(Goblin is nearly four)
Recently I have had a couple of occasions when I have absolutely let rip and completely over reacted to a situation. If a friend or relative is with me, what they see is me going mental at my tiny little boy for doing what looks like a tiny minor infraction. What they haven't seen is the build up, that week leading up to this when we have had the same discussion over and over.
Our most recent 'issue' revolves around listening - or more precisely not listening - to instructions. Basic life saving instructions like "stop at the edge of the road", or common decency instructions like "please don't hit me again".
Hublet and I try to reinforce the desirable behaviour through modelling, explaining, distracting etc. You know, all the positive parenting methods that we are aiming to use. But by the weekend we are worn down from trying to remain calm and use the positive techniques without much success.
Then it happens again.
"Goblin please don't squirt that water pistol at your friend, she obviously doesn't like it" or "wait for us before you go into the shop".
And he doesn't stop or he doesn't wait and it's the straw.
The last straw that breaks the camels back and let's out all the puss and bile, the fatigue and built up frustration and anger. It comes tumbling out in a torrent. And as I'm standing in the street grasping my child's arms, screaming in his face, I can see myself ... and I hate myself.
I can see a bully being horrible to a small child who doesn't understand where all this venom has come from. I can see my friends thinking what on earth has got into her that she is responding like this to such a minor infraction.
And the guilt makes me even more angry and unable to access that calm loving side that I needed to pull out to deal with this sensibly. So instead I seethe and boil and hate. And when I talk to my son I can hear the edge to my voice that makes it sharp and irritated, not kind and gentle and patient. And I despise myself for using that voice.
And then I have shame. Shame that I treated my child like that; shame that my friends saw me overreact; shame that I claim to use positive parenting and yet find myself more and more frequently screaming and shouting and over reacting.
And then we have a good day, and I remember that I do love being a parent. And Goblin still doesn't listen. But somehow I'm able to stay calm, and I don't have that edge in my voice, and I do respond with love and empathy.
I need to focus on those days and try to tap into what makes them work.
*****I'm sharing this at The Sunday Parenting Party. I'm currently taking a break from hosting so if you are looking to link up click on the button below.