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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I need suggestions and ways that others cope with difficult situations!

Both I and my husband are passing on TOXIC behaviors to our children... and I need interference! I don't think I need to get into the backgrounds where we came from, but losing our cool with our children seems totally unacceptable to me- and being that I'm with our children the most I'm probably the worst culprit!

I NEED to change this. I know I can't change my husband, but I do have the power to change myself and my thought and behaviors. I have been trying, but I feel like I still revert to old ways more than often.

I need to find other ways to cope with these things.

I want to know where you go to find your inner peace.

When the day seems to begin with fits and tantrums, and you try every trick in the book- good nourishing food, diversion, participation- and all of those still don't work... where do you go?

For instance... when my older daughter bites my younger daughter.... where do I go? When I've tried hundreds of times to explain to her that biting hurts and is not an appropriate way to get your point across... I tend to get very angry- especially since this is a repeat behavior- I just don't think I have the coping tools.

HELP!!!
 

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Aww, sounds rough. I've been there. Look, to my mind, kids are uncivilised little leeches (in the nicest way). We love them and it's our duty to socialise them. But they don't generally come preprogrammed to be considerate of others or even rational (about anything). I find parenting easier if I start with no illusions.


There's a good trick: ACT as though you're calm, even if you don't feel it. Put on your actress mantle when your kids act up. Pretend that you are an oasis of serenity regardless of what they do.

You don't say how old the children are; with very young (under 2s) I tend to express disapproval and where appropriate, give whatever they were fighting over to the victim (or take it away from both parties if both have been violent). Or perhaps fuss lovingly over the victim and ignore the perpetrator for a minute. The perpetrator soon learns that violence is not a successful way to get what they want!

Assuming a bit older, for biting or similar: separate, wait for them to calm down. Talk about why the action was wrong, and why did the biter get so upset (it's important to acknowledge their grievances and try to address them, else they'll just resort to biting again next time). And personally I would demand a sorry from the perpetrator (also a sorry from the victim if the victim was actively seeking to piss the biter off, which happens a lot with my lot). "Sorry" in this case doesn't really mean "I regret", it means "I know I did wrong".

If you only have two (I know that sounds patronising, but it was a lot easier for me anyway with only 2 DC); I would WAIT around, just sit with them until they calm down. This takes time, which is what I find hardest about it. Good parenting, without smacking and authoritarianism requires a LOT of time and patience, I reckon. This is why I say it helps from the start not to have unrealistic expectations.

Heading off at the pass is always good, when you can, and if you can possibly take the time. With older children, If you sense a situation escalating, get them to sit down (out of mutual assault reach) and talk thru their conflict. I have to referee A LOT for this to be effective, mind: no hitting, no name-calling or other verbal attacks, and no leaving. But try to get them to work out a solution to their conflict; no one can leave (get off their bottoms) until they have arrived at a mutual satisfying solution. The last conflict-resolution bit is something I developed out of the "Siblings Without Rivalry" book by Faber and somebody.

It all changes and evolves as they get older. Lately my lot start rough housing, I tell them "If you don't stop this is going to escalate to violence... okay, I wash my hands of it, if anybody gets hurt, nobody gets told off". Actually, I will still punish for truly appalling acts of violence, and it's no fun if they really hurt each other. Anyway, they proceed (eventually) to thumping each other. I break it up, they complain about the others, but then forgive each other and recover quickly. Is it because they got it all out of their system?

None of that may be right approach for you, but perhaps will give you some helpful ideas.
 

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Aaack! Sorry, I am hopeless at not reading signatures (oops!).
And I wrote such an essay, too.
Yours are quite young, your older one must have found the new baby quite disruptive.

I may have this wrong, but I'm guessing that your toddler is quite jealous of new baby. And of course, all your instincts are to protect the little one, no wonder you're losing your cool.
Try to keep the older one from having biting opportunities, and consider why she is feeling hostile towards the little one. Let her talk about her unhappiness at the new arrival, treat her feelings as valid, she can't love the baby if she can't validate all her feelings towards the baby. The baby's needs are mostly physical, the older child's needs are big emotional; try to give the toddler as much emotional attention as you can, playing down emotional time you give to the baby; you won't need to be so dismissive about the baby's emotional needs for that long. But the toddler needs lots of reassurance right now of how special she (?he) still is to you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ugg, a wrong button push ate my response!!!!

Sorry, just to clarify my daughters are four and nearly two. I do think the main part of the jealousy over a new being in the house has passed since X (four) will say things like "I want A to come, she is my best friend"

I do use many of the tools you suggest. I think that the biting now is more reactive (over toys etc) and another contributing factor I believe is A throwing tantrums. A seems to throw more tantrums than I remember X doing which is surprising because in general, X is far more spirited and A more easy going. Also at this age X was hardly verbal at all and A nearly always speaks in complete sentences. Anyhow, since A looses her cool like that I think it allows X to feel like she can as well. It may also be the fact that A obviously has less undivided attention that X did... who really knows.

I love your suggestion to "act" I'm going to give that a try. I KNOW it doesn't help of model anything good to become upset... I'm hoping that will get me through the next couple ones.

I also have to try to give myself kudos for doing what I can when I can. I know I do pretty well for the most part, people are often commenting on how calm I am and how much patience I seem to have with my children... but oh are there ever times when I DON'T and I do feel like I really beat myself up about it when I can't seem to keep my cool because it is so antithetical to how I would like to be...

I know all of the theoretical stuff, I've read plenty of books on gentle discipline, I'm really looking for tried and true suggestions on where YOU might go to avoid losing your cool when it to that point (and we ALL know there are times when it gets to that point)!

Keep the suggestions coming, thanks!
 

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Biting is unacceptable, period. When an older child bites a younger child, they should be taken to a "quiet place" to think about what they did, and receive an explanation of why they are not allowed to bite. You can lead your child VERY CALMLY to that "quiet place", and give the explanation in a VERY CALM way. Just because your kids are out of control doesn't mean that you have to be!! When you are able to quiet them down by separating them and having them understand WHY their behavior is unacceptable, instead of letting the behavior go on and having them yelling and screaming, you may be able to keep your cool.

Tantrums should not get "rewarded" either. They should either be ignored, or taken to that "quiet place" when they are freaking out to calm down.

I am laughing because it is SOOO easy to GIVE advice, but it is a hell of alot harder to actually RECEIVE the advice and actually utilize it when you're in the middle of the freakout situation!!
 

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Helps to get out a bit, just for me. I go the gym at noon 3x/week. It is really helpful for letting go of negativity. Sometimes I even pray while I'm doing the running part. I have also acted like a crazy woman and got down on my knees to beseech God for help in the middle of a crazy situation
It DID defuse it quite well
The kids realized that I WAS
and they got a bit concerned
 

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I have found that when I remain calm, whatever situation we're dealing with seems to be resolved so much faster than when I fly off the handle. One thing that has really helped me, and I know it's going to sound strange but bear with me, is tapping. tapping.com. there's tons of peer reviewed studies on this and it's truly helped me. Good luck with this. I know how hard it can be.
 

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I am right there with you! I am really proud of myself how I handle things most of the time but we've been recovering from jet lag and I'm recovering from a cold and other stresses right now and have been really awful the last couple of days! I hear myself screaming when DS has attacked DD for the tenth time and I think "Oh my, I sound like my mother!"

Firstly, I apoligize and explain that I'm cranky or I say I am going to calm down in my room for a few minutes - the same thing I expect of them. As for staying calm at the time - I am working on that too. I try to take a couple deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth. Then I deal with the situation more calmly. I like the acting idea. I try to use my "Mary Poppins" persona sometimes - calm but firm.
Good luck - let me know how it goes. You can PM me if you want to start a support group or something
 

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I have a little book that I write in, when I feel like I'm going to lose it. I have a very short temper, and I flare up quickly and start yelling, and that of course only makes already difficult situations with the kiddos even worse, because here's mama and even SHE can't behave, and it undermines their sense of security.

So what I do when I've got one climbing my leg wanting to be held all day, and the other two fighting in the other room over some dumb toy, and the dishes aren't washed, and I need a shower, and DH has just called to say he'll be two hours later, is I just take my little book. I sit down on the floor, literally right in the middle of the kids, where they can see me, and I sit and write in my book. If anybody talks to me, I say, "go play, you're underfoot, and I'm busy writing," and if they persist I just ignore them. Even if they're screaming at me, I just keep writing. Sometimes I can only write some obscenity over and over again,
I'm so frustrated, but as long as I'm writing, I'm not yelling, YKWIM? Eventually the kiddos (mine are 5, 2, and 2) conclude I'm nuts, and go off somewhere to play, and the dynamic of the day changes.

I try, too, inside my head, to remind myself that they have to own their own feelings. If they're angry and having a tantrum, that's their tantrum, and I can just leave them to it. Only they can calm themselves down. It's a helpful thought, sometimes. I say to DD1 a lot-- you have a problem. I know you can handle it. Then I go and do something else, nearby so she knows I'm not abandoning her, but I don't get involved in trying to reason with her. It's hard to just let them yell. You feel like you have to do something to make it stop. But sometimes, the best thing is to let them find their own way out of it.

Fighting over toys is one of our biggest challenges. I tolerate the fighting as long as I can, and then I step in and tell them, "Both of you want that toy. You have a problem. You can handle it. If you can't, we have to put the toy away." Then I wait a reasonable time, and if they don't stop, I put the toy on top of my high shelf, and walk away. If they scream, they scream.

When all else fails, I call a "mama timeout." I put everybody to bed and set a timer for fifteen minutes, on a high shelf in their room that they can't reach. If they come out of the room before then, I put them back in and reset the timer. Then I go sit on my bed and read a book or just breathe. The first time I tried this, I was putting each of them back a thousand times, and there was much screaming and yelling and gnashing of teeth. But once you demonstrate once or twice that when you call a "mama timeout," you MEAN WHAT YOU SAY, and that you're prepared to go on with it all afternoon if necessary, they get the point really quickly. Now our occasional "mama timeout" is actually a very pleasant experience and a good way to interrupt a day that's gone wrong. I don't require that they stay in bed or even stay quiet-- just that they don't come out and they don't bother me. Often they'll sit quietly. Other times, they spend the whole time bickering with each other and wailing. Either way, I just close my door and ignore the proceedings.
 

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I'm right with you. I see things in me that I never wanted to pass on from my mother; I find it hard to be patient enough, I raise my voice when I KNOW that I'd get better results getting off my bum and redirecting. I use time-outs as punishment sometimes, instead of a time to get control.

I'm working on it, too.

This may seem a bit shallow, but I pretend that I'm being watched. I sometimes feel I do my best parenting when I'm in public (or especially around friends), and the very fact that there are witnesses calls me to be my best self. So, I sometimes pretend that someone is watching my every move with my kids if I feel that I need help getting control. I happen to believe in a God, so I sometimes use that, and sometimes I visualize one of my dear friends whose parenting I really admire.

HTH.
 
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