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Anyone successfully changed family dynamics?

(15 Posts)
Misselthwaite Sun 25-Dec-16 23:44:04

I'm married and have 3 children aged 9, 6 and 4. On the face of it we probably look fine. Kids seem happy enough, DH and I are happy together.

But I'm struggling and a lot of the time just don't enjoy it. There seems to be so many times in the day particularly in the holidays where I spend the day stopping the kids from arguing. They are so loud and I find just the noise level stressful. Even if everyone is playing happily you can guarantee something will happen like them hurting themselves and the screaming starts again. DH is easier going than me and seems to cope better. He does his bit with them so its not that I'm parenting alone although I think I'm the only one worried about how we parent.

I find myself trying to avoid stressful times. While we do still eat as a family a lot I generally avoid eating breakfast or lunch with them because it feels like constant conflict or upset. Both the older two are struggling a little at school in part due to sen but getting them to do homework or spellings just results in tears or tantrums so I struggle to face it.

I lose my rag and end up shouting or crying even over relatively minor stuff. I don't want to be a shouty parent but I don't know how to get the calm / fun household I would like to have.

I'm worried I'm seriously letting my kids down or worse damaging them. Materially they want for nothing but I wonder if that's to compensate for what I feel I don't give them.

How do we change? Is it possible and what do I do to change it?

calzone Sun 25-Dec-16 23:48:31

Kids are like dogs......they need lots of exercise!!!

I would try and take them to the park regularly or for a long walk, splashing in puddles or collecting stuff......set out expectations for when you get home.....

Maybe try and get some 1:1 time with each child.....tell the 9 year old to entertain one of the younger ones and he can have a later bedtime or something.

Parenting is hard. And relentless. Be kind to yourself. 🤗🤗

calzone Sun 25-Dec-16 23:49:32

And feed them early so you can have dinner with Dh alone.

Crumbs1 Mon 26-Dec-16 00:02:13

One warning rule applied firmly. Any sign of argument or 'winding up' give first warning , if it persists send them to their room for 10, 20 and 30 minutes respectively. Each and every time.
If it's at a meal table tell them to go to their room straight away and let them miss supper. It's all about kids learning their behaviours have consequences. Once they tow the line, you will feel more like doing the nice stuff -as will they. Kids need boundaries that are explicit.

Misselthwaite Mon 26-Dec-16 00:38:35

I agree Calzone exercise helps a lot and I do need to do this. I find their exuberance a lot easier outside and we have no excuse living in a beautiful part of the country. I think I'll try and build it into our life. The 4 year old can walk a fair way now so we can definitely do that. They all love swimming too.

Crumbs 1 DS1 just wouldn't go to his room. He would have a meltdown which could potentially last hours. We really struggle with consequences for him. He hasn't a formal diagnosis and is unlikely to get one but he shows ASD traits. He struggles a bit with social interaction which probably increases the conflict in the household as he'll often find it difficult to read his brother or sister and doesn't always understand how he's coming across to them. It makes parenting harder because kids want it to be fair and I would struggle to dole out punishments to the younger two that I wouldn't do to the eldest.

2016Manners Mon 26-Dec-16 00:43:33

It's tough but stick to what you believe in and how you want them to be as adults. Capable individuals.
You sound like you need a break. Start the new year doing something for yourself. Have a personal goal.

NoMudNoLotus Mon 26-Dec-16 00:45:54

Agree with calzone and crumbs.

OP I feel like you a lot of the time. It can be exhausting & stressful.

Try to break routine every once in a while & be a lot gentler on yourself.

I have to be honest even with Christmas I set my expectations low for myself ... Just to get through it. Because its relentless & I knew i could not put pressure on myself to "enjoy" Christmas.

Just set your expectations a little lower and celebrate even the smallest achievements ... Honestly last week I even celebrated washing, combing & drying my hair.

InfoFreako Mon 26-Dec-16 01:13:12

They sound bored and that's why they play up. Do you do things as a family unit (country walks, play board games, etc.)?

Turn off the tv's and tablets (if used) as these over-stimulate young brains.

Shouting at them isn't the answer.

Good luck!


wideboy26 Mon 26-Dec-16 03:03:42

Thoroughly agree with the exercise suggestion. When our 4 were growing up we had a dog so daily walks were a necessity. The children came to look forward to the outing and having let off steam, once home again they would calm down and watch a bit of children's tv and would be very receptive to cuddles. Also agree with setting expectations before visits to friends and family or other events. My DW was able to exercise control with a stern look in those situations, having briefed the boys beforehand as to the behaviour that was expected. They have all grown into well adjusted, well behaved young men.

BananaFrittersForTea Mon 26-Dec-16 03:11:42

Agree with exercise.

Shadowed an awesome primary school teacher when I was considering career switch. She taught 4yos, next door was 5yo. They couldn't get afternoon cover for the 5yos one day, so sent them through to her.

When they got boisterous, she did this game where she let them run around for a few minutes to blow off steam- they could run round on the carpet area or in the outside space (double doors opened onto it).Every few minutes at decreasing intervals, they had to make their way back to the carpet when she shouted a code word- and stand stock still til she shouted another code word. After a few rounds of this, the final time she had the come back to the carpet she said:

Now wave your arms in the air and roar (they did)
Now wrap your arms round yourself and laugh (they did)
Now sit down on the carpet and say hello to your neighbor on each side (they did)
Now wriggle your fingers and toes and say shh as softly as you can (they did)
Now sit quietly and listen to this story (they did)

She was awesome.

Misselthwaite Mon 26-Dec-16 10:02:15

We do do the setting expectations before visits and they do respond. Visited elderly grandparents and they were very well behaved. At times they are delights I just wish it was like that more of the time. Often the day feels so up and down and even if its going well I feel on edge waiting for the next down.

I think I'm going to aim for exercise for them. I like the idea of a personal goal for me 2016Manners. Am going to think on that as I wonder if my mood is a bit low which makes it all look a bit bleak.

We do the board games and country walks but probably not enough InfoFreako. I think we could try to do it more regularly so its more daily rather than now and again.

NoMudNoLotus I think I probably do need to be a little easier on me. I think I expected parenting to be so much easier especially now they're getting older. In some regards it is but in others its just a whole new boat of worries.

That teacher does sound good BananaFrittersForTea I think its givibg them an outlet for their emotions which can be tears or laughter and obviously the laughter is so much less stressful.

Thanks all stuff to muse on and try and change our ways.

alphabetaspagetti Mon 26-Dec-16 11:59:03

I think when you have children with sn such as asd, there is the likelihood that the parents also have traits. This is definitely the case for us. So finding noise levels almost unbearable could be a sensory issue for you. Once I was able to look at the situation from a different perspective I was able to be easier on myself. That and routines and clear expectations! Anything different from the norm has the scope for meltdowns. So while a trip to GPs might go well, I would be prepared for tears etc some time later and try to feel less stressed by it.

KittyCatty20 Tue 27-Dec-16 16:30:11

Saw this post the other day and I just wanted to day - you are not alone. I could have written your post apart from we only have two dc! I really do understand where you are coming from. We moved to a different part of the country and few years ago and life is not what it was and it has really impacted on family dynamics. We used to go on country walks at least once at weekends and now we rarely do as it's not as accessible here and we also have less time as have been doing our house up. We have noticed a huge downward turn in behaviour from our older dc and I'm seriously considering a move back to hometown or other to get things back on track. Would write more but no time but here if you want to chat!

misscph1973 Tue 27-Dec-16 16:54:31

My 2 DC, 12 and 9, are very lovely and polite on their own, but together they have quite the dynamic between them, and the only things that really works is outdoor time like most people on the thread say.

But another very important aspect is sleep. Do your DC get enough sleep? My DC are horrid if the haven't slept well (so am I!).

Another factor is yourself - if I am run down, tired, not eating well etc, then I simply don't have the resilience to be around my DC! I have to be very careful that I get my sleep, my exercise and general downtime, or I find normal every day family life very stressful and I end up being a shouting parent. I find that the outdoor time is not only good for my DC, but certainly also for myself. We go for bike rides, walks in the forest/at the beach and we also go to the play ground. We are very lucky to live in an areas with stunning scenery. I also take DC swimming and I go swimming alone, at least once a week, but preferably twice or 3 times. It really sorts me out, I am so much calmer after a swim! I have found that I have to find the time for these things, or we all suffer.

I think also this time of year it's hard. I always have serious doubts about my parenting skills and regularly consider divorcing DH in December ;)

SingingSeal Tue 27-Dec-16 19:59:30

I haven't got full answer to your question, but saw you mentioned homework. I really would leave them alone about it. Either they do it or not, but its down to them and the school. I wouldn't get involved. I did something similar when mine younger and realise now that it was not a positive thing, and I would say more so for children with SEN. Thats just one less stress right there. flowers

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