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Struggling with parenting, advice please (3,7and 10 y olds)(9 Posts)
Last night it came to a head when dc3's (ds2)blanket got caught in dc (dd) 2's new shoe, ds2 yanked it to free it, as a 3 y o would and it ripped the buckle off her brand new 3 day old shoe. She went beserk I think she pushed him over to which he cried, I came in just as she kicked him with said shoes on. I went mad, it all spiralled out of control with lots of screaming, from all of us, and I felt I couldn't cope anymore. Dh works away 6 days pw and is due home on Saturday, the weeks can be long, ad I am finding them harder and harder.
Ds1's room is becoming unbearable and despite pleading, his effort of tidying is pathetic, it's now getting ridiculous so consequently in my temper I told him to tidy it now. He then began emptying boxes of stuff to sort, instead of picking up dirty pjs or old comics off the floor, toys on his bed etc......I don't know how to cope with the state of it and when he seems to make o effort at his age it sends me raging.
Don't worry my kids aren't at any danger here although I am painting a picture of me being some woman possessed, I just saw red last night and am now hoarse from it.
Ds 3 is about to start nursery, in 2months, and is desperately needing it so that's a difficult stage in itself, which is testing me.
Ds 1 is now 10 but is failing to take on respsonsibility well, he will take for ever to do his one chore- recycling, and has to be asked. He is a bright, academic, pleasant, well mannered boy so really it's hard to get across what I mean, the type of boy who people admire to which the parents say "you want to try to live with him!".
Generally my children are good, I have no worries out of the home, but at home I have issues relating to sibling rivalry I think, the bickering at the dinner table gets me down, last night i took dinner off the 2 older ones and asked them to leave. It just goes on and on and on. What do I do? Not allow them dinner? Hardly. I ask them to leave so when they come back they behave but I can't do this everyday. I don't want to have upset mealtimes.
I give ds1 more chores to so sometimes as punishment, empty dishwasher, hoover etc, but the hoovering last week took him 3 attempts and nearly 40 minutes of me nagging, he only had to do the hall and missed loads, I had to show him twice. Then he left the hoover out so more nagging form me. Is this how it is? Do I keep nagging until they get the message? They only get in from school at 4, I feel that if I give them loads of chores they are not getting a childhood, how much should they have? Does it end up being a routine of in, change, dinner, homework, chore, bed? I don't like it, but I don't know what else to do.
Do I have to make them charts? Visible rewards for achievements? Can't I just enforce treats as and when they are deserved? Do children need something visible to relate to? I can't bear them. It would help I suppose but then I don't want to teach them that everything is monitored and graded and an exact 10/10 gives a trip to the cinema or whatever.
I am just struggling here and want some help and advice please.
Please do not judge me I'm already in tears this morning.
Some days I feel the same. I find school days really hard, to be honest I just try and survive them and prefer the weekends. I have a 2 year old and a 6 year old, they are always fighting, messing around at dinner etc. they are lovely girls though, I think most children are like this. You could try the reward charts one of my friends does this. It might give them something visual and so you have to shout less if that makes sense. It could even be fun for them.
I'm not going to judge you, we've all been there. My two are 11 and 8, and generally get on well, but the fights when they argue are unbearable. We also have the usual other arguments - DC1 is forgetful so has to be reminded about everything, DC2 can sometimes speak to people in an unkind way so I have to be firm about that.
I do find school days hard, sometimes DC1 isn't home until 5.30 because of sports etc. so fitting in homework and violin is hard enough without chores as well. But then we are all part of a family unit, and everyone needs to help so I do insist on chores being done. I keep them fairly minimal though as he really doesn't have much time if I want him in bed at a reasonable time.
Personally I wouldn't take dinner away as a punishment as they need to eat so it's hard to enforce. With my two I take away TV time or pocket money for cheekiness or unkindness.
Do your DCs respond to charts? DC2 would, DC1 wouldn't so I've never really used them. However, some children really find them helpful. If your DCs are forgetful about tasks then a visual reminder can help. I don't offer rewards like a cinema trip for doing chores, because I don't want chores to become an option they are rewarded for - they aren't negotiable!
It's tough, and you sound like you're doing well.
The 10 year old might be hormonal now. I have a 12 year old and her room is a bomb site! Keeping it clean feels like a losing battle so I end up having a blitz now and then. Sometimes they've got too much stuff and need a sort out. Putting a washing basket in their room helps.
Sibling rivalry I've got less experience of as my kids are 12 and 10 months but the key is to probably not overreact and ignore what you can.
We all get stressed sometimes. It's tough
I have three plus one SC. it's bloody hard work!!
1) arrange to have child free time and relax regularly. Take care if yourself. If you are happier, they will be happier.
2) stop shouting. It isn't productive and your kids will copy. Be calm in the face of broken shoes and kicked legs. These things happen. No one is dead.
3) no screen time at all (morning or evening) till all chores completed. My 12 year old boy unloads/reloads the dishwasher daily (20 mins). My 8 year old tidies mess away (10 mins). My 5 year old wipes the table after eating (2 minutes). I don't nag. If they don't do the chore, the screens remain off.
4) spend time with each child and make them feel very treasured and special
5) empathise with how they feel in heated situations. Recognising their emotions is positive. Get them to empathise with how you feel when appropriate. Do it calmly.
6) have a laugh at the dinner table. Set the tone immediately. Tell them about something silly. Ask them about stuff. When bickering, use distraction, redirect the conversation back to interesting things.
7) if they ruin meal time, warn them first but then tell them that they have to cook their own meal the next day. Beans on toast or what ever. You are not prepared to put in your time/effort cooking when the meal time is ruined by poor behaviour. Make sure you cook yourself something delicious while they eat beans on toast
8) think about why they are arguing. Are they genuinely upset about something you can fix (lack of attention) or is it habit?
Yes and go through everything with your kids and declutter anything pointless, not played with, too small or over the hill. Keep very little! Chuck out bags full and help them sort how stuff is stored. Less crap equals a tidier room with minimal effort
Can you do a chart for pocket money? So vac 50p (mondays job) dishwasher 40p (tuesday job) etc? We have a jobs jar on satruday .. a lucky dip with job/price .. when done they can grab another one .. no nagging if done they get paid.. if not no pocket money.
My two are 5 and 8, and we have recently adopted the 'traffic lights' for behaviour that's used at school, so they're already used to it! At home, if they get through a week without any amber warnings then they get extra pocket money. Red light means getting sent to head's office at school so pretty serious! Hope that's some help.
I like the jobs jar idea, Sally; might borrow that. We expect basics to be done as part of the team (dirty dishes and clothes in appropriate places for example), so pocket money isn't contingent on jobs, but they always like to get a bit extra ... <off in search of suitable receptacle>
So difficult. I try not to shout I just use a tone that says don't mess with me
The very simple rules in our house are
You do the job first then you get to play. The more time you argue the more play time you are wasting.
And the one I have been spouting for 10 years, if I get what I want, you get what you want.
The last one covers all sorts from chores to shopping, and also what a job will look like when they are older, your employer wants X and if you do that you get what you want, money.
So for your eldest, I would go into his room to "help" him tidy but I would have a bin bag in one hand and if he doesn't join in enough I would start to bin the stuff he values the most.
Re leaving the hoover out I would have called him back, pointed to the hoover, told him he needs to return it to where it came from. If he did anything silly I would tell him that I will be borrowing his favourite toy/bedtime bear and would not be returning it back from where I got it meaning it could get lost.
We have a routine which is home, changed, chat about their day, homework, play, dinner, family time. That way they know what is expected of them. There is a time and place for stuff.
Also praise the good. So when you do a cinema trip you tell them why they deserve it.
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