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I'm making a right hash of single parenting

(21 Posts)
IdreamofFairies Tue 09-Jul-13 23:42:10

i do one to one parenting classes as part of my job. i am so glad to be a little help.

Smartie also has some really good advice.

you are doing a great job i mean that you should definitely not be shot for moaning. you want a happy family i think that is highly commendable (sp)

my ds get quite tubby when they are about to sprout up a few inches could this be about to happen with your ds.

exercise will help with the weight and will also help with his behavior maybe an activity you could do just the two of you. two birds one stone that sort of thing.

good luck

Smartiepants79 Tue 09-Jul-13 23:09:50

I agree with all the positive reinforcement. Try to use your words carefully. "Your behaviour is naughty" rather than " you are naughty."
It can make a difference.
I don't knowing you think he will cope with this but sometimes at school I sit down with a child at a calm, quite time and have a 'grown up' heart to heart.
"It makes me really sad when I shout at you but sometimes your behaviour just makes me so angry"
"Can you explain how you feel when we argue.?"
Can you think of things we could both try to do to make it better?"

Something along those lines.
Get him to agree to a few (3?) basic rules that would make life easier.
Get him to also agree to consequences for breaking those rules.
Agree on things YOU will do as well.
Timetable some time for him and you together, doing things he wats to do?
Just some thoughts.

Knowing you are struggling and wanting to make some changes is really the biggest hurdle and you have already done that.
Stick with it.

AnuvvaMuvva Tue 09-Jul-13 23:07:51

Idreamoffairies... I love your tips! Did you say you ran parenting classes? You are so good at this.

Yes I think Oldest's self esteem is low. sad Not popular at school, plus he's put on a bit of weight. I think we can address that at the doctors when we go to get him assessed. Would that be awful? He wants to lose weight - he is self-conscious about his tummy and it is quite big. I can help him.

AnuvvaMuvva Tue 09-Jul-13 23:02:58

God, I'm so negative. Let me rephrase my thoughts...

1. I'm lucky I can work from home. To be honest, I like doing the doctor/school stuff - I like knowing what's going on! Besides even if I were married, that'd all probably end up being on my list of responsibilities. So not a problem.

2. I'm lucky my life is affordable.

3. I'm lucky I have two healthy kids. Youngest took his iron medicine really well today, and I got him to eat a steak! So I feel confident we can solve that problem. I've put a smaller bottle of the medicine in his bag to keep at his dad's house.

4. I hated being married to exDH so this situation is always always going to beat that.

5. I have a fab bf and he understands and supports my parenting stresses. He's lovely with the kids, really lovely.

6. Oldest can be tough, but I'll get him assessed and the home visit things will work. They certainly won't hurt.

7. His teacher will understand why I didn't do his project for him.

8. The holidays are coming up, and even though I dread them every year, I always end up LOVING them.

9. The kids are off with their dad for the first week in August so I'll get a full week to recharge my batteries. They'll gave fun and come home to a rested mother.

10. It's not as bad as I've painted it. We do have fun together - parenting classes are available and will be a HUGE help. I'll need a babysitter to get the time off though. Or maybe their sodding dad can look after them while I do that; it's for his children's benefit, after all.

I'm luckier than so many people and should be shot for moaning.

IdreamofFairies Tue 09-Jul-13 22:54:13

thats a brilliant starting point well done for taking the time out to spend one to one with your ds.

are you and your ds similar in character sometimes we dislike seeing the things we dont like about our selves in others so we are harder on them.

you will find the more effort you put into enjoying your ds the less you will over time have to fake it iygwim

also try asking yourself am i being fair here. if your ds has trouble sitting still are you being fair expecting him to do just that because you need 5 mins peace. its sort of setting him up to fail and for you to be disappointed. find a job for him to do that will give you the space you need. or send him to do something he enjoys.

your children are different its ok to treat them differently as long as you are fair of course.

improving your ds self esteem will also help his behaviour. lots of praise
never ever say any thing bad about them in their hearing
you give consequences for a bad behavior thats it end of the matter.
if you do need to tell his dad you dp then thats fine but not when he is there.

hand over to dad ds has been really helpful today .........whatever
instead of ds behaved bad didn't listen ... bad bad bad...

the same for school have a behavior book or arrange a time to have phone conversations.

the better he feels about himself the better he will behave.

AnuvvaMuvva Tue 09-Jul-13 22:37:18

I'm definitely a lot lot softer, calmer, more controlled and less spiky with the youngest child. sad Something about Oldest just pushes my buttons. I AM ASHAMED TO ADMIT THAT. He just gets to me in ways that the little one doesn't. In good and bad ways - my feelings for Oldest are just more passionate. Youngest and I have a much easier-going relationship.

AnuvvaMuvva Tue 09-Jul-13 22:33:49

Thank you both so much!

I don't know how to get their Dad to take more responsibility. I just don't know. I do fob stuff off into him when I can -- if one of the kids has a birthday party invite for a weekend when they're at their dad's house, for example, I make him buy the present etc. But stuff like doctors appointments, etc, seem to fall solely on my shoulders because I work from home and he doesn't.

... Even though his working all week doesn't correspond to his giving me any money towards feeding/clothing/housing his kids.

Tonight, I put the youngest to bed then sat with Oldest and played a game of battleships. I tried to follow the "good attention" advice by noticing when he was well-behaved and thoughtful (which happened quite a lot!). I'll DEFINITELY keep that up. I feel awful about how I've spoken to him lately - I've been a total cow.

I don't know what else to do. I look ahead to the future and it's just empty. Years of this stress just stretching ahead.

Smartiepants79 Tue 09-Jul-13 21:48:11

I've no personal experience, mine are still only little, but you do sound like its all on top of you at the moment.
A couple of things I wanted to say.
Parenting is a two person job. His father is at least as responsible as your are for his children. Is there no way any of this can be delegated to him?
Does he understand in any way the impact all this has on all three of you?

You are not a bad mother for enjoying your time without them. It is very hard and emotionally draining work. Make the most of your free time to recharge.
As teacher I completely agree with not doing his homework for him and letting him face the consequences. It is exactly what I would suggest for dealing with the situation. Make sure he knows you will help and support him if he wants but it is HIS work and he must start to take some responsibility. Discuss with his teacher what the consequences will be.

Push for and take all the help you can get.

IdreamofFairies Tue 09-Jul-13 19:33:23

Ok one of the first things we talk about is the balance of attention.
there are 2 types of attention positive and negative

people often think their child gets lots of attention but through a discussion about what positive and negative attention is see that its can be mostly negative.
negative shouting, smacking etc and the giving of any response to bad behavior
positive praise verbal or things such as high five thumbs up.

for every negative attention you need to give 5 times more positive attention.

now if you are really struggling with your ds behavior you are going to need to look for small things tiny even. eg wow look at you playing nicely/quietly even if its only for 1 minute. thanks for picking that up absolutely anything will do

this is called catch your child being good.

the more positive attention they get the less negative attention they will look for. it does take time and is hard (but isn't everything that's worth while)

i promise you it will make a difference. this is step one.

i normally give a home work task it might be helpful do give it a go

describe bad behavior describe your response

describe good behavior describe you response

this is normally a week long task but just doing one or two will help.

pm me if you want.

IdreamofFairies Tue 09-Jul-13 19:16:01

sorry just re read the last bit about the teacher
be polite be honest, i am, as you are, having trouble with ds behavior at the moment so his homework has not be completed. this is something i am working on improving and hope to start September in a better form. i appreciate your support in this.

AnuvvaMuvva Tue 09-Jul-13 19:15:38

Parenting tips would be great!!! Thank you!!

IdreamofFairies Tue 09-Jul-13 19:12:12

you sound very stressed give your self a break none of us are super mum

your dc may still have issues about you and his dad splitting up and other factors around that ( none of which is your fault btw)

counseling sounds great dc will sometimes open up to others.

i can do some parenting tips with you if you want

IdreamofFairies Tue 09-Jul-13 19:07:55

ok a lot of information there.

first things first make an appointment with the gp and start the process of getting him assessed.

what you need is parenting classes they wont change everything just make minor changes like i said before about how you deal with his behavior. its honestly not hugely difficult (if i can do it anyone can :-) )

my son has adhd and a lot of the behavioural issues your eldest dc has. i manage it though most of the time anyway with things i learnt in parenting classes.

homework its your dc homework they as you rightly said have to suffer the consequences of not doing it. you - dc do you want me to help you with your homework
dc- no i am not doing it
you- well you will have to explain to teacher why you havent done it.

he may have a problem organising his thought but if you have offered to help there is not much more you can do. for the last few weeks of school i would let it go. sept can be a new start for you both with regards to that.

AnuvvaMuvva Tue 09-Jul-13 18:48:06

I asked the school if I should get him assessed and they said yes. There have been issues right from nursery school (he couldn't sit still, couldn't hold a pencil, etc).

He has to do long projects in English homework -- eight-week things that are all writing and research. I've done the last 6 of them almost by myself, constantly nagging and prompting him to do it. This time I asked him to get his dad to help him. He didn't, so the project hasn't been done. It's due in tomorrow and he's done nothing. He didn't initiate it do it hasn't happened.

I'm sure that wasn't the right way of dealing with that, but I WANT him to have consequences for bit doing things... But is that mean if he actually has a real problem organising his thoughts, etc? Oh god. I'd just had enough. The thought of pushing him through another project was beyond me. So I left it, he left it too, and it hasn't been done.

I have to see his teacher once a week after school and I am terrified she's going to think I'm awful for not doing it...

AnuvvaMuvva Tue 09-Jul-13 18:43:22

But I worry that if I have to learn a whole new way of relating to him, I won't be able to. With everything else I'm literally running at full capacity. If it's complicated, I can't do it. My brain is full. I can't think straight anymore. I tried to start a detox but the idea of compiling a list if ingredients, etc, and a shopping list - it's too daunting.

I'm so stressed, I need stuff to be so so simple. I am beyond stressed. I'm insanely stressed.

AnuvvaMuvva Tue 09-Jul-13 18:41:14

Hi fairies.

I don't know what kind of help it is. He had written he was unhappy on a piece of schoolwork - like a feelings questionnaire - so that flagged him up for counselling at school which will start in September. (He has since said he isn't unhappy - that he can't remember why he wrote that, that he must have been "having a bad day"... But the school has taken it seriously [which obviously is good].)

Anyway, the summer-holiday people are some kind of home-school link people..? I'm honestly not sure. It came about because I went to talk to the school's SENCO and she said if he couldn't do counselling till September (because there's a waiting list), this would be a good interim measure.

AnuvvaMuvva Tue 09-Jul-13 18:31:58

I'm lucky that I work from home, and that the mortgage is affordable. So I know I have it easier than a million other single mums. I have a loving bf too.

I don't drink, but if I did I'd be drinking a LOT. I do smoke, constantly, and bite my nails.

They'll be at their dada's house this weekend and I'll be torn between worrying about them and alternately LOVING the lack of stress. The freedom to do what I want, instead of the torturous get dressed/school run/work/school run/ shouting/tea/shouting/bath time cycle we're in now.

God, I'm the worst mother EVER.

IdreamofFairies Tue 09-Jul-13 18:31:27

First of all your not making a hash of anything. you are doing your best and it sounds as if you have a lot going on.

If it was just you the school wouldn't be having problems as well.

who is going to be coming around what sort of help are they offering.

you are right and i know its hard but they definitely will not be judging you chances are they have dealt with a lot worse i know i have in my job.

wanting to change is a fantastic step. you will need to change the way you react to things and that will have a positive impact on the way your dc react to things as well.

AnuvvaMuvva Tue 09-Jul-13 18:28:42

I'm that mum you see in the supermarket with a face like a slapped arse, shouting at her kids with barely concealed contempt. I reached the end of my tether a LONG time ago.

I can't cope.

AnuvvaMuvva Tue 09-Jul-13 18:26:57

I can only function when the house is tidy, so I spend all my time tidying it up, just trying to stay on top of it.

I redecorated Oldest's bedroom and it's gorgeous - with toys to play with, stuff to build, etc. but he's NEVER in there unless it's bedtime. He just never amuses himself.

AnuvvaMuvva Tue 09-Jul-13 18:24:41

Having such a bad time. sad

Split with DH over 3 years ago. DC (10 & 5) go to his on alternate weekends, and one night a week. He pays NO MONEY at all. Because he's a twat.

I just feel I'm failing everything. Oldest DS is having behavioural problems at school and they're sending some people round to the house (sometime over the summer holidays) to help us. Which will be good, but I feel like they're judging me. (I know they're not!)

Youngest DS was falling asleep in school so the teacher suggested I took him to the doctor. Blood test revealed he's almost anaemic so he's on iron medicine. I had NO IDEA he was that poorly - I feel I should have noticed.

ExDH bangs on about having the kids 45% of the time, but it's me who does the doctors, school stuff, play dates, clothes, homework, everything. EVERYTHING.

And so it's me who's failing when DS1 is horribly behaved; aggressive and rude to his brother, sulky and selfish with me, just a total pain to be around. I'm awful with him, I have no patience and he just pisses me off. sad I know how awful that is to say.

Does he have a problem..? He won't start his schoolwork without a battle, he has a terrible memory, he fidgets and makes odd noises a lot. He doesn't know how to play by himself, so just interferes with what his brother's doing, then turns it into a weird game that ends in tears. He has one friend at school.

Youngest cries at the drop of a hat and whines. He's adorable most of the time but copies his brother's naughtiness.

All I want for them is to grow up into happy, popular, helpful, fulfilled adults but I have NO IDEA how to do that.

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