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At the end of my tether, need ideas!

(5 Posts)
goinggreennotgrey Thu 13-Oct-11 23:30:51

I have spent the past two days with my two DS's (4 and 6). Scotland schools are on holiday and I took extra days off work because I thought it would be nice.

But OMG, the pair of them have spent the whole time bickering with one another. If they are not yelling they are play fighting and it ends in tears. I like a peaceful house. I don't mind happy noise. But the shouting has really got me down.

I gave warning after warning today, no tv, can't play with friends outside, the list goes on. At 7pm, there was another screach and cry from the eldest DS and I had just had enough. So, it was quickly into pyjamas, brush teeth and lights out. No snack, no warm milk, just goodnight. I felt bad but I had just truly had enough of the crying and screaming. I told my 6 year old that I just couldn't go on like this and if no tv etc wasn't going to get him to stop yelling and fighting with his brother, he would have to give up all the fun things that he gets to do.

Harsh? My 4 year old was beside himself for being sent to bed without his milk. He kept saying sorry, but I couldn't give in. I think I'm maybe too soft on them when there Dad goes away offshore. It's so hard for me to take control sometimes. But i run out of ways to discipline!

snailoon Thu 13-Oct-11 23:59:20

I think playing with friends outside is what they probably need. Don't ban things that will help them; ban things like screens and junk food which tend to make them behave badly.

I have 2 boys 2 years apart, and I once cried in desperation to a friend, saying almost exactly what you are saying (he had two older boys). His advice was to FILM THEM. He told me it would be amusing 10 years later, and he was right.

You need to do things to surprise and shock and distract them, (and the usual not rewarding bad behaviour with attention, and catching them playing nicely and heaping on praise). I have done wacky things to make my boys laugh when they are trying to fight, squirted them with water, silently put them in another room, stopped the car until they can behave, thrown out homemade dessert they were arguing about, started reading aloud to distract them, (and lots of losing my temper and behaving badly myself). Lecturing doesn't work, in fact nothing really seems to work perfectly, but somehow my boys now get on well and rarely fight (15 and 13).

You could try a zero tolerance routine: give them one warning, and then tell them once briefly what they are doing wrong and put them in their rooms until they are ready to behave. (It's up to them how long that takes.)

You have my sympathy. It is hard to watch children ruin a lovely opportunity to enjoy life. I think it is a mistake to see this as a discipline issue; that way of thinking often puts a strain on your relationship with your children, rather than solving the problem with their relationship.

Have you done all the family meeting sort of things: helping them to make rules together about how to treat each other, talking very cosily about how they can help each other have more fun, letting them air grievances calmly?

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 14-Oct-11 09:25:46

I don't think it was harsh. Sometimes children are a PITA and you're going to have enough. It's quite natural.

When we've had days like this I tend to start the next morning with a sit down chat along the lines of.... 'Yesterday was terrible all round. I don't like having to get angry. You don't like me getting angry.... Behave better today and maybe we can have a more pleasant time with each other'

If you set the expectations - no fighting etc - and they know the consequences of misbehaving are dire, they'll get the message.

racingheart Fri 14-Oct-11 09:54:44

I don't think it was harsh either. I've done that a couple of times in their lives. It's very good for them to be shown when they've overstepped the mark, and that as a result life doesn't go their way.
When my two got that way I just separated them. Put one in the bedroom with a book or some lego and the other in the living room with the same. I say they need time alone, so they don't think of it as a punishment (if they did, they'd kick off) that they can stay and play nicely for twenty minutes, then we'll all go out to the park or wherever. Then I go for a cup of tea in the kitchen on my own.
A bit of tough love helps. Very occasionally we've turned back from doing something we intended to do and I've put them in separate places because they wouldn't stop fighting. Sometimes even parked the car and said nothing for 10 mins while they work out what's happening.
Love the idea of filming them.

ceebeegeebies Fri 14-Oct-11 10:00:05

Thank you for this thread - I am really struggling with my 2 boys at the moment (they are a bit younger than yours - 5 and nearly 3) but they seem to spend most of the time tormenting each other and it is driving me and DH mad! I am so sick of shouting.

I like the idea of seperating them for a short while but not as a punishment. Funnily enough, the other day DS1 wanted a shower and DS2 wanted a bath so I let them both have what they wanted - it was lovely and peaceful and they both played quite happily in their seperate bathrooms with no splashing, shouting and crying that usually accompanies them having a bath or shower together. I can see that giving them a bit of space from each other might be a good thing...they share a bedrooom so they don't get their own space iyswim.

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