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Ask TherapistJen Your Own Question
TherapistJen
TherapistJen, LCSW, CPC
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2813
Experience:  Licensed Clinical Social Worker.
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I just had a baby 8 months ago and I have a six year old.

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I just had a baby 8 months ago and I have a six year old. I find myself growing increasingly hostile to my six year old. I am irritable, I cry a lot and my job stresses me out. Is this postpartum?

CoachJenK :

Hi. Welcome. I am a Licensed Master Social Worker with more than 20 years experience working with individuals and families on a variety of issues.

CoachJenK :

I am glad you have reached out here. You could be dealing with Post-partum and also the normal stress of having a new baby and an older child. your work load has increased and time for yourself to recharge and care for yourself has decreased.


 

CoachJenK :

This can be extremely exhausting which can cause irritability.


 

CoachJenK :

I think in these times that doing what you can to care for yourself is extremely


important

CoachJenK :

the more rested you are the more able you are to care for both of them with less irritability


 

Customer:

I have a hard time sleeping


CoachJenK :

All part of it. does your husband help with the kids so that you can get some rest and recharge?


 

CoachJenK :

would you be willing to go see someone to discuss post partum or the overwhelm you are feeling?


 

Customer:

He tries but he is in the same boat. We are both exhausted from a long commute every day ; I would like to talk to someone but I'm worried about the cost


CoachJenK :

It is very hard what you are both experiencing so i want you to give yourself some slack about it all. It is exhausting.


 

CoachJenK :

do you have a general doctor that you can reach out to that is part of your insurance plan if you have one?


 

Customer:

I feel like I'm a terrible mother because my house is always messy, I snap at my oldest and I just feel distracted generally; I do not have a pcp at this time


CoachJenK :

You are not a terrible mom. you are tired and doing all you can. please go easy on yourself.


 

CoachJenK :

I am a mom too and i can tell you that you are working so hard and doing all you can.


 

CoachJenK :

I cant really comment about medication but if the things you mentioned help you to feel good then I might suggest staying with what works


 

CoachJenK :

and also figure out some routines for you and your husband that can give you both a needed break at times.


 

Customer:

I just worry that I will cause my six year old lasting psychological harm b/c I yell too frequently and usually over really ridiculous things like brushing her teeth


 

CoachJenK :

I understand how you are feeling, I really do and in those moments you just want her to do as you have asked and because you are tired it is hard to have the patience that is necessary.


 

Customer:

Is it ok to walk away when I feel my anger boiling? Do I say something to her to not scare her?


CoachJenK :

Yes you can take some time for yourself. you can say to her I have asked you to brush your teeth and I would like for you to do that now. If you dont then you will lose a privilege. And if you feel like you are boiling then yes, you can say, Mommy is feeling frustrated and I need to walk away right now.


 

Customer:

Is it too confusing to a child say I love you one moment and then get angry the next?


 

CoachJenK :

Even if you are angry the love still exists and in a quiet moment you can let her know that.


 

CoachJenK :

Even when Mommy gets angry I still always love you.


 

Customer:

She has said that she feels like my infant is my favorite daughter. I don't know how to undo that message in her brain


 

CoachJenK :

that is also common when a new baby comes home. Try and create some special time for just the two of you without the baby so she can see that she still has you and can still have special time


 

Customer:

my youngest is in the separation anxiety phase where if I leave the room for a minute she freaks out. How can I balance those two attention needs in a healthy way?


 

CoachJenK :

Your younger one will begin to learn that even when you leave the room that you do come back and so giving some reassurance about that can also help. All of what you are experiencing is normal. Let your husband be with the little one while you are with your daughter and then switch it up


 

CoachJenK :

the separation anxiety is all part of it too and with reassurance that you come back is what is helpful. Always staying around and never giving the opportunity to gain a sense of mastery will make it harder in the long run for the little one as well.


 

Customer:

So it's ok to let her cry for a bit in her playpen?


 

Customer:

I never had this problem with my oldest, she was a happy go lucky baby


 

CoachJenK :

yes it is all normal


 

CoachJenK :

all kids are different as you are seeing. but right now your oldest needs you too and to feel special.


 

CoachJenK :

create that special time and let her know it is just you and her and something of her choice and she can start to feel more secure


 

Customer:

is it a normal 6 year old thing to fight against eating, brushing their teeth, picking up their room?


 

CoachJenK :

absolutely and even more so if she feels like she isnt getting enough of you so acting out gets your attention.


 

CoachJenK :

i would set clear boundaries with what you expect and the consequence that will follow if she doesnt brush her teeth, clean up, etc


 

CoachJenK :

make a chart with the things she needs to do and she can help color it and create it and then she can see if she doesnt do what is asked then she will lose her favorite dolly or whatever it may be for a brief period of time


 

Customer:

she is very responsive to taking privileges away but I thought I was being harsh


 

CoachJenK :

not at all


 

Customer:

okay. I will try everything you mentioned. I appreciate just having another person to listen :)


 

CoachJenK :

it is my pleasure. come to me anytime. please take a moment to click on the rating tab to offer a rating of my work


 

Customer:

I will do that. Thank you.


 

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