Last night I was trying to help my daughter with her vocabulary homework and she started getting frustrated, which got me frustrated. I started to yell and told her that if she didn't want my help, then she could do it herself. She got more upset, started to cry and then told me that she's scared of me. She even said that sometimes she has bad dreams that I get so upset that I pick her up and throw her on the floor. Wow! I have never physically harmed any of my children and do not believe in spanking. I know words can hurt but I never realized that when I raised my voice I was hurting her that much. I don't call my children names, and try to be careful about the words I choose when I do get upset with them. Obviously I am failing miserably.
When she told me this I was shocked, I brought her in to the family room, sat her down, gave her a big hug and apologized. I asked her why she had never told me this before and she said she didn't want to embarrass me. I promised her I will try much much harder to control my temper and choose my words more carefully. I also asked (calmly this time) that if she gets frustrated at her homework, and if asks me for help, that she listen to the help I give, and if she still doesn't understand we will work through it together.
I have been trying to reach her to manage her time better so that if an assignment takes longer than she thought, she doesn't get so nervous about not finishing in time, since that's usually the main reason for her frustration. I don't make her do her homework the minute she gets home from school, but we talk about when she will start. If the time she picks seems reasonable I agree and let her do what she wants until that time comes. Lately when I remind her that the time has come, she gets annoyed, that she has to stop playing. I've tried to explain to her that the earlier she starts the sooner she'll be done and the easier it is for me to help her. Once I need to start making dinner it gets harder for me to focus, and then she has a harder time focusing too.
We started today with everyone in a good mood, hugs all around as usual. Everyone got ready for school in time (and even went quickly enough that I had time to shower - which improves my mood considerably). She ran off to school with a smile and will greet me with a big hug when she is dismissed, as she always does.
Luckily this afternoon is pretty calm, home for snack followed by piano lesson and no homework tonight. Should make it easy for me to keep my cool. I sure hope so.
I never had a temper before I had kids. If something upset me I would cry not yell. I don't know when that changed or why, all I know is I don't like the way i'm acting and it needs to stop. Luckily with my parents arriving today, I won't raise my voice as much with the kids as I'm more aware of what I'm doing when other people are around.
I feel bad that she doesn't get as much good time with me as the younger two, and hopefully will be able to make that happen more while my parents are here (and next month when my in laws are here).