby under normal circumstances or anything like that. I'm just saying that I've never read a single source about taking care of a baby that hasn't said that walking away is sometimes a necessary act of self and baby preservation).

And I think that advice is also good for older children. IMO toddlers tantrum because they need something: usually something to eat or to take a nap, but with a new baby there are also all sorts of other issues at play. And, when possible, parents should meet the underlying needs. By that I don't mean that you have to give into the tantrum, I mean that it's my role as a mother to figure out why the tantrum is happening (too long since lunch? Bad night's sleep last night? Too much time indoors?) and fix that issue... which is rarely actually the issue that the tantrum is ostensibly about.

Which is all fine and good and I'll make sure to post the photo whenever my Perfect Mother Of The Year medal arrives. But practically you're juggling a lot of things and probably have very little support. If you feel this level of rage again, my practical advice is just to (make sure everyone is safe and) walk away. I have resorted to this a few times, and I find that it really calms me down.

Trying to live a simple life in a messy house in a complicated world with : DH, DD (b. 07/07), DS (b. 02/09), and DD (b. 10/10)
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Old 10-13-2010, 04:15 AM
 
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It has happened to most of us, and the feeling afterward is absolutely the worst. You are feeling a very deep pain, I know. It's like a scar on your soul.

This too shall pass, and your kid will be fine. No lasting damage, so forgive yourself. Just resolve to take a breather next time. You're under a lot of stress, and need to take a "time out" if you start to feel frustrated or powerless.
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Old 10-14-2010, 01:12 AM
 
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I'm sorry for your pain. This thread spoke to my soul. Thank you for posting. I dealt with this just today with my little one. He has probably already forgotten it - he's very quick to forgive - and I still feel terribly upset by it. I like to believe that we all get better at this with more practice and that what matters in the long run isn't that day that we lost it, but the overall relationship and our overall parenting style. At least that's what I tell myself when I screw up royally.

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Old 10-16-2010, 01:43 PM
 
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I only have a minute to post but wanted to say that we had the same thing here last week, I spanked my almost-three's bottom when he bit me. After biting me the second time, that is. Afterwards I apologized and talked about it with him.

I didn't feel better, though, until I talked with my aunt who is my favorite source of parenting advice. She always helps remind me of WHY he does what he does--that challenging me and testing the rules at every step is something he needs to do and he's doing his job, and that my job is to let him know calmly and firmly where the boundaries are, over and over. It helps to be reminded that we are both doing what we need to do, when I start questioning why he's behaving so badly, and wondering if I am doing everything wrong and need to be stricter, etc. Anyway, I hope that helps a little bit.
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Old 10-16-2010, 02:00 PM
 
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I've been there. I ran out of patience one day and hit my son on the bottom when he didn't have a diaper on. He had red hand marks on his skin. I started crying out of guilt and shame instantly and held him and told him that what I just did was not ok and that I was so sorry for hurting him. He was forgiving instantly, but I'm still trying to forgive myself.
I like what a previous poster said "Gentle parenting also means being gentle with yourself."
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Old 10-17-2010, 09:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I've been there, mama, especially when I didn't take my calming supplements (magnesium is my best friend!)

One of my favorite tricks was to tell the baby to wait while I did something for / with dd1. Dd1 couldn't tell that all the baby's needs were met. . . . she felt validated by the fact that not only did she have to wait for dd2, but dd2 sometimes had to wait for her. I would make up story lines, like you just wait there DD2 while I snuggle with DD1, Dd2, you need to be quiet while I color with dd2. It really improved their and our relationship.
That's such a smart idea, thank you!
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Old 10-17-2010, 09:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all so much for sharing. It's nice to know I'm not alone.

Children are very forgiving indeed. I do remember being spanked though, and it's horrible. More than anything it hurt my pride, and I never want to make my kids feel that way.

Tsubaki, you're lucky to have your aunt. Most people around me accuse me of spoiling my children, for not spanking, not practicing cio, allowing them to self wean, and worst of all... co-sleeping!! It's nice to have a close relative who supports you.

Thank goodness for this forum!
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