View Full Version : I need a shoulder to cry on today

03-22-2012, 11:15 AM
In an un-proud moment of sheer frustration this morning, I actually asked my son if he'd like for me to march him up the street so he can go back to ps. He was horrified, especially when I added that I'm not sure homeschooling is really working anymore. I was horrified too, that those words came out of my mouth, as though sticking him in that environment would make his "dark" side go away. Ugh. I apologized when we both calmed down, but now I'm exhausted.

I'll back up. This morning during his table work time, like on so many other mornings lately, DS had an enormous meltdown over some trivial thing. All it was about was that I pointed out that his "sentence"--3 words that took an excruciatingly long time to eek out--wasn't a sentence at all, that it was missing a subject. He blew up, as usual, insisting it's fine, that I'm so mean and so on and so forth. Usually I'm really patient and can ride it out, but today I couldn't. It's supposed to be 80, I want to get through his work quickly so we can hit the beach for a fun afternoon and here he is yelling at me--again--about something that just isn't a big deal. Argh!

So, after we both calmed down, we talked. He told me about how words and numbers get jumbled up in his head, and that's when he gets the "anger in his belly". I don't know what this is, I don't know how to help him, and today that is making me feel very sad and very overwhelmed. I don't know if this is normal parenting stuff and I'm overreacting or if there's something really wrong with the way he processes stuff. I don't know what I can do for him, what I can give him that will help him. I don't know, exactly, what all he deals with and I'm just at a complete loss.

Today, I feel like a failure. :(

We started a feelings journal recently. I'm hoping it will help him get in touch with his emotions--at least be able to name them (because usually he can't)--but it's so disappointingly simplistic. I wish he drew so he could let it out that way, but art isn't something he'll touch. He said if I looked in his brain all this stuff would be jumbled up together. What does that even mean? How can a little kid be so damn complex all the time?

If anyone bothered to read this, thank you. I really need a good cry.

03-22-2012, 11:25 AM

I had a moment like that with Mushroom last month. Where I was horrified to hear the words phrase "you'll have to repeat second grade" come out of my mouth. What the heck does that even mean?!?

And I hate being in that place where it seems like everything is going wrong with a kid and you don't know if it's just a phase or if there are "big issues" that you're not on top of or that it's not the kid, it's you and your whole approach. Ugh.

But in the end, I feel like it all comes right. I chant my mantra that it's the totality of parenting and teaching, not the best or the worst moments that matter in the end. And that it's good for kids to see us get frustrated and lose it sometimes too because it can help wake them up and at the very least show them how to apologize and model how to be human.

On the cheering up side, that phrase "anger in the belly" is so lovely - obviously he *can* express him emotions - and how he's having difficulties in some clear language (even if you're having trouble groking what it all really means). That's a far cry from a lot of kids. You're obviously doing a lot right. If he was in school, they wouldn't even be asking him about this stuff or hearing that. They'd just be putting him in a little box or labeling it or ignoring him. It'll come. Hugs again.

03-22-2012, 11:30 AM
Oh, I feel you. I'm so sorry you have a rough morning. And don't beat yourself up too much, we all have days. I know you regret saying what you did, but it can be cathartic and it led to a good conversation with your son. So it served a purpose. I have a son too and his emotions are a mystery to me sometimes. It sounds like your son is describing frustration. I could be totally wrong. I keep meaning to go on Amazon and buy some books on raising sons. There is one called Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys by Teresa Barker that I've always wanted to read. It is so hard for them sometimes to voice what they are feeling, and they need us to be there to hear them. You both got frustrated today, but I see that you are LISTENING to him, and he knows that. Yay mom! I think the feelings journal is a great idea. I don't know about the jumbled thoughts. My son has ADHD so I know its jumbled up there! But I think we all feel like that to a degree, and I know I do when I'm trying to learn something new and I'm having trouble.
Here I've gotten all rambly. I hope some of this makes you feel a little better today. Hugs!

03-22-2012, 11:31 AM
Thank you Farrar and Rachel. I really needed that shot of clarity and kindness this morning.

Accidental Homeschooler
03-22-2012, 11:33 AM
You aren't alone. Last night I had a good cry after a really sucky day of meltdowns. We have them regularly. Sometimes, as you say, I do great and other times I get frustrated and react angrily. I don't even have to yell or threaten, just get angry in my tone, facial expressions.... Of course that just makes it worse. Some days I think she would be better off being parented by a robot than me. It is hard, have a good cry. Sometimes it helps. I wish I had an answer for you and me!

03-22-2012, 12:29 PM
Huge hugs. I've threatened ps before, too. And like you and your son, it was the impetus of a good and much-needed talk. Sometimes I think it's necessary to clear the air that way, like a thunderstorm.

My very wise mentor once told me that parenting is like a bank account with deposits of loving words and acts and withdrawals of difficult words and moments. As long as we make sure we're running a positive balance, we're okay. I know just from reading your posts here that you've made more deposits over the years than withdrawals. It will all be okay.

03-22-2012, 01:23 PM
I have also threatened ps (with the emphasis on the amount of homework required). I have had a bad couple of weeks. My dh has been home after an un-warranted, unpaid suspension for two weeks. It is total BS and dh has appealed, but his boss is a JERK and, regardless of the outcome, dh's job will be hell from here on out. So, dh is home and working on the appeal, not sleeping and grouchy. The kids don't really understand why he is home (we did have a lesson about the meaning of "integrity") and I have been a bitch. I am so scatter-brained that I barely know what I am going to do for the day when school starts. Thankfully, my kids like to write, so I've been giving them prompts and a stack of paper!

I often wonder if my kids are truly benefiting from homeschool. Then, I see the neighbor kids who are rude and obnoxious (and not very well-educated IMHO), and I know my kids are doing great. Admittedly, the last few weeks I would have loved to kiss them goodbye at 7:30 and not see them again until 3, but most days it is good having them home, knowing they are learning and enjoying what they are learning.

03-22-2012, 01:36 PM
I, too, can totally empathize. My son is very quick to anger and frustration and has a hard time expressing those feelings in a way that isn't rude and disrespectful. I try to stay grateful that at least he has stopped hitting and biting, and that he can now tell me that he's pissed. Thing is, he's always pissed about something, and it has been a challenging journey for us so far. I drove 2 hours to the only zoo in the state that has elephants, because they are his favorite. On the way home, he complained about how long it took, how hot it was, and that he never wanted to go back. I was so hurt that I called him ungrateful and a brat. I immediately felt horrible, but he apologized for his attitude, and I apologized for namecalling, and it was cool. We all lose it a bit, and I, for one, feel relieved that I'm not the only one who struggles every now and then.

03-22-2012, 02:44 PM
In an un-proud moment of sheer frustration this morning, I actually asked my son if he'd like for me to march him up the street so he can go back to ps. I've done this more than once. I don't usually blow up at him when I say it. I just ask him if he thinks that maybe he would like to go to PS. He immediately calms down and gets back to work because he's been there and he remembers how much better he has it now.

I'll back up. This morning during his table work time, like on so many other mornings lately, DS had an enormous meltdown over some trivial thing. Yep. That's my son's MO too. I feel your pain!

He told me about how words and numbers get jumbled up in his head, and that's when he gets the "anger in his belly". ...He said if I looked in his brain all this stuff would be jumbled up together. What does that even mean?
It sounds to me like he's doing pretty well expressing his feelings, even if the words don't sound like something an adult would say. We've spent years trying to name feelings, but mostly my son just cries. He just had a meltdown because he didn't finish his timed math problems. He couldn't tell me he was frustrated because he couldn't speak. He gets hysterical when his sister "bothers him" while he's working. He can't control his feelings and he can't express them normally.

So big hugs to you. You're not alone, and neither is your son. I'm sorry you've had a bad morning, but I hope your talk can help keep things calm for a bit. You're giving him a wonderful gift - your time, talents, and love - in a way that many kids just don't get from their parents. And if you need to vent some more, you know where to come ;)

03-22-2012, 04:58 PM
I have to admit, I've threatened as well. Even went so far as to fake a phone call to the "school down the road." I KNOW I KNOW, this is horribly wrong, but it was a bad PMS day and I had nothing left to give. All of my patience was gone. So, you are not alone. And, we always seem to take a step back after one of our meltdowns, talk about the pros/cons of ps and homeschooling, and then make good solid steps (sometimes with changes) moving forward.

03-22-2012, 07:08 PM
LOL, on faking a call to the school down the road. I may have to try that! I know I threaten that all the time when they complain about having to do school work. I remind them about the other boys who live on this street that had to walk to school at 8 this morning and won't be home til 3 while they'l probably be done with most of their school work at little after lunch if they'd sit down and get it done. The other boys will have homework to do while they're playing wii or watching movies. That usually shuts them up pretty quick. Mine have never been to ps and sometimes I'd like to send them for a day just so they could see how lucky they are.
I also get very frustrated when I have spend the whole morning nagging them to get their work done so we can do something fun in the afternoon. It does get better. My 12 year old now wants to know exactly what he has to do each day so he sits down and trys to get it all done so he can have the afternoon to do what he wants. Gives me hope that the 9 yr old will reach that stage in a year or two.

03-22-2012, 07:56 PM
Sending hugs, hugs, and more hugs up the coast for you. I get yelled at and called names on an almost daily basis. I get yelled at when explain too much during math. I get yelled at when I make him rewrite his messy copywork. I get yelled at when I stop reading to talk about it. I get yelled at when I try to explain anger management techniques in the hope that I won't get yelled at so much! I've cried in front of my kids (which my son found interesting rather than upsetting), lost my temper, and kicked walls/furniture. I haven't made the public school threat because I could never follow through with it, but I have reminded my kids how good they have it and they should count themselves lucky (dammit!).

I've started fining small amounts (10 to 25 cents) for name calling, saying "shut up", or refusing to start school work at the scheduled time. I don't know if that would work for your son. When he starts yelling, I tell him that I want to hear what he has to say, but I would like him to do it in a calm voice. He usually complies. Hopefully he'll get in the habit of doing that rather than flying off the handle.

Tomorrow is another day with no mistakes in it, right?

03-22-2012, 09:52 PM
I've done the same thing, more than once. I always feel bad afterward, too, but it *does* help DS put things in perspective. I finally have flipped things around by instituting a positive reward system for good behavior rather than losing it for bad. It helps. And hopefully this fall when I don't have so much of a pressing schedule, I'll be able to settle down a bit more (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA).

03-22-2012, 10:00 PM
Hugs from me too, and I've totally btdt. I wish I had some advice about how to figure out what's going on with your son, but I really don't. I hope it's all just "normal" kidstuff that he's having a hard time expressing. But like someone else said, he IS expressing, even if it's hard to figure out. Even just telling you that it's all jumbled up in his head...at least you know that he's having trouble pulling out his ideas, and he's not just trying to get out of his work, kwim?

and A.M.M. i totallly need to start FINING my kids!!!

03-22-2012, 11:03 PM
Oh, I hope you get to have your cry and feel better! I had that kind of day, too and made the threat. Batman wailed "Noooooooo! I don't want to go back to school!" and we wound up having a great conversation, modified curriculum, worked on better communication, etc.
We have a break coming up in another week and I can't wait....I am so burned out right now I've lost the objectivity I normally have with regards to the stalling, pushback, arguing, rigidity and meltdowns I deal with most days. Batman is also very sensitive to my moods and knows immediately when I start to get upset.

03-22-2012, 11:46 PM

that is tough. I got tantrum throwers and we've been working on deep breathing with simultaneous toe wiggling. If you feel frustrated you have to have at least 3 deep breaths with some toe wiggling b4 you can talk . It helps break the cycle of emotion -freak-out -parent reaction

03-23-2012, 01:40 AM
Just wanted to say big hugs to you. Raising kids is hard, and raising kids with challenges is even harder. Hang in there!

03-23-2012, 07:52 AM
I feel you on this. We've only been homeschooling for 2 years and there just those days that you and your child is not a hundred percent on doing the lessons but I guess it's what makes us normal. In cases like this, I try to have an alone time and give DS his own time and when we're ready, we proceed to what we love doing... HSing.

03-23-2012, 08:15 PM
We have days like that all the time lately. I've said the exact same words you said. And not just once.
I've had plans for fantastic days that were destroyed because I got impatient and he got frustrated (or vice versa).
Today we had a day like that. We didn't make it to 8:30am without an explosion.
So, instead of working together, we had a day apart, and he worked on what he could on his own, in a different part of the house.
It was good. We needed a break from each other. Don't beat yourself up.
I think there's something positive in being completely honest with our kids, and that they understand that we have irrational moments too.
As long as we always fess up and say sorry, which you did.
Hugs. (and a happy day tomorrow :) )

03-23-2012, 09:37 PM
Early this morning, DS came to visit me while I was trying to wake up. I said something snippy to him. He said "Mama, why are you getting angry with me? I just got up!" That went a long way to setting my mood for the day. He was very calm and honestly asking the question. In reality, I was frustrated with his sister who had already thrown two hissy fits and flooded the bathroom on a potty break. But it wasn't his fault. I apologized, talked to him about stress, and agreed to be more patient with him today. Then set him up with a National Geographic DVD for his science lesson for the day, because I just needed a day!

I hope that knowing you're not alone in these trials will help you along. I know it doesn't make it easier, but I know I feel better knowing there are others in this boat on the turbulent waters I'm riding.

03-23-2012, 09:41 PM
HUGS to you!!! Been there done that..with my 13 yo..hahaha.. hope days like these become less and less, but I think we're all human and have our less than stellar moments. Hope today was a better day

03-28-2012, 04:14 PM
Thank you so much, everyone!!

So far we are having a better week, and I'm seeing things through a clearer lens. It helps so much to have this space to vent and to hear that other people go through the same struggles (not that I wish them on anyone!). I'm finding, as I'm opening up more here and in IRL, that most people I know whose kids are this age also struggle with writing and still deal with meltdowns, and somehow that helps me feel less stressed about it. It it's just developmental, then I can plan accordingly for next year and not beat myself up over not pushing more this year. Adjusting expectations seems to be constantly necessary. lol

03-28-2012, 04:33 PM
True confessions time. I threaten to send DD back to PS about once a week.

Of course, she has started to pick up on the fact that I have no intention of sending her back, and it's a pretty hollow threat. One I'm not proud of, to say the least. In short, we've all been there sister - and I bet we'll all make the same mistakes again. Homeschooling is damn hard, and we all do our best. Hope you can always feel like you have plenty of (virtual shoulders) to cry on. We are here for you! :)

03-29-2012, 07:14 AM
I hope you got to the beach and that things have smoothed out over time.

03-29-2012, 10:37 AM
I have been known to threaten to flag down the first school bus I see and put KidSobe on it, regardless of where it's going or how old the kids on it are. Considering we live next door to a public high school, this seems to really be effective :)

03-31-2012, 11:53 PM
(((Hugs all around))) I think more of us have been there (more often than we'd like to admit) than you may think. :(

Maybe this will make you feel better--I went so far as to REGISTER my kids and enter them in the lottery for our local magnet school!! I know, right? Horrifying! I sort of knew in my heart I'd never send them, but I guess I was feeling desperate, wanted to tell myself I had an "out" if they got in, and knowing the odds were about as good as those megabucks odds that they would, I didn't really fear it would happen, but still....I cried BUCKETS after it sank in that their names were now in the system, even if they weren't there or likely to end up there. Now I have to withdraw them from the system b/c they didn't get in there, but were assigned out our neighborhood school anyway (barf). So my penance is having to fill out that paperwork and turn it in.

The only up-side is that the whole experience has made me more committed than ever to weathering these storms. Now, when I have those days, you know what I do? I end the day (if it's REALLY bad). I just call a do-over, and either let them do online school stuff only (which I try to limit generally) or just read or draw for the rest of the day, maybe dig up worms in the yard....I've decided my relationship with them, and myself, matters more at this stage of the game, and they go through moods just as we do. My eldest (who has ADHD) goes through moods, or phases, it seems. Some weeks? She's GREAT, every day. Others? UGH, it's like war. If it's just her, I tell her that there's no point in us working together unless she's willing to cooperate, and that she can read--but only that--until she's prepared to be polite and to meet me halfway, using words not anger to express any frustration or questions she has. Then I go work with my other kids and stop paying attention to her. I don't ignore her outright, I just don't engage.

It's not ideal, but it's better than the way it was. Good luck!