Here it is! The Parenting & Rage thread: http://www.mothering.com/community/t/394579/parenting-and-rage Excellent stuff in there.
It's been a couple months now since I hav used unnecessary physical violence against my children. I had a moment with my daughter that I posted about but that was the only incident. I still have rage issues and although my yelling has decreased and is not mean anymore... I still yell at times. However, it's not daily. I feel more in control, I try to remind myself where the issues are in the moment and that helps focus me because my kids are not bad kids, I wouldn't even say they were brats, they are not always perfect "angels" but what kid is?
I'm working on validating their feelings, something I have always done to an extent but I'm working on in the moment and every time. My daughter blows up much like I do (duh, she's watched me, plus if she is anything like me... Well no explaination needed). I do my best to be compassionate towards her. Reminding myself that part of the reason I am as I am is because no one validated my emotions growing up. Put a sticker on it and shut up was the motto. I don't want her to be like me. She throws melt downs when she feels things are unfair or she gets hurt. I use to just think "brat! Brat! Brat!" But while the outburst seems extreme she usually just needs a short 2-5 minute burst of anger and then she takes some deep breathes and says she is done. My rules as far as the outbursts go are: she needs to be respectful of those around her so I direct her to her room, she is not allowed to break things so if she starts throwing things I remove them, and if I feel a "fit" has gone on to long I go in and remind her to breathe and give her a hug. These are not "I can't have it! I want it" type fits. They usually come about because I've asked her to help with cleaning up and her brother is making it hard so she gets upset and feels its unfair that she has to clean up a bigger mess because of him. Or she gets physically hurt in anyway... Stubs toe as an example. Anyways so for her I find compassion and understanding works best.
My son who was regularly hitting and biting his sister has stopped. I can't remember the last time he hit or bit her which says something because it was an every day, multiple times a day incident. My mode of discipline for him is counting and time outs. First I ask him if I need to count and usually that gets him to listen. If not I begin 1 (are you listening), 2 (did you stop what you were doing?), 3 (this is automatic time out). For time outs he folds his hands in his lap and they last 1-2 minutes depending on the "crime". I sit near him. He has always been a sweet boy but now that I have stopped spanking his kindness has blossomed even more.
We are talking a lot about being good friends to others. I'm starting a group with 2 of my friends who have daughters in mines class (kinder) and we are going to do mini lessons in friendship/anti-bullying with them. A book, a short discussion, and then some play time at a park. Easy breezy.
A couple days ago I was surprised and so very pleased with my 2 year old. A boy at the park pushed him and took his toys, my son looked at the boy stunned, puffed up his chest, got his stern face on and said loudly, "hey! Don't push me!". The other boy didn't push him again and he got his toys back. Proud mommy moment and I didn't have to do a thing. I did give him a hi-five later on and we discussed it.
Anyways so that's my long winded update. Thanks for listening.
You're so brave. I've been through so many things that you are expeiencing and could never find the courage to talk about it here.
Let me make sure that my thoughts, words and actions are beneficial to the scene in which I find myself ~ Unknown
Yay!! So glad you're working though things in a good way....it sounds like your approach is having a very positive effect on your whole family. I LOVE that you're using so much compassion and patience with your daughter! I think you're absolutely right about the lack of compassion in your childhood; if more parents were compassionate and understanding, and validated their child's feelings, anger and rage would never be issues in parenting. The counting to 3 bit worked nicely with my DS as well, especially at that age. It's something easy to enforce without getting angry, and very consistent, where they can predict exactly what's going to happen: "OK, she said 2, I better stop now or I'll be on time out."
Good for you, mama! Keep it up, I know you will finally see yourself as the great mom you are!!
I was raised this way. My mother never truly wanted me and my grandparents raised me 75% of the time, but when I was with my mother she was so hateful. Screaming, yelling, silent treatment, slapping me in the face. Most people would call this child abuse now. I've never liked my mother for this reason. I realize she had a lot on her plate. Single mom, working a full time job and a part time job AND going to college. So she was beyond her limits when she had me in her care. I told myself I would never ever be this way. My grandparents weren't this way. My Grandmother was strict and almost robotic in her discipline. I acted out I got spanked. There were no emotions involved. The thing is when I had my kids I didn't want to spank them.
Here is where the hardwired behavior comes in. I didn't have a role model for parenting. Only role models I knew didn't want to become. This left me lost, especially since my oldest had ADHD and I took on a lot of criticism. I was beyond stressed. I lost friends because I couldn't control my child. I began to get angry with life and how when we have children it isn't exactly the pampers commercial that depicts the perfect family with perfect kids. My life had been turned upside down and I couldn't get help anywhere. Not even professional help. I went to see a therapist and she told me to grow up. At some point I had another child which only made things worse. I began to lash out. I would scream bloody murder. I was hateful. I had become my mother. I knew I had to get control of it. Nothing seemed to help until I read one small paragraph from a book. It basically said I was considering my feelings above my children's feelings. I suddenly realized that I had become selfish and had let all those people turn me into a monster. I realize it wasn't they who had changed me, it was their attitude toward me and my ADHD child. Their lack of understanding. Their belief that I was letting my kid get away with things. They didn't understand that no parent wants a kid like this. If there were some magical cure you better believe I would have used it. But life isn't that way. This is a long story so I am really only giving you the main details, but suffice to say I had to take control. When I could feel it coming on I would just go to bathroom or my room and just cry. Sometimes the kids would be crying and banging on the door, but I knew they were safer with a barrier between us. I WOULD NOT leave the room until I felt I had control over myself. And honestly, letting the kids have their tantrums wore them out in the process so it was easier to manage them once I came out.
So my suggestion would be to get control of yourself however you think you can and then take care of the kids. Leaving them alone will certainly do less damage than what you would do. I know it's tough and you are going to have a tough road ahead, just take it day by day. I found 123 magic worked for my younger son, but my oldest struggles with ADHD and Asperger's so everyday I just have to guide him the best I can because nothing seems to work. But, now that he's gotten older he will come and apologize to me for his behavior just like I did with them in the begging phases of my healing. Don't feel guilty it will only stir the pot. Just say tomorrow we start over and if you mess up tell yourself tomorrow is the day. Eventually you will realize how much stress you were putting on yourself to be the perfect parent.
if alanon does not apply to you, you can find a very similar type of support system in pretty much any 12-step group. people with addictions (as well as those who have suffered at the hands of an addict) have been known to act in ways that are hugely at odds with who they want to be, including getting into rages, hitting their loved ones, etc... hmmmm, there might even be a 12-step program specifically targeted to anger management? but the AA & alanon meetings are really abundant so no matter where you live it should be easy to find one at a convenient time and place.
think of it as free therapy if you are rolling your eyes at my suggestion. then go with an open mind and try it for at least 6 sessions before you form an opinion. you might be pleasantly surprised. and remember that you can ignore the god stuff, really and truly. i'm not sure if you're a secular humanist, but i'll assume that's at least likely. if so, really and truly ignore the god stuff. there are TONS of people, even ones who work the steps, for whom this program has been a tremendous help, who silently (or even not so silently, depending on whether you're in a particularly religious area or not) just ignore the god stuff.
i would be shocked if you didn't think it was nearly as good as therapy if you go every week and connect with other folks at the meeting, share when you have the chance, and stay in touch between meetings. and it's absolutely free. and free coffee/tea usually, too.
you will meet the nicest people who will admit behind closed doors to things that seem too awful for them to be capable of ever having done. and this will help you forgive yourself, too, as you realize you can still feel warmth for these individuals despite what they've done and where they've been. there's a lot of not-judging you will do, not only of other people, but yourself. and i bet forgiving yourself (and maybe, perhaps, those who have hurt you - not sure if this is an option, not saying it's necessary, but sometimes it happens and some people are glad when it does) will help the healing you need to do to overcome your impulses to angrily lash out.
one last thought... many parents who are a lot like you (angry behavior toward kids, but still very loving & emotionally connected to kids and wanting desperately to change) actually eventually "mellow" with age. obviously you want this issue gone yesterday, but at least know that you are still maturing and growing into an adult. seriously, late twenties, you are still a kid. believe it or not, you will become much more of an adult in the next 5ish years. i know of two examples offhand of women who, abused as children, had serious anger issues that were the worst through their twenties, and really toned down, almost like magic, in early to mid thirties. the one without therapy (or any 12-step program or any other help) mellowed completely by 45 (when her kid was 25),and the other one, who sought both therapy for a year and also regularly attends alanon, had it almost entirely under control by 31. everyone's different, obviously, and i can't evaluate whether the difference in when they got hold of themselves was due to those things (therapy/12-step program), but i think both examples are at least somewhat encouraging b/c you have to start by believing you will not be this way forever. it's just a matter of how soon you will change. and you want to try for sooner rather than later. which is framing it differently than whether or not you will ever change, which doesn't instill a lot of hope. and you should definitely try to approach this with hope!
sorry if i've gotten a bit long winded. be deliberate, and serious, with yourself. set yourself to an exceptionally high standard, because you want that for your kids' momma. but that doesn't mean be hard on yourself, mean to yourself, or lose hope. it's not always an easy distinction to make, but try to find it. i think it'll be hard to act from your highest self when you're beating yourself up, as opposed to setting a high standard and rising to meet it with a degree of (hopefully ever increasing) confidence. not only *can* you do this, you have to do it.
and if you are having trouble believing that, a 12-step program will put you in touch with people who will help you hold yourself accountable, day in and day out.
ok, enough outta me! i hope something i've shared will help!!!
will be TTC in late 2014 w/ frozen donor sperm via at-home ICI. queer, 32. DW is 41. married 10 yrs.
Your post touched me very much. There's some great advice here, and it sounds like you are definitely doing better now. Just wanted to say, some of my parenting behaviour has been unacceptable too and it feels terrible. You are not alone. In some ways it definitely gets easier as they get older -- and I'm growing up, too!
Just wanted to mention a great little book I started reading called, "Hope for the Weary Mom". You can buy a kindle version on Amazon for 3.99 or a hardcopy for just 4:50. It is written from a Christian perspective so it does talk about God and use scripture heavily- but not in a preachy way. The authors are *real* moms in the trenches today. The tell their stories of being pushed to the brink of sanity with the challenges of being a mother and then also share how they are getting through it and what has helped them. If you look into your local churches, you might even find a book club filled with mom's just like us who struggle but are committed to raising their kids in love. Keep searching mama! Keep starting over with your kids. And never give up hope.
Mothering moms, you've done it again :)
You've listened to, encouraged and empowered this mama. I think any parent reading this would leave the thread with new perspective, if not great links.
This forum never ceases to amaze me.
OP-- How you doing girlfriend?? Thank you for sharing your struggles here.