Saturday, August 23, 2008

I Need Help

Yesterday's episode is pretty much what it's like around here all day, every day, only with a lot more yelling. And I'm sick of it. I'm sick of feeling thisclose to being completely out of control with my kids. I'm tired of yelling. I'm tired of feeling constantly annoyed by them. It sucks, but I don't know how to end that cycle.

They do not listen. Even when I get down to their level and explain calmly and firmly that I don't want them to do X, Y or Z. The second I let them go, they run off to do X, Y or Z. Usually, it's Boo doing this, but The Bug will follow her lead, more often than not. There are consequences when this happens - they have to stop playing outside, the TV gets shut off, whatever. But it does no good. The behavior continues until I'm ready to shriek and start throwing things.

What do you do when you're at the end of your rope, when you just can't take it any more? Because what I'm doing? So. Not. Working. I'm getting a panicky, desperate feeling about it and I don't like feeling this way about my children.


Unknown said...


It's tough...very, very tough. I try to limit my battles to the major ones. Like for instance the kids smashing their grapes at lunch yesterday, I would have just let that go. I think that if we continually fuss at them all day long (my husband does this) then they tune us out and completely stop listening. Make consequences and stick with them. No matter how bad it might suck for you. A big one in my house is that when the boys fight, I make them sit on the couch and hold hands...they hate it. I hope you get some good advice, because it stinks...I know!

tata said...

I'm inclined to agree with lisa - pick your battles.

Ask yourself how bad X, Y and Z are before you start yelling and getting tense. Is it really *bad* or just mischievous?

For the things that really count, make serious consequences and be consistent - even when you are exhausted (I know how hard this is!).

My two are 9 yrs and 17 months and I swear it's a LOT easier to not get bent out of shape when he, say, eats food off the floor, as opposed to when Joy (the older) was his age. In the grand scheme of things, we are ALL better off when I don't yell at him for that!

SUEB0B said...

My mom was the queen of consequences and of keeping her word. Messing endlessly with food instead of eating it? She would set a timer, then take the food away at the end of 10 or 15 minutes. She also never changed her mind once she said no. She made a rule and there was NO talking her out of it, so we learned not to whine and beg. I think the main thing was that she ran the show like SHE was running the show.

Fairly Odd Mother said...

Yes, hugs to you. Lisa had some great advice. One thing I'd add is that I tell my kids that they have to earn my trust to get certain privileges. So, if one of them is always writing on walls (had one), all the writing instruments get hidden and she has to be be in the same room as me until I can trust to let her out of my site. It sucks for 24 hours and then they quickly realize they don't want to be under my thumb all day.

Before you yell, TRY to stop and count to ten (very, very, very hard)---sometimes, the sight of me counting is enough to stop my kids in their tracks (what the heck is mommy doing?).

Finally, there is that belief that kids will go for negative attention if they feel like they aren't getting enough attention---when mine start to really get nutty, I try to unplug, cancel plans, and deschedule to just focus on time with them a bit more. For someone who hates kids' games and is bored to tears by Barbie (and is addicted to the internet), this is a hard one for me. So, I try to steer them to doing things I like, like reading books or cooking (and I'm not saying that you aren't spending time with them, but it's their perception of the time, not the reality, that counts).

Mostly, just realize that you aren't alone in this struggle. For every moment I think I'm doing an ok job, there are 10 others where I'm ashamed of my behavior. They don't call this the hardest job for nothing.

Fairly Odd Mother said...

BTW, the others have great advice too but when I started writing my novelette comment, only Lisa's was up there!

Heidi said...

My mom just read a book that she is practically begging all parents to read. It's Taming Your Spirited Child (not the same Spirited Child book talked about on a lot of message boards). She says it's absolutely excellent, and she wishes she had it when she was a young mother. She's a counselor and has a ph.d so she probably knows what she's talking about, :) although I haven't read the book yet myself. I don't think it's religious in nature - just a parenting book. She uses the stuff all the time with ds and says it has totally changed all the interactions they've had. Hugs to you!

Chicky Chicky Baby said...

Duct tape. Or Velcro. Either or, maybe both.

Seriously though, I've got the same problem w/ Chicky. I'll be stealing some of the advice here. Or I may have to sell her to the gypsies.

Stomper Girl said...

I do like all the advice here, especially about picking your battles. The other thing is that kids sense fear, so it's a good idea to believe totally that you are The Boss Of Them!

Samantha said...

Seriously, though I am not a mom, I am a nanny and Ms. Picket can attest that I am a pretty damn good one. But it sounds like watching a few episodes of Nanny 911 will really help here, not for the kids, for you. Like all the families are a more horrible example of what you described and I use the Nannys ideas and philosophy with all my kids and they really respond.

I strongly hope that I don't sound like a horrible childless, "let me tell you how to raise kids when I have none", twat when I said all that.

Really though it sounds ridiculous but those women know a thing or two!

crazymumma said...

Oh hon. I just read your last two posts.

Do I EVER know what you are talking about. And I know the reasons....end of the summer, hot hot hot, and you are working, oh and. You have small children AND you just moved.

Frankly I think it is a miracle we have not heard about you on the 11 oclock news.

sadly. I do not deal with it how I would like. I shriek and I take it out on my husband.

It shall in time get better.

Lisa said...

Get a sitter and get yourself some time away! As parents we are always questioning ourselves and sometimes feeling like we are not very good at this whole parenting adventure thingy.
My mom would always say, "it's only a stage" and thank goodness she was right.
It's normal to not like your kids all the time, but you do love them all the time. That's the unconditional part. But consistency is important so they know what to expect and like the other lisa said, let the little things go, at least for your own sanity!

kimmyk said...

i agree with those that said pick your battles.

if you fuss about everything, it's going to be 2nd nature to them to hear you fuss...just like when you say i love you etc, it's just words.

i was like you and then i realized a few things, they're kids. little short attention span minds that wander aimlessly looking for their place in the world.

when i decided to start picking my battles well then the tides changed and they knew it. i am a strong believer though in them telling me what i just said because it lets you know they heard you and they understand...if they choose to do something outside of that when they know..then they've chosen their battles. does that make sense?

be firm. be direct. and keep it short and simple. too much overload can overwhelm them too.

you need to give yourself a break too. even if it's just an hour a need that to be a good mommy i think. we all need a break at times...

keep your chin day it will all click to them and all this will be a distant memory.

Anonymous said...

Man, what they said. I agree completely--and I know how hard it is. I also can relate to how you're feeling today versus how much you miss them when you're at work!

The one thing I try to do when I hear myself hitting the negatives over and over (don't hit, don't do that, don't, don't don't) is that I try to find something positive to say. I know--you think I'm Pollyanna, but I do get the crabbies! So if they're picking at other and I can't think of anything but STOP IT, I'll take a moment, then try to pull one or both away to look at something, or get them to sing a song, or something like that. Gives me a bit of breathing room and can break the cycle for them.

It definitely gets better--at 5 and 2, it's WAY easier than it was even a year ago. Hang in there!


Christina said...

Oh, I so understand! You've got great advice here, and I'll second much of it.

Picking your battles is important. The most important rule for me is following through on my threats. If I say I'm going to do something, I have to follow through. (Which means I think more carefully about what I threaten.)

And find a way to get some time away for yourself. Even if you have to leave them to kill each other so you can take a 15 minute bath.

Shannon said...

Welcome to my world.

Sarahviz said...

Wow. I could have written this post. Word for word.

I was home on Wed. with my 2 little ones. All excited to have a day off work. By 10am, I was ready to QUIT and go TO WORK. It was that bad.

The NOT LISTENING is what kills me.
(They're ages 3 & 4. So I'm sure it's pretty typical. But still.)