I will never forgive myself, how to get through this? - Mothering Forums

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Old 12-13-2013, 06:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have always tried to do everything 'right'.... I followed Mothering and the forums before I even conceived my son (now almost 7). We co-slept (still do, works for us) I breast fed for 3 years, stayed with him while dad worked (I'm single now) and a firm believer in gentle discipline. So how did this happen?

I have become not only the mother I never wanted to be, but worse.

 

I'm really beside myself and need advice badly. I hate myself and what I have become. I disgust myself and literally feel sick to my stomach. Each day I tell myself I will handle it better, but it all seems out of control.

 

Yesterday was the breaking point. When I picked him up at the bus stop he ran from me all the way home in the near dark, on a curvy road without a side walk. I never caught him. I was terrified he would get hit and was freaking out inside. I was calm though at home and tried to send him to his room (mostly so I could calm myself). he refused. I called his father to speak with him about how dangerous that was, and it just got worse from there. He attacked me physically with his toys as hard as he could, hurting me, and I freaked out.

 

I said things I couldn't believe, I put my hands on him, I spanked... I was really, really mean. 

Then I said something that made him break into full-on tears... he was in shock...I was in shock...  I will never ever forgive myself for saying it. Awful, awful, awful.

Just when he needs the most reassurance I do the worst thing possible. 

 

(**** To give a some recent background, and this is not to be taken as an excuse for anything, I was assaulted (to the point my life was in danger) a few months ago when I left someone I was dating. I never saw it coming. It took two months to receive therapy for the trauma, and in that time I just did it alone. It is now a legal case and I can't speak of it except to my lawyer and therapist. )

 

This is not my son's fault. He shouldn't be paying for my anxiety or stress. I have to wear so many masks every day to hide the pain and fear from my son, friends, even just walking down the street... 

 

I'm glad to have gotten out of the relationship in one piece, but my son is paying hard even though he knows nothing of the assault. How could I do this to him, this little person who needs me so much, and who I love beyond words? 

 

We spoke about it last night and again this morning, I apologized, and explained how wrong it was. He seemed to understand but he is still hurting of course. I found the other thread and read it last night. So helpful and full of wisdom. 

 

Mamas, when you're going through your own personal hell, how do you keep it together for your kids, stay present, problem-solve?? How do you recover their trust, if ever? And do you ever really trust yourself again?? 

 

I have lots of good books but my concentration is terrible right now. I thought the advice about pretending to be a great mom was really good and am trying that - this morning went well... What's haunting me is that I can never, ever undo the damage done. How do you live with that?

Thanks for any insight <3

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Old 12-13-2013, 08:02 AM
 
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You poor woman, it sounds like you have been through a lot. I can relate to some of what you said, when my firstborn was that age he was out of control sometimes (night terrors & daytime rages a la incredible hulk, very physical) and in those moments it was really really hard to stay calm. You are human, so am I, and I am not perfect and neither is any mother. You spanked him once when he risked his life. And verbally lashed out. You are still beating yourself up for it far too much. Have a heart to heart with him again when he's receptive, to tell him again how much you did not mean what you said, that mommy just went a bit crazy when he did such a dangerous thing in the street.
Then let it go and forgive yourself. Deal with creating a discipline method plan for your son and focus on staying calm around him even when it's hard. Practice makes perfect.

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Old 12-13-2013, 08:09 PM
 
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Everyone screws up once in awhile. It sounds like your situation is incredibly rough, but try not to be so hard on yourself. Kids are resilient. You love your son and are not only doing the best you can for him, but are actively trying to do better. You say the damage can never be undone, but I don't think that's true. The moment in time can't be erased, but your love for your son and your determination to do what's right for him will help him become a stronger, more compassionate, understanding person. Maybe not at almost 7, but eventually. Hang in there.


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Old 12-13-2013, 09:26 PM
 
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Oh, honey. I'm so sorry you are going through this. You are not a horrible person or a bad mother. You are human.

I have made mistakes too. Big mistakes. I read somewhere that above all things kids need to know that their parents are human. That you can make a mistake and things can still be okay. You can fix it.

When I was a little girl my dad hit me and to this day I remember it. But what I remember the most is that he seemed to have no remorse. He never apologized. His pride meant more to him than my suffering. If he had broke down and told me he was sorry, asked for my forgiveness, how might my life be different? When you told your son you were sorry, you gave him a gift. Did he apologize to you for hurting you? It's likely that he feels bad for that as well.

I don't think you need to tell him about what happened to you, but it might be helpful for you to explain that the breakup between you and your ex was very painful and that you are struggling. That way he will know it's not about him. Just a thought.

Big hugs to you. You are a good mom. <3

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Old 12-14-2013, 01:42 AM
 
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I don't think anybody gets through parenting without making a few big mistakes and having to work through them. Kids are resilient and you will both move through this.
I strongly suggest therapy if you aren't already in it. It helps process the trauma immediately afterwards but I also find going for a few sessions every few years when parenting, work, and/or school stress is getting me down really helps
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Old 12-14-2013, 03:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you everyone for the replies and support. I appreciate so much the suggestions and kind words from you all. My son is spending the day with his father so I have had some time to think more about this in depth. I think he is a spirited kid going through some stuff separation related, but also just growing up, pushing limits, seeking control, etc. Although he can do things that seem really extreme (running down the street was my example) for the most part everything he does that bothers me is normal kid behavior... annoying... but really just normal. I'm realizing that what is really upsetting me is my own feelings of stress, worry, feeling out of control... overwhelmed.... guilty, etc. I am reading the orange rhino blog today and find it incredibly helpful. 

 

It's a horrible feeling to dread time with him, simply because of the fighting, not knowing how to regain 'control' - over him, over me... life in general.  I need to to re-orient myself, I need to regain my footing and address what's really setting me off. When I really think about it, my (over) reactions very rarely have anything to do with what is ACTUALLY going on, or with what he is doing.  I realize how rarely I am mentally present and therefore feel so pulled out of center... it makes it overwhelming to handle even the little things. 

 

I really feel I can overcome this. This last 'episode' was a wake-up call for me. 

 

Words can't express my deep gratitude for your kind, supportive words. I really needed it. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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Old 12-17-2013, 08:39 AM
 
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You didn't "break" your son, or his ability to trust. You just shook his trust a little, and he can heal from that.

 

What he did was extremely dangerous, and he needed *something* to make him realize that. If spanking is only used for severe situations like that (and not for "not picking up their toys" or "talking back to me") then you're still doing pretty well.

 

Age 7 is sort-of old enough to understand about personal safety, but young enough that this was still age-appropriate behavior. He needs to be told a few times just how dangerous his behavior was, and that you were scared, and that's part of why you acted the way you did. Scared people don't always act rationally.

 

If you were physically hurt by a man, and a male person physically attacked you and it hurt (even if it wasn't serious, it still hurt at that moment and set off red flags in your mind) it's hard to be rational, even when the male attacker is your child. Sometimes reason goes right out the window when you're hurting and scared.

 

If you're not already in counseling, I suggest you start. Your son would probably benefit too.


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Old 12-17-2013, 06:43 PM
 
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I'm having similar issues with my son, who is 4. I feel like he has moments where he's totally out of control almost every day. He throws things, hits or kicks. And he runs away from me in dangerous situations (like parking lots). He screams and cries. And I don't always respond well. I have said a few things I regret.

 

When my son acts this way I feel so embarrassed and angry. I just want to leave, to run away and never come back. I feel like I don't want to be his mom, like it was all a mistake. I feel out of control myself, like nothing I do works and that I'm a terrible mother. I feel like my son might be better without me.

 

(It doesn't help that a segment of the population thinks I can't be a good mom to him because I'm not the same race as my son. When I'm feeling negative, I use this fact of life - prejudice - about transracial families to justify the idea that abandoning my son might actually be good for him.)

 

I need strategies for dealing with his behavior and strategies for dealing with my emotional reaction. I'm in therapy but I don't feel like it's helping. I'm worried that eventually I'll just get too overwhelmed and that I'll divorce my husband and leave my son. Or that the constant threat of me leaving that he must feel is already too damaging to him. 

 

The thing is, I see myself in him when he behaves this way. And it's a part of me I hate. It's a part of me that no one knows how to handle well. I don't even know if there is any strategy that will work.

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Old 12-17-2013, 07:16 PM
 
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TheBook The Explosive Child by Dr. Green cn really help. I think having read Faber and Mazlich first will help. Gentle discipline can be so tough when you have a self assured child. For perspective my middle is going in for neuopsych testing in two days because he has an exaggerated Fight or Flight response that has resulted in incidents just like you describe which put him in danger. He is 9.
I was lucky that our school's old AP was great and said, "You can not punish a child into behaving better"
We all have bad days, don't blame but do reflect and come up with a plan for the future. Involve your son in the brainstorming of the plan.
Lastly, I always ask the kids, "Pee, food or sleep?" (now we've added water.). Fixing these items will help a lot. Don't forget to go through this checklist for yourself. And we've removed gluten and dairy and seen behavior changes in all the kids. my oldest is super obedient but removing gluten caused his teachers to note how he magically matured in one month. They had no idea about the diet change and honestly I didn't notice it at home. Hugs.

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Old 12-17-2013, 07:34 PM
 
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Hugs first. Second a reminder not all therapists are equal and it's okay to try someone new. Third we have found sleep, strict schedules, and gluten free/dairy free makes things more manageable. Last we are at the point of considering pharmecuticals intervention if necessary. Our counselor was able to refer us to a specailist for diagnostic testing since counseling and attempting to implement their suggestions for behavior modification was having very limited effect.

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Old 12-17-2013, 10:29 PM
 
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I am so sorry for what you are suffering in your heart. :-( 

 

I think at that age he and other kids need to understand how deeply their behavior can affect others. You are not the perfect, unbreakable person he might have thought you were. You are human, and you have feelings that can be hurt too. Once I yelled at my then-12-year-old in a mean way because I'd had enough of her attitude and hurtful comments. She was shocked and she came and apologized to me and said she had felt very moody. Another time my 9 year old said something and it hurt me so deeply I cried, and she felt awful. Both of these things taught compassion.

 

Maybe this is a good growing experience for him. Not saying it needs to be repeated, but its part of growing up.


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Old 12-29-2013, 04:56 PM
 
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Posting without reading the responses... 

 

Mama -- in order to be gentle with our children we HAVE to be gentle with ourselves. Gentle can be firm. Gentle can be preventative. Gentle can mean getting help. I think you should do all of these things for yourself. Be firm, take preventative measures and get some help. We all need to do these things!  

 

The reality is that it is the privilege of the well rested, fully supported, low stress parent to always stay out ahead of these things. You had an extreme situation and got caught off guard. Model for your son what and adult does in this situation. You can make amends. When he is older you can tell him how you overcame an extremely difficult situation and that your love for him helped get you there. 

 

Big hugs to you, mama! 


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Old 12-29-2013, 05:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by marsupial-mom View Post
 

I need strategies for dealing with his behavior and strategies for dealing with my emotional reaction. I'm in therapy but I don't feel like it's helping. I'm worried that eventually I'll just get too overwhelmed and that I'll divorce my husband and leave my son. Or that the constant threat of me leaving that he must feel is already too damaging to him. 

 

The thing is, I see myself in him when he behaves this way. And it's a part of me I hate. It's a part of me that no one knows how to handle well. I don't even know if there is any strategy that will work.

Mama, I wanted to respond do this. I don't want to give you any false hope but I have known (or known of) a few "AP" parents who have ultimately left their children. Those parents did not talk about parenting in this humbling way. The parents I've heard of who have snapped have held themselves up on this pedestal until the day they left. 

 

Gently, I want to say that I know many of us in the whole "NFL" community are resistant to medication. I am not. For several friends of mine medication (either temporary or as a choice for life) has helped immeasruably. I'm sure there are other ways as well but I have seen medication turn some very negative conditions around very quickly. 

 

I hope that is a welcome suggestion. <3 


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Old 12-30-2013, 05:11 PM
 
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Mama, I wanted to respond do this. I don't want to give you any false hope but I have known (or known of) a few "AP" parents who have ultimately left their children. Those parents did not talk about parenting in this humbling way. The parents I've heard of who have snapped have held themselves up on this pedestal until the day they left. 

^ I agree with this.

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Old 12-30-2013, 06:33 PM
 
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I just wanted to reply with with some encouragement and appreciation for all the responders here who have replied with compassion. We all make mistakes in parenting. It sounds like you did, you know it, and you want it to be better. And, adding to this, you are recovering from trauma. I completely agree with someone else who said that not all therapists are the same, so make sure to find someone who is really helpful, who you trust, who trusts you, and also realize that healing and change takes time. We can only love others when we care for ourselves and love ourselves. I wish you so much care and healing as you go forward, seeing to care for your sweet child. 

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Old 12-30-2013, 06:48 PM
 
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I'm having similar issues with my son, who is 4. I feel like he has moments where he's totally out of control almost every day. He throws things, hits or kicks. And he runs away from me in dangerous situations (like parking lots). He screams and cries. And I don't always respond well. I have said a few things I regret.

 

When my son acts this way I feel so embarrassed and angry. I just want to leave, to run away and never come back. I feel like I don't want to be his mom, like it was all a mistake. I feel out of control myself, like nothing I do works and that I'm a terrible mother. I feel like my son might be better without me.

 

(It doesn't help that a segment of the population thinks I can't be a good mom to him because I'm not the same race as my son. When I'm feeling negative, I use this fact of life - prejudice - about transracial families to justify the idea that abandoning my son might actually be good for him.)

 

I need strategies for dealing with his behavior and strategies for dealing with my emotional reaction. I'm in therapy but I don't feel like it's helping. I'm worried that eventually I'll just get too overwhelmed and that I'll divorce my husband and leave my son. Or that the constant threat of me leaving that he must feel is already too damaging to him. 

 

The thing is, I see myself in him when he behaves this way. And it's a part of me I hate. It's a part of me that no one knows how to handle well. I don't even know if there is any strategy that will work.

(((HUGS)))

 

Be gentle on yourself. It's OK to not be perfect or to "lose it" sometimes. But you need strategies to keep your son safe in public places. If he likes to run away from you in parking lots, then you need some kind of safety plan in place so that he can't run. Maybe he needs to be in a stroller, or to have one of those "leashes" on him, firmly fastened to him under his carseat so that he can't bolt the moment you unbuckle him. His physical safety needs to be assured before anything else.

 

The occasional tantrum is normal for 4 year olds, but if this is happening daily, then something needs to be addressed. I'd look at diet first- does he eat any artificial colors or flavors? A wheat-free and/or dairy-free diet may help him. The Blood Type Diet is a good starting point for identifying "trigger foods", as the foods that set him off may seem innocuous. Food sensitivities aren't always full-blown allergies that show up on lab tests. He may need more magnesium and/or omega 3 oils (such as fish oil.) Some of these same supplements and dietary strategies may help you as well.


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Old 12-30-2013, 06:59 PM
 
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I'm having similar issues with my son, who is 4. I feel like he has moments where he's totally out of control almost every day. He throws things, hits or kicks. And he runs away from me in dangerous situations (like parking lots). He screams and cries. And I don't always respond well. I have said a few things I regret.

 

When my son acts this way I feel so embarrassed and angry. I just want to leave, to run away and never come back. I feel like I don't want to be his mom, like it was all a mistake. I feel out of control myself, like nothing I do works and that I'm a terrible mother. I feel like my son might be better without me.

 

(It doesn't help that a segment of the population thinks I can't be a good mom to him because I'm not the same race as my son. When I'm feeling negative, I use this fact of life - prejudice - about transracial families to justify the idea that abandoning my son might actually be good for him.)

 

I need strategies for dealing with his behavior and strategies for dealing with my emotional reaction. I'm in therapy but I don't feel like it's helping. I'm worried that eventually I'll just get too overwhelmed and that I'll divorce my husband and leave my son. Or that the constant threat of me leaving that he must feel is already too damaging to him. 

 

The thing is, I see myself in him when he behaves this way. And it's a part of me I hate. It's a part of me that no one knows how to handle well. I don't even know if there is any strategy that will work.

Marsupial Mama,

I know you aren't asking for advice....but what you describe in your son prompts me to respond....  

My son had very similar behavior on a daily basis- kicking, hitting, throwing, and bolting away from me consistently.  I'm not talking about three or four times a day, but more like 20, 30 or upwards times a day.  Among other behaviors, it finally pushed me to bring it up with the pediatrician.  To make a long story short, we visited an OT who did a Sensory Profile on our son.  He has definite extreme sensory issues, which we are now treating with a bunch of different therapies.  What a difference it has made in his life and ours!

Like you, we tried AP, gentle parenting, then moved towards more authoritarian and disciplinarian styles of parenting BEFORE we understood his sensory issues.  Needless to say, NONE of it ever made a difference because none of it addressed his sensory needs.

Food for thought....Hope you find some answers for yourself and him :)

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Old 01-21-2014, 03:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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First I just wanted to thank everyone again for their responses, advice and support.. I can't tell you how much it has helped. 

I also wanted to check in and give an update how we are doing. 

Well...... it turns out there's no magic formula for parenting (  :D  ) 

We still struggle pretty much every day. However the struggle really begins with me, and it's difficult to admit that. My son cannot stand to be corrected, told no, or told what to do in any way. He's just turned seven and has self-control in other situations, with other people. I'm reading The Explosive Child now and it's helpful. The most helpful thing though, and this surprised me, was really displaying and demonstrating how much I enjoy and have fun with him. Joking, being silly, laughing at a stand-off between us (in a nice way), being generally light-hearted... I thought my affection was enough, our closeness, etc. but I'm really seeing that my attitude, my mood, is generally quite dark and I really have no compassion or kindness towards myself (never have) and life usually feels quite dire to me. Especially the small things.  

I'm in therapy with a decent therapist and it helps. 

I love my son so much and want a good life for him, not someday, but now... 

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Old 01-21-2014, 07:06 AM
 
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HI All,

Make no mistake you are not better than me, hell no, you are all much much better than me! I am a dad and joined this so I can learn from the masters!

 

That being said I see discipline as a yin,yang thingy. Not to hard but also not too soft.  Here is what I do know as a dad.

1) I am not here to be my childs friend, absolutely NOT! I am here to be their guide

2) As their guide I know I will have to say no sometimes and absolutely NO at other times, unequivocally none changeable not negotiable and not even talked about NO!

3) MY child will hate me for this and rebel against me with full force

4) I am the mountain and the mountain does not move. I must sit and take the fury of my child without the slightest of flinching or reaction. 

5) The storm will end I will outlast the storm and only bu me winning over my child from a place of power will my child respect me, but it is Zen power not to strike back but to stand firm with out blinking.

 

I had 3 rules for raising my  prior daughters

1) Never say something  you do not mean do every single thing that comes out of your mouth, never change your mind, make your word absolute do not negotiate after you have decided something.

2)  As such be very careful about your words never make casual idol threats mean exactly what you say!

3) Every daughter should have someone to beat upon without fear of retribution, I would let my daughters psychically vent their fury against me they could hit me anytime they wanted for any reason and I just had to take it! (although at a certain age I had to request no more face shots!)

 

What this get you is absolute TRUST from your children! And a sense of total confidence that grows with in them.

 

It worked, I never hit my daughters once, (not to be confuse with wanting to beat them senseless at times) never had to when I spoke they knew it was absolute, this made them feel safe, they KNEW I was in charge and they were safe behind their dad. Now of course there whole life growing up was finding a way to break out and once they did they were warriors ready to face this life.

 

What hurts s child is a parents confusion it is never so much what you did or not did it is your mental confusion that a kid picks up upon. If you go overboard loss it and hit you kids be damn fine with it in absolute terms, I never did but far worse than a hit is allowing your kid to be in charge and being weak in front of your child. It is indulgent to be weak, if one want confident kids you yourself can NEVER lose confidence even when you know you are wrong.  When you are wrong you know it, vow to learn and not repeat but to involve you kid int he process is like being a surgeon making mistake then waking up the patient to ask them for forgiveness, what  kind of terror of lack of confidence do  you lay on your kid  because you don''t want to face yourself is that?  You do not need your children approval you need your own approval!

 

So there you have it now for sure this can be tempered and that IS why I am here to learn to temper my power.

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Old 01-21-2014, 07:38 AM
 
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AT, Welcome to Mothering!  May I suggest that since your post is more about your general philosophy on discipline and not really a direct response to the OP's specific concerns for her child that we move your post to its own thread?  There is a lot there that members will agree with and appreciate and also a lot there that will spark lively conversation (and maybe even a bit of friendly debate).  With your permission, I can move your post to its own thread.  


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Old 01-21-2014, 09:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi AT, thanks so much for your response and sharing your philosophy. I welcome any and all perspectives on this as I'm really up against the wall right now (the wall being my own self!)

 

In the best of times, I would love to be that mountain for my son... I'd love to give him that sense of security, safety, trust. I'd love to be rock-solid, steadfast and unwavering... clear-minded and decisive. My situation is that I've been diagnosed with PTSD from an assault, and by no means do I intend that as an excuse - I originally posted about how parents can still be the parents they can be, and want to be, when going through a major emotional crisis. My concentration is shot, I have difficulty being 'present' and often feel very detached due to current stress/anxiety issues. In general though I'm doing ok, but when my son attacks me physically (as he does often, always preceded by my telling him no, or stopping him from doing something destructive, or way beyond what is reasonable) I tend to react very strongly, badly... and I want that to stop. Letting him hit me isn't an option. I'm also yelling a lot, and I think it's related to feeling a loss of control over the situation.

I don't want to ever give up being the mom I know I can be, that I could be... even going through the private turmoil at the moment. I need parenting skills for when the ground literally goes out from under your feet in life and yet things must go on, in any way, shape or form they can. 

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Old 01-21-2014, 09:57 AM
 
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ML, my favorite parenting book is call Parent Effectiveness Training. Though I don't think it focusing on any specific challengers that various parents face, it is very easy to understand (IMO) and implement and as I recall very forgiving in terms of past parenting choices. It should be VERY inexpensive on Amazon (and the like) and probably still available at the library. It MAY even be available for free online. 


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Old 01-21-2014, 10:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the recommendation! I actually have that book and read it a while ago (years ago?) and remember liking it... maybe time to dust it off. 

 

I hope it's something I can do right now. As I said, my concentration is rock bottom, and so is my mental strength. The only thing that works right now is being really playful and fun with him - he needs it so much right now (and deserves it too!) but honestly I have such a hard time locating that part of myself these days, even just to fake it for his sake... it's hard keep it consistent. 

 

Thanks again! I'll dig the book out tonight.

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Old 01-21-2014, 10:22 AM
 
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There is also always "Playful Parenting". I'm not an especially playful parent (just not my thing) but if that's the direction you're leaning and it's working so well for your son, maybe check out that book. It can be so nice to have what we know works for us confirmed through other's expertise -- especially when we're struggling. :Hug


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Old 01-21-2014, 01:17 PM
 
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Please open your heart and forgive yourself now. Your little boy will not judge you or hold it against you for behaviors you did in the past.   Please think about not dating for a while, maybe not until your boy is  teen-age. 

Spanking sucks. It does the giver and receiver no good. But you can move past it. Ask yourself to forgive you. And start the new day smiling at your little boy, feeding him and yourself foods without sugar. 

You did the right thing by letting your boy spend some time with his dad. You do not have to inform your boy that you are making changes to your behavior, he is only 7 and announcing that your making changes might be more than he can fathom. 

Play upbeat sing out loud music in the house, and let your boy sing along. Music  and dancing works for me when I am feeling rage and disgust I put on the radio and sing and dance. My kids prefer the mom who is a little nuts over the one who is a raging bitch.

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Old 01-22-2014, 11:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for your response, I really appreciate it.

 

However I think we are at the end of the rope. Today was really the worst day ever. My son (7 yrs old) got off the school bus and everything seemed fine. Then he told me he was upset about a toy he lost at school. He then bolted from me and began running down the street (again). He stopped and let me take his hand when he saw the bus driver going by (so he does have self-control)  But after he passed he bolted again. This time a van was coming and swerved around him. When I finally caught up to him, he started laying in the street and wouldn't get up - as I was trying to pull him to his feet, and failing, I heard my neighbor open her door. My son heard her too and scrambled to his feet to walk to our gate. So he has self-control. He's doesn't do this with his father or with other people. I had a long talk with him today after the incident, and we agreed we'd try the chart. 

 

Now everything is calm and it's like nothing happened... except I'm completely shaken up and terrified it's going to just keep happening. 

 

I think people think I must be a completely lenient mom or something, but honestly, I'm one of the strictest parents I know... it's just completely ineffective. I'M completely ineffective....

 

How can I keep him safe?????? 

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Old 01-22-2014, 11:56 AM
 
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That is a tough situation, but it seems like he knows he's being crazy, if he makes a point to act rationally when other people see him. It's like he wants to get a reaction from you and so he acts out, but he actually has total control and doesn't want to be embarrassed by other people seeing him act that way. I know that your number one priority is keeping him safe, which is tough to do when he's running away from you and laying in the street. My suggestion is to try not to engage him. Obviously, you might not be comfortable saying casually, "okay, bye, see you when you get home," though I do think that would be effective. Maybe if he's going to lay in the street, just sit or stand calmly nearby if there's not a lot of traffic, so that if a car comes you can walk into the road to make sure they see him. Try to act like you don't really care what he's doing and maybe he'll feel embarrassed around you too and stop. I would then really try to talk him later on (when he's home and safe and calm) about what made him do it and hopefully gain some insight that would help him learn better ways of dealing with whatever emotions or frustrations he has. Good luck!


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Old 01-22-2014, 01:17 PM
 
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7...so like 2nd grade?  I wonder if maybe the combination of you being in a bad place and your DC being sort of out of sync is just compiling to make this stuff seem way worse than it is?  I think it's totally normal for a kid in 2nd grade to hold it together at school and then really let go at home once they're safe and with the person they trust most. 

 

Did you feel your DS put himself in physical danger today?  

 

I'm not a fan of parent-imposed behavior charts but I think a parent-child agreed upon chart is absolutely OK. To me, this is a kid acknowledging that they need some extra incentive and visual reminders for behavior. It may or may not work but the fact that he's willing to try various things in an effort to improve is a big bonus!  

 

If I were you I think I would try to figure out what's going on after school. Many kids need some time to unwind and veg. Maybe acknowledge that. See if it would help if you met him at the bus with a snack (blood sugar) and then gave him some space at home after school. 

 

More than anything, if you can, stop thinking of these things as patterns. That's too hard on your DS and too hard on yourself. Break your problems up (now I have a White Stripes song in my head). Today was a bad day. What happened after school isn't OK. You and your son can fix that.  


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Old 01-22-2014, 03:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much for the helpful ideas and support - yes, I do tend to react a lot and while I can't let him lay in the street or run down the road (there are no sidewalks here) I think there are a lot of times I overreact or feel over-sensitive to his behavior. 

 

Here in Italy it's first grade, and admittedly going from nursery school to big kid school has been a big transition. Yes, I felt that he was putting himself in danger and I was powerless to stop it. I'm sure he also gave the van driver a good fright as well. The chart was my suggestion and he was very open to the idea. However I remembered the last time we tried, he wound up just writing all over it, and/or filling it in regardless of how things were going... it was just another struggle. This time I'll prepare myself better.

 

A snack is a great idea, I'll definitely try that. 

Thanks also for the suggestion to break up the problems and to not think in terms of a pattern... this is incredibly helpful and makes so much sense to me right now. 

 

Thank you again to everyone, I appreciate all of your responses more than I can say... truly. :stillheart

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Old 01-22-2014, 03:21 PM
 
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Ok, so you're in Italy. Does he come home mid-day?  I imagine that there are slightly different standards and expectations for kids in Italy than what I'm used to in the states. Also, probably different services. 

 

I remember you saying you have read some books that I think are American books. Are you and American living in Italy?  I ask because I lived overseas for a few years and that really does add some complicating factors, IME. 


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