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a vent- why is everything so difficult?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Everything is just hard. If I want to leave the house I have to round up three uncooperative fighting children. My friend has asked me to go to a festival and beach today and the idea completely overwhelmed me. I would have to find water bottles, snacks, suits, towels, money. Then once we got there I would be so busy chasing kids I wouldn't even be able to go to the bathroom if I had to. So I said no. I am so sleep deprived. I have been drinking 3 or 4 cups of coffee a day. I am praying for school to start.
post #2 of 21
Why are they being uncooperative? I mean... most kids would be thrilled about a day at the beach. How old are they? If they're school-age, they really should be able to follow some sort of direction. What do you do when they won't cooperate?
post #3 of 21
I don't know how old your kiddos are. Mine are 3.5 and 5.5, and things have gotten much better over the past 6 months or so. A year ago, I felt the same way - that everything was such a freakin' chore that it was easier to stay home. We did that for a while, but now that they can provide more help with packing, things are much better.
post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 
My twins are 7 and my toddler is 2. The twins often run and hide when I tell them it is time to go anywhere. I get one into the van and when i go to get the other, the first one escapes. There's so much fighting and whining. When it is time to go home, they won't get into the van. When they won't cooperate I take away computer and/or tv and treats for a day or two.
post #5 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Proudmomoftwinsplusone View Post
My twins are 7 and my toddler is 2. The twins often run and hide when I tell them it is time to go anywhere. I get one into the van and when i go to get the other, the first one escapes. There's so much fighting and whining. When it is time to go home, they won't get into the van. When they won't cooperate I take away computer and/or tv and treats for a day or two.
I've had similar experiences with dd1 and ds2. It's getting better now, but can still be stressful. In most situations, I simply started canceling outings. If they wanted to go with me to the farm (our fallback, because it's right down the street), then they needed to cooperate and get ready to the extent of their abilities (eg. I was willing to help ds2 get dressed, but he needed to get his clothes/shoes together for me). If they didn't do that, we didn't go. The only times I had real problems were when we had appointments scheduled or one of us had to be somewhere, but they did figure out that they were missing out on a lot of fun by being so uncooperative.

Next time, I'd just cancel the beach day. Tell them you're going to do so, and then do it.
post #6 of 21
Seven is old for that. I wouldn't take them anywhere they wanted to go for a while. That's the natural consequence of being a PITA every time we try to go somewhere fun.
post #7 of 21
I agree. At 7 they shouldn't need as much direction. Why are you taking them to the van 1 at a time? All 3 kids should be able to go to the van together.

Do they enjoy the places you take them? if so, next time if they won't cooperate then let them know that you won't be going until they get their stuff ready & in the van. When it's time to leave somewhere remind them if they don't cooperate they won't be going to xyz for a while.

They act this way because they've been allowed to act this way & still get the fun activity. It'll take a few cancelled trips before they start acting differently.
post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarrieMF View Post
At 7 they shouldn't need as much direction.
I agree. DH took DS (5yo) camping this weekend. DS packed his own bag (with direction from me), helped pack the cooler and loaded the truck with DH. I'm sure DH could have done everything faster without the "help" but I think it gets DS into the routine of helping out.

As well sometimes I will pack for our outings the night before. Even if its just to the park. I'll get snacks together, water in the water bottles etc. I don't know what your evenings are like with 3 kids (I only have two and not twins!) but maybe you could try that?
post #9 of 21
By seven they should be able to take care of the vast majority of their needs for getting out the door- clothes, water bottles, a book etc. They should ABSOLUTELY and without fail be able to get into the van on their own. I;m sorry, but with a two year old, they need to shoulder their own responsibilities abut this sort of thing, and if they can't get themselves together in the time it takes you to get the two year old together, it's simple- they miss out. I would make plans to go out when I knew their dad was around to watch them if they weren't able to pull it together a couple times. When they don't pull it together, whomever isn't ready stays home.

For reference, my daughter at seven was helping me to get her brother ready, had herself dressed, helped with entertaining him in the car when we were going somewhere, was able to grab snacks for both of them and get into the car without a hassle.

What your kids are doing to you isn't appropriate- no wonder you feel overwhelmed- they need to be kids, not toddlers!
post #10 of 21
I have to ask... what have you tried to do differently over the past year? You've been dealing with this same issue for at least that long...
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 
I thought 7 was too old for this behavior. They have been behaving like this since age 2. I need to come back later because one of my twins is reading this and and to know who i am sending this too. maybe i will let him read this thread and see what he says.
post #12 of 21
Ok first you need to be strong. Your kids are walking all over you. You are sleep deprived. That will happen.

So I would start with bed time. In my house bedtime is eight oclock. they are in bed. If they get out the get in trouble. Is there a chore you could make them do? Maybe have them stand in time out for 15 minutes each time they get out of bed? whatever you do do it immediately and with 100% consistency. Grab something amusing and sit outside their bedroom door. Do they sleep together? If so I would separate them until they could earn back the privilege of sleeping together. otherwise they will feed off each other. Also take away everything to start. computer, TV, video games, ipods, most of their toys (most kids have too many anyway) etc. If they are good they can earn privileges. Good starts with staying in bed and being reasonable quiet (I do not care what my kids do after 8 so long as they do it from bed ) hey we had a good night! So you get to have your TV and computer time today and listen to your ipod while we are at the store. So, once you have a strong and steady bedtime established you should take a couple of weeks to just bask in it. Go to bed. Early. Every night. restore, rejuvenate, heal . And since leaving the house is an issue while you are establishing these boundaries do not plan on leaving the house with your kids until at least bedtime is established. And feel free to tell them this "no honey, we will not go to the library until we are having good nights and you are respecting rules." This also sets the ground work for mom being in charge.

Once they are sleeping and you are sleeping and you both feel more rested and able to face things start with going somewhere fun. Tell them where you are going and what they will need. Keep the list short. Three things. We are going to the pool. go put on your suit, grab your towel and get buckled in the van. or "we are going to the park. put on your shoes, grab a sweater and get buckled in the van" or "we are going to the library. Please get dressed and get buckled in the van." When you have done those things we will go. You get the baby's things ready and grab some water and snacks (I recommend having some prepackaged things handy. Also these first trips will be short, really no need for snacks and probably not water) and anything you need for the trip. Keep it simple. Chances are if you can't fit it in a small tote bag you don't really need it. and keep it in a tote bag. Have one for the beach/pool and one for the park and one for the library.... Thats really all you need. If they don't do it in 20 minutes then tell them you will not be going. Its ok to remind and encourage and get the excitement going. If they respond to a challenge maybe set a timer. If they get it together and get in the van, then go, swim/play/read for an hour, enjoy it a lot and then come home. If they do not come when told or throw a fit do not go again for a week or until they have asked at least once. When they ask remind them "we cannot go, you did not leave nicely last time and thats not fun for me. We will go another time and try again." I usually let my daughter ask twice. It only took a few times for her to figure it out and to know I was serious and did not care if we went or not. The more you repeat these exercises the better things will get. This will not be easy and could take months but it will pay off in the end.
post #13 of 21
My guys (just turned 7 and 4) used to be buggers to get going for a while. It took them missing out on a trip to their favorite farmer's market and playground as well as lunch out for them to start straightening up. I left them home with dad and went myself. There's also been times where they would start bickering in the back of the car, in which case we'd turn around and come back home and they'd then miss out on that outing. Fortunately they love going anywhere so it didn't take many instances of them missing out before they straightened back out.
post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeanine123 View Post
There's also been times where they would start bickering in the back of the car, in which case we'd turn around and come back home and they'd then miss out on that outing.
I used to just pull the car over and sit there until they quit. Then I'd tell them calmly that if I had to stop again because they were carrying on, we'd go home and they'd go straight to their rooms. Didn't take but once or twice.
post #15 of 21
Quote:
I thought 7 was too old for this behavior. They have been behaving like this since age 2
It is too old, but if they haven't been taught differently why would they act differently?
post #16 of 21
Thread Starter 
lilyka- I really want to implement your bedtime idea but my husband is not on board with it. He says we need to stop yelling and be more patient and they will listen better. So I tell them dont leave your room after 9 but when they come out and talk he will let them hang out with us. He wont listen to me either.

As for outings I guess I will have to cancel things if they wont listen. But it punishes me too since I wont be able to go out either. This is going to be very difficult.
post #17 of 21
Quote:
As for outings I guess I will have to cancel things if they wont listen. But it punishes me too since I wont be able to go out either. This is going to be very difficult.
Well, either way you're "punished"--staying home, or going out with children who behave like that. Neither one is fun. So, the solution is to get the behavior situation under control and then you can *all* go out and enjoy yourselves. But doing that will require being very consistent about it for as long as it takes--this isn't going to solve itself in two weeks, as it's been going on for 5 years.

I think you can absolutely accomplish lilyka's bedtime idea without anger or yelling. Maybe wrapping your mind around the idea that you can be firm without being angry/yelling would be a good place to start? You would also need to intercept them before they get to your husband. Get a book and sit down outside their door, where you can immediately (and calmly) turn them around and put them back in their room.

ETA more about your emotional response: With regards to this, I do agree with your husband. There needs to be less yelling, working it's way down to none. I know that you are incredibly frustrated but...for many children a parents high-emotion response is a strange kind of motivator to continue the behavior. Whether it's attention they want, or they just enjoy the "show". You will find discipline much more successful if you can seperate their behavior from your emotions, and separate your discipline from your emotions.

I used to babysit for triplets...I can't think of any other way to describe what they did to their mother except that they delighted in getting under her skin, from a very early age. They'd team up against her, and they thought it was hilarious to get a response from her. It was a game to them. And she was a very overwhelmed and unhappy mother. But they behaved very differently for me. And I wasn't Super Nanny or anything, I was just a teenage kid. But the difference was that I didn't care if they missed out on fun or if we stayed home because of their behavior. I was happy to turn around in the middle of a drive to the park if they didn't behave. And I wasn't emotionally invested in "making them happy" (of course I wanted them to be happy, but I wasn't scared into appeasing them) because I knew I was going home at the end of the day anyway and they could fuss and howl all they wanted.

Observing this as a teen really helped me as a mother later on. I know what's normal for kids, and I know what's acceptable in our home as far as behavior. It helps to keep things reasonable and factual, and when I keep my emotions seperate from what is going on with the kids, I'm better able to if they need discipline (or just a hug), what kind of discipline, and it's more effective.
post #18 of 21
My DS1 is just 3.5 but he's already learned the hard way that you either listen & cooperate, or you don't get to do fun things. I tell him in the morning when we're getting ready to go 'its time for playgorup/library/whatever, turn off the tv, go potty and get your shoes on' (I have to help sometimes, but he can at least find them in the pile;p). If he balks he gets a warning 'do you want to go to xyz?' 'then listen. or we aren't going.' - and he knows, that thats it. If he continues to wine/cry/etc we don't go. They figure it out pretty quick. And yes, it sucks for you those few times when you don't go... but once they realize your serious and you will stay home, they stop being such pricks about getting ready to go.

As for bedtime... you just need to get dh on board. Thats all there is to it. Untill they know theres firm limits, they will push them and ignore you.
post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
well, husband is on board with bedtime. I'll keep everyone posted!
post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Proudmomoftwinsplusone View Post
lilyka- I really want to implement your bedtime idea but my husband is not on board with it. He says we need to stop yelling and be more patient and they will listen better. So I tell them dont leave your room after 9 but when they come out and talk he will let them hang out with us. He wont listen to me either.

As for outings I guess I will have to cancel things if they wont listen. But it punishes me too since I wont be able to go out either. This is going to be very difficult.
If my husband was doing this, I would just declare myself off duty at 8. I would probably go out for a bit from 8-9 to wind down. Maybe go for a relaxing walk or go hang out at the bookstore or whatever I wanted, then I would come home and go straight to my room close the door and read a book till I fell asleep (hopefully by 10). If he doesn't want to help make sure the kids get to bed, so I can have downtime and enough sleep, then he can deal with them. Since I've usually already been on duty since at least 8 am (often much earlier) I figure it's fair to be off duty after a 12 hour shift. Obviously I'm available for nightmares or nursing if the baby isn't nightweaned etc. I just am not going to be a playmate at all hours of the night.

As far as outings, maybe start on the weekend, so if the kids don't get ready they can stay home with dad. Then maybe after two days of being left behind they'll be ready to cooperate. If part of the problem is that they want to stay home to watch tv or video games or play with a specific toy, then I would make a rule that if you don't get to go out to do your fun thing because of their behavior, then they don't get to do their fun thing. No video games or Tv for the day, and they can help with extra chores around the house maybe.

ETA: sorry I hadn't read your update when I wrote this. Glad husband is on board with bedtime.
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