I feel like all I've been doing is yelling at him :(
That's my dd as well, although she's 5.
One of the ladies on another board suggested this book called Scream Free Parenting. I got my hands on a copy, but haven't finished it yet. She swears by it. The idea is that you can only control yourself and once you do that the need to scream to be heard goes away.
I have a 9 yo and what I found worked for me and still works is if I take myself out of the picture. What he is doing or not doing isn't about me, it isn't some need to "get back at" or "punish" me, it is all about him. Its all about him wanting to do what he does and not necessarily doing what he needs to do. And I hear you on the not listening part. That is my biggest trigger for getting upset. I can not stand to be ignored.
With both my kids the best thing I did was to explain to them what I expected from them, what the consequences were if they chose not to do what I asked and then I made it very clear to them that it was their choice and if they didn't do what was expected of them then they had made the CHOICE to accept the consequence. Then I followed through. I do give reminders and warnings. I don't give warnings for hitting -- you hit you're in time-out. I don't engage when they are upset that they have to deal with the consequence of doing something they know they are not suppose to other than to say "you've lost x because you did a." If they carry on and start to fall apart, I remind them that they made the choice and that is on them. Because we talked about it in advance and I've given them reminders (but no more than 3) I don't feel guilty when they fall apart because they can't watch tv, or have desert, etc.
Lindsay is dramatic and loud. She can be very trying at times. She will try to say we are being mean when she gets in trouble but she has gotten that she made a choice to accept the consequence when she did something she knew was wrong. It kind of deflates the tantrum when you ask calmly, what happens when you jump on the furniture and she says you go to your room for 10 minutes. You still jumped on the furniture knowing you would be in your room for time out? Yes. Then you chose to be in your room for 10 minutes didn't you? oh. I'm not the mean mom and I'm not throwing out random punishments.
The other thing I do is to make sure I get down on their level when I need them to do something. That way they can't claim they hadn't heard me. If they want to finish up something first this gives them the opportunity to ask for that extra time which again stops me for getting upset because they aren't doing what I asked.
Wow!! Great advice! I came upon this message board as I am feeling that my DD who just turned 4 at times drives me up the wall with her growing independence, very verbal nature and some back talk has started. I too have ended up raising my voice and then feel guilty about it afterwards. Your advice is great! I love the whole idea of taking yourself out of the situation, which I think is really hard to do, but I am going to try to be more conscious of that idea. Let's face it... our kids push our buttons because they are OUR kids and we want them to be the best that they can be. I love watching the Super Nanny and other nanny type shows but the one thing I always say is that it is so much easier for them to react calmly because it's not their kid. Just like in my first grade classroom. It is much easier for me to stay calm with a student that is giving me a hard time b/c they aren't my kid.
Thanks again for the great advice! I am going to try to put it to use right away!Julia
Thank you Julia.
You are right. It is very hard because they are our kids. We think of them as a reflection on us and our parenting and when they act up, we sometimes forget that they are their own people and they are not doing this to make us look bad but because of something that they are experiencing. I think when you are a teacher or a nanny you already have that distance and can easier see that it isn't about you at all. It is easier to see a solution if you aren't in the middle of it. When those buttons get pushed it is hard to pull yourself out of that emotional reaction and look at what is going on. Plus as my mom says "you get to send them home at the end of the school day." ;)
Do you talk to her about her behavior when she isn't in trouble? Sit down with her when she isn't upset and you aren't upset. Tell her you love her. You know she can make the right choices. Let her know what your expectations are and what the consequences will be if she continues to act up. Let her know she'll get a reminder and then 3 warnings. The reminder would be given before she's done anything, right before a situation where in the past she has had trouble. Like if she throws fits when its time to leave the park. You remind her that when its time to leave the park she needs to come quietly or x will happen. Then when its time to leave and she starts to get upset give her the first warning, etc. Just make sure you follow through with what you told her the consequences would be.
I did want to ask you how control or say she has in other areas. Does she get to pick her own cereal? Does she pick out her own clothes? Give her limited choices when you can. Where you can't let her decide whether to do something or not, let her decide which order to do -- shoes on before or after your jacket? A lot of tantrums are about feeling frustrated and not having any say. When you start to give them more control when you can they stop fighting you on every little thing.
Getting a child to apologize when they don't want to is awful isn't it? Lindsay is usually very good about apologizing after she's calmed down but every now and then you can forget it. Dh told her once that she could stay in her room all day if she wouldn't tell her cousin she was sorry for taking his favorite car away. She was sorry but she was still angry about having gotten in trouble. She really doesn't like it when her dad gets upset with her. It doesn't stop her from doing things she knows not to. She gets more upset if he talks to her about it than if I do.
It does sound like he is having trouble expressing his anger and frustration in a more appropriate manner.
How do you react when he starts screaming and yelling at you?
The therapist might be able to help both of you. You so you can help him work through his anger in a safe place. Him so he can come up with a better way to express himself. Not only will that help him get what he wants better but will also help him keep his friends.
My daughter Lindsay is very verbal except when she gets mad. Then she's just loud. Over the years we've been able to help her learn better ways then screaming at people when she's upset. Some days and some places she does a better job at keeping herself calm and in control. We've talked about how she can handle different situations that upset her -- other kids grabbing her stuff, people trying to help without asking if she wants help and what to do if she becomes frustrated by something she is trying to do. Because the therapist isn't directly involved in your lives, she or he might make that process a lot easier for you both.