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feeling inadequate at teaching my kids basic human-ness

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

I am feeling very ineffective as a parent lately.  I have a 9, just turned 6 and 2.5 year old.  I have always tried to talk to my kids about trust, honesty, respect etc., and I'm finding my older two to be particularly sneaky and disrespectful.  My 9 year old is horribly sneaky (girl) and outright defiant when I am not around.  Case in point, we had 2 of my friend's kids spend the night, they are 7 and 4.5, last night.  The kids were watching a movie and I went to bed with my 2 year old just down the hall.  We had all eaten and they had drinks--all was well.  I specifically told her "no more food, no more drinks, watch the movie and go to bed."  This morning I came out to find a entire box of strawberries gone and the package/greens laying on the floor and a mountain dew that I had bought for a science experiment, empty laying on the floor.  I would find it funny if she weren't constantly sneaking food and other things.

 

There are a lot of other examples, but basically I don't feel like I can trust my kids.  I hold honesty to be very important.  their dad (who I divorced last year) is the farthest from anything honest (which was the cause of our divorce), so I really have to wonder how much is my ineffective parenting and how much is him.

 

I model, I teach, I reaffirm...what else can I do?  Their dad is pointless in this, so it needs to be me.  Help?

post #2 of 23

Well, she's not that sneaky if she didn't hide the evidence. I don't think it's fair to place the responsibility of, not only her younger sibling, but two other younger kids, on your 9 yo. She obviously isn't old enough to babysit so shouldn't be left responsible for three younger kids. It's one thing to go to sleep with the little one when it's just your family. But when you have other people's young children over, you should be supervising them until they are asleep.

post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 

Why are you focusing on the other two that don't belong to me--they were fine and laying on the floor 5 feet from my bedroom.  The problem is my 9 year old that doesn't follow direction.  She was completely sneaky.  She promised me she wasn't going to get into the kitchen and did anyway.  She very often waits for me to be away and then will get into things she has specifically had direction to not do.  Just because she didn't take care of her evidence doesn't mean she wasn't being sneaky when she did it.  Perhaps that just means I should crack the whip when I find the evidence, but if that's the case--then what do you do?

 

If anyone wants to comment on the issue at hand, I'd be open to suggestion.

 

 

post #4 of 23
I would have a huge problem with the mountain dew, but is it possible that she was just too hungry to comply? Did the sleepover kids want something? What does she say about it?
If it were me, I would have told her what she could eat if she got hungry. But this doesn't seem like a huge deal.

Now if she knew she wasnt allowed to drink mt dew and did it anyway, I would be very disappointed. I think I would talk to her about it, and tell her you don't feel you can have soda in the house for a while since you can't trust her.

The strawberries I'd just let go. Just doesn't seem like a big deal--she got hungry and chose a healthy snack.
post #5 of 23
I think you need to talk with her and try to understand what is motivating her to sneak. Is she still processing the divorce, is it always surrounding food? Does she crave sugar? Is there something going on medically? Is she just testing boundaries? Could she be looking for attention and craving more one-on-one time? If you are divorced and have a 2 year-old, I imagine one-on-one time is hard to come by. But maybe she can stay up a little later once in a while and you two could have some time together once the younger ones are in bed.

I think I'd have a problem-solving session with her. I don't feel like I can trust you. Give a specific example and see if she can give you any more info. What was she thinking? How is she feeling lately? What can we do to fix this issue because you want to feel like you can trust her.
post #6 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thank you...

 

well, the strawberries are an issue because I told her she couldn't have anything else.  She does have a problem with food and we had just had a huge dinner.  She sneaks food regardless of what it is.  Maybe I'm doing it wrong, but I don't know what else to do besides tell her no because she does not limit herself--she has no shut off.  And I don't know if maybe the other sneaking is stemming from the food issue.  I think she does have some impulse control issues.  I'm not really big into punishment, though I do time outs when warranted and take things away when warranted.  I would like to be able to say, if you feel you need food, then eat, but she'd gorge herself, I believe.  She is in equine therapy for self-confidence and other things, but I just don't know how to handle this one.  We talk about it over and over and I think it makes sense, she's just unwilling to stop the behavior if it's what she wants.

post #7 of 23

I assumed from your scenario that all the kids were eating the strawberries and drinking the Mountain Dew, not that the 9 yo ate/drank them all herself.

 

Not hiding the evidence means she isn't really sneaky, but more lacking impulse control or having obsessive compulsions. It's still a problem, just a different problem. She isn't trying to keep you from finding out what she did and that's a good thing.

post #8 of 23

Hunger is a pretty basic need.  If she's always sneaking food, it sounds like she just needs more than she's getting.  I'd make sure she always has healthy options that she likes around to eat,and make sure she's drinking enough as thirst can feel like hunger to a kid.  Teaching habits like have a glass of water before eating, don't watch tv while eating, always portion out your stuff and go back for more vs eating out of the package will serve her better in the long run than being cut off and feeling hungry. 

post #9 of 23

i snuck food like crazy when i was growing up. i wasn't hungry. so much was kept from me and i was not allowed many sweets/junk food so i snuck it. and snuck alot of it. i just couldn't stop myself. i still can't stop myself...if there is a pack of cookies or carton of ice cream, i'm gonna eat it all in 1-2 days, screw how it tears up my stomach. i have no idea how this compulsion could have been curbed as a child.

my kids have snuck food here and there but nothing to be concerned about. once #3 tried to eat a clove of garlic, and tried to say she didn't and didn't know why her breath smelled like that LOL she fessed up later :)

post #10 of 23

we did always have fruits offered that i liked but it wasn't good enough...i wanted the junk that i couldn't have.

post #11 of 23
Ya know- I have mild insulin issues, and I crave carbs like crazy. My insulin problem won't even show up on the common tests that a family doctor would run. However, when my weight is up just a little, I get headaches and so, so irritable if I don't eat constantly. I only discovered this because the extra insulin was causing me to have miscarriages. It took a reproductive endocrinologist to figure it out.

I think that you've tried consequences when warranted, and maybe try to have something more set in stone that she helps you decide. How to Talk so Kids Will Listen/Can Learn books by Faber and Mazlish have a system that might help. You talk about the issue, list the rules and then list specific consequences all with her. Then you follow through without fail- and also without anger. I'd also give her a list of foods that she can have unlimited access to for a while. carrot sticks for example. And if the issue is mostly food, then I'd talk to her doctor.
post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jen Muise View Post

Hunger is a pretty basic need.  If she's always sneaking food, it sounds like she just needs more than she's getting.  I'd make sure she always has healthy options that she likes around to eat,and make sure she's drinking enough as thirst can feel like hunger to a kid.  Teaching habits like have a glass of water before eating, don't watch tv while eating, always portion out your stuff and go back for more vs eating out of the package will serve her better in the long run than being cut off and feeling hungry. 


I don't agree with this. I trust the OP that her daughter had enough food already. There is nothing wrong with a parent telling a child that the kitchen is off limits. Especially when the child has an obvious compulsive overeating thing going on.

 

As an adult who also has had a past with overeating, I really think this needs to be addressed. She is not going to figure it out on her own. I would even bring her to a family therapist. It would not hurt for you to share your story and get some advice from a family therapist. It sounds like you need some support.

 

Good luck to you. I can't pretend that I have a perfect answer, but I can understand why this is a struggle.

post #13 of 23

I trust that the OP is feeding her kid enough too, but that doesn't mean the child doesn't feel hungry.  I've had issues with overeating too.  I think that when my parents cut me off and limited my portions without giving me strategies to deal with my hunger and cravings, they made things worse.  

post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jen Muise View Post

I trust that the OP is feeding her kid enough too, but that doesn't mean the child doesn't feel hungry.  I've had issues with overeating too.  I think that when my parents cut me off and limited my portions without giving me strategies to deal with my hunger and cravings, they made things worse.  


I understand this. I think it can go both ways. My parents never limited my food. They would make pizza and I would eat so much that I could hardly walk for the rest of the night. I wish they had paid closer attention. They could have possibly limited me, or had some serious discussions with me...I really wish I had seen a therapist.

 

I can however say that most families close the kitchen off at a certain time of night. My kids are still so little that they go to bed pretty quickly after dinner but when they are older and staying up later...I will probably cut them off at some point. I don't know.

 



 

post #15 of 23

If it`s just about food, I would address that question first. Is she still hungry after dinner? I would honestly give her very healthy options for food if she gets hungry at night.

If she is sneaky about other things as well, I would think it has more to do with defiance/disobedience. Kids like to test limits. You specifically told her not to go into the kitchen and she agreed. Explain to her that you cannot trust her unless she keeps her promises.


 

post #16 of 23


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by vermontgirl View Post

 

I can however say that most families close the kitchen off at a certain time of night.

 



 


Really? I've never encountered anyone doing that.

 

post #17 of 23
I was 8 when my parents seperated and i started binging at that time too. Some people use food do deal emotionally. I agree with the pp who suggested a family therapist. I wish that optio was explored for me as a child. Barring medical conditions its usually not about real hunger.
post #18 of 23

It sounds like emotional over-eating. The emotions need to be addressed, not the food. I dated someone who was pretty insecure as a child, as your DD may be if she has self-consciousness issues, and her mother limited her access to the kitchen to try and control her weight. She ended up sneaking food anyway and choked on food she wasn't supposed to be eating when she was caught once, leading to an even more traumatic experience. She still has an unhealthy relationship with food to this day.

 

My girls don't have a weight problem, but I still don't let them snack (besides fruit or juice) right before dinner and "close the kitchen" an hour before bed. This was mainly because they were using snacks as a stalling technique, but they would also pour drinks and then fall asleep two sips into them so we just close it off now, and they know when "last call" is so they can get something if they really are hungry. If we eat a late dinner, it's usually not a problem, but I find this helps cut down on the unnecessary junk snacking. We also tell them they can pick one junky snack item a week and that's it (besides dessert or the occasional treat). Obviously, that won't help with the drinking-mountain-dew-when-they-know-they-shouldn't, but firmer rules about when it's not appropriate to raid the kitchen may lead to less confusion.

 

IMO, other kids usually suggest these ideas and your kid doesn't know how to say no to them. I wouldn't place blame entirely on her here.
 

post #19 of 23

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post


 


Really? I've never encountered anyone doing that.

 

 

So everyone you know allows their kids to just grab and go at all hours of the night?

post #20 of 23

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by vermontgirl View Post

 

 

So everyone you know allows their kids to just grab and go at all hours of the night?

 

Evidently. Or I don't spend enough time with them to know otherwise. I can see my one grandma doing that, though. She liked to have her kitchen all clean after dinner and have it stay that way. To me, the only issue would be having kids clean up after themselves. 

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