How to say I'm sorry to a 3 yo after loosing my patience? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 01-09-2008, 01:14 AM - Thread Starter
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I feel sick about it. It's the same 'ol story in that I'm over stressed, overtired, no time for myself. Also we're relocating and staying with my mom for 3 months while she recovers from hip surgery. So the pressure is on us all.

All that said I should never speak to anyone the way I did to my 3 year old dd tonight. I was short tempered, yelled, withheld affection, and didn't make eye contact when she tried to. It was only a matter of the last 15 mins or so before she went to bed. So it wasn't a long ordeal.

In the past when I've lost my patience I've said I was sorry but that never feels like enough. I've tried to explain in really simple terms that I'm tired, love her at all times no matter what, we all need to try to speak nicely to each other, and that I'm sorry. Sometimes when it seems appropriate I ask her to remind me to take a deep breath (I suggest she does that sometimes so I'm trying to show that we all need to do it).

I don't know what else to do. Buy her a pony???? Kidding of course. Any ideas would be great! Thank you.
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#2 of 7 Old 01-09-2008, 02:44 AM
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BTDT, mama. I want my children to know that "sorry" is more than a word you use to 'make things better.' I demonstrate my feelings as honestly as I can. I cried to my son once when things got to be so stressful that I just lost my cool with him. He just looked at me, wiped my eyes, and said, "It's okay, mama. You were frustrated. I get frustrated, too." It's times like that when you realize how vital it is to their emotional development to see you vulnerable, too.

Darcy mama to Dillon, Marah and Leo, partner to Jeremy
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#3 of 7 Old 01-09-2008, 03:39 AM
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I've been in your situation a few times lately. What I try to do is look her in the eye and tell her that it wasn't her fault that I got angry, that what I did was not OK, and that I would try really hard to make sure that it doesn't happen again. I tell her that it's OK if she needs some time before she wants to talk to me again and that I'm not angry with her now. I know what you mean about wanting to do more, but I try to remember that my guilt isn't her issue.

Diane, SAHM to DD (June 05) and DS (April 07).
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#4 of 7 Old 01-09-2008, 03:48 AM
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I agree that it is important to give an honest from the heart apology when you've been in the wrong. Part of saying that your sorry is explaining that you will try your hardest to NEVER do that again and then actually trying you best to hold up to that promise.

Take naps. go to bed when she does.

Sometime I find that when I stay up late to try to get my time to myself I end up not getting the sleep that I really need. And in the long run I would have been doing better for myself if I had just gone to bed and not had my time to myself.

Get outside for a walk.

fresh air helps everyone.

It has helped for me to state (when I feel it), out loud, that I'm feeling really angry right now. It seems that when it comes out of my mouth, that it reminds me to think before I act. It helps for some reason. It seems that as soon as I say it I get a little more perspective. May be key words like that would help you to trigger a sort of abort mission?

good luck to you.
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#5 of 7 Old 01-09-2008, 03:51 PM
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I usually take him in my lap, look him in the eye and give a sincere apology. I have also asked him in the past (and this had really helped me not get to the point of talking angrily) to help me remember to use nice words. I asked his suggestion on how he could help me and he suggested that he would tell me when my voice sounded not nice. And I told him I thought that was a great idea and that we would each remind the other when we started not talking nice.

My son will always tell me now when I start getting the aggitated sound in my voice and it makes me stop and think - do I have a reason for being aggitated? If I do, then I tell him why i am talking like that and try to problem solve with him (ie "I am frustrated because I have asked you 15 times to clean up the toys. what can we do about the situation?") If I am just not talking nice because of some issue not related to the kids, then I apologize and thank him for reminding me.

Him telling me is exactly what I need to stop, think and change my actions.

Here is a perfect example - The other day in the car, I was frustrated at my daughter because she would not stop whining over something that was out of my control. i started to get that tone in my voice and my son said "Mommy, you are not talking very nice to her. If you talk to her that way, she's going to say she doesn't want to play with you." And then a few minutes later, when i was trying to reason with my DD, he said "Mommy, you just need to stop talking to her and let her think about it for awhile. She needs some time to calm down." I took his advice and it worked!
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#6 of 7 Old 01-09-2008, 05:48 PM
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Wow, MtBikeLover, you are clearly doing a great job with your son on emotional & social awareness.

DS 12/22/05 and DD 5/24/09
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#7 of 7 Old 01-09-2008, 07:17 PM
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I have found that apologies can be counterproductive, especially with a very sensitive child, as it can make them feel guilty. Instead, we can own our behavior by simply stating, "I lost my temper. I wish I hadn't. Next time, I'll try to....."
Okay, I'm having a hard time articulating this, but here goes. Probably one reason MBLs son is able to be that empathic and kind is that he is not being put in that role against his will. It is true compassion on his part, not codependence. I can tell from her posts that she practices leadership. Kids need to know someone is the adult and is "in charge" for want of a better term. So my feeling is that he does this genuinely, and not to compensate for somehing she's not doing. KWIM? I say this because there is a fine line b/t compassion and codependence. My litmus test is: If I'm utimately acting out of self-interest, it is codependence. If I am genuinely acting in someone else's interest, it is compassion.
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