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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I feel this is the only place in which I can truely admit the truth. I hit my child. I don't spank. I hit. Not every day, not every week, but often enough that the remorse and guilt I feel is making me write. I have a library of books on GP, I know my triggers, and I know I don't have time to take care of myself. All this said, it still happens. Like today. This started when DD arrived a year ago (when DS was just turning two). There were lots of adjustments, but what surprised me the most was my anger and resentment. Anger at everyone, but DS got the end of it. I'm looking at DS's curls that are partially covering the welt that I left on his check and neck today and wonder how to stop, why I'm so quick to anger and hit and mostly how to never, never do it again. Please, I hope there's someone out there who's been there. Wisdom, please. Words of encouragement, please.
 

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I have never hit my daughter, but I have felt that anger you are talking about, and today it almost came out. That's another story, though.<br><br>
I don't know what to tell you except: 1) You are moving in the right direction by admitting it and seeking help from this group, and 2) You probably need to seek some professional help for you and ds. This is in no way a judgement of you, but even as helpful as this forum is, I don't think it will compare to counseling. Most communities have free/reduced price counsleing available, you just need to know where to look.<br><br>
Good luck, and I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.
 

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I would definately seek professional help asap. You want to change and that is an awesome first step. I would talk to dh/so and try not to be alone with the kids, or at least limit the time alone, just so you dont get to that point. And adress the behaviors that are triggering the anger. Is it mess? Try to simplify as much as possible. Is it crazy toddler behavior? Try to get a mother's helper a few hours a day or get ds to the park to run run run. And simply do. not. hit. If you start getting angry, walk away. Put yourself in time out. Yes they will cry for you. BUT it's worlds better for them to see you walk away than to be hit. HTH
 

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I agree with getting professional help.<br><br>
I remember reading a post on here some time ago - a mom saying when you feel you are getting angry, take a look at how small the child is. Look at their tiny face, their tiny wrists. Walk away, go to the kitchen and drink a glass of water.<br><br>
Remember the guilt you are feeling right now and how bad it makes you feel to hit.<br><br>
I too have never hit my child but I know the anger that drives people to do it. I also know how truly awful I would feel for the rest of my life if I did hit. I swear sometime I have been on the verge of lashing out and at those times I can literally do nothing, say nothing or else nothing good will come out of my mouth or my body. I recognize that it is when I am tired, or even dehydrated that I am more short tempered. So I leave the room or sit in a chair and clench the sides for a minute and take a couple of deep breaths.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> mama you can fix this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you, everyone, for your words of advice and encouragement. Today is a new day and you've given me lots to think about. I'm hoping that I'll find some resources of support and guidance. Thank you, thank you.
 

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Visit this forum often. You will find lots of mamas that lose their temper and are seeking help. It will help to read through other threads and the stickies at the top of the page.
 

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Help in Oregon: <a href="http://www.morrisonkids.org/programs/parents_anonymous.aspx" target="_blank">http://www.morrisonkids.org/programs...anonymous.aspx</a><br><br>
It looks like they could hook you up with support throughout the state, although they are located in Portland. They have a help line that you could call today.<br><br>
Since you have tried to change your behavior on your own, and aren't able to do so, it's time to call in some help. There's no shame in seeking to become a better mother.<br><br>
Good luck to you and your family.
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/hug2.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Hug2"> I am so sorry that you are going through this. IT must be hard with 2 little ones.<br><br>
I was raised with lots of slapping, spanking, yelling and belittling. When I start feeling really upset with ds sometimes the most terrible thoughts go through my head about what to do...I have completely lost my cool and "spanked" my son a couple times on the bum. It was the same as hitting, and I did it out of anger. I felt horrible afterwards. I try to remember the bad feeling whenever I am tempted to make a bad choice like that again.<br><br>
Have you tried taking deep breathes in through your nose, and then slowly releasing them through your mouth?<br><br>
A friend of mine teaches anger management classes and she explained to me that when you are getting angry there are things that change inside your brain, and that certain parts of your brain need more oxygen for you to calm down. She explained it much better than that, but I think you get the point. I have really used the breathing a lot and it helps me sooooo much! It really works for ds as well. I try to do it together when we are both getting out of<br>
control.<br><br>
I tell DS that he and I are learning together. I always apologize to him when I make bad choices. I explain to him that I lost control and we talk about how I could have done things differently. I think this is helping him learn to control himself when he is angry or frustrated. I have also asked him to nicely point out to me that I am losing my temper. When a little boy looks up at you and says "Mommy, you are really losing your temper" it tends to make you stop and think about what it is that you are doing. And he only says it to me when I really am starting to lose my temper. It has stopped me every time.<br><br><br>
Good luck, and I agree with the other ladies...go see a counselor and get some really good support to guide you through this. I have been through years of therapy and anger management and I still struggle. I am sure you realize that there are unresolved issues behind that anger that is coming out.<br><br>
I will really be thinking about you as I go through my day. I hope things get better really soon for you. If you are reaching out for help like this then you have already turned a corner. Good for you. Many people would be scared to ask for help. You are doing the right thing and I wish you all the best.
 

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I struggle with the urge to smack / hit my kids almost every day. So I know exactly where you are coming from. So far I have managed not to with a couple of exceptions, but it is a constant thing for me. While professional help may be necessary, I would probably start with a couple of basics as soon as you can. None of this is easy and it will take a commitment from yourself and your partner.<br><br>
Step 1 -- get enough sleep, eat regular meals, and drink lots of water. Seriously, just covering your own basic needs will give you a world more patience. The hardest of those is sleep, I am sure. Not knowing your routine or your household, I probably can't pinpoint specifics, but what can your partner do to help you sleep? What can you simply not do because sleep is more important? Not sleep per se, but the patience and control it gives you. If your babies are still nursing at night, is might be better to nightwean and sleep than hit them during the day, for example.<br><br>
Find lots of outlets for their energy. You say you know your triggers, so take the next step and revamp your day-to-day routine to avoid them. If you share some of that I'll bet that the smart folks here will have lots of suggestions to avoid the problems in the first place. For me its very loud noise and being touched too much (even gentle touches). So our days are structured so that they are outside a lot (and sent outside the minute the volume escalates) and I only sit down when I am in the mood to be cuddled on.<br><br>
Examine your expecations. For me, it helps a lot to realize that I am expecting too much from kids that are smart and verbal but still only 4 and 7. Also I get caught expecting the 4 YO to behave like the 7 YO.<br><br>
Finally, are you trying to be the perfect mom? Especially the MDC definition of perfect mom? Can you loosen your standards to save your sanity? For example TV is a lesser evil than hitting. Fast food and fast food playgrounds are a lesser evil than hitting. Babysitters, preschool, whatever you need to take care of yourself are better than hitting. Frankly, I work PT not because I have to (though life is more comfortable that way) but because I cannot be a great mom 24/7. But I am a good-enough mom from 6 - 8 AM and 3 - 9 PM. So that's what I do. And it works for us.<br><br>
You need to figure out what works for you and your family. Don't be afraid to make compromises if that's what it takes. Most compromises are better than leaving welts on your children!<br><br>
If you want to talk more privately to someone with a similar struggle, please feel free to PM me. I get it, I do. I struggle too. So far I'm doing a pretty good job but its taken a lot to get here and a lot to stay on top of it.
 

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Just wanted to send you a <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/hug2.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Hug2"> and a <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/clap.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="clap"> for stepping up.<br><br>
I also struggle with my temper, daily.
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> Good for you. You can do this.<br><br>
There's a great book called <i>When Anger Hurts Your Kids</i> that might help. Also, do take care of yourself. Get what help you can to make things easier and to get a break, if that's possible.<br><br>
"Belly breathing" really helps me calm down-as a pp said, breathe in through the nose, expanding your belly (not lifting your shoulders-remember how babies breathe, with their bellies rising and falling as they sleep?), then out through your mouth as your belly relaxes/contracts. This actually does help provoke a relaxation response in your body. When you're angry, to that degree, your brain is in fight or flight mode and calming down is *the* most important thing. No one thinks very well when they're in this state, it's hard to access all those wonderful tools you've learned from the GD books. Don't talk, don't move (unless it's necessary to keep someone safe), don't do anything-just breathe, for as long as it takes for you to be able to respond without the urge to hit.<br><br>
Do take care of yourself. Make time for it. You are important. If someone hasn't already said it, it's like when they tell you on a plane to put on your own oxygen mask first before your child's-because you need to be breathing and conscious in order to help your child. An unconscious, or dead, parent cannot help their child. This is no different. To care for your children, you <i>must</i> care for yourself or you will not be able to care for your children well. Sleep as much as you can, eat well, drink plenty of water, get outside, move. Exercise, just a walk everyday, with or without kids (better without kids, though) does wonders for my mood, my temper, my patience level. Even just dancing with the kids is good, some movement is better than none.<br><br>
Have someone you can talk to and turn to for support.<br><br>
Let go of some of your expectations of yourself, at least for awhile-reduce your list of "shoulds." Let the laundry pile up a little, eat spaghettios for dinner, whatever lightens your load and reduces your stress. I'm a stickler for nutrition, but on a bad day we'll do take-out fast food or eat the emergency hot dogs from the freezer, or have cereal for lunch. This is one way in which I can save us all from my temper on a tough day, it just brings my stress level down a little bit.<br><br>
Let some beauty into your life every day. What nourishes you? For me, it helps to listen to some great music, to get outside in the breeze, to look at flowers, to pause and really see my children with fresh (and undistracted) eyes-how beautiful and small and wonderful they are, to read an inspiring bit of a book (I have a little inspiration book about living peacefully, I just pick a page). Doing these things is like taking a little mini-vacation-a break from the little voice inside that says I should do this or should do that, that says I'm a horrible mother, that says that what my child just did is so awful, that says this situation is so unbearable. Just a moment in the present, enjoying something beautiful. Every day.<br><br>
I struggle with my temper too, every day. You aren't alone. You can do this.
 

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<a href="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/showthread.php?t=394579" target="_blank">the Parenting and Rage thread</a>
 

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I agree that you should seek professional help. Kids are exceptionally adept at finding our weak places and poking them--hard. I'm glad you want to be the kind of mom they deserve.
 

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I am also a former spanker. I've dealt with the problem and can finally say that I am no longer a spanker. It took a long time to do. I read a lot of parenting books. "How to talk so Kids Can Learn" "Raising your spirited Child" and watching Alfie Kohn's Dvd " Unconditional parenting."<br><br>
I did notice that you said that the welt was on the child's cheek and neck. That's really dangerous. You could pop an eardrum or cause a neck injury. Even while you deal with controlling your anger, you have never hit there again. I'm pretty sure that it's not normal to hit like that, so maybe professional help is in order. Think about what would happen if you popped your child's eardrum and had cps called. It's not worth that moment of lashing out.<br><br>
Ask yourself next time you get ready to hit "Is this about ME, or about what he's doing" Most of the time, it's going to be about you. Or at least that's been my experience. The transition from one child to two is hard, but you can do it.<br><br>
Good luck<br>
Lisa (mom to 3 wonderful children)
 

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So much wonderful advice here already. Please find ways to take care of yourself and protect your child. You can do this. There is a degree of sheer will power involved in never hitting. You need to take care of yourself and get support and hold on to that determination not to hit.<br><br>
Some emergency steps to take instead of hitting:<br><br>
Walk away<br><br>
Clap your hands together hard<br><br>
Slap your own legs in a steady rhythm<br><br>
Keep some baby photos nearby of your toddler. Immediately go to them and look at pictures of his birth and newborn stage. It can help to jolt you out of rage and get some perspective.<br><br>
Take deep breaths, run in place, jump up and down sing a song--do something productive with the angry energy.<br><br>
Hold a mental image of someone that fills you will peace. Jesus, Ghandi, a parenting mentor, anyone that you look up to as a good example of peace and self control. When the anger is there, let the image of that figure fill you up. Just let it into the space. Identify with the peacefulness and connect with what you imagine that person would do in the situation. It can have a stabilizing effect on anger.<br><br>
Have a prayer or mantra in your mind for these moments. This is akin to the "let Go and Let God" words used in some self help programs--whatever your religion you can change the words to reflect the intent. In other words, share the burden of that moment with something larger than yourself. Don't picture yourself isolated in the universe--invite spiritual support into the moment from the universe, God, or other people you have in mind. Even the moms here at MDC. Whatever group or power that fills you with a sense of support, invite that into the moment with you.<br><br>
Sometimes it's the emergency steps you need to hold onto most while you dig down and figure out how to resolve your triggers and build success without hitting.<br><br>
You can do this.
 
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