I really need help parenting I feel things are getting out of hand(26 Posts)
Firstly, you have three children under four so I am not surprised you are finding it tough going. Be easy on yourself - it will get easier and you will start enjoying it!
Saying that, the first thing you need to do is stop smacking. Try to plan your days in segments. Breakfast - morning activity (craft/park/dressing up/dancing about/library/playgroup ... remember all the ideas you have from college. Then lunch and naps for the little ones at about the same time each day. If they are hungry they will play up. Then an afternoon activity and then tea. It will seem like a slog at first and you may have to force yourself to play/join in, but soon the routine will stick.
Try also to lavish praise on your two oldest every time they do something nice/kind. My DD is also 4 an can play me up something chronic, but she is often very loving with her baby brother (19m) and I make sure I always make a big deal about it. That way she hears something positive, even if I do have to tell her off later.
You could try, for a while, ignoring the bad behaviour unless it is actually dangerous. It sounds a bit like you are stuck in a common trap where the children are after attention and they know the easiest way to get it is to be naughty. If you try to ignore the "bad" and celebrate the good you will feel on a much more even keel.
The fact you want to be better is the first step, but remember that you won't ever be perfect because none of us are...
Everything that Clemette said...
The course is a great idea for ideas and support, especially if DP can go too.
DD starting school may help get you into a new routine - mealtimes will need to be more organized, as you say, and it should also free you up to spend some time concentrating on your toddler. Then you can make a big fuss of DD when she gets home. With luck, by the time your baby's mobile, things will be much calmer and you'll all have a happier time.
It takes a real effort to get out of a rut, but you're clearly going to get there in the end.
firm - no nonsense bedtime routine.
bath, book, bed - set times no deviation.
I'm not surprised you're so stressed, with three kids under four. Try to remember this is probably the hardest phase of your life, and that things are likely to improve as the kids get older.
I've got a 4 year old and a toddler and I find the worst days are those where I don't have a plan, things drift, I feel frustrated, the kids feel directionless and it ends up shouty and bad tempered. I always try to have a plan now for at least one firm activity a day. Something you could try is making a list, e.g. go to the park, go to the library, museum, local attraction, visit a friend, make fairy cakes, do a treasure hunt, watch a DVD, etc. Then you can just look at the list and choose an activity for the day.
You might find the whole house feels like it has a purpose then. And getting out of the house every day is crucial for everyone's mood. From having more of a routine you might be less stressed and shouty. Kids love routine and my kids' behaviour improves dramatically when they know what's what.
I think you'll find it easier once you have a rhythmn established to then start being more consistent with boundaries and rules.
Set aside a couple of 20 or 30 minute slots where you focus on playing with the children and not being distracted by anything else whatsoever. If you're not a get on the floor and play sort of person, then read books to them, or do playdough or whatever.
I find it very hard not to be distracted by household chores, and I sometimes find my children interminably dull, so whilst I'm big on routine, I do kind of know where you're coming from.
Write out a planner for weekdays and stick it somewhere prominent. It really does help to have it written down.
Good advice from everybody so far. Please don't take this the wrong way but. To me, you sound depressed, not in a major way but slightly. Would you agree?
When our girl was younger, I had to really force myself to play with her. She is a much wanted only child, but, I found young children and baby's boring, books and fags were much more interesting.
Dogagain, i could have written your post. I have 3 under 4 also but i also wonder if you are depressed - i ask as I am. Everything you describe is how i feel most days
Go and see your GP. I know that drugs aren't always the answer, but they could be the start of recovering and becoming the mother you want to be.
School time will bring a routine and seperate the time out with your children. Things will get better. I am usually a much better mum, but during these holidays with 3 childen and being heavily pregnant has meant I have turned into a miserable shouty, 'send them upstairs all the time' mum. But I am holding out much hope for my 4YO starting school and my 6YO going back and this bloody baby making an appearanne
Dog - GP. Soon. If it all gets better with school, routine and the reminders of the positive parent course, then fine. If not, then the foundations are there to get you some help. Am concerened and for you Mrs. Am away till next Sat but when I'm back if you ever want to chat or email CAT me
Loads of good advice here already, just wanted to add, if no one already has, that the best book to get is 'How to talk so kids listen and listen so kids talk', and maybe also see if you can get hold of Steve Bidulph's the secret of happy children too.
How long did you take the antid's for? You do definitely feel worse for the first fortnihgt or so but things really settle down after that.
Don't berate yourself for not playing with your children - you don't have to play with them a lot to be a good mother!
You do need to ensure that they have plenty of things (good quality toys) with which to occupy themselves AND to take them out and about on errands and for activities so that they get plenty of stimulation and opportunity for motor development.
Before DS started school and I had both DS and DD home full time, I used to find it useful to write a list of possible activities down, just things that you could spend 15 mins doing with them. It's surprising how quickly you can fill up a morning/afternoon: Dressing up/playing shop, cafes/playdough/sticker pictures/colouring-in pages from websites/jigsaws/K-nex/lego/art and craft stuff from Mr Maker's website/cooking/trips to library/park. Also, we do a lot of "Olympic Games", so I just sit on my backside while they do running/assault courses/skipping/hopping races, inside or out. Got to get out of the house for some fresh air every day - now's a good time for blackberry picking and if you have a Pick Your Own farm near you, that's good fun. Apolgs if you've already thought of all of these, not trying to patronise
Hi dog again, cut yourself some slack as you have a very busy house. I am an infant teacher and will tell you the first thing i do every year is establish a routine and set up boundaries. Over the years I have learned that children respond so well to consistency and boundaries. It makes them feel safe and secure. They will test the boundaries depending on what moods they are in but just stick to your guns and be consistent. Stick to routine during the day with nap times being down time for everyone including a relax for you. I have 2 very close together and with going back to work had a very hairy year where i felt crap in myself. But then looked back and realised I had lost myself in all the crazy. Doing a little more for me - time to myself, getting out to a join a club, prepping dinners in advance! and setting out fun times with the kids where i forgot the house and to-do list has helped. Also getting away every now and again just to be me.
Not much to add to the great posts but I do have 1 thing; the 1st step will always be the hardest. Once you've put into place all the routines and activities and whatever you need to make a good rythmn for your family, you will find the benefits! The GP should help you find a way to work through your depression (if that's the right expression!) but coupled with the changes at home it will still be hard work- but you know you can do it. You can do it and remember to be gentle with yourself!
First of all, sorry you're finding things so hard, dog, hope you can work through it
I only have two dcs, and the oldest (2) is at his childminders weekdays, as I'm on maternity leave and returning to work quite soon. I find it quite important even with one at home though to get out every day. If there isn't a group on, I find it works better for me to arrange to meet up with someone else with a baby/toddler (or sometimes both) or even my dad who lives quite close. The arrangement with someone else or the organised activity (such as baby group) is important though, if I just say I'll do something I'll probably never get there.
Maybe at the Positive Parent course you'll also find other mothers like you who obviously care very much about how they bring up their children but need a bit of help with the loneliness, boredom, stress, depression or whatever sometimes. Maybe you can give each other a bit of back up?
As everyone else says, can you send middle ds to a playgroup as well for a couple of mornings? I found having the middle one out for a couple of hours helped as it gave us a break from each other (he can be a divil putting it mildly). Still have the baby at home but he is so easy in comparison to 3 &4 yo, and has naps so that helps too.
It does get easier when they go to school.
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