...because he wouldn't stop hitting me. I am really struggling with how to help him. I can't always head off his frustrations, and when he gets into a certain mood he just throws a huge fit, is completely contrary, and slaps me repeatedly. It is really hard not to get angry when he hits me. It stings, and it's mean.
Now he's in his room asking to come out, but I don't know how to tell when to let him out. I don't want to just lock him back in there because he's not done freaking out. I don't want to lock him in there at all, but it's really not okay with me to be hit and screamed at for extended periods of time.
I feel like I'm totally failing right now. Ugh.
failure is not in the falling but not getting up and here you are busy with that process. You were dealing with a safety issue so where you are at , I would not beat myself over the head.
In the moment it is very difficult helping and calming a kid who is ' looking bad'. The work has to be done out of the moment , avoiding situations that trigger your kid and trying to collaborate with him and find mutually satisfying solutions. The cps process teaches lagging skills all along the way. I always recommend Ross Greene's CPS approach - it is not a magic bullet , messy and not easy
I have not had your exact situation, but when I've been pushed to the edge with my 2 girls, I remember locking myself in my room. I don't recommend it, except when you are at that point where you cannot think clearly enough to act appropriately.
I used to do it when I couldn't even eat my lunch without my kids screaming at me. I needed to eat, so when I was on the verge of a uncontrolled shoutdown, I would lock myself in the bedroom and eat in there. It did not calm them down, but it calmed me down, it gave me some distance, and it gave me my lunch. I would ask them if they were ready to stop screaming at me, then I came out.
This is not a good tactic to solve the problem, but it definitely keeps Mama from doing anything she might regret.
Anyway, we all have those moments we are not proud of.
Give me a few minutes while I caffeinate.