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I'm having a hard time lately with my 4 yo dd. She's a wonderful kid, truly. I know that it is me who is not worthy. I've been catching myself saying things in a tone of voice that is less than pleasant or phrasing things in a belittling way lately. I react instantly instead of taking a moment to think. But sometimes the situation needs quick reactions. I soooooo don't want to be this way. I don't want her to feel that she's annoying because I'm so easily annoyed or that she's stupid because she made an innocent mistake. In short... I don't want to be my mother.
I feel kindof down and sleep has been an issue with my 17 month ds so I know that plays into it. Something that makes me lose it every time is her grabbing toys out of her brother's hands. It makes me instantly furious because I think she should know better. She wasn't interested in the toy until he had it. Or when she piles 98% of the toys in the corner of the room and claims to be playing with all of them, yelling at her brother for toddling over. ARGH. I haven't been handling those situations well because she quietly looks at me with an unreadable/guarded/hurt look on her face. I don't want that. Really... I know that she's just learning, that it's hard to have a little brother.And then I feel badly because it seems that I'm usually addressing HER when a situation between the two of them arises because he is even YOUNGER and still learning; I cut him more slack. I want to be calm and reasonable and empathetic and creative and flexible enough to handle all of this all the time and I'm failing right now. Maybe more than I'm doing a good job. I want both of my children to grow up with healthy self-esteem... not having been battered down by their mother flying off the handle.
So, even though sometimes I think I am using the "right" words... my tone of voice is not "right" and I know that sinks in. Give me some advice on how to snap out of this yucky mood. Tell me your stories.
 

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Hey Kelly. So sorry to hear that you are having a rough time! If it helps to know that others struggle too, I will tell you that the bickering and nastiness that goes on between my two kids is the *single most difficult* aspect of parenting that I have yet to encounter. Seriously, if I'm going to loose my cool -- it will be over a sibling issue. And while I'm sure you'll get lots of book suggestions and advice about sibling fights, the truth is that there is no easy way to handle it! At least not that I'm aware of.

It helps me enormously to spend regular 1:1 time with my older child. "Dates" once a week or so, where he gets to have my entire attention, talk about whatever he wants, and lead our activity at whatever pace suits him. It helps me to remember why I love him so much, and it helps both of us to interact better throughout the week.

Also -- the extent to which I show patience, gentleness, deference and tolerance toward my oldest child is *exactly* the extent to which he demonstrates those qualities to his younger sibling. I can hear my tone of voice echoed in his. When he yells too much, it is because I have been yelling too much. When he grabs, its because I have been grabbing. And so on. It takes time to break out of this cycle, but if you remind yourself that you are modeling her behavior, then you will feel more highly motivated. It will pay off in her behavior. They learn from how we are much more readily than from what we tell them.
 

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No advice, just a
for you mama, because I'm right there too
I work from home and end up pulling night shifts to get my work done, so sleep deprivation is a factor here too, as is my almost 4 year old's newly discovered power of total opposition. I'm here reading today to regain perspective and restock my tool belt. Who was it who's quoted as calling it the "F***ing Fours"?

:
 
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