Over the winter break this happened in my house one day, I am sharing it because I know I am not the only one who has been there and plenty of parents beat themselves up after they lose it with their kids. I feel bad as well, but after I have lost it I always make sure that I pick up the pieces and that helps.
"Kevin why did you steal that candy" I asked calmly
"I wanted it" he said with a mocking tone.
"Well, Kevin, I can appreciate that you wanted it but you knew that it was not yours to take. Can you tell me how you were feeling when you took it" said in my calm therapeutic Mama voice
"Kevin, how were you feeling?"
He begins to shout " I was not feeling anything, I just wanted it!"
I calmly respond, "I can hear that you wanted it but you understand that sneaking around the house at night and taking things is unacceptable and you know what the consequence will be if you do, so I would like to know what you were thinking and feeling while all of this was happening last night. "
He continues to shout at me, " I was not thinking or feeling anything. I wanted it! Besides why should you care, you don't care about me anyway. You hate me."
"No Kevin I do not hate you, you might feel that way sometimes though. Right now we are talking about stealing though not about my love for you. Can you please tell me how you were feeling last night when you decided to get out of bed and sneak around the house?"
Repeat variations of these lines for about 30 minutes with him getting more angry and me doing my best to remain calm.
Finally I lost it. And screamed at him. I did not just yell from across the room, I got right in his face and yelled at him. I shouted about how he had pushed and poked hard enough and now I was yelling. I yelled about how hard it was to repeat the same things over and over again and about very frustrated I was. I yelled and yelled for a good 5 minutes or so. Then I informed him I was to angry to talk to him anymore I closed his door, set his door alarm and left the room.
It took me almost 2 hours to calm down enough to be able to talk to him calmly without being triggered by his yelling and button pushing.
Once I was calm and regulated and I knew that I could talk him all the way through the choices he had made and get to the feelings that caused them I went back to him. I apologised for yelling and explained what had happened for me and why I yelled. We talked about his choices and his behaviour and we got to a place where he said, " Sometimes I see something that I want and it is really tempting and I just feel like I have to take it. " That was so much better than " I wanted it" and it gave me somethings to work with and a way to talk about the act of stealing and about desiring things we could not have. It was a good conversation. Then we moved on to feelings and some of the things that motivate us and in the end we were able to move on a save the remainder of the day.
I yelled, then I cried and I apologised to my son. I am trying to stay regulated when he pushes me, I am not always successful but I am trying and doing my best and that is all I can offer.