can we make a list?
early pregnancy hormones make me super irritable and i argued with dh about stupid stuff in front of dd and then was really mean to her when her behavior reflected my own state of mind. i really don't like myself when i am not able to be gentle with her.
what do you do when it's too much for you?
Is it getting lonely in the echo chamber yet?
For very young kids (crawling-3 years old): Just lay on the floor on your back. I have found that to be the most wonderful thing for young kids. I think it's the "potential availablity" factor. Lay there while they play and let them crawl on you if they want.
For age 3-5: A "yes" day. Spend a day saying yes to everything - allow a bit more candy or crawling on something you normally don't make time for, some outlandish dinner request - whatever the kid asks for.
Evening talks about the day.
For age 5-7: The book "Parent Effectivness Training".
Increased responsibility around the house.
Having the child choose the solution to the problem.
Age 7-9: Contracts
I'm the sort of person that I need a few moments to myself if I start to lose my temper. I explain as calmly as possible to my DS (7) that I need to be alone for a few minutes so that I can calm down and be a better mama to him. But, it's only because of his age that I can do that.
So, I guess for me I would say:
1. Counting to ten
2. Doing something calming like reading for a minute, sitting outside on the porch, just laying on the bed for a minute meditating.
3. A play therapist recommends working your large muscle groups when frustrated - something about it releases stuff into your bloodstream that helps to calm you. This was very recently so I haven't had a chance to try it out yet.
Are you able to take a little break if you need it, to get a little time to yourself? In my experience a little preventative maintenance is the best thing for being in a frame of mind to be a good parent. :) Maybe you need an hour or two for a nice bath by yourself or something, if that's possible.
I got this concept from Lawrence Cohen's Playful Parenting. When I get frustrated and feel like screaming/yelling/etc., I instead pretend to be a firecracker (picture jumping around and waving my arms making loud firecracker-like noises). When I do this, my boys giggle and I get to release strong emotions in a positive way.
Have an activity that you switch over to before going back to talking about whatever problem behavior. (so a walk, shower, snack together).
I get way more irritated with everything when I'm too hot - so summertime is really bad for my gd parenting skills. I'll just stop everything with the kids and we'll go take a shower together to cool off, or do laundry (in the cool basement), and then come back to deal with. . . cleaning up toys, other stuff that's an issue, etc.
Other times I've gone off to do dishes myself (angrily) and then can come back to deal with a frustrating situation better because 'at least I got something done' with the anger and can come back and see what a jerk I was being before.
This is awesome. It can stop a 3-yr old's temper tantrum and yours in about 2 seconds flat. When I've done this, my 16-mo and 3 yr old just grin, and climb on me and everyone giggles. It's such a nice way to reconnect.
I love this thread.
Mama to Charlie (4/08) and Toby (2/10)
A few things I've found that work for me.
Walking away. Just realizing that whatever it is... it's not worth my losing my cool over.
I keep a package of European-style cookies that I love (LU) in the cupboard. I'll make a cup of mint tea...take 2-3 cookies... go to my room and escape for 15 minutes. Sometimes, I'll even turn on the TV for the kids to lengthen my time of peace. If I'm really frazzled, I'll even put on TV shows that we don't regularly watch. IMHO, the break and peace is worth the quesitionable material on occasion.
Taking a shower.... or shoving all of the kids into a bubble bath (well, not the baby).
Surprisingly, letting my kids know that Mom is having a tough day. I used to be a massage therapist...and probably because of that, our entire family massages each other. So if I say that, the kids will climb up on the back of the couch, and massage my back.
Family sandwich. I lie on the floor...I'm the bread...then my eldest gets on and decides what he is (peanut butter)....then my middle son (jelly)...then my daughter (bread on top).
Try to get them to be silly (or do this myself.) We were having an issue with DS1's anger. He would get really angry at everybody--and couldn't calm down. So if he said something really loud and mad... we'd then ask him to say it in a grumpy voice... then in a baby voice... then like Foghorn Leghorn.... then like xyz.
Onetime when I was pregnant with DS3, I remember just walking outside the door and closing it and breathing in the nice fresh air. That was wonderful.
Mom to DS(8), DS(6), DD(4), and DS(1). "Kids do as well as they can."
I find that I need "time-outs" far more than my kids do. I explain that I need a few minutes to calm down and that I'll be right back. And then I escape into my room, the bathroom, anywhere the kids aren't, to pull myself together and get some perspective for a few minutes. It seems to work well when I can feel the anger rising and know I'm about to react in a way I'll regret.
I've been working to get my son to speak more kindly to his sister when he's frustrated with her, and he and I had a discussion about this today in which I told him that I know I too need to work on speaking gently even when I'm angry, and so we agreed to help each other remember this when we "forget." So, now when either one of us is getting frustrated we'll remind each other to be kind. So far it seems to be working pretty well.
thanks for this list. I came onto this forum tonight looking for ideas like this. I'm snappy and so quick to anger with my 2.5 year old these days - sleep deprived and home alone 70+ hours a week with her and my 3 month old. She's seriously pushing my buttons and I can feel my irrational rage under the surface of our interactions way more often than I'd like to admit. I'm not a yeller, but I can feel myself wanting to shake her or react physically, which I do resist doing, though I have been more physical with her than I feel comfortable with at times. Sometimes I can turn it into physical playfulness like wrestling or raspberries, and sometimes I need to take a break....but that's hard to do with a toddler and a newborn. I'm going to try some of these other things. I don't want to interact with her like this and I feel like a terrible parent for feeling this way.
I love this list. I need as many ideas as I can get. When I get frustrated and want to yell, I try to sing instead. So I'll sit there and sing "put on your shoes" or "please get buckled". It helps to diffuse the situation.
Proud Mommy to my amazing boys (6 and 4) and my precious little girl (18 months).
Walking away is the only one that works for me. My usual way is to find something funny and use my internal humor to calm me down. But I don't want the kids to think that the behavior that got me mad is OK or funny, so walking away is the best option for me.
Sorry for the thread hijack. I just wanted to move it up so we get some more ideas.
Maria , wife to A , mama to DS M 8/09 and DS L 6/12
Everything will be ok in the end. If it's not ok, then it's not the end - Paolo Coelho
Locking myself in the bathroom for a few minutes works. Sometimes I just step outside in the fresh air for a few. Also, sitting on the floor my eyes clenched shut, hands over ears and visualizing what I'd *like to say but really won't*, and then what I'm actually going to say has helped a lot too. Regular meditation, and breaks for me are key prevention tools.
These ideas are all very helpful! I have been having a tough parenting month as we are going through a difficult time together as a family. I feel overwhelmed by everything! I am really going to try out some of these ideas.... and if anyone has more, please share!
Sara - - PreK Teacher, Birth Doula, Wife to Shaun (8/13/05), Mama to Caleb (8/17/06), Chance (6/22/08), and Brielle (10/31/09) - - -