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#1 of 203 Old 12-06-2005, 08:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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i so upset at myself right now. I have become the parent I have always said I wouldnt be. I just do not have any patience any more. I am yelling all the time. Lately my kids have just really gotten to me. I dont know what it is. But it seems like I am always yelling! They dont listen to me if I talk quietly, if I ask nicely etc...
I dont want to be a "controlling" parent like my dad was, (i still have horrible memories and a lot of resentment) but the only way that i can get my kids to do anything at all is by begging, pleading, coercing, threatening, yelling, and finally in the end i end up punishing. not physically, i mean like (you cant go to your friends house today) etc...

My kids fight horribly!!! I was an only child, so I dont "get" sibling rivalry thing. My husband says this is normal, but I dont think it is.

I get NO help with housework. I would think that my almost 8 and almost 5 year olds could be helping, but it doesnt fly. I swear they think I am torturing them because I ask them to pick up their toys, or put clothes in the hamper.

Now, my oldest has ADHD, but he is still very capable.

I have no clue where to start. HELP!!!

wife to my awesome DH, homeschooling, unassisted birthing, food growing, life loving mama to 5 crazy monkeys. :
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#2 of 203 Old 12-06-2005, 08:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by cravenab00
I swear they think I am torturing them because I ask them to pick up their toys, or put clothes in the hamper.

I have no clue where to start. HELP!!!

sorry I cnat help but i think im subbing to this one as I could really use the same kind of help!

Lisa~Was Aspiring Midwife~Now-AAMI Midwifery Student #2020~Mama to Zackery 3/29/96, Drake 9/22/01, and Selina 10/26/03...and here was the link to my new blog
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#3 of 203 Old 12-07-2005, 12:46 AM
 
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I am watching this, too. I am stuck in the same rut and feel just, well, guilty all the time. Hope you get some good advice, soon.

Married, college student, part time work from home mom to DS (12), DD1 (10) and DD2 (9) and a giant dopey newfoundland, a crazy border collie mix, 3 black cats and two rats.
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#4 of 203 Old 12-07-2005, 12:51 AM
 
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i so have this problem right now.

my 15 yo thinks my life's goal is to "find things for him to do."



rach
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#5 of 203 Old 12-07-2005, 01:39 PM
 
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I have been where you are, yelling all the time and disappointed with myself because I was not the parent I set out to be. What helped me, finally, was to realize that the anger and the yelling were the result of my own unmet needs, my own feelings, my own thoughts/assumptions, my own desires. When I finally realized that, I found I could let go of a lot of things and/or address my unmet needs and as a result not feel so angry all the time and find resolutions before I got to the point of yelling. I was overwhelmed doing all the housework while the kids just made messes, too. It helped to realize that my anger and the yelling about that were the result of my unmet need for help. I couldn't do it all and relax and enjoy my kids. It was too much. Once I realized that, I could find ways to get the help I needed (by explaining my need to my children and asking for help, which they were suddenly more willing to give. Dh already does so much when he's home that it's only a problem when he's at work) and by deciding which things I could let go of and finding ways to be a little more organized. When my kids fight and I'm getting irritated, it's because the yelling hurts my ears and I need a reasonably peaceful home or I feel edgy. When they fight, it's because they need something too. So instead of just telling them to stop, we try to talk about everyone's needs. Make any sense? (I don't always remember to approach things this way, but when I do life always feels easier.)

Another big realization that was helpful was the realization that I can't control my kids. I could make them do things by punishing or nagging or threatening, but then they really weren't learning what I wanted them to learn and things would just get worse. And when I let go of that desire to control them, to make them do what I want and right now, then I found that I was finding other ways of handling most situations that led to more peaceful resolutions. We can work together as a family, we don't have to control each other (and we can't, anyway). Part of finding more peaceful resolutions was also taking the time to understand that under my kids' behaviors were their own needs, feelings, thoughts, desires, etc. When I address those needs, etc., there is no power struggle-when the focus is on needs there just isn't a focus on making the other do what you want. At least in my experience-it just doesn't seem possible to really focus on each other's needs and still be engaged in a power struggle. If we're still struggling, someone still doesn't feel heard IME.

Some books that might help you: When Anger Hurts Your Kids, Giving the Love that Heals (is that the exact title, anyone?), Kids Parents and Power Struggles, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk, and Non-Violent Communication (not strictly a parenting book, but does talk a lot about parenting and communicating with children). Peace Is Every Step is a good book, too, even though it's not a parenting book.

It's a journey. You can be the parent you want to be.
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#6 of 203 Old 12-07-2005, 04:56 PM
 
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#7 of 203 Old 12-07-2005, 05:13 PM
 
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Me too. :
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#8 of 203 Old 12-07-2005, 05:14 PM
 
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When I've even asked my 5 year old "What can I do to help you listen so that we can all be safe in this space?' His reply is "Get up close and yell really loud!, then I listen."

This is hard work we are doing.

Me.  With 1 spouse, 4 kids, 16 chickens, 74 matchbox cars, 968,562+ legos, a dishwasher waiting to be emptied, a washing machine waiting to be filled and a lost cup of tea in the house.

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#9 of 203 Old 12-07-2005, 06:47 PM
 
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Mamas, this is really hard work.

I would like to gently suggest a project for you, if you're open to trying it. Stop for a few moments, listen to your thoughts and feelings without judging whether they are bad or good-they're simply thoughts and feelings. You may feel comfortable trying it in a moment of conflict, you may feel more comfortable trying it in a calm moment. What do you need? It's really hard to be a mom, and modern moms don't have nearly enough help and support and tend to have a lot of unmet needs. So what do you need? What do you feel? What are you thinking? How does your body feel? Are memories coming up? Memories of what? (I'm not asking anyone to share here, this is a personal thing.)

This is how I started moving on from yelling, with this baby step of awareness. Yelling is about me, not about my kids or their behavior. Awareness of your own thoughts and feelings is important. We all tend to have automatic thoughts and emotional reactions that we aren't aware of simply because they have become so automatic. These automatic thoughts and feelings have a huge impact on how we respond to our children and to everyday events.

When I can listen to myself, hear my own needs, I can then request that those needs be met or do something to ensure they are met. When I'm aware of my own needs and feelings, then I am more free to listen to my children's needs and to respond to my children more gently.
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#10 of 203 Old 12-07-2005, 06:50 PM
 
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Sledge:


And : (for me).
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#11 of 203 Old 12-07-2005, 06:55 PM
 
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: wow, some really good things to think about. I think I may have to come back and read these posts a few more times. hmm now how to get through to dh about it all.

Thanks ladies

Lisa~Was Aspiring Midwife~Now-AAMI Midwifery Student #2020~Mama to Zackery 3/29/96, Drake 9/22/01, and Selina 10/26/03...and here was the link to my new blog
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#12 of 203 Old 12-07-2005, 07:38 PM
 
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is there a hit the nail on the head smilie? I really feel it is my own anger that is making me react to dd the way i do. I copied the reply and am saving it to re-read as i need it. thanks sledg
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#13 of 203 Old 12-07-2005, 07:56 PM
 
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[I get NO help with housework. I would think that my almost 8 and almost 5 year olds could be helping, but it doesnt fly. I swear they think I am torturing them because I ask them to pick up their toys, or put clothes in the hamper.

Now, my oldest has ADHD, but he is still very capable.

I have no clue where to start. HELP!!]

I may be able to help a little here. I started establishing a routine ala the Flylady. It has really helped bc some of the stress is simply the house is not tidy and the cleaning was overwhelming. Its been much easier to get throught the day once I incorperated more routine with the daily task. I also have a friend IRL who is my buddy in creating routine in both our lives. We are definetly doing major baby steps but once I decided that I could make some small changes, like the clean sink (flylady thing), I haven't looked back and I haven't ever been faced with a huge pile of dishes.

But when the kids know what is expected by them, for example dressed with all dirty clothes in the hamper before breakfast or toys picked up before bath etc. Less yelling. My dd hair can become a nightmare but now I just say "oh your hair!" and she runs for the brush. Find your biggest offenders and make it part of your routine and they will help and you won't have to yell. Except to say woo-hoo this room is clean!

I HTH you search for the flylady stuff there is a website and all. I perfer the book Sink Reflections

ITA with Sledg too! Great post!
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#14 of 203 Old 12-08-2005, 01:51 AM
 
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#15 of 203 Old 12-08-2005, 07:00 AM
 
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I found myself doing the same thing. Then I stopped eating dairy and realized I had much more aptience than before. I would consider food sensitivity - many of us know it can affect our kids, but don't always look at our own diet.

As for kids not listening, I find that if I have to say/request something more than twice it's b/c I'm not asking properly or not following through. My kids are younger, but the same concept - get on their level, make eye contact, ensure you have their attention (tv/music is off, book is down, etc.) and ask politely but firmly.

Phrase things as statements rather than questions "I need you [or: You need] to pick up the toys on the floor in your room and put them away in the toy box" is a more direct statement and gives an exact expectation than "Can you please clean your room?"

Christine, mama to Daniel & Abby, 9 and Patrick, 4. Wife to a rockin' train engineer. Gluten and nightshade-free. Multiple kiddie food sensitivities.

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#16 of 203 Old 12-08-2005, 08:56 AM
 
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reading and learning
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#17 of 203 Old 12-08-2005, 11:42 AM
 
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As far as getting the kids to help around the house, I think it helps to start small, with a few, simple responsibilities, i.e. dirty clothes in hamper, bed made, shoes put in closet--or things of that nature. Things that are quick and are either done or not done (no argument over what exactly defines a "clean" room, etc.) When my now 6yo was 3, I gave him 3 "responsibilities", and I have gradually added more. My girls (3yo) put their clothes in the hamper, dishes in the sink, and put coats and shoes in the closet. We call these their "jobs" and they seem to like it. In addition, we all do a "10-minute-tidy" each night before dinner. Usually we will all work on one room together, and we put music on, and end up having a pretty good time. I feel like this is creates a positive energy around working together and reinforces the good feeling of a family helping each other out. I have also found that, at the end of a long day, when the kids are getting on my and each other's nerves, it really turns all of our attitudes around when we stop and have these 10 minutes of cooperation. Sometimes, when the kids are fighting and I'm about to lose it, I will announce 10-minute-tidy early, and maybe because it gives everyone a chance to do something constructive and helpful, it really stops that downward spiral.

Sledg, your insightful posts brought tears to my eyes. How true...
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#19 of 203 Old 12-10-2005, 12:55 PM
 
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I am learning so much.....thank you!

My DD seems to "like" me yelling. I know that sounds wierd. Clearly we have set up some sort of dysfunctional dynamic here and I just don't know how to break it. When I ask her calmly to do (or NOT to do) something she may or may not do it. If she doesn't do it, I ask her again and maybe again, and then, inevitably, I raise my voice. She doesn't seem frightened or upset by the yelling, she just knows I'm serious and does what I have asked. Is this a problem with consistency maybe?

I think I answered my own question.

Now I just have to figure out how to be consistent while still listening to/honoring DD's requests after I have made my own.
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#20 of 203 Old 12-10-2005, 01:06 PM
 
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subbing
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#21 of 203 Old 12-10-2005, 06:21 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mommaJ
Now I just have to figure out how to be consistent while still listening to/honoring DD's requests after I have made my own.
I think part of the trick to this is learning what your needs are and when you can be flexible and still have your needs met. Personally, I have a tendency to think about my kids' needs first and ignore my own, but when I do ignore my needs then I am much more likely to yell and much less aware of and able to listen to my kids' needs/feelings. So if I really feel stressed and I need some help from my kids in order to get the house reasonably cleaned and get food on the table, then I need to acknowledge that. When I realize that I need this, then I'm more clear on what I would like my kids to do-and oddly I'm also more flexible and creative. Once I know I really need some help, I'm able to say "so, you really don't want to empty the dishwasher. I still need help. How about washing the table or skating on these wet towels on the floor (a fun way to mop)?"

Sometimes, what I need for them to do just isn't negotiable. This is when I actually use the words "it's non-negotiable." When I say this, they know I'm not going to change my mind. "It's time to go pick up your sister at school." "But I don't want to!" "It's non-negiotiable. We are going to pick up your sister."

Timers are also great. "We are leaving soon. You can play for 10 more minutes, I'll set the timer. When the timer beeps it's time to put your shoes on." This helps because we set the expectations and "terms" ahead of time, which usually (not always, of course) prevents arguments later when I really need/want them to do what I've requested. With chores it might be "I need help. I'd like you to empty the dishwasher" "But I'm playing, I don't want to." "You don't want to stop playing right now. I still need help soon because I need the dishwasher empty so I can clear the sink and counter for cooking dinner, but I could wait while you play for another 15 minutes." "20 minutes?" "Okay, 20 minutes. I'm setting the timer. When it beeps it will be time for you to help me with the dishwasher."
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#22 of 203 Old 12-10-2005, 07:19 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sledg
Mamas, this is really hard work.

I would like to gently suggest a project for you, if you're open to trying it. Stop for a few moments, listen to your thoughts and feelings without judging whether they are bad or good-they're simply thoughts and feelings. You may feel comfortable trying it in a moment of conflict, you may feel more comfortable trying it in a calm moment. What do you need? It's really hard to be a mom, and modern moms don't have nearly enough help and support and tend to have a lot of unmet needs. So what do you need? What do you feel? What are you thinking? How does your body feel? Are memories coming up? Memories of what? (I'm not asking anyone to share here, this is a personal thing.)

This is how I started moving on from yelling, with this baby step of awareness. Yelling is about me, not about my kids or their behavior. Awareness of your own thoughts and feelings is important. We all tend to have automatic thoughts and emotional reactions that we aren't aware of simply because they have become so automatic. These automatic thoughts and feelings have a huge impact on how we respond to our children and to everyday events.

When I can listen to myself, hear my own needs, I can then request that those needs be met or do something to ensure they are met. When I'm aware of my own needs and feelings, then I am more free to listen to my children's needs and to respond to my children more gently.
Good thoughts. Thank you.
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#23 of 203 Old 12-10-2005, 09:49 PM
 
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a lot of great suggestions!!
:
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#24 of 203 Old 12-10-2005, 10:51 PM
 
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i sure need this one.

i constantly tell dd "we yell a lot but we all love each other" i think she gets it but we all need to work on our inside voices in this house.

sometimes i make everybody whisper. it definately helps release tensions.
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#26 of 203 Old 12-11-2005, 12:56 PM
 
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Sledg-

Thank you for all the great suggestions. I really like the timer idea.
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#27 of 203 Old 12-11-2005, 03:22 PM
 
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Sledg-that is great advice..I noticed I start getting louder and louder when I am worn out and need quiet!!! I like the part about not judging my feelings..I do that a lot. I start saying that I am a horrible mom and I cannot even handle a 16 month old...what it really is--I am exhausted and my husband won't be home for hours!
I have the hardest time when my husband works 6 long days, like this week, and the baby was sick too.

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#28 of 203 Old 12-12-2005, 11:16 AM
 
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Sledg, you put it into words so well!!! We have also found the timer to help. we started it b/c she would decide she was hungry & get bonkers wanting to eat NOW! so it was a natural extension of using the timer for cooking. I also find i yell more when i'm worn out. i have had a nasty cold for days & days & no patience along with it. it's not dd's fault, but i do tend to take it out on her in my yelling. thank you for helping me articulate what is going on in my head!!!
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#29 of 203 Old 12-16-2005, 02:08 PM
 
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Thank you sledg!

Since reading this thread about a week ago, I have been stopping myself when I start feeling tense or when things start escalating and asking "What do I/ds/dh need right now?" It has helped us all immensely. I have also talked to dh about trying this, and he has seemed more patient lately. This is probably one of the most effective suggestions that I have ever heard. Thank you so much for your wisdom!
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#30 of 203 Old 12-17-2005, 03:24 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sally Z
is there a hit the nail on the head smilie? I really feel it is my own anger that is making me react to dd the way i do. I copied the reply and am saving it to re-read as i need it. thanks sledg

That's so true for me. How we feel inside affects everything. Getting the anger under control is so important.

It's one reason I am always posting about connecting --having fun together and joking around. Closeness and connectedness comes first, and then the team work can follow. It's hard to get people to work together when they don't feel like they are part of a team, or if they are always feeling upset about things.

When I play Scrabble, or watch a movie, or share some hummus (we both love it) with my 16 yr old, for instance, we are together in a way that's simply pleasant and not about whether he can take the car whenever he wats...lol. Relationships have to have a pleasure factor, not only be about arguing and guidance. We can chat about interesting things, politics, books we've read, movies we hate or love etc without having to hash something out all the time. Later, when I need him, I think he responds better because we already have a relationship history, iykwim. He's emotionally intense, so he needs that connection.

And remember, nobody really enjoys cleaning up and doing stuff (well, some people might, but mostly it's not fun to put clothes away, wash floors etc). Kids esp aren't so interested as they aren't as affected by not having clean underwear.

I find, fi, that we can get a lot of clothes folded while we are watching a movie together. We sort as we fold, and when it's over, unless everyone is asleep, I just hand small piles of clothing to the child it belongs to. My 6 yr old likes to put one set of items away at a time. So I'll had her all her underwear and then she will come back for her shirts etc. This way it doesn't feel so overwhleming. My teen puts away the towels, because he's the tallest and the linen closet is hiiiigh up. It's broken up into small, manegable chunks, which is how I function best--my dh is a tackle- the- big- job person, but the kids have inherited my break-it-down personality.

It's amazing how much can be put away with 6 people putting stuff away together at the same time. Same with clearning groceries out of the car, if everyone strong enough takes two, it's one trip. For smaller things like unloading the dishwasher, this morning I made hot chocolate and as it was cooling, the kids unloaded the dishwasher. They had to get the mugs out anyway, so as I was wiping the counter, I told them it was a good time to unload and they did and I asked them to hand me the heavier items that need to be stored in more tucked-away, higher places. No biggie. Unloading is one of their agreed upon tasks, but it made sense to remind them at this point, rather than call them away from another acitvity later. Does it bother me they need reminding? Not at all. It would be a total waste of my energy to get angry about that.
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