You are NOT a bad parent

You see a lot of people commenting on parenting sites and FB memes that their children are well behaved, polite, angels ALL The TIME. I do not believe this for one minute, everyone, I mean EVERYONE, has bad days, I myself have been known to shout at my crochet in a fit of temper. If everyone admitted to bad days, and accepted them in others, especially children, I feel we would all have less bad days.

Let me tell you a story

Once upon a time there was a woman who had the perfect baby, the baby slept for six hours a night from weeks old, only cried if she was hungry (or was being held lay down), this baby was amazing. The baby grew in to a toddler (way too quickly) and had the occasional hissy fit in the supermarket, to which the mum would tell the toddler that she would leave her there to be raised by toilet roll, this use of humour put a swift end to any hissy fits and they went back to singing (badly) and chatting rhubarb.

The Terrible twos were not that terrible and any issues were solved with soft words and instructions to slow down and think, then it happened, the unthinkable, this child was no longer an only child, GASP, she had a baby sister. The new baby was… em… difficult, she did not like having her nappy changed, she did not like her bed, she did not like any relatives except mum, she did not like sleeping, she did not like waking, she did not like being tired, she did like her pram though.

This lead the child to feeling a little left out, understandably, which coupled with the start of the fussy eater stage lead to “the four year tantrum (and counting)” I can not remember exactly what caused it but “I’ll leave your dinner here and you can eat it when you are hungry” was involved, the tantrum was so long, loud, and angry, that that little three year old pulled the living-room door off it’s hinges slamming and opening the thing to get attention as at the time negative behaviour was ignored.

In the four years that have passed we have tried many techniques to calm the child’s temper (too much like her mother that one) and even the ones that worked only worked for a week or so;

Ignore negative behaviour

Naughty step

Only really works if the child will stay there for the prescribed time

Go to your room

Again, if the child is back and to up and down the stairs this does not work

Simply ignoring the tantrum with no instruction

OK, so this one worked for a bit, the problem was that once she was calm and I explained why a temper tantrum was not the answer it lead to a new temper tantrum.

 

Sticker charts

Not a bad idea, tidy up (within five asks, I am reasonable after all), get a sticker.

Ask nicely rather than screaming and shouting, get a sticker.

Unfortunately this does not stop the tantrums if the child id having a tantrum because they have been asked to do something they don’t want to do, like get dressed, eat there dinner, stop hitting, things like that.

 

Putting toys in the bin

Oh the toys I have thrown away, we started that one with them being put aside until the tantrum subsided but it didn’t help, then they went directly in to the bin, but when well meaning relatives buy your kids all the plastic tat they want they don’t care when it is thrown in the bin and they know they’ll get more.

 

Forced contact

At this point the child is a dream out of the house, at school or when we have visitors, but whenever it was just the family the tantrums were pretty much constant and long lasting.

I started hugging the tantrum away, as this was shortly after I fractured my arm I would sit crying in pain while the child tantrumd in my arms, but she would calm down much quicker than being left to it. Until that too stopped working and the tantrum would start over as soon as the task was mentioned again.

You see these tantrums are about not being in control, so as long as she is doing exactly what she wants to do all is good, but the second you mention doing something that was not her idea that’s your lot. Tidying up, eating a meal, crafting, using the craft paper rather than the good printer paper, the wrong program on the TV, going for ice-cream, visiting relatives, playing out, friends not wanting to play the same game, hair brushing, cereal, washing, teeth brushing, any of these thing can cause the tantrum but they can also be the “cure”. Unfortunately you can not let a seven year old do exactly what they want when they want, we had four weeks of “I don’t want to go to school” just because it wasn’t here idea, we have had requests for treat trips out that were tantrumd about because she wanted to play out instead even though it was her idea.

The TV chart

Currently we have a chart with an hour marked out in five minute increments for being in control of the TV/Time on the computer. The conversation goes like this

“tidy up for dinner time”

“aaaaarrrrgggghhhhh, no no no NO, NEVER” doors slam, stomping, throwing herself around in a dramatic fashion.

“Tidy up for dinner or I’ll put a cross on your chart”

“aaaaarrrrgggghhhhh, no no no NO, NEVER” doors slam, stomping, throwing herself around in a dramatic fashion.

Put cross on chart, rinse and repeat.

This was working, and some days there were no crosses at all, but, it’s effectiveness is fading and we are now on an extra set of crosses once the chart is full that is taking five minute off bedtime.

 

What’s next?

I have no idea. We are introducing more responsibility to see if that does anything, she is, after all, desperate to be grown up, but there are only so many things a seven year old can do, and as an over protective sort it takes a lot of effort to not hover (I manage it though), at the moment she makes breakfast, is allowed to make sandwiches, and toast, she can pour drinks, and get treats out of the box (this has lead to a new set of problems), she is allowed to play out but has to watch her sister. It is not unusual for me to lick a temper tantrum, I mean actually lick the child, nose or ear is a preference but where ever I can reach will do, this works for minor injuries and can work on temper tantrums if you get them soon enough.

 

Here’s the kicker

I have a phrase I use “congratulations, your kid is normal”, just writing this has helped, I have been struggling with the tantrums a lot lately, my mental health is not as it should be, and Crochet Widower works twelve hour night shifts so I spend a lot of time at the weekends trying to keep the noise to a minimum so he can get some sleep. Yes I feel like a bad parent that my child has such Ballard worthy tantrums, and that they have been a part of our lives for so long and I still can’t prevent them, sometimes I wonder if there is a medical diagnosis I should seek but then I note that it doesn’t happen in public, when there are visitors, or at school, so she CAN control her temper but chooses not to. I am reminded that a lot of her school friends are going through the same thing and that “congratulations, your kid is normal” applies to me as well. She’ll be a teenager soon enough then won’t even want to look at me never mind tell me she wishes her sister had never been born, or that she had never met her dad (????!!!!)

Hopefully, in admitting our imperfections one parent (or grown up in charge) will feel better about their abilities, maybe one more person will admit to not being perfect, because you don’t need to be THE perfect parent, just the best parent you can be.

 

 

 

TTFN

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4 thoughts on “You are NOT a bad parent

  1. Oh my Amanda, you do have your work cut out with that one. I have lots of sympathy for you. My eldest as a baby/toddler was a nightmare, I was in a constant battle with him and I was forever chasing after him shops (normally found him hiding at the back of shelves in Asda, when you noticed contents of shelves falling into the aisles or in the middle of clothes rails that we’re spinning round) when I stopped looking and panicking he stopped doing it. Bad parent that I am I once walked out of a shop and left him, he soon learnt. He also resented his younger brother (who was so laid back and no trouble). I tried all the naughty step stuff etc you mentioned and eventually found the only thing that worked for me was the threat of counting to 10, I think the most I got to was 9, I never got to 10 and to be honest I don’t know what I would have done if I had, but the threat seemed to work, so much so just saying Onnnneee usually got the reaction I wanted. They are 21 and 16 now and funnily enough this still works, lol!!! Oh I also forgot to mention I have a very good laser stare, I just give them a look and they shrivel, works on hubby too that one. Your daughter sounds like a very frustrated teenager at 7! Lx

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    • At least I can take her anywhere, neither has been a problem out of the house or when we have visitors, I supose as a last resort I could drag strangers in off the street for a bit of respite 😉

      Like

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