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(I have seen the thread on Rage. I'm just looking for some more specific support. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/gloomy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Gloomy">: )<br><br>
My four year old is driving me to the crazy house. I hate the person I am becoming. I yell all the time. I shout. I get in his face and talk with clenched teeth. I have almost no patience for certain things he does, esepcially "hot-button" issues like hitting, huring the baby, spitting, and seriously disrespectful back-talking. I have tons of patience for the vast majority of the day, but when Luke starts doing one of the above behaviors I just lose it.<br><br>
The frequency of his meltdowns/tantrums seem to be increasing, not decreasing as I thought they would around age four. His tantrums are just crazy. Screeching, hitting anyone he can get his hands on, kicking, spitting in faces, telling us he wants to "throw us away"... And the tantrums just go on and on. He probably has one good tantrum at least every other day. And each tantrum usually lasts at least 30-40 minutes. I can tell that it scares him when he's out of control, but he just doesn't know how to stop the tantrum, and I don't either.<br><br>
All of the "experts" out there seem to say to just ride out a tantrum, as long as the child isn't hurting themselves or others. But he is. One of my favorite books on children suggests gently restraining the child between your legs while sitting on the floor, and trying to protect them from themselves and not getting yourself hurt in the process. Gently restraining Luke immediately escalates the tantrum to the Nth degree. He freaks out. None of this fighting you for a few minutes, crying it out in your arms, and presto, the tantrum is over business.<br><br>
The discipline techniques that worked at age two are no longer effective. I really don't believe in spanking. Luke is extremely strong willed, whip smart, and can talk anyone into a corner. He is very much just like his father and I were as children. I honestly don't know what to do with him. I keep thinking that if we don't find a way to deal with these issues now, we're going to be in a load of trouble when he's 6. And 8. And 10.<br><br>
I can't seem to find a new game plan that works with him. We have been trying the Super-Nanny techniques from her book lately. That seems to be working okay, but we're still having a lot of problems. Part of it is that I'm not always able to just leap up in the middle of whatever I am doing to enforce the naughty chair. Sometimes I'm right in the middle of nursing Joey to sleep when Luke acts up. What then? I know that I am lacking in the enforcement department, but I'm trying really, really hard to keep clear, consistant rules in our house, and to follow through every time.<br><br>
And just so you don't think that our lives are just terrible, a lot of things have improved since we've started really working on Luke's behavior. He is now really good at sitting at the table with us at dinner time, praying, and then eating with the family and participating with the conversation at the table. He also does really well sitting down with me in the mornings to do some simple homeschooling together. He has excellent manners most of the time, and I routinely get complimented on his behavior out in public.<br><br>
I have noticed that most of the tantrums seem to occur during the evening hours, so I have been systmatically moving up the kids' bedtimes during the last week. I am trying to find the right time for them that allows them to have a little down time after dinner, clean up the toys, and go through the bedtime routine before they are too exhausted to cope.<br><br>
I am mostly concerned with my response to Luke. I can go from being completely calm and relaxed to being almost in a rage like anger in a split second. I seriously am one of those people who normally can go through life fairly calmly without getting too upset about most things. Think fairly laid back type B personality. I am just at my wits end with Luke, and I just snap lately. I feel like I just want to seriously drop him off at some street corner and leave him there. Some nights, it's all I can do not to spank the heck out of him. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> He just makes me so mad.<br><br>
What makes me feel worst of all is that I know that, as the parent, that I am supposed to be the "rock" in my child's life. I should be the one that is above the yelling and shouting. I shouldn't react like I've been doing. I should remain (on the outside) cool, calm, and collected while gently guiding my child through the ups and downs of his day. During the worst of his tantrums, I should be the calm one he can turn to, not the upset, screaming mother who just can't take anymore. I know that I'm letting him down. I always try and talk with him afterwards about what happened, once we have all calmed down again. I always appologize for losing my cool, and we talk about what we can do to handle things better in the future. Then he goes to bed, and I spend the rest of the evening in tears, feeling like a failure.<br><br>
I am trying to be brutally honest here, and I'm laying it all out there for you guys to see. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has ever gone through this, and I would love a little support and guidance.<br><br>
Thanks.
 

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nak atm, but wanted to just give you a hug. That sounds really really hard and stressful. I'm gonna come back to this, k?<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">
 

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I went through a really rough patch that lasted a good 6 months after my 2nd was born. I yelled a lot and felt angry all the time. A big part of it for me was sleep deprivation. Make sure you're getting enough sleep, and taking care of yourself. Get breaks from the kids when you can even if it just means someone keeps them while you grocery shop alone.<br><br>
I had to really change the way I thought about my responses to my older daughter. We were caught in this spiral where we were feeding off each other's negative emotions. Once I got enough sleep I was able to see that. IT's reasonable for kids to yell and kick and scream. Not okay, not something we just accept, but it's normal. As they grow they learn to vent their anger in healthier ways, hopefully. As adults and parents, we have to maintain the peace as much as we can.<br><br>
So what I did was, when she was acting crazy and I felt that anger start to build, I'd give the baby to her dad if he was here, or put her in the bouncy seat or something if he wasn't, and go sit with my older daughter. I didn't wait til she was freaking out, but tried to catch it early. There are signs usually, if you watch for them. We'd read a book, or play with blocks, or wrestle around for a little while. It didn't take long. Her frustration would subside, and I'd say, "OK, I have to go pick up Grace now" and she'd be okay with it.<br><br>
Often when there's a younger sibling I think these outbursts are part of just trying to get mommy back. Suddenly there's this little baby who requires SO much attention, when they're used to getting it all. Instead of responding with anger of my own, I tried to think of it from her side, and then make a real effort to spend some quality time with her. My 2nd is 11.5 months now and this phase with my older daughter seems to have passed. I think had I not interrupted the cycle of anger, it would still be escalating.<br><br>
It's important IMO not to give them too much power over our emotions. They don't MAKE us angry. We GET angry because we're tired or frustrated or don't know what else to do. One day my older daughter said, "I'm making you crazy!" That was a wake up call for me, that she'd heard me say "You're making me crazy" often enough to be repeating it back to me. Not cool.<br><br>
One great thing about this age (she's 3.5) is she is a mirror of my parenting skills, good or bad. When she sits on her chair and nurses her doll and rocks her to sleep, and says "Shhh, the baby is sleeping" all sweet, I feel good about modeling that for her. When her little sister is crying and she yells, "Stop that whining!" I feel pretty rotten. But it's reality either way and gives us something to work with.
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">
 

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I know how you feel! I have a six month old DS and my DD gets so jealous and acts out. It is really hard not to get angry and frustrated!<br>
It's important to realize that we are the ones with the "buttons" and if we didn't have them - then no one could "push our buttons". And the best way to change someone's behavior is change the way we react to them. I know this is easier said than done - all you can do is try to step back and ask yourself why he is acting this way. Every communication is either an expression of love or a cry for help - so what does your DS need and how can you do to give that to him.<br>
I agree with the PP that it's better to catch him before he gets into a full blown tantrum. But once he's in one - you just need to ride it out and let him know it's okay and you're there for him.<br>
I do have to say though that I cringe at the mention of Super Nanny and the "naughty chair". When children are put on a "naughty chair" they are being told that they are naughty and they internalize this and will continue to act naughty since they start to believe they are naughty.<br>
That said, it seems to me that you are being very respectful and a loving mama!!! It will get easier and you will find something that works!!!
 

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Try reading <i>The Explosive Child</i> by Ross Greene. I prefer the newest edition (2005), b/c I think it most clearly explains the method he recommends. IMO, it's definitely worth the read. This has been very, very helpful to us in our family. We, too, have an easily frustrated, chronically inflexible child who was prone to long-lasting (30-90 minutes) rages and aggression. Here is a link to a site created by the author: <a href="http://www.thinkkids.org/" target="_blank">http://www.thinkkids.org/</a> I cannot say enough about how big a difference this way of understanding and method of working with our child has helped, even though we are far from perfect at it. And though the terms "explosive," "easily frustrated," and "chronically inflexible" may be off-putting or seem to not apply to your child, I think it's still worth a read-this stuff has been helpful with my other 2 kids as well and they are most definitely not explosive. The author and colleagues also have some web seminars (<a href="http://ccps.info/training/webinars.html" target="_blank">http://ccps.info/training/webinars.html</a>) and here is a brief summary of the concepts in the book: <a href="http://www.explosivekids.org/pdf/caregiverhandout.pdf" target="_blank">http://www.explosivekids.org/pdf/caregiverhandout.pdf</a><br><br>
I do think that being proactive, learning a child's triggers and working together with the child to prevent meltdowns and help a child learn to cope better, is the key. Once a rage like that has begun, all you really can do is ride it out as safely and calmly as you can. I do know from experience that it sounds a lot easier than it actually is.<br><br>
I will say, as a mom who struggles with anger and who has a very challenging child who engages in plenty of "trigger" behavior, getting a handle on my own behavior and anger has had to come almost before helping her get a handle on hers. And that can be very, very hard sometimes. It's so easy to reach a point of feeling just burnt out when dealing with such difficult behaviors all. the. time. The key to parenting a child who is so explosive, so often is, I think, taking care of yourself as best you can. Getting the support you need, getting the information and tools you need in order to cope and care for your child, getting breaks away from the child from time to time, meeting your physical needs, and so on. It really has helped me a lot to also come up with some quick things to help me calm down on those days it gets crazy and there is no one to help and no way to really get a break. Could be putting on some great music, could be taking some breaths, could be taking a moment to look out the window at my flowers, calling someone, etc. It has also helped to post reminders around the house.<br><br>
The single best reminder for me is "she's my lettuce." This is why: being able, in those awful moments, to remember that my child is a child who is having a very hard time helps. It's when I'm all caught up in thoughts about how horrible this is and how she really should be behaving better (I want her to, we're working toward that, but it's not true really that she's should be-she is where she is, doing the best she can, she's not every other 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 year old in the world, she's herself), and how I'm failing, and so on that I get most angry. So I had this quote posted on my wall:<br><br><i>When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don't blame the lettuce. You look into the reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have problems with our friends or our family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like lettuce. Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and arguments. That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change. -Thich Nhat Hanh</i><br><br>
My child is the lettuce. I'm the lettuce. Your child is the lettuce, and so are you. And so how is this helpful? Well, as the author of <i>The Explosive Child</i> says: your understanding guides your response. So letting go of the anger and understanding (better, differently) usually helps me be more effective in my response. Understanding defuses the anger. Compassion defuses the anger. Understanding myself and what I need to do better helps me do better and lose it less often too. It also helps, honestly, to stop seeing my child as the cause of my anger and my losing it, to stop thinking I can and must control her behavior, to remember that change and growth are a process (sometimes a very slow one), to stop blaming either myself or her. It helps to stop thinking in terms of "if I don't stop this now, what will she be like when she's [insert age here]," which I used to do a lot. It isn't easy, I struggle with it still at times. But it does help, even in small doses, and the more I practice the better I get.
 

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Lot of good advice here but I just wanted to let you know that as a Mama of 4 year old lo, you are not alone in what you are dealing with!<br><br>
I can relate...
 

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Have you thought about getting him into a play group so that you could have time away from one another? There is no way I could have ever been a stay at home mom..... I enjoyed our time together more, when she was younger, if we had time apart.
 

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I'm so sorry you are having a rough time!<br><br>
I've really been working on my anger "hot buttons" too lately...and here are a few things that have helped me a bunch....<br><br>
1 - Read "Liberated Parents, Liberated Child" - it is SOOOO good and really deals with some of the anger issues - one important thing I learned was to let anger out sooner in smaller bursts so it isn't damaging - it's okay to raise your voice in anger as long as you aren't blaming/shaming/denigrating your child - you are allowed to express all of your emotions in positive ways<br><br>
2 - I read the book "the dark side of the light chasers" which sounds like some hokey new-age stuff but really is just about working with your "dark" side and the things that set you off....it was really helpful for figuring out what was setting me off and why<br><br>
3 - learn to say less to your kids - don't engage them in long dialogues on an issue - for example, only give the rule once or twice, then refuse to do any other discussion - it's counterproductive - if your child is just seeking connection with you, offer to connect with them another way<br><br>
example - "No cookies before bedtime" (crying whining and argument begin) - "the rule is no cookies - let's figure out what story we are going to read" - then ignore any other references to cookies<br><br>
this doesn't always work but it at least lets you keep your dignity rather than arguing with a pint-sized lawyer!<br><br>
4 - read Playful Parenting - alot of these extended tantrums are really about stress relief for the child...things may have been building for a while in his emotions and once he starts he kind of lets it ALL out if you KWIM - I've found that doing more play where I let my DD lead and do "naughty" things (for pretend, not for real) in the course of play has really let off some steam for both of us - she also LOVES to watch me yell at her doll, rather than her <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> - Anyway I think that playful parenting techniques can let alot of steam off for the child way before it gets to the boiling point<br><br>
hth - good luck!<br>
peace,<br>
robyn
 

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Wow, thank you toddlermama16 for sharing! I am inspired by your courage to share that and by your commitment to finding a solution for you and your son during this challenging time.<br><br>
I would first do as much research as I could about a discipline style that works for you. So many people have recommended great books here. I personally love Alfie Kohn's Unconditional Parenting. It may sound too hectic to pick up a book right now, so maybe even just making a list of what you are committed to and ditch what isn't working. I agree with the poster who said that making a child feel naughty (by naughty chair, punishments, rewards, bribes, etc.) would generate a child feeling bad about themselves. And when they feel bad, they act bad. It's a vicious cycle.<br><br>
If you can, flood him with love during this tough time for both of you. It sounds like you are both going through transitions (post pregnancy hormones?) and that you are both caught in a downward spiral. In those kinds of times, I've FLOODED my ds with love and showed him my love was not tied to his behavior. We started climbing out of our spiral - he learned to not expect my anger and then started working with me more which...led to me being less angry. It was a spiral up rather than in the opposite direction. We haven't gone back to that dark place in over 1 year because I love flood him all the time now.<br><br>
Hang in there sweet Mama - hugs to you!
 

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I find that the more conventional methods of dealing with this set me up to be adversarial with my children. Taking a more NVC/win-win approach works so much better for me...it allows me to believe in the moment that we will find a solution to a problem rather than letting myself get stuck on one idea of how a situation will turn out. Other things that helped SO much have been changing my diet so I feel better, taking care of myself (physically, as well as nurturing myself when I can) and hanging out with like-minded moms so I have good models to look to in times of stress (most important factor to me in this regard is what I call "gentle" moms...i.e., ones who look for win-win solutions and who do not use a supernanny or 1,2,3 magic type of top-down approach).<br><br>
About the tantrums...I found that I needed to let go and realize I couldn't "fix" them. I think ignoring is not right either, nor is restraining. I find that a better approach is to try to remain calmly and mindfully present...so no scrambling around to fix the problem, but rather, staying there and trying to connect when dd1 is ready.<br><br>
You might want to check out the Consensual Living yahoo group for more ideas <a href="http://www.consensual-living.com/" target="_blank">http://www.consensual-living.com/</a> I find the concept extremely helpful.
 

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<div style="font-style:italic;">(I have seen the thread on Rage. I'm just looking for some more specific support. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/gloomy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Gloomy">: )<br><br>
My four year old is driving me to the crazy house. I hate the person I am becoming. I yell all the time. I shout. I get in his face and talk with clenched teeth. I have almost no patience for certain things he does, esepcially "hot-button" issues like hitting, huring the baby, spitting, and seriously disrespectful back-talking. I have tons of patience for the vast majority of the day, but when Luke starts doing one of the above behaviors I just lose it.</div>
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Take some comfort in the fact that you are not alone. Toddlers in my experience are very trying to their parents, especially when the whining, the shrill screaming, the hitting, and throwing of items, and the leg kicking start.<br><br>
I lose my patience sometimes too. Who wouldn't?? It's tough to deal with a tantrum throwing toddler.<br><br>
What has worked for me is to remind myself if I can achieve gentle discipline the majority of the time I am doing ok by my own standards. I try to understand what the toddler's real issue is and address that, in a way they can understand. I try distraction and redirection. And I take short breaks myself to maintain my peace of mind and to regain the calm and quiet. This usually means putting my child in a safe space with toys and books for a short time.<br><br>
I also try to remember, "this too shall pass." Toddlerhood is a phase and it will eventually be replaced by another phase.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>SublimeBirthGirl</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9030369"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I went through a really rough patch that lasted a good 6 months after my 2nd was born. I yelled a lot and felt angry all the time. A big part of it for me was sleep deprivation. Make sure you're getting enough sleep, and taking care of yourself. Get breaks from the kids when you can even if it just means someone keeps them while you grocery shop alone.</div>
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Good, good advice. I think this is key. I have learned I really need to pace myself as a parent. If I am tired, overworked, and not meeting my own needs, then I am not as good of a parent, because my energy and enthusiam is drained. Dr. Sears writes about this eloquently in his gentle discipline and attachment parenting books, and I've found them to be very helpful.
 

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I have no words of wisdom for you because I am in the same exact position you are in right now with my 4 year old dd. I just want you to know I understand completely.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/grouphug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="grouphug">
 
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