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I cannot cope with my 4 dc. If we were married I'd have got divorced by now.

(16 Posts)
frenchlion Sat 16-Mar-13 20:38:56

If I have 1 of them on their own they are fine. They are all lovely kids. But together they are vile. they talk horribly to each other. They are really mean to each other all of the time. Shouting hitting, bitching. And on top of that they are really disgustingly messy - I keep finding sweet wrappers, dirty plates etc all over. And the oldest 2 are bombing out of school because they are so lazy. I meet the teachers, I encourage them with their work, I sit them down to study, I remind them to pack their bags, I have tried leaving them to it to develop their own responsibility. Nothing works with them.

I feel overwhelmed by it all. It's too much. I can't cope and I feel miserable with them every day. Every time they talk to each other, and the eldest (13) is frequently rude to me. I got ANOTHER letter home from school, despite him being grounded and having had his phone confiscated. He has been punished, but also been given the encouragement (lure/bribe/movtivation) of a lap top for his birthday if he exceeds the targets we set on improving his grades. Carrot don't work, stick don't work.

Dh often away. I can't cope. House is a tip. I feel totally out of control and they are so horrible to each other I hate being around them. I really lost it with them tonight and feel so down. It never gets better.

looseleaf Sat 16-Mar-13 22:41:01

This is so hard. No wonder you're upset. Does your DH have any ideas? Is there any way you can get help with the house as that must add another level of stress? Or even find a friend to help with each others' which I've done before but we were very close. It was great as we enjoyed the company and somehow it was less depressing .
I hope someone else will have advice about the fighting etc. as I don't know but just want to say I feel for you and really believe there'll be a way of making this easier somehow, or to get you extra support. Have you told your children how this feels?

frenchlion Sat 16-Mar-13 23:05:16

thank you for replying. I have told them. my 2nd always makes a massive effort then, but then they all kick off about the slightest thing. they snap at each other and talk really rudely and horribly to each other all of the time. No matter what I do it doesn't make any difference. I was seriously looking up boarding schools today. I feel like running away. But realistically I can't. So wondering about sending 1 or 2 of them away. I feel so jealous of people who enjoy their dc. I love mine and enjoy them on their own. But together they just depress me.

One time I met them for lunch (recently) in a cafe with dh and it was so lovely. They were all being really nice and jokey and friendly and I loved every minute. I couldn't believe it was my dc being so nice. So they can do it. I have told them how special it was for me and how much I enjoyed their company and how fun it was, but it was a weird, lovely 1 off performance.

Dh doesn't help. For various reasons that will not change.

I feel like a failure. I want my dc to be nice to each other (when they are also alone with 1 they usually are). I want them to enjoy each other and I want to enjoy them. But I live in a constant high octane war zone and it is depressing and stressful.

WinkyWinkola Sun 17-Mar-13 11:07:01

This sounds really wearing. I know they have to take responsibility for their own work but it is a process of learning to do that.

Have you tried rewarding for excellent school work?

Do they get regular homework? If so, can you meet with teachers to do a homework schedule that the older two must stick to each week?

It will help you to keep straight what needs to be done when so you can heck they've done it.

I did this with my ds1 together with his form teacher. It worked. His homework timetable is laminated and stuck up above his desk. It also has a space to write in unexpected extra work.

I would keep them as separate as possible - do they have their own rooms?

Whenever they are nice to each other, I say to mine, "What an amazing sister/brother you are for helping X/being kind etc"

As soon as any squabbling starts, mine are taken out of the playroom and put in their rooms to play alone.

At meal times, as soon as anyone plays up, they have 3 warnings and then they take their plate and eat alone, standing up at the other end of the kitchen.

WinkyWinkola Sun 17-Mar-13 11:09:29

Also can you do parent child days at the weekend?

Every six weeks, you or dh goes out with one child for three hours to do something that child has chosen. You take it in turns. With 4 dcs, you might find fewer weekends together as a family but I bet your dcs would love it.

Schedule it in a diary.

frenchlion Sun 17-Mar-13 11:28:47

Thanks for the ideas. I have drawn up a homework timetable for them. They they say they have down it. or worse, they do do it and forget to pack it. Every night they are supposed to pack their bags, but somehow it always leads to disaster. Mornings are a horror.

This morning I had another talk. I need 3 things to improve - their behaviour towards each other, their school work and their tidiness. Right now we have just got in. the house is a disaster. Kitchen a tip. Ds1 asks what's for lunch. I said I'd cook it when the dishwasher was empty and kitchen a bit tidier. He shouts no, I don't want to do it, I'm going to my room. I have no more energy to battle with them. I wish I could walk away. I cannot take it any more. Every single thing with them is a battle. I want to live on my own in a studio flat.

WinkyWinkola Sun 17-Mar-13 17:10:53

I know that feeling when everything is a battle.

Re packing schools bags, can you stand over them for the first few times and check that they've packed what they need - just until it becomes second nature?

You asked your ds1 to cook? How old is he?

You could draw up a rota of tasks - empty dishwasher, fill dishwasher, sort socks etc.

Let them scream and shout. If they don't do their chores it's no pocket money or whatever you give them.

You can't engage with them over every single thing. It will wear you out as it already has done.

Stipulate the rules and the forfeits Nd there is no further discussion on the matter.

I feel for you. I really do. You sound so tired.

One more thing. Get a slow cooker and batch cook!

frenchlion Sun 17-Mar-13 19:42:36

Thank you. You're right. I know the theory but am just too battle weary from struggling with the constant battles.

I have a slow cooker but they hate anything from it. Ds1 is vegetarian and another dc has some food intolerances, so finding a single meal that all 4 can eat is a perpetual headache.

EATmum Sun 17-Mar-13 19:53:14

Had a great suggestion from a friend that I've not implemented yet, but keep in reserve. In her family, if the children wanted to argue, they had to do it in the garden. So the moment they began to bicker she'd open the back door and shoo them out. Net result is that they a) get cold, esp at the moment and come inside and calm down, and b) you don't hear it. Might be worth trying?

frenchlion Sun 17-Mar-13 19:58:22

He is almost 14 btw and more than capable of sorting out a bit of lunch for himself if needs be. He is actually a good kid - clever, polite, friendly, kind to his youngest sibling. He is however lazy, loves winding up is siblings for fun when he is bored and creates an enormous amount of low level stress which adds up to being really stressful. He didn't have to cook. I kindly ensured there were enough left overs or he could have had a sarnie or something. He opted for a giant bowl of porridge. He didn't starve.

frenchlion Sun 17-Mar-13 19:59:09

My neighbours might not thank me but I might give that a try! smile

3littlefrogs Sun 17-Mar-13 20:02:54

OP you sound really down. Are you depressed - I mean do you think there is more to this than general exhaustion and constant battles? I wonder if you have a chicken and egg situation here and if you could do something about your general health, your tiredness/mood, maybe things might get easier?

You say DH doesn't help. IME children learn by example. If your DH is not taking his fair share of responsibility for the home and parenting, that is probably the main cause of the problem. Maybe that is what needs addressing
before you can tackle anything else.

WRT cooking, I think I would go for vegetarian meals for everyone, then go from there with the intolerances. Non-veggies can easily add a piece of fish or chicken. Cooking vegetarian food for everyone would probably make life easier. Get the veggie child to research recipes and menu plan.

I agree that if the dc want to fight they should do it outside. Consistantly and every single time. DH needs to back you up unconditionally though.

frenchlion Sun 17-Mar-13 20:16:28

I don't think I am depressed but I have got a couple of major health issues atm which are affecting me quite a lot. There are also a couple of things going on in the family which are adding to the stress.

Also I have started a course which is every day until 2 (have been a sahm for years and everybody relies on me doing everything). Now I am struggling to get people to help as I can no longer do everything. But am being me with resistance (more out of apathy than deliberate refusal iyswim) from dh too. After all their life has been v. comfortable till now and no one wants to change.

WinkyWinkola Sun 17-Mar-13 20:30:20

If your ds can cook, harness that definitely! Get him to prepare some food for lunch/supper at least once a week.

imip Sun 17-Mar-13 21:14:16

french it all sounds pretty shit, and I am worried that I might be posting like you in five or so years (my eldest is 6). My dh is not around in the evenings and I hate evenings, dinner time with fighting children. It does sound kind of like you describe, right down to homework (for a six year old). Wish I could offer some good advice, but can only think of one thing I sometimes do, which may or may not help. I have a friend with a couple of kids over for a play date after school/dinner time. It means I have company, I tend to overlook some of the things the kids do that usually irritate me. My neighbour has two children the same age as my youngest two, so it is usually her. I find it sad and lonely night after night with kids who just don't listen to me.

Also, perhaps, batch cooking?

Sorry I cannot offer much help, but I really feel for you...

imip Sun 17-Mar-13 21:16:05

Oh, banking the arguing outside thing for future reference. Sending a two and three year old to fight it out outside in the rain may be a little neglectful smile

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