Losing my temper

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Elret, May 25, 2011.

  1. Elret

    Elret New Member

    My difficult child is almost 5, very defiant, hairtrigger temper, everything has to go her way, all the time (when we're in a "bad period")

    I'm usually pretty good at holding it together, but sometimes , like this morning, I'm not so successful. I really lost it, I think the temper tantrum I threw was worse than hers. I feel sick to my stomach ever since, and keep tearing up about it. How do you guys keep it together?? I have mantras, I have stress-relief tactics, I have breathing excercises, but sometimes I just get mad. And I hate it! I hate being that way, I know it only makes things worse, I know the importance of modelling the right behaviour for her, I know it's largely not her fault she behaves the way she does. But there I go anyway, screaming my face off like a crazy person. :(

    Any tips for keeping cool? Any advice on recovering if I do fall? (I do apologize to her when I lose my temper, but it stays in my gut like poison for a long time)
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    To me, one way to help was to remind myself that my child was doing the best he could and that I was the adult and had to do better. This REALLY helped. I would repeat it to myself over and over again. Sometimes it would seem like he did it on purpose, just to make me angry, but I kept the mantra running through my head.
  3. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    I completely understand :) I have been THERE and done THAT. One thing that helps me is to remind myself very strongly how I will feel afterwards if I lose my temper or control - I will feel bad, regretful, disliking myself, just as you describe. That helps me keep it together until the storm has passed...
  4. keista

    keista New Member

    I feel your agony. I remember once when difficult child was 2 I called her the witch with a b. I had so lost my cool, and it sooooooooooooooooooooo looked as if she was "doing it on purpose"

    Several things helped me, and I know #1 isn't an option for most ppl, but I'm putting it down anyway.

    1 My husband left. After the initial shock/mourning period I noticed how much less stress I had. I didn't have to deal with his issues and stroke his ego. Until then I did not know how utterly draining on me it had been.
    2 I started seeing myself in my children's explosions. That was a HUGE wake up call. They were imitating me and I did NOT like what I was seeing.
    3 Before husband left, our arguments were getting more frequent and louder - kids were hearing more of them and they were getting scared. I learned to temper my anger because I didnt' want them thinking that "they'd be going next" after an argument with mommy.
    4 I found the calmer I stayed the faster I recovered from the stress of the situation.
    5 I learned to better identify when I was getting short tempered and USE MY WORDS to ask my children for space and quiet. This is the same exact skill I had been (and still am) teaching them.

    Don't be so hard on yourself. Parenting has a learning curve. Parenting a difficult child has an even bigger learning curve Just as you are teaching your child coping skills, you need to learn the same or similar skills. It takes time but you will get there.

    Don't let it stay in your gut - let it go. When she messes up, and apologizes, and you forgive her, do you let her obsess about it, or do your encourage her to move on? We all must move on. Try to remember and learn from the experience, but move on knowing that everything is OK.

    One thing I started telling my kids after I noticed difficult child did not want to let go of her guilt or when she was so afraid I didn't love her any more was "I love you always and forever no matter what." We discuss that while mom might not be happy or proud at any given moment, or even be downright angry, that mom's love is ALWAYS there.
  5. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    It's human to explode! One thing I will say though is when you're apologizing for your reaction make sure that you don't blame others for your "mistake". Keep it short and simple. "I'm sorry I got angry, I guess I should have taken a break or rethought things before I spoke." By saying "I'm sorry, Mom was frustrated about x,y, and z", she's going to ignore you and use your explaination against you at a later date. Make it a learning experience - simple apology, and then a suggestion as to how you could have handled it a different way.

  6. keista

    keista New Member

    Echoing nvts.

    Also must add that you need to find balance. That place between loosing your temper, and staying calm and rational. I was forced to remember this and re-learn it at the spur of the moment last night. It's that place where parental authority is loud and forceful, and still under control. It's that BELLOW that you'll never have to apologize for, because it was all controlled parental caring and wisdom. I started a thread to share the story, and the consensus seems to bee that the words NOW and ENOUGH were the most popular to bellow out. Yeah, you have to raise your voice which increases the chance you might lose control, but since it's just one word, it makes the recovery process (for you) easier.
  7. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Its not enough to "model" the right behavior... because when we do that, we turn it "on" and "off" - and in fact, it should always be "on". I don't like that term any more...

    Instead... try "practicing". We learned this trick from a resource teacher years ago - some kid would come running down the hall, or screaming down the hall, or whatever... and she would back them up to the starting point, stop them to catch their breath, and tell them to start over. It was amazing how often it worked. Our kids missed her when we moved, because the school was much more "under control" than most.

    I've used it... I blow it with the kids - or the resource teacher - or the therapist - and when I recognize what's going on (unfortunately, not always at that minute!), I ask to "backup and re-start" or as one therapist puts it "rewind the tape". Its amazing how often people are open to that... You cannot ever take back words spoken, but people appreciate a rerun more than an apology, because it demonstrates what you are like when you are practicing your new way of doing things.

    And yes, sometimes we have to stop and catch our breath before we re-start... we want the kids to know how to do that too, so... practice doing it right as often as possible, and then practice better recovery skills when things go wrong - so that they can learn how to recover, because they need that skill too.