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Kids kicking off before school ( and all the time ....) help me please !

12 replies

skybluedaze · 10/10/2019 09:43

My pre-teen adopted daughters seem to fight more and more.....they are half-sisters, very different personalities, only a year apart in age and I feel like I'm failing them. Youngest likes to be by herself a lot, oldest hates to be alone and although they do enjoy playing together - this weekend they were acting out Secret Life of Pets with eldest pretending to be Gidget and the youngest being her owner - they also bicker endlessly.

Before school they are both fine until the final five or ten minutes when one of them will say something mean / grab the others water bottle or any one of a million stupid things and then one - usually eldest - will kick or hit the youngest - who's often wound her up - and suddenly there's tears, screaming and so much stress, just as I'm trying to get them in the car. And sometimes so much drama it's not safe to drive.

We talk a lot about being kind, there are often consequences - no i-pad after school etc - but I'm getting this very wrong because if anything it's getting worse. How can I help them to get on better ?

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Lumene · 10/10/2019 09:47

Siblings Without Rivalry Book is v good, recommend.

Seeline · 10/10/2019 09:48

How old are they?

skybluedaze · 10/10/2019 09:49

Thanks Lumene - I'll check it out

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skybluedaze · 10/10/2019 09:50

They are 7 and 8

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purplesleep · 10/10/2019 09:51

This is my house but with two boys! Everyday! Today I don't start work until 11 and I have just come home and had a bit of a cry. I work in a school so I'm usually straight to work from the school run and don't have time to think about it. I thought I'd like a late start today but actuallt its just give me chance to come home and feel like an absolute failure

skybluedaze · 10/10/2019 09:56

Ah purplesleep ...good to know it's not just me then. I find it hard to know whether I should be much tougher or more understanding. I have friends who say that's just kids being kids...but I can't bear the girls arriving at school stressed out and sometimes still tearful. It's not that bad everyday, but it's too often.

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Bacawill · 10/10/2019 10:01

From another with adopted siblings, the before school transition used to be awful for us. Mine are now 10 & 8 and we have got into a better routine and it's so much nicer to not have arguments in a morning and they pretty much get on with it on their own apart from hair.

We do breakfast, put bags and shoes out by the door with water bottles etc, brush teeth, get dressed, do hair. Then, they are allowed iPad time until 08:00, so the quicker they get done the longer they get. When the iPad switches off, they go down and get their shoes on and grab bags and get straight into the car. Because they are usually busy telling me what they've been watching/playing, they don't fight or squabble like before.

Seeline · 10/10/2019 10:05

Do as much preparation the night before.
Do they have too much 'spare' time before you leave - could you leave earlier to avoid the fighting time? Would it be possible to walk to school? Or fill up the fighting time with specific jobs - ideally different jobs to keep them separated -- clear the breakfast stuff, fill the dishwasher, feed the cat etc so they are busy until they walk out of the door.

You say they are adopted - how long have they live with you? Are they still adjusting to a change in their lives?

I think at 7 and 8 they are still young enough to need strong boundaries. Any nasty behaviour towards each other should be dealt with swiftly and at the time. Just because children are related doesn't mean that they will get on - many do fight constantly. However, there is no excuse for being nasty to each other.

skybluedaze · 10/10/2019 10:06

Thanks Bacawill - that's really helpful. Can I ask about hitting /kicking too - more generally and not just before school ? It's got less here but still happens too often - nothing really dangerous but pushing over, 'roaring' at sibling, little sly kicks or pokes, occasional slaps...does it get physical with your two and if so how much do you tolerate / how do you stop them ?

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skybluedaze · 10/10/2019 10:10

Seeline - also great advice. Yes we could walk - half an hour but doable - and I think that would help. I let them spend too much time staring at screens before school - if I'm honest because it stops them fighting - so I guess I shouldn't be surprised when it all kicks off when the screens go and it's time for school.

They have been with me a long time - although youngest just starting junior school so there's some adjusting to change there.

What would 'dealt with swiftly and at the time' mean in practice in your house ?

Thanks for responding -it's much appreciated

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Bacawill · 10/10/2019 13:05

I laughed when you said roaring- mine do this all the time in each other's faces. We've also moved on to hiding behind doors and jumping out which causes rows.

They used to be very, very physical- DD pushed DS downstairs, pinching and grabbing. I was very "on it" and used to pick them up on every little thing but I realised a lot of it was for attention and to get me to take a side. So now I tend to say "oh dear, we won't be able to do X, Y, Z that I know you really wanted to if we can't have kind hands/feet/words and get along together can we. What a shame,never mind. Maybe I can have a re-think if you manage to apologise and make friends."

Sounds like there's no way it would work and I was so sceptical at first but now if they do hit or be mean and I start with the speech, one or the other will grab them in a hug and say sorry immediately Grin(probably just to shut me up). Transitions were always really tough for us. Getting out of the house for anything would mean a huge row but I set reminders now on Alexa and that helps a lot because they take a her bossing them around better than me!

skybluedaze · 10/10/2019 17:22

Alexa tip is genius. We don't have a smart speaker but maybe time to invest...thank you. I guess it's the 'what a shame, we won't be able to do X, Y, Z' stuff I find hard. So if they're kicking off before we head out for trampolining or problem. Stop now or we won't go. Or what a shame we can't go because you've been fighting.

But before and after school it's much harder. There's no immeditate sanction, no obvious treat to withold/threaten to withold. So it just ends up with me telling them off / docking pocket money / no sweet treats etc. Doesn't really seem to be working though.

I'm going to try and make the pre and post school routine more organised, have already re-jigged the ipads so they can't watch screens for so long and tomorrow we're going to walk to school. Any other advice gratefully received.

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