i feel im not a good enough mom

Yareli - posted on 10/13/2013 ( 8 moms have responded )

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Hi, I feel like I scream at my 2 year old too much... I guess I'm not very patient. I need advice on how to be patient when he throws himself on the floor screaming or hits his head crying. Please help I don't want him to think of me as a bad mom. What can I do?

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[deleted account]

I agree with T, just make sure he's safe and walk away.
He'll probably get up and follow you only to throw himself on the floor again once you are in sight. Smile at him and get some cleaning done.
Toddlers usually throw these fits for 1 of 3 reasons:
1. They want our attention. Mom has been busy this week and baby is only getting little snips of mom's distracted attention. Ignore the tantrum until he falls asleep or calms down, then go to him and say "Did you get all the tears out? I like the way you are acting now, what to cuddle for a few minutes and read a book?"
In addition, try to designate at least 15 minutes twice a day to give 100% of your undivided attention to your son. No TV, no phone, no computer, no trying to clean something as you play, just get down on the floor with him and do whatever he wants to do. I like to set a timer so that he doesn't get mad at me for ending our time, he gets mad at the clock.
2. They are too tired and emotionally drained. Again, ignore the tantrum and go to him when he is finished. Try to find a quiet time activity to do with him so that he can rest--read a book, listen to soft, instrumental music while drawing, etc. Avoid TV, movies, video games, and computer activities--these suppress chemicals in our brains that help us to relax.
In addition, make sure he is getting enough sleep. Toddlers wake early naturally, so make sure he is going to bed early enough--at 2, he should be getting 14 hours of sleep each day. Usually 11-13 hours at night, and 1 to 3 hours during the day.
This will also make sure you have some time to do something for yourself, which will help you stretch your temper and stay calm throughout the day.
3. They are frustrated, angry, sad, or having some other negative emotion and do not know how to express it. This is the trickiest one.
If you don't catch it before it starts, ignore him until he is calm then talk to him about the way he felt, why he felt that way, and teach him words to use to express himself in the future so that he doesn't have to go full out meltdown mode to get his point across.
The best approach is to catch it before it happens. If you are about to make him do something you know will set him off, be prepared, and have him prepared. Give him a 10 minute warning: We are putting away our toys in 10 minutes. Then count down each minute--You have 9 minutes before we put our toys away. Make sure you say both the time and the upcoming task each minute. If you get distracted and miss a minute, don't skip the announcement for that minute, just make it late--say every number between 10 and 1. If he is upset, you can ask him how he feels and talk to him about why you have to put away the toys at that time (or do whatever task he doesn't want to do). He'll like the one on one attention.

Tracy - posted on 10/21/2013

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Just a suggestion to try: at this age it's usually about getting your attention as well as expressing something they don't have words for. Try stopping what you are doing and giving him your full and CALM attention. Talk quietly and say "I want to hear what you are trying to tell me, but you have to talk calmly like I am so I can hear you." Sit on the floor if need be while you do this so he can see a calm demeanor within you. He will often reflect your own emotional state. If this is not a possibility at the moment (maybe at the checkout stand or driving or something like that) then you can say the same thing but give him a very precise description of when he will have you attention fully - something he can identify. Like "I want to hear what you are upset about, but I have to finish paying the lady. If you help me do this, then we will go sit right on that bench over there and you can tell me what is bothering you" or if driving "as soon as we get to the store, I would like you to talk to me about what is bothering you but I need you to help me be safe right now while I am driving - can you help me watch out for other cars until we get to the store and talk?" The key is letting him know that you are INTERESTED and WILLING to listen and will help him come up with ways to say what he needs. I'm not saying this is magic or will always work, but you'd be surprised how much this DOES help. Also, be willing to just be goofy if you need to lighten the mood. My four year old (my youngest) has lately been insisting on me carrying her everywhere but she is just getting so big that I can't do it all the time. Her new thing is to flop down in the store or the mall and just lay on the floor. Rather than getting angry, as my first instinct was, I started goofing with her. I told her I was tired too and that I guess I get to sit down too - then proceeded to slowly sit my butt right in her face saying "right here...this is the perfect spot to sit down". She thought it was hilarious. We both laughed and she got up and walked a bit further. Then she did it again, this time more playfully. I took her game and played. She laid down on the mall floor saying how tired she was. Well, so did I. I laid right next to her and we just talked for a few minutes. Then she got up and said, "ok, let's go". She walked the rest of the day. Same thing in Lowe's a few days later. So, we both just laid down on the floor in Lowe's and continued to discuss the shelving we were looking at for her room. My mother came around the corner and saw us. She immediately wanted us to get up because she didn't understand what we were doing. I told her that we were both tired and taking a minute to relax. I told her to join us. She did. It was a great moment for us all - honestly! LOL, then my dad came around the corner and found his three girls laying on the floor in Lowe's. He asked "what's going on here?" I told him his family had given up. We all laughed. Then stayed in our positions as we discussed shelving. No meltdowns. No fighting. It was great to actually sit down myself for a while. Try to find ways to turn a tantrum into a moment you can both enjoy. Sometimes, all the kids need is that moment of playful from their parents to drastically shift the whole mood. We just have to be willing to see those moments and be willing to EXPERIENCE them. (Now I know this won't be a cure for everything, but man it helps sooooooooooooooo much!)

[deleted account]

Hi,

I have a 2 year old daughter and I totally know how you feel.

There are some weeks when I feel like a bad mom, a bad wife, a bad friend, a bad employee. The bad mom in particular gets me down. I start thinking: I should be a better mom, more patient, more calm...

...but then something happens... i.e. my daughter refuses point blank to get into a trolley because she wants to walk, so I'm lugging grocery bags and trying to hold her hand as a result, only for her to suddenly goes into "big girl" strike and refuse to hold my hand and launching into a full on stubborn toddler tanty when I try to insist on it... and I realise, sometimes the fact the top of my head hasn't blown off in sheer exasperation and I'm not on the ground next to her screaming my lungs out means that I'm actually a very patient, calm and good mom - I'm just not giving myself credit for it!

I use a "cool down" cushion for the at home tanties. The "It's not good to throw your food on the floor as mummy then has to clean it up, if you do not stop, you'll have to sit on the cool down cushion to think about it, this is your warning,' followed by 'Ok, onto the cool down cushion because mummy said it wasn't good to throw your food on the floor because it means mummy then has to clean it up. Because you didn't listen, you have to sit on your cool down cushion until you're ready to tell mummy you are sorry.'

We've had a few tussels over the cool down cushion, but with me standing firm about it, sometimes I can head off bad behaviour by saying 'That's not good because x if you don't stop, you'll go on the cool down cushion.'

I've had to take some mummy time outs too - go in the bathroom, close the door, and wash my face. The screaming, the constant opposition over the smallest thing, the stress of having to deal with this whilst trying to make dinner, clean the house, take a phone call, hang the washing... Eeeik!

Whatever method works for you, but just be kind to yourself. You're only human, and being a mum is one of the toughest ever jobs. Even super-moms have had not so super moments.

Best wishes!

T. - posted on 10/14/2013

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I suggest ignore him when he has a tantrum... I do this with my children, and they stop. If I feel like i might snap, I send them to their room. You are not a bad mom for yelling at your son. I think many moms feel the same way; I know I do sometimes. You have to show your child who is boss so they do not walk all over you. Good luck, and I am here if you need someone to talk to.

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Christina - posted on 10/27/2013

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At this time i completely understand how you feel. i have a 2 year old boy turning 3 next month. doesnt know when to give mom a break and sadly uses no other word besides NO! i think the best thing to do for you thru my experience is... dont yell or scream at him anymore we both no that doesnt help the situation it makes it worse. :) i think maybe an hour or two away from home if not every day but every other day will do tremendous works for you. just yesterday i went to walgreens to print pictures without my bf and kids. i found it so relieving that i didnt want to go home. when i did it gave me that little extra push i need to put them to bed and just sleep til the next morning. i hope this helps you and good luck!

[deleted account]

Hi Yareli,

Good luck with the cushion.

Parenting is such a mine field of advice, psychology, and guilt nowadays, it's hard not to doubt ourselves.

I think toddlers get so overwhelmed and overstimulated whilst also being unable to effectively communicate that they sometimes just need to let it all out. They're also testing boundaries and behaviours, like little scientists - it's all, if I do this mum does that. Sometimes we can distract them, but sometimes we're distracted ourselves and it escalates beyond distraction.

I originally saw the "cool down" zone introduced by Supernanny Jo Frost, and adapted it to my needs. I mostly find Jo a little harsh in her routines, and unrealistic in her expectations of what parents can achieve, but sometimes there's tidbits of useful information.

The cushion evolved because my daughter is a flop on the floor tantrum toddler. She goes on strike: I won't stand, or sit, I'll just flop! And, of course, flopping, she'll hit her head on the floor. The cushion, therefore, gives us both a "spot" for tanties to occur that's soft!

When I say tussels by the way I mean - I put her on the cushion, she gets off, I put her back on the cushion, she gets off, back on the cushion, off the cushion... all the whilst she's having a good old scream at me (understandably - she doesn't want to be on the cushion, she wants to mash her food into the floor & etc).

I don't keep her to the cushion for any set period of time - sometimes you hear of 1 minute for every year of age etc I don't do that as I don't think she understands what a minute is. Once she's accepted that she's going to have to sit on it, that's enough for me - she usually calms then. She'll then hold out her arms for a cuddle and that's the end - unless she repeats the behaviour. Sometimes I'll ask her if she's finished crying and screaming and she'll say "no" and go back on her cushion herself for a bit more of a yell, lol, as if she needs to get that last little bit out.

When we have our cuddle, I'll talk about why we had an argument so she understands.

It's hard sometimes, but it seems to help, and it's a set process she seems to understand i.e. if I do x, mum tells me not to, and I keep doing it, I'll end up on the cushion.

I hope the above helps you with the cushion!

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