I need to be a scream-free parent - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 06-06-2012, 03:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I feel like I wake up yeling at my kids and go to bed yelling at my kids. I am turning into the kind of parent mine were. 

I have such difficulty getting them to do simple things, such as putting away toys when they are finished playing, or getting them to not touch things of mine I have asked them not to touch many times before.  This is an issue with both kids.

 

My daughter has a habit of dumping entire containers of shampoo or other hair things into her bathwater, and I remove them and put them up higher which solves the problem, but then my son, who is older, will get them for her even though I have asked him many many times not to.  I have bought her her own bubble bath but I don't like to use it often because I am afraid of UTIs and stuff in her, so I will put in her bubble bath and put the bottle up and away....then I will go to a different part of them home (but nearby) to check on her and I see that my son has gotten the bottle for her and she has dumped all of it AGAIN...or my shampoos or her shampoos. 

 

She repeatedly goes over and over into the refrigerator to get out food or drinks, although I have asked her every time to ask mommy first and ask mommy for help.  An example is that she will get an entire bag of cheese and spill it everywhere, which sets off a chain reaction.  She sees her older brother being able to do so and she wants to be just like him. Over and over I tell her simply "Ask mommy before going into the fridge." It does not sink in and then starts the yelling and the meanness on my part.  I am angry and tense all the time and I am tired of it.  I get they are acting like normal kids but they trigger my buttons non-stop, my daughter especially.  I am in therapy right now for my issues, but I feel like I need something from those who try to be gentle parents and discipline providers that is more concrete, more "been there, done that" help.


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#2 of 12 Old 06-06-2012, 05:00 PM
 
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You sound just like me about 2 years ago. I don't know how I got through it, except for a patient husband, but I did. They grew out of it. My son did the exact same thing regarding the bath tub, dumping out whole bottles of expensive bath stuff, or he would poop in the tub. It turned out to be a phase that lasted a few months. I don't know what to say about the older brother helping her, though, because it was always my fault for leaving the stuff down. Maybe you could hide it?

 

As for the fridge raccoons....I suggest trying to keep things that she is allowed to have within her reach, so that she sees them first. Try to keep messy things up high where she can't reach them. I have a french door fridge so that has worked for us so far. He hasn't tried scaling the shelves yet. 

 

I hope you get through it, mama. hug2.gif

 

As for the yelling, I'd like to stick around and read what other mamas have to say, as I need some help in that arena myself.


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#3 of 12 Old 06-06-2012, 06:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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You sound just like me about 2 years ago. I don't know how I got through it, except for a patient husband, but I did. They grew out of it. My son did the exact same thing regarding the bath tub, dumping out whole bottles of expensive bath stuff, or he would poop in the tub. It turned out to be a phase that lasted a few months. I don't know what to say about the older brother helping her, though, because it was always my fault for leaving the stuff down. Maybe you could hide it?

 

As for the fridge raccoons....I suggest trying to keep things that she is allowed to have within her reach, so that she sees them first. Try to keep messy things up high where she can't reach them. I have a french door fridge so that has worked for us so far. He hasn't tried scaling the shelves yet. 

 

I hope you get through it, mama. hug2.gif

 

As for the yelling, I'd like to stick around and read what other mamas have to say, as I need some help in that arena myself.

 

Racoons!!  ROFL!  That's exactly what it is like.  The problem is that they will get their stool and use it to get into the freezer....which I would need to hide (the stool).  The issue isn't really my son, as he is older and does fairly well with asking first and I don't mind if he gets after he asks but baby sister wants to be like big brother.

 

I think yes I am going to have to start hiding all the hair stuff.  I will again remind my son that his sister can't have any shampoos in her bath and he'll say "But A asked for them."  I am glad he is helpful and caring for her, but he does not seem to grasp that she cannot have everything she asks for.  Sigh.  I am doing this all on my own....their father and I are divorced.  This would be a lot easier with a supportive partner in the home but...that is not the case right now.


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#4 of 12 Old 06-06-2012, 06:49 PM
 
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Can you save the empty shampoo bottles and fill them with really diluted shampoo or colored water or something fun but benign.  Then put the dummy bottles up high so your son can get them down as usual.... and HIDE the good stuff (maybe only bring it out when you shower).... ;) 

 

Or, what about getting lots of tiny bottle of single use product and filling that with bubble bath and then doling them out to her?

 

Also, I hope you are being gentle with yourself. The worst is getting stuck in self-loathing cycle of "I'm a bad parent, I'm angry, why can't I stop being angry, I'm turning out just like my parents..." because it just makes you more and more tense and angry.  From what I've learned in therapy, when I get mad it's because I feel powerless.  Screaming, for me, is about feeling powerless.  So I look for ways to feel empowered based on the things that I can control, in a healthy way.

 

In the case of me and my daughter, I actually use some logical consequences around my trigger issues because I feel it is way healthier for her to know these are mommy's hot button issues and there are  predictable consequences, than for me to be unpredictable and crazy because I'm afraid that my boundaries are "too mean" or "unreasonable" or something.  With predictable consequence, she gets a measure of choice about whether she wants to 1) walk next to me and hold my hand,  or 2) go in the stroller (neither of these is really a consequence, but we both feel empowered by the choices),  or 1) get in her carseat and get to play with her toy or 2) I put her in her carseat and no toy.  Etc.   Or, "If you hit me, I'm putting you in the bedroom." "If you can't use X responsibly, I'm taking it away." 

 

For a while I did not want to do consequences because it is "not ideal" and that ended up with me screaming and yelling because I am fighting a childhood pattern.  I use lots of the GD standards as my line of first choice, but for the issues where I just get steamed over and over again, I use consequences.  I rather do that than flip out.  The trick with the consequences is that they have to be predictable and enforceable.  It works much better if the consequence is something I do than if it's something I have to ask her to do.  It also works best if I phrase the consequence not as threats in the midst of bad behavior but as information at the beginning of a relevant time.

 

With the bubble bath thing, I'd try portioning out or alternative dumping items first, and if that didn't work, I'd go to, "You can choose to have this much bubble bath or no bubble bath"  I might add an "the bubble bath can only live here if you use one minibottle at a time - otherwise it moves away" as well as a "if you use only one minibottle per bath for the next three baths, then I will trust you to have free reign over the basket of minibottles" clause too.    You also might consider how you would feel if she strikes because you took away the bubble bath and which is more important to you - that she takes a bath period, or that she doesn't get a UTI from too much bubble bath.  It's a crap choice, but life is full of those... :)  Give yourself permission to choose one and call it good until something actually bad happens to make you reconsider.  Seriously..... ;)

 

I also try to look at how I structure things so that I can make it easier on myself.  I use a timer a lot, and I do things to take stress off myself like, "All the dishes in the house are dirty; I will do dishes for ten minutes after each meal today, and then stop, even if the dishes aren't all clean."  Instead of, "I need to clean everything until it's done."  I mean, not just with dishes, but anything that is pressuring you.  To do a little bit steadily and without self-reproach even if it's not all completed is better than trying to get it all in one fell swoop, etc.

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#5 of 12 Old 06-07-2012, 11:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Can you save the empty shampoo bottles and fill them with really diluted shampoo or colored water or something fun but benign. Then put the dummy bottles up high so your son can get them down as usual.... and HIDE the good stuff (maybe only bring it out when you shower).... ;)

Oh geez WHY didn't I think of this??!! little bit of shampoo and food coloring and she would be a happy girl.  This makes SO much sense.

 

 

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when I get mad it's because I feel powerless. Screaming, for me, is about feeling powerless.

 Oh that is so true.....you've hit it on the head.  I feel powerless because they are not listening to me.  And of course the more I scream and yell the more they will tune me out.

 

Quote:
In the case of me and my daughter, I actually use some logical consequences around my trigger issues because I feel it is way healthier for her to know these are mommy's hot button issues and there are predictable consequences, than for me to be unpredictable and crazy because I'm afraid that my boundaries are "too mean" or "unreasonable" or something. With predictable consequence, she gets a measure of choice about whether she wants to 1) walk next to me and hold my hand, or 2) go in the stroller (neither of these is really a consequence, but we both feel empowered by the choices), or 1) get in her carseat and get to play with her toy or 2) I put her in her carseat and no toy. Etc. Or, "If you hit me, I'm putting you in the bedroom." "If you can't use X responsibly, I'm taking it away."
 

      This makes a lot of sense.  I need to find logical consequences for stuff that regularly happens and keep them consistant.

 

     

 

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I also try to look at how I structure things so that I can make it easier on myself. I use a timer a lot, and I do things to take stress off myself like, "All the dishes in the house are dirty; I will do dishes for ten minutes after each meal today, and then stop, even if the dishes aren't all clean." Instead of, "I need to clean everything until it's done." I mean, not just with dishes, but anything that is pressuring you. To do a little bit steadily and without self-reproach even if it's not all completed is better than trying to get it all in one fell swoop, etc.

 

      Brilliant idea....cleaning a little bit every day and stopping when a timer goes off.  Absolutely a great idea.

      I have got to learn how to also learn how to not expect too much but figure out what is age appropriate for their age.  How much cooperation I can expect from a 3 year old to pick up their clothes, etc.


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#6 of 12 Old 06-07-2012, 08:43 PM
 
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I am in the same boat. I'd found a few things help. First, I lock the kitchen and bathroom when not in use. this stops children from playing and stealing stuff in the kitchen. I have some one help me 5 days a fortnight.
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#7 of 12 Old 06-08-2012, 08:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am in the same boat. I'd found a few things help. First, I lock the kitchen and bathroom when not in use. this stops children from playing and stealing stuff in the kitchen. I have some one help me 5 days a fortnight.

    This wouldn't help me.....for one the kitchen is a big open area and there is no door to lock nor any way to even put a door in.  Bathroom doors don't lock from the outside here either, only the inside.


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#8 of 12 Old 06-08-2012, 10:41 AM
 
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The practical ideas here can help a lot, but there is also the inner, emotional aspect. Good for you for seeking your own therapy (whether for parenting-related issues or not!).

 

Dr. Laura recently did a great series in her newsletter about stopping yelling. Just go to her website http://www.ahaparenting.com/ and search "stop yelling" and you'll find quite a few articles on the topic.. The first one in the recent series is #2 on that list: Want to stop yelling? Here's how

From there you can follow the series, and read her other articles on the topic.

I have found most of her tips very useful. I've definitely been yelling less often when I follow her ideas. Her approach to parenting is a very holistic one and I notice that my child (2 years old) is more co-operative and listens to me more and rebels less when I follow Dr. Laura's advice about connecting and keeping my focus on the bigger picture rather than every small little incident or behavior.

 

Good luck Mama! I know how hard it is in those frustrating moments....just wanting to explode...how to stay calm? It's tricky!


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#9 of 12 Old 06-09-2012, 08:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you PJ, those look interesting!


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#10 of 12 Old 06-11-2012, 08:23 AM
 
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Oh geez WHY didn't I think of this??!! little bit of shampoo and food coloring and she would be a happy girl.  This makes SO much sense.

 

 

 Oh that is so true.....you've hit it on the head.  I feel powerless because they are not listening to me.  And of course the more I scream and yell the more they will tune me out.

 

      This makes a lot of sense.  I need to find logical consequences for stuff that regularly happens and keep them consistant.

   

 

 

      Brilliant idea....cleaning a little bit every day and stopping when a timer goes off.  Absolutely a great idea.

      I have got to learn how to also learn how to not expect too much but figure out what is age appropriate for their age.  How much cooperation I can expect from a 3 year old to pick up their clothes, etc.

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#11 of 12 Old 06-11-2012, 03:59 PM
 
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I don't tend to yell at my daughter, but I do get very, very angry and sometimes say nasty things as a result.  I do think that eliminating the possibility of the problem is usually the best approach, although some problems are pretty tough to eliminate.  Is there a simple fridge lock you could use that your son could operate but not your daughter?  Otherwise I agree with trying to keep a stash of appropriate foods within eyesight of your daughter in the fridge.  That's a tough one.  The other thing that I find helps me a bit is having a "no repeating yourself" policy.  If they don't seem to listen after the first time you say something, go to them and gently assist them in doing what you ask - even if they pitch a fit about it.  When I say things once and then make them happen, I feel less powerless.  There's something truly awful about listening to yourself blah-blah-blah all day.  And usually the end result with the child is the same.  It's nice, I think, to prevent my OWN temper tantrum, even if I can't prevent hers. 
 

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#12 of 12 Old 06-13-2012, 11:56 PM
 
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I may be wrong here since that dynamic was not present in my home when I was raised or raising my own son, now a teenager. Forgive me if I don't really get it, but here goes.

 

My impression looking at this from the outside, is that the kids are getting a payback when they do that. They are getting a reaction out of mom, attention, and it's a cycle, perhaps an addictive cycle.

 

Here is another idea, and it might take nerve to implement it.

 

Consider not replacing the spent shampoo. When it gets all dumped out, say nothing and be cheerful. The next night, say nothing and if she doesn't complain, say nothing. Hide your own shampoo very, very well, and make sure anything she could substitute such as dish soap, but especially dangerous products, are well out of reach of both your son and daughter. You could even lock them up in a plastic trunk with a padlock and explain that you need to ration your own items so you will still have them to use because clean hair is important to you. Say nothing about her hair. Eventually, she will complain about her hair not being clean, even if it's after a teacher says something. Be ready to tell a teacher that you are allowing her to learn to use the proper amount of shampoo and are temporarily not replacing it when she dumps it all out. Ask her to bear with you and promise her that you are very much on top of the situation and rinsing her hair nightly but need to break your daughter's shampoo dumping habit. That should hold them, but if it doesn't you can offer your daughter a handful of baking soda and ask her if she needs your help using it. Allow her to use baking soda or body soap to wash her hair for a few weeks or until she asks what she can do to get more shampoo. You could offer to use some of her allowance money or savings to replace the shampoo she used up prematurely. Remain calm at all times. She will make a choice if she gets sick enough of dirty hair or the difficulty of using alternate products. It's a matter of allowing her to suffer the natural consequences of her own actions. Previously, she had no consequences other than your yelling which did nothing to change her behavior and in fact may have encouraged it unintentionally.

 

Another tactic could be to simply tell her that you cannot afford to replace the shampoo she wasted but that you will share a little of yours but only once a week. Then, offer to come in and shampoo her hair for her once a week or to squeeze a small amount into her hand or into a small plastic container for her. Tell her when it would have been time to buy her more shampoo and then tell her she will have to pay you back in shampoo for the shampoo you are sharing with her. Be calm, and just follow through. Don't act mad because it's not about you. It's about her use of her available resources.

 

Perhaps the anger you felt before was due to frustration at feeling you had no control over her actions. But, we never really control the actions of others. We simply control our own actions. And, if you stop helping her act out by replacing her wasted shampoo, your ability to control your own actions will eventually encourage her to control her actions too so that she doesn't suffer the natural consequences.

 

Believe me, though I didn't live with the yelling or anger in my home, I did walk the walk I am recommending. My son had a habit of reading books till all hours. I would go through a lot to get him put and ready for school long after he was capable of doing it himself. I simply told him that if he was not fully ready, fed and in the car by 7 a.m., I would not give him a ride to school, and his school was too far to walk to and had no bus service available. I won't give you details of what he did to try to force me to take him the first day I implemented him, but let's just say that I won, and he had to stay home from school. For about the next year, he was always, always ready on time. Later, I had more trouble with him because I had collected a large stash of college textbooks and unread books were impossible for him to resist. I suppose I could have hidden them in the attic or in the unused trash compactor, but I just couldn't do it. I admit it. I went through a lot to get him up and to school that next year. There was no yelling, but there was loud Jimi Hendrix played at 6:30 a.m., breakfast lattes brought to him in bed so he would have to go to the bathroom, full spectrum lights installed to make it hard for him to sleep when they were turned on, his shower water turned on so the hot water would run out if he didn't get in there, and breakfast made to smell good and walked to the car so he would follow. I suppose I could have hidden the books, but I had secret pleasure from the way he pored over those books and from the game we had developed where one of us would win and it was always me. I truly delighted in getting that six-foot tall very groggy teenager out of bed, showered, dressed, well fed and to school with no yelling, violence, threats or hard feelings. If it wasn't fun and a running joke between us, the books would have vanished, and my explanation would be that I simply don't have enough energy to get him to do what he can do well enough on his own and also take care of my legitimate responsibilities. Period. No drama. No long drawn out struggle. And, he truly would have gone with that. He would know full well from experience that he'd never see those books again if he didn't shape up--not as punishment but as a practical measure to allow us to do what we needed to do.

 

Parenting active, creative, spirited children with sanity requires one to perpetually look for ways to be smarter and one step ahead of the kids. It is truly an adventure, and I hope that whatever your solution, you can find a way to enjoy it more and give your kids less control over you and more control over themselves. I say that with love, and forgive me if I am wrong. We are all in this together.

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