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#1 of 22 Old 12-03-2010, 11:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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NAK

 

DS is 3.5, and my DD is 5 mo.

 

We've been through a lot in the past few months (big move etc) and it's been stressful for all.  But my patience w/ my son is G.O.N.E.  Everything is a debate. He has started to whine constantly.  Or he collapses and cries on the floor about every little thing.  Mornings have gone from sunshiny and fun to full on battles about everything.  We have and stick to a routine but it doesn't matter.  Every sentence begins with "I don't want to/this/that..etc"

 

I yell too much.  So much that I end up hoarse. I start out asking nicely, always say please, offer reasonable choices for ds("we have to brush our teeth now, what kind of tothpaste do you want?"), ask again nicely, and then he either continues to ignore me, begins debating, or bolts away screaming no. Then I'm chasing after him with the baby, stopping him from slamming doorsin my face, and I end up dragging a screaming flailing (huge) 3 yr old into the bathroom or bedroom or to the kitchen table or whatever.  Then I end up screaming how much I hate his behavior and resort to a timeout.  Then he's crying, I"m crying and it sucks.

Some days I'll try to reason a little longer but m-th we have to be out of the house for school at 7:30 sharp.

 

I lost it big time this morning.  I never hit or spank or physically make angry contact with ds but I had my own little tantrum of door slamming and yelling. I told him his behavior makes me not want to be around him and so he needed to go in his room. He of course said "I don't want to.." and I lost it in a big theatrical immitation of his whining and said I didn't want him to say that again and picked him up and put him in his room and slammed  the door.

 

Then I cried, called my husband to cry to him and honestly-he made me feel pretty bad and said he would sell his company so he could be home to make sure I wasn't doing permanent damage to our son acting like that.  I'm a control freak- I know this- my husband reminds me of this constantly- so I'm sure that's why his behavior gets under my skin quicker than most.  But I do try so hard every day. But every day it IS hard. DH gets to work all day with adults- and while his job is very demanding- it's not 3yr old demanding.

 

I feel like crap.  I cried and went up to DS and apologized over and over for yelling and slamming and said it was my fault and I made a mistake and asked himto forgive me.  I asked for us to try to find a solution.  I gave lots of hugs and cuddles. But guess what- next hour he was back to fighting and whining over every-single-thing.

 

DS has a routine, eats well, gets lots of daily outdoor exercise, I balance time with him and the baby pretty well. 

 

I don't know what to do.  My little angel light of my life has me cringing and gritting my teeth now on an hourly basis.  I don't know how to keep my temper in check.  I don't like yelling.My parents were yellers and grounders/punishers and I have so much resentment about it.  I don't want that to be me.

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#2 of 22 Old 12-03-2010, 12:20 PM
 
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My DD is 3.5 and my DD2 is 6 months.  We moved a few months ago after living with our Ils without their dad for 6 weeks.  I could of posted what you wrote.  My DD is driving me bonkers.. and I keep losing my temper which is not like me.  I don't have any advice but will be subbing!

 

The one thing that did help me a bit was reading "Connection Parenting".  I like the idea of 15 minutes of high quality time together.  It might not be working wonders but at least it gives us some time together where we do whatever DD wants and it is usually very pleasant.


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#3 of 22 Old 12-03-2010, 01:08 PM
 
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My son is the same age and sounds A LOT like your son.  I don't have any advice because I am struggling with this myself -- I had a big meltdown earlier today and did and said worse things than what you describe and then when I apologize (complete with tears) I feel like an abusive spouse because that is the pattern -- you lose it and say sh**ty things and then apologize and then the cycle starts all over again.  Often within the same day.  I don't know how not to lose my temper.  I've never been tested this way before in my life.  It's hard because with a child this age there is no reciprocity, at least not with this particular child.  Every night I go to bed vowing to do better and not to be this person anymore, and every day I end up losing it anyway.  I've asked for advice before and a lot of it ends up sounding sanctimonious, sadly, or just not helpful ("you just have to stop yelling").  I'm starting to believe that part of the ability to keep patience with a young child is just a personality issue and if you don't got it, you don't got it.  If desire to be a better parent was enough, I would be doing better. 

 

I read all the books, I believe in Alfie Kohn's philosophy, ideologically I am right there, but in practice it just doesn't end up shaking out the right way.  (It has been 10x worse since I have had bad morning sickness for the past two months, but I struggled before that as well). You are not alone.  Some kids are very challenging.  My grandfather used to say that I could try the patience of Job and now I know what he meant. 


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#4 of 22 Old 12-03-2010, 01:19 PM
 
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It usually helps me if we go outside, which is hard now with the weather and a baby, but maybe there is a safe part of the backyard he can play in while you watch out the window?  We can't afford it, nor could I drive him there, but my friend sends her DS to 'preschool' for two hours on tuesday and two hours on thursday.  It helps them to have a break from each other.  Also, we've started timeouts supernanny style.  One time reminding him of rules, the second time a warning and third time is timeout for two minutes.  This usually helps me not lose my temper and it seems to be better for the both of us than me screaming and berating when I've hit the breaking point.


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#5 of 22 Old 12-03-2010, 02:12 PM
 
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I used to worry more about this issue until I started reading a fascinating book, The Evolution of Childhood, by Melvin Konner.

 

In the beginning of his book he discusses paradigms in the evolution of development. He states: "Parent-offspring conflict is natural and unavoidable, not incidental or pathological". He also says "If evolutionary goals of mother and offspring were identical, they should "agree"-- should have been selected to act as if they agree..." He also says that "A naive model of the family assumes that it was designed to function as a harmonious unit; it was not. Like the breeding pair, it consists of individuals with overlapping but distinguishable reproductive purposes. Natural conflict is not the result of friction in what should be a smoothly functioning system, but is intrinsic."

 

This was/is deeply impactful in my understanding of my relationship to my children. We are NOT meant to get along smoothly all the time. They have their specific goals and you have yours. Fascinating!

 

.


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#6 of 22 Old 12-03-2010, 02:19 PM
 
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Are you out of the hotel now? Into your home?

 

Have you considered a nice pre-school for a few hours a week? It sounds like you could really use the break and there is nothing wrong with a little separation if it is saving your sanity.

 

And your hubby-well-that response was not very helpful. One thing I remind my husband of is that sometimes I just need him to sit there and listen-NO TALKING. I don't need him to fix everything. I just need an adult to talk to who loves our son as much as I do. I think it may be time to also sit down with hubby and say sometimes you just need a sounding board.

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#7 of 22 Old 12-03-2010, 08:40 PM
 
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3 can be a very hard age.

 

It sounds like you need to decide a game plan for two things - when your child does not respond to you respecfully and when you are going to lose it. 

 

What has worked for me with my kids is to not engage in the discussion.  I tell them what to do more than giving them choices if we are having a lot of conflict.  When things are going better then I give choices, but when everything is a fight I choose not to fight and I don't give them options.  "It is time to brush your teeth."  I don't repeat.  (I will say "try again" or "please talk to me with a nice tone" if there is something to discuss).  If they do not do what is needed, I will take my child to a bench for a "time in" where I say, "please calm down.  When you are ready to brush your teeth please tell me you are ready".  I (usually) stay there, but don't engage in a fight.  If I feel we need to talk about the situation we don't do it until they are calmed down.  When it is time to talk, we do it face to face.  I get to their level.  I let them talk about it, but if they start whining or yelling I will tell them "you don't sound ready.  Calm down and tell me when you are ready."  I will also encourage them to use "self-control". 

 

In general, I find we have more conflict when there are time deadlines.  I do everything in my power to get things done beforehand (for your son, you could have him wear clean clothes to bed, have breakfast out and the toothbrush loaded with paste, all bags in the car and baby all done before he gets up (or as close to that as possible).  Also, me not getting enough sleep causes problems (perhaps you aren't getting enough with your kids - or maybe you can think about what your own triggers are for a bad day or shorter temper).

 

I have also done a reward-type thing where we had a sheet that said "Happy Bedtime" on it, and if the kids tried to have a good attitude getting ready for bed they got to pick a sticker to put on the sheet of paper when they were done.  My DD loved it and it would motivate her (If there was whining I'd ask her if she wanted to try to have a happy bedtime and she'd remember and try harder).  DS didn't care - well, he DID like it until my DH used it coercively one night (I wasn't using it to punish for not being happy, it was about trying to have a good attitude, but DH mis-interpreted).  Once DS saw it as an imposed standard and not an internal one he would just say - NO, I don't care if I have a happy bedtime and I don't want a sticker - and just be sour...Had to go back to the regular encouragement of self-control with him so the Happy Bedtime thing petered out.

 

I find that for myself the best way to deal with whining and my own anger issues and frustrations is to do the "waiting for the bus" thing.  I do my best to disengage and understand it isn't actually about me -it's about growing up being hard and about learning how the world works.  I try to be a rock of patience, and when I can't (like we're late) I try singing or whispering instead of getting snippy.  When I'm frustrated I will explain why, but I also work really hard to do it in a way that I would be happy with hearing right back out of my kids (because they imitate everything!).

 

If you can just find some way to disengage (count to 10 or SOMETHING) it will get better.  It takes 2 to fight. 

 

I sound like a real tough no-nonsense person - I sort of am but I do have a lot of empathy and compassion too.  I will echo back what my kids say (if they say I DON"T WANT TO, I will often say "You don't want to... but this is what we are doing"...  I'm direct but generally kind and fair.  BUT, I don't do the debate thing.  I don't banter about simple instructions.  I am all for explaining WHY for tons of stuff, but I don't do the defiant "WHY!!?!!" discussions. 

 

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#8 of 22 Old 12-04-2010, 02:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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OP here

 

DS does go to school 3 days a week (8-12) and I have a babysitter/mothers helper 4 days a week. We have horses so it's a lot of riding and upkeep soI need the extra set of hands.

 

DH has been watching me like a hawk with DS as if I"m about to go crazy.  If I even begin to speak to DS in anything but a sunshiny tone he gives me a look and makes a "calm down" gesture. It's driving me effin crazy.  We're still unpacking and today DS was grabbing nd tugging a heavy mirror out of my hands and I ask him not to calmly...3 times with no reaction.  The 4th time I say it sternly and then I bend down to lookDS in the face and explain why he shouldn't tug on heavy pieces of glass.  I hear DH in the other room letting out a big sigh and muttering to himself. I walk back in and ask what I did wrong that time and he says I'm being too hard on DS.  Is that too hard?  Or when DS was whining in the car because he wanted to "take our car on the hike for christmas trees" I explained 5 times why that was an impossibility and was met with more whining.  I said "please talk in your strong voice.  I will not talk with you when you are whining."  DH is rolling his eyes at me and shaking his head with disappointment.

 

I feel like he's treating me like a recently released mental patient...always about to lose it.  

 

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#9 of 22 Old 12-04-2010, 09:19 PM
 
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is he not there a lot? Maybe he doesn't have a good grasp on what is realistic in terms of oyour own patience and what are reasonable expectations.

 

I know since my kids and I have been staying with my mom temporarily, twice I have raised my voice at ds for very good reason (in one case, throwing something at his baby sister) and my mom literally came running in from the other room to grab ds and shield him with her body, going "don't hurt him!" I was like "uh......???" She just doesn't get that no parent can be "sunshiny" as you put it 24/7 because the kids are going to be kids and do things and say things that are ridiculous, direspectful, silly or just not appropriate. my ds smashed 16 eggs in two sitting the other day. The first time I tried the understandign approach (I know you were hungry and mommy was taking too long to get out of bed and th snacks pre laid out on the table for you were not to your liking which is why you took it upon yourself to scramble raw eggs on the floor, but let's next time not touch eggs without a grownups help) the second time it was "I JUST TOLD YOU TO LEAVE THOSE EGGS ALONE? DON'T YOU LISTEN!!!!????" And I don't care who heard me or what they thought. cleaning raw egg off a tile floor and a naked child with a cranky babe tied ot my back is not my idea of fun, let alone twice in one day.

 

ds is in the why/I don't want to/you can't make me/I don't like you phase and I soooo empathize. Some days you just wish they came with a mute button!


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#10 of 22 Old 12-04-2010, 09:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BarnMomma View Post


OP here



 



DS does go to school 3 days a week (8-12) and I have a babysitter/mothers helper 4 days a week. We have horses so it's a lot of riding and upkeep soI need the extra set of hands.



 



DH has been watching me like a hawk with DS as if I"m about to go crazy.  If I even begin to speak to DS in anything but a sunshiny tone he gives me a look and makes a "calm down" gesture. It's driving me effin crazy.  We're still unpacking and today DS was grabbing nd tugging a heavy mirror out of my hands and I ask him not to calmly...3 times with no reaction.  The 4th time I say it sternly and then I bend down to lookDS in the face and explain why he shouldn't tug on heavy pieces of glass.  I hear DH in the other room letting out a big sigh and muttering to himself. I walk back in and ask what I did wrong that time and he says I'm being too hard on DS.  Is that too hard?  Or when DS was whining in the car because he wanted to "take our car on the hike for christmas trees" I explained 5 times why that was an impossibility and was met with more whining.  I said "please talk in your strong voice.  I will not talk with you when you are whining."  DH is rolling his eyes at me and shaking his head with disappointment.



 



I feel like he's treating me like a recently released mental patient...always about to lose it.  



 






I could be totally off here so please ignore if not helpful but your last post made me wonder...

If dh isn't standing behind you, supporting your efforts and respecting you, why would ds? You know what I mean? Is it possible ds is picking up on dh's yone of disapproval, thereby undermining your authority with ds?

IME, 2-3 year olds have a special talent for splitting parents into good cop, bad cop - which is why I brought this up.

Good luck, mama! It's clear you are trying your hardest!
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#11 of 22 Old 12-04-2010, 11:55 PM
 
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When I get the "But I wanted to do it this way..." or any other arguments, I go with the "I know" or "hhhmmm"  I don't engage.  If DH was in the car, let him handle it.  Get ear plugs.  Don't engage.  I frequently thinking about what I WANT to say or do (In my head) and then breath and appear very calm on the outside.  Very rarely do my inside feelings match the outside feelings during whiny, crying, fighting times.  


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#12 of 22 Old 12-05-2010, 02:39 AM
 
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Oh, OP, I'm right there with you. It was like the minute my ds hit 3.75, a switch flipped and my sunshine boy turned into a conniving little...well, we won't go there. I lose it. Only I go a step further and swat his bum sometimes. I don't believe in spanking and, yet, there I am. 

 

I'm looking for answers, too. I was a big fan of Hand in Hand Parenting (google it) for a while and maybe it will be helpful to you (someone already mentioned one-on-one time with your ds and HiH advocates this, too, for example). I found them to be helpful for dealing with one child at a time, but I have 3 under 4...their best advice was to just *survive*. Anyway, it may be helpful to you since you seem to have more support.

 

One thing I'm going to try this week (as homeschoolers we aren't hampered by school times): getting everyone out first thing after breakfast and going to do something we all enjoy (probably a walk on a beach here). Gordon Neufeld says to "collect before you direct" - have a close, happy moment with your child before giving instructions, etc. I need to work harder on this but I'm hoping our morning outings will allow me to remember and practice.

 


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#13 of 22 Old 12-05-2010, 07:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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OP

 

My husband works M-F from 7Am to 6 PM or later. Plus some nights he travels. 

 

On weekends he's home and plays with the kids while I ride in the mornings.  But that's ALL he does.  As in, he's not taking care of two kids while also doing laundry, cooking, cleaning up, organizing, doing projects, grocery shopping, running errands...etc etc.  He NEVER has to stick to a schedule with them and can't even handle the simplest of instructions outside of "watch the kids."  For example- I make it pretty easy- I left the kids clothes out on their neatly made beds(which I made of course) with the instructions of give each child a bath, then dress them so that they are dressed and ready to go when I get home.  When I return home, the kids are either still in PJ's or wearing half of what I put out for them so I"m still chasing them around with socks and sweatersto be put on.   Fighting is inevitable because I have to change the dynamic from fun to not-fun.

 

So I feel DH expects me to have infinite patience because he NEVER multitasks with the kids and finds it unnecessary or something.  I"m sure if I never had to be anywhere at a certain time and had someone I lived with cleaning my house and my messes I'd be zen all the time too.

 

I feel like I end up being the bad guy who is always disciplining becasue he won't stop up and do it because he doesn't see a need to.  And yet he'll be the first to brag about what a great son we have and how well behaved he is...well how the heck do you think he learned that?

 

UGH.  Just venting now.  Just returned home from a morning ride and my DH and DS are JUST NOW getting into the shower and there's a mass of breakfast dishes in the kitchen and we have somewhereto be in 30minutes which means I"m about to go upstairs and be the big meany who has to insist we rush to get dressed and when that doesn't happen will needto bite her tongue to keep from losing her temper.

 

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#14 of 22 Old 12-05-2010, 05:59 PM
 
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Age 3-4 is rough, I don't really miss it lol;)  How does your son sleep and how do you sleep?  A tired child/mom combo can just make everything unbearable.  First I would talk to your dh about the situation and both of you try to get on the same page about discipline or at least backing each other in front of the kids.  Secondly I would recommend reading Playful Parenting, it's a great book for this age.  You do not always have to be a meany to get your DS cooperating, this book gives lots of ways to diffuse the tense feeling that arises when a child isn't doing what we want through play.  For example with brushing teeth-maybe you could brush each other's teeth, he might like the idea of brushing his teeth in the kitchen instead of the bathroom or brushing to music or a timer.  Choose your battles and try to remember this is a phase that will pass.


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#15 of 22 Old 12-05-2010, 10:58 PM
 
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A couple of thoughts

 

First, have you been screened for PPD? The #1 risk factor for PPD is stress. Moving is one of the most stressful things you can do. Having a baby is another. Add the two together and you get an exponential increase in stress. PPD comes out in 'unexpected' ways sometimes. It's very often not like classical depression. It can come out as anxiety. It can come out as anger. And the anger is usually directed at the older child(ren) or spouse. Even if you don't have PPD, I think it's helpful for you to recognize that you're in a very very stressful period of your lives, and adjust your goals accordingly. If that doesn't help in the next month or so, I'd strongly consider seeing a counselor to get some outside perspective on stress control.

 

Remember too that stress isn't just in the moment, it's for several months after the moment. Anything you can do to relieve the stress and cut out things that cause you stress would be good.  When things are stressful at our house (usually we're talking a week or so, not months of stress), it'll take me and my kids a week or more after the stress ends to get back to normal. If it's been a couple of months of stress, you can count on a month or more to get back to normal.

 

Second, as several others have noted, ages 3-4 are very trying. There's a push-pull between the child wanting independence at times, yet to be a baby at others; between their wanting to do things themselves and their lack of ability to foresee consequences; between their headlong enthusiasm and their inability to stop an action once they've started. I do believe that I posted (in jest) about each of my children when they were three that I'd gladly give them up free to a good home.
 

I'm seeing a couple of issues in your posts:

1. One is your alleged control freak tendencies.

2. Another is that your dh isn't being all that supportive

3. What you can change in your routine/how you interact with  your 3 year old.

Quote:

Originally Posted by BarnMomma View Post

He NEVER has to stick to a schedule with them and can't even handle the simplest of instructions outside of "watch the kids."  For example- I make it pretty easy- I left the kids clothes out on their neatly made beds(which I made of course) with the instructions of give each child a bath, then dress them so that they are dressed and ready to go when I get home.  When I return home, the kids are either still in PJ's or wearing half of what I put out for them so I"m still chasing them around with socks and sweaters to be put on.   Fighting is inevitable because I have to change the dynamic from fun to not-fun.<snip>

 

UGH.  Just venting now.  Just returned home from a morning ride and my DH and DS are JUST NOW getting into the shower and there's a mass of breakfast dishes in the kitchen and we have somewhereto be in 30minutes which means I"m about to go upstairs and be the big meany who has to insist we rush to get dressed and when that doesn't happen will needto bite her tongue to keep from losing her temper.

 

 

Two thoughts here: First, I think you're doing too much for him. If you're setting out their clothes, telling him what to do, etc. then he doesn't need to take any ownership of the task of caring for them. He might have no sympathy for what you're doing on a daily basis because he's still not doing it all. You're right that there's a huge difference between juggling getting everyone ready and caring for the house and the "watch the kids so no one ends up in the ER."

 

Is this a control issue for you? What would happen if you said "OK, hon, going out for my ride. Remember we have to be at X at 11:30. I'll be back at 10:45 so I can shower and we can leave at 11." Or, what you if took the baby and simply left him in charge for a long afternoon/evening? Not to be vindictive, but you can clearly use a break and it might open his eyes a bit to your daily struggles.

 

The other thing is: What would happen if you didn't insist that you rush to get dressed? You'd be late. Is that the worst thing?  Is he showering 30 minutes before you need to be somewhere because he doesn't realize how long it'll take to get ready? Well then don't swoop in and rescue him! Is it because he forgot? Well, then is that your problem? Let HIM be the one rushing around. Is it because he doens't care about being on time? That's a different issue.  My dh and I have different perspectives on being late (he hates it, I don't mind) and it has led to some tension in our relationship.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by BarnMomma View Post he would sell his company so he could be home to make sure I wasn't doing permanent damage to our son acting like that.  I'm a control freak- I know this- my husband reminds me of this constantly- so I'm sure that's why his behavior gets under my skin quicker than most.  But I do try so hard every day. But every day it IS hard. DH gets to work all day with adults- and while his job is very demanding- it's not 3yr old demanding.

 

<snip>

DH has been watching me like a hawk with DS as if I"m about to go crazy.  If I even begin to speak to DS in anything but a sunshiny tone he gives me a look and makes a "calm down" gesture. It's driving me effin crazy.

 

<snip>

I hear DH in the other room letting out a big sigh and muttering to himself. I walk back in and ask what I did wrong that time and he says I'm being too hard on DS.  Is that too hard?  Or when DS was whining in the car because he wanted to "take our car on the hike for christmas trees" I explained 5 times why that was an impossibility and was met with more whining.  I said "please talk in your strong voice.  I will not talk with you when you are whining."  DH is rolling his eyes at me and shaking his head with disappointment.


I combined a few quotes from your posts that make me think that there are some communication/support issues with your dh. Don't get me wrong, dh and I have battled at times over how we're interacting with the kids. But it's a momentary kind of thing "Hey, I think you're losing it." or "That was out of line. I think I'd better take over." Does your dh really remind you daily that you're a control freak? Does he really roll his eyes and shake his head in disappointment? That's not a very healthy way to communicate -- If he doesn't like how you're doing things, then it's his turn. Is there a way you can talk about expectations and how you'd like to interact when it's not in the heat of the moment? I don't have much advice here, I just know that if my dh did that to me, I'd be really really mad at him. In the car, I probably would have said "OK, then I'm done talking about his. Your turn." And shut up (in a cold, probably immature silence.)

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tjej View Post

3 can be a very hard age.

 

It sounds like you need to decide a game plan for two things - when your child does not respond to you respecfully and when you are going to lose it. 

 

What has worked for me with my kids is to not engage in the discussion.  I tell them what to do more than giving them choices if we are having a lot of conflict.  When things are going better then I give choices, but when everything is a fight I choose not to fight and I don't give them options.  "It is time to brush your teeth."  I don't repeat.  (I will say "try again" or "please talk to me with a nice tone" if there is something to discuss).  If they do not do what is needed, I will take my child to a bench for a "time in" where I say, "please calm down.  When you are ready to brush your teeth please tell me you are ready".  I (usually) stay there, but don't engage in a fight.  If I feel we need to talk about the situation we don't do it until they are calmed down.  When it is time to talk, we do it face to face.  I get to their level.  I let them talk about it, but if they start whining or yelling I will tell them "you don't sound ready.  Calm down and tell me when you are ready."  I will also encourage them to use "self-control". 

 

In general, I find we have more conflict when there are time deadlines.  I do everything in my power to get things done beforehand (for your son, you could have him wear clean clothes to bed, have breakfast out and the toothbrush loaded with paste, all bags in the car and baby all done before he gets up (or as close to that as possible).  Also, me not getting enough sleep causes problems (perhaps you aren't getting enough with your kids - or maybe you can think about what your own triggers are for a bad day or shorter temper).

 

I find that for myself the best way to deal with whining and my own anger issues and frustrations is to do the "waiting for the bus" thing.  I do my best to disengage and understand it isn't actually about me -it's about growing up being hard and about learning how the world works.  I try to be a rock of patience, and when I can't (like we're late) I try singing or whispering instead of getting snippy.  When I'm frustrated I will explain why, but I also work really hard to do it in a way that I would be happy with hearing right back out of my kids (because they imitate everything!).

 

If you can just find some way to disengage (count to 10 or SOMETHING) it will get better.  It takes 2 to fight.


All really good ideas. What can you do to reduce the morning stress and time pressure? I'd really put everything on the table. Is there something your dh can do before he leaves (yes, I know he's at work insanely early, but can he get breakfast laid out, make sure your ds' shoes and coat are ready to go, get the diaper bag packed)? Can you let your son sleep in his clothes so you don't have to dress him? Can you take him in his pjs one day if he just won't get dressed? (He won't be the first preschooler to come to school in his pjs accompanied by his clothes in a bag.) Can you feed him in the car? If dad isn't getting home until late, is your ds going to bed early enough? Can you switch preschools to one that starts at 9? Or has an afternoon class?

 

I've also got book recommendations: "How to Talk So Your Children Will Listen" by Faber & Mazlish and the "Secret of Parenting" by Anthony Wolf (Wolfe?) -- that's where the 'Waiting for the Bus' idea came from. I also think that "Kids, Parents & Power Struggles" by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka would be good.

 

Following up on Tjej's ideas, and inserting a few from "How to Talk..." I think that you're actually talking too much. If you're repeating yourself (so in the example with the mirror, you repeated yourself 3 times before getting stern), that leads to two issues: First, you're teaching your child that they don't have to respond the first 3 (or 4 or 5 or however long it takes you to lose it) and second, this learned response from your kid(s) raises your bloodpressure sky high. You then blow up, your child cries, you feel awful, they feel awful and the cycle repeats. I actually did this with my 9 year old just tonight. He was ditzing around the living room after doing his reading (he'd had his bedtime story, he'd been tucked in, he'd gotten up to put his book away). I don't mind chatting with him for a bit because he doesn't need to go to sleep that early. But I told him to go to bed, and he ignored me. I told him again, and he sat down on the couch. I told him again, and he said OK, but was distracted by the computer on the way upstairs. I looked up, and there he is, sitting in front of the computer. "GO TO BED!!" Not quite the way I wanted to end our evening. If i'd followed through the first time, it wouldn't have gotten to that point.

 

Ditto for the car and the Christmas tree example -- you kept repeating yourself. Two ways to view this. The cynical part of me thinks that we expect our 3 year olds to be rational human beings because they sound so darn mature. But in reality, they're best handled as irrational beings. He wanted to drive, he has a belief that mom and dad can do anything, and so therefore, if they aren't driving to suit him, it must be because they're being unreasonable. Nothing you can say will convince him otherwise. The less cynical side of me thinks "he wasn't feeling heard". When you try to convince him that you can't drive it's OK for the first response. but if he keeps going that tells you that's not what he needed. What if you say "gosh, it would be nice if we could drive." or even "oh, you'd really like to drive. That would be cool." You're validating his feelings, but you're also not accepting his reality, if that makes any sense.

 

Again, I have had these same irrational conversations with my children. I have gotten better over time, but it is really hard to simply accept that they're unhappy, not try to fix it and not try to convince them that they're wrong. When I'm really on my game, I can use Playful Parenting ideas and say things like "Gosh, wouldn't that be cool if we had a car that drive anywhere? Even over tree stumps? Up mountains? Through the ocean?" When I'm off my game, I yell at my kids. bag.gif

 

Finishing my novel here, when I'm not stressed, I can be on my parenting game and do things right. When I'm stressed, it's hard enough to get basic needs met that my parenting suffers. Our kids are old enough now that I know they can whether a few of these storms. I'm trying to learn to deal with my stress in a more healthy manner. So my bottom line would be: Deal with your own stress. Kids need healthy parents.
 

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#16 of 22 Old 12-06-2010, 04:25 AM
 
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Can I just say WOW LynnS6!!!  That is an AWESOME post- possibly the best post I've ever read here at MDC! You've said EVERYTHING and more that I was thinking....so- ^ Yeah that ^  or What she said!


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#17 of 22 Old 12-06-2010, 06:07 AM
 
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Really wonderful post LynnS!! So well said and so much good advice.

 

One thing BarnMomma-I really agree with LynnS6 when it comes to doing too much for your hubby. I used to micromanage everything-I mean I stressed if my husband dressed our boy in pj's that didn't match. Finally my husband was like, 'Oh? Is the President stopping by tonight?" I mean really that made me stop and think. WHY did I care so much about pj's matching? What was I trying to do or say instead?

 

My husband does a lot now because I did let go. I don't lay pj's out, I don't set up the snacks and lunch ahead of time, I don't remind him to change diapers and I don't stress about what they will be doing. Hubby is 41 yr old program manager. I think he can handle dressing a kid and packing a diaper bag.

 

Is hubby good at doing several things at once? Nope not at all. He has a hard time washing dishes and watching our boy. So, we have begun alternating jobs. I wash dishes and he does bedtime. The next night I do bedtime and he washes dishes. We had to find ways to make it work that played to our strengths-mine is organization and his is having fun. Our boy benefits from this routine a lot as he has gotten used to having someone besides Mama put him to bed. And my DH makes bedtime really fun without working our son up-an dhe now takes pride in what an awesome bedtime Daddy he is.

 

So step back and try being really hands off for a while. Let him make mistakes and let kids go out in pj's if necessary. It won't hurt anyone.

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Quote:
 there's a huge difference between juggling getting everyone ready and caring for the house and the "watch the kids so no one ends up in the ER."

 


 

so, so, so well put! 
 

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#19 of 22 Old 12-08-2010, 09:38 PM
 
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I can't say if this will help you, but when I have situations like this (and I have), I make it a point to stay in my child's room at night after he's gone to sleep... and just *be* with him, think about him and who he is as an individual, how much I love him, etc- because it's so much easier when they are asleep =)  And often, in the quiet, the answer comes.  In a forum like this we can support each other, we can vent, we can share; but ultimately, you are the only one gifted with the intuition and ability to do the work in the relationship... I have no idea what sort of spiritual beliefs you may have, I am a Waldorf homeschooling mother so I try to meditate on what my child is going through, and then think about his guardian angel and what I can do to work with his angel to help my child cope and flourish.  The answers always come.  That being said, I have a 3 yo and so do several of my friends right now, and we are all going through the mother-child dynamic you describe.  I find Naomi Aldort's Discussions With Parents cd helpful to listen to over and over and "do the work" on why is there really a problem?  And remember that I do not need to live in this fear based idea that "If I don't get him to stop whining now, he may whine for the rest of his life...".  NOPE!  I hava 5 yo who whined when he was three, and guess what, it was just a phase!  And so it will be for this child, as long as I let him do what is developmentally appropriate and whine and repeat himself a million times... he will have done that 3 yo thing and move on!  As for the husband, do the work with him too.  It can be so uncomfortable and put stress on the mother child relationship when we are insecure with how our spouse is feeling about us and our peformance.  Be honest about this.  Many men- many people- are uncomfortable with the expression of negative emotions.  Why?  If we have them, what is the appropriate way to express them?  Ask him this, ask yourself this... Come to a place of understanding about what everyone can come to terms with when you are not feeling all sunshiny.  My husband has a very hard time with me being grumpy, so I tend to make up silly songs about how everyone is driving me crazy.  So for us, humor added to grumpiness "makes it acceptable." 

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#20 of 22 Old 12-09-2010, 05:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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op

 

nak

 

all great advice.  thanks.

 

i painted a bad picture of dh.  he's been acting a liitle crazy only after the incident and when I called him.  dh is a very smart man- owns and runs a very successful business with 80 employees.  but forgot the peanut butter on a pb &j.  will forget the coats in 23 degree weather.  He just sucks at domestic stuff. it's like his common sense gets used up monday thru friday. 

 

things with ds have been better.  if I feelmy temper going, I tend to get it in check or tell ds that mommy's patience is gone and we are done with x,y,z until I don't feel mad.  then I walk away.

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#21 of 22 Old 01-07-2011, 10:57 AM
 
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I haven't fully read all the posts. But the thing that jumped out at me was that you have the same cycle of asking for stuff each time, starting off kind and then slowly building up to yelling and finally snapping and enforcing what it is. So maybe your DS has learned to just tune out the nice asking and not take you seriously until you get serious about it, if that makes sense winky.gif So you could try a new policy where you ask things ONCE only and if he doesn't respond to it, then you step in right there and then and enforce it. That way he knows that when you say something you are serious the FIRST time and it needs to happen now. 

 

So sorry about your DH, I cant believe he could treat you that way. Its great he has a connection to your son and a desire to parent him gently...but you guys are a team in this and he cant treat you like the enemy and isolate you out as the bad guy against your son. You need to unite and support one another through all the inevitable struggles that you will both have along the way. There's a saying I like, "If Mama aint happy, aint nobody happy" lol.gif

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#22 of 22 Old 01-07-2011, 12:19 PM
 
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(nak) I know this is an older thread that got bumped, but I just wanted to add that OP, you are not alone. I have a 3.25 yo and 5 month old, tons of moves and changes in the last 6 months. My DP works full time from home, easily does 50% or more of the work around here, and I was still ready to flip my lid with DS a couple of weeks ago. DS has a speech delay, a hot temper, and is easily frustrated. Some days it seems like all we hear is whining and tantrums. It comes and goes, I think. 1-2 bad weeks, 1-3 good weeks, and so on. This last "cycle" I said and thought some horrible things. Way worse than you.

 

I agree with the PPs, esp about your husband. He needs to be more helpful and supportive (even if it feels like he already is, he still needs to step it up a little when you go through a rough patch)

 

A few things that have worked for us:

I agree 100% with the above post. When we use a serious tone and ask something, if DS doesn't respond he then gets a warning, then straight to time out (see below)

 

The Supernanny style time outs, like a PP mentioned.

 

Let yourself mess up. Be a little late. As a PP said take DS to school in PJs. Let the house funk over, leave the dishes for DH, Nana, Mothers helper. Use paper plates. I think most people understand, particularly when you have a new baby.

 

When you are having a rough patch, pump some milk and turn the kids over to DH for the evening. Even if you use the time to do other house work, taking a breather from being around DS does wonders for me. During our last rough patch, which lasted a while, DP did DS's primary care for almost a week solid because I was hanging by my last nerve (I was still around and helped, of course, but DP did bath/bed/whining about every blessed thing). We also do what we call tag team parenting when we are both home: if one of us sees that the other one is about to lose her temper, we take DS outside/on a walk.

 

Go for a change of scene. Take them to an enclosed park or somewhere else where DS will need minimal supervision and turn him loose. Sit and stare off into space, read a book, crochet, make faces with your baby.

 

Be consistent with discipline. It's not easy, but does wonders for us. Some days it feels like we put him in time out every five minutes, but he knows what behaviors warrant a time out and he gets a warning.

 

Perhaps look into DS doing longer days or more days at preschool?

 

::hugs::


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