Posted by: jules | 2009-07-27

am i wrong?????

i have a 5yr old boy who i am raising on my own, his father and i are separated. I love my boy i really do, but he drives me insane. He does not listen when i talk to him, which makes me scream and shout at him, he also seems to be constantly angry, which in turn makes me angry. Am i the reason that he is angry all the time? Is it because i am constantly shouting at him, that he is like that? I will ask him to pack his toys away about 3-5 times before he will do that, and then i must always help him. I have enough to do, and as i keep reminding him, i don' t play with his toys he does, so he must pack it away.
I work so of course by the time i get home, he gets demanding and i don' t have the patience to deal with him. I try to spend a bit of time with him before i start cooking etc. and also while cooking i will leave the food to get done and spend that bit of time with him, but it seems he just wants more and more. He is also very stubborn, I understand it' s not easy for him, how can i come across as a loving mother instead of a screaming, shouting shrew?

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Our expert says:
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Sometimes one wonders whether kids, at various ages, receive special training in how to drive parents nuts, but some seem to have special skills in this regard. As you have discovered, no-matter how annoying he gets, the screaming and shouting response is no more effective than it is with my cat. Who sits and gives me an old-fashioned : :"Well, I can wait until you see the light " look.
It sounds as though there is anger, from whatever origin, that bounces bak and forth between you. Apart from the fact that the anger and shouting does not improve the other's behaviour it also suggests that this is how one is supposed to deal with problems, which is not hepful either.
Have a alm discussion with him between rows, and explain your situation -- so much to do, so little time, and that you have so much faith in his abilities now he is growing into a Big Boy, that it's very disaponting for yo whe he forgets something simple you expected him to do.
Make a plan together to deal with the problem(s). For instance He may play with his toys but must pack them away at an agreed upon time each evening ( or whatever ) --- and that if he doesn't, you won't scream and shout, and you won't just pack them away for him, but that you will confiscate whatever toys are left out, for 2 weeks in quarantine, locked in a cupboad. You will assume that he will look after his toys by packing them away on time, and that any that are left out are ones he no longer is interested in. If for the following week he is scrupulous about packing away his other toys each night, then he can recover ONE of the confiscated toys , which he can select, after one week instead of two.
Spending time with hi is also probably critical here. A kid will sometimes put up with the shouting just to get extra time and attention, rather than to receive less.
Explain that you are tired and busy whe you get home, with chores that have to get done, but that you also very much want to get to spend good time with him, and again, work out a plan together. Some good time together when you first get home, while you relax, put your feet up, have a cup of tea, and he tells you about how his day has been. Then supper must be made --- and explore whether he can help with some of that chore--- maybe some preparation of veggies, setting the table, whatever ; maybe even some help with the washing up ( if he's good at not dropping dishes !). And explain that this is so that you will then have more time to spend with him after the chores are done. You may even explore ways he can give you some time for yourself, as a special gift from him, too.
Find lots of opportunities to praise and thank him for the things he does right ( at first you may have to be rather creative in finding these opportunities !) rather than howling at the things he does wrong. That encourages growth of the good stuff. When something fresh goes wrong, discuss with him how he can put it right, or how you can best do this together.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Me | 2009-07-27

Hi Jules,
Our children need us. And this hectic life nowadays does not always allow for enough time for them, of course.
You sound so stressed and it' s normal to shout and scream. You are only a human being... and so is he.
I used to shout and scream as well and get tense when my baby boy didn' t do what I wanted.
I' ve decided to smile at him more, and ask in a gentler manner to ' please help mom do... this and that' . They just want our attention and they NEED it. It doesn' t always work and they don' t always just magically turn into little robots obeying our every command and sit staring at the wall until we require THEM, they' re little humans as well.
Smile more, shout less. You don' t have them for long, soon they' re adults themselves and how do you want them to remember you...? Smiling more, or screaming like a fish wife more?
Good luck because this is not easy. But you can do it!

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