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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I post this hesitantly as even I am in deep judgment of myself. I have a 28 month old girl and a 3 week old girl, for the past year perhaps my oldest has been prone to violence (slapping, biting, pinching, jumping, pulling, etc.) Even at 8-9 months old, she was known to slap, bite and giggle at any reaction she received, no matter how calm. As time went on I was less and less able to react appropriately, and often rather than redirect and reflect I found myself yelling and using No as a common term. My pregnancy was hard for us as I was uncomfortable, physically, nursing her and this strained our relationship further. Many days I would be unable to react appropriately to normal upsets in the day, treating her with anger and feeling annoyed at her so very often. Now the birth of our new baby has made more waves as we had expected, but I seem to be unable to get on top of my own emotions to care for her as she needs. My husband helps to keep her occupied when he's not working. It is difficult to have her do anything you ask, (pick up the markers she threw, stop grabbing the baby, get off the table) no matter how gently you ask and how calmly you explain the reasons, there is so much resistance so often. I need to recenter myself and begin again as a gentler mother as I hear/see myself each day and feel just discouraged, and a bit disgusted. I am finding myself yelling more and frequently using physical reactions. (grabbing her arm/pointing at her intimidatingly/i am ashamed to say that there have been times when i struck her instinctively (when she hurts the baby or sometimes when she just does some acting out, i lose it) at which point i seem unable to address my own behavior appropriately even.)<br><br>
i believe wholeheartedly in gentle discipline, but find myself lacking in action so gravely. i know how unacceptable it is for a mother to get so angry with a toddler so often, but feel helpless a lot.<br><br>
i know it's easy to fall into bad habits, i just need to work my way out...
 

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My two year old was getting pretty bad for a while. he too, started with the hiting and biting, almost maliciously, at an early age. Things were going south FAST, between his behavoir, and then my negative reactions to it. I used to DREAD picking him and his brother up from Daycare, and I honestly think the energy I was projecting affected he behaved towards me, to some degree. So I tried to change my expectations of what I wanted out of him. Within a day or two, he was walking out to the car, on his own, and even by his own initiation.<br><br>
So i tried the same thing at home in different circumstances, i.e. bathtub, dinner table, time to get dressed, lets go potty. When I changed how much i expected out of him, I seemed to relax, and therefore HE relaxed.<br><br>
Sorry if this is rambly, i just know how you feel. My boys are much closer in age, so we are still working on NOT hurting the baby, when he is still very much a baby himself!
 

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I know what you mean-- sometimes a behavior is repeated so many times it's hard not to react cumulatively to it-- in other words, not reacting to the single behavior but reacting to all the times it's happened before.<br><br>
One thing that stuck out to me was your expectations of your DD, such as picking markers up. It's not uncommon for a 28 month old not to do this. You aren't doing anything wrong that would cause her not to do this, and you do not need to worry that you need to act "now" to change her. 28 month olds are not reasonable or logical.<br><br>
I would say, right now, don't focus on changing her. Focus on (1) picking your battles (let the markers go) and (2) thinking about what you can do to change the situation instead of changing her (don't get her to stop hitting, but move the baby or yourself away instead). My other advice (which I have to remind myself of constantly) is that less is more. It's almost always better to say nothing than say anything, because that can lead to getting angry or nagging, yelling, etc.
 

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Come over to our thread on this forum called "I'm a new mama today." There are a lot of us going through similar things, and we're all attempting to start with a clean slate and encourage each other. We'd love to have you. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">
 

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Hey mama, big hugs. I have been there myself. Go easy on yourself.<br><br>
First, I want to say that if you can view everything as a process, you can let go of some guilt. Everything in life has some value. This is really hard for me to accept and see at times, other times easier. I have learned so much as a mother in these six years. I have done lots of things that taught me, "That's not who I want to be as a mother."<br><br>
It still took a long time and I am still trying to accept and release guilt, especially for hitting my kids. But I have heard "If you feel guilty, you will do it again." "What you resist, persists." It's so hard! But even those experiences that feel awful, have meaning for us and our children. I am trying to move on and tell my children, "I'm sorry. I don't want to be that way with you. Let's reconnect." For example, they are learning that all relationships involve some disconnect and reconnection. That's a lifelong skill.<br><br>
Here's something that inspires me:<br><a href="http://www.enjoyparenting.com/daily-groove/positive-apology" target="_blank">Positive Apology</a><br><br>
Another thing I have been trying lately:<br><a href="http://whilechildrensleep.homestead.com/index.html" target="_blank">Sleep Talk</a><br><br>
As well as, all the work I am doing on my own feelings and anger management, so that I can be confident in what I am modelling to my children.<br><br>
Please just know this is a process, you as well as your daughter are in a lifelong process of development. Be as easy with yourself as you can be with her when she "messes up"<br><br>
Sometimes, I have to take the "really big picture" view: This is a generational process. I am giving my kids SO MUCH MORE GOOD than I ever got as a child. I know my mom had a hard childhood, and even I believe has an attachment disorder. I know she did better than my grandparents. I know I am doing better in that department with my kids. I know they will grow up to be kind, loving, people who will love their children in more ways, even if they have some "bad" memories.<br><br>
Hugs again!
 

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There's some really great advice and insight here.<br><br>
My bigger question is how do you feel about your own self care. You have a 3 week old? And parenting your toddler is even on your agenda for yourself??? Who else can be helping out with the toddler because you are still recovering dear! Are you eating well? Are you getting some mental and physical resting time? It might sound impossible to get what you need in terms of sleep, food, shower, etc but if that stuff isn't happening you aren't even at 50%, let alone 100%. So judging yourself for your parenting mishaps is like being mad at the car for not running right when it is out of gas. Quit kicking the tires. Go get some gas.<br><br>
How are you feeling --really feeling? This is also a time when baby blues, PPD, pregnancy related depression, just hormonal fluctuations are huge factors. Are you feeling happy -- blah -- neutral -- sad? Because the mama's underlying emotional state is huge when it comes to how we react to out littleones. We can force ourselves to be gentle most of the time, but if we don't have an emotional calm within us, then sooner or later we can't cover for that and we lash out.<br><br>
For me, when I discovered that I needed to eat better (more protein, keep my blood sugar balanced throughout the day so I don't get snappy) eliminate sugar and chocolate (again, snappy) and let myself off the hook when I need REST, things got better between me and the kids. Now, when the house is a mess and the kids are monstrous and I am incapable of parenting as I want to in that moment -- I check in to see what <b><i>I</i></b> need. I tell them "Mommy needs to eat this good food right NOW and rest for a minute" I tell them clearly what I NEED, first, before I can address their stuff. Then, once I"m centered for a minute I'll reach out to interact with them -- play a game, read some books, something connecting. THEN, and only then, do I begin to parent down the laundry list of our issues (cleaning up, chores, hygiene, etc).<br><br>
If I try to parent when my own physical needs aren't met, that's not fair to anyone. When I try to parent when I haven't connected and they feel I haven't connected, that's not helpful either. So sometimes I am first or the relationship is first and the parenting stuff just has to wait. I don't care if that means my house is a disaster and my kids don't follow all the rules all the time. If we have strong bonds between us then we can work on more stuff later. But if I loose the bonds now, I don't know what I'll do later.<br>
hugs. I may be way off base, but you sound stretched. Give yourself a break. This is a tough job.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">For me, when I discovered that I needed to eat better (more protein, keep my blood sugar balanced throughout the day so I don't get snappy) eliminate sugar and chocolate (again, snappy) and let myself off the hook when I need REST, things got better between me and the kids. Now, when the house is a mess and the kids are monstrous and I am incapable of parenting as I want to in that moment -- I check in to see what I need. I tell them "Mommy needs to eat this good food right NOW and rest for a minute" I tell them clearly what I NEED, first, before I can address their stuff. Then, once I"m centered for a minute I'll reach out to interact with them -- play a game, read some books, something connecting. THEN, and only then, do I begin to parent down the laundry list of our issues (cleaning up, chores, hygiene, etc).</td>
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This is really great. Thanks for the reminder!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
thank you for your support. i am always hesitant to share because i just expect someone to freak out and tell me i am a awful person for raising a hand to my daughter. (i've thought it about others before, since basically it is not justifiable, even if it's unintentional.) i just seem to be unable to stop my voice or hands before they react. i am overly conscious of this and intend to speak gently, but time and time again i feel just anger and a bit violent toward my sweet little girl's behaviors. wednesday is my birthday and my husband is a tattoo artist, and so i am going to have a session done as my present (working on some of my unfinished pieces...) and i am contemplating having the word patience put smack dab on my hand to constantly remind me.<br><br>
i feel thirsty for positive reading material so if anyone has any suggestions...
 

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I totally get you, mama. (((HUGS)))<br><br>
As far as reacting in ways you don't like, I'm not so sure on that yet. I keep doing it myself. I've come a long way, though. I know what triggers me. I can feel it physically in my body. It's like blood rushing up to my face, I feel disoriented, and then angry, and then I yell or grab people or throw something or (lately) stomp my feet! Whew.<br><br>
Since you asked for reading material, I've been getting the Daily Grooves. I *know* what to do as far as discipline (a great book for me to read and reread has been <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FEasy-Love-Difficult-Discipline-Cooperation%2Fdp%2F0060007753%2Fref%3Dsr_1_1%3Fie%3DUTF8%26s%3Dbooks%26qid%3D1258947060%26sr%3D1-1" target="_blank">Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline</a>... it's about self control and self discipline, and how to learn it so we can teach our children.) But in the moment, I can't remember it, or my brain goes haywire and I lose control.<br><br>
I've been doing a lot of work on acceptance, going back over the situation and seeing how I was feeling, really finding the trigger, what *thoughts* made me angry (not my child's actions), and what *other* thoughts I could hold in that moment to change my perspective.<br><br>
One thing I am doing now is to go over times when I am triggered, but am able to remain calm. What was I thinking then? What was different? Or what about a moment when my child was acting crazy and I totally enjoyed it, and could look at him with a big smile on my face and love in my heart? Scott Noelle calls those "peak moments" and he says if you can memorize that feeling of joy and love, you can go back to it more easily even in stressful moments.<br><br>
One you might enjoy:<br><a href="http://www.enjoyparenting.com/daily-groove/patience" target="_blank">Patience</a><br><br>
I also have been working through the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2Fgp%2Fproduct%2F1572242205%2Fref%3Dpd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1%3Fpf_rd_p%3D486539851%26pf_rd_s%3Dlpo-top-stripe-1%26pf_rd_t%3D201%26pf_rd_i%3D0840745745%26pf_rd_m%3DATVPDKIKX0DER%26pf_rd_r%3D0WQM0JDQK0EJ3QV5S7MK" target="_blank">Anger Control Workbook</a> and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FWhen-Anger-Hurts-Quieting-Within%2Fdp%2F1572243449%2Fref%3Dntt_at_ep_dpt_12" target="_blank">When Anger Hurts</a> by the same authors--they have a chapter about children.
 

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OP I'm SOOO right there with you. Thank you for being honest and posting for help. I need help, too, but was afraid of judgement. I have two toddlers (almost 3 and 14 months) and a 3 week old, as well. I, too, feel unable to cope in many of the moments that occur each day now and I have lost my cool and yelled/spanked/responded inappropriately.<br><br>
Thank you to everyone who has posted with links. I'm reading them and now am headed to the "I'm a new mama" thread.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">s for all of us.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>moyer.amber</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14706503"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">and i am contemplating having the word patience put smack dab on my hand to constantly remind me.</div>
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<br>
What an original idea, I LOVE IT!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
so thrilled to hear so many are in the same boat, but without the mainstream opinion of "sometimes hitting works...spanking is not violent...your kid is manipulating you..."<br><br>
i love my peak moments as Webjefita mentioned, i aspire to experience them always... often when my little is being tough on my husband i can clearly see the hilariousness of the situation, but on my own i feel mostly annoyed. Thank you for the reading recommendations, it means a lot to have something in print back me up. and super kudos really for addressing it solely as your own anger issue, i definitely feel it's a problem with my temper and response style<br><br>
Barbie64g - thanks for the support, my husband believes you should wait and tattoo things to represent goals already accomplished, but i think it would help on the path...
 

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I haven't read all of the replies, but have you considered preschool. My DD loves going and it really reinforces appropriate social behavior. The one we go to is a co-op where you or your DH would have to volunteer about 8 times a year. But you can pay a sub parent if you can't do it and it comes to $7.50 a day. It could give you a couple of brief breaks a week and your DD some fun social interaction.
 

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Discipline Without Distress has some good ideas as far as reading. I can't imagine having to care for a toddler with a three week old all day. Can you get some time to yourself? Are there people willing to help out? Maybe reaching out and asking for some help and support would make you feel a little less stressed which would be a gift for your daughter too. A new addition is stressful for everyone. Can you spend some special one on one time with her each day, maybe 15 minutes here and 15 minutes there that is just "her time?" Hugs...
 

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I have four kids and I always strive to be gentle (or at least humane<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/duck.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Duck">) and so often I find myself red faced and ready to rampage. I've learned a lot since I've been a mom. One of the biggest things is that I've been on the planet *longer* than my kids have, but that doesn't mean I'm always more mature.<br><br>
I just think you're human. Kids test our patience. Sometimes on purpose, sometimes not. We test their patience too. But you're conscious of your own reactions and you're not in denial when you make mistakes (and you will) so you'll constantly make progress as a good and loving Mom. That's really all that matters. We don't start out perfect.<br><br>
You've got a lot going on right now. In a few more months everyone will have passed through the stages they're in right now: the biting, the naughtiness, the powerstruggles, the baby hormones etc, etc... And then you'll have more patience and creativity with your disciplining again.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love"><br><br>
Trust me. Been there done that quite a few times now and happily doing it all over again. Every day is a brand new day. Just do the best you can today and the rest will work itself out. You're not a bad mom if you lose you're patience now and again!<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/Peace.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Peace">
 

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I'm so sorry that your family is having such a hard time right now. I can't say I find myself in your position, but remember that we all have a learning curve and most have some parenting behavior to be ashamed of.<br><br>
Horray for your courage to ask for advice and not continue with the easiest path.... that of not changing and growing.<br><br>
There is a quote I've read and like very much. You can write it very large on paper and tack it up where you can read it often. "it is not how loud you say it, but how many times that help a child learn" oh, and another.... "your child breathes in the words you let out"<br><br>
Good Luck and know that mothers everywhere support you in your journey.
 

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Thank you for posting this op and for all the replies. I am another Mama who is not overly happy with the way I sometimes explosively react to my sweet darling toddler, who I wanted so bad and love more then I ever thought possible.<br><br>
Thank you wise mamas it is nice to know that we are not alone and that there are so many mamas willing to share their knowledge and support <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love">
 

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I learned huge, vast amounts from the books <i>Emotional Intelligence</i> and <i>Emotional intelligence for Children</i>. And then we discovered my son's explosive emotional stage and those books and helping him really helped me grow personally through dealing with my own anger.<br><br>
I think our society tends to talk about anger as something to "get out" and there's things like punching bags and aggressive sports etc as outlets. But acting angry only reinforces the anger -- it lets the brain stew in the angry hormones rather than calm down to a better level.<br><br>
What kids and parents might need more of are calming skills. We do it with our kids, right? WHen they are crying or tantruming we help them express in words and feel inside themselves for the discomfort and relax their bodies. Well, we need the same things! And the more we do it the more the pathways of the brain are prepped for it. And just like we hope our kids will grow to learn to respond appropriately, we can learn to respond more calmly.<br><br>
But it is also helpful to remember that kids learn from everything -- even seeing us screw up. My son has seen me fly off the handle, use an inappropriate tone and such, apologize, be sad, even cry, and try to do better. I don't think that's a total loss. He gets to see me work through the whole process and he knows he has to do the same things.
 

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I've been feeling and doing better and better over the last few months...<br><br>
I wanted to share something I posted on Facebook a few months ago, and it still guides me: "Anything worth doing well, is worth doing poorly at first." This helps me feel like all mistakes are okay (mine or my child's).<br><br>
Other soothing thoughts:<br>
We're finding our way.<br>
This is not who I want to be, but now I know better who I want to be.<br>
I'm getting a little better all the time.<br>
I'm handling this.<br><br>
I really highly recommend subscribing to the <a href="http://www.enjoyparenting.com/dailygroove" target="_blank">Daily Groove</a> for exploration of all topics related to personal growth, feeling better, releasing guilt, reducing stress, and enJOYing parenting! It's made such a difference for me in my life!
 

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Oh my goodness. What you need is someone to help you take care of your kids and around the house. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> Is there anyone who can come by and help out?
 
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