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Sick of being on a constant war footing

(33 Posts)
UrbanDad Mon 04-Jun-12 16:04:17

DW works and I have to drop off and pick up the kids (5 and 7) from school each day (I am self-employed so I can work around the times). I am sick and fecking tired of having to chivvy them every morning to get themselves ready in the morning and dealing with them fighting with each other and shouting at me in the evening when I tell them it's bedtime etc. I have never ever hit them so I cannot understand why they hit each other (and me), but sometimes I feel my blood rising and shout at them so hard it makes my head rattle. Then they have to spend time on the naughty step and I have to keep taking them back there when they cheek me and come back. This isn't normal - and it happens every blasted day. I never used to be like this when I was a kid. What am I doing so wrong?

Scarredbutnotbroken Mon 04-Jun-12 16:08:10

Can you talk us through the routine? Is it the same thing that goes wrong every day or does it vary? Can you describe the behaviour?
That was a pretty honest post, I hope more turn up soon to help smile

Tannhauser Mon 04-Jun-12 16:08:37

This is normal. All parents of more than 1 child have to deal with this, don't worry.
Get everything ready the night before, and train your children to follow a set routine each morning.
Do not vary from the programme, and calm will be restored.

RandomMess Mon 04-Jun-12 16:09:40

I don't think it's that unusual.

Sounds like they are constantly pushing boundaries?

Have you read "How to talk so kids will listen..."

UrbanDad Mon 04-Jun-12 16:23:36

I do follow the same routine each morning - God, I cannot imagine how it would be if we didn't. It used to be fine up until about a year ago, but now the situation has deteriorated. They dawdle and throw tantrums, we end banging right up against deadlines all the time until I'm screaming at them. I've done the whole parenting communication thing and it works up to a point and then they just seem to revert. Same in the evening - after school activity, meal, [fight-shout-argument], bath, [fight-shout-argument, cheek, refusal to co-operate, tears], bedtime story, [back-chat, cheek, shouting, making stupid noises], door shut and useless Dad descends staircase with a heavy heart feeling like a crap parent (again).

Scootergrrrl Mon 04-Jun-12 16:27:31

I've seen the bored policeman approach recommended on here and it's one which works very well on my similar-aged children. Basically, you imagine you're a fairly kind, rather bored policeman trying to control a group of rowdy football fans (or whatever) and instead of getting angry, just concentrate on getting the job done with as little metaphorical fighting as possible. Repeat yourself calmly as many times as it takes to get the job done. I hope that makes sense!

RandomMess Mon 04-Jun-12 16:27:50

Hmmm I'd let them be late for school and see what happens.

Alternatively depart the house when it's time to go and whatever state of undress and unbreakfasted they are?

Have you done the 1 warning and your out approach.
Other point is are they getting enough sleep or have you got 2 tired grumpy children?

UrbanDad Mon 04-Jun-12 16:34:32

I like the sound of "bored policeman" approach - I'll give it a go. They do get plenty of sleep (8pm - 6am), but it's quite possible they're overscheduled (fallen into the middle-class parent trap there, I'm afraid) but they enjoy all of their after-school stuff, so difficult to take any of that away with it feeling like a punishment.

RandomMess Mon 04-Jun-12 16:38:40

One of mine at 5 was sleeping 6pm-7.30am...

Who do you think is the main instigator? Also would the younger one benefit from going to bed before the older one so he gets some one on one time?

Tannhauser Mon 04-Jun-12 17:06:26

My 6yo needs 11.5-12 hours sleep, honestly! Full-on school, and after-school activity would leave her in a complete state, leading to rattyness, stubborness, ill health.

Set the clocks earlier? I set a 'go out of the house' alarm... for 15 minutes before we have to leave. Once that's sounded, it's everyone scramble to leave...

I don't think letting them be late is right with a 5 and 7yo- it's the parents' responsibility at that age.

UrbanDad Mon 04-Jun-12 17:12:25

I've just had an epiphany - they eat well, have enough sleep (10 hours is OK) and are not overscheduled.

It's me - I'm overtired, overscheduled and my mealtimes/exercise are very irregular. They're not worse. I am. I used to take this stuff in my stride, but now I have to think about clients and new contracts and getting all my paperwork in the right place morning and evening on not enough sleep. God, I really need to get some stuff off my plate.

dangerousliaison Mon 04-Jun-12 17:25:43

I would put them to bed at different times and definatly before 8pm i would say 6-6.30 for youngest and 7pm for oldest and wake at 7.30 am. do they need to be up at 6am also i leave my dd with only enough time to get up eat dress and leave. I am up at 6 - 6.30 and get what is needed ready, so maybe they have too much time in the morning. also recomend no tv, toys, games etc in the morning.

My dd 6 and has a busy schedule also and monday and tuesday she is in bed 6.30- 7pm and weds and thursday she is bed 7.30pm as she has two activities both nights so it is straight in and straight to bed after eating between both activities. It is often a wrap and chicken and veg as no time to cook, so do before school pick up.

dangerousliaison Mon 04-Jun-12 17:26:38

sorry that ment to say my dd wakes at 7.30, not that your should.

dangerousliaison Mon 04-Jun-12 17:32:59

how much child care and daily routine does/is your dw able to contibute to, could she do more?

RandomMess Mon 04-Jun-12 17:53:54

Ah well - you need some rest and rebate, is there responsibility that your dc can take on?

Ours have to help sort the clean washing and put their own away (3 girls close in age with all those socks and knickers their help is essential). We make them get dressed before they come downstairs etc etc

Get your DW to order you to bed earlier too grin wink

QueenTiggyDTheFirst Mon 04-Jun-12 23:39:13

"but they enjoy all of their after-school stuff, so difficult to take any of that away with it feeling like a punishment."
Then take it away as a punishment! Try stepping up the negative consequences. Maybe a short time out isn't enough? Make it 3 time outs in a day and miss an after school thing?

Also, why argue with the children? If children do something that they know they shouldn't do why argue? Arguing is a 2 way thing. Just go straight to punishment.

UrbanDad Wed 25-Jul-12 22:37:03

Had another thought. Bedtime's getting too late. They need to go to bed before they get overtired. Also I need to stop and count to 10 before I yell at them (and boy, do I yell - the whole street must hear it!).

UrbanDad Wed 25-Jul-12 22:39:33

By the way, anyone got any suggestions for punishment for a defiant, "I don't care", hitting, shouting, obnoxious child in the evening (without getting physical, which I def. don't want to do)?

cupcake78 Thu 26-Jul-12 20:42:08

Punishment is really quite simple, take away from them something they love and make them earn it back by good behaviour.

Can be anything from, after school activites, bedtime stories, tuck in's, favourite toys, trips to the park, tv, computer games, later bedtimes for the eldest one, days out with friends, sleep overs, one on one time with mum or dad etc etc. It can be anything, it will bother them eventually if they keep losing things they love.

Dont get angry with them, just be firm with your requests, warn them once and then carry it out! You must carry it out.

Its exhausting for the first few days but you'll be amazed at how fast they'll pick it up. Basically let them know that dad doesnt mess about.

If people think your too strick then your doing a great job ;) Oh and get some me time, find your 'man cave' and spend some much needed time their. Put your kids to bed by 7.30 and have an extra 30 mins for you.

cupcake78 Thu 26-Jul-12 20:45:14

Oh and in our house, hitting and being cheeky = one warning then naughty step/confiscation. The declaration of 'I dont care' means they really do care but are trying to wind you up and it appears to be working. Your dc are very bright by the sounds of it.

SilkySilky Mon 13-Aug-12 22:10:41

Similar probs here. Used to be so much easier (and fun)

Agree with "one warning then punishment."

I admit to giving my year old the occassional PLAYFUL "dead leg/arm" and this seems to reset his mood back to calm again. It build sup again, so timing important to get them to bed or get them out of door again before next blow up.

I liken it to a volcano ready to spill.

SilkySilky Mon 13-Aug-12 22:12:07

that is "admit to giving my 8 year old the occassional PLAYFUL "dead leg/arm"

AnyFucker Mon 13-Aug-12 22:14:06

what is a "playful dead arm/leg" ?

and on a baby ?

AnyFucker Mon 13-Aug-12 22:15:27

ah, not a baby

but how do you give a dead arm/leg "playfully" ?

MiniMonty Tue 14-Aug-12 01:03:49

To UrbanDad...

Been there mate (in almost exactly the same circumstances; wife in rat race, me self employed) and I truly know what you are going through. Not easy and the enemy changes it's tactics and defences daily (they learn.........)

Of course, if you and the wife argue in front of the kids they will just copy that and display aggressive behaviour to you expecting rewarding hugs and love for it.... Assuming you keep the marital mash ups away from the offspring my advice is this.

1) yes, sort yourself out so you are on always top of your game. Major amounts of patience are required but you can put things in place which give you the advantage. The thing to remember is that you are not always necessarily their best friend but that you are always their parent. This can cause tears and minor heartache on each side but you are not there to make them smile 24/7 - you are there to make then incredible - long term...

2) give the older one a notion of responsibility for the younger one (with rewards on offer and promised if things go well). Otherwise they play off each other, riff off each other and accelerate into mayhem. Offering the older one a reward for helping the younger one into "good behaviour" or (whatever label you'd like to put on it) will a) have the older one looking to you for approval rather than playing silly buggers and b) actually have him/her pulling the younger one into line with whatever rules / guidelines you have tried to put in place. "you know the rules - I want to see you helping him to learn them".

3) 3rd party authority is priceless. Your kids are much more scared of their teacher's disapproval than they are of your dead arm or spanking. So you DON'T need to hit them, hurt them or indulge in the "naughty step" nonsense. Simply walk them all the way into the classroom ONCE and (out of earshot of any other kids) say to the teacher "Jack (or Jill) has been very naughty this morning and I would like to report that to you so you can bear that in mind for the rest of the day. His / her behaviour needs to improve and he/she is quite aware of it". The teacher will give you a knowing wink and the threat of being reported to that teacher again will become a HUGE weapon in your arsenal. It's not humiliating and it's not a torture - it's just you letting them know that you are in charge and someone who can be easily in touch with their authority figures.

4) If you promise to take them on a steam train then take them on a steam train - equally, if you say "do that again and you'll go to bed" then if they do it again they HAVE to be sent to bed. No questions, no arguments. YOU have to stand firm by what YOU promise and what you threaten. Boundaries, deadlines, rules - these things work very well for kids because children NEED certainty and if you introduce them you have to stick with them and stand by them. No matter what no matter when.

Confusion and chaos came out of your original post and order and planning seems obvious to solve your woes.

I'm no expert - I scream at my kids more often than I'd like but I try to realise (and bear in mind) that they're not finished and that it's my job to bring them to fruition.

Best wishes

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