You are doing such a wonderful job with your son, working so hard to help him get to sleep, and trying to do things differently to your own childhood. I think it's great that you are being so thoughtful to figure out what your triggers are, and what you can do to help overcome them.
it really helps to talk things through, and get some kind and loving support. I read some interesting research that says that the ability to tell your own life story well, and to reflect on what happened is one of the things we can do in order to do things differently to our own parents, kind of laying the past to rest, and not being influenced by it anymore. It's not your fault that you get angry.
Do you know Hand in Hand parenting? They have a really wonderful listening partnership scheme, which is where parents talk and exchange 'listening time' together, and this is a completely free way to release our feelings of stress and exhaustion before we take them out on our children. It has helped me so much, kind of like taking a big drink of energy and patience, so when I finish talking I'm able to parent with a lot of enthusiasm. I do it on the phone with other parents.
Sleep deprivation has a lot to answer for!! There is an article on the Hand in Hand parenting website, about how to help children sleep through the night in a loving gentle way, http://www.handinhandparenting.org/news/49/64/Helping-Young-Children-Sleep
my daughter was like your son, waking every couple of hours, but now she sleeps through the night, and we still co-sleep as we both enjoy it (although its also possible to transfer your child to his own bed if that's what you prefer).
one thing that helped me a lot was to understand that children cry not just to get their needs met. Crying is also a healing process. Tears contain stress hormones like cortisol, and other toxins get released through the tears. If we are sure our child's immediate needs have been met (e.g hunger thirst warmth etc). then when they start crying it is okay not to distract them or try to fix things but just to listen. I always notice that if I stop and just hold my daughter as she cries, she's in a much better mood afterwards (which certainly helps me to be less triggered). If your son cries before sleep then you could try simply to hold him, look into his eyes, give him some attention (but not so much the things that stop the crying such as rocking or singing). This may help him relax, release his feelings and sleep better. You can also try this in the night when he wakes, and he will end up sleeping through the night. My daughter did in just a couple weeks.
I hope this helps you!
|Gentle Discipline , Toddlers|