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So I posted awhile back about situations with my older son. Based a lot on that thread, but also on general thoughts I've had about this, I decided to really commit to trying to respond to ds with "intense love and acceptance" rather than intense anger. I have realized that although we say we don't punish, we really do - we punish by getting very angry, angry enough to "show him what he did was wrong." Of course, this is motivated by the fear that he will turn out to be a spoiled brat if we don't make it clear that what he did was very very wrong. But I have not been at all happy about the way a lot of these interactions turn out.<br><br>
So last night I had a talk with dh. I got him to agree to do a one week trial (longer if all goes well) of not responding with anger. We will of course still talk with ds about things that happen, but dh and I agreed to suspend all fear that he will be ruined if we don't set him straight, and respond with as much love and compassion and acceptance as we can muster.<br><br>
Well, dh had his trial by fire tonight.<br><br>
I went to the gym and grocery shopping. While I was gone, dh was playing roughhouse with the kids - their favorite. While he was swinging ds2, ds1 was waiting for his turn, and saying "Swing me! Swing me!" Apparently dh didn't respond quickly enough for ds1's liking, and ds1 reared back and punched dh right in the balls! Dh fell down, luckily landing ds2 on the bed, and stumbled into the kitchen where he says he came to a few minutes later. Dh was still in pain 3 hours later when I got home. He said that if we hadn't made that agreement last night, he might have completely lost it on ds1. He had a talk with ds1 about hurting other people and respect for bodies, but ds1 was tired and angry and not really hearing it. So dh will have another talk with him tomorrow morning when everyone is fresh.<br><br>
I'm proud of dh for keeping his cool when faced with possibly the most infuriating thing that ds1 could have done. And I truly believe that handling it in a calm yet serious manner - as well as seeing his dad in that much pain - will have a more positive impact than if dh had yelled or gotten rough with him. (But "rough" I don't mean hitting, but I could imagine dh grabbing him roughly out of anger when confronted with something like this.)<br><br>
Anyhow, day 1. Phew, what a doozy.
 

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Good for your hubby for keeping his cool!! That couldn't have been an easy thing to do in that situation. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
I'm also on Day one today of my own personal "no anger" experiment.<br><br>
Keep us posted!!
 

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Can I join you two? I already got angry today about the crayon fight that ended up with the entire box spread out all over the floor. I raised my voice but I didn't yell. Maybe I can start the no-anger day now. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment">
 

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Oceanbaby, I am sooo glad to hear that you bounced back from your post of last week. I am ALWAYS on a perpetual "responding without anger" challenge .... currently, I am trying as well the "responding without expressing disappointment" challenge, which is a big challenge for me, since I am a known complainer and will often ask for help, not get any or enough, and then complain how I had to do things mostly on my own... the pity party on myself who has the misfortune of being your mommy (exaggerating here of course) is no GD either and I am putting all my strength into stopping that, too.
 

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So I already had a moment where I felt the angry red monster welling up inside.<br>
So I walked out of the room. I don't like to walk away from Evan, but it's better than yelling. It worked. I went back into the room, and we tried again.
 

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Good for you, ladies!!!<br><br>
I have a temper. One night my twin boys were driving me CRAZY before bed, and DH was out of town. I felt like knocking their little heads together!<br><br>
Instead I shouted "Couch Snuggle!", which is how we usually started our day, curled up together on the couch under a blanket. One of the boys said "It all started when..." I said "We're not going to talk about it - we're just going to sit here and relax, so we can settle down and go to sleep." Pretty soon we were talking about other things, and everyone calmed down (especially me).<br><br>
I found that when I was especially angry with one of my children, the best thing I could do was sit down and hold him in my lap. I just couldn't stay angry when I was holding him close.
 

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oceanbaby - I think I remember reading your other thread a few days ago. Was it called something like "this isn't working"? I meant to reply because I sooo understood everything your were saying. We are in a really bad spot with our 4.5 year old ds. We've always tried very hard to practice GD but with a very intense, sensitive child it's overwhelming. We've got spitting, name-calling, pushing/hitting combined with an overwhelming desire to do things his way...no matter what. Add the 15-20 minute meltdowns and by the end of the day I want to cry (and sometimes do).<br><br>
I struggle when I find that I can't do anything to "help". It doesn't help if I hold him (I get hit), I can't walk away (he freaks out), I can't talk to him (he won't listen and he can't hear me over his own words/thoughts anyway).<br><br>
He is so intense and what you wrote in one of your posts made total sense. My ds seems to be looking for that intense reaction to his intense emotions. Lately, we've been giving it to him in the form of anger (yelling, threatening <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment">) I can tell it's not working, he gets even more wound up and starts getting into that crazy mode that just makes things worse. But then dh and I spiral downhill because we're getting angrier. That whole vicious cycle thing.<br><br>
Sorry for going OT with my story. This is about you and your commitment to being anger-free. I will be watching for your updates and I wish you strength. Every day I wake up saying today will be better and I do my best to make that true.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>oceanbaby</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8187375"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">He said that if we hadn't made that agreement last night, he might have completely lost it on ds1.</div>
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Wow! What perfect timing! And bravo to your dh for honouring his commitment when many people would have suspended it and acted out as they would have previously. Amazing! You guys seem to be on the right track. Keep it up!<br><br>
Now <b>I</b> need to find the track...
 

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I've just come to gd because I'm not happy with my mothering these days. Overall, yes, I am a good mother. BUT I do get angry and frustrated easily. I don't like it, but it is a natural reaction for me. I really want to stop. It took looking through several pages to discover anything about anger. How did it go with the trial week oceanbaby? I think I really need to concentrate on responding without anger. Any tips?
 

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You are truly inspiring! Reading your post completely resonated with me. I feel (fear) like I am so far away from even being able to contemplate this kind of anger-free approach, but I hope that I'll get there.<br><br>
What a fortunate boy your son is!
 

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Marie, I'm right there with you. Everyone always says what a good mom I am. And basically, I am. But my patience level grows thin quickly and I'm snappy and yelling at my boys. Which makes me sad and doesn't help the behavior. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
I've committed to no yelling for the month of June (which I'm obviously hoping will continue). I'm finding that I'm forced to think whenever the boys do something that normally I'd yell about and come up with a new way to handle it. And that usually means that I either realize it isn't as big of a deal as I thought (I have a bad habit of saying "no" arbitrarily- another thing I'm working on is before saying "no" I ask myself why not?) or I need to redirect them. Most often with a story because they love books. I'm also forced to be more creative, so I've been implementing a lot more playful tactics.<br><br>
A few things I'm trying to keep in mind:<br><br>
Most likely, it IS age appropriate behavior.<br>
Before saying no, ask myself why not.<br>
Taking a deep breath before responding to behavior.<br>
Get off my butt parenting- instead of calling to them or repeatedly saying something, I'm going to them and redirecting if necessary.<br><br>
I will say that the past week that I've done this has been the best week I've had with them in a long time. My kids have laughed so much. I love that sound, so it's a huge motivator for me to keep it up.
 

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Glad to hear that things are going well for you, lovemyfamily6. Thank you for telling me how you do it. I'm going to start today when I get home from work. I had a bit of a trying morning before I left and now I'm wondering why I got so frustrated anyway. My 21 month old still wakes up several times a night and tiredness is my main excuse, but I really do need to stop and think of alternatives before anger takes over.
 

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That is so great for your DH to keep it together like that. IMO, when your child hurts you, it is SO hard not to yell.<br><br>
I am def. on with this challenge. I make it my policy not to yell but sometimes it slips out, esp. when DS is hurting his sister in some way. Sometimes by "accident" sometimes on purpose and sometimes just because he doesn't know better. It's exhausting.<br><br>
Today we were in a parking lot and he found a big puddle. I was trying to get them into the car b/c it was pouring. Well, he wouldn't leave the puddle after being asked nicely. I went over and plucked his sleeve and gave it a little tug and said, "Get into the car NOW please." Not yelling but it was not respectful, either.<br><br>
That is another time when it is challenging...when they are not listening in a situation that can be unsafe. We talked about it in the car because he let me know that he did NOT like me grabbing his sleeve. And I am glad he is able to talk to me about it. So we had a discussion about how important it is to listen, esp. in places like parking lots.<br><br>
Sigh. My DH is picking up "Playful Parenting" and "Raising your Spirited Child" for me from the library on the way home. I can't wait to read them!<br><br>
My mantra: "I will playfully parent my spirited child..."<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

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<div style="font-style:italic;">Glad to hear that things are going well for you, lovemyfamily6. Thank you for telling me how you do it. I'm going to start today when I get home from work. I had a bit of a trying morning before I left and now I'm wondering why I got so frustrated anyway. My 21 month old still wakes up several times a night and tiredness is my main excuse, but I really do need to stop and think of alternatives before anger takes over.</div>
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I know...sometimes being tired really does make it much harder. And then when you are rested you realize it wasn't that big of a deal!<br><br>
I realized I have another motivation for not getting angry: I have gastritis that is aggravated by stress. If I get annoyed and angry every time my kids do something, it will never go away!!!!
 

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Wow - <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/clap.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="clap"> to your DH! I'm of the opinion that if you're smacked in the balls, yelling is quite acceptable. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment">
 

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Thank you for this thread. Controlling my anger is my biggest challenge as a parent. It seems like it always snowballs -- there's never just a moment of yelling and then it's done. Once I get started it's hard for me to stop. So I am on board with this challenge.. especially since I've been feeling a little "postpartumy" and it's difficult for me to find patience lately.<br><br>
One question, which is how DO you overcome the fear that by letting your kids "get away with" bad behavior without parental anger, they will be spoiled/not face consequences/etc.? I struggle with this.
 

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I think you can discipline without anger. That doesnt mean you are letting them "get away" with anything!<br><br>
FOr example:<br><br>
I take care of a 3 yr old girl who is a LEADER. she likes to control EVERYthing. She also likes a particular chair at lunch time. Another boy was climbing in "her" chair (the seats are not assigned by any means) and she pulled him down so she could get up. He fell of course and started crying. So I picked her up and said, "Sloan, I know you want to sit in this chair. But Aidan was getting in it. You hurt him when you pulled him down. You can't pull someone out of a chair just because you want to sit there. You may sit in this chair or on the stool" She just continued to scream and yell, "No!! THAT chair!" I repeated myself and told her that she could sit on the floor while she decided which of the other two options to choose. She screamed for 10 minutes and it was really really hard to ignore it. But I just pretended that she wasnt screaming and when she started crying my name to get my attention I said to the rest of the kids, "I sure wish Sloan would come join us at the table. I like eating lunch with her." As soon as I said that she got up, climbed in the other chair and ate her lunch. I think she learned a lesson and she didnt get away with anything and *I* didn't get angry.
 
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