Please help, this situation sometimes drives me crazy!(45 Posts)
I have an eight year old son and a five year old daughter. I take them to school three times a week. My son is always very impatient to go to school and he is ready to get out of the the door way before his school gate opens and the school is not far away at all. My daughter on the other hand is very slow and takes her time - basically she is not that keen on being on time and obviously her comprehension is different at this stage. Almost every time we get into a situation where my son puts his shoes on before we are ready and he starts huffing and puffing that his sister is going to making him late. It all kicks off from there. She starts shouting and screaming at him, he starts shouting as well and they physically fight sometimes as well. There have been times when I lost it and shouted very loudly as well. It's just getting very tedious sometimes especially if I have had not enough sleep myself or when I am ill. I do not advocate the classical parenting approach the way in which I have been raised therefore I really do not think banning things or threats to restrict the things they enjoy doing helps in the long run. Generally I try to use descriptive phrase etc. but regarding this issue I feel like I am stuck and every time it kicks off in the same way I feel a bit helpless as it has turned mornings into a nightmare. We have a neighbour across the road with three kids of similar ages to mine who go to school at the same time and I have not heard them arguing a single time! I do not know great deal about them a part from the fact that they are Christians and we have no religion but I do not know whether it plays any part in it. I would really appreciate any suggestions you think I should try in this situation.
Thanks and good luck with yours!
Why on earth would religion play any part of it at all?
What punishment do they have for hitting each other?
I do not know, as I said I do not know great deal about them and there is three of them and I have not seen them arguing with each other a single time -I just cannot comprehend how angelical they can be! We do not punish but tell them that they must not do it and I intervene if I see that it's going to get nasty - I do not think you can totally eliminate sibling rivalry! How punishing them is going to help and what would you do?
so theres no punishment for this behaviour, is that correct?
So you tell them they "must not" hit each other but when they do, you don't do anything about it except tell them again that they "must not" do it.
So do you think perhaps while they know they must not do it, they also know that it doesn't matter if they do because nothing will happen anyway?
The other family most probably have sanctions in place for bad behaviour.
Yes, there is no punishment and as I said I intervene when it looks like it is going to get out of control! As I said you cannot really stop it by punishing! Can you please tell me what your punishment would be and does it really work in your case? I do not think punishing in the long run would necessarily help with their development! It would be nice if someone with a different approach could contribute otherwise I have not really come here to listen to some bull...it about how I should punish my children! This was my first time in eight years. Maybe it was a mistake!
so why did you post then?
you seem to have decided punishment wont work even though you havent tried, so what do you want?
Good luck - you're going to need it!
Forget about it! If I knew all I would get is people advising me to punish my children I would not have done it anyway! You didn't even tell me how it helps you, how are you going to convince me? Are you even in a similar situation at all or do you just like advising people to punish their kids!
What do you want us to advise you?
You won't step up to the plate and deal with bad behaviour effectively, so what do you expect is going to happen?
You sound a bit woolly to me!
I'm not in a similar situation because I discipline my kids.
Okay, just tell me what I should do in your opinion then!
Show them that their bad behaviour has consequences...you know...the usual stuff.
Personally I use time out.
I think you are getting caught up on the word punishment... there has to be consequences for thier actions.
Its up to you what those consequences are... but you have said that no consequences arent working.
So the consequences of having no 'punishment' is that your kids fight and argue all day.
Personally, i'd take the power away from the kids. tell DS that he cant get ready until DD has, and he has to help. Tell DD that she must get ready in tim (make it 10 mins before you have to leave)
Now once consequence could be that DS gets a reward if DD is tardy... but that would set up all kinds of sibling rivalry.
you need to get them working together as a team.
Sibling rivalry is often inevitable but letting them hit each other is unacceptable.
Would you react the same way if they hit a child in school?
Sanctions that I would use;
Removing favourite toys/tv for a certain amount of time, on the condition that they behave for that amound of time.
Loss of privileges e.g. days out, play dates.
Thanks bitsofmeworkjustfine, that was more constructive so far!
They have never hit another child in their lives - they are like angels at school and outside but it changes at home!
I do not know if you had siblings but it really is impossible to stop them hitting each other completely as you cannot control every second of what they are doing. I am not totally against sanctions and other things if they help but we have been parents for a while now and we have tried so many things and in my opinion sanctions on their own do not work in the long run!
Thanks for your contribution though!
If you are associating punishment with physical violence, it doesn't have to be that way you know. Using the withdrawal of treats and privileges is a perfectly normal and effective way of disciplining children. You can't say that it doesn't work because you haven't tried it with your children. They are growing up thinking that thjere are no consequences to their actions and you are failing in one of your key parental responsibilites.
Heres the thing. What you are doing right now is not working is it?
Theres no point asking for advice if you are dead set against trying anyrhing.
It is perfectly possible to stop siblings hitting each other - you disciplne then every time it does happen and eventually it stops. Mine rarely ever hit each other even if provoked, and certainly don't just attack each other in anger ever.
Your problem sounds like inconsistency, if you've tried lots of things and 'nothing works'. Sanctions do work with most children, if they are applied consistently. This may mean a few very rough weeks where they need to get used to the new way of doing things, but it will work. The key is to find the right lever - what do they really, really value. And it can be positive as well - they can get (extra) rewards for good behaviour as well as restrictions for poor behaviour.
Actual things we do in this house include restricting ds1's favourite after school club - it is dependant on good behaviour in the week before. With ds2 it is bedtime stories - he loses one for poor behaviour. To incentivise good behaviour we also have extra pocket money over and above their £1 a week - so 5p extra for each of 5 tasks a day.
unacceptable behaviour = consequences. This is a life lesson that you need to teach them. They are 8 and 5 so the consequences need to be age appropriate , you don't need to be cruel but firm and fair. Decide on what the consequences are going to be if there is physical fighting, sit them down one night, tell them why their behaviour is unacceptable and what will happen if they fight. If/when it happens follow through. Talk to your son - on his own - about the importance of showing patience to his sister and reassure him that you won't allow the them to be late. Let him also voice his concerns and worries. Talk to your daughter - on her own - about the importance of being on time for things, explain why her brother gets upset with her, help her with a getting ready schedule (perhaps get her school things laid out in the evening in one place), maybe give her an egg timer and make a game of it. Talk to them together about having love and respect for each other.
You can sort this out
sparkle12mar08ö if you read my previous posts above, you can see that I have explained before that we have tried many things before and sanctions are the most common method we used to be honest. This is the reason why I have come here to seek an alternative view but it seems like I have come at the wrong time or everyone else thinks the same! I do not associate it with violence, no but when everyone just says that just punish them, punish them I do not find it constructive and do not feel like it offers me any alternatives but I must say that I found bitsofmeworkjustfine's approach most constructive and similar to things that I have tried before and partially worked but I need to be more consistent. In this case it's my son who drives me crazy the most. It feels like he has set himself a task of winding me up about being late to school which is literally three minutes away, everyday as soon as it hits 8.30. He just cannot see that every time he starts going on about stuff it delays him even more. He says sorry every time but it all starts again like nothing happened before hence the feeling of helplessness!
Can you do something to keep the 8yo busy after his shoes are on, give him a set of jobs to do for a few pennies, maybe?
Send the 8yo out to the garden or he gets in car to wait until you are done with the 5yo (I have done this with my lot). Keep a book or some comics in the car while he waits. Let him hold the car keys (give him a job to feel responsible about).
Else try to get the girl ready, sooner.
What happens the other 2 days/week, who takes them then, why no problem then?
Sympathies, I have a bit of this with getting 3 out the door. DD is pathologically uptight about being "late". Luckily she is 11 & we are walking distance from school so she goes on her own. Sometimes I let the 8yo go on his own but I usually shadow him with 4yo at my side.
ps: ask on an Unconditional Parenting thread or website about non-punishment solutions.
Is your son missing out on playground time with his friends in the morning? Can you not get there a little bit earlier so he can have a kick around with his friends , your daughter can play with her friends and you can chat to some of the other mums or just collect your thoughts for the day. I live 2 minutes away from the school and so me and my dd leave it to the last minute to get there. Other families who have come from further afield usually arrive much earlier just so they're not late iyswim. Maybe he just feels he's missing out - they do get much less play as they get older.
At a calm moment can you sit down together with both kids and talk about how mornings are not working for anyone. Encourage them to suggest ways things could be improved, they might actually have some good suggestions. And they could also help agree what rewards or sanctions are used if anyone doesn't stick to what they need to do.
Things might be better if they're involved in resolving the issues?
Thanks for all of your contributions! I agree about your views about minimising or trying to eliminate the physical fights but in my opinion I need to work on the behaviours that causes this situation to occur every day. I get my daughter's school clothes ready the first things and we have a tooth brush and paste downstairs for her as it would be another struggle to get her upstairs in to the bathroom to brush her teeth and so forth...I really need to find a way to stop my son going on about being late though because that's what kicks it all off! I will try and use all of your opinions to construct a plan of action!
Having a child who is very uptight about being late is very wearing. Luckily DD didn't acquire this malaise until the last 6 months. If she had her way, she'd be 20 minutes early to everything.
Could you try a different tack then? If you feel he is trying to wind you up, can you withdraw from the situation? To go and help your daughter dress or to do something else in the house? Also could you sit down with him separately and perhaps explain that it's brilliant that he can do it by himself and quickly, and as a result he has extra time to do something nice - maybe 5 mins extra telly, 5 mins on a games console (if you have them), reading an extra chapter of his book. I suspect that positive rewards in the extra time he creates for himself might work better for your ds - he needs to fill the time rather than feel anxious about it.
Also given that he's 8 and school is three minutes away, why can't he go ahead by himself anyway? It's a perfect age to start introducing him to walking by himself if the route is basically safe and he knows it well. You could check he was in the playground when you get their with dd anyway.
lljkk, the school is very close so we walk...Unfortunately once he is in a huff it's impossible to communicate with him as he goes on on about being late and I use the ability to talk to him in a calm way anyway! Thanks about the Unconditional Parenting thread, I didn't know and will try it! Good luck
MissWooWoo: They don't really play in the mornings and he goes into the building straight away! He doesn't exactly say why but I think he is just worried about being late, I spoke to his teacher to have a few words with him about him but I do not think she bothered! On the other hand my daughter sometimes plays with her friends but a lot of the time she just stands around me...
Their mum takes them on the other two days and it's more or less the same...
Thanks for all of your contributions!
I think parenting is the most difficult thing on earth!
Thanks, that might be a good idea to start a habit where he can maybe go on his computer - I think out of all available options this might be the only thing i can see that might work!
My wife says that they have to be 9 years old to be out on the street on their own - I think that would solve the whole problem all together to be honest but according to my wife we have to wait until he is 9!
Why don't you just get the 8 year old up a little bit later or the 5 year old up earlier?
There is no law or fixed rule about age for being out on their own. I think most people are capable of using their own common sense about their child & their local environment to figure out what is reasonable for them. From what you're saying I'd probably let him go on his own,just check he arrived when I got there, but it's not my child/environment.
To solve this problem I would set a time that you leave each day. A time that wont have DS too stressed about being late and wont have DD rushing for nothing.
You pick a time, tell them both this is the time you will leave every day. Tell DS that you do not want to hear any whinging, moaning or nagging before that time - tell him it that he is old enough to understand compromise and it's time to start applying it to his life. Tell DD that it is important to be on time and to allow a bit of extra time to get organised at the other end and not to be running in as the bell goes. Keep reminding her of that. She's 5, she wont really give a toss, but it's an important thing to instill anyway. She is only 5, it is up to you (or your Mum) to make sure she is ready at the assigned time.
Is your DS this stressy about other things too?
As for your overall parenting - it doesn't seem like you really want advice, but I will say one thing. Don't keep 'trying' this and that. Pick one way of dealing with unsuitable behaviour and stick to it for a long time (at least 6 months) then decide if it's working or not. Children need boundaries and discipline.
Your wife is talking rubbish! They do not have to be any particular age to be out on their own. They need to be safe, adaptable, mature, sensible and trustworthy, but age per se has little to do with it. Most infant/junior schools are happy for KS2 children to walk to & from school themselves as long as school is informed and in most cases a permission slip signed. I'd really try and discuss with her and your son, the possibility of him going ahead by himself, and also try and get to the bottom of his anxiety about being late.
ChippingInLovesAutumn, yes she is a bit stressed and wife thinks that it is possibly because she had to got to the nursery from when she was 18 months old..Yeah, consistency is important, thank you.
sparkle12mar08, I have never looked into it myself but I will investigate and possibly opt this way as it might really help!
i am sorry i haven't read all of the posts, but have a few ideas, i do agree that children need to know there are consequences to their actions, and also you should only ever say things you mean or will do agree( don't make empty threats)
so onto my ideas, sounds like your ds is doing what is needed in getting ready and on time, can you try to reward this behaviour, treats for this e.g a week of on time can equal a treat at the weekend, trip to the park etc? same rules for your ddi, hopefully incentivising good behaviour?
might also be worth considering a little something to do by front door for your ds once he is ready, pack of cards, sorting mini lego figures etc so he isn't just waiting for his dsis, and getting angry.
lastly i would at a quiet time sitting down with them both no tv etc write a morning routine with times, then you become official timekeeper, so you will be saying very positively its 7.30, down for breakfast i. two minutes, or is everyone dressed we need to be readym in 5 inutes, then do a count down with every minute until 1, then every 10 seconds until last 10, then a 10 to 1 count down. this sounds a bit intensive but actually won't take very long, and hopefully will speed up your morning? hope these ideas might help?d
If you want avoid punishment then you need to prevent your ds from instigating this situation. Give them both an alarm clock and set it for the time you need to get shoes on and go. Tell your ds that you set the rules and not him, explain that the situation is becoming difficult and causing everyone stress therefore he must not be ready before the alarm goes off ask him to sit and read a book if he is ready early and and he does not put his shoes on and taint his sister.
Give your dd an alarm clock as well and tell her about the importance of being reliable and on time as it causes other people upset if people are late and inconsiderate of others needs. Set the alarm and tell her she must put her shoes on and get out the door straight away.
Give this a week and see how it goes, if it fails then get them to write a letter to each other to you explaining how they have behaved and how it has upset the other child, this way they can consider how there behaviour impacts on each other and they may self regulate better. Also it will soon become tedious for them and they may stop in future if they need to take time out once they get home from school to write letters rather that the things they want to be doing.
Thanks for the overwhelming response and sharing your advice, thoughts and experiences! I am going top consider this all and hopefully report back on progress. I just wish that I have more time to contribute and carry on with the discussion but I must go back to work! I am going to print this out and highlight some bits!
Once again thanks and good luck with your journeys too!
I second letting the DS take himself to school. Not really early so he's hanging about on his own, but so he knows, at the point your DD is putting her shoes on, he can go. My DS started taking himself when he turned 8 and we live very near to our school too.
can he tell the time?
give him a watch and get him to time how long it takes to get to school going at a normal pace, then time it going fast.
Once he knows what it feels like to be on time.... he might relax about being late.
My dcs were very close together in age and enjoyed winding each other up at times. Being an only child myself, it took me a while to realise that this was relatively normal, not evidence that they hated each other. Being very different children, they too played on those differences.
I was not keen on punishment, per se (and certainly not in a Victorian understanding of the word) but equally, you can't allow unacceptable behaviour to go unchallenged. So I tended to stress that all actions have consequences. Which could, of course, be positive. Because it is just as important to reward good behaviour and certainly better all round than constant shouting or dishing out punishments that are over the top or just plain ineffective. It was necessary, however, for the consequences to be less favourable if the dcs weren't prepared to be co-operative.
It sounds, OP as if your dd needs to be encouraged to get ready more quickly because actually, I can see how irritating it would be to watch a sibling wander around slowly without a care. At 5, she's quite old enough to understand why you need to leave on time. Equally, your ds needs to understand that getting impatient and having a shouting match isn't going to speed things up and he's old enough to learn some tolerance.
Do you have any sort of reward system in place?
For some great ideas that don't involve punishment
check out www.handinhandparenting.org
They have lots of articles about fighting and sibling issues. You are right not to use punishment , studies show it actually makes behavior worse!
Hi Pandemoniaa, thanks for sharing. There are rewards in place but not consistently...
Thanks for sharing paranoid2android
So DS is the one in the wrong for wanting to be early for school? Encourage dd to speed up. It's rare for kids to want to go to school. Don't discourage him. Sit them down and tell them that tomorrow morning is going to be different. Tell them how YOU want the start if the day to go. Your in charge remember.
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