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Old 06-17-2011, 01:09 AM   #1
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I need help

My children are essentially out of control. I have no idea how to even begin to regain control. My 4 year old has decided in recent months to become a holy terror and get into everything and has discovered how to get to things when I put them out of reach. I've woken up many mornings to discover my makeup and my wallet strewn about with her simply telling me to put it out of her reach which is damn near impossible.
My 10 year old has a mouth and a temper. Routinely I watch (I do interecede) her chase down her 9 year old sister to smack her when her sister makes her angry. I've told her time and time again that is not how we deal with things in my house.
My 9 year old is an instigator. She will convince both the 4 year old and 10 year old to do things or ask to do things even if I am told them no several times. She routinely stirs crap up with them as well by taking their toys or breaking into the 10 year olds room.
I am really fed up with this all and my husband for whatever reason has not done anything to alleviate the situation and I need help. Tonight was the last straw for me as I cannot go on like this any longer.
Basically I need somebody to lay it out for me in steps. These are the things I would like to see from my children (and no I dont expect them to be good lil robots but I would like a little more respect)
I want them to
Clean their rooms more often when I ask them with little to no arguing
My 9 year old to stop instigating things with her sisters all the time
my 10 year old to stop screaming and chasing her sister down
all of them to respect my things
not argue when I ask them to help around the house or try to pawn it off on another sibling.
Thanks!

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Old 06-17-2011, 06:39 AM   #2
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Re: I need help

subbing Mines 2, no advice, just hugs. I grew up with 2 sisters and you're pretty much describing a usual day in my house in our Elementary school years. If it makes you feel better we eventually grew up, went to college, got married had babies and are good friends
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Old 06-17-2011, 06:44 AM   #3
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Re: I need help

mama.

I wish I had some advice, but I don't. My two kids are 20 months and 4 years old, and it's insane in my house. They're so aggressive and mean to each other... they don't listen to or respect me at all. I've heard wonderful things about the book Unconditional Parenting, and I'm going to order it as soon as I have some extra cash. Hopefully it well help.
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Old 06-17-2011, 07:29 AM   #4
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Re: I need help

My only advise is to take one thing at a time and really, really crack down on it. Whichever thing is the worst for you. If it's fighting, then every time they fight have consequences. For my older kids I send the two who are fighting to their rooms. But I also learned at a parenting class to set them in a chair in the middle of the room. For the younger ones I put them in corners. Then when they get out they have to apologize to each other. I don't care who started it and who's fault it is. It takes two to tango!! We have suprisingly few fights around here for having 7 kids in the house.

If they won't clean their rooms, maybe you should take away their stuff and make them earn it back slowly. I think you just need to reclaim (or claim!!) control of the house. You don't have to be mean to them, just firm. When you do, they will respect you and also your stuff. Just take one thing at a time and work on it until it feels more managable then move on to the next thing.

ETA: For kids who won't listen, it's best to start young and when you tell them to do something and they don't do it, actually go to them and make them do it. Say you tell your (general you!!) 2 year old to pick up their toy and they tell you no or just give you that look. Get up walk over to them and move their hand down to pick up the toy and put it away. Or if you tell them to go to bed or play in their room or whatever and they just sit there, get up and physically put them there. I've seen far to many "couch parents" who won't get up and make their kids do what they say then complain that they never listen. Or say timeouts don't work, but they just tell their kid to sit in time out but don't actually put them there. I'm not saying that is what you do, because you said you intervene, so that's good. I'm just saying some people do that and it's not effective parenting at all.
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Old 06-17-2011, 07:32 AM   #5
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Re: I need help

Well, I will be honest. Kids that act that way are usually allowed to. Not saying that you "let" them but there needs to be clear cut consequences for their behavior. And consistency, consistency, consistency. I see parents being bulldozed by their kids and those are the same parents that say "no" five times, only on the sixth time to say yes with a sigh of resignation. This is an example at our house. S does something to annoy M. M gets mad and hits S. I sit M down. I ask her why she did that. She tells me. I tell her that what she did was the wrong response and how could she have responded differently. M tells me. Then comes the consequence. Usually a letter of written apology to her sister and the loss of computer time for the day. The end. Our usual consequences are loss of computer time and writing sentences (for back talk). The youngest gets a time out. Every.Single.Time. I don't make empty threats. You can't say, "well if you don't listen you're grounded for a week" or "Do you want me to cancel your birthday party" (not saying you do, just that I hear that a lot from parents). Because realistically you are not going to follow through and it's an empty threat. Now let me ask you this? Do you give your ten year old responsibilty over her sibs? Is she letting it go to her head? You need to really have a talk with her. I've had that issue a few times with my ten year old. She can get a bit bossy. Another thing I do is to install a good sense of empathy in them. THe older two go and volunteer twice a week. Helping others really helps them to be better sisters to each other. Sorry so long, but I guess I would start with finding a consequense or set of consequences and stick to them. Stick to your guns no matter how many times you hear "no". And do not put up with hitting. Put your foot down. That can get out of control so fast. I hope I don't sound judgemental, I have my issues sometimes to. But generally my kids are well behaved and in control. But that did not come easy at any rate. It's hard work! Good luck mama!
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Old 06-17-2011, 07:33 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mommyfrog View Post
My only advise is to take one thing at a time and really, really crack down on it. Whichever thing is the worst for you. If it's fighting, then every time they fight have consequences. For my older kids I send the two who are fighting to their rooms. But I also learned at a parenting class to set them in a chair in the middle of the room. For the younger ones I put them in corners. Then when they get out they have to apologize to each other. I don't care who started it and who's fault it is. It takes two to tango!! We have suprisingly few fights around here for having 7 kids in the house.

If they won't clean their rooms, maybe you should take away their stuff and make them earn it back slowly. I think you just need to reclaim (or claim!!) control of the house. You don't have to be mean to them, just firm. When you do, they will respect you and also your stuff. Just take one thing at a time and work on it until it feels more managable then move on to the next thing.
Yes! I've done this and it works!!!!!
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Old 06-17-2011, 08:20 AM   #7
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Re: I need help

Quote:
Originally Posted by mommyfrog View Post
My only advise is to take one thing at a time and really, really crack down on it. Whichever thing is the worst for you. If it's fighting, then every time they fight have consequences. For my older kids I send the two who are fighting to their rooms. But I also learned at a parenting class to set them in a chair in the middle of the room. For the younger ones I put them in corners. Then when they get out they have to apologize to each other. I don't care who started it and who's fault it is. It takes two to tango!! We have suprisingly few fights around here for having 7 kids in the house.

If they won't clean their rooms, maybe you should take away their stuff and make them earn it back slowly. I think you just need to reclaim (or claim!!) control of the house. You don't have to be mean to them, just firm. When you do, they will respect you and also your stuff. Just take one thing at a time and work on it until it feels more managable then move on to the next thing.

ETA: For kids who won't listen, it's best to start young and when you tell them to do something and they don't do it, actually go to them and make them do it. Say you tell your (general you!!) 2 year old to pick up their toy and they tell you no or just give you that look. Get up walk over to them and move their hand down to pick up the toy and put it away. Or if you tell them to go to bed or play in their room or whatever and they just sit there, get up and physically put them there. I've seen far to many "couch parents" who won't get up and make their kids do what they say then complain that they never listen. Or say timeouts don't work, but they just tell their kid to sit in time out but don't actually put them there. I'm not saying that is what you do, because you said you intervene, so that's good. I'm just saying some people do that and it's not effective parenting at all.
Good stuff!

What kind of routine do you have for them? I would start by creating a structured, but flexible routine for them all. Have it include certain things that are done at certain times of the day to keep them responsible and BUSY. For instance, have everyone do household chores at the same time. Give everyone a specific job so that there is no pawning it off on a sibling. I think that keeping them busy and productive will solve a lot of the problems naturally.

When there is fighting, separate the two that are fighting as soon as it starts. Keep them apart all day except for meals. They can take turns going to their room, going outside, etc. They just can't do it together.

Help them organize their rooms and get them really tidy for a fresh start. Remember the structured day? Now they have a certain time(s) of day when they have to go clean their rooms. It can be before bed, before lunch, etc-just some time for them to go tidy up on a regular basis so that it doesn't get to the point of being overwhelming for them.

I have a 9yo DS. I have found that the complaining is much less if I simply look at him with complete sympathy in my eyes and say, "I wouldn't like to do it if I was your age either. It still must be done." Something about acknowledging it does something for him. Then when he does something without complaining (and I know he's not happy) I acknowledge that. "I noticed you didn't complain when I asked you to do XYZ. I know it's not your favorite thing."

And be sure to spend time with them while they do their chores. (obviously not all 3 at once) My oldest and I have good bonding time while we clean the commode.
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Old 06-17-2011, 08:51 AM   #8
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Re: I need help

What types of things are you doing now? It's possible you've already tried the common stuff and it's not working.

What motivates them? TV time? Video games? Money?
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Old 06-17-2011, 06:03 PM   #9
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Re: I need help

I absolutely agree - DSS is a little terror at his mother's house because she is the classic "couch mom", but is an angel at our house. He's honestly had one time out in the last 2 or 3 months because he knows that no means no. It wasn't easy - it was quite the journey to get here, but the key is consistency. I don't think that the reward or consequence is as important as sticking to it. But here's what works for us:
2 No's and a Go.
The second time I say no or ask DSS to clean his room, etc. I follow it up with "if I say it again, you're going to time out". At first he ALWAYS made me say it again and put him in a timeout.
I bring him TO the timeout chair, which is always in an out-of-the-way place and explain to him that I asked him to do X, but he didn't, and so now he needs to sit by himself for X minutes (he's 5, so we do 5 minutes... but he was 2 when we started, so it was 2 minutes). I never had the problem with him leaving time out before I went to get him, but he DID throw huge tantrums from the chair. It got to the point that we had to enact a "the timer starts when the crying stops" rule.
At the end of the timeout I go back, hunker down to his level (no easy task at 8 mos pregnant! haha) and ask him why he's sitting in time out. I ask him what he SHOULD do next time, and give him the opportunity to apologize. He doesn't always apologize, and I don't push it. I don't want him to just say it if he doesn't feel sorry. Then, if there was a task he was supposed to be doing, he has to go do it.

As far as cleaning up without complaining, we're still working on that one. I think that, because DF complains when I ask him to do something, this is going to be one I'll always struggle with, although... sometimes he surprises me!
I often tell DSS that "We're a family and this is our home. We all need to work together to keep it livable! Now grab that spray bottle and get to work, little man!" Last weekend when DF was complaining about having to move the couches and sweep under them, HE got the speech from DSS!
Chore charts work well. DSS has 5 "chores" (he's only 5, so I make normal things into chores, such as brushing his teeth, getting dressed, etc.) that he needs to do daily. If they're all done, he puts 5 stickers up on the chore chart for that day. At the end of the week, he gets $1 for each day of complete chores. Weekends are family cleaning frenzies, and there are no chores for those days.

I really should look into becoming a novelist....
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Old 06-17-2011, 06:34 PM   #10
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Re: I need help

The pp had a good point.....are their teachers at school or other caregivers seeing this behavior? If they are not then it is probably the dynamic between you and them that needs to change. My kids are not school age yet (I do have a preschooler and two younger ones) but I do take care of 6 to 8 kids on a regular basis and we don't have chaos here. Everything is routine and there are consequences and consistency even with young babies. A 6 month old crawler can begin to learn what they are not allowed to touch and that sort of thing. On the opposite end, you do have to take time to de-escalate the situations and really enjoy each other. Find ways to encourage them working together and enjoying being sisters instead of fighting so much.
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