Please Help Me - Controlling my Emotions & Temper so I Can Respond Instead of Reacting - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 21 Old 12-06-2010, 02:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've read a lot of GD books but am really struggling to overcome my tendency to react to my kids' behavior, far too often by yelling.  There is a huge gap between how I want to parent and how I'm actually parenting and I don't know how to close it.  Intellectually, I know that they're not out to push my buttons but I react as if they are rather than responding more appropriately.  How do I develop patience and learn to control my emotions so I can respond to their needs in a more respectful and empathetic manner as well as model better behavior for them? 

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#2 of 21 Old 12-06-2010, 02:09 PM
 
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I don't know, I'm wondering the same thing myself...


                                       DS 7 ~ DS 3

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#3 of 21 Old 12-06-2010, 03:50 PM
 
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I have found making changes in other aspects of my life has helped a lot. Like if I really need to have an adult conversation, or my health is not good, or I haven't had alone time in a while, or I haven't read a book in a month....etc etc...making those changes helps me refocus my energy. I usually end up being most angry and impatient when I am either sick, tired, or just depressed/bored with my own life. Also, giving up the internet for periods of time has helped a LOT, because I have a tendency to get sucked in and then have trouble shifting gears back to parenting.

Also, laughter. Like just laughing at the silly kid behavior (inside or actually making a joke about it or turning it into something playful) instead of taking it personally.

Also, my kid is old enough that I can sit hir down and say "OK, we're going to change some things around here, I'm sorry I have been yelling and angry so much but I am frustrated with XYZ." And we can both apologize and talk about how we are going to behave in the next few days. It doesn't always change hir behavior immediately but it helps.

and also, I just tell myself that I am learning and trying to do the best I can, even when I slip up. My kid is doing the same, so we can give each other some slack.

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#4 of 21 Old 12-06-2010, 04:29 PM
 
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You don't say how old your kids are. Anger is harder to explain to younger children

 

I think it's not the end of the world if my kids see me mad. I am human, and seeing how I deal with strong emotions can set an example for them. Obviously that doesn't give me free rein to yell and scream, but it makes me feel less guilty about it.

 

If they are older, you can explain (as the pp said) that you are mad, frustrated, or tired, and you reacted badly. Apologize for your behavior. Assure them that you will try to do better. Maybe even ask them for suggestions on what you can do instead.

 

Be straight with them. Tell them what your biggest triggers are (they may not be intentionally pushing your buttons, but some things set you off anyway). Ask for their help in avoiding these triggers.

 

I applaud you for wanting to change, but remember this - knowing what NOT to do is not the same as knowing what TO do. It's not that easy! After you've reacted in a way that you don't like, see if you can figure out a way that you wish you had handled it. Having a plan in place - kind of like having a fire escape plan in place - helps you act instead of react. Don't hesitate to ask here for suggestions for speficif situations!


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#5 of 21 Old 12-07-2010, 10:36 AM
 
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There's lots to say on this subject, but one quick thing I do is I go and write it down. Right in front of him (DS is 7). The writing helps me to DO something when my emotions and reactions are starting to boil. Because you'll notice that when someone ticks you off, the first tendency is to DO something....to react, to defend oneself, to punish.....whatever it is. So I grab a piece of scrap paper and write. Sometimes my son will ask what I'm writing about and I will tell him "I'm writing that when I asked you to clean up your toys, you hit me."

 

Oddly enough this activity takes it down a notch and keeps it on the talking (vs. acting) level.

 

I've written so many posts on Mothering.com about the whole anger thing. I have struggled with it but things are much better now. Maybe you can go look some of those past posts up. Once in a while I swerved into an intelligent suggestion or two.  :-)

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#6 of 21 Old 12-07-2010, 11:57 AM
 
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Totally agree with the writing it down. I have also found it to be incredibly helpful to simply say angrily, "I'm mad! I spent a lot of time making your supper and you just pushed it away!" State how you are feeling, describe what happened. Check out the book How to Talk so Kids Will Listen. It is has been very helpful!


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#7 of 21 Old 12-07-2010, 02:23 PM
 
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I went through a big yelling phase.  Bedtimes especially pushed my buttons when a 4.5yo ds1 would keep getting out of bed! I would be so close to the day ending but he wouldn't let me end it!   I think my biggest mistake was expecting more of ds1 because he seems so much older than ds2, and has always spoken so clearly, that I forgot he was "only 3" or "only 4", or even "only 5"... (he just turned 6 and he is actually seeming more like a big kid lately.... usually....). 

 

I still do yell sometimes, but I think I found what mental tricks work for me.   These things are:

 - react to things the way I'd like to be spoken to if someone (husband, whoever) were speaking to me.

 - speak in the way I remember my parents speaking to me (they were quite patient usually, as I recall), or even the way they, as grandparents, deal with my kids now. I'm sure it's easier for them to keep their cool as grandparents, they're not "allowed" to yell the way parents are.

 - deal with my kids in the way I want them to deal with each other or other people.  In other words, modeling a good way to deal with anger, knowing that they will probably copy the way I do it someday.

 - remember that if I yell, that will just escalate things and make the behaviors worse.  I learned this through trial and error....  and the point is to diffuse things and work things out, right?

 - from "Secret of Parenting" - know that if they hear me state my disappointment or anger ("I'm really annoyed that I'm ending up cleaning the spill you made, after I asked you to help!") then that does affect them. Maybe doesn't change things in the moment, but next time a similar situation might go better.

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#8 of 21 Old 12-08-2010, 08:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the suggestions!  My boys are 6 and 2.  I wish I had a good role model but my parents were also yellers.  Even as a grandparent, my mom comes across too harshly when she gets frustrated with DS1.  I don't want to be that way but I'm sure I sound like her. I have a tendency to fly off the handle, then feel lousy about it.  I need to break that cycle.  I think what I need most now are tools & strategies to maintain my cool in the heat of the moment, like writing it down, taking a deep breath & counting to 10, etc.  By any chance has anyone here used the Celebrate Calm products?

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#9 of 21 Old 12-08-2010, 05:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by nd_deadhead View Post

You don't say how old your kids are. Anger is harder to explain to younger children

 

I think it's not the end of the world if my kids see me mad. I am human, and seeing how I deal with strong emotions can set an example for them. Obviously that doesn't give me free rein to yell and scream, but it makes me feel less guilty about it.

 

If they are older, you can explain (as the pp said) that you are mad, frustrated, or tired, and you reacted badly. Apologize for your behavior. Assure them that you will try to do better. Maybe even ask them for suggestions on what you can do instead.

 

Be straight with them. Tell them what your biggest triggers are (they may not be intentionally pushing your buttons, but some things set you off anyway). Ask for their help in avoiding these triggers.

 

I applaud you for wanting to change, but remember this - knowing what NOT to do is not the same as knowing what TO do. It's not that easy! After you've reacted in a way that you don't like, see if you can figure out a way that you wish you had handled it. Having a plan in place - kind of like having a fire escape plan in place - helps you act instead of react. Don't hesitate to ask here for suggestions for speficif situations!


A lot of really good advice -- I still yell more than I'd like, but my kids don't seem to be too scarred by it. I do apologize to my kids (it's the one thing my parents didn't do that I wish they had). Dd (age 6) and I had a really good conversation this weekend where we talked about how stressed I was and why, and how I was sorry that I'd had a fight with daddy the night before.

 

Don't be afraid to walk away. Sometimes I shut myself in the bathroom. I've been known more than once to go into my room and slam the door. Not the most mature response, but it does get me away. (And for what it's worth, my ds now will go to his room and slam the door when he's mad bag.gif.) Deep breathing does work. If you can learn the kind of breathing used for meditation, it's really helpful (when you remember to do it!).

 

I've also found that giving a 'narrative' of my emotions to my kids helps me identify things and actually address them before I blow up. "I'm getting really really frustrated right now." "I'm losing my patience, and I'm about to yell."

 

Good self -care is crucial, as someone else noted. When I'm tired, cranky or stressed, it's much harder.

 

Oh, and you know my most effective tool? "I'm getting really mad. If you keep doing that I'm going to scream." "Really?" "Yep, really." They do it again and then I let out the most melodramatic, bloodcurdling scream I can muster. My kids think this is hysterical, and it really relieves the tension because we're all laughing. (But it drives my dh crazy, so I try not to do it when he's home.)


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#10 of 21 Old 12-08-2010, 09:00 PM
 
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have you read the book Love and Logic?  it teaches you how to discipline without getting in a rage yourself.  it's geared more towards toddlers and up to age six, i think.  works great on my 3 year old.  i am SO much calmer now when it comes to discipline.  simple, to the point, concise.  it's all about action, not lectures. 


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#11 of 21 Old 12-09-2010, 12:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've listened to some of the Love & Logic CDs and am subscribed to their newsletter but honestly there's something about their approach that doesn't feel right to me.  No offense intended,  but the set ups seem so manipulative and at times thier approach seems downright mean-spirited to me, almost like they're encouraging you to revel in your child's failures. 

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#12 of 21 Old 12-11-2010, 09:51 AM
 
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maybe.  what i take from it is that children can be given opportunities to make good choices and almost more importantly that they feel confidence from their parents that they can make good choices.  no spoon feeding or lecturing which according to the authors is what makes children feel like they are being insulted, like they can't figure this stuff out on their own.  for me, i use the technique when i feel it is appropriate but i definitely add my own touch since i know my child best.  and i love how it takes the anger and reactionary words and actions out of my discipline. i have so much more energy now to be a fun mom.


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#13 of 21 Old 12-11-2010, 11:44 AM
 
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I'm reading "Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline" right now and I feel like it is totally helping me.  I'm far from being where I want to be, but I do feel like this book is really helping me start that journey, in a way that no other parenting book has.  It's more about learning to change my own thinking habits so that I can effectively help my children.


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#14 of 21 Old 12-13-2010, 07:42 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post


 

 

I've also found that giving a 'narrative' of my emotions to my kids helps me identify things and actually address them before I blow up. "I'm getting really really frustrated right now." "I'm losing my patience, and I'm about to yell."

 

Good self -care is crucial, as someone else noted. When I'm tired, cranky or stressed, it's much harder.

 

Oh, and you know my most effective tool? "I'm getting really mad. If you keep doing that I'm going to scream." "Really?" "Yep, really." They do it again and then I let out the most melodramatic, bloodcurdling scream I can muster. My kids think this is hysterical, and it really relieves the tension because we're all laughing. (But it drives my dh crazy, so I try not to do it when he's home.)


ROTFLMAO.gifI love that! Letting out a loud "funny" yell.

 

See mamas--we are not alone. This is a hard job, we need to take it easy on ourselves!

Jessica

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#15 of 21 Old 12-26-2010, 09:24 PM
 
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One of the most encouraging aspects I've read about gentle discipline, says that it comes with time. It does not happen overnight. If you learn from every day, then every day you will improve. I've read/heard many parents talk about how they got better at it with age (either theirs or their children's.)

 

This idea makes me feel better on my weaker days.

 

Also, I stopped drinking coffee. Helped a lot. wink1.gif

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#16 of 21 Old 12-26-2010, 10:20 PM
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Once my DD was over 3.5 I could tell her that I was feeling angry and felt like shouting or screaming, so she needed to stop doing. We talk about how it's scary or hurts our feelings when people get angry. Going outside helps everyone calm down. Taking a shower helps me calm down. 

 

I also don't like what little I've read of Love and Logic. I do like Kids, Parents and Power Struggles by Mary Kurcinka. I also focus on modeling behavior I want my DD to use. As for how to control your reactions, someone here suggested imagine your DC is an adult watching you back through time with herself as a child. Would you want your adult child watching you treat her that way as a child. I've also asked myself "would I want someone else treating my child this way" when I'm tempted to shout. We've had an issue of my DH reacting when our DD is annoying in a way I don't want her to copy. He gets whiny when she gets whiny or really annoying. Being whiny isn't as bad as shouting I guess but two whiny people grumping at each other can drive me crazy fast, lol.

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#17 of 21 Old 12-27-2010, 06:49 PM
 
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My DS1 has just turned 3 in behavior, if not biologically (his birthday is 1/31), and we've had some really tough days recently.  =\  I'm reading "How to talk so kids will listen ..." right now and it's giving me a lot to think about.  My parents used a lot of yelling, threats, and spanking with my brother and I and now I'm finding myself falling into those same traps.  It's so hard to learn new tools when those are the tools you know!  I've found the biggest things that at least give me a leg up on controlling my emotions are 1) getting enough sleep and 2) eating a good diet to avoid sugar crashes.  When I take care of myself at least I have the basic personal resources to tackle learning to parent better.  I also have about 5 more parenting books on order from Amazon bag.gif


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#18 of 21 Old 12-27-2010, 06:59 PM
 
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Yes!  "easy to love, difficult to discipline"  horrible title because it doesn't feel like it's about DISCIPLINE.  I wish I had picked this one up sooner, but it sounded like it didn't apply to my philosophy.  The one great thing I keep going back to from this book is to try and see what is going on from out child's perspective.  If they are acting that badly (or whatever is going on), there must be something pushing them- the same way I am a nutcase if I have more than 1 cup of coffee without breakfast.  Once I tried to stop thinking "you shouldn't do that you KNOW better"  and started thinking "why are you doing that and how can we turn this around"  WOW.  My daughter is a different person (well she is three and they are different people biweekly at this age so we'll see ...)

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#19 of 21 Old 12-28-2010, 01:08 AM
 
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i too love easy to love, difficult to discipline. honestly i try to read it every chance i get and take notes. it is so hard to reprogram your brain/response to stress and anger.


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#20 of 21 Old 12-28-2010, 10:18 AM
 
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also, i found You Are Your Child's First Teacher by Rahima Baldwin Dancy very helpful.  if i can come from a place of understanding where my child is at developmentally, i can parent better.  and just started reading Seven Times the Sun, about rhythm in the day which my 3.5 year old seems to need.  


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#21 of 21 Old 01-07-2011, 06:28 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mommatooth View Post

My daughter is a different person (well she is three and they are different people biweekly at this age so we'll see ...)



 Did you find at 2 (or at least almost 2) they were different biweekly as well? I feel like when I have DS sorta figured out...I don't.

 

I can very much relate to those who were raised through yelling and threats and spanking...although the third is not an option, the other two come out. Regretfully.


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