Yesterday was the birthday of the younger foster kid. How did I celebrate? By yelling at him and making him cry.
You see, he's a very picky eater, and we have a "2 bite" rule. But yesterday, he served himself about 3 bites worth of salad. We said that since he picked out how much he wanted, he had to eat it all. He threw a hissy. He asked literally 5 times since he ate 2 bites, was he done. Each time, me or my husband repeated "You put it on your plate, you need to eat it." Then he would pout. And sigh. And push food around on his plate and ask again.
Finally I snapped. "We are done discussing this! You put it on your plate, and you will eat it. NOW!" I roared. So he ate it. With tears rolling down his face. Because yelling scares him; it causes him to shut down. I knew that, just in the heat of the moment, I didn't remember.
I apologised soon after, and things went back to normal, but I realised something. I had turned into my mother. My mom could go from irritated to enraged in 2 seconds flat. My mom was a yeller. My mom couldn't handle very much rambunctious behaviour, as she was constantly sleep-deprived and stressed.
I realise I've been a parent for all of 3.5 weeks, so I haven't had a chance to evolve in my parenting very much. I also know that there are numerous books about dealing with kids at their level (and remembering they are people with feelings). The problem I keep running into, is in the heat of the moment, I escalate so fast, I don't even think about anybody else's feelings but mine.
This isn't just a problem that I've noticed since kids. I do this to my husband, my mom, and at prior jobs, too. I just don't know how to change it.
So if anyone has advice on how I can stop turning into the Hulk, and stepping on everyone else but me, please let me know. Because I hate how I'm acting, and hate what it's doing to my relationship with the kids.