Need help in staying calm with aggression
So P has been having increasing bouts of aggression towards me and I have been unable to remain calm-instead I'm feeding into her ramping up. Last weekend, I hit her back after she pinched me while driving then wouldn't let me get the baby out of the back seat. The CW found out because I called for respite and P yelled into the phone "she slapped me." I wouldn't have lied anyway, but after all was said and done, I just needed to re-sign a safety plan and begin family therapy with, yet another therapist. I don't know if its the upcoming adoption, the jealousy of when I need to care for the baby, or what, but I am starting to lose my patience. Anyone have a good resource out there to help me maintain my cool?
It is so hard to remember/do all the "parenting book advice" type stuff when you are frustrated. So many times I have yelled at my daughter out of desperation, made the situation a hundred times worse. Then when all is said and done realized "oh I could have tried this... I bet it would have worked. We all have those woulda, coulda, shoulda moments.

When P is being aggressive is it possible for you to physically get away from her?

If you could go into the bathroom or your bedroom to have a couple minutes to yourself (bring the baby), take some deep breaths, remind yourself that "this too shall pass".

Some of the cuckoo things I do to stay calm
1. Brush my teeth
2. Count how many seconds it takes me to drink glass of water.
3. Boat race (from my college days) a glass of diet coke and pretend it is beer.
4. Say the Greek alphabet in my head as fast as I can.
5. Go to my room, turn on the radio and crazy dance.
6. Turn up the radio in the car (not eardrum shattering but loud enough to drown out the screaming in the backseat.
7. I had to edit because I forgot to mention my secret stash of hershey kisses and a butterfinger big bar ( for my really desperate times)

Try one, I hope it helps.
When my son hits me (this is DS, but it kind of works for all the kids) I go out on the back porch and scream as loudly as I possibly can. I usually try to make sure the kids can hear me, but not scream at them. It usually scares them straight!
I honestly think its a natural reaction to slap at something that pinches you. My son was a pincher when he was a baby and I probably slapped at him every time. I couldn't help it. He wasn't being mean and I wasn't being angry. Its just my reaction to being pinched.

As for how to calm yourself. Count to 5. Don't wait until she is out of control and don't do it only once. If she is getting mouthy, count to 5 and then respond with a sentence. Count to 5 and then say your next sentence and keep doing it. It slows the pace of the argument down in addition to giving you time to collect yourself. The trick is to use the technique even when things are just an acceptable level of out of control.
Have you heard about Celebrate Calm? Kirk Martin is an excellent can check out the website for free workshops in your area or sign up for their free newsletter.

I just know that when I am feeling at my wits has helped me tremendously to listen to his practical suggestions! Our agency has his CDs in their resource library that we are able to borrow.

The website is [url=]Home - Celebrate Calm 24/7 | America’s Calm Coach® Kirk Martin[/url]
Buy "How to Talk so Kids will Listen, How to Listen so Kids Will Talk." Read at least some. Leave on back of toilet so you can get those quick refreshers. Written by moms, includes sample cartoons, they have 5 basic strategies of relating to children, I was only using 3. Adding 2 was great.

Example, "You are really ANGRY right now, aren't you?" vs "Stop pinching me!"

I hesitate to say this, but despite having some great strategies to "redirect" or "distract" kids and outsmart them before they wind up, I would also consequence any aggression towards me while driving. It's just not allowed, it's dangerous. I'd tell her about it after the actual incident had died down. I'd promist to take away something she values: no going to park tomorrow, no... something. And follow through like a rock.

Outside of that, get some magic fairy dust, because *ALL* parents do blow it from time to time. I wouldn't trust anyone who told me they didn't.

Karyn Purvis' book is good too, and I think she has some good stuff on her website.

What age is she?
Thanks for your advice-I will get the book. P is almost 9. After the car agression she lost a sleepover and a movie. One good thing-she had an outburst yesterday and after she calmed down and we talked about it she said "At least I didn't hit you." That was good. The counseling session I had on Thursday was good. SHe told me to try to just reflect her feelings-like you said-and not try to solve her problem because at that time P dosen't want the problem solved, she just wants to be mad. Thanks everyone! I've also been counting to 5 before I response so I'm just responding with a sentance not a yelling response.
Emmesmom said...
So P has been having increasing bouts of aggression towards me and I have been unable to remain calm-instead I'm feeding into her ramping up..... Anyone have a good resource out there to help me maintain my cool?

I don't know about resources, but from the place of getting pinched, hit, kicked, scratched just about every day (I haven't gotten bitten since LG came back, so that's an improvement Smile ) I do have some advice on not loosing your patience. LG is autistic, and likes the way pinches, scratches, and (used to like) bites. He also does these behaviors when angry--generally a lot harder at those times. He can also have PTSD like episodes where he bites and scratches to the point of taking whole chunks of flesh.

Sooo, I've had to learn patience in this arena Smile

When its sensory, I either 1) respond back in light version because its the sensation he's after (ie, brush and tug his hair when he yanks mine or yanks his own, squeeze a pressure point when he pinches etc), 2) remind it hurts when he does that, or 3) ask him to try again and model tickle in place of a pinch.

When he's angry, basically, I've learned to wade in and just take the ouch (I know it can really, really hurt and I do have some permanent scars), but as long as hitting and yelling just aren't options I don't. They can NEVER be options. I also purposefully use monotone voice, but insist that whatever I wanted be done or whatever I wanted to stop stop. I have to become a blank wall that doesn't engage and doesn't react. I can't respond in kind or echo his mood. My response has to be purposefully low key....otherwise I give over control of the situation to him. By being low key, I don't give him a vehicle for escalation.

My nephew teases me uses my "not angry voice". He'll mock and say, "___, I'm very upset right now. You're hurting me, and I don't like it. I need you to stop pinching me." Thing is, it does work.
I was given good advice recently. "Put yourself in time-out!" When you are getting overwhelmed, that is the time that you need to step away.

We also have a kiddo that is high stress with that kind of behavior. I've been told to take respite as often as possible and even request more when needed. You lose your objectivity when you go too long without a break!
The louder and more out of control she gets, the quieter I try to become. When she is screaming, I am whispering.
Great suggestion! I often forget: whispering is awesome! I think it instantly engages the thinking brain -- whereas hitting/ anger come from the limbic/reptilian brain. Anyway, someone suggested it to me, and it works *great*. Even at times when neither you nor the child are angry, just to grab their attention.
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