X is moving 1000 miles away, leaving DP and I to care for the kids alone... how to make it a smooth transition in a very difficult time? - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-23-2010, 02:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We have major behavior issues with 2 of my 3 children. My middle child is 8, and has always been very emotional and strong willed. He is easy to blow up in anger, rages for a long time, but at the same time is often very sweet and compassionate. What usually sets him off is feeling like he is being bossed around.

My younger child is 6, he has severe adhd because of lead poisoning when he was a baby. He is non stop. The concerta doesnt help that much. It is exausting.

My DP loves me and the kids, but has no kids of his own, and no experience with kids. He is quick to get frustrated and discouraged because the boys don't make any effort to behave for him. He will often tell them they cannot have something, and they immediately ask me if they can- right in front of him.

They really don't have any rules at their dads house. He is usually downstairs watching movies, or on the internet, and they play video games and watch nickelodian all day long. When they started arguing about sharing the tv, he went and bought them another one. In their room they have multiple game systems, and have access to several tv's with satellite. So they have very little supervision.

In our house we have very different rules. We are trying to teach them responsibility, they have chores (that it usually takes me screaming and threatening for them to follow through), everything seems like one step forward and 2 steps back. Even though my DP and I know it is not the best for us, we are relieved when it is their turn to go to their dad's, because parenting them is so difficult and often futile.

I am afraid that when their dad leaves, the stress of being with the kids 24/7 is going to be too much, and my relationship with my DP will not survive it. I am awesome at being a mom to babies and toddlers, but when they hit their childhood years, I feel like I became a failure at parenting. And my DP doesnt have kids, so it is like the blind leading the blind. I really could use some tips on how to get my children to listen to both me and my DP, I mean, I have been trying to get them to clean their room for over an hour. I even went in there and screamed at them as a last resort. Now I am sitting here with a sore throat while I hear them yelling and laughing- not cleaning, and I feel like such a failure, and so discouraged. I know I am doing everything wrong, but I just dont know how to do it right. Please help me.
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Old 06-23-2010, 03:34 PM
 
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Here is what I think.

* You need to find something that will allow the kids to get their energy out in a positive way: swimming classes, sports, art classes, playgroups.

* Humans are animals, and lately we have been spending too much time inside the buildings, I don't think that's natural or good. Just recently I made myself to stick to going for a long walk three times a week - what a world of difference! Try something like that with the kids - find things they can do outside go for walks, sign up for sports, etc.

* Seeing that the stress will be compiling, dedicating time to each other as husband and wife might be a really good idea - what about date night twice a month?

* I think maybe the whole family could benefit from a little bit more structure in schedule: Tuesday - library day, Wednesday and Friday - playground in the park, Thursdays and Saturdays - gym day, Sunday - cleaning day, etc. Predictability is a great strategy.

* Give the kids vacuum your cleaner - it's a fun chore, and gets energy out.

* Consider counseling for everyone involved. Sounds like your husband can use some help in dealing with the situation as well.

Big hugs!

New endeavor coming soon...
Raising Alice in Wonderland (DSD, 17), and in love with a Superman
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Old 06-23-2010, 03:52 PM
 
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The fact that your DP doesn't have kids of his own doesn't mean that he's unqualified. My SO didn't have parenting experience before we got together, but he's been a lifesaver, and for quite a while my son (who is 8, stubborn and wants to be the boss) listened a lot better to SO than to me. SO didn't get involved to much with the details of what the kids are and are not allowed to do, but he did instill in them the message of "Everything you have, you have because of your mom. She works hard to take care of you and so you have to treat her with respect. She knows what's best for you." That ONE thing has made a TON of difference. When the kids don't follow my rules, he isn't interested in doing extra fun things with them.

I find I have a lot less conflict with my 8 year old when he knows the plan... even if it isn't anything super exciting. His first question after school is usually "What's the plan for tonight?" and I tell him what I'm making for dinner and that we are going to watch a show (the latest thing is old MacGyver episodes?! SO watched it when he was a kid & thought DS would love it....ummm, yup!) or play a game. Sometimes when he's more difficult, it means I have to let him try something I don't think he's old enough for yet... it has been an extra privilege or an extra responsibility... he just needs to feel more grown up (I don't know why he thinks acting up is the way to accomplish it... I just wait for a good behaviour moment to suggest whatever I've decided he can do. Eg: one night we let him stay up late and taught him how to play Monopoly, which he'd been asking about, after his sister was in bed)

For something like cleaning their rooms, I'd pick my moment... maybe let them know on Friday at dinner that first thing in the morning you'll be reminding them to clean their rooms. They don't go anywhere until their rooms are clean. We often have something planned for the afternoon (picnic at the beach, bowling, swimming) If one of them doesn't follow through on cleaning their room, one parent stays home with them and the other parent takes the other kid out. Each of them has missed out on the plan once, and once only. If it's something like getting ready for bed, they do it after dinner but before we get into an activity... they have to accomplish the thing they don't care about before they get to do the thing they want. It sounds like a big negotiation tactic, and it was a big deal sometimes at first... but it's just how it is now... they know I mean it when I ask them to do something, so they just do it. It's probably important to say: I don't expect perfection in anything, just that they put in a reasonable effort. If DD picks up 80% of her mess, I can fine tune it for her, and if DS decides he's sleeping in a t-shirt, I don't argue that he should wear PJ's, etc.

Have a talk with DP, and make sure he knows what the bigger picture is on the values you'd like to instill in the kids. Once that's done, the details are easier to manage. It might be a good idea to set a routine to follow, especially at first. Make sure you have some fun family time every week, or you'll end up feeling like all you ever do is nag them (and so will they!) My kids really like playing Uno and Sorry at the moment, for a while it was a PS3 game (Little Big Planet... it's a 4 person game that requires cooperation)

My SO is a school bus driver and I do before/after school care, so we get the benefit of some one on one time most weekdays. I think that's key... find a way to spend some time with your DP frequently, with no kids around.

This is getting pretty disjointed, I'm sorry!

~Teresa, raising DS (Jan. 02) and DD1 (Jun. 04) and DD2 (Dec. 11) with DH.

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