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Moms of Many Gentle Discipline Support Thread - Page 3

post #41 of 144
I'm not a mama of a large family, but I'm the oldest sibling of one.

Annettemarie, I just wanted to tell you that I absolutely love your posts in just about any thread I can remember, and also that you totally remind me of my mother (in as much tone as a person can convey on a message board ).

Anyway, while there was chaos in my home growing up, and I remember my mother looking completely undone at times, the thing that has always stayed with me (and stayed my temper at the worst of times) was the absolute love that my mother had for us.

Even when she locked herself in the bathroom for a minute (or ten ).

I hope this didn't sound too silly. I just wanted to tell you (and the other mamas) that I grew up in a large family and look back on my childhood with fondness and love.
post #42 of 144
One thing I was reminded of reading this thread is how mothers of many practice 'crowd management'. Kind of how preschool teachers manage 9 little 3-4 yr olds in a class (that's the ratio is MA- 9/1). They set up stations. A craft station, a cozy reading station, an audio books station with headphones, a block/play are etc. If kids are engaged, you can focus time on a couple of kids at once, and then roam around the room, doing what you need to do. Trying to get one group of kids to all do one thing-- diaster. lol

I started looking around my house, and even though my kids are older, it's still kind of that way. There is a play kitchen and blocks area, with a little table and chairs for the toddler (my sister's child is here many days a week, and in fact slept with me until mindnight last night because his parents went to a wedding). There is an art cabinet near the ktichen table, there are two places for CD players for audio books. We are hsers, and sometimes I need the toddler to be engaged while I read to the older kids, or help my 8 yr old with something. Yesterday, my 8 yr old wanted to finish a chapter books so I set the toddler up with some blocks and playmobil animals a few feet away. We were able to finish the book. Then the 3 of us had a snack, bath, and went to bed. OK, I did snuggle the 3 of us in with FInding Nemo (fast forwarding the dead mother part), as I wanted my nephew to not think about nursing. I know not everyone would use a video that way, but we did/do.

The thing that stands out in my mind is that now I get sleep, so everythign is a bit easier. In the old days I did not sleep much, and fantasized about running off to a hotel just for the night. Lack of sleep makes everything more difficult. All I can think so say to moms of littles is to take it slow. Try to have downtime in a day where you lower the lights and maybe lie down on blanket on the floor, with some soft music, or, if you aren't opposed to it, a calming video (we liked Mary Poppins) in the middle of the day.

And food-- have lots of high protein food availabe in easy -to- eat, non- messy forms. Cheese and apple slices & such. Hard boiled eggs. We used to have 'tea' at about 3 or 4, so we could try to get through the later part of the afternoon without meltdowns. But go slow, do less, chill more, share playdates with like-minded friends & family. I don't see how we can get through otherwise.
post #43 of 144
Taking notes from y'all :
post #44 of 144
Thank you for this thread, I need it soooo much!
post #45 of 144
I too appreciate all the posts from the moms with children older than mine. It helps a lot to get a glimpse of the future.
post #46 of 144
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by zoesmummy View Post

Annettemarie, I just wanted to tell you that I absolutely love your posts in just about any thread I can remember, and also that you totally remind me of my mother (in as much tone as a person can convey on a message board ).
Aw, thanks. That made me tear up a little.
post #47 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by UUMom View Post
The thing that stands out in my mind is that now I get sleep, so everythign is a bit easier.
Yeah! That's the big problem for me right now. It hadn't been too bad, just one or two wakings for the older kids and three to four for the youngest. And as long as they're brief, I can roll with it. But for the past week ds2 has been waking up and being awake for two to three hours. He's not sad, he won't nurse, but he does make lots of noise, kick and wiggle like crazy, and poop. So I have to at least get up to change him, and he keeps me awake too. It's driving me crazy!
post #48 of 144
Thread Starter 
It is so great to hear from a mama who has made it through to what I affectionately refer to in my own mind as The Other Side.

Quote:
Originally Posted by UUMom View Post
One thing I was reminded of reading this thread is how mothers of many practice 'crowd management'. Kind of how preschool teachers manage 9 little 3-4 yr olds in a class (that's the ratio is MA- 9/1). They set up stations. A craft station, a cozy reading station, an audio books station with headphones, a block/play are etc. If kids are engaged, you can focus time on a couple of kids at once, and then roam around the room, doing what you need to do. Trying to get one group of kids to all do one thing-- diaster. lol

I started looking around my house, and even though my kids are older, it's still kind of that way. There is a play kitchen and blocks area, with a little table and chairs for the toddler (my sister's child is here many days a week, and in fact slept with me until mindnight last night because his parents went to a wedding). There is an art cabinet near the ktichen table, there are two places for CD players for audio books. We are hsers, and sometimes I need the toddler to be engaged while I read to the older kids, or help my 8 yr old with something. Yesterday, my 8 yr old wanted to finish a chapter books so I set the toddler up with some blocks and playmobil animals a few feet away. We were able to finish the book. Then the 3 of us had a snack, bath, and went to bed. OK, I did snuggle the 3 of us in with FInding Nemo (fast forwarding the dead mother part), as I wanted my nephew to not think about nursing. I know not everyone would use a video that way, but we did/do.
You know, I used to be a great preschool teacher. Seriously, I rocked, if I do say so myself. So it makes me particularly sad when I feel like I'm just not doing it with my own. But I am going to think about this and see if I can reapply some of my early childhood training to our house.

Quote:
The thing that stands out in my mind is that now I get sleep, so everythign is a bit easier. In the old days I did not sleep much, and fantasized about running off to a hotel just for the night. Lack of sleep makes everything more difficult. All I can think so say to moms of littles is to take it slow. Try to have downtime in a day where you lower the lights and maybe lie down on blanket on the floor, with some soft music, or, if you aren't opposed to it, a calming video (we liked Mary Poppins) in the middle of the day.
This is another area I've let go. With my first two, we had "quiet time" for an hour every day. I think I need to reinstate it, even if it means letting my no-television ideals go.

Quote:
And food-- have lots of high protein food availabe in easy -to- eat, non- messy forms. Cheese and apple slices & such. Hard boiled eggs. We used to have 'tea' at about 3 or 4, so we could try to get through the later part of the afternoon without meltdowns.
I've been trying to do this, and you're right, it does make a difference. However, when I let them help themselves to food we end up with a lot of waste. Besides being ethically opposed to wasting food, we just can't afford it. Any suggestions for managing this?
post #49 of 144
As a mom with 5 kidlets 6 and under, I am so there with all of you! It can be frustrating and infuriatingly hard!

Sometimes I just don't know whether to pull my hair out at the roots, walk away and let it play out or just stand there with a stupefied look on my face during the chaos that ensues in this household at times...

I do my best but sometimes I slip. I find my slip ups are great opportunities to teach my kids that even parents\adults aren't always right and can\do apologize too. It shows that we have more in common than we think, we are both learning to cohabitate with each other and apologizing is a life skill that we all are still learning to do (ie: recognizing when we did something to hurt someone else, and realizing that we need\want to make it right again which equates to knowing when and how to apologize for something we did to hurt someone's feelings).

It shows my kidlets that I am human too and that parents are not this all encompassing perfect authoritative figure that know it all just because we are the parent\adult. It, literally, puts us at the same level where we should be.

This is my aspiring arsenal of GD tools:

- 123 Magic (explain the inappropriate behavior, the consequence, then that's 1, that's 2, okay it's time for a time out with me on the couch, let's take a break)
- Parent present time outs (sit on the couch with me and let's take a break for 5 minutes)
- Natural consequences to actions (run through the house, you can hurt yourself)
- Redirect and distract (that's hot, here's your favie blankie\toy\book)
- What I call "get off your butt parenting". Go to them, take them out of the situation, explain on their level and redirect\distract.
- Rewards for chores done * (no flames or debate please, what works for us doesn't work for everyone - I appreciate it - thank you)

*This is used for chores because my kids are motivated with reward systems. We never, ever use time with us as a reward, that is something they get regardless of what they do. That's not a luxury it's a right in our eyes. What I do is I have a big jar of colored marbles and then three jars with their names on it. They earn so many marbles for certain chores done and then at the end of the week cash them in for something they want like a dvd they wanted, a toy they saw and wanted. It's kind of like an allowance without the money. They get to change the cash in "prizes" at the end of two weeks time.

- Visual rules like flash cards for making their bed, or brushing their teeth, putting their dishes in the sink, ect. They got to decorate their rule cards that we put up on the wall for them.

- "I" statements such as "I don't like being hit, please stop...thank you". Rather than blame the person who is behaving badly, we use "I" statements to express dislike of something without blaming the person and ask for it to stop.
post #50 of 144
I don't have time to post or read at the moment but I can't wait to glean some new tactics! I only have 3 of my own but M-F I have six children under the age of 4: half of whom are in dipers: : :
Hey AM:
post #51 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by UUMom View Post
But life is much easier when you don't have to carry multiple children to the car, dress, and change multiple diapers etc.
This is the WORST. PART. OF MY DAY. EVER.

I used to send the oldest 2 out to sit buckled in the van (in the driveway) while I got the baby in the carseat or gathered the last things like diaper bag, etc...
For a while it seemed to keep them from fighting, or running away down the street, but that presents it's own unique set of problems too...

I ALWAYS seem to end up yelling at them if we are trying to leave the house. And no, staying home is NOT AN OPTION. I hate that actually on other threads where moms of firstborns or onlies innocently proclaim "Well can't you just stay home? Or reschedule your day around naptime?":
Ummmm...... NO! Not always, if you have more than one child or other responsibilities. I think that issue right there is unique to Gentle Disciplining larger families. I know that for me my biggest issue I feel I work on all time is "triaging everyone's needs." Who comes first? The baby? The spirited 2.5 y/o? The 8 year old that gets pushed aside a lot so I can put out the fires the other 2 started? (figuratively, not literally... not yet. The day might come though with my middle child, God help us.)
One of my other issues is actually how to help my oldest child understand the concept of GD.
He tries to intervene, stand up for himself when his little brother is being aggressive, help Mom out, etc... but he is only 8! He doesn't understand the concepts of normal child development. psychology, GD. Heck my DP is just barely starting to understand those concepts.
I have tried to institute the "Walk Away." As in, "Walk away and get Mom if your little brother is being rough and hurting you." "Walk away and get Mom if your brother hopped the baby gate into your room and is wrecking your Lego creations." He just can't deal with it all appropriately on his own, yet he keeps trying and it ends badly with tears and sceaming and crying from both of them sometimes.
Thanks to everyone that has posted. You make me feel better.
I know my DP looks at me and our household some days and think I am PSYCHOTIC for wanting one more child (4 total). Some days I think so too. I was SOOOOO GD with just my oldest and some days I seem to get increasingly LESS so.
Thanks for the support,
Jessica
post #52 of 144
Food question thoughts.

You put out the food if waste is a problem. I do like the idea of children helping themselves etc. Yet sometimes with many children that means constant mess and dripping yogurt bowls all day long. When we did tea, it was something I put together quickly. Small chunks of cheese, sliced fruit, sippy or small cups of water etc. Start with one apple, sliced, and a small amount of cheese for each child, and add from there. Some two yr olds can eat an entire apple, and some take one bite and are done etc. If you slice one apple, you can even eat some and share with all. If the children want more, slice another. (I love those apple core thingies that- zip -slice an apple into a bunch of wedges.) If you are doing crackers, just put out a few and add if children want more. And as for yogurt cups? No. I buy the large yogurt and put into bowls. That way there isn't bacteria swirling around the 3/4 full little cup when a child takes two bites and is done.
post #53 of 144
natensarah,

I've taken your stiff drink advice literally. I went out and bought a 6-pack of Mike's Hard Lemonade (now that I'm not pg, woo hoo!). In the time that it takes me to finish one, the older two have quit yapping and fallen asleep. I've only tried it once, but that's my plan until this pack is gone. At bedtime, I'm going to ignore them (unless someone's crying), not worry about the talking and try to let them fall asleep without me going in there and telling them to be quiet every five minutes. I will leave them alone until I have a drink, or bowl of ice cream, and they will go to bed (I hope).
post #54 of 144
Two of mine are older (14 and 10) and although more responsible they can eat a lot of food if they just graze! My youngest doesn't snack (yet) but dd1 (4yo) is a snacker.

One thing I do in the holidays is make a box of things in the fridge or stuff in a tin on the counter which they can eat during the day. This works for my boys and it stops them eating what I was going to put on the pizza/mix with a salad/feed the whole family on that night

For my dd, she gets things in small portions - half an apple in slices, a few apricots in a bowl, a cracker, one muffin, a gloop of yoghurt in a plastic drinking cup etc and she HAS to eat it at the table. Often I offer her a drink when she is asking for food and she will have that and not ask for anything to eat; I think she just finds it easier to say hungry than thirsty.

We do sit and eat a family meal every evening but I have to remember to feed them at lunchtime even after all these years as I don't feel hungry myself at midday. On the days when we do have a substantial lunch the snacking is obviously less and I really need to plan for it better.

What doesn't change is the 3-4pm grumps which are only ovecome by everyone being in their own space and doing something like eating or reading Now that there are more of us I realise that a good part of my day is spent in thinking about, shopping for, eating or preparing food - especially as dd2 is still an avid breastfeeder. Making snacks in advance and not complaining about them all being eaten in a day has eased my anxiety about where the food was going!

Ds1 made me laugh the other day because he told me that maybe we should ration the cookies or muffins because they all disappeared very quickly after they were cooked. When I suggested that he eat only 2 muffins the next day he said 'Only 2! They're too tasty to just have 2!'
post #55 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by phathui5 View Post
natensarah,

I've taken your stiff drink advice literally. I went out and bought a 6-pack of Mike's Hard Lemonade (now that I'm not pg, woo hoo!). In the time that it takes me to finish one, the older two have quit yapping and fallen asleep. I've only tried it once, but that's my plan until this pack is gone. At bedtime, I'm going to ignore them (unless someone's crying), not worry about the talking and try to let them fall asleep without me going in there and telling them to be quiet every five minutes. I will leave them alone until I have a drink, or bowl of ice cream, and they will go to bed (I hope).
It's nearly 6pm here, and I just poured myself a little white wine as the grill heats up. It doesn't really get that much easier as they get older (the issues are different, but not 'easier'). What happens is you get less worried that everything is a life and death situation (Teens who drive is not the same worry, fi, as whether the 4 yr old ate half a cup cake at a friend's house that day). And a little Mike's or a sip of wine can't hurt...
post #56 of 144
I just read back further and saw your post Tripmom.

I will say that my children who are GD'd AP'd and loved respectfully can be mean to each other.

Our boys have fought and done horrible things to each other but they are still very close and would defend each other to the last breath if need be. When they were yongr I was upset by the way they fought and how they spoke to each other as it was alien to me. I had a sister and we never behaved like that.

Back then a good friend who had at one time had 3 boys under 4 told me to stop worrying about it and not to intervene in every little spat: they would resolve their issues and often things may not be intended in the deadly way I was viewing them.

I took this to heart and although I still monitored them and skilled the younger one with useful phrases which his brother was encouraged to respect like 'Don't hit me' 'I don't like that' 'I don't want to play that' etc I also impressed upon them that walking away was always an option and that if one walked away then he shouldn't be hounded.

I felt less anxious about it and they were less retaliatory because I wasn't always looking for and assigning blame to one or the other of them. Their battles came and went quickly and they often just settled down to doing something together after seeming to have fallen out terribly.

They don't fight with dd but they do nag her and criticize her for being 4 which is annoying. She holds her own though and I just watch and only intervene if they aren't sorting it out. She tells them not to boss her or that she doesn't need help or she tells them she is still learning how to do such and such and they should leave her alone. Unfortunately this is often accompanied by shrieking and we are still working on reducing that!
post #57 of 144
getting out of the house can be crazy--for some reason the boys want to fight and push and be really loud right when I can't find my car keys, even though I swore I put them on the hook for the keys, they baby's hat is missing, or needs a diaper change at the last minute.

I'm stressed to get somewhere on time, they're fighting, I'm confused because I can't get my stuff together. :

And I seem to take it out on my oldest more often, even if it is really his little brother that is causing the trouble, or the baby is crying. I get over loaded, and I'm really trying to focus on my oldest, more. But it is so hard when ds#2 cries, or the baby is crying. You'd think that after 3 I'd be able to handle crying--but I can't.

When I've set everything up and have it all planned out, it isn't so bad.

I am so, so, so happy that dh can take ds#1 to school in the fall, so I don't have to get everyone up and out to get there by 7:45am.

Protein snacks are the best, but my guys won't eat cheese now. So, we do nut butters, cereals like go lean, yoghourt, etc.

But I can't eat dairy now because baby is having serious problems with milk protein in my breastmilk, so i'm on non-dairy diet.

blah, blah...
post #58 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by carmel23 View Post
getting out of the house can be crazy--for some reason the boys want to fight and push and be really loud right when I can't find my car keys, even though I swore I put them on the hook for the keys, they baby's hat is missing, or needs a diaper change at the last minute.

I'm stressed to get somewhere on time, they're fighting, I'm confused because I can't get my stuff together. :
I have given up breaking my neck to get places'on-time' even if you ave anappointment somewhere you usually have to wait anyway so I have come to a place where I prioritise my sanity and calm stomach over punctuality. That said, I still have trouble getting out of the house especially if we don't have the car and are going on the bikes. the other day I went back in the house 3 times to get things I had forgotten and inbetween all that the older ones are cruising around on their bikes inthe street, dd1 is whining and teh baby is going nutty because I put her in the sling to leave my hands free before putting her in the seat and she only tolerates the sling if it looks like we are actually going somewhere - not just in and out of the house.

No solutions here except forward planning - and try not to rush!
post #59 of 144
Hey ya guys.
I am a mama of 4 currently and TTC for #5.
Bedtimes for us were also pretty crazy but I live by my bedtime routines and they have helped me immensly!

Ok so I work everything by the hour at this point, once #5 comes we'll juggle it around a little bit but here is what I do now.

baths for the two younger guys (1 and 4), while I am bathing them my two older (10 and 7) do dishes and clean off diningroom table.
while the two youngest are bathing I clean the bathroom.

I do stories with the two youngest and the older two know that they need to find something to do whilst I am doing this, at first they would come in and bug, but they know now that their turn comes.

I lay down 1yo and snuggle him...it usually takes him about 15 mins to settle.

after I get him down the bath days for the oldest bunch alternate. so depending on whose day it is, they get into the tub.

: I take some time to snuggle the 5 yo and read to the 7yo. They go down together (they sleep in the same room) and read quietly in their beds. They are usually down by 9.

I go out and do the animals (chickens and stuff) and put away outside toys. I come in and spend some time with oldest. He chooses his own bedtime and is usally down by 10:30.

Done.
I think the most important thing is taking the time to spend with each in a peaceful, not hurrying way. Giving each their hour, really helps them to unwind.
It works for us.

cheers
phoenix
post #60 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by phathui5 View Post
natensarah,

I've taken your stiff drink advice literally. I went out and bought a 6-pack of Mike's Hard Lemonade (now that I'm not pg, woo hoo!). In the time that it takes me to finish one, the older two have quit yapping and fallen asleep. I've only tried it once, but that's my plan until this pack is gone. At bedtime, I'm going to ignore them (unless someone's crying), not worry about the talking and try to let them fall asleep without me going in there and telling them to be quiet every five minutes. I will leave them alone until I have a drink, or bowl of ice cream, and they will go to bed (I hope).
Great! Just don't come hunting me down if you get carried away!

I think it's great to leave them alone and just let them go to sleep without checking on them all the time. I'm almost never able to do that. I just am not able to really relax and feel like I'm "off shift" until I know they're asleep. KWIM?
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