I have 3 dd's, 10.5yrs, 9 yrs and 4 mos. (Yes, #3 was a lovely surprise, but that's a whole other thread!) My problem is that their behavior has been really difficult lately, and I'm not sure I can get through the summer with them at home.
A little background: My dh and I started a restaurant 2 years ago. The first year was quite a blur, but we seemed to come through it ok. That year, dd#1 had to switch schools due to some nasty social issues and an incompetent teacher (and has really bossomed at a wonderful, warm, safe, humanistic charter school). Last fall, dd#2 followed her to the new school. She didn't have the same social issues yet, but I wanted to avoid the environment that caused the problems for dd#1. And this Feb., dd#3 was born.
So, we've had quite a bit of stress over the last couple years, but for dh and I, it's been sooo worth it. Being your own boss is the best, and it really has made dh very happy.
Dd#1 has been struggling with a lot of anxiety and fears, stuff that comes seemingly out of the blue. For example, last night at bedtime, I was explaining to dd#2 why we keep the porch light on all night - that it discourages anyone who might think about breaking into our house - and this evening, she's sobbing on the couch with stomach cramps insisting that we need to get a security system installed because she's afraid of burgulars....and this is just today's example. She's never shown any concern about burgulars/break-ins in the past. Anxieties about other subjects pop up also....She was always so confident as a younger child, up until the school problems; to see her anxious and fearful breaks my heart.
I suspect some of it is hormonal, and I try to just comfort her through it, but it's difficult to give that method the time it requires when you've got the needs of a 4 month old and a misbehaving 9yr old to deal with, especially when the anxieties seem to bubble up around bedtime (of course!)
Dd#2's behavior has been just about as obnoxious as it can be. She's always been kind of prone to tantrums about clothes/hair, and i thought I had gotten pretty good at not getting emotionally involved, letting her express her frustration without me getting embroiled in it. But now, the obnoxiousness is constant. Rude language and tone of voice, name calling, screaming, throwing things and kicking walls...Last night, she called from a friends house to ask if the friend could come for a sleepover, and I found muself saying yes against my better judgement just so I wouldn't have to deal with a tantrum. Not good.
I guess having them both in a rather negative phase at the same time as having a new baby has just gotten to be too much for me to handle, and it's gotten out of hand. I haven't handled each situation with my ideal of AP/natural consequences/positive discipline lately, and it shows.
However, tonight, dd#2 pitched a fit, screaming at the rest of us because she was mad at the rules of an online contest. I spent a couple minutes trying to explain that if she felt the rules were wrong she should write a letter telling the company that, and that it wasn't right to take it out on her family, blah blah blah. When she kept it up , I told her calmly that she'd have to take the behavior upstairs for the night and sent her off to her room. It took a little physical encouragement, but she went up, and stayed there til bed. I did feel better because I handled it without getting angry, and I stuck to our house rule that if you can't treat others nicely, you need to be separated.
Sorry this got so long, a little venting,I guess. I'm just looking for any thoughts or help or fresh ideas and perspectives any of you might have. Thank you for any and all!