Stopping my own aggressive behavior towards my child

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One of these mornings, by 5:45 I was ready to work. I decided to procrastinate on the post I had started and write on a worksheet of Digging Deep, this book about self growth (yep, an affiliate link).

I decided to dig about my parenting issues and with the question to describe in a few words my trigger, I wrote down ¨I pushed Luísa away so strong, that she fell on the floor.¨

I tried to remember exactly when that happened (or the last time it did) and I had a bit of a hard time to remember. It wasn´t yesterday and it wasn´t in the last couple of days either. ¨Hmm¨, I thought to myself, ¨I must be getting better at this Positive Parenting thing since I have to make an effort to remember when was the last time it happened¨.

Before, it was bothering me that I couldn´t go on for one day without losing my cool with Luísa and now it seems that I have this a bit more controlled.

I´ve been through daily aggressive reactions to Luísa. It happens especially at the end of the day, when I´m so cooked that all I want is us to get ready for bed and she resists taking a shower and hides under the bed. I might pull her from there grabbing her by one foot and raising her upside down while I say that ¨yes, you are taking a shower!¨, for instance.

It´s not a sweet approach and I always feel very bad when I do stuff like this. I´m not spanking her, but I do squeeze her skinny arms at times or push her away or scream at her face (that must be scary), among other things I´m not proud of.

When things cool down, I always apologize to her and tell her how I´m tired and shouldn´t have acted like that, but it´s always too late, the damage is done.

I justify myself that I´m alone doing everything (the single mom excuse for everything), that I get little time on my own, that getting tired and reacting is probably normal in all households, but fuck all that, I want to be on top of my own behavior and lead a good example. It doesn´t matter how hard this can be, it doesn´t have to include me being horrible after a full day of good caring (or worse, start a morning like that).

I know many of you think it´s ok to lose it every now and then, ¨we all do it sometimes¨, you might think. But it doesn´t have to be like this.

I don´t want to excuse myself when I´m being aggressive. I have the tools to change this and I got to do it while my little ones is still a little one. Luísa is 4 now and I guess I have been having my portion of aggressiveness since she was 2 (oh the terribles…). That´s 2 years already! This has got to stop now!

So, back to my worksheets, as I was ready to start digging about being aggressive, she came at the door. It was only 6:05 am and once again my expectation to do some work before she was up had dissipated.

She came around whining. She wanted to watch Angelina Ballerina, only that she didn´t really want anything, she needed another bit of sleep, but that wasn´t going to happen.

Since I was just about working on my bad temper around her at times like these (getting interrupted, giving away the computer I wanted to work on and etc), I was quite aware to resolve the situation without getting angry, I was mindful.

Our DVD player is not working well and so I told her that if the DVD didn´t play, she wouldn´t watch anything else (like The Fantastic Mr. Fox on my hard drive).

The DVD didn´t work and she started to cry for ¨Fox¨. I told her calmly how sorry I was that she couldn’t do what she wanted, but watching ¨Fox¨ wasn´t an option.

She was crying loud and it was just about 6:10 am. If I didn´t have a neighbor in the next room, sharing our wall, I could  have taken the crying while I got morning things ready, but it was not fair to my neighbor so I got us ready to leave immediately and by 6:30 we were out of the house, biking away.

Going for a bike ride is such a process to changing consciousness for both of us. Soon we were talking about the flowers and the crabs on our way, singing happily and having fun.  We were close to the surf spot, so we went on to check the waves.

She seems to have fun seeing the ocean flat and knowing mommy can´t surf, she always goes: ¨No hay olas, la la la¨ (There are no waves…).

We managed a rather pleasant morning before I dropped her at school at 8:00 am. I still have to do a lot of thinking and digging to get rid of my aggressive behavior. I´m getting much better. Sometimes I realize what´s going on in the middle of my fit and it´s still hard to stop it (damn it), but I´m getting better at it.

I hope that if you lose your cool with your child (even when it´s ¨just¨ verbal), you can work on stopping it too. In fact, I´d love to know how you work on this.

Photo Credit

This article was originally posted on Tripping Mom by Marilia Di Cesare on June 6, 2011. Republished with authorization. Click here for all other posts.

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