In my pre-marriage, pre-child years, I witnessed a variety of kids throwing tantrums for everything and nothing and the parents, who would stand around as innocent bystanders. I used to vow to myself, “If I ever have a child, I will never let him/her behave that way. I will be a very strict Mom and discipline my child accordingly.”
Then, when I was pregnant, Hubby and I would debate on how each of us would behave if our kid did something ‘wrong’. For instance, as a book-lover, I hate if any of my precious books get torn, damaged or hurt in any way. Hubby wanted to know what I would do if our baby tore one of my books. My answer was simple, ” I would get really, really mad.”
Yesterday, my son tore out the first page of the book P.S. I Love You. And all I did was take away the book and hug him 🙂
I gradually am learning to turn a blind eye to such trivial things.
I often see my son grab something and put it straight into his mouth. Immediately, I pipe up and either scold him for the act or pull it away from him. My reasons are simple: the thing he is trying to pop in his mouth may have dust and dirt on it and I don’t want him falling sick over it.
Yet, before I remember to take it away gently from him, the words are out of my mouth and I have already yanked the ‘toy’ away. And then, just for an instant, I see the shadow of hurt passing across his face.
Another time, when he was very cranky and whiny, I lost my temper with him. He was hurt and came crying back to me (the perpetrator of the hurt) to be consoled. I don’t think I could put into words how devastating it was to console him, knowing that I had hurt his little heart.
I was so filled with regret and grief for having been so brusque. After all, he is just twelve months old and doesn’t understand anything that adults do or feel. All he needs is to be comforted and all will be right in his world.
As a mother, you are the most important thing in your child’s life for at least the first 10 years. You are the single person who can most influence your child, for good or bad. Your child will try to ape you—talk and walk like you, use the same phrases and imitate you—trying to be just like Mom. His self-esteem is only what you make of it: if you think your child is a great little person, that is exactly what he will think of himself; if you think he is a loser, then that is what he will consider himself to be.
I have a short temper and I am still trying to control that. I hope I can at least manage to do this with my Little One, who is the most precious thing in my life.
How do you react when you are at wits’ end with your kids? Do you get mad at them, or do you try to console/reason with them?
This is an original World Moms Blog post from our book-loving mom from India, Fire Crystals. You can also find Fire Crystals on her personal blog, Merry Musing.
Photo credit to http://www.flickr.com/photos/wentzelepsy/4368668388/. This photo has a creative commons attribution license.
I can so relate to this – it is so difficult to remain calm when that is not really in my nature.
I do try to count to ten when I get very stressed and the wee lad is being difficult, like you say, he doesn’t know that I have had a very stressfull day at work and that the fact that he is figuring out how gravity works (by throwing all of his food on the floor) really gets to me.
Luckily I haven’t had to get really angry with him yet – but I am sure it will happend one day – and I know it will be a struggle to remain the calm and collected mummy that I long to be!
I have a short-ish temper at times too, which I work hard at keeping in check. I found a great strategy from a Kiwi Family Therapist (Diane Levy) called a Boring Cuddle. If our kids are upset about anything – physically hurt, feelings hurt or even just tired and overwhelmed, I hold them in my arms and say nothing. They soon manage to calm themselves and they have the chance to feel loved. They work really well – but it can be hard not to say a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g. 😉
Thank you for this post, Fire Crystal. It is a gentle reminder to us all to be a little more patient with this small people who are learning their way in the world.
Deep breaths! I take deep breaths when I’ve reached a breaking point, so I don’t lose my temper. I’m definitely FAR from perfect though!! I try my best to reason with my daughter, but…it doesn’t always work. I try to keep things positive as best as I can, but let’s face it. It can be difficult!
And, like you, I realized how trivial the things that I thought were so important before becoming a mother became after I became a mother.
Congrats on your first post, Fire Crystals!
Veronica Samuels 🙂
Welcome aboard, Fire Crystals! Thanks for your honest post. We all love our littles ones so extremely, but oh my, is it hard to be the perfect, patient mother all the time. I am someone who just absorbs emotion, so the more the kids throw at me, the more I am ready to have a tantrum myself. I have learned to become a much more patient, even tempered person than I was before I had kids, but I am also not an automaton. I cry, too, if pushed to the limit, and I raise my voice when upset. One thing I started doing after those not-so-perfect mommy moments is to apologize to my kids. I don’t dismiss their actions if they were doing something wrong, but I will own my actions fully. I will get right down on the floor to say I am sorry for raising my voice or grabbing a toy, and I’ll explain why that wasn’t the right way for me to handle my feelings. Afterall, it’s what I ask them to do. And I will tell them that I love them always, even if I don’t love something they just did.
I have felt bad when I know he’s acting up because he didn’t/wouldn’t nap or lunch was later than it should have been on my part. Some people recommend serious discipline for kids very, very young. I always hate HATE when I hear someone say, oh, your baby is manipulating you. What?! That is a total myth.
Reinforcing positive behavior and a mom apology is what works best for us. But when my son was two, I had to amp up his discipline. “I want” tantrums would be ignored completely so they stopped real quick.
As for public disciplining, my mom would discretely squeeze my muscle between my neck and shoulder hard if I would start acting up in public. So I did that to my son. It worked very well there and at home. My son is three and responds best to postive reinforcement but he knows there are negative consequences if the positive stuff is not working. I very, very rarely have had to go there, but I do believe in going there!