Speaking in an exasperated tone - anyone else guilty of this? - Mothering Forums
 
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#1 of 23 Old 01-27-2007, 05:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So I know I yell too much, and am really working hard on this. I talk with ds about it each and every time it happens, apologize, explain that I shouldn't yell, etc. (I don't yell mean things or shaming things, just stupid things like "Dammit, I told you to leave it alone!"

But I am also guilty of talking in an exasperated tone way too often. Like when ds1 is asking me a question for the hundredth time, ds2 is screaming because he bonked his head, and there is spilled OJ on the floor, I often respond with "WHAT?!?! What do you want!??!?! Geez, can't it wait a minute?" Or something like that. Do you know what I mean? (It's so hard to convey tone on a message board!)

Is this just part of being a busy tired mom? Or do you consider this as bad as yelling? Am I the only one who does this way too often? I know it's worse when I'm tired or don't eat well, so I've been making an effort to get more sleep and eat a good breakfast. But man, when they're fighting over a stick and I can't find their shoes and I trip over a toy - I just lose all patience with them.

Hmm, maybe this is a parenting issue, not a discipline issue. I just thought about posting it here because for me it feels related to yelling - the same kind of feelings bring it on.
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#2 of 23 Old 01-27-2007, 05:05 AM
 
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all. the. time.

And I feel awful every time.
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#3 of 23 Old 01-27-2007, 05:29 AM
 
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Sometimes I sound exasperated. I'm working on improving that aspect of my parenting.

~Nay, very imperfect

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#4 of 23 Old 01-27-2007, 05:44 AM
 
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me too. and then I feel bad. Like, I would never yell at my DD for spilling something (which she does, on accident, all. . .day. . .long. . .), but after the 5th time I say things like "You spilled it again? and then mumble about how tired I am of juice/water/whatever seeping into my carpet. I think it's shaming, maybe more than if I were yelling. That's not my intention, but I can only imagine what it sounds/feels like to a three year old
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#5 of 23 Old 01-27-2007, 09:33 AM
 
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Yeah, I'm guilty of that. The awful thing is, I can hear myself saying these ridiculous things (like you, nothing outright mean, but my tone is not nice), and yet I still say them! I'm trying hard to just breathe deeply when I feel that urge starting, but lately even my breathing sounds exasperated! It comes out more like an "Argh" than a cleansing breath, and my DS can totally still tell that I'm irritated.

I'm just trying really hard to see myself from his perspective and imagine what it would feel like if someone much bigger than me, the person that I depended on for everything, acted angry, rattled the dishes a little too loudly as she put them away, shut the door a little too hard, tugged my hand a little too hard, etc. It would be scary. My sweet little DS is still innocent enough that when I act that way, he'll ask, "What you doing, mommy?" It's kind of good, because then I'm forced to answer with something like, "Oh, mommy's grumpy, but I shouldn't bang the dishes around because of it," and it puts things in perspective and makes me realize how silly I'm acting.

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#6 of 23 Old 01-27-2007, 10:36 AM
 
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Yeah, I do, and I do agree that it's kind of shaming, or ignoring emotions. I am trying really really hard to work on it. My most recent battle lately is dd coming up and blowing in the baby's face all.the.time. It's driving me crazy mad, especially when he is asleep or happy and she p!sses him off. I can only be calm about it for so long.

"Please don't blow on the baby."
"Baby doesn't like to be blown on."
"I've TOLD you many times now not to blow on the baby."
"I am starting to get really irritated with this."
"WHY ARE YOU STILL DOING THAT? DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME WHEN I SAY 'DON 'T BLOW ON THE BABY??!?!???!?'"

I don't go as far as "WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU", but I have to admit it goes through my head.

So I'm pretty sure she is doing it because she wants some attention from me, and/or is jealous of the attention I give the baby. It's funny, but the more positive attention I try to give her the more she seems to want, and then this practically begging for negative attention begins.

Anyway, that was more than you wanted, but the answer is yes, I do that.
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#7 of 23 Old 01-27-2007, 10:39 AM
 
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Originally Posted by limabean View Post
Yeah, I'm guilty of that. The awful thing is, I can hear myself saying these ridiculous things (like you, nothing outright mean, but my tone is not nice), and yet I still say them! I'm trying hard to just breathe deeply when I feel that urge starting, but lately even my breathing sounds exasperated! It comes out more like an "Argh" than a cleansing breath, and my DS can totally still tell that I'm irritated.

I'm just trying really hard to see myself from his perspective and imagine what it would feel like if someone much bigger than me, the person that I depended on for everything, acted angry, rattled the dishes a little too loudly as she put them away, shut the door a little too hard, tugged my hand a little too hard, etc. It would be scary. My sweet little DS is still innocent enough that when I act that way, he'll ask, "What you doing, mommy?" It's kind of good, because then I'm forced to answer with something like, "Oh, mommy's grumpy, but I shouldn't bang the dishes around because of it," and it puts things in perspective and makes me realize how silly I'm acting.
Honestly, I find banging dishes around to be theraputic! I've done that since I was young and unloading the dishwasher was one of my chores. If I was mad a mom, that's how I took it out. It's kind of an art, ya know, knowing just how much you can slam that stack of plates down without breaking them?
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#8 of 23 Old 01-27-2007, 11:54 AM
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I've done that with my boy (7yo)...usually at the end of the day. When the little guy I take care of goes home for the day, my dd (23mos) gets settled into an activity or is having a bit of downtime herself, and I'm really tired but trying to find the energy to go and make supper, and in the moment it really feels like he is trying to annoy me. I've talked to him so many times about just giving a few minutes alone, but it never fails, I just sit down to have a quiet moment and he's in my face. It's very hard not to mask the annoyance, and I usually fail at it.
It also drives me bonkers that he can play happily on his own, or be engaged in something with his sister or whatever, FOR HOURS, but the moment I get on the phone suddenly he needs my attention NOW! He knows not to actually interrupt the phone call (we had a real issue with him trying to talk over me) but he'll stand less than a foot away from me and stare at me until I tell him to move along until I am done (because of the interrupting issue, I never ask him what he wants or let him tell me anyway...he's not supposed to interrupt conversations unless it's an emergency, as in "Something is on fire" not "I want a drink").
So I totally understand the frustration. With me dd it doesn't seem to bother me when I have to tell her repeatedly things, but that's because she is young and does not really understand. Cam is 7, almost 8, and I find this behaviour more frustrating with him because he does understand and I feel like I should not have to keep repeating myself. I'm a lot better with dealing with it than I used to be, but there are times when I just want to scream at the kids and my husband "WOULD YOU PEOPLE JUST LEAVE ME ALONE!!!!!"
And to think we're adding another little bundle of needs to the mix...what the heck were we thinking?
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#9 of 23 Old 01-27-2007, 04:31 PM
 
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*SIGH* I'm shamefully guilty of the exhasperated tone as well as yelling : But, in my defense I believe that it's all about awareness -- I work on being more aware & also sharing the awareness with Leila ... if I don't stop myself before it happens then I stop immediately afterwards & appologize: using it as an opportunity to help Leila learn that no one is perfect, but imperfection is acceptable. However, it's not ideal so we take a moment to have some calming breaths & then we discuss what happened, brainstorm better alternatives & agree on a plan to maintain those more ideal options. Sometimes I simply need to give myself a time out, sometimes we both need a time out, sometimes we need a time in. It's never exactly the same. It's always difficult.
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#10 of 23 Old 01-27-2007, 04:38 PM
 
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Yup -- this is my personal parenting demon. I'd say for me it's more an irritated, almost passive-aggressive tone. I am working very hard to improve this.

Sometimes on threads where I post that I don't hit or yell, I feel that I might be coming across holier-than-thou. But THIS is my downfall and biggest area for improvement. I suspect we all have them. Anyway, I just hate when I use disrespectful tones with my children and I must improve this.
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#11 of 23 Old 01-27-2007, 04:39 PM
 
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using it as an opportunity to learn that no one is perfect, but imperfection is acceptable.
somehow, I think my son has really internalized this particular lesson, at least!
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#12 of 23 Old 01-27-2007, 08:36 PM
 
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I've been catching myself lately using a tone that sounds both irritated and disappointed with DS. Very passive-aggressive, as a pp pointed out, because yelling is not one of my faults.... but that exasperated exhale and the "again??!" comment-- I just can't seem to keep it from slipping out! DS is only 2 and is so sweet and I feel so bad about it afterwards!

A little story: One time he spilled his cup of orange juice after I had reminded him a few times to be very careful with it (he was not even 2-- what did I expect to happen?? ) and although I didn't say anything directly to him about it other than "let's clean this up", I was huffing around while I cleaned it up and was clearly irritated. Afterwards I felt silly and decided this would be a good time to talk about how mommy was feeling "grumpy" and how I was sorry I acted that way, mommies make mistakes sometimes, etc... well, apparently the conversation made an impression because literally for the next 2 months DS would bring it up out of the blue from time to time: "mommy grumpy... [DS's name] spill orange juice" (once it was the first thing he said when he woke up in the morning!). Talk about feeling ashamed of myself!
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#13 of 23 Old 01-27-2007, 09:41 PM
 
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I am guilty of this too, and I know that my DS notices it.

It's very hard not to do sometimes!

I try to say something different... like "Uh-oh... your water spilled!" but even then, I Have to work to keep the passive agressive irritated tone out of my voice...

I'm open to suggestion too...
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#14 of 23 Old 01-27-2007, 09:55 PM
 
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I know a teacher who has trained herself to SMILE REALLY HARD whenever something spills or breaks in the classroom! I thought that was great advice.

To answer the OP -- heck yeah! Of course I do that sometimes!

Why are we some much harder on ourselves than we are on our children? A child who whines, or cries, or yells is tired, or hungry, or lonely, or bored. When we slip into a bad tone, its because our needs are unmet. We are just being human beings. Its not the end of the world.

Its really not the end of the world.

Something that helps me though -- remembering to use my words to express my feelings. LOL: "I'm starting to feel exasperated." "I'm feeling annoyed." "I'm feeling irritated." "I'm feeling frustrated." Its amazingly powerful to be able to say these things out loud to our kids, and its easier on them than being snapped at.
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#15 of 23 Old 01-27-2007, 11:45 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mamaduck View Post
Its really not the end of the world.
That's true, but it helps so much if you can realize that you are doing it, in the moment, and snap out of it. At least I know that it helps me to step back and say, "Hey, this isn't how I want this day to be!" I can sort of reframe my mood, and let go of the grumpiness. So, I don't beat myself up about it, but I do try to recognize it and snap out of it!
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#16 of 23 Old 01-28-2007, 12:38 AM
 
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I try not to be too hard on myself.

We all experience the full spectrum of emotion, and I think that tone of voice is one of the acceptable mediums (along with vocabulary) through which to express those emotions. I don't want to teach my kids that it is unacceptable to express negative emotions, so I'll model how I express them and not punish them for expressing theirs the same way.
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#17 of 23 Old 01-28-2007, 10:37 PM
 
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It means we're human. Who doesn't get exasperated?
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#18 of 23 Old 01-28-2007, 11:58 PM
 
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I completely know what you are talking about, and agree that there's a difference between not-being-too-hard-on-yourself and letting-yourself-completely-off-the-hook.

I don't know if you ever read Catherine Newman's essays/blog, but she had such a great one on exactly this topic last week (http://wondertime.go.com/parent-to-p.../01222007.html ) Really hit home for me!
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#19 of 23 Old 01-29-2007, 12:26 AM
 
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i also do this to when i'm really tired, and repeating myself over and over, I find it hard to be sunshine and lollipops all the time, but i am working on it. Dh also has a problem with this..
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#20 of 23 Old 01-29-2007, 01:05 AM
 
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Guilty here too! I notice I tend to do it when DS is just pestering the heck out of DS after I've asked him to stop numerous times, and when DS has been sound asleep in his bed every time I leave his room, only to get up literally 5 times or more in an hour! It's not unheard of to hear me say "DS, what are you doing up again?? You're supposed to be in bed". Yes, I get a bit exasperated. I then usually explain that I'm frustrated because the more he's up, then the longer I have to stay up to clean the house, and that I'm tired too.

I don't think showing your child that you're frustrated is necessarily a bad thing. We try to teach them to be responsible and that there are repercussions and consequences to their actions, wouldn't it be doing them a disservice to not let them realize that their actions can cause frustration? I'm sure at some point, someone other than mom will be frustrated with them, be it a teacher, boss or spouse. That's not to say it's ok to go around frazzled at them all the time necessarily, or to beat them down with it or anything, but occasionally letting them see how their actions can make other people feel might be a good thing to a degree, especially if you can talk with them about it.

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#21 of 23 Old 01-29-2007, 05:43 AM
 
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Originally Posted by peacelovingmama View Post
I'd say for me it's more an irritated, almost passive-aggressive tone.
Same here. Working on it as well
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#22 of 23 Old 01-29-2007, 12:09 PM
 
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Yes, very often it happens if bedtime is later than usual, even by 15-20 minutes. At the end of the day, if they are not asleep at the usual hour, it is like if my whole body and brain cried "me time, please, please, me time" and I cannot seem to help taking a tone like "poor me I have worked all day and cannot even get some rest in the evening"... I so wish I could stop stop stop this... I do this because my mommy did it to me and I.DID.NOT.LIKE.IT it made me feel like a burden... why can't I stop this... it winds up happening about twice a week.... I am finding some sanity in taking the Bach Flowers Rescue Remedy... at the same time as I give them to my dds if they find it hard to go to sleep...
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#23 of 23 Old 01-29-2007, 12:35 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peacelovingmama
I'd say for me it's more an irritated, almost passive-aggressive tone.
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Originally Posted by irinam View Post
Same here. Working on it as well
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